Rag-Picking


fuel for coffee shop writingAs usual, I’m at the coffee shop this morning, jump-starting my weekend.  The picture to the left shows my usual fuel for writing in the early mornings.  24 oz. latte, a banana, and a 24 oz bottle of water.  I always think it will help me perform magic. It doesn’t, but it tastes good, so it’s still worth it.

This week has been busy at the day J.O.B., so much so that I come home completely wiped out and unable to think.  That makes it hard to write at night, so I’ve been reading instead.  And mostly I’ve been reading some older pieces I’ve written, looking for gems to pull together for some sort of a novel.  I call this process “rag-picking.”  As I’ve worked on this particular story idea for the last five or six years, there are a lot of rags to pick through.

And not surprisingly, that big lie we all tell ourselves comes into play.  “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”  In this case, I have snippets of this particular story idea in so many places on my hard drive that I can’t seem to find them all.  I know I wrote a bang-up car crash scene (gosh, I’m punny this morning!), but I can’t find it.  Last night I stumbled across an alternate opening scene I’d completely forgotten about, and dang if it isn’t better than the four others I already found.  Some of the pieces are five or six pages, some more than thirty.

Are all these snippets at least in the same folder on my hard drive?  Of course not!  I’ve found them in a couple of NaNoWriMo folders (2010 and 2012), in my usual place (“novels”), and one just hanging out on my desktop.  I found one hiding in the folder for Fairest of the Faire. And I never save things to my desktop.  What the heck was I thinking by putting one of those snippets there?

Who knows!  Writer’s brains are messy.  We leave our stuff everywhere up there in our cerebellum, and once in a while a floating bit of an idea taps us on the shoulder and we follow the idea right down the rabbit hole.  My hard drive is a reflection of what is going on in my brain, I think.  As organized as I usually am, this one thing seems to get out of order pretty quickly.

But that’s okay.  It’s kind of like a walk of discovery, digging around in boxes of knick-knacks and old t-shirts and photos of vacations, finding that gem or two that is worth rescuing.  I’m rag-picking.  Those bits and pieces will make a great quilt of a story someday.

That is, if I don’t end up stuck in the rabbit hole…

I’d love to hear about your current WIP, if you’d like to share.  Leave me a comment!

The Holidays Approach…But First, We Give Thanks


Rudolph stuffed animalI include this picture because this is one of my “happy moments.”  We all have them.  Moments where things seemed so perfect, or we got a gift we could have never anticipated, or the food was full of memories and made you feel fat and happy.

This moment was one of the most perfect Christmas mornings I’d ever had.  The townhouse we had rented had a fireplace.  I’d not had a fireplace in any home I’d ever owned.  This one had one, and it worked well.  I bought enough wood to have weekend fires for the entire winter.  We had snow on Christmas eve that year, and woke up to a diamond-sparkled sunny morning.  The air was bitter cold.  But that fireplace – it was roaring with a fire all day long.  The house smelled mildly of wood smoke, and cloves from the sugar glaze on the ham in the oven.  And I go a gift that I had not anticipated – a Build-a-Bear Rudolph, complete with a hat, scarf, and Rudolph slippers.  I have loved Rudolph since I was a little girl and saw it on television (in black and white).  Yes, I’m that old – I got to see the very first broadcast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

I know, it is not Christmas yet, but we are right on the cusp of it as we approach Thanksgiving here in the United States.  I my memories, Thanksgiving is full of food, and family, and on Friday, we started the decorating.  Thanksgiving is the start of a long, happy, warm season, at least for me.

As we’ve gotten older, and moved away from our childhood homes (in my case, I’ve moved a thousand miles from my childhood home), we make our own new traditions, and spend our Thanksgivings being thankful.  And watching football, of course!  This year, the weather forecast is a bit dreadful – snow is expected, along with blisteringly cold temps.  What better way to spend a cold, snowy day than inside, with a roast turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, hot yeasty rolls, dressing, and PIE?  I can’t think of much!

I am thankful for so many things this year – that we are well-housed, even if it is a rental and there is no fireplace; that we have food in our fridge, freezer, and pantry, some of which I grew myself; that my paycheck is more than enough to pay the bills; that we have wonderful neighbors in this little-town-big-city we live in; that I can see the mountains every single day; that I am healthy, despite some aches and pains and needing glasses to read and having to watch what I eat a bit more carefully; for healthy parents that I can still see and communicate with (even though we are thousands of miles apart); for a kitty who thinks I’m her mommy; for grown children that make me proud, and my middle-schooler who is still figuring it all out.

And I am thankful for my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.  Without them, I could not say I am a published author.  For me, reaching this milestone was never expected, even though I’d been working toward it for many years.  To get that opportunity, to have someone validate my writing by publishing it, has been one of those unexpected, but wonderful things that I will add to my list of thankfuls for many years to come.

Things are never perfect.  There will always be struggles and bumps in the road and mountains of obstacles.  But there are plenty of things that go right.  And plenty of things that go better than right.  I am a thankful woman.

What are you thankful for this year?

A Morning Writer


SunshineI am one of those awful morning people.  Or so I am told by those that aren’t morning people.  I don’t jump out of bed and start making noise and dancing and singing, but I wake up naturally two hours before sunrise, and I get up and do things.  I get up and get dressed and fix my hair and face, and face my day.  On weekdays, I head to my computer, read my email, post requested tweets, check the news, and waste time on facebook, all while drinking a bottle of water.  I might start a load of wash or fold a load of wash, then I fix my lunch, fix my breakfast, and head off to work.  On the weekends, I still wake up early, piddle around on my computer, do a few chores, and by 7 I am at my favorite coffee shop for two dedicated hours of writing before anyone else in the house is awake.

If this sounds boring, well, let’s just say I like my routines.  They keep me on track.  And I like mornings.  Mornings are quiet, filled with the promise of a new day.  A whole blank white board of time exists before me, and I can do many things with that time, if I want to.  I can also choose to do nothing with that time.

What I choose to do with that time is to be active, to knock things off the to-do list, and most importantly, write.  I am awake, feeling good, caffeinated, and ready to go.

I know there are people who can stay up all night, and prefer to sleep through golden dawns and promising mornings.  If I were to “sleep in” (which is actually impossible for me), I would feel like I wasted the most productive, and quietest, time of my day.  That morning time is when the chores don’t call as loud, when there is not such a push to meet a deadline.  It is my time to be productive.

I am often asked, “how do you become a morning person?”  I don’t think you can.  I think you are, or you aren’t.  I have been a morning person all of my life.  My mom talks about how she would want to sleep in on a Saturday, and she couldn’t, because 9 month old me was standing up in the crib singing morning songs to the sun that was pouring through my window.  I was not raised in the country, or on a farm, although my dad and his whole side of the family are rural farm people.  I am very much like him, though.  I cannot remember my father ever still being in bed when I got up in the morning.  He usually beat me by a good hour.  He’d already had his coffee, read the paper, and taken a wander around the yard to see if the moles had been active overnight.  I could tell you about the time he took his .22 pistol out into the yard one early morning and shot a mole that had made the mistake of showing himself above ground, but I’ll save that for another time.

I cannot imagine missing the sun coming up.  I cannot imagine sleeping until the sun is high in the sky.  In fact, I can’t imagine sleeping more than about six hours, either. The older I get, the less sleep I need.  I’m in bed by 11, but not always asleep, and awake at 4 a.m., regardless of how late I stayed up.  Sometimes that is a bit of a curse, but I still wouldn’t trade it for losing my daytime.

So what are you?  A morning person, or a night owl?  Tell me what you like about being either one!

Born Geek, and Spoiled Because Of It


Multiple monitor setup on a deskI don’t know if I was born a geek, but I sure fell into geekness when technology started to evolve in the late 80’s and early 90’s. By then I was a grown woman, with a husband and children. Years of secretarial and administrative work meant that when the PC first came out, I was one of the first to use one. And boy, have they evolved since then. Since the early 90’s, more than 20 years now, I’ve had a computer in my home. Much of that time, I’ve had multiple computers. Today, we have one desktop (my husband’s), three laptops (two of which need repair), three tablets (iPads and a Samsung), and three smart phones (all Samsung). I have a closet where I keep spare parts, cables, and keyboards. And I’m my extended family’s “technical support.”

How has that technology helped me as a writer? Well, for one thing, the word processor changed everything for me! All those years of typing letters on an electric typewriter, and retyping those letters because of the typos… I don’t know how I did it without a word processor. Now, I just type and don’t worry about the typos until later. Some of the typos the word processor corrects as I mistype them. Some I have to go back and fix. But it’s a darned sight better than having to retype everything. It amazes me that writers pre-typewriter would have written everything long-hand. Editing must have been a nightmare!

The other thing that technology has done is made my writing portable. I can take my trusty laptop to any place I want – a park, coffee shop, my mom’s kitchen table, my car, the top of a mountain, the beach – to write. I don’t even need a live electric connection for at least two hours. My laptop is complete as it is, and weighs about 1.7 pounds. Easy to tote around. It has a touchpad, and keyboard, and screen. I don’t need any peripherals. I just grab it and go. Could Charles Dickens have done that? Well, he could drag around a stack of paper, and his fountain pen and ink pot, but I’ll bet writers weren’t scribbling in the corners of coffee shops in those days.

But I think the thing I appreciate most these days is my dual monitors. As I age, reading glasses become a bigger part of my day-to-day life. I can no longer see those details that I want to see, or see more than a handful of paragraphs on a page. And if I want to compare documents, or have some research up on the screen to reference as I write, there’s just no room for that. But if I plug in my extra monitor, giving me two monitors to work with, it makes all the difference. I can have my research, notes, or a previous draft up on one monitor, and have my working space up on the other. It is easy to cut and paste and see where I’m going when I do that. I can also keep an eye on things like email by having it open in that spare space, as well. I am so used to dual monitors that when I’m at the coffee shop, I get frustrated by not being able to see everything. If you’re a writer and using a desktop or laptop, you can have dual monitors too. It’s easy to set up, and I can guarantee it will be worth spending the money. I have a Dell 22-inch extra monitor, that cost me about $150 on sale.

I am thankful to be a geek, even though all that technology can sometimes be distracting.  We all have our hobbies, right?

What do you appreciate about technology as a writer? Let me know in the comments!

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Fall Beckons, As Does My Writing Desk


Stand of Aspen in fall in ColoradoFall approaches, and quickly.  The over-90 degree weather of a couple weeks ago is already a memory, and we wake up to temperatures in the upper 40’s.  Frost is still a few weeks away, but you can start to feel that bite in the air.  Here in Colorado, the high country is already ablaze with the gold of the Aspen in fall color.  Their coin-shaped leaves dance in the lightest breeze, reminding one of a belly dancer’s coined belt.  Fall is here.

It is cliche to say this is my favorite time of year.  It is many people’s favorite time of the year.  The cool, crisp air, the gorgeous fall colors, the evenings that beg for a fire in the fireplace (or firepit, in our case), and the smells of filling comfort foods like soups and stews.

For me, this time also means a natural slow-down in the mundane activities of everyday life.  The gardens are done, or almost done.  The bounty of summer has been preserved in freezers and jars and dehydrators, to be enjoyed over the winter.  There is no longer grass to cut, sporting events to attend with children, or outdoor activities to take up every weekend.

It is time to…WRITE!  Fall means I have more time to write.  More time to sit and think.  More time to go over previous work and make edits.  A long, cool afternoon spent at my writing desk, wrapped in my favorite sweater, a steaming cup of tea at the ready, is my idea of a perfect day.  Nothing calls to me, no things that “have” to be done.  I have few distractions.

Fall comes early here in Colorado, at least, earlier than I’m used to with my Midwestern upbringing.  But that’s okay.  Summer is intense here, and it is nice to know this break is coming.  And of course, there is also the pull of National Novel Writing Month, which happens in November.  I’ve never missed a year in the last 12.  I don’t intend to miss year 13.

What do you like best about fall?  Is it also your writing time?

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

When The Busy Catches Up


Like most writers, I’m not just a writer and an author.  I’m a mom and a wife.  I have a full time job in higher education (I am not a professor, although wouldn’t that be fun?) that this time of year becomes way busier than I think I can keep up with.  I have multiple vegetable gardens, which are all now needing my attention for harvesting, and with that harvesting, a lot of preserving and putting up for winter.  I like to read sometimes (books and magazines).

And somewhere in there I need to find time to write.

Which right now seems to be a real struggle.  I get home from work later than I’d like, fix dinner, then finish up some work that I brought home, or some side work that have deadlines, then do some laundry, maybe make a grocery store run, and suddenly, it’s 11 p.m. and I need to get in bed!  I get up at 4:30 or so and start all over again.  This week has been especially bad.

And all of this leads to my saying: I got nuttin’ for y’all this week.  I checked my list of blog ideas, hoping I could come up with something to write for this week, but the list is empty, as I’ve apparently used up all my ideas!  I don’t remember using the last idea on the list, but I guess I did!  So, this is a really lame blog post, and I apologize, but I promise to do better next week.  And if you have any ideas for blog topics, I’d love to hear them!  Yes, I’m just about that desperate!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

That Delicate Balance


Yin Yang symbolWhen you work full time, and have a family, you learn how to balance the needs of your kids and husband with your need to earn a living.  Sometimes you’re really good at it, and sometimes not so good at it.  If you have hobbies, like gardening or quilting or book clubs, you have to find time for that, as well.  And if you have what you hope will be a second career, say, as a writer, then you have to figure out how to work that in, as well.

In this day and age, it is almost impossible to rely on only one income to support a family, so if you are a working mother, and trying to be a writer, it gets even more difficult.  In my case, I am the main breadwinner for the family, and I do it with a job that is somewhat high-stress, and very very busy.  While I don’t work more than 50 hours a week most of the time, I do work hard, and come home tired to a house that still needs my care, and a family that needs to be fed.  I have a garden to tend to in the summer, and I have social activities I like to participate in.  How do I find time to write?

Somehow, I do.  But I carve that time out for myself, and make it a priority.  I have to, to feel balanced in my life.  Over the years, I’ve trained myself to take my commute time as a transition between work and home.  I don’t think about work at night or on the weekends.  They don’t pay me enough for that.  So I don’t think about work until I leave for work in the morning.  I have about a 35 minute commute.  On the way to work, I’m thinking about to-do lists and getting geared up for the day.  On my way home, I am turning off the work thought and turning on the home thought.  What do I have to do tonight?  Is it a writing night (Wednesday)?  Is it a chat night with my fellow authors (Tuesday)?  Is it a night I need to work in the garden (Monday or Thursday)?  Are there any events that might interfere with what is already on the established calendar, like a school concert for my daughter?  There is also the preparations needed for dinner, the laundry that has to be done, the watering of the lawn, grocery shopping, bill paying…

At at some point, I need to get some sleep. 🙂

It really does matter how we choose our priorities in life.  Self-care is just as important as all the “chores” of living.  My self-care includes bi-weekly manicures, and a monthly visit to my massage therapist.  I also usually schedule a day in the mountains one day a month as well, which is the best form of therapy I can get.  Building that balance between the must-haves, the self-care, and the “other” takes maturity, thoughtfulness, and a good dose of organization.  But finding it can make all the difference between overall success and not-so-much success.  And I prefer the success side, don’t you?

For me, writing happens every Saturday and Sunday morning, when I get up early (I get up early every day anyway so I can get things done) and go to the coffee shop for a two-hour writing stint.  I catch up on getting blog posts written for the future, work on my novel in progress, do some editing, whatever is on my to-do list.  That structured non-negotiable time has helped me to be productive.  Wednesday nights I also tell myself I will be writing, for at least an hour.  The rest of the time, I fit writing in when I can.  There is gardening, housecleaning, kid-home-work-helping, self care, and being there for the hubby that need to happen.  In a more perfect world, my “job” would be my writing, but I don’t live in that world, and I know many of my fellow writers do not either.  So I do what I can, and try not to beat myself up too much about what doesn’t get done.  Everything will work out as it should, as long as I put my best efforts into it.  And I feel like I do that.

How do you balance work/life?  What self-care is important to you, and what are your non-negotiables? Answer in the comments!

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

We Might Be Old


I’ve been writing since I was a young teen.  It’s hard to believe I’m about to hit my mid-50’s, and have just published my first book through a traditional publisher, The Wild Rose Press.  I have a ton of fellow authors that I follow or interact with through my publisher.  And one thing seems to stick out – we are all old.

Now, don’t get all offended.  When I was in my 20’s, I could never imagine myself in my 50’s.  I’m sure that’s true for a lot of us.  We never think we’re going to get old in the first place.  Anyone older than us is “old.”  Right now, I don’t like to think of myself as old, because there are people older than me.  Heck, one of the authors I interact with frequently is 84 years old.  She just published her first book!

Goes to show you it’s never too late, right?

National Novel Writing MonthAlmost fifteen years ago, I discovered National Novel Writing Month, a rather nifty way to approach writing a novel.  For the month of November, 30 days, you are supposed to begin and complete writing a 50,000 word novel.  Sounds daunting, doesn’t it?  It is, but it’s also an inspired way to write.  The deadline is set for you, there is plenty of support through forums, pep-talk emails, and group write-ins at local coffee shops.  That first year, I started late (9th of November) and still wrote a 96,000-word completed novel by November 30th.  I didn’t know I had it in me!  Since then, I’ve written every year for NaNoWriMo, and “won” every time.

The last two years, I’ve volunteered as a “Municipal Liaison” for the Boulder County, Colorado, region.  This means I send out pep talks to aspiring “Wrimos” as we call ourselves, and plan local writing events.  We have a kick off party and a wrap-up party, and a half-way-there party.  One thing I’ve noticed about the Wrimos – they are predominately young.  High school, college age, up until they get married and have kids, they are doing this Wrimo thing.  There are few over-50’s at our events, and just a smattering of over-40’s.  Maybe a few in their 30’s. Of course, I am proud of the young ‘uns for taking on the challenge.  Their enthusiasm makes up for a lack of life experience.  But I am surprised there are not that many writers at my age level in NaNoWriMo.  Yes, we all have different responsibilities, including maybe families to raise, full time jobs to maintain, and other social activities that have nothing to do with writing.  That balance in having enough time to write and still live the kind of life we need to live can be difficult, even impossible.

I feel like I wasted so much of my life before I really took writing seriously.  And I wonder if it is the same for other writers of my age bracket and older.  Were we waiting for our kids to be grown and gone (I still have one at home who is just now in middle school)?  Were we waiting until financial security had set in, so we could afford to take the time to write?  What kept us from writing when we were young?  I was writing, of course, but not really doing anything with that writing.  For whatever reason, I didn’t start taking the idea of working hard toward getting published until I was 50.  I do regret that I didn’t start sooner.

But then, being a mature writer means I have some experience to write with.  Yes, I’m writing about much younger women than myself.  But I also know that the most voracious readers of romance novels are over 40.  I still read romance novels.  Romance novels sell, and sell well.  I shouldn’t be surprised that the writers are “old” like me.

In fact, I’d have to say “we rock!”

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

If I Won the Lottery


graphic (eye candy) Winner Winner Chicken DinnerDon’t we all have that dream of winning the lottery?  Even if we don’t want to waste money buying tickets for what is statistically a lost cause, it is not unusual to have discussions with friends, coworkers, and family about what you’d do if you ever won the lottery.  This is especially true when a local jackpot has reached unbelievably high numbers.

We all have things on our “if I won the lottery” list.  Travel.  A new house.  A couple of fancy cars.  Custom clothing.  Paying off our parents’ mortgages.  For some, starting an animal sanctuary, or contributing to a church, are at the top of the list.

As I get older, it is easy to pare down to what I think is the most important in my life.  When I was young, a dream of winning the lottery meant a new car, a house, the usual things.  But these days, when I think about what I would do if I came into some money, I can only think of three things that belong at the top of my list.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t other things on the list, but there are three at the top.  That’s because there are three things that I love above all other things.  Please note I’m not talking about people – because that is as whole other discussion!

Writing.  This is a no-brainer, right?  I’m a writer.  A published author.  The time I spend writing is important to me.  Whether I’m writing a blog post, an email to my mother, or putting scenes in my latest novel, these times are when I feel happiest.  Even if there is writer’s block, I’d still rather be writing than doing most anything else.  Except for…

Gardening. Growing my own food and having a beautiful flower garden are two of my greatest joys.  I like being able to go outside in the morning to water my potted plants in the shade, while gazing at the perennials happily blooming in my flower beds.  Roses, lilies, Dianthus, hens and chicks, and many others I don’t know the names of.  Even if I didn’t live in a state that is cold and mostly snowy 7 months of the year, I would still love having the beauty of my flowers around.  Then there are the vegetables.  Between my plot at the community garden and my two vegetable gardens at home, we eat well.  Squash, tomatoes, kohlrabi, cabbage, green beans, eggplant, cucumbers, lettuce, and herbs all grace my garden space.  I also grow pumpkins for carving in the fall.  Nurturing seedlings to grown plants, then harvesting their plenty, gives me a great sense of satisfaction.  Even when it is hot and I’m sweating buckets, I’d still rather be in my garden than doing most anything else.  Except for…

Cooking.  I’m a trained and talented foodie.  Good food graces my table most nights, and good food is a subject I can talk about nearly unendingly.  All those wonderful veggies I grow?  They often turn into dinner.  I also know the best places in town to purchase wonderful veggies, including the local farmer’s market and an independent organic retailer.  My cooking repertoire is large, and I can do anything from 20 minute meals to crockpot wonders to complex all-day meals.  I love to cook.  I’ve had a lot of practice, and can look at a new recipe and know immediately what isn’t going to work and needs to be adjusted.  I am not into fancy baking (too much work) but have no problem babysitting an all-afternoon recipe for mushroom steak.

So how would I spend my lottery winnings?  Well, a nice house with a kitchen that comprised half of the square footage would be a start.  Professional 6-burner, 2-oven gas range, oversized stainless-steel fridge and freezer, and an electric oven for baking cakes.  A place for people to sit and join in on the cooking, and plenty of windows or skylights for natural light.  Oh, the cooking I would do!  And of course, that house would sit on a decent piece of land that would allow for a decent-sized kitchen garden.  Herbs, veggies, a few fruit trees – the goal being to provide most of what would be needed for the household.  And then there would be my office-slash-library.  Because a good writer needs inspiring space, and room for all of her reference materials.  There would be comfortable chairs surrounding a fireplace, floor-to-ceiling built-in book cases, and an extensive corner desk in front of a bank of windows looking out onto either my garden, or woods.  Also, the door would lock.  A writer needs her privacy, as well!

What would you spend your lottery winnings on?  What feels important to you?

Fairest of the Faire – available now!

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Excerpt:

“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”

If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.

“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”

“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”

Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.

“And what is your plan, Gage?”

“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”

Available NOW!

Buy at Wild Rose Press:  (eBook and paperback)

Buy at Amazon (Kindle and paperback)

Buy at Barnes and Noble (Nook)

A Lonely Profession


They say writing is a lonely profession.  Most of us write alone.  Our stories are our ideas, and no one can write them better than us. But the other side of that lonely profession is the assumption that loneliness is bad, something we should not embrace.  That it is inherently bad for us, and causes emotional distress.

Empty plate and coffee cup

But some studies out there indicate that being alone isn’t really all that bad for us.  In fact, it can have some huge benefits.  And this doesn’t just apply to writers, although I can see a few of the positives being extra positive for writers.   It applies to everyone.  I know for me, being alone, enjoying some aspects of life by myself, can be cleansing, highly enriching, and definitely fulfilling.  Without the chatter and busy-ness of another person, I can concentrate on thoughts, feelings, and just being who I am.

I will say that when I am alone, I am never lonely.  I’m pretty good company for myself.  Which, too, is a healthy thing.

Here are some of the benefits of being alone:

Being alone will make you more creative. Brainstorming with others seems to be touted as the way to reach the best ideas.  But research shows that people come up with their better ideas on their own.

It will make you work harder. No group projects here, where someone does part of the work, another does none of the work, and you fill in the rest.  You get to create from beginning to end, and have complete control over the process and the result.

If you are an introvert, it goes without saying. I am an extrovert but I “re-charge” by being alone.  The quiet, the “space bubble,” make it optimal for me to find my center and serenity again.

It helps clear your mind. See above.  When you are alone, you are not “on,” you are in a rest or stasis period.  At least, your brain is.  It allows the brain to refocus.

You get to do what you want to do. This is huge for me.  As a wife, mother, daughter, employee, my workload is vast and varied, and often not about me or what I want or need.  Being alone is my time.  I can do what I want with that time, with my thoughts, with my actions.  I find it is helpful to be a little “selfish,” and get my alone time.  I’m much more able to function effectively later when it is time to not be alone anymore.

How do you see your alone time?  Is it a benefit, or not?  Answer in the comments!

Coming June 5th!  Fairest of the Faire by Susabelle Kelmer

Fairest of the FaireThe renaissance fair is filled with characters and romance, but will it end in storybook love?

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Younglood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

Pre-order Fairest of the Faire now at Amazon or at The Wild Rose Press!