A Whole Lot About Nothin’

Actually, that’s probably more like a whole little about nothin’, because I can’t imagine this post will go on endlessly.

I’m sitting here, sucking back vanilla yogurt, after sucking caramel candies, after sucking back frozen mochi, and experiencing a bit of a sugar rush (never mind wondering why the jeans are fitting a bit more snugly).

It’s one of those mornings . . . days . . . when I don’t feel like posting.  But I’ve never not posted on a Wednesday or Saturday, and don’t want to stop now.  It’s a commitment thing.  Sort of.  Kind of.  If I didn’t post on the timetabled day, I’d probably get mad at myself.  That wouldn’t be good because I get p’o’d at myself enough as it is (hmm, maybe that’s a future post).

I’m guessing as fellow writers/bloggers, you probably have similar don’t-wanna days.  Or should we call them I-wanna-do-this-instead days?

I wanna be walking the dog (if I had one).  I wanna watch [mindless] TV.  I wanna go eat a triple-scoop ice-cream by the water’s edge.  I wanna listen to soothing music.  I wanna eat a big bag of ketchup chips.  I wanna dream of winning a million dollars and all the things I’d do.  I wanna . . . so not be writing a blog post.

Maybe it’s blog burnout?  . . . Nawwwwww.  More like blogger emulating sloth, which sounds like another, and rather pleasant, wanna—I wanna be hanging from a tree, closing my eyes to the world passing by.

On that note, I believe I’ll meander about aimlessly and do a whole lot of nothin’.  😉

No Summertime Blues

The Boss is taking the weekend to do clean-up and whatnot, so she asked if one of us would like to post.  We all volunteered but, to be honest, not one of us could think of something [interesting] to post.  It’s summer.  Vacations abound.  It’s a time to be footloose and fancy-free, to be less stressed, less preoccupied, less work-driven.  It’s a time to dance!

So, we decided we’d keep it light and bouncy.  Rey, Linda and I (JJ) are simply going to provide you with three songs we think reflect summer cheer and gaiety.

Over to you, Cousin Reynalda.

Hey, it’s Rey!  Yay!  Uncle Gary was a child (teen) of the 70s.  Whenever we’d spend mid-July at his Maine cottage, he’d play 70s music.  That was okay; as a kid, I liked anything upbeat.  He’d always start off our stay—kinda like an official commencement to the cottage retreat—with Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime”.  (Linda, who has a whack of facts crammed in her pretty head, said the name was inspired by a poem by T.S. Eliot, “Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer”.  Ok-kay.)  Ya know, I can still see us dancing on the dock—and sometimes off.  Yeah, good times.

https://youtu.be/yG0oBPtyNb0

And super smart Linda?

I’m going to go with the hugely talented Norah Jones’ “Summertime”.  She has an awesome, sexy voice.  The piano sounds so right—appealing, pleasing, hum-provoking.  When she sings that song, it’s easy to imagine myself reclining on a chaise longue by the pool at sunset, an icy sangria in hand (which I’ve done many a summer eve).  It’s a great way to chill on a breezy, hot solstice eve.

https://youtu.be/czkLkyS_0S0

Over to you, JJ.

It’s a cross between a relatively newer song and an older one; both put spring into my steps and bounce in my bu-uh-behind.  Rauw Atejandro’s “Todo de Ti” is fun and fresh.  Shaggy’s “In the Summertime” is fun and familiar.  You know, I think I’ll go with singer, rapper and songwriter, Rauw.  I’m feeling some serious dance moves coming on . . .

https://youtu.be/CFPLIaMpGrY

Here’s to the rest of a great summer—hang loose and dance like there’s no tomorrow!  😊

Almost Missed the Posting Boat

Sometimes, things are simply not in your hands . . . like hours-long across-the-nation Internet outages.

What a calamity, what misfortune . . . what nonsense and absurdity . . . and a major reality check.  We’re totally hooked [dependent] on technology.

After spending a few [useless] hours at work, chatting and chuckling about said calamity and tossing about yeah-I’ll-head-home-soon-’cause-there’s-nothing-to-do-here remarks, it was indeed time to do just that.

Seeing people’s faces on the streets as yours truly walked home, had me thinking a major to-do had occurred or that the world was coming to an end.  Countless people milling about outside shops, gulping coffee, eyes wide, staring disbelievingly at cell phones, tap-tap-tapping, hoping [praying] for some connection to the cyberspace sphere.  What the <bleep>?!?!  Say it ain’t so, Joe!  We’ve been disconnected, cut off from the real world, the news, social media, mom and sis, and Auntie Em!  Dang, we’re doomed.

It’s been over 10 hours since “No Internet Access” popped up.  I sure wouldn’t want to be in the IT folks’ shoes today.  Can you spell s-t-r-e-s-s?

. . . And now, I’m back.   Indeedy-do, I almost missed the posting boat.  Fortunately, life has returned to [relative] normalcy.  Not everything is readily accessible as yet, but <audible sigh of relief> we’ll get there.

We always do, one way or another.  😉

Time for a Shameless Mid-Week Post

If I don’t promote myself, who will?  😉  It’s a job I am so not adept at (what with time, work and life getting in the way), but here goes . . .

My new book collection is now live and can be found at various retailers, such as those below:

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/triple-threat-mysteries-collection/id6443052045

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/triple-threat-mysteries-collection-tyler-colins/1141713349?ean=2940166791627

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=gzt4EAAAQBAJ

Rakuten Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/triple-threat-mysteries-collection

1NCaaaPer Next Chapter—thank you, NC 😊—these collections are targeted toward a specific segment of the eBook market, specifically, “binge readers” who prefer to purchase the whole series / several novels in one go.

Initially, NC is only publishing these collections in wide distribution.  Amazon editions will follow (once the Amazon version is live, I’ll let you know).

And that, my friends, is all she wrote.  😊

Best Foot Forward

(nothing like an editor making a major flub in the title – LMAO)

An old expression, which dates back to the 16th century if anyone cares, but still used now and again.  Meaning?

♦  to present an ideal version of yourself (to impress others)  ♦  to make the best possible impression  ♦  to start trying hard to be the best, or as good, as you can, or  ♦  a favorable initial impression.

It popped into my head the other day while browsing author-related social media.  Sadly, there are still people out there who like to criticize others—for how they write, an idea they have, a book they’ve written, a manuscript they hope will be published.

In my travels, I also  found some posts that disparaged others for their views, comments, ideologies, and even looks. Are we so perfect that we have that right—to condemn or ridicule or laugh at?

I always attempt to consider others’ feelings and respond/write accordingly.  However, I’m guilty of making a recent comment that, while not outright critical, probably wasn’t that nice . . . which is why I felt compelled to post about it.  It was a rare moment and the post I was responding to rather . . . well . . . shocked me.  So much so, I wrote a terse reply.

While there’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism (and I’ve posted re this previously), there’s a lot wrong with critical destructiveness.

We truly are unique individuals, and being “one-of-a-kind” should be honored and valued.  How dull and predictable the world would be if we were all the same.

Treat others with the respect they [we] deserve.  Enough said.

Being Yourself / Finding Your Voice

A twofold post in some ways.  Always strive to be who you are, not what you think you should be, or someone tells you to be.  Goes without saying, but what the heck?  😉

We have certain mannerisms, expressions/speech patterns, views, appearances, and so forth that define who we are.  Each and every one of us is unique—like a twinkling star in the vast, ever-changing sky.  That’s pretty damn cool.  We should rejoice in that.

That relates to personal/private lives as much as professional ones.  We can spend months, if not years, determining our style (how and what we’re going to write), how we want to be perceived and, yes, who we are as authors.

As in our personal lives, we’re influenced by outside sources—nothing wrong with that, long as we recognize and hold on to who we are.  When we begin to mimic [talk, advocate, look like] someone else, then the uniqueness and originality is nonexistent. The voice we project belongs to another.

Admire fellow writers and artists and give credit and compliments where due.  Read, read, read.  Learn, learn, learn.  And . . . yes . . . write, write, write.  Don’t emulate someone to the point where you’ve become an imitator, an impersonator.  That deprives the reading world of a[nother] potentially great novelist, playwright, poet, or blogger.  It robs the world of you.

Nothing comes easy.  That’s a given.  And it may prove a challenge, even a struggle, to determine the unique person you are . . . and find that distinctive [exceptional] voice that is solely yours.  Don’t cheat us—or yourself—of that.

Shine as only you can.

When You Think You Can’t Keep Going . . . Keep Going!

The hardest thing about being a writer or blogger, or you-fill-in-the-[      ]er, is to keep going.  You have another job, the kids and/or partner want your attention, someone’s criticized your work, you’re suffering from insomnia so the ol’ gray matter’s not cooperating, you feel like crap . . . the reasons are many.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed for a wee while now.  My writing’s not happening due to an overbrimming plate.  The Japanese course is tough and, although I’m studying/reviewing every day, it’s not sinking in the way it should  (or I’d like it to).  My grades are “ech”.  Sure, I could apply myself more—I could quit my day job and study all day long.  Then maybe, just maybe, I’d do [a lot] better.

Like others who may be in a similar boat, I am beating myself up.  But I do excel at that, having been doing that for years.  I learned it from others who were good at browbeating [me].  As such, it’s tough to shake the I’m-not-as-good-as-others mindset; it was “programmed” from a very young age.

So, here I am.  Poor little old me (emphasis on the “old”).  <sigh>  I can’t get it right.  I should give up.  <moan, groan>  Why bother?  <sniffle>

You know why I shouldn’t give up . . . why I should bother?  Because no one has the right to put a damper on how I feel.  I’m doing the best that I can [at this juncture].  Maybe I’ll do better.  Maybe not.  But I’m doing.  And that’s all that matters.

So, my friends, if you’re experiencing a dry or downward spiraling spell, don’t give up.  Sure, easy to say; difficult to do.  But “difficult” is only a word.  And as writers/bloggers, we’ve been known to through those around . . . in abundance.  So, let’s throw them back.

It’s within us to persevere.  To push through.  There may be a bad day (may be ten), but there will be a good one  (may be ten).  When you [truly] think you can’t keep going, take a long deep breath, square those shoulders, and say—shout!—I can and will keep going!

. . . Yes, you can.

A Little Sunshine Warms More than the Heart

Just when you think nothing good or pleasant is ever going to happen again, a teeny-weeny transient occurrence transpires and you think—believe—hey, maybe there is a ray of sunshine beyond the darksome clouds. 

My mother’s long-term-care home held a fundraiser recently where balloon-wielding residents were wheeled around the block by caregivers and PSWs.  Led by an adorable [ever-smiling] Corgi-mix canine proudly and happily seated on a woman’s lap and two coordinators joyfully displaying a mammoth banner, off we trundled—50+ wheelchairs on a mission.

The excitement and cheer were tangible, the sky cloudless and brilliant blue, the sun lemon-yellow bright and warming.  A better day you couldn’t ask for.  Tears welled (yours truly is a sponge for emotion) and very nearly cascaded as passing drivers waved and honked.  They expressed support.  . . . They cared.

How glorious!  It renewed faith and hope; yes, both may well wane again, individual and international  problems and plights being what they are.  But, at least for the interim, the boost of optimism—that ray of sunshine—was, and is, most welcome.  I’m going to hang on [tightly] to it for as long as I can.  😉

Reel ‘Em In

With all ya’ve got.  Hey, it’s Rey today.

The Boss has 103 errands, Linda’s doing volunteer work at the animal shelter, and Linda’s up north, surfing again.  So, that leaves me to post today.  I was all for sharing my latest sale finds, but Linda pooh-poohed that.  JJ didn’t care much for my second idea: talking about my actress life.  The Boss thought, considering it’s been a wee while, maybe a post related to writing or blogging would be a good idea.  Yeah, sure, whatever.  Yawno. 

It’s no secret that I don’t like to read much.  But if I’m going to pick up a book and keep it picked up—as in not jamming it in a drawer or recycling bin ‘cause it’s boring the <bleep> outta me—it had better catch my interest from the get-go.  It has to reel me in.

I don’t think it matters what the genre is, though maybe if it’s a thriller, suspense, mystery and/or within those categories, something dramatic or frightening or shocking would be a great way to begin, because John’s adventures at the grocery store ain’t gonna cut it.

The strident sound of breaking glass reverberated throughout the small, dilapidated dwelling.  Having stepped onto the porch but seconds before, Nathan whirled.  His fifth victim couldn’t have done that.  She was dead.

I wrote that—with Lindy-Loo’s help; in fact, she kinda proofed this post (let me keep my voice, something the Boss was talking about recently, but made the content “snap” a bit more).  It works, don’t you think?  Aren’t you curious to find out what happened . . . who the victim is . . . what led up to this? 

Other genres might not have such a suspenseful, chilling, or dark opening, but they have to be intriguing enough to keep a reader—someone like me—captivated.  With a romance, something like this might garner my interest.

Accepting an invitation to the gala had seemed like a good idea.  How was Vivana to know he’d be there?  That he’d openly and haughtily snub her, and flirt brazenly with other women?   Cad.  Wasn’t that the word used, once upon a time, to describe an unprincipled man?  Yeah, that was Calvin.  A cad—of the most double-dealing kind.

The opening for a science-fiction or fantasy (and anything in between) novel should be no different.  Evoke . . . draw . . . appeal.

The third moon shone crimson before dark voluminous clouds glided across it like former fairground banners.  There was rain in the dense, damp air.  As was tension.  Something ghastly—and unforeseen—was about to transpire and Roget was the only one to know.  Could he stop it?  Should he stop it?

An opening sentence/paragraph is probably the most crucial part of the book; it can make or break you.  And, as a writer hoping to attract an abundance of readers, I’m sure you’d opt for the “make” instead of “break”; am I right? 

‘Nuff said.  For now.  Go reel ‘em in! 

 

The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of

Recently, I’d started cleaning up the storage unit downstairs.  <bleep>  Just how much “stuff” can one cram in such a small space?  A lot, let me tell you!  Twenty-years-plus of binders and bins abound (they actually seem to have morphed).

Most of it is writing done over the span of 30 years—manuscripts primarily, some scripts, outlines, and research materials.  The intent [now a hazy memory]: keep them to appreciate the evolution. Looking back [while scanning first pages] my dream of being a successful, established author was just that: a dream.  😉

I got through maybe 1/5 of the stuff, my works of genius <LMAO> but what a great eye-opening exercise.  Yes (thankfully and gratefully)!  This writer, like fine red wine, had improved with time/age.  I could see that my writing has developed by leaps and bounds . . . and I understood why publishers and agents never wanted to take me on during those early [formative] years.

When I first began, I was so sure my stories were solid/unique (as in a great read) and, subsequently, saleable.  Surprise, surprise.  They weren’t.  Maybe the ideas were there, but the execution wasn’t; if it had been, the right approach (talent/skill) might have resulted in acceptance (a contract) instead of rejection (a heaping pile).  Back then, I simply wasn’t honed enough.  I hadn’t found my voice.

That’s what really makes a writer, doesn’t it?  His/her voice.  That distinct, gripping, fascinating voice that differs with every last one of us.

If you, as an aspiring writer, are ever feeling discouraged or uncertain whether to carry on (it can be daunting, to be sure, finding and executing ideas), carry on.  Believe in yourself and your dream.  If it’s in your heart to write, do it.  And keep doing it.  Learn from mistakes.  That’s how we grow.  That’s how we realize dreams.  😉

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