Category Archives: Indie Author

Look in the Last Place You Had It

Somewhere between my classroom and the apartment I lost my lunchbox.

I don’t know how this happened.

But it reminds me of back in the day when I would lose my hairbrush and my mom would say “Look in the last place you had it,” and I’d look at her like she was crazy because hello, if I remembered that, I’d know exactly where the brush was.

A little note to the person who finds the lunchbox: the pepperoni and cheese were courtesy of a last minute–crap, I forgot to pack my lunch and I’ve got to get–scramble to leave this morning.

I’m not sure why I was scrambling. My alarm went off at 5:45 and 6:00 and 6:15 and 6:30.  Okay, maybe I do know why leaving was rushed.

Back to the hairbrush. The one I remember most was white with a glittery plastic handle and bristles that made me wince as I brushed through the tangles.

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Once I used an entire bottle of TAME conditioner on my hair to try to get those tangles under control. The commercial lied. I still had tangles AND my mom busted my backside.

Trouble was my middle name back then. There was the BandAid Woman episode where I took all the bandaids in the house and plastered them all over my body then jumped in front of Young and the Restless and sang “BandAid Woman!” like I was Shazam or something.

Yeah. That did not end well.

I’m not sure if the hairbrush was lost at that time, but it sure the heck was found, and man, was I ever sorry about that.

BUT I won’t be sorry if my lunchbox shows up tomorrow.

AND my mom was right. That advice is golden.

 

What I’m Loving: This is Us, Atomic Habits, the Daily Calm

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

 

Too Comfortable

I have this thing, this issue, this constant. When *xyz* gets going good, I get comfortable, get cocky, get way too sure and boom! everything falls apart.

I almost always weigh and measure my food to track it. LCHF life. Totally worth it. But I know there’s a future date out there where I’ll say it’s okay to NOT weigh because I’ve got this and that becomes another day and another and then pounds creep up on me. And break. Rewind. Redo. It’s a vicious cycle.

In writing I write daily when my story is sparkly and new and I love everything about it. I’ll plug along until mid-point and sleep in one morning then another and another…and before I know it I’ve barely written words in a month or more, and I’m in love with lazy wordless mornings.

Work is the same. Working out is the same. Washing my face every night is the same. Taking my daily vitamin? Check.

It’s just my norm.

Now that I KNOW that, it’s something I can tackle. Intentional eating, meditation, workouts, planning. Intentional LIFE.

I can do it!

Shout out to the book Atomic Habits for helping me process this! If you haven’t read it, you should.

What I’m Loving: DGD’s 4th birthday ❤️, hot tea, Saginaw Night Writers, spending time with DH, making my I Want list

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Calm

School, bills, the apartment, health, Facebook, twitter, political podcasts, the car, dang deers!, DH, his health, the sheets don’t fit right, dishes, no bowls, Mom’s what?!, The Young and the Restless, deadline, that makeup does not match, where are my shoes?

The first time I used the Calm app it was kind of like that.

I didn’t breathe deep enough and focus? What’s that?

It took ONE day for me to fall in love with Calm.

By the end of week one I had a routine. Wake up, make coffee, Calm.

21 days in, today, I woke up, turned on Calm, and it didn’t work.

I panicked for a minute.

I was able to meditate for five minutes, but it wasn’t the same. I missed the lesson, the coaching.

And I was a grumpy bump the whole way to school. Bad drivers, bad roads, lights. Ugh!

So when I got to school, I tried again.

It worked! Whew!

It’s such a little thing, but that 10 minutes of silent reflection and soothing life lesson is incredible.

I love Calm. I really do.

What I’m Loving: the Calm app, DoTERRA On Guard, school holiday anticipation

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After.

Not the Plan

The postcard on the table when I walked in from school surprised me.

DFW Writers Conference.

On the way home from school I’d been thinking about the blog post I planned.

The postcard changed everything because it far surpassed my expectations. The summer workshop is one of the best I’ve attended, but I can’t go this year. I figured the postcard was a reminder to register and I was a little sad.

I figured wrong.

I completely forgot they had us write the message to ourselves. Seeing the words, remembering the excitement of workshop moved me to tears.

I won’t be there this year, but if you’re a writer you should go. It’s incredible.

Check it out here!

What I’m Loving: Friday, Aguage hairspray, Diet Dr Pepper, DoTERRA On Guard

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Process Not Outcome

At the beginning of Atomic Habits the author James Clear explains why goal setting is not the best place for our focus. Goals end when you make them and it’s easy to go back to previous behaviors once the goal is achieved. Instead he says to focus on the habits of process.

I love that. When I first read the words I saw how true they were for me.

My LCHF way of eating is a process to focus on not the weight loss goal. I’ve hit the goal twice and gained weight again after because I didn’t focus on process. With writing I’d finish a book and quit writing for long stretches of time. I had a goal, but I didn’t really have a process. This is especially true since moving to Fort Worth. I see now I had a finish goal with no real process habit built.

I’m looking forward to developing my processes.

What I’m loving: The Dallas Stars, Within Temptation’s new album Resist, the novel Dumplin‘, DoTERRA’s On Guard mouthwash, Torani sugar-free peppermint syrup, LCHF

What I’m writing: So Much for Happily Ever After

 

Another New Year

Another new year means another year of this blog.

So much has changed since I started this. Even the address, since it started on LiveJournal. I’m not even sure WordPress was a thing yet when I started this. I know iPhones weren’t around yet. Social media was pretty much MySpace, Messenger apps and, if you were a kid, texting. If you wanted to communicate with someone, more often than not you picked up the phone and called or went to where they were.

Back when I started writing this I was in my 30s with a junior high aged daughter struggling with my weight and writing rejection. Back then Brian and I didn’t go to church regularly, we’d never been part of a small group, I was a Republican, Meredith and McDreamy weren’t even a thing.

Back then I felt like I should be able to juggle everything and still have time for me, and it made me so angry that that wasn’t a thing.

Time flies.

The world changes.

I know I don’t post often these days. I’m going to try to do more in the run up to the mid-terms.

/Rant

Especially to help get the word out that politicians are purposefully killing public schools, but we can stop them if we vote them out. They use “failing schools” rhetoric to rob from the public and put $$$ into the pockets of the for-profit charters springing up all over the place.

Rant end/

A lot has changed over the years, but a lot is still the same, too. And for that I am thankful.

I swore I wasn’t doing resolutions this year, but I have one. That one is this:

I resolve to remember that words are only good if they’re backed up by actions. That’s my focus this year. Action. Persistence, practice, passion.

Happy New Year!

The NoNaNo NaNo

It’s Nov. 1, aka NaNoWriMo kickoff. And I’m not NaNo-ing because I missed my self-imposed draft deadline for book 3 in a romantic suspense trilogy.

I was sick with alien flu. But I still could have finished the draft IF I hadn’t procrastinated.

Soooooo, I’m sprinting with NaNo on the draft. When it’s done, I get to start Sharlene Gallagher book 4, my 2017 NaNo Novel. Until then…ACK! Write like the wind.

*The picture is my so called glamorous author life. Ahahahaha.

Generation Homelander: Something Needs to Change!

homelandersHomelanders.

That’s what this generation of students is known as. That was the big lesson I learned at yearbook camp this summer.

They’ve never lived without security cameras everywhere. They’ve never known life without a cell phone. Their parents know where they are at all times. Their lives are orchestrated with calendars, every hour planned. Instead of play, they take classes. Even their time at the park is scheduled with play dates. They fear being alone and believe absolutely that evil is out there, and could strike at any minute in school, at the mall, at the movies, while they’re out for a morning run.

They grew up in the US after 9-11. After everything changed. And in an effort to keep them safe, I wonder if we’re not actually making the world a more dangerous place.

One common denominator I’ve heard time and again in discussions with other educators this summer is how many teenagers are on anti-anxiety meds. I’ve taught relaxation techniques to students for years. We can do the 13th floor like nobody’s business and Pilates deep breathing is a must. But this is different. This anxiety can’t be visualized or breathed away.

When we bought my daughter her first cell phone, I was excited. I remembered being a teenager AND I remembered the whole “we’re staying the night with… switcheroo.” With the cell phone that was over. Sort of. With today’s cell phones parents can just look at the GPS to see where their kids are. And they do. Constantly.

A couple of my former foreign exchange students recently posted pictures of their summer European trip. They’re not 18 yet, but they were traveling across the world without a guide or chaperone, just having fun, making memories, learning. When I saw the photos, I was shocked at first. I had a hard time letting my 18-yr-old daughter drive to Dallas. No way would she have gone on holiday around Europe without a parent present. No way. I’ve seen the movie Taken, complete fiction. I’ve watched the Natalee Holloway story again and again on the news, awful truth.

9-11 changed everything. We knew it when it happened, but I don’t think we truly understood. I hope we can change this overarching feeling that the world is evil, that the “bad people, terrorists, killers,” are out to get us. I hope we can find a way to give our kids time to breathe.

We have to. Our kids need a chance to have a new name. Something closer to Generation X and Y. Homelanders can’t be our future. It just can’t.

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Angel Eyes,Angel Eyes 6 The Guardian Book 3 released this week. Yay! And Dead Girl Walking, The Guardian Book 1 is free for the last day. Get your kindle copy now. The DGW audio book will be out soon! I can’t wait to share it with y’all. You Will Love It! ❤

 

 

Kill Them With Kindness

DelTacoGrumpy old Walter came in every day, and every day he ordered the same thing. Del Nachos no tomatoes. He never smiled. Never said think you. Just placed his order, waited for us to call his name and then carried his tray to a table facing outside the store to eat.

Walter didn’t know our names–we didn’t think–but we knew his because calling orders by name was a must.

I loved working at Del Taco, but I Did Not Love grumpy old Walter. I also did not love little kids that made big messes. Or people who came in one minute before close and ordered the whole menu. Or wiping my eyes after chopping jalapenos. Good God that hurt.

Sorry, got sidetracked. Back to Walter…and the kids…and those last minute people out to ruin life as we know it.

Before you could work for Del Taco, you had to train. And training was serious business. You had modules to study and tests to take, and our bosses were intense about those training sessions. To this day I can tell you the history of Del Taco. I can also tell you Del Taco took customer service seriously. Those lessons I learned about kill them with kindness have been life savers over the years. But MAN they were hard to follow through on. At least they were until one day after about six months of Del Nachos with no tomatoes.

Walter shuffled when he walked. And he had silver hair and deep set wrinkles like Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men. And he really liked those Del Nachos.

For some reason I set out to make Walter smile. Maybe my friends and I had a bet or something, I’m not sure. I just know I decided to do everything in my power to get him to like me. Pretty soon all of us were doing it.

Walker would walk in and we’d greet him like an old friend. “Walter!” And then we’d yell back “Del Nachos no tomatoes.”

Then that six month day of reckoning.

A mom with multiple children made a mess around the table next to where Walter sat. And by mess, I mean HOLY FREAKING COW, KIDS, did you eat anything or reenact nuclear war?

So I had the sweeper out on the floor when Walter came in and we all yelled Walter like he was our very best friend. By this time Walter had softened a bit. He still didn’t smile, though.

When his order I came up, I grabbed the tray and took it to him and made sure to tell him how happy we were to see him. To be honest it had kind of become true. Somehow in the effort to trick him into smiling, he’d become a character in the daily life at Del Taco. A character I’d miss if he skipped.

Walter took the tray and Then. He. Spoke. He said thank you.

It was incredible.

It was just the start.

Because once Walter started talking, he didn’t stop.

He explained

Why he came to Del Taco every day.

And ordered Del Nachos.

Without tomatoes.

Turned out Walter liked tomatoes. But his wife didn’t. So they ordered their nachos to share, and he sacrificed the tomatoes for her. And when she died, it was like this one thing would bring her back. If only for a moment.

And then he said thank you again. Because every day he came in and we greeted him with smiles even though he knew sometimes he could be surly.

Walter taught me a lot about life that day.

I use Walter in my classes pretty often to tell kids they never know whose life they’re impacting. I was lucky Walter told me. People don’t always tell you, but rest assured, every person you meet could be a Walter. ❤

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If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, you can here. I send one a month at the most, so no spam.

Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 released this week. Yay! And Dead Girl Walking, The Guardian Book 1 is free for one more day. Get your kindle copy now.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the Browse Button Loses

withinI love to listen to Within Temptation when I’m writing the Guardian books. I read online that the sound is called symphonic metal. That fits. The female power vocals with the metal background work together to create a feeling that fits the Sharlene Gallagher universe…especially when she finds herself in heaven.

In an effort to recreate the feel of the music for a different book, I browsed through Spotify and let it pick music for me.

BIG MISTAKE.

One minute I’m writing along to power vocals and metal guitar and the next some guy is screaming in a voice terrifies the crap out of me.

I stumbled on to Within Temptation through Grooveshark after listening to Angtoria’s What the Wise Woman Said. I’m glad I did because the music has inspired three books so far. I guess I’ll stick to what works for sure instead of looking for something new. ❤

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If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, you can here. I send one a month at the most, so no spam.

Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 released this week. Yay!