A Path Less Traveled

Girl Wearing Walking Boots Hiking Up A Mountain

Sometimes  it is good to take a step back and reevaluate. Are you where you want to be? Is the plan taking you in the direction of your dreams? Did you take a wrong turn   at Memphis?

I’ve been working  on a project that has caused me to do that, step back and evaluate where I am , where I want to be, and how much progress I have made in the direction of my dream.  *SIGH* How did I get so far off course from my original plan?

It’s ironic that life imitates fiction. Or in my case, imitates my plans for one of my stories. I make outlines, detailed in places, fuzzy in others.  I don’t always know details for a specific point, but I have  a plan. As I progress, I reach a point during the writing that I have to wad up the rest of the  plan and start over.

That’s been the way my life has gone as well.  I make a plan,  then  intend to follow the plan  until I reach a point that it’s obviously not working.  Time to wad that one up and toss in the trash bin. While working on this project I realized how far I’ve deviated from the original plan, the secondary plan, and even the tertiary plan.

I could throw up my hands and yell to the sky why bother or I can knuckle down and plot a new course. I’ll bet you can’t  guess which one I’m doing.  I will say that the scenery is ever changing. I am not  watching the same trees go by day after day. I’m not taking the same route. I haven’t mapped out the entire route yet, but I have my destination marked and  have made blocks of the entire trip. Currently, I’m working on a detailed mapping of the first block, getting back onto the main road.

I get overwhelmed by the big picture at times and lose my way. I am a detail oriented person. I work best with smaller sections at a time. Besides, If I plotted out the entire route from here to my final destination, I would end up taking several side roads and changing the  course anyway.

The thing about an outline, it’s a guideline. It’s the rough sketch that gives the artist a basic skeletal structure for their masterpiece.  My course is in pencil, roughly sketched. If it were in pen, I would  feel conflicted about having to follow the inked lines.  I wouldn’t do it,  I’d feel guilty about not doing it, but it wouldn’t change the fact that everything is fluid and I would be moving in the general direction of the  graphite line.

Life is an adventure that is meant to be an exciting journey, not  a network of rails that take us only along the major lines, never exploring the hills and valleys. Those hills and valleys are where the treasures lie, where the masses do not travel.  Mass transit is ok at times, but lacing up those hiking boots and experiencing the warmth of the sun on your skin, the brisk morning air, or even that nasty spider web that you walked into are moments that you can never get on the commuter train. I’m takingthee path less traveled.

The next part of my personal journey happens to be up a steep hill. It’s going to be hard work. It is a difficult climb, but I can’t wait to see the view from the top.

Where is your plan taking you? Is it in the direction you want to go? Do you need to readjust your course?

Until next time, write on!

Ellie

 

 

School’s Back in Session

School’s back in session. What does that mean for me? Time adjustments. Ugh! There is no way, no how, it should be legal to be waking up at 5:30 in the morning to make sure the chid is up, dressed, teeth brushed…with toothpaste (it’s important to remind them of the toothpaste because somehow it always slips his mind until I ask to smell his breath) and ready for the bus, that comes at 6:20 in the morning. I don’t know about all of you, but my brain is not even thinking about functioning at that time of the morning.

On the flip side of this sending the child out to have a productive day of learning (which I have been informed by the child means he eats lunch and that’s it, nothing else) at the butt crack of dawn is this….I have an hour and a half of alone time! Squee! Once the caffeine kicks in, I can get a few words on the page before I have to prepare for my day.

I will be honest, some mornings (mind you, this is only the second week of school) I don’t wanna write, but then this little annoying voice in my head says, “Suck it up, buttercup. You have a deadline.” That I do. So if I want to meet it, and I do…I need to hop off here and get to writing!

P.S…Beyond the Veil of Whispered Dreams was nominated in the Fantasy Category for the Summer Indie Book Awards! How cool is that?!

Until next week….Happy Reading!

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~Jolanthe~

Day one of the hostage situation

Ahhhh Monday…day one of the hostage situation, and the day when there is doubt aplenty that anyone will make it out alive.  Or, maybe that’s just me.

The weekend is a mad blur, and though I know I got things done, there is so much piled up left to be done, I cannot claim to have made even a fractal dent in the load. I have clean drawers on and there is food in the fridge for anyone who wants to open the door…beyond that, don’t ask.🙂

I know we bought a car, because the title is sitting on the kitchen table as it is at the head of the drive. I know the kids went to the fair, cuz one was still carnie-food flu-ing yesterday, and I know that I need to get a jar and lid count for canning because there’s a message from my mom on the machine. Like I said…blur.

The switch was flipped over the weekend and Autumn is making her play. The sweltering, oppressive temps and humidity of as recently as Friday have given way to gorgeous 70s & 80s and overnights in the 50s. I cannot express how much I love this. Now, if we could just get the work situation to play along and let us have a few extra days off to enjoy the change.

Back to work

Last week as I was preparing to leave for an event in Wisconsin my laptop arrived back on my doorstep. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. I was expecting it to be gone for a lot longer.

To be honest I was expecting them to send me a check with a letter saying that it could not be saved and I would have to replace it. To receive it back two days after they received it and to have everything exactly as I had left it was more than I believed possible.

I accepted it without question (I didn’t want to jinx this newly found luck) and now I am able to get back to work. I can work whatever hours I want on the trilogy and when edits come in I can work on them whenever I want too! My stress levels immediately dropped.

It feels good to be able to do what I love.

~Miranda

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Fix this, change that …

This weekend I am totally immersed in revisions. When I came up for air and another cup of coffee, I realized that I hadn’t written my blog yet. So here I sit, my head still wrapped around the Kindred and the happenings in book two of The Kindred series, ‘His Eternal Promise’. It takes awhile to surface and come back to the harsh bright light of reality. To be honest, I’d rather be back there with the Kindred. But there are things I have to do, and this is one of them. So, how are you? Things going well in your world?😉

I honestly don’t have a lot going on right now except revisions. One of my beta readers gave me a lot to think about in her comments. None of it was a surprise, it was all things that I should have done in the beginning. I can’t wear the ‘newbie’ title forever. There were some things I put off while I was writing, meaning to go back later and work on them. I didn’t, and it went to the beta like that. She called me on it, rightfully so. Now I have a lot of work to do to make this book acceptable to me and to you, the reader.

I have a few readers that are anxiously waiting for ‘His Eternal Promise’ to be published. The last thing I want is to disappoint anyone. So, I have a lot of work ahead of me. And I have one more beta to go through before ‘Promise’ goes to the editor. On that note, I’m closing my door to the outside world and diving back in to the world of the Kindred.

Till next week,

~ Madison

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Plan With Me – Step 12 Finally!

It’s finally here! Step 12. You’ve been patiently waiting for weeks. You thought I’d never get to the end, but now it’s finally here.

The last and final step to be followed by the BONUS 3 Step Short Cut. YAY!

So what is it? What is the final step?

Step 12 – Know Your Enemy

Who is your enemy?

You are. Well, technically your Inner demon.  Your Inner Demon is the voice of negativity that fights you in your  achievements. It tells you why not. It makes you thin that the pitfalls and dangers that lay in your way are insurmountable and that you shouldn’t even try.

It is an invisible but destructive force that opposed you every single time that you try to make an improvement in your life, your work habits, basically in any area of your life.

The Inner Demon uses 3 main weapons.

  1. FEAR – Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of social interaction, fear of whatever your personal demon knows will trip your trigger. Your countermeasure to combat fear is to START. Do something. make small steps, incremental changes. Just DO IT!
  2. UNCERTAINTY – Unsure of what to do, where to start, where to go next. . . . this can leave you immobilized. That is the goal. Keep you from stepping out of your safe little box. Keep you inactive in working towards your goals.  Days, weeks, months can pass without accomplishing the smallest steps in the direction of your goals if you give in to uncertainty. Your countermeasure to this is FOCUS. Focus on the current step. Focus on the  overall arching idea. Focus on completing the task. This is where we put blinders on  and keep our head down quietly plodding through the mundane while our inner demon laughs at us.  You have to develop thick skin. You have to learn to ignore that particular voice inside your head.
  3. Inner demon’s third and most often used weapon is DOUBT. Doubting ourselves, doubting our abilities, doubting our ideas . . . you get the idea. Your best weapon to combat this is to FINISH.  Finish the project. Finish the book! Finish whatever it is that  you want to accomplish.

Recognize the voice of your inner demon. Know that you have what it takes to achieve your dreams.  Now get out there and DO IT!

OK, OK I promised the BONUS 3 Step Short Cut.

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Honestly, did you really think there was going to be a short cut?  Writing is work. It’s not going to get done my chasing  after shortcuts! I condensed it down to 12 steps, that’s about as short as it gets. The bottom line is that you have to employ the ABC method in the meme.  Apply Butt to the Chair! It’s the only way to make the words happen.

Now get out there, put your best game face on, wipe away the tears, and  get back in the game!

‘Til next time

Ellie

 

 

Happily Ever After

As many of you know, I attended the Once Upon A Book Author Event in Frankenmuth, MI this past weekend. A wonderful time was had by all. It was a family oriented event so little ones were more than welcome. They were even included in the Happily Ever After Ball, where they were either given fairy wings or a nerf sword which they happily displayed as they marched around the ballroom. Total Cuteness Overload.

This was a fast paced event, and, unfortunately, I didn’t get to fangirl over as many authors as I thought I would. Which is good, because it means I was busy talking to readers at the table I was luck enough to share with the incomparable Darlene Kuncytes.

One of the most amazing things that happened was people I had met last year, coming to my table to say, “hello”. What an awesome feeling to be remembered fondly enough they would make it a point to come see me again. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.

The event was held at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. It’s HUGE! I got lost at least 5 times. Those that know me know I’m directionally challenged, so that’s to be expected, but in my defense…all elevators in this hotel do not lead to the same place. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it!

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The Happily Ever After Ball was AMAZING! There were so many creative costumes and beautiful formal gowns. Here I am with Darlene Kuncytes. Read her books, they’re awesome!  14012103_1675720369414651_1447337067_n

I ran a selfie contest. The winner received a Selfie Queen t-shirt, a mini tiara, and a specially made keychain. The recipient of the gift package was Ashley Cestra. She was an absolute joy to meet!

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I also had a drawing at my table. The winner was Tina Donnely who was wearing the necklace that came with Beyond the Veil of Whispered Dreams when I made my book debut last October in Kalamazoo. How cool is that?!

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You’ll notice that the drawing prize contains the first books in the following series by fellow EBB authors: Phoenix Rising~The Kindred by Madison Granger; Through the Oracle’s Mist~The Vengelys Series by Aedan Byrnes; and Soul Journey~The Soul Series by Miranda Shanklin.

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I met Darlene Kuncytes last year in NOLA. She was soooo encouraging and supportive to a writer who had yet to be published at the time. I was over the moon to get to share a table with this wonderful lady.

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After the event, dinner was had at the Bavarian Inn with authors, SF Benson, Bsm Stoneking, blogger Jennifer Moon Desulis, and their family and friends. Good times and much laughter was had.

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There are so many more pictures I could share with you, but I really need to get writing. If you didn’t get to go to this year’s event, never fear…it’s happening again next year on August 11th & 12th. Mark your calendars.

Until next week….Happy Reading!

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~Jolanthe~

Everything’s coming up roses…

What a blur August has been. I hit Savannah Georgia with a host of other authors and readers for the final Authors After Dark…which was epic, insane, amazing…all those kind of things. I never wanted to leave. I am having an issue with the hotel and charges after the fact, but those WILL be remediated in short order or I will be going back to Savannah loaded for bear.

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Book of Time and Book of Change both released on August 6th…and early released for Con attendees August 4th to a warm reception. I am giddy at the initial responses. While Book of Mysteries is still in plotting…I have renewed enthusiasm for when it can finally hit the desk, which is not necessarily soon because of other commitments.

Coming home, I found out that I was nominated  for a Summer Indie Book Award from Metamorph Publishing for Viva Zapata & the Magic 8-Ball…which was unexpected and exciting.

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I also found out that Angela from Addicted to Reviews posted a fun little review of Viva while I was in Georgia…just good juju happening all over the place.

You can read her review and see others HERE.

 

Things are moving along

I am steadily moving along on my research for my next series. The problem I am having is the further along I get the more I find I need to do! I am getting very excited and almost can’t wait to get started.

I still have a lot to get done before I am ready to start this series so it has to wait it’s turn though. While I am getting ready for it don’t think that it will be boring. I have so many fun things coming your way!

The Soul Series will be re-released this year!! The spin-off trilogy The Guardians of the Origin will be out either late this year or early next year. Then I am throwing a curve ball at you and will be coming out with a contemporary romance.

By the time I am done with all of that I should be ready for the first book in the new series and it will be my first book away from romance. The new series will be paranormal suspense! I am excited about my new ventures and it all seems to be moving along nicely.

Now to get my computer back so it can move along at home!

~Miranda

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The pace is picking up …

This past week has held little surprises (the good kind) almost every day. Book two, now titled His Eternal Promise, has been sent to three more beta readers. I’ve gotten one back and was thrilled with her take on the book.

I found out that my book Phoenix Rising, is now being offered on Walmart.com That news was kind of a kick. It’s another venue, and I’m all for anything that gets my name out there.

I was nominated for the 2016 Summer Indie Book Awards in the Romance division for Phoenix Rising. OK, I know one of my friends must have nominated me. There are literally hundreds of authors that have been nominated. It’s not that big of a deal. Wrong! In my world, it’s HUGE! I’m a new author, my book has been out on the market for all of four months, and I’ve been nominated for an award. It’s a first for me and for a brief fiery moment, I’m going to enjoy the thrill. This is a tough market, and praise doesn’t come often. I’m basking in the glow and no one can take it away from me. Next week, it will be back to the grindstone. I’m a realist when it comes down to it.😉

Back working on book three, A Destiny Denied. I’m pleased with the way it’s coming along. Plotting definitely has its upside. I’ve stayed on track for the most part. A few little left turns, but they ended up adding to the story. Hopefully, the storyline will expand into a full sized novel instead of the original novella concept. Guess we’ll see where the characters take me.

I’ve gotten confirmation for an event, ‘Books for the Bayou’, being held at the main library in my home town. It’s a book signing event for local authors. Hopefully there will be a decent turnout for this one.

I’ve got lots of plans coming up for my second book, His Eternal Promise. Stick around, you don’t want to miss out!

Till next week,

~ Madison

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