Thursday, March 3, 2022

Sweet Sorrows

 Alas, the time has come.

To give up this blog.

To move onto other uses for my time.

The sad fact is few people read blogs anymore- people have progressed to Instagram and TikTok. This blog is a dinosaur. And while I loved writing it, there are better uses of my time. Being in a graduate writing program takes a LOT of time. I'm currently in two classes and each one demands at least 15 hours a week (only more with me because I'm paranoid about being out of school and want to make sure I have done everything possible to complete my assignments). Plus, I have so many writing projects:

    1. Finish book I started writing.

    2. Write book which will become my thesis.

    3. Find an editor to help polish the other books I've written which have kind of languished.

    4. Independently publish my novels (traditional takes too long, it's a draining process where I have no control over any aspect, and there are fewer publishing houses for hundreds of thousands of writers).

    5. Create a new website and social media platform (which means I have to learn more of that stuff).

To those who've stuck around, thanks. I'll post when I have my new website up. I'm hoping to recapture those who've left and draw in new readers. For now, I'm leaving this blog site up. Just one other announcement: I'll be here! Come out and say hello! I'm so excited about getting back to normal! 

I'm hoping to hear about another festival in Bucks County, PA. If I'm accepted, I'll post those details here, on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. 

So thanks for the memories... Being seeing you around, kid. 


Char

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Spring Cleaning?


Spring is definitely on the way, even if it is taking its sweet time. Soon, our thoughts will turn to spring cleaning (won't they?). Here are the top 5 things I want to clear out:

1. Putin, Trump, O'Connell, Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Fox News, and a long list of politicians on both sides of the aisle. I think we've all had enough and need some fresh faces who aren't destructive.

2. Winter. I'm so done. Bring back sunshine and flowers, and not shivering my freckles off when I traipse through subzero temps and/or snow on my way to the Y to swim.

3. Use of the word "unprecedented." I may have mentioned this before, but after 3 years in the pandemic, nothing seems unprecedented anymore.

4. Clutter. I'm cleaning out books I don't want, papers I don't need, and clothes I won't wear. And old stuff in the medicine cabinet.

5. Any show or mention of the Duggars, the Kardashians, Snooki, OJ Simpson, Antonio Brown, Caitlyn Jenner, Melania, (Kan)Ye, and all the other media hogs. Let's clean out the TV listing also, there are a lot of shows that I'm so tired of because they've been overrated, overdone, redone, or bad from the start. We all have a bunch on our hit list, so you don't need me to list mine; and we probably agree on a good number of them.

Now, back to work. I'm cleaning out my email, making notes for my MFA final project, thinking about a new romance series for after graduation, and cleaning off my desk. 

Remember: 53 days until spring, 109 until I open my pool. 


Char

Monday, January 10, 2022

Term Lessons

Yep, I've been absent. Not because I'm being lazy, or went on vacation, but well, holidays and my son visiting from California, and finishing up the first term of my Master's degree. I've drafted a few posts, but then forgot to post them. I'm sure you understand. 

Photo by Pixaby, courtesy of Pexels


But it's time to get back into the routine. Here are five things I've learned after finishing my first term (which you can apply to high school or secondary school):

1. It's better to order the MLA citation book rather than try to figure it out online (even with those sites that offer to put it in the right format; you either have to go through your school or pay for it). The book shows you in a simple, easy to understand format how to cite anything. It was well worth the $20 I spent. And surprisingly it's quicker than going the online route.

2. Start reading ahead of time- don't wait until the first day of class (or even the day before). There are novels and articles, videos, and so many other resources that you need to be familiar with just in the first week. If you wait to read, you'll run out of time when you have to write your papers and submit them. 

3. As you read, even the novels, first write down the citation. It's best to keep a Word document with the citations listed in MLA format so when you write your paper, all you have to do is copy and paste the citation. Saves a LOT of time.

4. Also, as you read, take notes on your novels. I use Post-Its with notations on anything that I think is important, like plot twists, characters, etc. Then I do a chapter-by-chapter summary, a few sentences so I can quickly determine where certain information or quotes I need for my papers is located.

5. Print out copies of articles for easier reference. When I have to write a paper, it's easier and quicker to have the articles at hand rather than going back online to access them, even if they are bookmarked. Plus, I can keep them for future use.

Let's see what I'll learn by the end of next term. But I'll be checking in before then.


Char

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Before It's Too Late...

 Yep, it's crazy time with the first term of grad school coming to a close, but I wanted to take the time to 

1- Thank my friend, Darlene Beck Jacobson 



for featuring many wonderful books on her blog, including mine. 

2. And tell you to get over there and browse and buy! Go here and leave a nice comment too, okay? 

All these authors work so hard and the pandemic has hit us- no in-person events, which we love because we get to greet and meet book lovers and fans. 

3. Ask you to please leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Most of us depend on reader reviews, we don't have a publicity person. 

4. And have yourself a nice holiday. Look for news of forthcoming events here, on Kidlit Authors Club on Facebook and Twitter, on the Smack Dab in the Middle Blog and on the individual authors' pages. 

Happy Holidays! 

Char

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Sure Fire (I Think) Way to Succeed (In Writing)

 Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels


Yep, it's been a while since I've put up a new post. I've been busy with all the papers for my MFA classes. Then I was sick with bronchitis, things with the 'rents and other issues. So, I'm still alive! Now with the holidays closing in, things will get even crazier. One thing I skipped this year was NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) because it would just be too much. The things I learned in NaNoWriMo, though, are helping me during my quest for my MFA:

    1.  Make it (school) a priority. Just like with trying to get the daily word count in for NaNo, getting the papers and schoolwork done has to come before exercising, socializing, and yes, sometimes even family. They don't need me to cook every meal, fix every little thing.



Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels


    2. Don't wait till the last minute. I didn't start my daily NaNo writing at 8 p.m. when I was tired after a full day of family and home. Some assignments are posted early, so I start them as soon as I can. The rest are posted on Monday, by which time I've finished the other assignments. Basically, I'm a half week ahead. Life comes up and emergencies happen. By working ahead, I'm not caught off guard. 


Photo by Black ice from Pexels

    3. Get supplies and resources ahead of time. Whether it's books or sticky notes or a daily calendar to keep word count, have everything at hand. That also means eating before you sit down and getting your water bottle filled. I have everything I need when I sit down to work. The only reasons I get up: bathroom, doorbell, and to stretch after sitting so long.



Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels


    4. Do the prep work. For writing, that means the research so once you sit down, you can write without having to stop when you're in the midst of a scene. For my MFA, it means reading the resources ahead of schedule so when I start my assignments, I'm familiar with what I need to do and have an idea what I'm going to write.


    

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

    

    5. Make a punch list or simple outline. When I write a novel, I always make a list of things that need to happen. This way, I always know where I'm going. With MFA papers, I have a guideline when I list the things I need to address in my papers. 



Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

So that's my secret for success. Feel free to copy my formula. I'll keep ya posted...

Char 

P.S. I've gotten all A's so far, so I really believe I can do this! 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Check Up Time!

 Yes, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Day, so go GET CHECKED! Get that mammogram! You may just save your life, and encouraging others may save theirs!

But what I was referring to was rather checking in on how it's going with my MFA. I've always wanted to get my Master's, as I may have previously said, but jobs, marriage, kids, and life got in the way. But I made the commitment. 

Honestly, I thought about dropping out after the first week. It has been decades since I was in school. I didn't doubt my intelligence (my mom says I'm smart), but I doubted my ability to handle the tech aspect. I had to learn how to navigate different software programs, and since this degree is online, everything is electronic, from discussions to book groups to chatting with your professors. Several times I had to reach out to younger classmates, my professor, and my advisor and admit my confusion. 

Well... I never expected the encouraging support I got. It really humbled me. All the times I'd spent encouraging other writers that they could finish their novel, that criticisms were meant to help them, that the journey may be arduous but worth it- I now received that encouragement back. I'm feeling more comfortable with my progress (I've gotten 3 A's!) even though at the beginning of each week (they're called modules), I have that momentary panic attack. I tell myself to sit down and write something- that it can be fixed later. After a day or so to mull over my draft (actually, I think about it all day and sometimes into the wee night hours), I know what I have to do. Strictly following the rubrics of what is expected in each assignment keeps me on track. Every Monday a new module begins, but I don't wait until then to start; some writing assignments are posted already because resources need to be read and analyzed. So, by Wednesday, I have half the work done for the following week. Staying ahead by a few days allows me to feel no guilt for biking/hiking/swimming, going out to dinner, etc. 

July 2023 is graduation, and early starter that I am, I'm already thinking about what to wear when I walk across the stage to get my diploma- and what my gift to myself should be. (I'm thinking a nifty little sports car....but in red.)



Char

Friday, October 8, 2021

Things I Don't Understand...

 This world is a strange, beautiful, confusing, amazing, and weird place. And sometimes very annoying. This is what's bothering me today:

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels


1.  HOW MANY TIMES DOES MICHAEL MYERS HAVE TO BE KILLED BEFORE HE'S REALLY DEAD? What are we up to, like Halloween 6? Enough. There are so many great authors out there with fabulous scary stories. Make one of their books into a movie and move on from Michael, Jason, Freddy, the Blair Witch, etc. 

2. When you record a show, like, say the Buccaneers vs. Falcons game (Go Tom Brady!), or, a favorite TV show like Manifest, and it goes over a few minutes, the last few are cut off so I MISS THE ENDING!!!!!! I hate that. It made me say some bad words. Cut out a few commercials so it doesn't run past time! (At least I can watch it online... but still!)

3. How come we don't see more women like Halle Berry, Angelica Houston, Bette Midler, and other greats? These women are fabulous, yet... we see all roles played by 20-30 somethings. 

4. Why are most people ignorant when it comes to using apostrophes? "...more record's will be..." NONONONONONONO. NO APOSTROPHE! If it's plural, just add an s. If you're showing possession, like "Mikey's car" then yes, apostrophe and s. For all that's (contraction of that and is so yes, an apostrophe!) holy, LEARN THIS! 

5. WHY do my cats just nibble their food, then walk away, only to sneak back to eat from the other's bowl? IT'S THE SAME FOOD. EVERY. DAY.

There are a lot of things that annoy me and I don't understand, but I'll stop here. Next post, only positive things, to balance the energies.

Till then,

PEACE!

Char