Tuesday, January 6, 2015

On one level, it is a reality

I think that most of us have similarities in the fact that we all have certain “issues” with ourselves that we really just don’t want to admit. Why do we continue to put things off, be lazy and hurt the ones we love over and over again? I know we always say that we don’t mean to but let’s be real, most of the time? Most people are full of it when they say that. They’ve done it by choice, they just don’t really want to admit it.
It’s almost like, we all have some sort of need for chaos or the negative. I think it’s because we are all a bit selfish and want things and time for ourselves. This is on top of the fact that we all seem to fall victim to our surroundings and feel like we have no choice but to do some of the surprising things we do.
We are lazy and eat bad, ignore our commitments to exercise and health and say we deserve it. We hurt each other by doing things we know we should not do, but it’s because we have no choice, because of ‘blah blah’. Why can’t we just come out and say that our commitments to ourselves and our loved ones are just not as strong as we’d like to believe, and that a lot of the time, our choices are ruled by fear? Fear of a person, failure, change … could be anything.
We can also admit that really, we just might be quite comfortable where we are and don’t really want to make changes or do certain things, even though we say we do. We only really hear someone admit things like this when it’s harmless or maybe when we take pride in the fact that others might envy our choices. You rarely hear people say they hurt someone because they are selfish or that they knew it would hurt people but did it for their own gain.
I think we are all hiding a bit from ourselves and others. I think we lack the strength to do what we want and tend to feel ‘stuck’ in a certain situation. What would it take for us all to be able to truly come out into the world as our true selves? Can we even admit what that is to ourselves? When will we have the strength to do what it is we really want to do?
And for those of you that are in fact living true? You can know that those of us that tend to be (on some level) “hiders” and “liars” are in fact envious … at least we can admit that.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Reality bits - "All that glam!"

We are writers, hear us roar…
Some things you (do) know, and have to laugh about being a writer

  • people think you are cool
  • people think you’re a snob, wanna be author

  • you have a great social life
  • wait, you don’t have one anymore

  • your fans are really taken by one of your characters
  • you are killing him off

  • you just came up with your new BIG idea
  • that big idea is now being shared with you, as someone else’s big idea

  • you have joined some new and great groups
  • actually following those blog topics and forums takes time

  • you have just set up an awesome, new book event and are ready to rock!
  • nobody comes to your new and great event

  • you spent all day writing and finally hit the nail on the head!
  • you wake up at 3 am because it’s all wrong

  • you finally land a contract
  • no one understands why you still need your day job

  • you are fully engaged in your book and your characters
  • nobody else you are close to has any idea what you are talking about

  • your book is selling great on Amazon!
  • you just got your worst review ever, on Amazon

At the end of the day,

you learn to take the hits
you learn...to learn
and you love it all, despite itself

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What kind of “Creative” are you?

Are you generally creative or are you a ????

Are you a painter, a writer, sculptor? Do you have one creative outlet and is that what defines you?  Many, find themselves simply creative overall and have multiple ways they express themselves, while others focus on one, main and specific thing. A professional photographer, for example...books, studio and the works. It’s what he/she does. Would you say that you fall into a category of the arts?

We all talk to people everyday and sometimes find ourselves surprised to hear about their secret dabbles...happens all the time. The accountant in the next cubicle is part of a garage band, your hair stylist makes jewelry, your boss builds classic cars and your child’s daycare provider is a dancer!

What makes it so that these talents get lost behind other careers or are they not lost at all and are simply creative outlets? I guess you could say the same about a lot of things but sometimes we find ourselves expecting more out of our creative friends (and even ourselves). Do we wonder why every guy we see at the gym is not a bodybuilder or why every woman we see in the lap pool didn’t go for the Gold? Probably not. But meet someone who sings and performs on the weekends or maybe has some art on the walls at the local cafe and we feel it somehow defines them.

Brings it to the question of when does your creative outlet satisfy you and can you say it’s enough?

Katy Perry
Katy Perry (stage name) had music in her bones since she was a small girl. There was no doubt about the fact that she wanted to sing. Course she started out in gospel music as that was her only outlet. Not sure about it, she kept at it until she found her home in music and broke out into Pop. She went for it even though it was against her childhood family values overall.

Would you be willing to give up your life goodies that you have now to go for it?

Stephen King
He was writing, and writing some more. He and his wife lived with pretty much nothing while he typed away. I’m reminded of a story (written by him) explaining how he maybe had enough money to walk down the street for a six pack and buy diapers for his little one. But, with the art in his bones, he couldn’t stop, kept at it and now writes more than 3000 words every day!

And just maybe, you will route your talents to teach others and that, in itself, is your true legacy?

Jessica Mezey
As a prima ballerina, Jessica has made quite the career for herself. With leading roles from Russia into the U.S.A., she has many on her resume. She takes it beyond that though and also puts together concepts for fashion shows, works in the theater and also has directed more than one of her own theater productions!

Of course, it’s always fun, and feels somewhat celebrity say say “I’m a writer” or “I’m an artist” but the biggest question is “What does that mean to YOU?”  Can you feel it? Can you feel it in your bones? Are you “jonesing” for your talent each and every day or is it more of a hobby? Maybe you just like the image it gives you socially and at parties.

Sometimes creative habits are good just as they are and they give us an outlet when the day is done. I know for me, if I’m being honest, I can not survive in a closed world, put me in a box, I have limits, kind of existence. If I had to hide my talents behind a set career in an office somewhere, I’d be doomed (and I did give it the honest try).  But for some of my close friends it is that very career (trade or business, for example) that provides them their outlets at all and that is where they find their balance.

I say, it is good stuff either way...as long as we are honest. But if you are a true Creative, let’s be honest there too and if it’s what you feel and what you want, I can only hope there are more go for its out there!  

Creative habits support good living, creative teachers can form new paths for others and defined creatives have their set focus. Our respect for our talents and ourselves helps us to find that direction. Today I say, I hope we all find our home in our talents and can live with them and share them when we can, so that we are giving ourselves and our talents the respect they each deserve.

To me, it’s this respect for yourself that should allow you to ask yourself about your talents and be honest. And if it would feel good and right to give that talent some more attention...then I say go for it!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Reality bits - Fun Facts

Parts of our world...shared in what's around us, and in history.

I like reminding myself of these types of things. It reminds me that what we do when we are writing is real and what we do will be remembered. And just as our choices in our stories are each unique, we are all unique as the creators behind them.

Hats off to us, my fellow writers, and to our mini-wins, big successes and our funny little habits! :)


1. What is something we hear about and ourselves have casually referred to having, that Charles Dickens did suffer from?
  • Insomnia. (I have to say I feel like I have this often...why is that??)

2.  Who won the Pulitzer four times?
  • Robert Frost (famous writer of John F. Kennedy) (Wow!)

3. Quote from Hemingway?
  • “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”  (ha ha, well said!)

4. She had lupus and could only handle writing for 2 hours a day!
  • Flannery O’Connor (takes the excuses for slacking right out of it doesn't it?)

5. He was so tall, “it’s said” he used to write over his fridge. Hmmm...
  • Thomas Clayton Wolfe (I...do not have this issue, ha ha)

More things about people we know...

6. Danielle Steel - She is known for working on 4-5 books at a time. She also would work 20 hours a day working first drafts...on a typewriter!

7. Stephen King - 2,000 words a day...need I say more?

8. Truman Capote - He wrote longhand (and with his cigarettes handy of course) and could only write in the horizontal position! Yep, he wrote lying down in bed or laid out on the couch. Nice!

9. Agatha Christie - I have loved reading Agatha! She taught herself to read...when she was four. And this was against the odds since her mother wanted her to wait until she was 8!

10. Ernest Hemingway - Remember him? Here’s some more...he did it all and only wrote 500  words a day!

Hey, we all have our quirks. As for me, well, I have an issue with the immediate space around me and my comfort in it (to the annoyance of those around me at times). I don’t like clutter around me when I sit down to write. I like things situated and in their place. Things on the outside could be in complete chaos but if my little bubble of space is clear...no worries, I’m good to go!

What about you?

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Fault in our Stars - a great ride!

The Fault in our Stars
By, John Green

If you don’t know this story (soon to be out in theaters, at least here in the Rockies), it will cross your path in one way or another.

I feel that this story is one of those that some can avoid due to what seems like an obvious tale of either death or triumph. However, there is much more to it and worth the read. I give this a five star for a few reasons personal to me:

1. It’s for deep thinkers like myself.
2. It challenges logical thought.
3. It sticks with you after you are done reading, and does for a while.
4. It is real and is not filled with fluff.


She speaks to her life with an honesty. 
She likes boys, but not always herself.
She likes her thinking, because of course she is always right.

Her past seems fairly normal and her parents typical to what you would expect in American, midwest, middle class. She is a teenager in a world still governed by her parents but her life is not mainstream by any means. Hazel is an interesting girl with a blunt perspective, which in itself makes her interesting.

Hitting home:

Without realizing it this story gets you thinking, about yourself.

Hazel holds a hope and a clarity that allow her to think beyond her challenges. It can put a shame on those of us who blow right by that clarity at times. She is bitter from her illness. This bitterness is sweetened, however, by her newly found, special friend, Gus. Their relationship follows the familiar but their perspectives together are more mature than a lot of us reading this blog.

The best part of Hazel for me is that she is real.

The ride:

I liked how it felt like I was there, in the day to day with Hazel, Gus and Isaac. The book gives you intimate and friendly relationships. The teenage innocence and curiosities are natural and the bond between friends is admirable. Although the young adults are struggling, the parents are having their own hard times with everything and the two sometimes challenge each other. Even so, with the way the characters are presented, it did not leave me with any “good guy” vs. “bad guy” viewpoint. John Green also throws in a bit of a surprise that involves a character far removed from this home group. It is interesting to follow him as well.

As I was reading, the book took me through hard times, yes, but it is also sprinkled with good humor and motivation. You can really come to like these guys! Without spoiling any ending, I can tell you that it starts you off in the thick of things and closes with legs.  I personally, like that. It makes me feel like the characters are still out here, pulling for the good life and I personally like that too.

In the end...

One of the listed praises in the book refers to it as an “intellectual explosion” and I have to agree. To read The Fault in our Stars, I’d say be willing to go beyond the obvious story and challenge your own intellect and perspectives. This story helps you self reflect and take a good look around. I did not find this to be a simple feel good story but found something more. It has gems for the taking if you can accept them.

This review has been submitted as part of the Book Review Depot, "What Am I reading Now Blog Tour!"
Find out more by checking out Book Review Depot FAQs.

Successful or Passionate?

I’m happily getting to know more and more of my writer friends each day and my thoughts are focused a lot on my writing. And I have to say that energy must be in the air because more than one discussion on this very subject have come up right as I was putting this together - I’m thinking it’s a never ending topic.

I couldn’t help but think about how my writing really relates to who I am and it brought up a question. Why do I write? Why do we all write and where does our desire come from that makes us this unique group who feel the urge to express through the written word?

When you think of what you put down everyday, do you see yourself as writing because you have a story that is just burning inside you and wants to get out or could it be driven by the thought that it will serve you well with a piece of fame and fortune?  Really if you were to ask yourself, are you writing for the success of it or is it simply a true passion?

I mean, I’ve been told I am a passionate person and I suppose I do see myself as a  passionate person but when I home in on myself a bit closer, I’m not really sure I can fully separate the two each and every time. Or do I?

Ideally, I’d like to pair the two sides and see my ability to bring home the bacon walk hand in hand with doing the things I love. I think I am doing my best work when I’m actually enjoying myself, so why not?. Of course there is the factor that passion alone can’t make the world care about the things we each personally hold dear, no matter how much we want to write about them in our stories. Man, it is hard to avoid that inner adrenaline when you love what you are doing and writing! So, we forge forward and hope that our readers think our story is just as awesome as we do and something they just can’t live without.

Then I wonder, can I have smart passion? Is there such a thing? I mean, for example, I feel really good about drawing a portrait for someone who just got married, or just had a baby and if I get paid also, this is a good thing, right? I just want to believe that! The same goes with my writing.

But since our passions are not a guarantee, I think that doing something that puts gas in my Jeep today so I can four wheel and go out to my favorite restaurant seems like the right thing for me also! And paying the bills is certainly a success. Could how I go about doing that though cause me to question if my passion comes first?  

I’d like to think we can have both, although I read a lot about the fact that the two should be blended with care (i.e. Forbes - Passion will put you in the poor house). Am I just a dreamer? (I’ve been called that too). I think the big fantasy would be to give it all up and go for it, and then be amazingly successful of course. What a great feeling! I know a lot of people with the want and desire to do just that but many times that is not how it goes down. The realist in some of us just can’t give it all up to run and go.

If you had to pick, where would your true loyalty land as a writer? Is it with your writing and your stories when you look at all that you have going on?

I do know that when I am on the receiving end of a good book or story, I feel like I can sense the passion from the author when it’s a book that sucks me in. I can sense how they took great care in putting their characters and storyline together in such a way that it can almost seem packaged just for me.  I will see the characters and feel their needs, pains and happiness. When the author can get me to care about the things a character holds dear and get me to feel right along with them, I think the author has let his/her passion out free to do its job.  I am affected by their story. I would like to think we all write for that.

In the end and when I look at it for me, I have to say that it’s only because of my passion for the things I do that make any of them worth it in the first place. A means to an end, fun tickets, obligations (and yes, the bills!)...those things are always there, but I truly believe that without the ability to express what makes me true, none of that would matter to me. And so I write my stories, write with my friends and my daughter, draw for others and myself and stay in creation mode.  I can see that it’s my passion that keeps me going. To me, it is having that passion at all that is the real win and it is my driver. I think that’s the good stuff. Plain and simple.

I can’t imagine my life without it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The bad review perspective

It’s true. It feels nice to get a good review. It just does!  And there’s a sting that comes with getting those reviews that are not stamped with that shining star. A seemingly bad review seems to hit quicker than an obviously good one. The good ones, we like to relish. We like to sit with them a while and take in all the great stuff they said about our hard work, as a reflection of ourselves. Those, we can get cozy with.

Then there are the ones we get that we sit and stare at for a while. Am I alone here? I think not.  In our immediate shock, we might be thinking that the reader is confused or we might be confused ourselves as to why they don’t love our favorite characters or can’t understand chapter 4. The reviewer might say they just didn’t get it or that the story didn’t end right.  Meanwhile, we are thinking, what the heck?  Did they even really read it? (Maybe they read it wrong and should read it again)

Not that we like it but hey, putting your book out there will get some comments you may not want to hear or that hit you by (unpleasant) surprise. We all know this.

For me, during the launch of Aurora Conspiracy’s first book in the trilogy (I co-authored with Ginger Gelsheimer), we were exposed to our first official reviews. Some were really great and we were feeling pretty good, and some were feeling not so awesome. Experiencing our very first hit did cause us to sit back for a moment, quietly taking in the shock of the feedback.

But then we decided to take a step back...what was this all about anyway? I can tell you in all honesty, that was one of the best decisions we made. And no, I don’t mean we gave ourselves the positive pep talk that it was all okay. I mean, we really took a look at what was being said. We decided at that point to consider that review, and all our reviews, good or bad. We had decided to look at them to learn and see what the reader was saying, what the review could mean and what might actually be beneficial based on what had been said.

In our experience, we actually gained insight into some things that made sense! Things we could consider and otherwise might not have come to realize that may be worthy of change. On the other side, we also gained confidence (and reinforcement) in some of our decisions we felt strongly about, whether a particular reader agreed or didn’t. That can end up feeling good!

Throughout the process, I've been able to learn that:

  • A negative review is not a personal hit to you, it is only the personal views and opinions of one reader.
  • What we may consider a bad review does spark interest and questions that can get people talking. (exposure)
  • We can learn from a lot of the feedback, good or bad. One hit might actually give us the chance to enhance the story we are trying to tell.
  • Being open to what was said, and willing to look at it, is far better than having a knee jerk reaction and going for an unnecessary rewrite.
  • And finally, ego needs to hit the road.

Looking at the glass half full is not a new concept of course but acceptance can be a bit of a challenge at times. And I can’t say that I believe every single negative is really a hidden positive but I can say that changing my view on what reviews can do for me has really helped me to rethink the idea. After all, I want my book to communicate my story and hopefully I get better along the way.

Some of us are more seasoned in letting a review roll off our back but if you are coming in green, a bad review could leave you feeling quite low. Just know that none of us are loving the negatives all of the time but an open mind might just turn that review around a bit so stick with it!

Of course we are always still happy to enjoy that feeling of fulfilment when we get the good reviews. Those certainly reinforce our motivations! and allow us to bask in some glory...if just for a moment.