The Universe and Lemonade by Jules Dixon #MessageMonday #amwriting @JulesofTripleR

Along with moving and putting a house on the market, I’m in the middle of writing a short story for an anthology that my critique group is putting out and I’m super pumped about all of those things because who wouldn’t be. Exciting times.

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But like these people, the Universe decided I needed some challenges to go along with the fun.

Well done, Universe. Well. Done. 

I am now the proud owner of this…

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I know, don’t be jealous. 😉 It’s all mine, ladies and gentlemen. No sharing.

Not as sexy as my red cowgirl boots, but when you have a ruptured Achilles tendon, fashion actually comes after comfort.

But although I’m not happy that this surprise event happened, I guess I’m trying to see the bright side.

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One, pain meds are a godsend for the…pain. Thank you to doctors and whoever created them.

 

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Two, I have time to write and I will use the time given, so maybe it was a gift from the Universe. I’ll find out what the final treatment plan is today and what I have to look foward to.

 

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Three, my friends and family are amaze-balls. Friggin’ off the charts amazing, fabulous, stupendous. My son was supposed to go back to school tomorrow, he’s postponed so he can help me. My hubby helped me 100 times this weekend, leaving quickly from work to come get me and take me to the hospital on Friday when it happened and then taking care of me all weekend long. My friend Nanette who let me scream into the phone so I’d stay conscious while the pain was at a 10/10. My friend, Cathy, who raced over from her house to stay with me while I writhed on the kitchen floor in pain and then locked up the house after we were gone to the hospital. The lawn guy who assisted me to get into the house. Yes, I know you touched my boob to help me. Yes, I know you apologized a dozen times. No, I don’t and didn’t care. I needed help and you helped me. The carpet guy who offered me ways of breathing to help the pain, but still did his job after we left like I needed him to. And I remember that I owe you $20 still, I’ll get it to you ASAP. My daughter who came to the hospital and rubbed my back while they made me lay on my stomach before the pain meds took effect. Not a fan of laying on my stomach anytime, but this made me feel twice as uncomfortable as my feet dangled and pain shot through my lower leg. And my nephew who didn’t blink an eye when I said I had to stay with him cause our bathroom is being remodeled and I can’t do stairs to the basement one. And dozens of others have offered to help in any way they can. Thank you to every one of you.

I was blessed that day, even if I’m on arm-pit numbing crutches and have the wonderful 10 lb boot. I know it’s not 10 lbs, but it’s definitely not a feather. 😉

So in the grand scheme of things, I’m still alive and that’s an important thing to remember. Plus, I’ve got a great story to add to a book some day. I’ve learned some lessons and I know who has my back when I need them.

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Overall, I’ve got a crapton of lemonade from the lemons the Universe sent to me. 

So back to writing that short story for me. I think you guys are going to like the idea we have going, and as long as my muse stays awake, I’ll be getting it done this week.

How was your weekend? Anyone have something exciting happen on their end of the keyboard? Any lemons that you can make lemonade from?

Hugs to all. ❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

This is important… #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone. It’s been one hell of a crazy week, again. The insanity that’s hit the UK … I don’t even have words. Which for an author is something, we’re usually pretty good with the science of combining letters into something comprehensive and even occasionally compelling. But, it did give me my topic for today, so without further ado…

BREATHE…

In a world that seems to have lost any form of a rudder this is particularly important. Quite a simple word, and yet it has many connotations. To draw air into ones lungs thus providing the brain with a vital component so it can continue to operation at optimal levels and ensure the body keeps doing it’s thing. But it is also a method used in many practices from yoga to martial arts to gain focus and realign ones self.

BREATHE…

We could all use a little more focus. Not only in the here and now, but about life in general. We each have an important role in the grand cosmic scheme. Sure, none of us know what that plan might be, but it doesn’t mean we’re not here for a reason. It only means that we haven’t yet been given all the pieces to the puzzle to determine what our part may be.

BREATHE…

Those of us who are blessed, gifted, or have educated and fought to become authors already hold a pretty significant place in the world, big or small. We have the tools – the imagination, the drive, the insanity – to create fantastic tales of fiction in all sorts of genres and sub-genres. The end result is a gift to the world. A moment, or three, where a reader can submerge themselves into the world we’ve created for respite – however brief it might be.

BREATHE…

We all should take the opportunity for a little respite. The world is a scary place on the best day, on the worst…well…yeah. So my advice for the weekend, and every chance you have, is to enjoy every single minute of every single day. Kiss your loved ones, hug your enemies (it’ll confuse them), smile at a stranger (it could brighten their day), and don’t let other folks shit taint whatever you have going on in your life. Enjoy the little things, smell the roses, walk in the sunshine, pet a dog, spin in a field until you throw up, eat ice cream for dinner, just enjoy all the time you’ve been given however you see fit. No one has the right to judge you for what makes you happiest and at peace. Lastly, authors, never ever stop writing but do remember, from time to time, to lean back in your seat and remember to

BREATHE.

Behind the mask #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

It’s that time again, Friday. It was a short week for some of us, but damn if it didn’t feel incredibly long. I’m not only talking about the extra scramble to cover the day off, but also all the happenings in the world. I won’t get into it, but I will say it’s getting bloody exhausting reading about the same events, while they might be in different places, continuing to occur. When are we going to say enough is enough already?

As this isn’t the purpose of my post today I’ll leave that question to hang for you, and those around you, to answer at your own speed. No, today I want to discuss masks. Particularly the masks we as humans all wear.

Yes, yes, I can hear some out there saying that they don’t ever, or wouldn’t ever. Whatever. We all do it. From professional to personal, we each have a bag of masks we carry with us at all times. They could be hiding some pain (physical or mental), some slight, some news (good or bad), whatever it might be – we all wear them.

I’m not here to say to ditch them all. That isn’t the point, and yet it is.

As writers we have to see behind masks others wear to discover their heart, soul, and purpose. We then use that information in our writing. Where we then create characters who have their own bags of masks to protect them from the world. It’s all part of making them life like and relatable to readers. For in our creation they might see something that mirrors their life, their situation, their pain and gain insight, or even comfort from knowing that there are others out there going through the same thing. Yes, it comes to them in the form of a fictional character, but as authors the golden rule of thumb is to always write what you know (and what you learn, and what you research carefully). One never knows when the band-aid you, as an author, have torn off and bared to the world via your story telling ability will help someone else halfway around the world.

We all want to be able to create reactions in our readers whether they laugh, cry, scream, rage or any other number of emotions. To touch on something within them that is profound and true is the height we all strive to reach. Now, let me be clear, I am NOT talking about sensationalism – we get enough of that shit in the news on a minute-by-minute basis. What I mean is a careful unfolding, development that maybe gives them an “ah-ha!” moment. Perhaps even clarity, or startling realization. For we can not only amuse, but we can also teach and lend aid through the words we put together.

Think about it.

I know this one’s short but it’s been one hell of a week and exhaustion is banging at the door, so I’m off to watch a movie before encapsulating myself in my bed for the night. Have a great day everyone, remember it’s started out fresh and new, no expectations (except that you be dressed while in public), and it will become whatever you make of it. So go forth and Carpe Diem one and all.

Hump Day Inspiration #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell) #StuartReardon

Wednesdays
Good morning all. Kacey here, another week has flown by and it’s been a crazy few days for me. Just when writing is taking off and all is going well, life will throw a writer completely off balance and it’s a struggle to keep up with everything.

My Great Aunt moved in about 3 weeks ago, she had an offer on a house when hers sold within a day and the offer feel through unexpectedly last week. Since Monday it’s been a pile of paperwork after another to be released from that offer and putting in a new offer on a different location. The trees used for all this paperwork, I weep for. My aunt’s kids do not live locally so I have stepped in to help, and while my aunt should really be able to do all this stuff herself, she can’t drive due to falling while packing one day, and broke her knee cap. It’s been one wonderful thing after another.

And my writing time has stalled unfortunately. I think I’ve only written 400 words in the last few days and I’m sad about it. Today is a calmer day thankfully and while I do have a pre-planned day with a friend, I am taking my notebook to get some writing in.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful writing week. And today I thought I would share some writing inspiration, especially since it is Hump Day. This man, I saw in pictures from a recent book signing and he’s been on my writer brain for days, sparking the ideas and seriously triggering some fabulous thoughts.

This is Stuart Reardon. He’ll be our Hump Day Hottie today. *g*

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I don’t have ownership on this pictures, full credit goes to FuriousFotog

Here is Stuart’s facebook page for you all to follow him too.

I think he’ll be inspiration for many books to come.  Maybe one day I’ll even have him on a cover for one of my stories. A gal can dream. *g*

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

This crazy thing called life #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here, and as the title says, I’m talking about this crazy thing called life today.

Namely how it can derail you. I had a somewhat intelligent post planned, but then we had a really busy Monday, which involved a trip to the vets with the kitten for her post spey check up.

She passed with flying colours, bless her. You can see her fetching shaved bit here.

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Then our nine year old had two of his teeth taken out under IV sedation. He doesn’t like the dentist, doesn’t like anything in his mouth, and to top it all he doesn’t like needles.

Yes, stressful doesn’t even begin to describe that experience. He was very brave, however, and we got it done.

Phew.

He rather suffered afterwards with the after effects of the anesthetic. Picture him freezing cold in his pjs with a hoodie over the top, curled burrito style on his bed, shivering. Poor lil guy.

Well, he’s not little, he’s tall for his age, but ykwim. This mama’s heart hurt for him.

Anyway, despite all of that, I did manage to add 1000 words to my WIP. Not the one I was aiming to finish this week…

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Of course not, that would be easy, and you know my muse… she hops skipping and jumping all over the place. I’m consoling myself with the fact that I am writing, and as long as I listen to her demented mutterings in my ear my fingers fly.

Never argue with your muse, tried that, doesn’t work, at all.

*sighs*

Today is daughter #4’s birthday. She is 15. How did that happen? It seems like yesterday that she was born. Okay, I’ve had three more children since her, but still! 😉

So, where does this leave today’s post? Well, this rambling mess, lol.

To make up for my lack of anything writerly to say, I shall leave you with the inspiration for four of my current WIP’s. Yes, you read that right, four…..

*glares some more at her muse*

Duncan Crannach dragon shifter                        aea7bb36a1ca50d5d26096003355ddd6

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Right, now where was I?

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

People Watching #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here.

Let me ask you something, what do you see when you see this picture?

Do you see someone lonely, or do you see someone simply content by herself watching the world go by?

Well, I have to say that is always me. I’m not sure whether it’s an introvert thing, or a having been an only child thing, but being on my own, even in a crowd has never bothered me. Quite the opposite.

I love to simply sit and watch other people. It is endlessly fascinating to me, and, you know, people watching is the #1 research and inspiration tool in your author tool box if you ask me.

Take my night out the other day for a dear friend’s hen night. We went to the local casino and we had a great time. Not to gamble I hasten to add. Well, some in our group had a little flutter, I was content to simply watch, sip my numerous Gin&Tonics, have a little dance and observe the mating practices of the lesser spotted humans.

*giggle snort*

Not much seems to have changed since my high school/college days when I last frequented clubs of any kind.

There was the row of men sat staring at us legs spread wide in a display of testosterone which amused me greatly. Followed by gesticulating in what they must have thought was an encouraging manner and simply meant we dissolved into fits of giggles.

Then there was the guy who came across to give one of our group his friend’s phone number. Oh I did laugh, bearing in mind we’re all women of a certain age, and I’d have thought those were the antics of high school boys, not men.

Perhaps even more amusing was the fact that he did it a second time after the first attempt was thwarted by ripping up that piece of paper and sinking its remains in the wine cooler.

Then there was the guy in a suit whose dance moves could only be described as the ones of a monkey. (Hey, maybe he was an ape shifter, what you do you think?)

Or the guy whose trousers kept falling down so that he was treating all unsuspecting bystanders to a view of his butt crack. I barely resisted the urge to go up and pull the damn things up for him.

The old guy who was having a whale of a time on the dance floor, dancing with all the young ladies. Bless him, he did make me laugh, and all I can say is I hope I have that much energy when I’m an OAP.

Sidenote he was just the right height to snuggle up to the women’s boobs when he was dancing.

*giggle snort*

The primped to within an inch of her life seventy if she was a day plastic barbie doll lookalike, with her bleached blonde hair and the gravity-defying surgery enhanced boobs which kept on threatening to escape her dress.

The guy who got the death stare from me from trying to gyrate against me – and any other female for that matter –  on the dance floor. Yeah, not happening, mate. Wasn’t into that when I was younger, let alone now.

I could go on but you get the idea. Whether any of these observations will make it into a story… well, time will tell.

It was certainly an experience and we left before everyone got really drunk.

Oh, how could I forget the cleaners who also took to dancing along to the Madonna tribute act? Less said about her the better, really, bless her. Not an easy job I know being the live entertainment, but deary me.

Suffice to say she started to sound better the more G&Ts I had consumed. Funny that, eh?

Like I said we had a great time. As always happens at any gathering I attend I was asked whether I was all right, which never fails to amuse me. Like I said people watching is great fun for me. Don’t assume the one sitting quietly in the corner is not enjoying herself. Believe me, we do, and if you’re also an author, your muse will lap up all those observations and run with them.

The number of story ideas, I got from observing the people around me and the way they interact with each other. Try it, and see.

Not only will you get ideas you will also add depth to your characters. Observe how other people speak, their body language, the way they dress etc. The list is endless and endlessly fascinating too.

None as complex as human beings, after all.

It behooves those of us who write about them to show them in all their complexity.

So, keep on watching and dreaming up those stories, folks.

Stay naughty,

D xxx

Writing Inspiration #WickedWednesday #HumpDayHottie @KaceyHammell

 

Wednesdays

Good morning.  Happy Wednesday and Happy Hump Day.

I have been blessed the last few days of frantic inspiration in my writing so my post will be short and straight to the point. It actually feels like a Wacky Wednesday to me. I am currently writing a new story that is coming at me in weird waves. Scenes, dialogue that aren’t quite in order exactly, and moments from the story that come in flashes. This has never happened to me before, and although I have written many scenes within my notebooks when on the go, this one only wants to be written in long hand. Boggles other authors’ minds, I know, but sometimes the process is different for some. Whatever works right?

So because I’ve been so focused on what I have been writing, and researching wolves since this will be my first wolfie shifter, I didn’t have a long or witty post for today. I haven’t really come up for air a lot. And even though I’m sure I’ll be able to patch my new words/scenes together at some point, I can’t knock that I am getting words in. In this weird way, but at least there’s no writer’s block.

I leave you today with some inspiration. Hopefully everyone is writing up a storm and enjoying what they love most.wed2

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(Source of all photos: Pinterest)

And I also leave you with my current inspiration for my hero (Theo James) who is my Hump Day Hottie too.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xoxo

 


 

Confused much? #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Hello one and all, welcome to another #SensualSunday post. Another week lies ahead of us, and who knows what it might bring. Maybe new ideas, or a plot twist, or even a solution to that section in your latest WIP that’s been driving you insane. One never knows but if you keep your eyes and ears open you never know what you may find.

Today’s post is all about genre choice. Seems simple enough. But I’ve run across some books that have left me feeling dazed and highly confused about their genre.

As any author knows our characters are our guiding forces. They tell us what we need to know to form the story they have to share. To an author they are living, breathing beings and while they don’t have any real form to them, the story they are contained in gives them shape.

Now, determining who these characters are, where they are from, what they do, believe in, and so forth helps an author to figure out what the genre of the book will be. I’m not talking about what genres your publisher (if you use one) might list it under, but your core genre. For instance, Paranormal or Sci-Fi. Everything outside of that, like romance, BDSM, etc. is icing on the cake. But an author needs to know, going in, what their genre is to be.

Could it change part way through? Sure, but if it does that means the previously written portions need to be altered/updated to fit. You can’t have half a book being one genre and the rest something else entirely. It’s like writing a werewolf story that suddenly because a zombie horror but there was never any mention of zombies! This is also where reader confusion kicks in. If a reader doesn’t feel like they have just read a cohesive work, they are going to say something. Usually nothing very flattering.

Time for an example. One book I read a while back was decidedly a paranormal romance. Clear as day. No question about it. Then I hit roughly the two-thirds mark and everything changed. Took on a fantasy, almost sci-fi feel to it. Threw me for one hell of a loop. Had me questioning all I’d previously read. Was it so subtle that I missed the clues the author had potentially dropped? Sadly, no. I finished the book, let it digest, and then went back to read it again a couple days later. I knew the ending, knew all this additional information, but it still was reading as a para-romance for over the first half of the book. No hint (and I was reading word for word slowly) of the shift in dynamics/situation to come. It was almost as if the author had run out of material and smooshed in some extra stuff they’d had on the side to get their word count up. After the second reading I was even more confused by the story, and while the characters had remained (for the most part) the same through it all, that sudden jolt to a whole new tale part way through rattled me.

Now, as an author myself I can’t post reviews on sites under my author name. Not that I apparently needed to. Between the time I’d bought the book, and then got around to reading it, there had been several reviews left about it. All had more or less the same core theme to them – what the hell had they just read? And ratings that reflected this overall thought. All of which dragged the book down through the ranks because folks were shying away from it.

Was it a good read? Yup, right up to that point where everything began to change, and not for the better. If the author had written these two genres as separate books they’d likely have had raving reviews from the readers. But smashing them into one just made one hell of a mess. Running out of material for a story is absolutely no excuse to do this. Stories are only as long as they need to be. Not determined by us authors, but by our characters.

So let’s be clear here. Pick your genre based on what your characters are feeding you. If, and it can happen, the characters lead you in a new direction like my example above then go back to the beginning and fix it. Keep your story one cohesive piece that is melded in perfection. Any editor worth their salt would catch you making this mistake, but for those who don’t have one at their disposal for whatever reason, take care. At the very least use a beta reader to ensure what you have to publish is a tight work that reflects on you in the best light.

XO Moira Callahan

Inspirations and Word Counts #SatisfactionSaturday @KaceyHammell

 

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Good morning everyone! Kacey here again. I hope you had a fabulous week and accomplished a lot of writing. It was a 6k writing week for me. Not too shabby but I’m not 100% pleased with myself either. However, it is much better than that dull boring old word – nil, zilch, nada, zero, zip, zippo, naught, nothing – so I can’t get too down considering what I did accomplish.

I usually post my words for the day/week in a couple author groups, on my publisher group of writing encouragement that we have, and the like. Yesterday morning I did the usual update and later in the day received an email from an author this afternoon who wanted to know how I could accomplish high results, and what keeps me inspired.

Now, I’ve shared a post or two in the past about inspiration, but I got thinking, perhaps it bears repeating. It’s never redundant – IMO – to share words of encouragement, resolution, being there for others when they’ve either hit writer’s block, or their imaginations are sparking that day. So, I decided to sit back for a couple hours and think of some of the things that have helped me, inspired me and kept me going over the last 3-4 weeks, which helped me accomplish about 25,000 words.

First off, knowing that there is nothing currently on my “Coming Soon” page. I had a new release in Dec, Jan & Feb. 2 were new works (which took me a year to write both during health issues), and a re-release from a previous—now dead—publisher, and I’ve been steadily increasing word count in my latest WIP. I know myself well enough now that it takes me more than a month to write a full length book – I mean 40,000 and up. If I was working on a story that was say 10-15,000 words then it might only take me 4-6 weeks, and that’s with no interruptions. I’ve learned this about myself and know that a story is done when it’s done. I never set a word count – unless for an anthology, but that rarely works out for me because I can’t seem to stay within the word count limit – so the stories are done when my characters say they are. Now, with nothing on the upcoming page, I’m eager to get my stories done and see there is more on the horizon. Oh, I know I can self-pub as I do on the side (being a Hybrid author and all that fun), but I write the stories for characters who are active in my head. Overall, the drive to have more in readers hands drives me, as it should all authors.

Second, I’ve been distracted to a point, though it’s helped to distract me FROM what’s happening in my life away from writing. My second child is heading off to college, out of town in Sept, so the writing is keeping me from thinking about it too much. And it’s kept me focused on something I can control. With him leaving, I don’t feel that control of knowing every moment that he’s safe, his Diabetes is maintained and overall just worry for him. So, if this keeps up, and when he does go off to school, boy I might just have novel after novel done because it distracts me from my worrying and concern. And hell, the lack of control of keeping him close and understanding that he needs to spread his wings.  Sometimes, life outside of writing can help. But I do not love it. Not a bit. But I’ll use the emotions to further my writing career along.

I’ve also taken to going back and reading some of my earlier work. For me, it’s motivated me to write deeper and fuller characters than what my older (3-4 year old works) titles had. I love all my characters, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve familiarized myself with them again and all the things that make them tick. But I also look at them now as a reader. I now see even more richness to each character. So much so, that if the time ever comes to re-release or revise them, I actually have some notes on my tablet copies in areas to enhance and bolster. I can also see my growth as an author and wanting to “show off” some of those new ways I’ve grown and learned into the new stories.  I never thought I would use older titles to pump me up and remind me why I love writing so much, but I’m glad I did. At first it was because I wanted to revisit a character again and couldn’t sleep. Now, I’ve read 4 old titles again and am inspired to do more with them at a later time, and to push myself even further as a writer.

Music. I live and breathe music on a regular basis. Growing up, and with my own kids, it’s every genre possible that is always playing in our house. If we are cleaning rooms, dusting, rearranging anything or just hanging out playing a board game, we have an endless playlist of songs always going. I go through periods where I have to write in silence and others when music has to be playing. I’m in the place now where I need the music to be pumping hard in the background, a sexy song to get the erotic feels moving and the sad songs to punch me in the gut when writing a crucial heartbreaking scene. Lately, Ed Sheeran is a huge inspiration to me right now. His latest album, Divide, is exactly what I needed. As well, the 50 Shades soundtracks have helped a lot (though I’m not that big a fan of the books or movies) then did some fantastic magic with the soundtracks. Give me some smooth jazz and great R&B, and I’m happy. Things start to come to live when I can feel the beat thumping through my head. I close my eyes and can just let the music lead the character forward, propelling them into a great pace and the words flowing.

And of course, the simple amazing photos online helps so much. Hot sexy men and women photos that get the thoughts running rampant are a must. I use places like stock photo sites, Pinterest and Facebook to spot moving photos and looking for those images that spark a thought, a single sentence which can lead to a whole book, or simply take my breath away. And I am not just talking about sexy photos or erotic couples in each other’s arms; I’m talking any kind of photos. I visit cover artist, Jay Aheer’s “Simply Defined Art” Facebook Page a lot. The visionary greatness of her creations is always inspiring to me. She creates powerful and compelling images that I can’t even begin to figure out how, and I’m left breathless and pondering the emotions coming from each one.

Of course, I have to share something from Ed that is playing all the time here.

There are many more ways that author’s use to feel/be inspired and create great stories with. These are a few of mine, which have kept me sane, but I do have a few other author’s advice to what helps them that I plan to try if my normal routes don’t work. I’ll keep you posted on anything new that might help.

To be honest, the other thing I did just a couple days ago was … I took a day off! A full day of little social media, didn’t even take my notebook and pens with me to write if something struck me, and I played hooky all day with my husband. We didn’t do anything that would make anyone jealous – like take a cruise or anything LOL – we just went and did normal married couple, we are thinking of renovating a few household things – and then had a long lunch full of laughter and talking. No cell phones on the table, no computers, no cares or worries (our children have specific ringtones on our phones so if it wasn’t one of those, we didn’t care), and just vegged and hung out. I took a day off without even thinking about the words I still had to do, the blog posts or what story would be next, I simply took a day off and boy did I need it. More than I thought.

So, let’s add that to the list. Take a day off every now and then and just live. Leave everything else behind and simply recharge.

 

Until next week,
Happy Writing!!

Kacey (2)

 

 

 

 

The Ole WB Came for Me: How I Survived Writer’s Block with @JulesofTripleR #HumpDayHangout

The Ole WB Came for Me: How I Survived Writer’s Block

There are two words I won’t say out loud together.

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Writer’s.

Ahem–Block.

 

Heck, I hate even writing them! I’ll say WB over the real words any day.

But I’m gonna come out and raise a white flag. Yes. I had the condition and I’m not afraid to admit it. And I’m here to tell of my tale.

From July of 2016 until two days ago, I fought for words. There were days when a few/dozen/two dozen was good enough. Some of my writing friends would point out that I still completed manuscripts, and yes, I did start and finish two novels and three short stories since then, but I did it in a fugue that I’d never experienced.

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Since August of 2013, I’d been on a writing frenzy. Words clamoring to get out of me. I’d liken the writing deluge of words to beginner’s luck if I believed in that, but still, the words came and the words stayed for tea and cookies…and tequila. Lots of tequila over the years.

But then three years almost to the date of when I started really writing fiction and romance, I crashed. There were days I stared at the screen for hours. My mind became a white board of desolation. And there was no marker to even scribble a hangman or sunshine to be found. Anywhere.

I thought maybe it was Seasonal Affective Disorder taking me over a little early. Sneaky thing seasonal depression is, hitting a person in a different way every year. Sometimes I go down in January when the holiday’s high is over. Sometimes at the holidays I find myself tumbling when I’m overwhelmed or emotional watching my kids open presents. They’re 22 and 20, so really it’s them opening their banking apps and seeing I transferred money, but there are stockings.

And there have been a few years where I just become a pile of human goo for three months out of the year—November, December, January. Thankfully those really bad years been few and far in between, but they have happened.

But I didn’t know what I know now.

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Not only was I experiencing my regular depression, but I was fatigued, exhausted, collapsing mentally because I didn’t give myself breaks. Three years of writing almost every day. YES, every, damned, day. If I didn’t, I imagined I was behind. I fought to “catch up” and I am here to tell you…there is NO catching up. There is only moving forward, taking each day as it comes, and rolling with the muses fucking punches.

I traveled to Canada for a retreat that my publisher, Evernight Publishing, held for their authors. The event was fantastic. I met some of the nicest people on the earth, including Kacey Hammell of Naughty-Quills. Lovely woman. But I returned to Omaha, Nebraska more out of sorts and more overwhelmed than before. I dragged myself out of bed each day because I had other commitments. I’d planned a 25 author signing event. I had to do the right thing cause I don’t quit—obviously.

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I was elected Prez of my local romance writer’s chapter. I slid farther down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and anxiety. Full on distress.

Wasn’t easy to keep up the appearance of having my shit together, but I did it.

I thought maybe I needed more sunlight. So I got a sunlamp and basically stayed up for two days in a row after using it. Apparently, I was too sensitive. My doctor said, “Stop using it, you have a real chance of having a psychotic episode”. That didn’t sound like fun. So I put it away.

Then came the holidays and I kept busy with shopping and events, but I’d open my computer and… nothing. So few synapses in my brain putting out good thoughts or hell even any thoughts. I would have taken bad, too.

I took the last half of December off and went to Denver, Colorado for New Year’s. My hubby and our friend did their best to keep me going and getting out with the peoples of the world, but I was über miserable.

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But I had commitments, so I kept up. I showed up. I made up. I faced up. I tied up. Put up. Shut up. And fixed up. What I could.

My mentor, Corrissa James, did what she could to encourage me and help me through the rough days, and I thank her and the other writing friends who stuck it out with me and encouraged me. And then there are others who will probably read this and say—WTF? I never would have guessed in a million years.

And that’s one of my points. We can never know what’s going on inside another person. Don’t guess. Don’t assume. And please, for the love of god, don’t judge.

February came around. The month of love. One of my favorite times of the year. I experienced a little improvement early in the month and I put a few words to the page. More than January, but less than December because I pushed myself to just get shit done in December, but that backfired, too. In January, my holiday short stories received a couple bad reviews. I only know the number (1’s and 2’s ain’t good, my friends) but not the words of the review cause I don’t read them, but it’s enough to know my readers weren’t happy. And I wasn’t happy.

And then the plague came on last week. Nothing like the f’ing upper respiratory flu to knock you down until you think death would be the sweeter passageway. I fought through and by the weekend I was doing better. And I actually had some hope. My muse was calling out and strutting…

giphy-21And this week, that vixen demanded I write a new story in the same series as a story accepted by my publisher for their newest male/male alpha anthology. Shifter wolves with special abilities.

So I wrote. And over the last thirty-six hours, 9100+ words have poured from me. This isn’t a record for me, and certainly many authors consider that a light day, but it’s a good thing for me. A good omen. She’s baaaaack! I have some of my spring back. My brain cloud is lifted and I’m ready to face writing again without wondering what the day will bring.

So, if you’re in you’re struggling out there, a little of the old WB got you down. Keep the hope. Muses are fickle beings. And then again, sometimes you need to realize when you need a break and take breaks. And don’t push yourself. Be good to you, and that muse will be good to you, too.

**And note: I know I’ve made this semi-amusing but depression is nothing to laugh about. I know this cause I live and have lived it. So, if you’re experiencing any thoughts of suicide, hopelessness, or hurting yourself or others, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US.

To celebrate my return to good writing days, here’s an excerpt (unedited) from what’s spilled from my muse in the last two days.

Mooncrest: Saving Honor

Her eyes widened. “No. I … you … we … not possible.” She inhaled small gasping breaths. “We’re … friends.”

He searched her pooling gray eyes to see if on any level she instinctually comprehended the truth, but she’d lost the ability to feel and trust. Only confusion and fear hazed her dilated pupils.

It was time to lay his feelings on the line, and even if she still rejected him, he’d keep trying. She was his. There was no turning back.

“Honor Creed, I’ve loved you for five long years, watching while another man put his hands on you, feeling in my soul your unhappiness, but there was nothing I could do about our torture … until now. Now, you’re free from him. I don’t want to stop being your friend. I want to be more to you. Mother Wolf told me when I was eighteen you were going to be the greatest love I’d ever know. You’ve been hurt. You need time. I understand. But—you and me—it’s gonna happen.”

Love, Jules AND Happy HUMP day, peeeeeeples!

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All Gifs from Giphy.com.