Fresh Air and Some Updates

My daughter, Aria, and I spent most of five hours at an outdoor wedding and reception yesterday. It was really nice, with no less than half dozen ‘why didn’t I bring tissues?!‘ moments.

Today, I’m reminded of two things. One. Fresh air makes me really, really tired. Like for two days. Why? Because I’m used to air conditioned or heated office air and my body isn’t quite sure what to think of all that fresh stuff. And two. While I love a lot of music – everything from Dean Martin to Aerosmith to the Backstreet Boys – I do not and never will love super loud hard rock music filled with language so shocking I wanted to hold my hands over Aria’s ears for fear she might repeat some of it.

Yeah, I guess I’m getting older…

Still, it was a beautiful wedding and I wish the happy couple well on their new life together.

It makes me kind of excited for the couples in some of my new stories. I didn’t get everything I wanted done for Camp NaNo because the decision that it was time to get most of my books (all of the fiction anyway) in the biggest online bookstores meant I had to devote a big chunk of my time and energy to actually getting them there.

But Weko 1 is nearly done. I’m doing a final read through and edits before sending it off to two of my favorite people. I’ve also started a couple of more stories. I figure if other authors can work on two or three at a time, so can I. Right?

LOL…well, we’ll see if I can.

For now, I’m going to go get some ice cream, and then I’m going to get through as much of Weko 1 tonight as I can because I really want the rewrites out of the way in the next two or three days. I’m also going to leave you with a video. The disc jockey played it during the father/daughter dance last night.

This isn’t from that wedding I attended but I love it anyway. I can just see all of my heroines – those who have fathers anyway – dancing with their dads. Especially… Well, I’ll just say when I think of one of my favorite guys in Her Best Friend Jon (affiliate link) dancing with his daughter at her wedding, it brings tears to my eyes too.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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Meet Nick!

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, some of the stars of my new Weko Harbor series have demanded some time on the blog and other social media sites. I’ve just been swamped with getting most of my books up at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and Smashwords. They’ll still be available at Amazon, just not exclusively anymore.
That said, Nick and the gang started nagging me about getting the login information for this, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest … and that isn’t happening. So I stopped by to get Nick’s first blog post up. And now I’m going to bed. Feel free to chat with him in the comments section. I’ll let him back on every day or so to check. 🙂
Hello. I guess I should start off by introducing myself. I’m Nick Rutledge. My family has lived in Weko Harbor for a few generations, and we’ll probably be here for a few more. Probably until the end of time because though some of us have tried to leave, we always find our way back home.
That’s not a bad thing. Weko Harbor is one of the best places in the world. It just isn’t where I thought I’d be spending my life. I thought I’d be off somewhere else, slaying giants and making a difference. Yet here I am.
It seems my mid-life crisis arrived … a couple of decades early. Yeah, it hit me at the ripe old age of twenty-three and four years later, it seems its settled in for a lengthy stay. And I’m still not sure what I want to do with my life.
I thought I did. From the time I was a kid, I had everything all planned out. Graduate from high school, four years of seminary, and then find a church somewhere. Maybe start out as the youth pastor, then move up into the top position when the head pastor retired.
Within eighteen months of getting my degree though, I’d been hired—and quit—three positions. I’ve pretty much been working on cars in small service station (where know-how is valued over a license) ever since, trying to keep my friends and family from finding out what a failure I am. Of course, Gramps probably would have said I just needed to figure out what I didn’t want to do before I could figure out what I did want to do.
What exactly do I want to do? I wish I could tell you. I’m still sorting through my options. If I’d done that nine years ago, I wouldn’t have wasted four years of tuition at seminary, and I wouldn’t have done quite so much job hopping.
Right now though, I’m back where I’ve always loved to be. Weko Harbor. It’s where all the people I love are.
For now, I’m running Gramps’ Surf ‘n Soda Shack. I’m living in his big ol’ Victorian house too. You see, when he died, he left my brothers the lion’s share of his life insurance policy. He left me the Shack and the house.
It came as a big surprise to me. Kind of like Gramps dying. I might have had some time to prepare myself for everything if even one person I know had bothered to mention he’d been sick. Really sick. For two years. I have some … issues … over that.
But I can’t say much. I spent those two years hiding out in Ohio, coming up with one excuse after another to avoid coming home for visits. I told myself that they’d see the grease and oil stains on my hands. No matter how many times I washed them, I couldn’t make them go away. But was it ever really there? Or was it guilt I was seeing instead? Guilt at letting everyone I know down?
You want to hear something funny? Gramps knew. Seriously. I don’t know how but he did. He It was in the letter he wrote to me before he died. When he told me the business was mine—to do with as I pleased. He just wanted me to be happy.
I know his hope was that I’d want to take over for him. Not that he tried to pressure me or anything. Maybe this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I know I’m happier than I’ve been since I left high school. And I know the Shack inside out. I tagged along with Gramps from the time I learned how to walk until he gave me my first job there on my fourteenth birthday.
Maybe providing food, beverages, and ice cream to the residents and tourists who visit Weko Harbor is my real calling. If it is, I’m in the right place. The Shack has always been the heart of our little community.
So anyway, that’s a little about me. Gotta go though. Tomorrow is the meatloaf special. I’ve got to get everything mixed up and ready to go in the oven bright and early in the morning. Thanks for letting me bend your ear for a while.
Nick
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They’re Hijacking My Social Media Sites!

Don’t worry. It’s nothing serious. Just the stars of the Weko Harbor series in a mood to pull some shenanigans. Like their proposed takeovers of my blog and Facebook and Twitter pages. The closer I get to being finished with the first book, the more excited they getting and the more they think I’m slacking off in the marketing department. Which is probably true. Marketing isn’t my first love. Writing is.

So they’ve nagged the heck out of me to let THEM do some of the marketing, freeing me to stay busy on the stories. I’m sure they’re just trying to be nice. There’s not any ego stuff going on here. Uh-huh.

Anyway, it’s just easier to let them have their way. Within reason, of course. So sometimes, they will be doing some blog posts or interviews, and sharing news and, if I know them, probably some gossip (nothing incriminating – at least I hope not!) on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The blog posts will be shared here first, then moved over to the website. Everything else though… It’s kind of a ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ thing. The tidbits they share on Facebook and Twitter stay on Facebook and Twitter so if you want to find out what they’re up to, you’ll have to make sure to follow me on both sites. My Twitter handle is @KristyKJames and, if you’re reading this on my blog, my Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/kristykjames/

Nick said he planned on posting something yet tonight so check back in case you’re one of the 90% Facebook doesn’t send notifications to. 🙂

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A Recipe and….. A Sneak Peek!

I totally love how I feel on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) plan. Most of the residual pain from the car accident goes away, along with other aches and pains you just seem to accumulate with time. Since I tend to feel better with a lower carb diet anyway, this is perfect. But finding substitutes for favorite foods, especially sweets – well that can sometimes be a challenge. 

Sometimes, I find new favorites, like Briana Thomas’s Fried Cream Cheese and Blueberry Taco. Of course, the night I decided to try it, I discovered my blueberries had been in the freezer so long they were freezer burned, as were the strawberries and raspberries (I lose track of time). So I made a couple of changes, first mixing the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and sweetener together. I’m not a huge fan of plain yogurt, and especially not of plain Greek yogurt. Then, I drizzled a little sugar free strawberry preserves (the only on-plan fruity thing I had on hand).

Let me tell you, I was in love. I wanted to make ten of them! Twenty of them! But the Dr. Jekyll side of my brain wrestled the Ms. Hyde side of my brain into submission and I just had the one.

A few weeks later, PMS dictated I find something chocolate. As in chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies. I found one recipe that was pretty good. Not 100% close but close enough. Then I decided I still missed the ‘real’ thing and so tonight, I experimented. And these, in my opinion, are perfect.

Let me first say that I went with the unsweetened coconut flakes that I’d seen in the first recipe. I like that the net carbs are ZERO, unlike oatmeal. But I still wanted a closer texture so I decided to add a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped peanuts (almost zero carbs). Okay, I didn’t chop them. I put them in a baggie and pounded them with the flat side of my meat mallet. I also added a little of an 85% cocoa chocolate bar, hoping that would be the key to what I wanted. It was. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the photo of it after it’s mixed up – all shiny like no-bakes are supposed to be…

Kristy’s Chocolate No-Bake cookies

1/3 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 square Lindt 85% Cocoa Extra Dark chocolate bar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (or so, to taste) unsweetened, flaked coconut
2 tablespoons powdered Swerve sweetener
2 tablespoons finely chopped (or crushed with meat mallet) peanuts

Heat peanut butter, butter, and chocolate square in microwave safe bowl for 20 seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add cocoa and Swerve. Mix well. Add coconut and peanuts. Drop onto buttered plate and refrigerate. Makes 4 small cookies or 2 larger ones. Or you can just eat it out of the bowl if you haven’t had anything sweet for days and you can’t wait for them to harden. 

If you want to try these, you’ll have to get the nutrition counts from the labels on on the food containers. One of these days I’ll try to get them posted here but I’m too tired to mess with it tonight.

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Now for the sneak peek at a new opening scene for Weko 1. I posted it on my Facebook page earlier this evening and decided to share it here too. And no, I still haven’t decided on a title – but it hit me last night that I’d started the story in the wrong place. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

“I could crash the car,” Wesley Cooper thought as he cruised down Red Arrow Highway just a tad over the speed limit. The wind whipped his hair around like laundry hanging on a line during the middle of a hurricane. Normally, he’d wear his U of M ball cap to keep it under control but hat hair wasn’t a fashion statement he was willing to make at a funeral.

A funeral. The word sent a sharp stab of pain through his heart and his hands tightened on the steering wheel until his knuckles were white. He’d had to say goodbye to a few people through the years but none that hurt quite this much.

He forced his thoughts back to the most recent idea to get out of going. Granted, it was the most idiotic by far but if he crashed the car—nothing bad or anything, just a little fender bender with a tree—who could blame him for not showing up? Of course, his shiny red convertible wasn’t even two years old and he’d never gotten so much as a scratch on it. The thought of purposely smashing any part of it, and on purpose- Yeah, well, he knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Traffic was surprisingly light for a sunny July afternoon in the heart of a major tourist area. Too bad there couldn’t be more vehicles on the road. Dozens of them. And maybe a minor train derailment where the tracks crossed the road on the way to the power plant a few miles outside of Weko Harbor. Not much he could do if he was stuck in the middle of that kind of mess.

Sighing, he glanced to his right. In the distance, over the dunes, he could see the waves rolling across Lake Michigan were good sized already. The forecasted storm was predicted to hit sometime during the late afternoon or early evening. For once, the weatherman seemed to be on target as the wind had picked up a couple of hours ago. It would make the humid heat more bearable when all of the mourners arrived at the cemetery.

But it was still nice out now. The sky was bright blue. The only clouds floating around were of the billowy white variety. In fact, if he was home, he’d enjoy kicking back in the hammock on his miniscule deck and watching as they passed by.

Sorry, everyone. I couldn’t make it today. I decided I needed to admire the clouds more than I wanted to see Hank one last time.

But he knew, no matter how many excuses he came up with, he’d go. The old man had been a good friend through—too good to disrespect his memory by making up a cowardly lie in order to avoid this painful day.

Besides, he’d given his word. Nick was coming home today. For the first time in a long time, he’d be back among his family and friends. And while he probably hated them all right now, Wes had promised to be here for him.

Wes never broke his word, no matter how much he might want to.

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A Duh Moment

Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

A side of Mr. King and Dave Berry you might not have seen before as they sing and play their little hearts out in the Rock Bottom Remainder band (to raise money for charities).

If anyone had asked me, over the past several years, I’d have said I’d read a lot of books. And it would be true. But being really honest, ninety percent of them were books on writing, marketing, social media, and all things related to the business of writing.

Sure, I seemed to go in streaks. I read a Carol Moncado series in a short period of time. I read The Morganville Vamprie series. And single, standalone books like The Martian, The Host, a few David Baldacci stories, and more. But when you add those kinds of books up over the past seven years, it’s not that many. Certainly not a book a month most of the time and sadly, not even close to some quality reading time every single day.

Periodically, I’ll realize my creative tank is running on fumes and I’ll binge read a book or few, but then it’s right back to business.

I’m determined to not let that happen again. I love reading. I have since I was in the first or second grade. Maybe earlier than that. I miss reading. And I’m going to make it a part of my daily life again.

For a while lately, I’ve been writing and taking story notes while my daughter and I run errands. It’s really interesting trying to write by hand in a notebook on Michigan washboards roads. But I was getting a lot done. And when I wasn’t, I was reading … you guessed it, books on one part or another of the business. 

But I’ve decided enough is enough. Reading for pleasure is critical for a writer. I mean critical.

Can you imagine trying to clean your house, do the laundry, or work your nine-to-five job if you never ate? Or slept? You might be able to do them for a few hours. Maybe even a day or so, but you can’t keep spending your physical energy without replacing it with new calories and nutrition.

That’s what trying to create stories is like for a writer who isn’t reading for pleasure.

And so I’m going to read books. I’m going to listen to books. Every. Single. Day. For the past several days, I’ve been listing to a long time favorite, Alas, Babylon (narrated by Will Patton – swoon! And that’s an affiliate link – click here to read more about them). I’ve also been reading the Kindle version of The Martian for the second time (another affiliate link but whoa! It’s on sale for $2.99 today!).

What are you reading? And how do you make sure to find time to read every day? Or at least often?

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This Crazy Publishing World

Crazy doesn’t seem to quite cover what’s been happening lately. If any of you have been following the goings on at in the world of books lately, you might have heard of stuffers, scammers, rank stripping, paid for reviews that are causing the removal of legitimate reviews, and accounts being shut down. And it mostly seems to be happening on Amazon.

Why there? I suspect it’s because they have the largest selection of books online and these criminals feel it’s an easier place to commit their crimes. The more books to choose from, the less likely theirs are to stand out.

Whatever the reason, the attempts to stop these individuals are hurting many writers whose books are in KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited. They’re also hurting a fair number of readers who pay for Kindle Unlimited subscriptions. 

Amazon is working hard to stop all of the illegal activities but the bots created to find the scammers sometimes flag innocent authors and readers whose accounts can then be, without warning, closed.

What does that mean? Quite simply, losing an account means losing all of your digital content. Kindles will become dust collectors because all of your books will be gone. And your music and video libraries? Gone too.

Authors risk losing all of that – plus their income. And if that happens, it’s all of their income.

Why?

To provide their books to Kindle Unlimited, authors have to be in KDP Select – meaning they can’t sell their digital books anywhere else. Given all that’s going on right now, it doesn’t make good business sense to do that anymore.

Many have already pulled everything out of Select. Their books will still be available at Amazon, but they’re selling them at the other stores too.

Some are like me though, taking them out a little more slowly. I’ve got about  a dozen of my books in the major stores – Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. I should have five more up in the next week or so, with the to follow by the end of the year. Hopefully.

If you’ve never shopped at the other stores, or your e-reader doesn’t currently support them, you can get free reading apps for all of the bookstores I listed in the last paragraph (link here). With the apps, you’re free to buy and read my books – and any others you want – anywhere you choose.

I’ll still be selling on Amazon – just not exclusively – as will many, many other authors. If you purchase your books there, I encourage you to check a couple of things first. If they’re over 1000 pages and aren’t single author bundles or multi-author boxed sets, they could belong to a book stuffer/scammer. Also, be sure to check the sample pages to make sure you’re getting well written stories. At least until the problems have been resolved. 

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Oh! Before I forget, I have an author page on BookBub. I’d love it if you’d follow me there. The link is: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kristy-k-james.

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

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Reminiscing

Earlier this month, I celebrated my seventh year of blogging so sharing this again seems appropriate. I originally wrote it on May 21, 2012, not quite a year after I first started. It was to celebrate my 200th post. I’ve since published 483 more but this one was kind of fun. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

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Yup, sure enough.  Today marks my 200th blog here at WordPress.  Technically anyway. I started off blogging on my website…and quickly discovered that WordPress has more bells and whistles.  At the top of that list is the ability to post YouTube videos…and we all know I love doing that.

In fact, I’m going to post one now.  The song, by Five For Fighting, is titled, ‘100 Years.’  Since this is a blog about two hundred, I guess you’ll have to listen to it twice (okay, I’m kidding…you don’t have to listen to it twice).  It’s about how quickly time passes, and it surely does.  It seems like only a moment ago I was fifteen and falling in love with everything about writing.

The entire song is great but my favorite line is, ‘Chasing the years of my life.’

A tragedy nearly eighteen months ago reminded me of how short life is.   You can be here one day then, with no warning at all, be gone the next.   It was while still dealing with that last spring that I realized it was time to start pursuing some of my dreams.  They were moving farther away from me and it was time to catch up up to them.  And so I finally got serious about my writing, did some research…then kicked it all off with a bang.  I mean a blog.

Now, with my first year blogging anniversary coming up on June 6th, I’ve been looking back at some of my early posts. I had to chuckle when I got to the first one.   Of course it was about a subject near and dear to my heart…my septic tank.  Nothing like putting my best foot forward.

It’s been a great experience for me though.  I’ve been able to ‘meet’ and get to know some awesome readers and writers, and I wouldn’t trade my life today for anything in the world. (Well, maybe I’d trade it for Bruce Willis or Jeffrey Dean Morgan…)

In honor of my 200th post, I thought I’d see if I could find some interesting facts about the number 200.  And what I came up with was definitely interesting.

According to The Telegraph:

One quarter of the world’s wealth is controlled by 200 companies.  I think I would like to own one of those companies.

Pony Express riders averaged 200 miles per day.  Ouch.  That is all.  Just…ouch.

Dandelion flower heads produce 200 seeds.  Given the abundance of bright yellow weeds scattered all over my yard between mowings, I am not surprised to learn this.

Each year 200 Japanese execs kick the bucket while golfing.  Wonder what kind of betting goes on before those games?  “Five hundred on Hiroshi.  Yeah, heart attack at the sand trap.”

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death, Triumph International, the second largest lingerie company in Japan, made a lighted bra that played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  They erred just a little bit in thinking that Mozart wrote the tune.  Be fun to own the bra though, wouldn’t it?  You’d be the hit of any party you wore it to.

In the Old Testament, David accepted a challenge from Saul and basically stole 200 Philistine foreskins to claim his wife.  Wow.  How romantic.  Um…not!

Okay. That’s it for tonight. I’ve got to scrounge up a snack and then get to bed. Maybe I should skip the snack.

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I Love Audible Books!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a product link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a few pennies but your price won’t change. Click here for details.

I never thought I’d say those words but after listening to Daniela Acitelli and Katie Welburn as they narrated my books, I changed my mind. I’ve since gotten one of my favorite Debbie Macomber series, Midnight Sons, Alas, Babylon (narrated by Will Patton!), another favorite since my sister stumbled on an old copy in the library. She thought I’d like it. She was right. Let’s see… I also have The Host, a couple of non-fiction books, and just got Under the Tuscan Sun tonight.

I have found, however, that there is a big difference between listening to a book and actually reading one. I know. That sounds like a ‘duh’ thing to say but it’s true.

With a ‘real’ book – I mean the kind I hold in my hands and read with my eyes, I can tune out the world around me. Maybe not a hundred percent. I mean, there’s a three-year-old living in my house so I still have to be alert to what she’s doing. But if she’s busy playing or watching nursery rhymes, I can get a little reading in. I’m still aware of what’s going on, but can still concentrate.

An audio book? Any sort of video, be it cartoons, something my son or daughter is watching, music competes with the narrator’s voice and I have to turn the book off. My brain just can’t focus on the chaos of too much noise.

And so I usually wait for everyone to go to bed. And then I’ll listen. I have a ‘date’ with Will Patton in a little while. I’ve never listened to Alas, Babylon before, though I’ve read the book a dozen times or more. I’ve had to replace it twice (thank you, God, for print-on-demand books!).

Have any of you gotten into the audible book craze?

I have most of the Coach’s Boys available, as well as the Casteloria books. I’m not sure why the distributor of the Casteloria books won’t change the covers since I’ve re-titled them so A Prince on the Run, The Physician to the Kind, and The Princess and the Bodyguard can only be purchased as Laying Low in Paradise, A Cool Summer in Paradise, and A Cold Day in Paradise. Until I can get ACX to actually make the change – which both Katie and I requested they do last year – it’s just going to be a little weird with that series.

I’m not 100% sure on this but it looks like if you buy (and maybe even own already) the books in these series’, you can get the audible versions for $7.49.  Except for Darby’s Dilemma, which is $1.99  and The Princess and the Bodyguard (formerly A Cold Day in Paradise). Unfortunately, Katie was unable to complete the series after Nolan’s book.

By the way… I’ll have some exciting news about this series soon!

And now, I’ve got about an hour before I go to bed. Do I listen to a little more of Alas, Babylon? Or do I finish watching the last thirty-nine minutes of Letters to Juliet? Decisions, decisions. 

Photo credit: Pexels.com

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Happy Anniversary To Me!

Today is the seventh anniversary of my first Kristy K. James blog post, An Interesting Evening. While I could find the humor in what happened then, it’s a lot funnier today. Reading through it, I had to laugh. I thought about just reblogging it but given how hit and miss I’ve been with things for the past year, it seemed like a bit of a copout.

But what to write about? I’m pretty sure that somewhere in the nearly seven-hundred posts, I’ve covered that I started off writing plays when I was eight or ten. I’m also thinking I’ve mentioned that I started writing romance stories at fifteen because I missed playing with Barbie dolls.

I realized last week that I was wrong though. I actually started writing romance when I was fourteen. Not that it makes much difference but it’s a year longer than I thought.

That realization didn’t help with coming up with a new topic though, and then I realized the most fun thing I could do something I’ve seen done before, though mostly on talk shows. I’ll share the links for some of what, in my opinion, were my best and/or most fun posts.

But not before I say thank you. Thank you for sticking with me through the good times and the bad. Through the times when words and books flowed like April rain showers – and when the words are as hard to find a needle in a hay field. Not a haystack but a field. Kind of what this past year or so has been like, for books, the blog, and my social media sites.

Hopefully, that will all be changing. Soon. 🙂

Anyway, thank you again. Now here are a few links. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Misadventures in Home Ownership, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, deal with a city girl discovering that plumbing in the country is a whole lot different than plumbing in town.

This one seems appropriate because this August will be fifteen years since my dad died from cancer. It brings back good memories. And sad ones. And I still can’t listen to Dance With My Father Again without crying. Happy Birthday, Dad.

I think I’ll leave off with this last one. The Mirror of Your Life. Having my daughter and Aria living with me for nearly two and a half years has forced me to prioritize the most important things in life again. Family. Of course, I seem to go from one extreme to the other … all work or all ‘play.’ Right now, I’m trying to find a compromise, fitting together work and spending enough fun time with a toddler. Because writing is also one of my loves. Lower on the list than people, as it should be, but I still need to tell my stories. Both because if I don’t, they’re just stuck in my head and the characters drive me bonkers – and because I’d rather not have to get a day job. Writing doesn’t look that good on a resume. 🙂

And now, insomniac that I still am, it’s time to get a little more sleep. But I needed to celebrate this seventh anniversary. Thanks again, everyone.

I’ll leave you with this. I know I’ve said before that I’ve adopted this as my theme song but I plan to really embrace the message as my own this year. It’s time to kick this bout of writer’s block to the curb! 2018. More books, more blog posts, more social media.

And more sleep. 😀

Photo credit: Pixabay

Posted in Just for fun, Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Do I Have An Inner Extrovert Screaming To Get Out?

This video is cute but I have to say it’s pretty much the same in Michigan.

I’ve always considered myself an introvert. I need quiet time – and lots of it. I avoid phones like the plague. Too much noise, too much chaos, too much ‘people time’ and stress starts to build like pressure in an active volcano.

I can be sociable for a while. It’s more comfortable when it’s with a small group of people, preferably one-on-one, and with those I know fairly well. But when I’m done socializing, I’m done. I don’t want to talk anymore. I don’t want to be wherever I am. I just want to go home for some of that calm, restorative quiet I mentioned above.

That said, I find myself having the most interesting conversations with people I don’t know. My daughter once noted how weird that is. Once, referring to a very quiet cashier she said, “I’ve never seen him talk to anyone but you. And there’s that woman at the other store too. You’re the only one she talks to.”

And then there are days like today…

We went to a local store to pick up some things we needed. And some things we didn’t need but hey, my daughter loves to shop and while I’m following her around, I tend to find things I wouldn’t otherwise see – like the Ozark Trail 20 oz stainless steel tumbler that promises to keep drinks cold. With summer fast approaching, you know I had to have them. And they were on clearance for $5.00 each. Win for me! (By the way, that was an affiliate link. If you click on it and buy something at Amazon, I will make a small commission but your price won’t change. Read about it in my Terms of Service)

So anyway, we finally made it back to the van. While my daughter buckled Aria in the car seat, I got in the passenger seat and rolled the window down. After more than an hour of shopping, my feet hurt.

While sitting there, an ornery looking woman stood next to the car beside us, waiting for her elderly mother who was pushing their cart to the corral (she refused to let her daughter do it). As the woman stood there she said, “It’s too hot.”

Me being me, I said, “I know. I’m already missing snow and windchills.”

We then had a very nice conversation about how we’re in the minority and can’t talk about how much we hate hot weather because the summer loving majority don’t care for those who prefer cooler weather. By the time we pulled out, not only was the ornery expression gone but she’d even smiled and laughed a few times – especially when I told her I have an aunt who seems to blame me for winter.

Sometimes, I think there really is an extrovert hiding somewhere inside me, fighting to get out. Other times, I wonder if something in my brain takes it as a challenge of some kind. “Not going to talk to me? We’ll see about that!” And then I think maybe it’s just that I don’t like to see people unhappy so I try to cheer them up.

Honestly, I don’t know. It depends on the day. It’s probably the second thing. I always have enjoyed a good challenge. 🙂

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