5 Friday Favorites ~ National Smile Week Wonders

5 Friday Favorites ~ National Smile Week Wonders

Living, Writing
My eyelids fluttered open, and I paused to take stock of my upper body. Throat? All good, actually. Nose? Still a little stuffy, but I could breathe through it. A significant improvement. Head? Much less sinus pressure and fog. Final assessment? Feeling about 70%. I checked my phone for the time. 11:30 a.m. Time to climb out of bed. I stretched once more before sweeping the covers off, swinging my legs over the edge, and finally stepping into the day. Sleeping so late felt decadent, even if it was a healing sleep. I noted my gratitude for the significant improvement in my well-feeling, that it was only a case of severe allergies knocked out with medicine and sleep and not some lingering summer cold that would plague my last few…
Read More
Self Doubt and My 5 Friday Favorites ~ Books Edition

Self Doubt and My 5 Friday Favorites ~ Books Edition

Writing
This post may include affiliate links. Almost five months in, and I find myself having a bit of an existential crisis with my blog. I have fallen into many traps - the trap of feeling like my blog needs to make money, the trap of feeling like my blog will never make money, the trap of feeling like I need to change my niche so that it will make money, the trap of comparing my blog to other blogs, the trap of cranking out content and starting to think of it as a chore, the trap of not being “efficient” or “effective” with promotion and learning, and so much more. I think these are traps that many people fall into as bloggers. When I started this blog, I set out…
Read More
Rumi: Wise Words of a 13th Century Poet

Rumi: Wise Words of a 13th Century Poet

Living, Writing
Let’s get a little bit personal on the blog today. Like most people, I’ve had my share of ups and downs. I’ve made hard choices and dealt with the fallout, whether positive or negative. I’ve searched for where I belong in the world, moving cross-country 5 times since I’ve been old enough to do so. As strange as it seems, there is one thing that often helps me through the hard times: words. Whether it’s advice from someone close, song lyrics, bible verses, or quotes, words become a type of mantra, something to either cling to with hope or to validate feelings. One poet who always seems to manifest for me in times of need is Rumi. It’s odd to me that someone who lived over 800 years ago could…
Read More
Writing Wednesday ~ Quick and Dirty Tips to Help Uncover Bigger Issues

Writing Wednesday ~ Quick and Dirty Tips to Help Uncover Bigger Issues

Writing
“Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ― Mark Twain When it comes to writers, everyone has their own writing and editing process, and there are lots of people out there giving advice on how to go about it. I’ve taken and taught classes and read and researched the topic, and I’ve found most people to recommend revising big issues first while completely ignoring line edits until last. But I want to turn this idea on its head.   Writing is hard. Editing can be even harder. Sitting down to read your first draft after putting months or years of work into it can be disheartening. Who wouldn’t want to throw the thing…
Read More
Music, Writing, and Inspiration – My Noveling Trinity

Music, Writing, and Inspiration – My Noveling Trinity

Writing
One of my favorite things to do when working on a novel or other lengthy writing project is to create a playlist or “soundtrack” for the novel. It can help me get into the main character’s head or capture the feeling or mood of a story. This is especially helpful when I’m writing out in public. I’ll plop down in a coffee shop with my laptop, plug in my earbuds, and be transported into the world I am creating. The playlist comes in handy again later after I’ve stepped away to come back with fresh eyes. I’ll pull it up and listen to it on repeat in the revision stage of writing, as I am now with Too Far Gone, to get things just right. With this story, it’s important…
Read More
Wednesday Wisdom – Gratitude

Wednesday Wisdom – Gratitude

Living, Teaching, Traveling, Writing
Phew! This blogging thing bends my brain and captivates my attention in ways I’m not used to! My goal is to share thoughtful, quality posts consistently on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday basis, and though I am working hard to do so, I can’t seem to keep my days straight. It’s like being in my classroom in Connecticut on M/W/F and continually telling my students I’ll see them on T/Th (which I frequently do) when I teach in Massachusetts on those days. But so far I just haven’t quite gotten it down. So, we’ll consider yesterday a bonus post (hooray!), and today we’ll do something light and fun. I’ve been feeling really lucky to be working full time this summer on something I’m passionate about, so I want to take a moment to…
Read More
Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger Recognition Award

Writing
Wow! I feel extremely honored to have been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award! This is particularly meaningful because it is an award for hard work and dedication to a blog, awarded by someone who knows just how much work it really entails, another blogger. How did I get the award? I was nominated by World of Nabeeda. I would like to thank her for this honor and recognition. Please swing by and visit her wonderful blog as well. [caption id="attachment_275" align="alignnone" width="214"] Blogger Recognition Award[/caption] How did my blog start? Writing has always been one of my first loves, though I had only dabbled in blogging until recently. I’d been wanting to create a place where I could share my thoughts and ideas and just exercise that writing muscle,…
Read More
Artistic Influence and Inspiration

Artistic Influence and Inspiration

Living, Writing
Growing up in San Diego, I thought I understood heat. Aside from the towns sprinkling the coast, Southern California is little more than a desert, after all. In July, August, and September, temps could easily top 100 degrees. In high school, we’d be dismissed early for heat days rather than snow days if temperatures were predicted over 90. Despite all that, it wasn’t until I visited my grandparents in Florida for July and August one summer that I truly experienced heat. The dry heat of San Diego was nothing compared to the thick humidity that soaked into my lungs after stepping out of the air conditioned airport in Orlando. And yet somehow, my cousin and I, desperate for that summer glow, would tug on our bathing suits and lay out on…
Read More
Memorial Day – for My Father and Others Who Have Served

Memorial Day – for My Father and Others Who Have Served

Living, Writing
Today is Monday, May 29th. Memorial Day. It is a day laden with multiple layers of connotation: most importantly, remembrance of those who died while protecting our freedoms, but also, the unofficial first day of summer, a long weekend off from work, the ushering in of nice weather, and for me, this year, the second anniversary of marriage to my husband. I grew up in a military family. My dad served in the Navy until his retirement. His father and my mom’s father served as well. My husband’s family is very similar. My maternal grandfather is buried among the uniform white rows of headstones that make my throat constrict in sadness no matter how many times I see them. There is nothing quite like a military cemetery, except maybe a…
Read More
Too Far Gone

Too Far Gone

Writing
I'm getting super excited about summer break in two weeks and all the extra time to write, blog, and revise my novel, Too Far Gone. I'm hoping to start looking for beta readers in June, so if you're an avid reader and are interested in helping me out with constructive feedback, please let me know. I would be forever grateful! In the meantime, here's a little snippet:   I stepped into English, and there she sat – in my chair. Well, I assumed it was her. I could only see her hair—a sheath of dandelion, honey and lemon in layers that looked sun-touched—but this late in the semester everyone sat in the same unassigned seats day after day. No one else would’ve taken my desk today. The intrusion annoyed me,…
Read More