Saturday, June 15, 2024

Square Storefront Closed

Hi, All!

This is just a quick post to let you know that I've shut down my Square storefront for the purchase of signed, shipped copies of my books. I'll explain the reasons in my next IWSG post, because they come with a warning for folks who use Square, and I want people who could be impacted to see it. If you're friends with me on Facebook, I've already posted it there on my personal account.

If you tried to order a signed, shipped copy from my Square storefront since January 31 and ran into problems, it wasn't just you, and I'm so sorry you had to deal with that. From your end it would have looked like a declined credit card. It wasn't your card. It was an error on their part that has cost me a lot of money, possibly new readers, and deeply impacted my last book launch. So far, their handling of it has been lackluster and borderline offensive. Both the storefront and my in-person processing were impacted.

While I figure out what to do, I've added PayPal checkout links to my books on the Publications tab and I've ordered a PayPal Zettle card reader for the event I have coming up next Saturday. If you have a reader or storefront you're happy with, I'd love to hear about it. I don't want anything with a monthly charge. And I won't have anything to do with Square again if I can help it. 


I'm also hoping to debut an updated website soon! Hopefully by the next IWSG.

*Cat Sad Clip Art by OCAL, clker.com



Wednesday, June 5, 2024

IWSG - Atomic Habits, Mountain of Authors, Rich Bennet Podcast, & More

It's time for the June Insecure Writer's Support Group!


Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG exists for writers to get together the first Wednesday of each month and discuss our insecurities while lending each other support and advice. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up on the IWSG tab.

This month's co-hosts are Melissa Maygrove, Liza at Middle Passages, Olga Godim, and ME!

This month's optional question is: In this constantly evolving industry, what kind of offering/service do you think the IWSG should consider offering to members?

Hm, I don't see anything that I feel IWSG should offer, but some things that I've seen people value in writing groups and at conferences are mentorships (a published member offers to mentor a newer writer), critiques, beta readers (different from critiques), editing, logline practice, and that sort of thing, so it depends on why and how far the IWSG is looking to expand. 

I think that out of all my suggestions, this group would do really well with mentorships. It feels like a lovely way to continue the IWSG, and speaks to the mission.


A few months ago I had a great chat with Rich Bennett at the podcast Conversations With Rich Bennett. You can check out the episode at the podcast website and various podcast apps. I may be on a future episode about autism, so I'll keep you updated! He's a great guy and is doing a lot of really interesting episodes, as well as various panels.

I've been reading Atomic Habits, by James Clear, recently. I was wary, and thought I might be having to figure out workarounds, but his processes are straight forward and pretty simple. Plus, there are items in there that I've long done already. I highly recommend it.


I'm still working through The Artist's Way, but I admit that there are a lot of things about it that don't work for me, as well as others that just feel like trying to fit in a bunch more work on top of what I've already got. I've been taking off my big deadline week each month, which has pushed it out a bit, but I'm still moving forward. The weekly artist dates are something I've had to put aside most weeks, because they were too much of an inconvenience, even though I completely understand the purpose of them. But the more time I spend on exercises, dates, tasks, and writing three pages per day, the less time I have to actually write something real, and I don't have that time to spare right now. Interestingly, it was Atomic Habits and a section on giving anything five minutes and doing what you can, rather than pushing to go beyond that, which is no way to create a habit, that made me realize that instead of spending half an hour or more forcing myself to journal for three pages, I will spend at least five minutes and write what I can. If I have more to say, I'll keep going, but I'm not forcing it anymore. And you know what? That one silly little thing has been a breakthrough in keeping me going. Journaling is not a thing I enjoy or am good at. I'd rather spend five minutes journaling and half an hour writing fiction!

On that note, I decided to go back to tracking short story submissions. It will be less consistent than before, but I'll update when there's something to update.

So...in May:

13 submissions

1 personal rejection where they told me about their next call and asked me to submit then

14 total stories currently on submission


On June 22, I'll be a showcase author at the PPLD's Mountain of Authors event from 12-4:30 PM. The keynote speaker is Adrian Miller. It's free to attend and there will be a ton of books for sale by various authors, including me!

Have you ever been a writing mentor or been mentored? What are your insecurities? Have you ever read Atomic Habits? Are there any similar books you'd recommend?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

IWSG - Writing Distractions & Derailments

It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!


Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this blog hop serves to provide a place for writers to seek and give support about their insecurities. Anyone can join. Simply click on Alex's name and sign up on the IWSG tab.

The co-hosts this month are: Victoria Marie Lees, Kim Lajevardi, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine.

The optional question is: How do you deal with distractions when you're writing? Do they derail you?

Depends upon the distractions, but the beauty of not having an enforced writing schedule (I consider myself a sprint writer) is that my schedule is already flexible. Given, there have been larger scale derailments, like fleeing a wildfire and my dad dying. Plus, COVID and the surreal craziness of life for the most intense part of it (shutdowns) derailed me. Other than those major sorts of things, my writing isn't consistent enough to be derailed, really. I already write when I can write.

Having said that, my job hours increasing has been a complication. I have to re-figure how I fit things in, so until that's done my writing is even less consistent than usual. So right now I'm working on some short stories to feel things out and see what makes the most sense for fitting in the writing and still having family time and down time. I've been on the brink of burnout for a while, and with a recent autism diagnosis I'm trying to be kinder to myself and find a way to do everything I need to do without tipping over into that full burnout. We'll see how things shake out. It's amazing how big an impact a few hours can make.


What are your major distractions? How do you overcome them? What are your current insecurities? 

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A Quick Thank You, Square Warning, & Artist's Way Update

This week I wanted to post a thank you to the folks who hosted me for my book launch the last couple months, so I'm sharing some of their recent releases below. First, I'll do a quick update on The Artist's Way. 

I took last week off from following the book, because I had a jam-packed schedule with my book launch and several appointments, including one long one in Denver that had me heading up there an hour north directly after my launch party to stay in a hotel so I could get to the early morning appointment without dealing with the awful commuting traffic.

The launch party went well! My Square wouldn't work, so my husband ended up signing up really quick and handing me his phone to use with my apparatus. (This is where I warn you to sign into your Square account if you haven't since January, because earlier that day I'd found a notice in my account that I wasn't emailed about saying they needed some information from me and deposits would be paused until I gave it. I filled out all the information. It said I could use the Square as usual, but deposits wouldn't start up again until they'd evaluated the info. But when I got to the party, every card we tried was declined. I got the approval that same night from them. So go check your Square and make sure the same thing doesn't happen to you! Because it sucked!) But I got to see some friends and chat with folks. In fact, I was so nice and busy chatting with folks that I forgot to take any photos, and never got a bite of my food until I ran home to get my suitcase that night. The only picture I have is from the owner of Lebowski's Taproom, where I had the party. (And yes, it is themed after The Big Lebowski -- it's a new place, with a great laid-back atmosphere).

Artist's Way Update: I'm in Week 6: Recovering a Sense of Abundance. This section is about questioning how you view money, considering "luxury" and self-pampering in small ways, and cutting out space for yourself. An assignment this week that I'm looking forward to is sending postcards to some friends. My artist date will be going out to find those postcards. If I'd realized what an easy week this one was for the tasks, I might not have skipped it? Okay, I probably still would have. While it's not covered in the lesson, I feel like the tasks are also helping to recover a sense of wonder, as two of the tasks are finding rocks and flowers; these tasks are labeled "Natural Abundance." It also calls for tracking your spending each day of the week to see what you're spending it on, and whether any of that spending is for things that make you happy or pamper you. So far, I've bought groceries and paid a couple medical bills, so, uh, I need to work on that, ha!

Okay, time for some books! Thank you so much to everyone to helped with the book launch!


iTunes

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

Scribd

Goodreads

Alex's Website



Universal Link

H.R. Sinclair's Website



Universal Link

Jonathan & Kristina's Website



Amazon

Sandra's Website



Universal Link

DeAnna's Website



Amazon

Patricia's Website



Amazon

Toi's Website



Amanda's Website

I hope you see a book you might like to check out!

Do you feel money stands in the way of your creativity? Do you pamper yourself ever? Did you get the same notice from Square?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Artist's Way Update & Patricia Josephine Lynne Book Launch

On a previous post I talked about doing The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. I had intended to update each week, but I only updated for two weeks. Then things got busy and I didn't get posts up. So I thought I'd do a quick update on weeks three through five.


Each week has a different general goal. Week 1 was Recovering a Sense of Safety and week 2 was Recovering a Sense of Identity.

Week 3 was Recovering a Sense of Power. The chapter spoke of anger, synchronicity, shame, growth, and dealing with criticism. One of the exercises involved some free association with childhood and things I'd do if I'd "lighten up" and "if it weren't too late." Childhood was a big theme, but so were habits and people in my life. An exercise that fell flat for me was to list five people I wish I'd met. When it comes right down to it, I can name people because I get the idea of it, but I'm not sure I'd actually want to meet them. An activity that stood out was one involving looking at my habits and then having to quantify what payoff I'm getting from the bad ones. These were basically my secret foes. I can tell you one is shutting off my brain and doom-scrolling Facebook. I'd like to regain that time for myself.

Week 4 was Recovering a Sense of Integrity. This chapter focused on making honest changes and seeking out my buried dreams. I was supposed to practice reading deprivation, but I can't fall asleep without reading first, and as an insomniac since I was twelve, I DO NOT mess with my nighttime routines that help me at least get some sleep. I did practice it during the day by not reading at any other time than bed time, but I think this exercise greatly overestimated how much reading time I usually get, considering the list of things the author felt I could do instead involved time I didn't have, such as painting a room, rewiring a lamp, and repotting plants. It's not reading that is keeping me from these exercises. Also, I felt this deprived a specific group of people more than others. Specifically, writers. And the book is about the ARTIST'S way, not the author's way, so why is it just readers/writers that have to give something meaningful up? I realize all manner of people read; I just think this lacked balance. I think a more effective exercise would have been to make a list of things that take up time and to choose one to give up that week. This would have been more fair.

My current week, number 5, is Recovering a Sense of Possibility.  This week is for me to look at my limits and open myself up to the universe. Something that stuck out to me and that I'd already been thinking about a lot with my work hours increasing well beyond where I'd wanted them to go was the following passage:

"An artist must have downtime, time to do nothing. Defending our right to such time takes courage, conviction, and resiliency." And "For an artist, withdrawal is necessary. Without it, the artist in us feels vexed, angry, out of sorts. If such deprivation continues, our artist becomes sullen, depressed, hostile. We eventually become like cornered animals, snarling at our family and friends [...]." Now, she was implying it was family and friends making the artist feel this way, but it's me. It's work and it's me. My family and friends give me plenty of space. 

The exercises this week had to do with wishes and writing letters to myself from different ages (80 and 8). 

I haven't figured out my artist's date for this week, but for dates I've so far gone for a hike with a camera (it was a double date!), taken myself out to a smoothie cafe to relax with a book while having a smoothie and a matcha latte, lying out in the grass in my front yard and reading a book, and things like that. My goal has been more downtime than more involved dates. I have ideas for more involved dates in the next few weeks, though. It comes down to finding time to do it.

Now for some news! Patricia Josephine Lynne has a new book of micro shorts out. 



A Quick Test 
A Quick Tale #4 

Aliens 
Outer Space 
Experiments 

These mysteries fascinate our minds. Explore the unknown in this exciting collection of tales. Each story is told in exactly 200 words and designed to stimulate your brain no matter how busy your day is. 

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. 

BUY at Amazon 

AUTHOR BIO: If you asked Patricia J.L. to describe herself, she’d tell you, “Too creative for my own good.” A paranormal and fantasy junkee, she loves to craft fantasy and paranormal stories about vampires, mermaids, angels, demons, zombies, and other mythical creatures. Aliens might even appear in her stories. No matter what mythical beast you crave. Patricia J.L. has a fantasy for every imagination. 

Patricia J.L. official started writing in 2012. She was bored and since she was always day dreaming fantastic stories, she thought, “Why not write them down and share them with people?” She's still deciding if that was a mistake or not. Since then, she has finished a dozen stories and has no plans to stop. 

When she’s not lost writing in fantasy worlds, she relaxes with knitting, drawing and art, and jigsaw puzzles. And of course, good paranormal fantasy books. Patricia J.L. currently lives with her husband in Upper Michigan. One day, they both hope to have enough pets to resemble a petting zoo. (Until then, can she pet your cat or dog?) 

FOLLOW: 




If you did The Artist's Way, were there exercises, chapters, or pieces that stood out for you? How about ones you were resistant to? What were your favorite types of artist dates?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

IWSG - Blogging Memories & Old Friends

It's time for the April Insecure Writer's Support Group!


Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG brings writers together to share their insecurities. Anyone can join; simply click on Alex's name and sign up on the IWSG linky list.

This month's co-hosts are Janet Alcorn, T. Powell Coltrin, Natalie Aguirre, and Pat Garcia. Thanks for co-hosting!

The optional question for April is: How long have you been blogging? What do you like about it and how has it changed?

I looked back and it looks like I've been blogging here since January 9, 2011. I did have a monetized blog called Not a Test Tube Baby in 2005 through maybe 2007 (it's long gone, so I can't check). The blog was about parenting a child conceived through IVF (which is no different than parenting any other child, lol, but certainly the experiences before birth were very different).

I had quit my job two weeks before my son was due, but had him about a week after quitting. I was working as a sub primarily in three schools at the time, as I'd narrowed down who I took jobs from, and the folks I subbed for were so awesome that they ensured they took their non-emergency time off to keep me employed nearly full time leading up to my last few days.

So when my son arrived, I wanted to have some income. I scrambled and got several work-from-home positions, on top of the Mary Kay business I already had (yes, I know - they roped me in while pregnant with promises of having an income...). The monetized blog was one. I had to send a pitch and once they accepted my pitch, I was given the URL matching my blog name and had to post consistently. I wish I still had access to those posts, because they were all stories about my son as a baby then as a toddler, plus pregnancy stories once I became pregnant with my daughter. I'm sure there were some gems.

I also worked for text answering services ChaCha and kgb, where people would text in questions and I answered via a portal on my computer.  

Those familiar with how busy I typically keep myself are 0% surprised that I also felt I needed to be productive as a new, stay-at-home mom. I was also volunteering for a local writer's group and starting my writing career.

Back to this blog, I started out posting weekly, discovered various blog hops, and at one point was posting daily, even outside the A-to-Z Challenge (which is currently happening)). There was a ton of interaction then, and I had more time to visit others, as well. Then I thinned to three times per week, with Wednesdays being something I called Wordless Wednesday, where I posted photos I'd taken since photography is also a hobby of mine.

There was a time where I helped with the A-to-Z Challenge, which all sprung from working with a friend I met blogging named Tina to create a road trip after the challenge to visit all the blogs and keep that community going. We did it from 2011 to 2015. Our graphics at the time were created by another friend, Jeremy. Both Tina and Jeremy are sadly gone now, but revisiting my past blogging brings back good memories with them.

This is from year 2, 2012

Here's one of the road trip posts from those fun times.

We were joined by a third person, Nicole, in the second year!

Then I was part of the IWSG! I don't remember when I started, but I handled the newsletter for a while and quit in 2019ish (may have been the end of 2018) while helping care for my dad, who had ALS, and dealing with a lot of health issues myself.

Ultimately, of course, blogging became less popular and people pulled back, including me. I went to posting once per month for the IWSG. Recently, I started blogging weekly while I work my way through The Artist's Way, though I skipped this past week and will catch up on the missed weeks next week.

Blogging introduced me to a fantastic community of folks where I've made so many friends. So while blogging has slowed, the friendships have continued, many of them on social media more than via our blogs. I wouldn't change any part of my blogging past other than to have saved my posts from the parenting blog for my personal memories and photos.

That ended up way longer than I intended, so I'll save anything else I was going to say other than to say a big thank you for those who helped with my book launch via your blogs, social media, and newsletters. I'm always grateful for this community! My debut novel came out last week, so now it's back to writing until the next book launch!


Universal Link for e-book and paperback

What are your insecurities? How long have you been blogging? Was it always on your current blog or did you have others?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Week Two of The Artist's Way

This is week two of the twelve-week Artist's Way process. Each week we're supposed to have an artist date with ourselves. This doesn't have to involve anything having to do with writing, though I hope I squeeze that in at some point. Last week my date consisted of me just sitting and reading for an hour without it being before bed (since I read nightly before bed to unwind, but it is often the only time I get any reading in).

This week we had to write down a list of things we missed doing. My list was mostly minor things that I simply don't have the time for anymore, but I chose two from it I haven't been doing often enough for other reasons to do for my artist's date this week: walks and photography.

I have been getting some walks in here and there, but I miss the daily walks I used to take. A combination of medical issues has made it much harder to achieve, as has limited time due to work and other responsibilities. I've been trying to push past the issues to take some short walks with a knee brace I got to help with arthritis in my knee. The most I've gotten done in one week is three. While it's not perfect, I think that three isn't too shabby. But that was only one week. I'd like to get to consistently getting in three walks a week and a monthly hike. It would do me a lot of good. 

In terms of photography, I find that I struggle with that before I struggle with writing. It takes a certain mindset to walk around and look at my surroundings with that joyful, creative eye it requires to see those images I want to photograph. I love nature photography, and would like to get back to doing it. So I set out on today's walk in my neighborhood with the determination to seek out photo opportunities. They aren't great, but it felt good to spy things I wanted to photograph. What I really need is a hike in a new place with things to discover, but I wasn't up for that today.

Buds popping out on the first day of spring

The blue, blue sky

The back of the stop sign no one pays attention to

Three signs in a row (the stop sign in back is harder to see)

Someone's cute lawn ornaments

Last year's dried berries still clustered on a tree, along with old, brown leaves

Trying to capture the fuzzy buds, but it was too windy and the phone camera kept focusing on everything but them

Peeling bark

Tree with character

Two of the roots are crossed at the base, looking like a creature with its legs crossed

Just an odd-shaped tree

The skellies in my yard clinging to the last bits of snow from last week's blizzard

The snow on the ground probably makes it look cold, but it was a balmy day. In fact, it was so warm I had on a tank top and sweatpants, and I deeply regretted the sweatpants. Short would have been better. It's supposed to be warm all week, and then we'll see what next week brings. It's my daughter's spring break, and we probably get snow about 90% of the time for the kids' spring breaks. We're probably due one more at least mild snow before it hangs up for the winter. Possibly more.

Next week's my book release! I'm sure the time is going to pass quickly.


Wendigo Nights Universal Purchase Link 

(Choose your preferred market for e-book and paperback!)

If you had to make a list of three items you miss, what would it be? What's stopping you from choosing one to make a point of doing this week?

May you find your Muse.