A Non-Resolution Resolution

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had great plans to start the year out with a post about my non-resolutions resolution.  I blinked and missed the whole first week of January.  Seriously, time flew.  Here it is January 7th and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact it is 2014!

I admit I am like the majority of people and usually throw out a couple of resolutions knowing full well I won’t make it past the first few weeks before I break them.  It is easy to laugh off a resolution to lose weight or exercise more.  They are the standard resolutions bandied about and dismissed after a few weeks, right?  Why is that?

A resolution by its very definition can be hard work.  Getting in shape after being an absolute slug for the previous twelve months requires commitment – not to mention sore muscles that make walking agony.  Somewhere along the line it becomes too hard to find time in a busy schedule to go to gym.  Old habits rear their ugly heads and after a long day the couch holds more appeal than sweating through an exercise class. I guess I want instant gratification and grow impatient.  Ouch.

I did something a little different this time. I looked at the shiny expanse of a new year filled with endless possibilities and then turned back to review the year that just ended.  I discovered something amazing.  My year had been filled with incredible events and excitement!  Sadly, I missed the significance of much of it at the time because I was too focused on where I thought I was failing.  It took looking back at the year as a whole to put everything in perspective and finally recognize my achievements.

I knew I didn’t want to set myself up for failure and inadvertently dull the shimmering promise stretched before me with this year.  I didn’t want to feel discouraged before the year even got a good start.  I sure as heck didn’t want to miss those incredible moments I had overlooked in 2013 because I was too focused on all that still needed to be done.

Thus, my non-resolution resolution came into being.  Instead of resolutions I will probably break I am tasking myself with living in the moment, to savor all the successes – big or small – that happen over the next twelve months.  I plan to be kinder to myself and think in terms of doable changes to improve my health and well-being, not go at it hard and heavy right out of the gate and burn myself out with discouragement.  I will nurture my friendships and the people I love. I give myself permission to laugh myself silly on occasion and enjoy the ridiculous. I won’t be as hesitant to explore new things or take the road less traveled. Side roads can prove more interesting than the direct path and still get me where I am going in the end.

I want to see the end of 2014 as the year I enjoyed to its fullest.  No regrets.

I hope each of you follow your dreams in 2014 and enjoy every success.  I plan to   🙂

 

Christmas Fun, Frolics and Fundamentals

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Daisy Banks to my blog.  She is sharing some of her memories of this wonderful time of the year.  Enjoy!

Thanks so much, Kylie, for inviting me onto the blog and especially at this busy time of year.

I love Christmas and always have. I recall it from my childhood as the one holiday season my small family was always tightly together. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and my parents, all over these wonderful people were available in abundance, for games, stories and fun over the Christmas holiday. The rest of the year it wasn’t always so, and sometimes with work commitments I hardly saw my father at all as he worked shifts so he was sleeping while I was awake.

Christmas was a very special time and the fundamental memory of my childhood Christmas experiences is of the precious, quality time between family members. Memories that sing to me with the same rise and fall of the word I heard, they shine bright like the images in the Match-girl’s flames. Care, thoughtfulness and tenderness were shown in a distinct way both in action and in words. “Yow sit wi’ me, ma’ wench, an I’ll tell ya about that Snow White.”

Christmas in my childhood was also fun. The sense of expectation tangible in the air and I have to say until my teen years, Santa never disappointed. I must have been the most spoiled child in the street, along with my brother. Christmas morning was always fun, enough chocolate to double my body weight at least for a couple of hours. Games to experiment with and most wonderful always, books. From the time I could read, I did read and even though some of my family thought my passion for books a bit odd, they were kind enough to indulge it.

Frolics is my last thoughtful memory, and those relate to the years there was snow. One year I recall with great fondness as that year I made a snowman and my brother dug up the snow to form hills and hummocks in the garden. That was also the year my entire close family, about ten adults, played Monopoly. The game lasted through several evenings and led to much muttering, grumbling and downright growling snarliness. The strangest thing is, I can’t recall who actually won, only the fun we children had watching what went on.

Of course, we kids, we had our own frolics with all kinds of games and not one was on a computer screen. Staring at this screen now, I am wondering what memories my children have. What Christmas fun and frolics do they recall with a warm fondness? Can X box games have the same cache?

The Christmas fundamentals for my grown boys, are I hope the same, family, cherishing and love.

Wherever you are this Christmas, I hope you get to enjoy the company of those you love.

Cheers

Daisy Banks

I am not using this post to advertise any of my books. You can find my books through the links below. I would much prefer you take a few moments to look at the links, to click one or two and decide to follow me on my blog, or on my face book page, or enjoy the pictures on my Pinterest page.

Blog    http://daisybanks.wordpress.com/

Website http://daisybanksnovels.yolasite.com/

Twitter @DaisyBanks12

Facebook http://on.fb.me/18iRC35

Pinterest http://bit.ly/16sF1XG

Author Bio

Romance author Daisy Banks writes sensual and spicy novels in the Historical, Paranormal and Fantasy genres. Daisy uses a fresh and lyrical voice to weave a compelling and magical spell for readers.

 

Daisy Banks

Bored Crickets and Blog Posts

“I love to talk about nothing. It’s the only thing I know anything about.” 
~Oscar Wilde

It’s true what they say – you can find anything on the web!  I was trying to decide on a subject to blog about this week, but all I had circling in my brain was the echoing sound of bored crickets.  Nary an idea surfaced.  I blame it on the cold weather.  It isn’t much fun sitting at a day job with a blanket across my knees because it is cold in the office.  It tends to stifle creativity.  Just sayin’.

So, I blew on my cold fingers to get them to do more than look like frozen claws and did a search to see what ideas I could find.  Imagine my delight when pages of blog subjects were suddenly available and then imagine my consternation when I actually read some of those ideas!  There was the usual stuff – you know, diets and exercise (yawn)  But, there was also ghost-hunting and Hamburgers.  Seriously! Ghost-hunting.  Too bad I don’t know anything about it because it might be fun to write about.  Hamburgers – not so much.  Really, what is there to say about hamburger that hasn’t already been said?

Of course, if I really wanted to be creative I could tackle the subject of how to write a best seller.  Trouble is, I don’t know the secret handshake yet.  I am assuming there is one because otherwise writing a best seller is like hitting the winning lottery numbers, random and inexplicable.

If I was truly desperate I could write a letter to my sixteen year old self and give her some life altering advice.  Nah, teenagers never listen, so why go to all that effort?  Besides, if I altered my sixteen year old self with pithy advice then I wouldn’t be the same me here and now, right?  It boggles my mind just to consider the ramifications.

After scanning long lists and being alternately amused and horrified I did hit upon the one subject I think I can manage really well.  As a matter-of-fact after reading what I have written, I consider this blog post to be exactly right.  What was the blog subject you ask… Brain dump.  What’s on your mind right now.

Now aren’t you sorry you asked ?   🙂

Non-Essential Functions Temporarily Off-Line

“This is for everyone who has ever looked at the stars, or gazed from atop a hill, or across the sea and wondered…” 
~
Tim PerkinsWorlds End: The Riders On The Storm

I’ve had some health issues lately and my system hit overload.  To top everything off I was leveled with a bad cold, a man-voice that echoed in my own ears and the energy level of an anemic slug.  Yeh, so not pretty.  I crawled home from work with the sole purpose of collapsing on my couch and pretending I was still alive.  My youngest asked me how I was feeling and I said without any pause to think – I feel like the starship Enterprise that has had to reroute all systems to basic life support.  Non-essential functions are temporarily off line.  Bless her, she didn’t even miss a beat, just shook her head, laughed and jokingly called me a nerd.  She also went to make me a cup of tea.

That brief conversation stuck with me because describing how I was feeling in that odd way really does sum up a lot about me.  I am a dyed-in-the-wool SciFi fan and have been since I discovered The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key when I was in the 6th grade.  My imagination was hijacked. I devoured that book.

When Star Trek came along I was entranced by the possibilities of space travel. The fact the Enterprise was inhabited by Kirk, Mr. Spock and Bones didn’t hurt either.  I regularly fell in and out of like with them.  Through the  years I have read countless books, watched the majority of SciFi movies and regularly take a side trip to English TV and Dr. Who.  When I wrote my first book it was inhabited with men who planet hop.  No surprise there.

I am also blessed with a friend who doesn’t blink an eye at any of this.  Of course, she is also a writer and dwells in that strange landscape of a writer’s mind where many of us reside.  Who else is going to turn up for coffee wearing a Dr. Who t-shirt to celebrate the 50th anniversary?  She and I discuss space travel, magic and difficult characters with aplomb.  We jump from subject to subject and then back again without missing a beat.  We tend to laugh a lot.  From the outside you would probably not even realize what we are so earnestly discussing.  If you did, you just might want  to join in the fun.  Resistance is futile! (sorry, I couldn’t resist) 🙂

 

 

The Spirit of the Day

Small cheer and great welcome make a merry feast.

~William Shakespeare

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and  many families are making plans to get together.  They will endure long lines at airports or drive miles to spend the day with family just to gather around the dinner table and share a meal.  In some cases, a football game in the backyard or on the television will round out the day.

I’ll let you in on a secret if you promise not to hold it against me – Thanksgiving is lovely, but it isn’t my favorite holiday. I know sacrilegious, right?  Don’t get me wrong,  I enjoy the day.  I just don’t wax poetic over it or spend hours poring over cook books to find the perfect turkey recipe. I don’t even particularly like turkey and I am not much of a carnivore even on the best of days.  The gasp you hear in the background is my son.  He loves everything about Thanksgiving and always has.   🙂   But there you have it.

I do embrace the chance to get together with my fun and quirky family though.  A Norman Rockwell painting we aren’t, but there is always plenty of laughter, odd snippets of conversations to drop in and out of and a rhythm that comes from being – well – family.  Thanksgiving is a time to remind us of what is important and to appreciate all that things that have led us up to this point.  That part I like.  A lot.

Like many people, we have family scattered far and wide.  It is rare we can all be together, but that doesn’t mean those missing are not part of the day.  Memories are shared between those gathered, silly thing recounted and laughed over and no one is safe.  Phone calls are exchanged and beloved voices are heard while everyone is jockeying for their turn to say “Hi”.  It is all part of the traditions of the day with us.  I am sure you have those, too.

So, in the spirit of the day, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with good food and laughter.  May you embrace those quirky family members and appreciate your friends.  If  you are travelling, may your journey be safe.

Happy Thanksgiving!   🙂

 

 

I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way

“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” 
Gena Showalter

Perseverance. It’s an interesting word, don’t you think?

As writers we have few qualms about putting our characters in situations that require a great deal of it.  They need that dogged determination to overcome those black moments and obstacles that make a story compelling. Through dialogue and narrative readers get to share the journey, explore the resilience of our characters and do it all from the comfort of a favorite chair.

By and large, we writer’s tend to throw a lot at our characters.  We try to keep the tension and action tight-rope worthy and the stakes high from page one until the very end.  Why?  We want a good story. 🙂  It is a challenge to keep the plot, the characters and all the sub-text spinning in the world we create.  It is gratifying when we write the final chapter and know we have done our best to tie up all loose ends with our characters and our readers get to exit the story with the promise of a HEA.

But, let’s not forget the most important part of this.  Without a writer’s perseverance, that single-minded resolve that keeps us sitting at our computer day after day, none of this would happen.  What isn’t evident to most non-writers is the hours spent at a computer, the time carved out of our busy day with surgical precision to spend writing.

Being a writer is a demanding occupation, its damned hard work even on a good day. We give up family time, social/fun activities and, in many cases, sleep while we do our best to make a story come alive. We deal with the frustration of words that fail to adequately evoke the emotions we are doing our best to describe, the dreaded writers block that attacks out of nowhere, and story lines that fizzle for no apparent reason.

How many times have you wanted to throw up your hands and quit when confronted with yet another rewrite?  When you have written yourself into a corner and now have to figure out the best way to get back on track?  Me?  Countless times.  There have been instances where I will spend weeks avoiding my computer, convinced I will never write another word, but it is a losing battle – I always end up back in my chair and picking up where I left off.  It is a compulsion, a creative outlet and an absolutely exhilarating roller coaster ride with all the highs and lows.

I love it and sometimes hate it with equal passion, but I persevere.  It’s what I do.  I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

 

Laurel Newberry’s Confessions of a Word Addict

I think my love affair with words began with the first story my mother read to me. Okay, maybe not quite that far back, but she is responsible for planting the seed. No matter how many times I heard the same story the words were always magical. Friday or Saturday nights were for snuggling in together with a chapter book. She would read a chapter or two, pausing to make sure I understood big or strange words. With an actor’s skill she wove magic, gave the characters voices and expressions and emotion, all the nuances that were embedded in rich vocabulary.

What is the point of my trip down memory lane? Bear with me I’m going to rant just a bit.

Why would any modern day author be required to simplify language before a book will be published? I understand that we live in an age that is geared toward keeping things more streamlined. Our society values the quick and easy. I’m busy, you’re busy, things are hectic and there are never enough hours in the day. Okay for a lot of things but I don’t agree that it applies in this instance.

Whether reading books or writing them, every individual brings something to the experience; a yearning for adventure or an inclination to solve a mystery. For others it is a longing for great romance, complete with the requisite: Happily Ever After. Think about what makes one book an easy beach read you set down and pick up over the course of a few days, and the next book one you stay up into the wee hours of the night to finish. What takes a generic boy meets girl story from syrupy drama to epic romance? It is all in finding the right combination of characters, plot, drama, and words. Yes, words. Big and small, inventive and enticing, it is the diversity of words that enrich the story.

With the emergence of eReaders I don’t see a compelling reason for authors to be asked to simplify vocabulary. It only takes a moment to tap on an unfamiliar word and learn it’s meaning through the embedded dictionary/thesaurus. Why miss an opportunity to elevate the experience, to refine the meaning and emotion?

What do you think? Am I alone in my quest or does it matter to other readers?

As for me, I intend to keep reading, and writing, with my dictionary and thesaurus at the ready.

Seriously, there’s an app for that 🙂

Ready…Set…Go!

 

“There’s a book in you that only you can write.” 
Chris Baty

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  The goal is to start November 1 and write 50,000 words before the end of the month.  Basically, a whole novel. Yikes!  That is a lot of words in a very short period of time.

My friend and critique partner has been telling me about this month long event for years and encouraging me to give it a try.  Nope.  I have always resisted.  I didn’t want the pressure, didn’t want to write words just for the sake of writing words and couldn’t imagine how this would help me.  Besides, I have this teensy, weensy little personality quirk that makes me rebel whenever I am being told I have to do something.  The thought of NaNo always threw that personality quirk into a frenzy .

I don’t know what changed for me this time.  I would like to think I matured (Ha!), but it would be closer to the truth to say I just stuffed that pesky personality quirk into a box and taped it shut. It was annoying anyway.  Or, maybe I just rebelled against my inner rebellion – who knows. 🙂   Either way, I signed up this year.  I need to do NaNo.

I have been lazy these past months.  I thought about writing, even had scenes mapped out in my head, but I didn’t sit down and transfer them to a page.  I spent too much time flopped on my couch channel surfing for mindless entertainment.  It was like having a bag of potato chips and trying to eat just one, you know?  I got in the habit and couldn’t seem to break it.  The worst part – I got bored very quickly. The horrifying part – when I did sit down to my computer the words were elusive and everything I wrote seemed pedantic and trite. It was discouraging.

Maybe the idea behind NaNo is not so crazy after all.  Giving myself permission to turn off my inner editor and write whatever comes into my head might be just what I need.  I have to do something to break through and get the words flowing again and the brass ring of 50,000 words by the end of the month is a great stretch goal.

The novel I have in mind is going to be more in the range of 80,000 when completed.  I have a lot of story to tell, but the idea of meeting the NaNo goal does have a certain appeal.  It is a huge chunk of my story and makes the original goal (yes, I do occasionally set them for myself) of finishing the first draft by December 31 more attainable.

So, I am lacing up my running shoes and standing ready for November 1st and the start of the race.  I expect some bumps in the road and words that refuse to cooperate, but I am also hoping the path will get easier as I get those writing muscles back in shape.  Besides, remember my friend?  I am sure she is going to be nudging me along and refuse to let me quit.  Thank goodness.

If you are interested in being a NaNo buddy my handle is KylieW.  Look me up.  We can race together.

 

 

 

The Adventure Begins

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

~ Christopher Columbus

 

imagesI like the above quote.  It reminds me that taking a leap of faith is not without risk, but the reward can be incredible. Today is Columbus Day and history would certainly be different if ole’ Chris C. hadn’t decided to leave that familiar shore.  I am sure he was more focused on the journey ahead than his place in our history books, but his willingness to risk it all, his desire to push the limits, compelled him to do something extraordinary.

We all have that potential within us.  That passion to take what we imagine and make it a reality. We see it every time someone stops talking about the novel they plan to write and actually sits down to do it.  It takes courage to put yourself out there and jump into uncharted water.  Writing a novel is not for the timid and faint of heart!

As with  every journey you have to make corrections when you drift off course and I can’t count the number of times I have been surprised by what can happen.  Sometimes I love the new direction, but there are times when I have to retrace my steps to get where I need to go.  It can be discouraging or exhilarating, but none of it would have happened if I hadn’t allowed myself to lose sight of the shore and step away from my comfort zone.

So, for all of you beginning your writing journey, for those that continue to pursue their dreams and for those contemplating their next published work – congratulations!  Like Columbus you have the courage to pursue your dreams.  What wonderful adventures await you!

Meet Jessica and Nate from Armed with Steele by Kyra Jacobs

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing two delightful characters from ARMED WITH STEELE the new release by Kyra Jacobs.  Welcome!

 Jessica: Thanks so much for having us on today. I had to drag Nate into the studio kicking and screaming, but he finally saw the light.

Nate: More like she threatened me with no se–(Jessica elbows him in side hard)—oof!

Jessica: On with the interview!

Kylie:  I can see you two are going to be fun to interview. (smiles)  Why don’t we start out with you telling me a little about your story.

Jessica: ARMED WITH STEELE was supposed to be a story about me and my best friend, Grace. She was in a horrific car accident, and I felt so awful because…well, I won’t go into all that. Too hard to talk about. But I knew as soon as Nate described the accident scene that something was amiss.

Nate: Meaning, she didn’t think I did a thorough enough investigation.

Jessica: No, I just didn’t think you, uh, explored all the avenues. (Nate rolls his eyes) Anyway, I was all determined to figure out what happened, and then Kyra drops this gorgeous hunk of a cop into my life. Needless to say, the story took a hard turn at the intersection of Suspense Street and Romance Road.

Kylie:  I have to admit that Kyra certainly knew what she was doing when she introduced you to Nate – whew.

Nate: (broad smile on his face as he waggles his eyebrows) Thank you, Kyra…

Kylie:  (turning to Nate) Jessica did a lovely job of summing up her view of things, but now it is your turn for a question.  How would you describe Jessica?  Let’s see if you can do it in one sentence.

Nate: Stubborn.

Jessica: Hey, that’s not a sentence!

Nate: Okay, how’s this: Jessica is a twenty-five year-old beauty living in Fort Wayne, Indiana who possesses the snark of Stephanie Plum, the ingenuity of MacGyver, and the compassion of, um….

Jessica: You can stop now before you go and embarrass me any further. (she plants a quick kiss along his chiseled jaw line)

Kylie:   So, Jessica, what attracted you to Nate?

Jessica: Ooo, my turn. Hmm, that’d be his uncanny sense of timing.

Nate: It wasn’t my fault you were speeding in chapter one.

Jessica: And that time you just happened to be jogging by my house?

Nate: Hey, that visit nearly got my head cracked open with your softball bat!

Jessica: I rest my case.

Kylie:  Ahem…remember me?  You know, the one doing the interview?  Let’s get back on track here.  Did Kyra listen to music while she wrote?  If so, what songs were playing?

 Jessica: I don’t really remember Kyra ever playing music for us. Do you, Nate?

 Nate: Nope. Though, she did have Boston’s “Peace of Mind” listed in an early draft. It’s one of her favorite songs.

 Jessica: (giving Nate a flat look) And how do you know so much about what music Kyra likes?

Nate: Uh, next question, please? (Puts hand up to hide his face from Jessica and adds in a whisper) Did I mention Jessica’s also a bit on the jealous side?

Jessica: I heard that!

Kylie:  Moving right along…  What do you do when you are not writing?

Jessica: Most of my writing is just copy edits for what my clients ask to have put on their websites. Oh—that reminds me! Wait until you hear about Kyra’s next romantic suspense: FLIRTING WITH FIRE! It’s going to be awesome! And yours truly will get some page time as well!

Nate: Oh, come on, Jess—you know they’ll all watch for the second book because I’ll be in it, not you. Everyone loves a man in uniform.

Jessica: Actually, Nate, they’ll all watch for the next book because of a certain smokin’ hot fireman named Torrunn MacKay.

Nate: (scowling as he crosses his arms) Looks like I need to have a little talk with T after we’re done here. Set some boundaries.

Jessica: Now who’s the jealous one?

Kylie:  I’ll definitely be watching for the new book.  Torrunn MacKay, you say?  Sounds intriguing.   But, let’s not get too sidetracked, okay?  Jessica, do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?  Why?

Jessica: Oh, I’m definitely an introvert. Grace is the extrovert, as is Nate. I just lurk in the shadows. Oh wait, no, that’s Nate, too.

Nate: One time. I surprise you in the shadows one time

Jessica: (mumbling) …and it better be the last… (she clears her throat and flashes a brilliant smile at her host) Kylie, thank you so very much for having us on today. Truthfully, we get kind of tired being restricted to the pages of an e-book. It’s nice to get out and stretch from time to time, isn’t it babe?

Nate: That depends—do these “stretches” involve Torrunn MacKay?

Jessica: Okay, looks like I’d better get back to ARMED WITH STEELE before Officer Steele trumps up another imaginary traffic violation on me.

Nate: The light was red, Jess.

Jessica: Orange. Burnt sienna at most.

Nate: *sigh* See you around, Kylie. And do me a favor—don’t run any reds in my city, alright? I’ll be watching.

Kylie:  No red light running.  Got it.  Although, I have to admit the temptation is a little hard to resist.  🙂  Just kidding, Jess.  Seriously.  You can stop frowning at me.

 

armedwithsteel

Blurb:

What happens undercover, stays under covers.

Jessica Hartley is looking for answers surrounding the mysterious car accident that nearly claimed the life of her best friend. She’s willing to risk it all, even her fledgling business, to find the person responsible and bring them to justice.

Nate Steele is more than willing to help Jessica, but for reasons all his own. He’s been watching the infamous Maxwell Office Solutions for some time now, convinced there’s more going on than meets the eye. When his chief issues a cease and desist order yet again, Nate has no choice but to accept inexperienced Jessica as an undercover partner outside the letter of the law.

Will Jessica and Nate be able to flush out Maxwell’s elusive villain, or will their growing attraction for each other sabotage their undercover ploy? Motives aren’t always what they seem when Jessica finds herself armed with Steele.

CONTENT WARNING: Beware drool-worthy men in uniform, touchy-feely coworkers, and vindictive ex-girlfriends.

Kyra Jacobs on the web:

Website: http://bit.ly/AuthorKyraJacobs

Blog: http://indianawonderer.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://bit.ly/KyraJacobsFB

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KyraJacobsBooks

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/19r2j1Z

ARMED WITH STEELE links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/18J8IUG

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16j0Z1U

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1d4FYK8

iTunes: http://bit.ly/17XrmHd