Working Out the Brain

The human brain is a marvelous thing.


Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

Just like a muscle, it can be worked out until doing certain activities becomes easier. Memory can be improved by memorizing (imagine that). Reading can be improved by reading and writing. Sight reading sheet music can be improved by practicing piano. I could go on.

But similarly, if the brain’s not used in a certain activity often, it atrophies in that activity. It will struggle to perform at an efficient level.

All that said means, I haven’t written stories in a while and it’s showing. Last year I focused on editing, formatting, and promoting The Adventure, and I’m not complaining, but my ability to sit down and write a cohesive adventure story has atrophied.

I fully intended to post an adventure in January. Don’t look at the calendar, it’s embarrassing. There was a time I could fully write an adventure in three days. All eight endings written out, done, complete. That time is not now.

I can’t do the eighteen pull-ups I used to crank out either.

But, just like I’m getting back into my workout schedule, I’m sluggishly getting back into my writing schedule. My lesson has been learned, a little bit of story writing on a regular basis goes a long way in keeping my brain fit, as it were.

So, a little late, welcome to 2018. Thank you for your patience with me.

Thursday will see the start to this year’s first adventure story.

Hope to see you then.




At the Door of December

It’s that time of year again…already. I’ve no idea where 2017 went, but it’s interesting to look back for a second and contemplate.

Last year this time I hoped to self publish one of the adventures in 2017. It was my next big project. I hoped you could, “hold a hard copy of an adventure and explore all the different endings at your leisure.” I’m a bit surprised and pleased to be able to say this goal was accomplished. In fact, you can explore three of the adventure stories at your leisure! (Check out The Adventure on Amazon.)

Now it’s time to breath for a bit. Every December I step back from writing to focus on family and friends, to breath and relax.

This time also allows my brain to ruminate on what, exactly, the next year’s goals should be. Nothing will be decided until January, but this is the time to start those fires burning in my brain.

In other words, I won’t be posting again until January. If you’ve read this far into this post, thanks. =) With everything that demands your attention, I appreciate your support of this blog and my writing.

I promise to return in January with two things.

  • One, some goals for 2018 and
  • Two, a whole new adventure story to explore. It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a new adventure for the blog. It’s about time to get back to it.

What did you achieve this year? What will next year hold for you?



P.S. If you’re wondering about the Kickstarter rewards, I’ll be posting updates about those on my Facebook page. Be assured, I’m still working on the Hardcover. It’ll be ready soon. =)

Defining Success


Writing Sidekick sleeping…he’ll sleep anywhere.

My husband and I have this routine we follow almost every night before we drift into dream land. No planning went into this routine, no preconceived notion forms how it’s followed but over the years it’s developed into a habit.

As we lay there about to drift off, we let everything from the day come spilling out in conversation. Logic would say dinner would be a better time for this and my sleep habit would agree, but reality doesn’t usually agree with logic.

So the other night, my husband and I were discussing the deep matters of the world, workout schedules, work grievances, body aches and pains, you know, the really pressing stuff, when we stumbled onto the topic of success.

I’m a worrier. As you can imagine, my worry level is up to the red when it comes to The Adventure, which launches on Amazon the end of this month. As we discussed this, Nate commented, “Define what success is for you. People will tell you all sorts of things but if you know what you want, then you know if you’ve accomplished what you desired no matter what others say.”

This stuck in my brain like a fly in honey. It wriggled around until it became fully immersed in my thoughts.

Regular, traditional publishing says you have to sell thousands of copies before a book is a success. Some say you have to make a living off of your writing and then you’re a success. Others gauge it on whether or not they’re familiar with your name, or if they’ve heard of your book before. Some point to Amazon reviews and press releases, interviews and book signings.

By many of these, I’ve a long way to go before I’ve achieved success and if I let these things define what I’m striving for, I may never reach the point where I’m satisfied with my accomplishments. Ouch.

But Success, as according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as:
  • A: degree or measure of succeeding
  • B: favorable or desired outcome; also :the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
  • C: one that succeeds

Interesting…only one part of the definition deals with ‘wealth, favor, or eminence,’ and even those have varying degrees. A and C both rely heavily on what success is defined as in the first place. So really, the ‘favorable or desired outcome’ is where we each need to focus.

What, to each one of us, is the favorable or desired outcome that defines success?

The Adventure Kickstarter ImageFor The Adventure, I think achieving my goal for the year, as I outlined in my last post, The Trap in Dreaming, defines success.

That goal, specifically stated, was: Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost by the end of 2017.

Thanks to the amazing backers of The Adventure Kickstarter, that goal will be accomplished November 30th. Thus, this year has been a success. Period. Dot. Done. =)

What to you is success in your own life? Don’t let others define it for you.





First Editor

Mom...My first editor =)Better late than never! Here’s a post that should have rolled on Sunday.

There are those who support in words, and then there are those who support, encourage, and cheer by actions. And it’s the actions that speak the louder. When I was younger, this sort of difference wasn’t clear to me, but as I look back, it’s what shaped and formed my passion and confidence.

Of course this is a Mother’s Day post (albeit a few days late =(…) but as I sat back to write, I realized something. I’ve very few memories of just my Mom. Not because she wasn’t around but because she always was (and still is.) She’s always served in the background, always been there to cheer, to sing with (don’t get me started on her voice. I love it!) Always supported her family in a beautiful, quiet and unwaveringly loving way.

Those few memories I have of just her and I are old, faded around the edges like a worn photograph. They’re memories of walking to the post office or grocery shopping. These memories are worn because, most of them, are from when I was very young.

The memories that haven’t lost their crisp edges are the ones that still touch me today. Let me explain. She read every one of my school papers, marked the grammar and corrected my tenses and word choice. This isn’t a one time memory, this is a life choice that imparted to me lessons I now live by. She helped me improve at the same time as she told me she loved every word in my papers, all with that sparkle in her eyes that told me she said true. I’ve never doubted her praise.

When I went to college, I was lost at first because I didn’t have my live-in editor. How was I to know my papers were up to par? Who would catch my spelling and grammar issues?

The magical part, though, was her corrections were there, silent supports in my mind guiding my words and keeping my writing to the standard she taught me. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in large part because of her. One, because of the work ethic she showed me and two, because of those silent corrections in my writing.

Those two things still guide me as I continue to write.

I’m not sure I’ve ever said Thank You. That’s sad and wrong of me. Her quiet but formidable spirit hides in the background, easy to take for granted, but she’s always there. Today, I bring it forward and say Thank You, Mom.

And to those Moms who struggle because they’re buried in the chaos of every day, keep at it, your dedication will pay off. I’m not a Mother yet but I can admire your strength and the beauty of all you do. Whether it’s correcting school papers or you child is fascinated by something else, that sparkle in your eye when your child strives to attain that goal means the world to him or her. That sparkle will be the ballast for their spirit down the road when they must ‘adult’ in the world. I guarantee it.

Blessings until next time,


P.S. My mother has also Beta read The Adventure for me. This beautiful woman still keeps me in line =)

The Value of People Amidst the Chaos

I would never have learned to ride a motorcycle without the support of certain key people. Fear and the resistance of time played too strongly in my mind for me to break through that barrier all by my lonesome self.

I’m not a bold person by nature. So my husband finding a motorcycle I could touch the ground on happened because he cared enough about my dreams to urge me forward.

Likewise, taking the class to learn happened because my neighbor wanted to learn as well, and she loved the idea of hanging out together. She encouraged me on when the bike flew from under me and I hit the ground.

This reminds me strongly of the verses in the Bible that say, “Two are better than one…For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Whether you believe in the Bible or not, there’s a lot of truth in those verses. Our society emphasizes personal strength. We glorify the person who did something on his or her own, but we often forget the quiet supporters who stood behind the person and urged him on when the storms threatened to drown him.

This creates a false image in our minds of what true strength looks like. We think achievements must be all our own or we’ve somehow failed. This sets us up to fall…and often we’re alone when we hit the ground.

This past week has emphasized the power behind having a team as opposed to going it alone. We are made for connection.

I wrote last week about my struggle. The Fligiwagit! moment when I received yet another rejection and the tears that followed.

It was my husband in that moment who encouraged me past the tears. It was my dad who started asking questions about who else I might look at for editing. It was a friend who offered to lay a fresh set of eyes on the manuscript for Moonrise Mountain.

I could go on. There were numerous people who saw my bleeding knees and reached to pick me up.

As Jeff Goins encourages, I’m finding my tribe. And, since last week, I’ve found an editor and continue to move forward. All because of the people encouraging me on.

People are beautiful and amazing. Don’t hesitate to reach out. Bring them along side you in your dreams and you’ll be amazed at the joy it can bring.



Chasing Dreams Amidst the Storms


img_0608I’ve determined my fear will not stop me from riding a motorcycle. This does not mean, however, that the road will not throw debris in my face.

Similarly, just because I’ve determined to push ahead with self publishing Moonrise Mountain, my first adventure story, does not mean there will not be hiccups in the process. Rib cracking, loud and painful hiccups.

This last month I worked on expanding Moonrise Mountain to fit in a book rather than a blog. I’ve formatted it and put in page directions (adventures have lots of those).

Then looking at it, I admitted professional editing would be a good idea. I want to produce as professional a product as possible. Now, please understand, I’m an English Major. There’s a bit of pride in the way for this. (That pesky pride, always getting beneath my feet!)

So I reached out to an editor, who I researched and thought would be a good fit, to see about the details to have Moonrise Mountain edited.

screen-shot-2017-02-27-at-6-56-22-pmLess than 12 hours later, I receive an email back. The basic gist…editor’s not interested, find someone else. Fligiwagit! (That’s as close as I get to cursing.) And, to be honest, he probably didn’t mean to be so abrupt.

And now, after a few days, I can see that. But immediately after reading the email, I wanted to cry, and did. (The crying bit might have something to do with several rejections that came in the same week for Dryad. I’m keeping a folder on my computer. Once I have enough, I’m printing them out and burning them in a nice s’more making campfire. Anyone want to join me?)

Anyway, as the day went on, my ire rose and my stubborn streak kicked in.

Two steps forward, one step back. I’m still making progress.

On an up note, I may have found an illustrator for the story. And I’m super excited if it works out. I’ll share some of the awesomeness as soon as I can.

Until then, keep after those dreams because, despite the mud and bugs thrown in your face, it’s totally worth it.



Frustrated Childhood Dreams

dsc_0612In my childhood, my dad always had a motorcycle sitting in the garage. Every spring he’d head outside to bring the beast back to life with some tuning and then a couple sputtering coughs and finally it’d roar with joy.

If we were lucky, my sisters and I would get to ride with dad along the dirt roads and through forestland near our home. Not a care in the world, I’d lean back and grin with the feel of the bike and the world around me full of warm weather and life.

I’d dream of driving my own motorcycle and exploring the world. I’d see new places, introduced to me by the smell in to my nostrils before I even left the road. The sights would be that much clearer because they weren’t framed by the outline of a car window and were brought to me through the rush of wind on my face. The possibilities were limited only by my imagination.

As years passed, that dream sat in the back of my head, a tiny nugget of “I wish.” But with that nugget grew a malignant dose of reality. I realized, at some point, that most motorcycles sit too far off the ground for me to hold up with my short legs. (4’ 11″ of total height equals a very short inseam =)) Mixed in there came the realization of just how fast a motorcycle can go without the comforting metal frame of a car.

When my husband got his motorcycle a few summers ago, I thrilled to ride with him, but as soon as I threw my leg over that back seat, all those reality fears swarmed in to smother me. No longer could I simply sit back and grin, enjoying the wind in my face. The road passed by with alarming speed barely inches from the bottoms of our feet. Cars and trucks passed within feet of us, blowing their exhaust into our nostrils as they rumbled by, and the motorcycle itself tilted farther into the turns than I realized as a child.

img_0609My “I wish” clouded over, smothered in exhaust and noise. The desire still pulled at me but drawing it out, even to think about it, felt doomed. But my husband knew my childhood joy. Despite my reservations, he continued to talk about finding me a motorcycle and encouraged me to take rides with him. Then, last summer, he pulled the desire out of the sludge of exhaust by finding me a motorcycle I could touch the ground on. Never before could I fully lay the soles of my feet on the ground when straddling a motorcycle and the reality that maybe, just maybe, I could make the “I wish” come true filled me with a hesitant glimmer of hope.

Excitement and terror warred within me. I signed up for the class to get my endorsement and away I went to face my reality demons. For two days, I breathed down my terror, which sat like a sickness in my stomach, and let the excitement carry me. Even when, at the end of the first day, I totally messed up, and the motorcycle flew from under me, I found the excitement enough to put me back on the bike.

I knew then that, without a goal, the motorcycle would sit in my garage, taunting me that my reality demons were stronger than my courage. I determined to not give myself a choice. If it was sunny out, I was riding to work.

Every morning the sun lit my morning and I swallowed down that now very familiar terror. Maybe four or five weeks into it, I realized I was grinning on my way into work. Getting on the bike still terrified me, placed a deep ache in my stomach that threatened to keep me from following through, but actually being on the motorcycle brought me back to that kid, enjoying the wind and the sun.

With the New Year, just like most everyone else, I’ve looked at the coming year and contemplated what 2017 should bring. Especially with writing, this is always my point of re-motivation, where I find the drive to keep pressing forward.

In shock and sorrow, I’m seeing a trend in my writing just like in the “I wish” of riding a motorcycle. The thrill and joy are becoming clouded by the noise of reality.

Several years ago I jumped in with both feet and started my blog in conjunction with posting on other social media sites. The thrill of it left me grinning.

img_0607Now, the thought of working on a post feels very much like breathing in the exhaust of other cars. My goal to expand my platform led to more and more stuff and less focus to the point that the blog takes precedence over my other writing despite the fact that novels are my passion.

This isn’t to say I’m quitting the blog altogether. However, just as with the motorcycle, I found actually doing the activity I enjoyed most returned my enthusiasm. I had to cut down on the noise, take the fall, and press forward.

This is an extremely difficult decision for me but this year I’m looking at self-publishing the first adventure story and I need focus. I’ll continue to post updates and perhaps short stories as they arise; maybe I’ll rerun some of the adventures. I’m thrilled to share how the self-publishing thing goes and I plan on still checking in on other blogs, but for now, please understand if I’m quiet on my end.

The support from everyone here humbles me, and I promise to return in the future. Until then, I wish you the best of luck with 2017.