Posted in Holiday Posts

Happy New Year!!

 

 

Image may contain: text that says 'The New year is like a blank book, the pen is in your hands, it is your chance to write a beautiful story for yourself Happy New Year'

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Posted in Guest Author, Writing

Please Welcome Linda Ransom!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I’ve invited a guest to stop by and share her story with us. Her name is Linda Ransom and her book looks wonderful. Give Linda a big hand! Take it away Linda!!

 

REINVENTING  THE FLYNNS

A few years back, I decided to participate in NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NANOWRIMO, for all of its many participants, is to complete 50,000 words by the end of November, the chosen month for the writing competition. I decided to write a story I’d been making notes for, called Smoke City Heroes. It centered on the Flynn family, a group of six siblings who lived with their eccentric Uncle Baron after both of their parents had passed away. The kids decide to become super heroes after witnessing the many crimes and gangs overtaking Smoke City, where they live.

I absolutely loved the idea. Two notebooks were filled with characters pictures and information, and information on the city itself. November came and I started writing, eager to see the siblings develop into crime-fighting heroes.

Long story short, as they say: the story tanked around 200 pages, and I didn’t hit my 50,000 word count. I liked what I had written, but the story wasn’t flowing like it should, and my main characters, the Flynn family, didn’t seem to be enjoying it, either. Being a writer who doesn’t outline her stories (at least, not more than a few sentences), I count on my characters and the story itself to direct where it’s going. When that doesn’t happen, everything hits a brick wall.

Giving up on the Flynns, I moved on to an epic fantasy story that I completed and sent to a publisher. That story was rejected – it’s being rewritten and will be my next series after the completion of The Flying Ponies trilogy – and I needed something new to work on. In August of 2016, I was browsing my Pinterest home page, and came across a picture of an antique carousel horse that hadn’t been restored (as of the picture’s date). I started thinking about that old horse, and what would happen if he was endowed with ancient magic.

From that idea, the Flying Ponies Grand Carousel was born. Built in the early teen years of the 1900’s, the horses on the carousel were given magic by their owner and placed on Coney Island. After the carousel was removed, it ended up in the Michigan woods. With the story set in our modern time, I needed characters to help the story develop. Remembering how much I had enjoyed writing the Flynn family, I got out my old Smoke City Heroes notebook and looked at their character sketches again. Deciding to take them out of their old story setting and place them in this new one was the best thing I could’ve done, for them and for me.

That idea about magical flying carousel horses turned into Lift, first in The Flying Ponies trilogy. It released in April 2018 from Wicked Whale Publishing. Book two in the trilogy, Tilt, was emailed to my editor earlier this week, on December 10th.

The Flynn family (and Smoke City itself) helped make Lift the book it is. If I had drawn up other characters I don’t know as the story would’ve evolved in the same way. Charlotte, the main character in the trilogy, bonded with the carousel horses and became a stronger character than she could’ve been in Smoke City Heroes. The same is true for the rest of the Flynns; they all grew and became better as a result. For a writer who is concerned with story and character over plot and its many devices, watching characters get up and walk around and become real people is mesmerizing, and that’s what happened after placing the Flynns within the structure of Lift.

If you have characters you love but their stories didn’t pan out the way you wanted, or they hit a brick wall like my initial story with the Flynns did, try placing them in a new story, a new situation. Characters are funny creatures; we as the writers create them, but once they have a space of their own, they become real and want to run the show themselves. While that might seem scary if that’s not how you usually write, it’s an amazing thing, and it can make your writing leap off the page and take twists and turns you never see coming.

           

 

Lift is available as both a soft cover and an e-book on Amazon here: (click the link below)

Available on Amazon

Author bio:

  1. M. Ransom lives in West Michigan with her husband, son, and daughter. She also shares her home with two crazy Dachsunds, and her heart with two naughty ponies. L.M. is a librarian by trade, and an author by passion. She draws from her lifelong love and obsession with all things equine to spin tales about nefarious carousel horses.
    A self-professed geek girl, L.M.’s fandoms span the galaxy from Tatooine to Gallifrey, and back down to the seedy streets of Gotham City. As a Christian, she feels a calling to tell clean, intriguing stories for readers to escape into. You can find L. M. on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and lmransom.com.

 

 

Posted in Writing

Dealing with Self-Doubt

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a long week of studying for an exam. I passed! Yay! But enough about that.

Photo credit: bridgetnikole on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-N

Unbeknownst to me, November 1st was National Author’s Day. I’m bummed that I missed it, but I was still trying to recover from studying for my exam, so I have a legitimate excuse.

Because I missed a Day that is near and dear to my heart, I thought I’d write about dealing with the self-doubt all writers deal with when they’re creating their stories. It can be crippling.

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So crippling that many writers don’t finish their work. They linger between rewriting and editing what they’ve already written and stopping their writing all together because they’re paralyzed with fear.

Part of this fear is that tiny negative voice in our heads that tells us we’re not worthy of our dreams and goals. It’s hard to block this voice out, but you must to continue your work.

So how do you drown out that voice that stops you in your tracks when you’re writing? That voice that makes you feel like every word you’re writing is drivel.

Well, the first thing I do is go for a walk. That’s right, I walk away from my manuscript and get out into nature. I’ve always found a hike through the forest is good for my soul as well as my body. Did you know that walking through the woods is good for your health? So, not only are you solving your plot holes, you’re also taking care of yourself.

Photo credit: Nicholas_T on Visual huntCC BY

Another way, I deal with the self-doubt that leads to writer’s block is exercise. I go for a run or do some yoga. This physical activity releases those wonderful endorphins that make every situation easier to deal with and it really does dull that incessant voice in your head.

Photo on Visualhunt

The third thing I do is get together with friends and put my writing aside because staring at a blank page or rewriting the same chapter over and over again isn’t productive.

There’s an underlying theme here and that is self-care. Taking the time to step away from your manuscript and taking care of yourself is a sure-fire way to dull that nagging voice in your head. So, do what works for you. Take a bubble bath, cook an awesome meal, or binge watch something on Netflix. Whatever, your go to activity is do it when you’re feeling low and uncreative. You’ll reawaken that creative muse and you’ll be on your way. So, how do you deal with the self-doubt that plagues us all at times? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal

How are You Spending Your Life?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after taking some time away from the internet. Sometimes you just need to unplug, right? I’ve been busy with my work, my writing, and my family, just like you, I’m sure.

Today, I’d like to chat about choosing how we spend our lives. We only get so many years on this earth, and since I’m drawing closer to my twilight years, it has become more important than ever  that I spend my life in the way that makes me happy.

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The first thing that needs to be done is that you need to set priorities, and these are different for each individual. I’m sure everyone’s going to say, “I want to be happy” and it’s true, we all do. However, we need to go deeper than that. What makes us happy? What makes our hearts sing and fills us with peace?

You could spend your life chasing after a dream, accomplishing your goals and receiving accolades from an adoring public.

You could spend it creating a warm and loving family.

You could spend it searching for knowledge and inner peace.

You could spend it helping others and being of service to your fellow man.

There are millions of ways to spend your life. You get to choose, and it’s a daunting task for sure.

So, when I decided to make sure I was making the most of my time on earth, the first thing I decided was that I wanted a family, but I also wanted to be home with my kids. I didn’t want to send them off to daycare, but this also meant that I’d have to put my career on hold. This is the hard part. Sometimes when we choose priorities, we have to make sacrifices, and sometimes those sacrifices can be hard, but in the end, I feel like I did the right thing for me.

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While I was home, I rediscovered my love for writing. My passion grew as my writing improved. It seemed like the better I got the more I wanted to do it. I’m sure you’ve been in that situation before as well, when you discovered your passion.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

So, when I look at how many hours I have in the day and where I want to spend my time. I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about the answer because I already know. It makes choosing how I spend my day so much easier because I know what the extraneous garbage is that takes up so much of my time and I know to just let that go. It’s amazing how setting priorities or goals unclutters your mind and your life.

Do I have regrets? No. Does that mean I am a perfect parent? No. It does mean I tried my best. I’m sure there are days I could’ve handled things better, but I’m sure every parent feels that way. Plus, I rediscovered my truest passion and I’m working on improving my craft, and that’s when I seem to be the happiest. Everything else is just extra stuff that used to take up my time. Now every minute counts and that’s how I want to spend my life. How about you? Have you thought about it? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Writing

Take your time

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a hot and busy week of writing and kids. I’m loving this summer weather. It’s hot and sticky which is perfect for this time of year.

Photo on Visualhunt

Today I’d like to talk about writing and the importance of taking your time with your projects. I tend to get a great idea and rush my story because I’m so excited about it. That excitement is okay because I get my rough draft down fast, however, by doing it this way, I end up missing little details that make my writing special.

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When I slow down and take my time, my writing is so much better. It may take me longer, but I’ll have a better chance of writing a story that will resonate with readers if I take my time, and I’ll have a better chance at finding the success I’ve been searching for as well.

I’m dating myself here, but remember that old slogan, “We will sell no wine before its time?” That’s the kind of attitude I need to apply to my writing. Why? Because with the self-publishing boom there are books released on to the market that aren’t ready.  They need editing or they lack structure and that means the reader is going to put it down.

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What this means is if you want to make it in the publishing world you have to write an amazing story. There are a lot of mediocre stories out there and if you want an agent, you have to make your story shine. You have to write a story that grabs their attention.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

For me, that means I have to slow down and ignore all the books that are getting published and trust my process. I don’t need to hurry and get my story out there. I need to trust that my characters will lead me in the right direction. I need to do this to take my writing to the next level. The level where I’ll get agents and publishers to pay attention to my writing. Oh, and my story has to be that good, too.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

When I say that, what I mean is it has to resonate with readers. It has to be a significant story, not one that’s predictable and boring. So take your time and develop your characters. Make them interesting and achingly human. Those are the kind of characters your readers will relate to and those are the kind of books that sell.

Then make your plot interesting and spine-tingling. Make it so the reader not only falls in love with your characters, but they’re cheering for them to reach their goals. Those are the books that sell.

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What about you? What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in blogging

Blogs to Check Out

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Summer break is here! Finally. I didn’t think it would ever get here. Winter was way too long this year. This summer I plan on finishing the two projects I’ve got going. I can’t wait. I’m very exciting about both of these stories. My revisions are going well, but slower than I’d like so cross your fingers for me that I’ll accomplish my goals this summer.

Now that I’ve gushed about summer break and my writing plans, I’d like to introduce to you some of the blogs I follow. I enjoy reading these and I thought some of my followers might enjoy them, too. So here they are.

 

The Bloggess:  http://thebloggess.com/

This is Jenny Lawson’s blog and she is hilarious. She’s so open and honest about dealing with her depression that she gives hope to others.

 

Kristen Lamb: https://authorkristenlamb.com/

She gives awesome advice to writers.

 

Writers helping writers: https://writershelpingwriters.net/2016/04/character-arc-common-reactions-change/

This is Angela Ackerman’s blog and she also gives awesome writerly advice.

 

I’m sick and so are you: https://imsickandsoareyou.com/

This is one of my blogger friends, Christine, and she writes with humor and heart.

 

Making peace with the wrong side of 40: https://makingpeacewiththewrongsideof40.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/the-purge-shoes/

This is another blogger friend, Cynthia, and she also writes with humor and heart.

 

But I smile anyway: https://butismileanyway.com/

This is another one of my blogger friends, Ritu, and she also writes with humor and heart.

 

Suzie Speaks: https://suzie81speaks.com/

Suzie’s blog is a great place to get blogging advice and life advice as well.

 

Just another Blog from a Woman:  https://justanotherblogfromawoman.blog/

This is my blogger friend, Haley, and she writes with humor and grace. She blogs about my kind of music a lot. J

 

So there you have it. Just a few blogs I follow. I follow many more, but I’m saving those for another post. I thought you might want to take a look at them and maybe make a new connection.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any favorite blogs you follow? Leave a link in the comments or their name. I just might check them out!

 

 

 

Posted in Writing

Do you Self-Sabotage?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after an amazing Memorial Day weekend. We had awesome weather and we were on the lake, listening to the waves lap the shore and the far off buzz of jet skis and speed boats. The scent of grilling meat filled the thick, hazy air. It was almost summer. It was so idyllic. We haven’t had that kind of a weekend in a long time. I also got some writing done. Boy did that feel good.

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But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about something that we all do to some extend or another. We self-sabotage. Why do we do it? In my opinion, we do it because we don’t believe we deserve to be successful, whether our goal is to be traditionally published or make the New York Times Bestsellers list. There’s an underlying belief deep in our subconscious that we don’t deserve to make our dreams come true. We sabotage ourselves in a variety of different ways. I’ve listed a few below. See if you recognize yourself.

The Procrastinator:

This person truly believes they want to accomplish their goals, but in reality, they find fifty million other things to do besides their writing. They’ll do housework, read Tarot cards, or just plain hang out on Facebook until all their time is sucked away.

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To remedy this situation, recognize when the procrastination bug hits you and stop. Take a deep breath and look at why you’re avoiding your writing.  Are you at a spot that’s difficult? Are you stuck? If so do something to get yourself moving again. Sometimes it’s best to step away from the project and go for a walk to clear your head. I’ve worked out many plot holes while traipsing through the woods and you can, too.

 

The Waffler:

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

This person also believes he wants to accomplish his goals. He’ll even seek out advice from Critique Partners and other experts in order to bring his writing to the next level. However, he won’t accept any of the advice given to him because he disagrees with it. He likes his story just the way it is. He’s not really looking to make his story better, he’s looking for someone to tell him how great he is.

To remedy this situation, you first have to recognize that you’re doing it and admit it to yourself. That’s the hardest step. Then you have to take steps to really listen to the advice from the experts you’re working with. As uncomfortable as that may be, that’s the only way you’re going to grow as a writer.

 

The Ego-maniac:

Photo on Visual hunt

This person believes his story is the best and even though he seeks out advice from experts he never ever takes it because they just don’t get his vision for his story. Sometimes that may be true, but not all the time and if you fall under this category you may want to take a step back and reexamine the feedback you’re getting. If more than one person is giving you the same advice, you need to consider it.

To remedy this situation, you have to again recognize yourself in the behavior and check your ego at the door. Establish a relationship with another writer and ask them to be your critique partner. You also might want to explain to them about your big ego, that way they won’t get frustrated with you when you argue with them over the changes they think you should make in your story. Then follow their advice. 🙂

 

The Doodler:

Photo credit: .bravelittlebird on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

This person is someone who writes but it’s more social than anything else. They join all the Facebook groups on writing and engage in all the Twitter chats and even belong to a writing group that meets once a week or once a month. They talk about the story they’re writing, but they rarely finish the story they’re working on. They just like talking about it.

To remedy this situation, you have to make the decision on whether you really want to finish your story or not. If you just enjoy the social aspects of talking about your work, that’s okay there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you do want to finish you’ll have to cut back on the socializing and put your nose to the grindstone.

So there you have it, four types of self-sabotage. Do you recognize yourself? If so what steps are you going to take to remedy the situation? Leave a comment! I love hearing from you!