figure-1707104_1920As some may know, I suffer from arthritis and constant pain from a car accident. So, I am no stranger to dealing with it on a daily basis. Most of the time it doesn’t get in the way of my writing. It is something I have learned to live with and get around to keep the creative process rolling.

However, this past week, I experienced pain that was so excruciating and debilitating that it stopped me in my tracks. Somehow, I managed to tweak a nerve that sent fireworks from my lower back down to the tip of my right big toe. It hurt to move, to breath, to eat, and nothing seemed to make it get better. I used ice/heat treatments, several massages from my husband, and even the icy hot patches that I use on occasion. The more I laid there in bed, the more I worried about work and my writing.

After a miserable trip to the doctor, I received a few shots (in my posterior) and a script for a muscle relaxer. So, I finally had a solution to my pain and was on the mends, but that was not the end of my saga. The medicine and Tylenol cocktail knocked me out and made my brain feel like I was walking in a soupy fog. Even when my body started to feel better, I was still hindered by my worry. I was afraid I would move wrong again and be right back in the same predicament. I fretted over every step and every motion I carried out. From standing to wash dishes to taking a shower, I had an overwhelming sense of dread that followed me.

After a week of worrying, I finally allowed myself to relax and let it go. (Cue music.) The pain was mostly gone and I found the courage to take a bath in my garden tub. It was sheer bliss. Being able to sit and soak was such a treat that I was reluctant to get out. However, the water cooled and I was clean. So, it was time. I raised myself out and tentatively moved out of the tub. My leg didn’t buckle and the pain was only a dull ache, which I gladly accepted. The normalcy of life had returned and I was now myself again.

Now, this is where the whining about not being able to write should come in. But, it won’t. With my downtime, I  was able to watch a documentary about two morbidly obese individuals that were unable to leave their homes for years. It made me cry a few times because I knew (for a brief moment) how they felt. The pain and anguish of being stuck somewhere were all too real for these people and it made me realize just how fortunate I was to be mobile, even with all of my issues.

So, I will rejoice in the fact that I can now leave my house and get back to work. I will delight in the chance to find a quiet place to get more done on my novel and enjoy my time back out in the world (almost) pain-free.

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I hope that your week was better than mine, but I also hope you find a way to see the bright side of things even in the darkest of days.

Happy Writing!

 

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Ever since I was a child, I loved to read and dream about my life when I grew up. I ran through the gambit of career options when I talked to my school counselor and had a hard time explaining what I wanted to do with my life. As I struggled, my peers were already preparing themselves for being doctors, lawyers, nurses, business owners, and scientists. They were talking about what college they would attend and where they wanted to work after they graduated.

This made me nervous. I was supposed to have my life on track. I was supposed to be one of the top students and that meant having a plan for the future.  The more I tried to find my path, the more I struggled to find my purpose in this world.

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Even with all of this hanging over my head, I still wanted to have fun in school and took elective courses outside of my normal honor courses. Since I love to read and create, I decided to take a stab at the creative writing class. Just from the first assignment, I was able to express myself in a way that made me happy. Both my teacher (Mrs. Reeder) and my peers were instrumental with my growth in that class and solidified my love for writing.

Since high school, I found myself taking more creative writing, literature, and genre-specific writing classes. I tried psychology for a while, but it just didn’t feel right and I moved to the field of communications. Studying people and how they interact was fascinating to me and made me feel like I finally found my area of expertise. Once I graduated, I set out to figure out what I could do with my skills and knowledge.

The only problem was that writing was always on my mind. I continued to struggle with writing a novel for years until I decided that this was what I wanted to do with my life. However, making money at it was tough. I went back to school and earned my M.A. in English, hoping it would set me on the right path to a career in writing. Life, however, had other plans.

I hopped from job to job feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere. From teaching small children to working in a medical office, it was a struggle to find where I was meant to be and how I could help people with my talents. Through all of this, I continued to write and craft a story that I knew I wanted to publish someday.

31934856_10101257303855152_7646593932226199552_nAfter meeting my husband in 2012, he encouraged me to follow my dreams and start looking to them for my purpose. He reminded me that my love of reading and writing were what had carried me through some of the darkest hours of my life. I felt like I had more direction and could accomplish the large task of publishing a novel.

In 2016, I was able to find a small local publisher that guided me through the publishing process. In just a few weeks, I had the first novel in my hands and I was officially a published author.

Now that my dream is a reality, I continue to write and move forward in promoting my work. I have joined a writing guild and was voted in as their president two years ago.  I speak to groups about the power of writing and words, being published, and why

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I love to write. I also host writing workshops to help others on their writing paths. The more involved I am in my community, the more I feel like I am where I belong.

As I continue this journey, I look forward to growing as a writer and using my talents to help others find their voice in the writing world.

If you are looking for a writing mentor or more information about me, check out my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/thegeekworm/

 

My Story

The month of October is filled with pumpkin spice, beautiful leaves of many colorful hues of Fall, and Halloween plans.

For me, it is also the time to start thinking about the next piece of writing I want to work on during National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in November. In the next few weeks, my muse will be working overtime as I coax her to help me as I sift through my Pinterest boards and notes from a writing conference I attended a few weeks ago.

My biggest problem is that my mind is a chaotic storm of ideas but it is so hard to actually feel “inspired” to write. Family, school, the stress of being jobless, and my health all seem to put a big damper on my fingers and keeps my multiple notebooks empty. Of course, my muse loves to whisper fun ideas for stories at the most inopportune moments, so I lose many fun storylines on a daily basis. It is quite frustrating.

Many times, however, I have problems getting my muse to even talk to me. I get caught up in the stress of life and get stuck in the everyday grind. Just like many people I know, the idea of writing can be daunting. Eve

n after almost 15 years of experience and the M.A. in English I earned, I still have that feeling of dread when I stare at the screen and try to will my creativity to work.

 

Flipping the Switch

On a daily basis, I have to push myself to write. Even with a passion to write and love of the written word, I still have issues with getting something on the page. The frustration and disappoint of feeling stuck is just as painful as it was in high school.

So, how do I get past this and actually write?

Simple. I don’t limit myself to where I can be creative. Much of the advice I hear from others is to find a place that you feel the most “creative” and get writing. However, that does not work for me as well. I have a great office at home but am not home much of the day. So, the cliche coffee shop, my mom’s house, my car, and the park have all served as places I can write. This feeling of freedom to write wherever I am (yes, even at work) and to let my muse say “HI” when she wants to. Many times I simply jotted down the idea and left it to simmer. So many of my stories were just one or two lines of dialogue or a description of a person/place. 

Another thing that I have changed is my feelings about being a “writer”. This title comes with so much stigma that it can stifle your ability to create. Our brains have a terrible time pushing through a slump when we don’t accept what our talents are and that we can use them when we want to. There is no one in your way but yourself and I had to accept that before I could move forward when I had my own issues with being called a writer. I am much more confident when people ask me what I do for a living. Even though I am still a novice at being published, I feel that being called a writer (since writing is a big part of many of my previous employment) is the best way to describe myself now. 

Being creative and accepting my destiny as a writer are just two of the many things I have done so far in my life to help fight creativity slumps or “writer’s block” as many like to call it.  There are a ton of self-help guides for finding inspiration and some of them might help in the short time. For me, finding two root causes of my muse not answering my calls have helped me with creativity and feel happier as I create. 

Hope you are able to find your own switches to flip as you search for a way to fight your creativity slumps and get your muse talking to you again. 

Happy Writing!

I’m a self-proclaimed extrovert. I love to talk and hang out with other people on a regular basis. It’s a big reason why I am the president of the St. Joseph Writers Guild and Geek Girl Brunch group.

However, many people don’t realize that I still get nervous giving presentations on my craft. It comes from the fact that I don’t always feel like an authority on the subjects I want to talk about. However, I realized I’ve worked on my writing since high school and have almost 20 years of experience under my belt. I just need some practice to boost my confidence and polish my presentation skills.

For this, I talked to a connection I have at Truman State University (from my years as a student) and arranged to give a presentation on publishing this past Monday. I was afraid, at first, that no one would show up. I was unsure how much interest there was on campus to hear about publishing from a newbie. However, the chance to connect with other writers on my favorite campus (sorry MWSU) was worth the 2.5 hours we drove (okay, my husband drove) to get there.

When we arrived, I was sad to see an empty room in the  Student Union Building. Tom, my support, gave me some words of encouragement and helped me set up my PowerPoint presentation. He actually had to fix the projector screen for me, since I was too short to get it to work. As the clock on the wall moved quickly to high noon, four young ladies showed up and took a seat. Then, two more arrived and I was elated to have an audience.

I gave my presentation and left plenty of time for questions. Time went by quickly. My nerves were gone by the end of it and I felt like I could talk for another hour or two if I had the chance. The young ladies (yes, there were no men in attendance) asked great questions and they were really interested in what I had to say.

To top it all off, I arranged a book signing at the bookstore and was quite surprised to sell three books. One of them to a past professor of mine in the Communication department. It was nice to chat with him and reconnect with someone still there. This kind of networking is vital to keep a current connection with my alma mater.

No matter if you are an extrovert or an introvert, being able to communicate effectively about your craft is key to making connections and building your brand. You have to continue to practice and stretch yourself as a speaker just as much as you need to as a writer.

So, keep on working on your craft and don’t be afraid to try new things. Get out there and talk about what you are working on and your accomplishes. No one can sell your work as well as you can.

Happy Writing!

As a writer and published author, it is difficult to find new and creative ways to sell your books. From the past year, I have sold my book at a women’s expo, several festivals, and local events in my hometown. During each of these, I have sold an average of 6 books and that in itself is not a bad record. However, I needed a way to move outside of my comfort zone without spending a small fortune. It would be amazing to have a booth at a Comicon or network at a conference but there was not enough money in the budget for it this summer.

So, what could I do? I turned to my trusty Facebook newsfeed and searched through a few different group pages. I was able to find a call for vendors from an antique mall owner in Hamburg, Iowa. Now, she was clear that this was a new endeavor for her and her tiny town. There were no guarantees of success. However, for only $20 for a booth, I decided to take a gamble. My husband and I decided to split the booth and he had the opportunity to try his hand at selling some off-brand lego accessories he bought online.

My husband and I decided to split the booth and he had the opportunity to try his hand at selling some off-brand lego accessories he bought online. So, after we drove an hour and a half from our home to the little town of Hamburg. It was easy to find just off I-29 and they had signage to help guide you to different locations. They even had people posted around the town to direct traffic and answer questions. The area where we were assigned filled up quickly, but I had asked Kim (the organizer) if she could mark a designated spot for me. Since I have a bum leg, I use my scooter to get around and it’s hard to get to bathrooms in outdoor situations. She was accommodating and made my day so much easier.

After we were done setting up, we sat and waited. The day started off a little slow. We entertained ourselves by taking pictures and talking with the other vendors around. As the crowds picked up, we started to sell more and more accessories and books. People seemed quite surprised and happy to see a published author at this event.

 

I know many of them came for the antiques or pieces to restore. I know that my shot-in-the-dark setup was taking a big risk. Luckily, this event paid off and I sold 10 copies of my book. I sold two of them to younger readers (6th grade, I believe) and they were super excited to have it signed by the author. It made me smile to see their faces light up at the chance to meet someone who published a book. I chatted with each of them and I hope that they enjoy their new read. I hope that all the people who bought my book will love it and share it with others. The more people out there with a copy of The Thornless Rose: Fire Blush, the better I can spread my story out there for all to read.

If you are looking for a great summer read and/or a new world to explore, check out my book on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Thornless-Rose-Fire-Blush-ebook/dp/B01LYJ1MQ3 and leave a review when you get a chance.

Oh, and if you want some more amazing reads from some local authors, check out Amazing Things Press at http://www.amazingthingspress.com/books.html.

 

 

I had a geektastic time at Planet Comicon this weekend. Despite the torrential rainfall the whole time, my husband and I were able to dress up and enjoy this amazing gathering of fandoms at Bartle Hall in downtown KC.  On Friday, we were able to tootle around the floor and explore all the vendors and displays around. We saw the Ghostbuster car and the impala from Supernatural. There were booths for all types there. I was smitten with the ones that catered to steampunk. That’s where I found some amazing pieces of jewelry and some crazy fun hats. Along the way, my husband found some great deals on lego figures (yes, he is a lego geek) and some new authors to read. As a published author myself, I love to support others and make new contacts in the business. What better way than at a Comicon?

The best part of the convention was (of course) the COSPLAY! I was excited to dress up for the first time with my husband this year. I bought my corset, hoodie bolero shrug, and bustle from Lori Ann on her Etsy shop here. I made my own skirt and got some leggings to go under it. I went for a steampunk Jedi mashup and I felt great in it. My hubby wore his Jedi cosplay with his amazing light saber. He enjoyed posing with other cosplayers and we also had a few people take pictures with us together. It was a great feeling to have someone you don’t know what to take a picture of you in your cosplay because they think it’s cool. I had no idea how fun it would be and now know why so many people love to cosplay for Comicon.

Another thing that I love about Planet Comicon is the costume contest that allows all levels of cosplayers a chance at showing off their hard work and dedication. There were four categories that included newbie builders and groups. The costumes were amazing and it was great to see all sizes of people on stage. It made me happy to see come curvy ladies (like myself) up there and being confident in themselves. The roar of the crowd was defining as every contestant  was applauded. It filled my geeky heart with pride to experience this community of fans respect other fandoms in such a spectacular fashion.

As the weekend ended, I was reminded time and time again that (despite the weather and over-priced food) that the geek/nerd groups out there are a mix of entroverts and introverts, the bold and the timid, the participants and the observers, the families and the singles, the couples and the groups of friends. A comicon gives a glimpse into a slice of Americana that is unique and complex. I left Planet Comicon soaked, but still incrediably happy to enjoy my time with fellow geeks and nerds who enjoy some of the same things that I do. I hope to continue to see more plus-size individuals be comfortable enough to be on stage and out on the floor of the convention. I hope to see more families coming with their little ones to share their love with the next generation. Until next year!

(I am participating in the Writing Contest: You Deserve to be Inspired. Hosted by Positive Writer.)

This month is National Poetry Month and my writers guild had a poetry reading at out latest meeting. It was exciting to hear so many of my guildmates share their work. After mulling it over for a while, I decided to get up and read a few of mine. Now, I am a novelist and haven’t really shared my work (short stories or poems) with them. However, I felt like this was the time to give it a try.

As I stood in front of my peers, I felt my voice shake a little as I started into the first line of my poem. It was inspired by my love of the Renaissance Festival in Kansas City, MO and spending time with my family there each year. It felt great to read it aloud and receive such positive feedback from my friends.

On the flip-side, I read a poem I wrote for an anthology the guild is publishing for the upcoming eclipse event. This poem came to me after my dog woke me up and needed to go outside late one night. The moonlight streamed over my backyard and dared me to look up. I saw the stars, the planets, and the nothingness between. As I slept, I held onto that image and woke to the words that I placed upon the paper. Again, my peers offered me applause for sharing what I created with them.

These two poems are just examples of what inspires me in life. These events made me take pause and listen to my emotions. By giving myself the time to process, I was able to create something that expressed a moment in my life and share that with others. As writers, we often have a spark of inspiration but we let it go or put it off for other things. Our minds are not given the time to wander and search for inspiration. So, if your muse comes to you and gives an idea or feeling, then take it. Feed it and nurture it. Let the words flow from your hands onto the page and go with it.