Max Under The Stars

My favorite short story by one of my favorite authors, Anne Frasier, was released on Audible today.

I’m the narrator, so in a weird, “this-isn’t-real-is-it?” sort of way, it’s my release day, too.

Max Under The Stars is my first foray into audio book narration. There is a ton of technical, non-performance related work that goes into recording an audio book from your home, and I’m still learning how to navigate this path, so I’m a nervous mess that it is finally out there. Max has brought me a lot of joy as a writer and I’m proud to be a part of this project which is dear to my hardwired-for-writing heart. My hope is that Max will find a special spot in the hearts of other writers, too.

A writer is born – and his name is Max. Follow Max on his lifelong quest to produce the perfect novel. Touching, irreverent, and hilarious.

Available at Audible.com

How To Make Stress Your Friend

I’m in the wee infancy of my “after forty” years, and I’m just now beginning to comprehend the possibilities of this new life. An added bonus to this comprehension is realizing I don’t have to place harsh judgement on what came before. I can look back on Heather: Part One with compassion for what it was (and joy for all the happy bits) and let it go. I still own all of my baggage, but I don’t have to carry it with me. I also don’t have to destroy it. I’m allowing my baggage to exist, while accepting that I am not my baggage.

I am only the person I choose to be in any given moment.

After several years of personal challenges that have worn me down, I began searching earlier this year for a way to rise above them or for an effective way to cope with what I was slowly learning I could not control. (Serenity prayer, anyone?) My stress had reached an all time high and has shown no signs of retreating. It’s caused memory loss, foggy thinking, fatigue, health issues, weight gain, and despair. I began to believe stress was slowly killing me, which left me with one of two choices: do better or die.

I’ve made the choice to DO BETTER, and it’s a choice I have to make every day.

So with this new mindset, I signed up for the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Becoming a Resilient Person: The Science of Stress Management and Promoting Well-Being. I finished the eight week course offered by Clay Cook of Washington University (via edX) last month. I learned a lot and I’m taking action to become more resilient. I’ve signed up for a second course, The Science of Happiness, which begins in September. I’m also reading Fight Fat After Forty by Pamela Peeke, M. D. which focuses on the importance of stress-resilience in breaking the stress-fat cycle.

I have a list of recommended reads to last me a while.

It’s my hope that steps toward better self-care will not only make me healthier and happier, but that my writing goals will become more manageable and less anxiety-inducing. It’s damn difficult to string words together when you can’t think clearly, and I haven’t been able to think clearly in a long time.

If any of you are having a hard time coping with stress, I’d be more than happy to share my recommended reads with you or lend you a virtual shoulder to lean on. Everyone faces difficulties in life, and we should never be afraid to reach out for help.

Summertime Sadness

“I’m on fire, I feel it everywhere
Nothing scares me anymore”

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

To Post or Not To Post?

Creative Commons License

The Harvest Writer by John O’Nolan

When I was a child, I kept a daily diary. I scribbled important thoughts and recorded important events (everything felt important to me back then) in pages I believed were kept safe by a shoddy lock. I had an active imagination and a curious disposition which often got me into trouble with my evangelical relatives, so putting those words in a private book helped me keep them from opinionated adults and cousins with a proclivity to snitch on the girl they believed needed saving.

Having a personal blog is a lot like keeping a diary, and while the format is conducive to confession and can act as a form of therapy, you remove the lock when you hit publish. Anyone is free to read and judge, and even if you have a private blog open only to approved readers, or you moderate or close comments on a public blog, nothing is ever truly private on the internet. And not everyone is going to read your words with kind eyes.

I’m really tired of feeling the need to edit or remove posts…

So after years of blog-hopping and making friends with others on similar creative paths, I’ve continued to keep a web presence so agents would be able to see who I was if a query from me ever landed in their inbox. My obsessive need to share with the blogging public has waned with the advent of Twitter. Posting regularly here has become more difficult when I’m not actively promoting a release or announcing news. I already dish about my daily life with friends on Facebook and Twitter and rehashing it here simply for the sake of having content feels futile. Trying to continually “keep it real” feels more like “keeping it depressing”. Life is hard, y’all! And if my updates can’t offer a positive break from difficult intricacies, I’ve decided I’d rather not post.

Luckily, I can offer you a brief, positive update: I’m an active member of a virtual writer’s colony (I’ll post more about this in the future), and I’m actively working on an adult mystery/suspense novel with series potential. I’m just not actively posting here, and I’m okay with that. I hope you are, too.

Until we meet again, I wish all of you a happy spring.

May we all be renewed and ready for what lies ahead.

Don’t Go Gentle

I could let the next few days slide quietly into the New Year with words inside me bottled up and broken, unwritten to all and unspoken. I could, but I won’t.

I wasted this year on worry and fear instead of spending it on words. I am not proud of this, but I will not claim that 2013 was non-productive because of multiple events that occurred outside of my control. There were many of those, but the truth is that I did not control the things I could have, and that’s on me.

I am going to own my four-letter-word stuff.

I will report that I wrapped up a fun, three-year run as Assistant Editor for Book End Babes this month. The website will retire in a few days, but the Facebook and Twitter pages will continue to offer good read recommendations.

My writing plans for January will remain mum for now. I’ve decided to only share news on finished work this coming year. I’m going to write for my eyes only and behind a closed door. I will share my sanctuary with a space heater during the cold months, though.

His name is Holmes.

Holmes. Spreader of heat. Hoarder of secrets.

Holmes. Spreader of heat. Hoarder of secrets.

I’m sad to say that I lost three Betta fish this year. THREE! A small, silly sadness to some, but Klaus lived more than two years. He was my constant. I upgraded his tank, and then he tanked. No name #2 lived less than a week, and Vladamir died earlier today. I don’t want to be responsible for yet another aquatic death, so I will be delivering the cursed Betta bowl to the trash tomorrow.

I hope all of you are happy with your year in review. If not, no worries. Let it go. Move on.

Make 2014 awesome one day and one word at a time.

Planning with Purpose

I recently purchased a Day-Timer® FamilyPlus ™ purple planner for 2014. My 2013 planner was pink, but sadly forgotten once we received news of my husband’s job loss in January. I know it’s only November, but I’m prepping for the New Year now. No do-overs for the year allowed, I know, so I’m striving for a DO BETTER instead.

I’m a wife and mother first, a writer second. Planning is not optional.

Raising a family is no easy task, especially when my cognitive function isn’t cooperating with my intentions, but it’s the most important job I have, and as my oldest is a teen and my other two are tweens, I’m running out of time before my work becomes their own.

I’m not trying to imply writing is easy, but mistakes on the page can be corrected with editing. Kids? Not so much.

I chose this particular planner because of the six separate slots for planning the week. I use five for each member of my family (including me), and the sixth for my writing. Time slips away if I don’t force myself to focus, so staying organized is imperative. The results of 2013 are proof of how plans don’t prosper when I fail to keep my lists in sight.

I’ve yet to embrace using electronic reminders as my master list, but I’m learning to lessen my aversion to digital dependence and use Calendar, Reminders, and Notes on my iPhone as backup.

My intent for now is to be mindful: mindful of my family, my goals, my time. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. I must do my part by being aware of what needs to be done. I can’t expect to be an active, contributing participant of life if I ignore or obsess.

How do you organize your life?

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