Well, it's time for Broken Dreams now. That's the third book with Extasy Books and the fourth after the original. The men in this one? Samuel, the crazy little minx at the end of Broken Promises and mentioned in Broken Pieces. Then there's Darren. He's appeared in Broken Bones and Broken Pieces. Finally, we have the mystery guy. Why do I say mystery, you wonder. (Maybe you don't, but let's play pretend.) He's a mystery because I don't even know him yet. I know he's the guy that will balance the two of them out.
Darren needs some help with Samuel. The job's too hard to handle alone. So, where's his mystery man? Well, now. That's what I'm working on. And boy, I don't know if Darren will like the form the mystery guy will take. Darren's been avoiding this fate for far too long. It's going to grab him by the balls.
And that's exactly what he needs. Our guy's a planner. Time to throw him totally off his game.
You know me. I'm inspired by pictures, so I'm currently building the Pinterest board for this one.
Here are a few of the pictures I've been considering.
I'm trying out a few new things for me here. Not sure how they'll go across or even if I'll follow through. Depends on where the muse takes me.
What Have I Learned?
Well, it's not exactly a new thought here, but more or less a reminder. I have learned that I have my own style. I know, right. After about thirteen books, that should be a given, but I can't help myself sometimes. I read another author and break one of the writer cardinal rules. You know the one:
Thou shalt not compare one's writing to another's.
I know better, but somehow I fall into the trap of wondering if I'm a good writer because I don't write like the books I enjoy reading. But you know what? Someone enjoys mine. After questioning myself yet again, a good friend gave me a Gibbs verbal smack (Think NCIS) on the head.
She said people read different types of books for different reasons. She reads mine for pleasure. She tells me I'm a good writer, and I believe her. My editor says so. Another good friend does, too, no matter how often I tell myself I'm not. My reviewers do. The messages I get from readers do, too. So, maybe I'll write the way I write and watch my writing grow.
You do the same.
Don't believe me? Been doubting yourself as well? Check out these articles. They could help.
This one is definitely worth a read. There were quite a few moments where I wanted to applaud and others that reminded me of why I started writing in the first place.
Want to improve, but you're not sure how?
This one offers some great suggestions for improving your writing without destroying your creative energy or belittling yourself.
They are both worth a read. You'll feel better for it. Promise.
Most importantly, keep writing. The world needs your story.
On the Homefront
Just like the rest of you, we're washing our hands at home and everywhere else, too. This is a scary time as we see more and more businesses close, schools close, and tension everywhere. We're finding reasons to smile and other reasons to laugh. We're also being grateful for the time we have together.
Meals are happening at home with everyone around the table, and I don't have to force the kids to take their medicine.
If this craziness has taught me anything, it's how much more I value my family, how important it is to keep lifting others up, and that if you use sanitizer, follow it with lotion. My hands. The Sahara has nothing on them.
Wash those hands.
If you're hoarding toilet paper, stop it.
Lastly, keep smiling.
Then and Now
Currently, I have a book in edits. The title is Life's Greatest Masterpiece. It's bleeding, I'm certain because I have an amazingly thorough editor name Debbie Nygaard who actually enjoys my books and probably knows the storylines and characters better than I do.
I'm nervous as hell because she said, and I quote, "Ran into some flow issues, redundancies, consistency issues, and POV issues." Do you know how many times I reread this book? How many betas have read this book? How many times I have used Grammarly, and still there are issues? But there will be. When your editor receives a finished book, it is simply a draft that attained interest and needs to be polished. I am thankful for every note she has made and every question she asks because that will make this draft a masterpiece.
But I'm just sitting here figuratively biting my nails, wondering how much it's bleeding.
She will ensure my brain pours out more ideas and clears up every concern.
What's it about? I'll let you know soon.
School's going well. There are conflicts, but what school doesn't have them? What really made my week is connecting with three students. I'm a counselor, just in case you've forgotten. One of my students wasn't doing well, just miserable. She came in my office and just sat down. Starting playing with fidget toys. I look up, and there she is. I talk to her, ask questions. Pulling teeth. Then, we got to her frustrations. People and their expectations. After a bit, we talked about music. And you know what happened? She sang two songs, loud and strong. When she left my office, she was smiling and happy. Gave her a hug, and she was ready for the day.
Two others I've been meeting with weekly actually shared more than surface-level items. Usually, they want to talk about grades or nod while I ask questions. I typically have them use an emotion wheel and select a word. Then we discuss what's happening in their lives to support that word. Would you like to see one? Hang on.
This week was different. One actually shared about some problems she's having with a boyfriend. She never talks about that, avoiding it like the plague. Her homework? A pros and cons list. I will typically ask them to make one to help them reflect on their relationships and friendships. The other student told me today how frustrated she was with people dying in her life, in her family. Broke my heart. My broken child. We discussed what she needed, and I told her I was there. Before I came home, I went by the store and bought her a small Squishmallow. She loves them. I got her one that shouldn't draw attention in class. I'll keep it in my office, just for her. She will be able to take it whenever she needs to.
If there was any proof I needed to know I was in the right place, it was this right here.
Things are going well with the family. I have a teenager and an almost preteen. Every day, I want to thank my parents for what they did for me because raising children is difficult. But you have to have balance, pick your battles, show them love, and be consistent.
There are so many articles out there. Lists and lists.
Read. Research. Be the type of parent you wish you had.
I'm no longer as frustrated with my children as I used to be. We're having fun together. Laughing. I'm still setting expectations, but I'm not stressing myself or them out. I say it. It needs to get done. There are consequences for what doesn't. We move on.
So much better.
My son's playing basketball and running track. My girl finally discovered her sport. She's been searching, let me tell you. She doesn't want to run. The minute she feels the sport requires running, she is done. So archery! That's where we are, and she's beyond happy. My husband even made her an archery space in the basement. She has everything she needs to become Robin Hood.
We went on a cruise for the holidays recently. It's funny. Right before Covid, we went on a cruise. Then the world fell apart. Covid isn't over, but the fears accompanying it aren't as overwhelming as they once were. The cruise was our chance to show we are ready. We had fun. We spent time together. We celebrated new beginnings.
We're living. We're thriving. We're healing.
I hope you are, too.