Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Solstice

Happy Solstice to you all. The shortest day of the year has arrived for me, but depending on your time zone the Winter Solstice might be on the 22nd. The longest night could be worse. If you live in the northern polar regions, you'll be getting 24 hours of night for the Winter Solstice. You all know I'm a sunshine, warm weather loving kind of gal so I'll be glad to see the days getting longer. We've had endless days of clouds and gloomy weather here though the temperatures have been mild until the last few days. And warm is coming back around for Christmas. So no white Christmas this year.

I have a hundred more things to get done before Christmas though we did finally get the tree up on Sunday night. It looks lovely. The gifts for Christmas Eve with the family are already nestled beneath the boughs. Still lots to do before that day gets here.

Some men, if they have twice as much to do, will do it twice as well.
The Old Farmer's Almanac, 1902

Christmas Day will be a full moon. I don't know what that means but it should mean something. Hopefully, it doesn't mean anything crazy will happen today unless the craziness is that peace on Earth breaks out.

A little too late is much too late.  German Proverb

I won't be posting on Wednesday but I'll be back next Monday. Please stop by IWSG today for my last post of the year on that site.

And some useless trivia from the Old Farmer's Almanac: A Saint Bernard can make its way through snow as deep as 15 feet.

And in case the season brings out the Scrooge in you:  Santa Claus has the right idea...visit people only once per year.  Victor Borge

I wish you all the very best and Merriest Christmas. Hope you all are safe and loved this holiday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

White Light by Anna Simpson Cover Reveal


White Light by Anna Simpson

Publisher: Three Worlds Press

Genre: Cozy

Release Date: December 22/2015


About The Book:

Emma never dreamed of being a super-sleuth. In her mind, she’s more Scooby Doo than Nancy Drew and when her nosy neighbor, Mrs. Perkins, drags her to an anniversary party to solve a mystery, she rolls her eyes, buys a box of chocolates and hops in the car. What’s a party without an attack on its host—or more accurately on the host’s grandson, sparking an allergic reaction and moving the party to the hospital waiting room. Suddenly, everyone is a suspect. Emma and Mrs. Perkins, along with Great Aunt Alice (a spirit with boundary issues who keeps stepping into Emma’s body like a new dress and playing matchmaker), dive into an investigation that almost gets Emma killed along with the man they are trying to protect. With so many reasons to kill him and so much to be gained if he died, Emma and Mrs. Perkins must unravel the tenuous ties that point to every member of his family as potential killers. Even if it means going back to the psych ward, Emma will protect her friend and this innocent man. What good is freedom if it's haunted with guilt?

Author Links:

Facebook | Twitter | Blog

About the Author:

Anna Simpson lives near the Canadian-US border with her family. Even though she's lived in several places in British Columbia, her free spirit wasn't able to settle down until she moved back to her hometown. She is easy to find though, if you know the magic word -- emaginette. Do an internet search using it and you'll see what I mean. :-) END OF HTML

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Joy Blog Hop

Much thanks to Elizabeth Otten at Liz's Random Ponderings for organizing the first annual Christmas Joy Blog Hop. The participants will share one of all of things from this list that brings them the joy of the season.
*A special Christmas memory
*Favorite Christmas song/carol
*Share why you celebrate Christmas
*Favorite decorations, favorite food or treats, etc.
*The best gift you ever gave or received

Growing up with a large family and now having one of my own, there are special memories from every year. Picking only one, I would name last year when my daughter came home after being in Morocco. It was a stressful time for all of us and would have been more so if I'd known then what I know now.
There are lots of Christmas songs I enjoy and couldn't pick a favorite. One that always brings a tear to my eye is I'll Be Home for Christmas. I missed spending the day with my family when I first was married and now my own children are grown and don't spend the entire holiday with us. I know how my parents must have felt all those years when we left the fold one by one.
We celebrate Christmas to honor the birth of the Savior. I pray every year to thank God for what I have and ask forgiveness for the way the human race treats each other.
No favorite foods or decorations though my children have favorite tree ornaments.
I received so many wonderful gifts I couldn't name one but the Christmas 20 years ago when we got a tiny little kitten for the kids was wonderful. My oldest son named her Merry, of course, and she blessed our family with her love for 18 years.
For traditions, we always decorate the tree together. That may not seem like something special, but with as busy as everyone is, it's difficult to all get together. Sometimes,we don't manage until a few days before the actual day. Last year, it wasn't up until December, 21st. We're hoping for the 20th this year.

What is bringing you joy this season? Are you ready for Christmas? Is tree decorating part of your traditions? Do you play the music of the season in your house, car or work? Don't forget to visit the other participants. You can find them on Liz's blog.

"It is doubtful if any gift could be bought more precious than the adoration of a heart which has put out all hatred, self-pity and desire for revenge."  Charlotte Bronte

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

As We All Get Busy

There were years when this time of year, well all times of the year, when I was so busy I used to hang a 2 X 3 foot calendar on the kitchen wall. Each day would be filled with schedules for the kids' activities and the few events my husband and I managed to squeeze in for ourselves. Four school age kids, all playing sports 12 months of the year, my husband and I both coaching, me trying to write and both of us with full time jobs. The kids had other things going on besides sports too such as homework projects, volunteer work and social events. I seldom finished laundry before 11 pm nearly every night. Those days are gone and despite people warning me that I would miss them, I really don't. I like having some me time.

But during those years, I kept up my membership in my writing groups. I would miss some meetings and never made the yearly conferences. Meetings were so relaxing as I sat back while other volunteers ran the event and brought in guest speakers. I just didn't have time to get further involved.

Now I hold board positions in both my writing groups. It's not a ton of time but it's more than if I was still sitting back relaxing. I feel like I owe some service to the groups that have done so much for me.

I have a lot of writing work to take care of at the moment, but because I now work from home, I get other things accomplished I didn't used to in the days of the big calendar. Christmas decorations are up and Christmas cards will be done by the end of the week. I used to dread those two chores because there was NO time. Holidays are so much more relaxed when we're not so rushed. We won't put the tree up until my daughter comes home from college. Tradition.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
Allen Saunders

Though I didn't want to do it, I ordered a new phone so I'll be home to sign for it when it arrives. My cell phone reception has steadily deteriorated over the past year. My son who works for AT&T told me something as simple as trees growing taller could cause that. So my beloved iPhone 4 is being replaced by a 6 so that I can make calls through my WiFi connection. It will be nice to not have to stand at the back door or go outside to talk on the phone.

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." Steve Jobs

Tomorrow I'm going to play some Christmas tunes while I work on the edits for the next Futhark book. I'm excited how my publisher is pushing those books. I can't wait to get back to my WIP, the second Galactic Outlaw book. The first one will be released later this month. I appreciate my publisher more every day when I hear stories of another well known romance small press who is struggling. Authors haven't been paid and are having trouble getting their rights back as that ship flounders. I can't give out the publisher's name but I'm glad they rejected me years ago.

"Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life."
Lawrence Kasdan

What was the busiest time of your life? Do you love the work you do whether it be writing or the job that pays the bills? Do you still use a landline for a phone or only use a cell? Do you have good reception or is this only my problem? Do you do a lot of decorating for the holidays?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Question of the Month And the Spirit of the Season

Before anything else, I would like to direct you to the IWSG site, where we have another guest post from the awesome Jessica Page Morrell. Today she's giving advice about what to do with that second draft. And she provides a checklist! Check it out.

The first Monday of the month brings a new question from Michael G. D'Agostino. Each month Michael proposes an insightful question and the blog hop members share their answers. You can find the entire list over at Michael's blog, A Life Examined. So this month's question:

Which one social convention would you get rid of?

This is a good one. There are a few that should change but probably will be around a long time yet. I'm not sure how this works around the world, but in the USA, when two people marry, one changes their name to the others. Why? It really causes a lot of paperwork for the person changing their name and often years of confusion. Just keep the name you're born with. I have a few female friends who didn't change their names after marriage and it is often remarked upon. There is no legal requirement to do it. I'm good friends with a gay couple who didn't change either of their last names when they were finally permitted to marry. Is it the norm across the world for a woman to take her husband's name? It is all so needless. I changed my last name when I got married but my husband's name was so much better in ways I won't describe.

I'm sure as I read across the bloghop, I'll find many opinions that will be more interesting than mine. I'll probably say at least twenty times that , yes, I should have said that.

Last Saturday, my local writers' group had our annual Christmas party. No one in our local chapter is offended by calling it a Christmas instead of a holiday party. It was in the lovely home of one of our members and everyone provided a dish for the buffet. We also had a small gift exchange. It was so relaxing and fun to sit around and talk with these people, many of whom I've known for years. That time woke my Christmas spirit a little.

On Sunday, we went for brunch with most of my husband's extended family. Many of these people we see only once per year so it was great fun. Again, a little spark added a flame to that Christmas spirit.

At home, I have a small stack of books my daughter requested for Christmas gifts. They're all non-fiction books that I have to order rather than something I can find on a store shelf. So later today, I might wrap those in pretty Christmas paper. On Tuesday, I'm going to drag out the Christmas decorations and give the house some holiday spirit.

Later this week, I'm having lunch with an old friend from my teaching days. We get together a few times per year. It's like we've never been apart. Can't wait.

I hear many people say they can't get in the holiday spirit and since my kids are grown up, there have been days that I've felt the same way. Listening to the news deflates the spirit even more. But I've discovered where to find that elusive feeling of goodwill toward all. The company of beloved friends and family fills me withe a feeling of quiet joy and contentment that I wish I could share with all. I hope the Christmas spirit wraps its warm arms around you all.

Do you know what to do with your second draft? What do you think about people changing their names when they get married? Has the holiday spirit grabbed you? What gets you excited for this time of year?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG: December

Its the first Wednesday of the month and that mean IWSG, the once per month blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. For the hop, please share your latest insecurity or even lift our spirits by sharing your victories. You can find all the participants at the IWSG site and join yourself if you haven't already. You can also join the IWSG Facebook page.

And speaking of Alex, his publisher is running a special on the first book in his bestselling space opera series, CassaStar. Only .99 for a short period. I'm giving my personal recommendation though warning you that you'll want the next books too.

Earlier this week, I read this post by my friend, Sharon Ledwith. She read my mind. I recently finished my local writing group's 50/50 challenge. The rules are to write at least 50 words a day for fifty days straight. Fifty words is a pretty small number but the objective is to get in the habit of writing every day and most participants write many more words than the minimum. It is a great exercise and not near as demanding at NaNo. It carried me through more than half of my latest WIP even though I also had to spend some time on edits for two other books during the fifty days. I have a plan to finish this book by the start of 2016. But I need a break.

Between helping my husband do his paint job, doing all the outside work to prepare for winter, Thanksgiving, and all the social events of having the family home, I've been really busy. I haven't even had time to read. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, transporting and a million other things have taken up every minute of the day. It's tough to be creative when you're overworked with other responsibilities. So like Sharon suggested, I'm taking a vacation. My husband and I are going away for just two days, today and tomorrow, but we're going to just enjoy ourselves without worry about writing, painting or money. The last tuition payment has been made and we've even started some minor house repairs. And now we're taking the time to enjoy ourselves even if only for two relaxing days.

Many writers advise others to write every day, but we also need to recharge. Take time to read, exercise, and take vacations. I will probably have moments of guilt because I'm letting my characters hang until I get back to them. I might feel some guilt about not visiting as many IWSGers today as I usually do on the first Wednesday. But I'm going to have fun and then I'll get back to work.

Have you read CassaStar yet? Do you write everyday? Do you need a vacation? Are you wrapping up your plans for 2015?