Twelve New Chapters Ahead

Can you believe it? This decade ends today and tomorrow is the beginning of a new one! Even LilDude said his first decade is over and I’m like, when did you grow up all of a sudden?

Twelve new chapters. 365 new pages.

Whew.

In my case, I’m splitting those twelve chapters into quarters which makes it more manageable for me. Short term goals for now as I start over in many ways. No resolutions. Just intentions.

Write. Prioritize. Be Present. 

Write. I want to get back to writing again, for the pure love of storytelling, not to create a masterpiece but just to tell the story to anyone who wants to hear it. And while I’m at it, enjoy the process again.

Prioritize. This has to do with what I value in my life at the moment. My sons. LilDude’s growth into the young man he’s going to be. My brothers. My mother’s health. My time. My health.

Be Present. Enjoy the moment and stop worrying. Right now, LilDude is enjoying the $2 whoopie cushion I got him from the feed store and I have to remind myself to be present in the pure joy he gets from that small and farty thing. Being present also means knowing my limitations. What I can do with the time I really have and not over-commit myself because I’m too busy trying to do what everyone is doing instead of honoring myself and doing what I can do. Being present also means standing up for myself and not set myself aside for others’ comfort like I did with a friend this year.

Write. Prioritize. Be Present. 

Yes. Yes. And yes.

12 new chapters. 365 new pages to fill with experiences and lessons and stories.

Here’s to a good year ahead for us all.

 

 

Not So Wordless Wednesday

With renovations going on at the house, I needed to stay out for a while and so after I dropped off LilDude at school, I took the dog for a walk where I usually go with my walking buddy. Usually, there’s someone waterskiing but today there was no one.

Just this view with the sun behind clouds.

I could have kept going but of course, I had to stop and take pictures. I even filmed a few minutes because the water was just so serene it reminded me of those pictures in the 80s or 90s where the water would kinda move but it was because of some light at the back of the frame. But in this case it was all real.

This was 9 in the morning so it was way brighter than how the image looks but I love the way the pictures came out. Almost surreal and a reminder for me to slow down and just take it easy.

I actually haven’t been writing. Kinda hard to write when one wall in your kitchen is being torn down and there’s plaster everywhere. So I’ve been planning my year instead. Weighing the stories that need to be written versus the ones I want to write. It’s a tough decision and although I did my kanban board yesterday and was very proud of it, this morning, it hit me that the one story I needed to write above all else was not on the board simply because I didn’t think they needed a second book.

But it turns out they do and so I’ll have to redo my Kanban board for the first quarter and go from there.

What about you? How’s your Wednesday been?

17 More Days Before the End of the Decade!

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Can you believe it?! 17 more days and a new decade begins!

A decade ago, I was nine months pregnant with LilDude and scared to death about what would happen during his delivery since he had been diagnosed as having MDCK in utero (Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney, which is when one kidney (or both, which would prove fatal in many cases) doesn’t develop as it should with the special filtration cells and instead just develop a bunch of cysts filled with fluid). So I didn’t really have much planned for the year except to be a mother one day at a time.

For the coming decade, it’s time for me to create a vision board with LilDude and see where we want to go. That way we can work together toward the same goal, whether it’s moving into a bigger house, trips to New York and Washington, DC and me making more money each month with my books.

So far, my plan is to write four more books in A Different Kind of Love series (Sarah and Benny’s second book, and then Gabe, Todd, and Daniel) with the fifth one a huge maybe (Dax and Harlow) which would formally close the series. It will be tough saying goodbye but everything has to come to an end.

Gareth’s book (Loving Ashe Trilogy which was later renamed Celebrity series) also is due to be written this year. He’s waited over two years for me to revisit him and I want to dive in. So if you’re on Wattpad, you just might get the first look at the book coming together!

Unfortunately, Naughty Pen has her own series to finish that’s long-overdue as well. I’ll be writing and releasing it serial style the way I did the first part of the series. With my crazy life, I’ve come to realize that I like writing episodal fiction and it’s more do-able.

It will take some juggling planning and so I’m setting up an author Kanban board that I’m learning how to create from Heart Breathings on Youtube. After the disastrous results of all my goals this year, I need help with planning 2020 and that includes learning which books are a priority for me and which aren’t.

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I actually don’t have any room to create a real Kanban board in my house since we’re in the midst of renovation but there are virtual kanban boards you can use like Trello which is more popular. But it turns out I have had a lifetime subscription to one for the past year and keep forgetting about it. But that’s the problem with virtual boards that live on the cloud. If I don’t see it, I forget it.

However, I plan on using it (in lieu of a real board that’ll only be set aside during the renovations) because thanks to Sarra Canon’s Heart Breathings, I’m finally learning how to use it for my goals in 2020 and beyond.

 

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Turns out I have a lifetime subscription to Ora that I hardly used or used but had no idea what I was doing…

 

It also means splitting the year into 90-day increments to make it easier for me to handle. If I don’t reach one goal in the first 90 days, it can be moved to the second 90 days. I wrote about the 90 day year here and while I’ve been doing that, I didn’t have a visual chart to tell me what I needed to work on. So I was still scatterbrained most of the time. Putting the Kanban board and the 90 day year together will certainly help me become more organized.

And after learning what my top 5 strengths are (which ended up contributing to my feeling of helplessness and loss for most of 2019), here’s to a stronger 2020 for me.

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I’m #1 Empathy, #2 Deliberative, #3 Learner, #4 Harmony, #5 Context which kinda makes for one indecisive author with all the feels.

In fact, one author I admire reminded me to pick ONE WORD for 2020 and I chose COURAGE. Courage to let go of the things and people that don’t serve me, move on and do the things that scare me.

What about you? What are your plans for the next decade that starts in 17 days?

 

 

 

“There’s a story that wants to be told…”

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It’s Friday and I’m scrolling through the hundreds of drafts on my dashboard but never published and this was one of them. I don’t even know why I didn’t press that button but it could have been the many distractions that plague me from text messages, PMs, or the latest notification on my phone about some author drama or other.

But now that there’s not much distracting me at the moment, I’m publishing this one because it rings true for me. Not sure if it does for other writers but for me, there are many stories that need to be told and I just need to find the time to write and/or complete them, especially the four novels on my hard drive just waiting to be finished.

But at least there’s 2020 coming up. Hopefully by then, I’ll have gotten my act together and put the blinders on. Stay in my lane. Write the stories. Find my joy.

How’s your Friday going?

I Did It!

Yup, I wrote 51k words in November! It wasn’t for one book per se but two novellas (under 40k word books) although I don’t know when I’ll publish them.

I’ve kinda become gun-shy about publishing my books fast because the deeper I get into a series, the more I mess up the timeline because I forget what happened three years before book 1 or what color the heroine’s eyes were in Book 2. That’s also what happens when you’ve got too many stories swirling inside your head and even more characters just waiting for their turn.

CarlyQ and I used to talk about the bar inside my head where my characters all wait until I’m ready for them. The original guys—Ashe, Gareth, and Devlin (nope, didn’t forget him, Carly!)—have been waiting a while and they’re long overdue to come back even though Greg is basically in HEA (Happily-Ever-After) land.

I actually found the perfect interpretation of my characters’ current hangout in Gabe Leonard‘s work. He’s a painter who got his start on the boardwalks of Venice and his art is so full of mystery and energy.

The paintings below are featured in his book Power Love & Success which I’m eagerly awaiting in the mail any day now! My absolute favorites are Smoke Screen and Shark Tank because I see my billionaire characters in them especially the men my Naughty Pen writes about.

 

With December already here, it means there are only 30 days left before the end of the decade! Hard to believe, huh?

So far, my plans are to keep writing my books. And not just Liz’s books that are filled with emotional angst (and sometimes food) but other pen name books as well because there’s a thing called brand and once established, you really do have to maintain it. And the other pen names are there to scratch that itch of writing stories that are off-brand, that are insta-love and smutty, and sometimes dark, too. And since my goal for 2020 is for us to move into a bigger house, that means a lot more books need to be written.

What about you? What’s your plan for the last month of the decade?

I’m Grateful for You

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for each and every one of you who stops by to visit this blog. I wish you a wonderful day filled with so many blessings and the gift of friendship and love!

Today we’ll all be trekking to the in-laws for Thanksgiving lunch. Then it’s back to writing that holiday novella that was due last year, but only as long as I don’t get distracted by the next shiny thing… oh, look! A new story idea! A new pen name! A new way to kill time instead of write!

How’s your day going?

#teasertuesday: “That’s My Personal Number”

“Have dinner with me, Alannah,” he says before looking around us. “Somewhere more private than this.”

“That would be a mistake, Parker, and you know it. We didn’t really end on good terms.” And that would be putting it mildly. How long did it take me to pick up the pieces after he said what we had was over?

“Have dinner with me anyway.” He pulls out a card and a pen from his breast pocket, writes something down on the back of it, and slides it across the table toward me. “That’s my personal cell phone number.”

“Parker–”

His beeper buzzes then and he takes the last bite of his bacon. “I’ve got a meeting in five minutes. I hate to leave you but–”

“I know the drill, so no need to apologize,” I say as he gets up from the table. “I’ll be fine.”

He glances at his card, still on the table. “Think about dinner and call me. In fact, just call me. We need to talk.”

I almost tell him we really have nothing left to talk about but by the time I find the words, Parker has left the table. He’s also managed to undo me… again.