When Those Cards are Stacked Against You . . . Re-Shuffle!

Let me put my cards on the table—for me, it’s not about writer’s block (fortunately, I don’t experience it too often).  It’s quite the opposite.  Not having enough time to write or blog, both of which are near and dear to my heart, is the “block”, that blasted barrier.  The having-minimal-time factor is a valid reason, and an exasperating one.  Hence, the sense that the cards are stacked against me.

There are moments when many of us feel the cards are stacked against us.  It could be something beyond our control—an external element or force (like time)—or something we’ve brought upon ourselves, inadvertently or otherwise.

When that happens, we can let it get us down . . . drag us down . . . give up completely . . . or say [scream!] “to hell with it, enough already”.  And then do something about it.  Or, at the very least, not allow it to become a discouraging or demoralizing influence.

Maybe we can’t leave a job to pursue a dream or goal—not yet anyway.  Maybe we can’t turn a blind eye to someone who needs us.  But maybe we can declare, “This is the way it has to be right now, but this isn’t how it has to be forever.”

It’s been nearly two years since I started this blog.  The plans to develop and expand for 2018 didn’t happen.  Those same plans for 2019 may not transpire, either.  I can look at it as a glass-half-empty kind of gal (as I have been) or view it from a glass-half-full perspective.  I prefer the latter.

Yes, it’s hard to put on a new hat, but not impossible.  If you can’t afford to buy a new one, rummage through the closet.  Dollars to donuts you’ll find one there.  Put it on.  View yourself from different angles; at least one will prove fetching.

When it feels as if those cards are stacked against you, reshuffle the deck.  Play that last card.  Play a new hand.  Nothing is ever as impossible, or unattainable, as you think.  It’s always within scope . . . within grasp . . . within hand.  The winning hand.WPcards4DribbleUSE

It truly is in the cards, my friends.

Publishing with a Publisher

I’ve posted about traditional publishers the odd time—the difference between them and e-book publishers, whether to go with one, and so forth.  I’d likely mentioned that I was thinking about sending out some queries.  Confession (I’m becoming adept at these): I never did.

. . . Not until this past week.  I felt an overwhelming urge to [finally] give it ago.  See what transpires.  Maybe I’ll luck in, maybe I won’t.  What’s a rejection or three?  I’m tough.  I can handle it.   <LOL>

Of course, that meant preparing three-chapter / two-chapter attachments and penning a synopsis.  The former took less than five minutes; the latter took like four hours.  (I’d forgotten how time-consuming those could be.)

Fortunately, I had a list of publishers to begin with thanks to a fellow blogger/author/ friend who’d sent a link to an article by Emily Harstone (thank you, Jina).  “The Top 35 Publishers for New Authors” by Ms. Harstone (pen name, by the by) provides a list of publishers that have published debut books and don’t require you to have an agent.

For my genre, the list contained four publishers to approach.  SourceBooks, upon checking their site, no longer accepts unsolicited (un-agented) requests.  One down, three to go.  Fortunately, the next three were accepting submissions and off went the emails with the extra documentation, as outlined in the guidelines.

I blinked and there was my first reply.  The publisher was booked until 2022, nor did they deal with books in the middle of a series.  Fair enough.  Two down, two to go.

Sure, it’s discouraging.  Who doesn’t want a positive “let’s sign you up” response?  But it’s part of the process.  As writers, we have to sport thick skins, not let our frail egos be shattered, recognize that there may be multiple rejections.  (Just research how many big-name authors received rebuffs and snubs.)

Will I send out more queries?  You betcha.  I just need to research more publishers and off those eager inquiries will go.  And I’ll keep you posted [literally].

In case you’re looking to do the same, here’s a link to that article/list:

https://www.authorspublish.com/the-top-35-publishers-for-new-authors/

Good luck!

 

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Ya Got Me

Ever sat down to write your weekly/biweekly blog post . . . to find yourself gawking at the laptop screen?  Annoying, ain’t it?  That Wednesday post I normally write in advance was so not coming.

At this juncture, I’m awaiting the design of four e-book covers (was in the works but the $ ask is now too high, so they’re in limbo for the moment) plus the formatting of “Forever Poi” (soon to be in the works, but definitely on the table).  A few new looks are on the horizon, not just with said books, but blog, too . . . hopefully.  When those [finally] happen, here’s to a new approach and attitude.

In the meanwhile, ya got me.  I was stumped and scratchin’ the ol’ noggin, wondering what the heck to post about.  But then, lo and behold, as if a sturdy coconut tumbled from a palm tree and conked me on the cranium, it came.  Eureka, the next post! wpscratchboxabb

Why not provide one that features a few videos about . . . yup . . . what to blog/post about when . . . yup . . . you’ve got nothing to blog/post about.

So, my friends, I thought we’d start with a quick, straightforward one entitled “4 Mistakes You Make When Posting Video on Your Blog” by Rocky Walls.  At a little over two minutes, Rocky provides some simple and sound pointers.

“How to Overcome Writer’s Block” featuring Jenna Moreci is kind of fun/funny.  Perky and pretty, this woman talks fast . . . and talks a decent game, too.  If you don’t care for “cuss words”, you may not want to tune in (but 3K+ viewers were fine with it).  In fact, she has a few inspiring YouTube vids re writing, so give her a gander.

Diane Callahan’s “17 Cures for Writer’s Block” has a more professional approach, kind of like watching an informative program on the Discovery or History channel.  It’s an easy 14 minutes to watch: the visuals are as crisp and clear as Diane’s soothing, instructive voice.

Cute animation and a wry sense of humor in four-minute “WRITER’S BLOCK – Terrible Writing Advice” makes for a worthy watch.  And that terrible writing advice makes total sense—why not wallow in self-pity?  <LOL>  I’ll be looking for more of J.P. Beaubien’s stuff.  He prompted a [much-needed] enjoyable chuckle.

You know what?  I’m going to add that to the to-do list: make a YouTube vid.  . . . As soon as I watch one on how to make one.

Between a Post and a Page

Today I’ve posted a page—the promised 25 things about myself.  Why a page?  It seemed more fitting, I suppose.

What’s the difference between a page and a post, you ask?  <LOL>  The former is timely, listed in chronological order (new to old) while the latter is a stagnant—yup—page.  It can advise of your privacy policy, provide a legal notice, describe you.  Pages don’t have associated times and dates.  They’re . . . there.

Moreover, posts can be organized into categories and tags, and people can subscribe to them.  They’re “postable” in other social media sites, courtesy of plug-ins, and are great to communicate with others through comments.

Both look similar, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed.  Nothing wrong with that.  Use both as you see fit.

. . . Like sharing 25 facts about yourselfwp2a

OWO Woe

OWO (“Oh-woe”), otherwise known as Odd Woman Out, is a fiction novel I’ve been posting weekly on Wattpad.

It’s almost completed.  Yay!   So why the “woe”?  Because 1) it’s nearly done and 2) what’ll I do next!?  <LOL>

There’s a lot on my plate—the next Triple Threat Investigation Agency book, blog, artistic/technical efforts—but it’s a pleasant challenge to write something that’s different, something outside the ol’ comfort zone.  Granted, OWO was a twenty-some-year old project I pulled out of a drawer over a year ago, so there was no need to start from scratch or head-scratch.  owo1a

If you’ve got absolutely nothing to do one afternoon and are looking for something to read or take a quick look-see at, maybe you could check it out?  I always welcome feedback.  Here’s a quick rundown:

Alexia Raidho (or Alex, as she prefers) searches for self and soul as she travels along a literal and cerebral journey.

Through diary entries and fiction writing, Alex reflects upon exploits, accomplishments and failures, and speculates whether she might be an odd woman out.  Relationships, even those of a volatile and abusive nature, have impelled her down paths she might otherwise never have taken.  All—gratefully, she’ll willingly admit—have expanded her vision, talent, and maturity.

Her honesty can be raw or pained, melancholy or funny, depending on what or who she is reflecting upon.  Encounters, accidental or intentional, occasionally hold consequences while eccentric family members often make for entertaining—if not embarrassing—moments.  Friends and lovers, on the other hand, can make for surprising ones.  

Is it an adequate summation?  I’d say so.  I’d also say [admit] that the first half of the book is much stronger than the last.  Maybe my enthusiasm had started waning back then, as it [sort of] did now.  Could it have been better, edited more thoroughly, rewritten after twenty-plus dust-collecting years?  To be sure.

So what’s the next Wattpad project?  Something related to soul-searching and faith finding, to releasing emotions/thoughts/regrets collected over time.

It may be the tale of an only child born to two angry, bitter alcoholics.  Sadly, Tuula (not sure why that particular name came to mind) could never cut the apron strings and many decades later ends up caring for a mother who only had time for the bottle when she was growing up.  Words of love and kindness never existed, and still don’t.  As the years bleed through her fingers like ink upon paper, Tuula arrives at a belated realization: there is indeed truth to the notion that people perpetually seek acceptance and praise even when logically and rationally, very deep down, they know it will never transpire.

When you’re a writer, the world truly is your oyster.  Imagination and/or life serve as fabulous fodder for creative endeavors.  Here’s to perpetually pursuing and using our God-given talents . . . and embracing every moment. gifaminoapps

Manners Matter

A handful of post ideas accelerated through me yesterday like the DeutscheBahn ICE speeding through the German countryside.  I impressed myself.  Woo-hoo.

However, I decided to go with a topic that popped into the wee noggin after the blog idea blitz: manners.  Remember those?  The way one person acts towards another?

No, I’m not being sarcastic.  Okay, maybe a little.  There have been a few recent incidents that leaned toward bothersome.  Civility shouldn’t be that difficult to demonstrate/deliver.  It takes but a few seconds to respond to a question.  When a favor is requested, the “requestee” doesn’t have to commit.  They can simply state they can’t do it, need time to consider it, or will get back—and then get back.  It’s called showing respect . . . being well-mannered Don’t agree to do something if it’s not going to happen.  Honesty is a refreshingly wonderful thing.

As bloggers/writers—salespersons in our own rights—a certain level of blog etiquette is required.  We want to attract followers, not lose them before they’ve even been secured.

If we’re critics, reviewers, or analysts, we may have negative comments to provide but, hopefully, we’ll do so in a courteous manner.  And if someone comments on our comments, let’s be considerate when we comment back (how’s that for a commentary comment?).

When someone doesn’t agree with you, that’s totally okay.  Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinions.  Embrace dissimilarity.  It makes the world go around.

No one likes a troll, someone who’s mean or negative, or out to bait/bully.  Don’t be one and don’t troll back.

Focus on: building winning relationships; developing respect; treating others as you’d like to be treated, and; acknowledging when required (if you use a photo or quote that’s not yours, cite and/or link).

There are a lot of marvelous quotes to be found about manners, but this one—from author and activist (among other notable things) Bryant H McGill—is simple and clear:

 Good manners are appreciated as much as bad ones are abhorred. 

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To Breathe or Not to Breathe

That is not the question, but a must.  <LOL>  Managed to catch a nasty cold, which is evolving into a cough.  Breathing is a challenge.  I’m walking around smelling like essence de Vicks, with mind in automaton mode, and body parts screaming for analgesic cream and chiro sessions.

Still, somehow, I’m managing to get blogging/writing things done.  Working here and there on the fourth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, “HA-HA-HA-HA”.  Have taken a step to finding a new cover designer, but have a way to go.  Haven’t yet formatted “Forever Poi” (had hoped that someone else would long ago have done it, as requested numerous times but, alas, has not).  That’s okay.  Sometimes it’s a good thing when something doesn’t work out.  Know what I mean?

My first official post of 2019 is a tribute to the name of my blog in that it’s a “grab-bag” of thoughts and plans, yet much ado about nothing . . . though perhaps not as comedic, if at all (I am sick, after all).  <sniffle, snort, snuffle>  [Hmm, there’s a poem in that.]wpredboxuse3

On the posting roster is sharing 25 unknown facts about myself.  Maybe this’ll be of little interest to readers, but it’ll serve as a useful personal purge.  Expect that shortly.

Am definitely keeping an eye open for new pics for my blog and Facebook page.  Taking those little baby steps I used to write about back when.  Better to reach that final destination painstakingly slowly—and safely—than take a few [painful] headers along the way.

. . . Is it just me or does this first week of January feel like it should be the last one?  Time soared like a hawk pursuing prey, then suddenly slowed like syrup poured at a mid-December Montana picnic.  Can you spell y-a-w-n?

Young business woman yawning

Say, here’s something not yet done.  What would you, fellow bloggers and writers, and followers, like to see on this blog?  Continued writing/editing advice?  More frequent reviews (than once every four months)?  Excerpts from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery series?  Personal thoughtszzzzzzzz?  <LOL>  I’m open to suggestions so, please, suggest away!

On that note, my friends, my cold and I bid you <achoo> adieu.  Stay healthy; be well.

Resolutions, Pledges, and Promises

Call them what you will—most of us make them at the start of a New Year.  And then many of us sweep them under a mat before the end of a New Year we’d hoped would be different, better, calmer, different.

It’s Linda, authoring the first official post of 2019 for The Boss, who’s managed to catch someone’s nasty cough and cold.  T’is the season!

It seemed fitting to reflect on something we focus on once the spectacular, celebratory fireworks show has ended.  We’ve all made resolutions at one time or another—those qualities, habits and manners that need improving (as we perceive).  In terms of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio, we haven’t made them in years, but I asked Rey and JJ, as well as The Boss, to each provide three resolutions they’d like to adopt for 2019.  My BFF only agreed when I offered to provide mine as well, so here we go:

Rey:

♦   Resist learning and open my mind more.  ♦   Be less melodramatic or devil-may-care (Linda suggested that one).  ♦   Expand the agency.

JJ:

♦   Become a better marksperson.  ♦   Be less “waffley” when it comes to boyfriends/lovers.  ♦   Learn to surf (because I so hate the water).

Me:

♦   Become skilled at a martial art.  ♦   Do more volunteering.  ♦   Eat healthier again (private eyeing often means eating/snacking on the run, which results in grabbing/scarfing fast food).

The Boss:

♦   Not allow negativity/depression to re-gain the upper hand.  ♦   Re-embrace faith and hope.  ♦   Learn, learn . . . and learn some more (so that blogging and all the technical knowledge that it requires no longer daunts).

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All these are certainly achievable.  The big question, though, with any resolutions/pledges/promises is: just how much effort will be invested to make them actually happen?   <LOL>   Time will tell, dear friends, time will definitely tell.

Have an awesome 2019, everyone—may your dreams and desires come to fruition this year.  God bless.

Downs & Ups . . . Ups & Downs

Life truly is like a seesaw; one second you’re up, the next you’re down.  It’s all good, simply par for the course.

Given it’s year-end, I feel a need to look back.  No, I won’t reflect on the downs of 2018; there were many and it’d be wise to consign them to lessons learned.  As such, I’m focusing on the ups . . . the plans for a better year . . . such as:

♦   getting my e-book covers redesigned, even if I do it myself (which I rather like the idea—challenge—of doing)  ♦   editing a few books for others (something I’m skilled at and enjoy)  ♦   getting a better handle on creating graphics  ♦   having the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series available in hardcover  ♦   redesigning this blog (a lot or a little remains to be seen)  ♦   making more blogging/writing friends  ♦   endeavoring (with all my heart and soul) not to allow negativity to run roughshod, and . . . not just saying it, but doing it . . .  ♦   going with the flow.

The above reads like a list of resolutions, doesn’t it?  I prefer to view it as “an itemization of things to engage in”.  Time will [continue to] play a great factor, but approach and attitude will prove the essential components.

approach = gambit = advantage

attitude = positive mindset = accomplishment

Now that I’ve stated and posted it, I have to make it happen.  <LOL>

WPcheering Gifer – by Tygradar

Another Year . . . Another Chapter

As 2018 draws to a close and a new year arrives, bringing oodles of possibilities . . . revitalized dreams and objectives . . . fervent anticipation and optimism.

Frankly, for me, 2018 wasn’t a good year.  Faith was tested, hope pretty much spent.  Depression hovered nigh like a mammoth cumulus cloud.  Nope, 2018 was not a good year.

With 2019 around the corner, however, a fresh view and approach are not only conceivable, they’re achievable.  So here’s to:

♦ shutting out the past (and leaving it far behind)     ♦     trusting that things will work out     ♦     ensuring wishes and goals remain true    ♦     embracing the positive    ♦     maintaining compassion    ♦     developing solid relationships    ♦     being grateful for friends and followers    ♦     strengthening faith, and    ♦     believing—knowing—that the Big Guy is walking alongside.

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My fellow writers and bloggers, followers and colleagues: may 2019 be everything you desire and deserve!

To new [amazing] beginnings!  God bless.