Wednesday Randomness: January 2019 Brain Dump

Not a whole lot to brain dump, this time around. Since the first of the year, I’ve been focusing on writing daily, and have been managing that. So definitely happy and a wee bit proud of myself on that front.

I had one kid, my oldest son, move out (for school) and miss him like crazy. And had another one, my younger daughter, come back home. Not that she was gone long, and we knew she wasn’t gone for good yet. It ties into the other thing on my mind. Her boyfriend of nearly 3 years was sworn in yesterday morning and is off to basic training for the Air Force. Very proud of this guy, who has become family to all of us, and I know the next couple weeks especially are going to be tough for my girl.

She also brought this girl with her.

Who definitely is NOT supposed to be on the bed. Luckily, it was washing bedding day, anyway, so I didn’t get to worked up about my allergies going crazy come bedtime. Also she’s too darned cute. Though, I still show her who’s boss, even if my daughter keeps referring to me as Grandma when she talks to the dog.

And that’s it from me…my mind is a simple place, right now. Writing and family. 🙂


Bronwyn Green | Gwen Cease | Kris Norris

January Check-in

So, we decided when we were setting up the blog schedule this year that we’d do monthly check-ins. We have no hard-set rules for these posts – they can be whatever we want them to be.

For me, I’m looking at this as an opportunity to keep myself accountable, to look at how I’m progressing toward the goals I set for myself, and to really look at what is working (and keep doing it!) and what isn’t (and stop and come up with something new!).

That’s all well and good, yeah? Problem is, I didn’t really set concrete goals for myself for 2017 like I’d done for previous years.  When the year started, I was overwhelmed – for myriad reasons I won’t get into in this post – and while I needed something to focus on and strive for, setting up specific goals (# of words written a week and that type of thing) was just too much for me at that time. So, for January, I decided I would look at areas of my life I wanted to do better in. I chose to focus on and establish routines with self-care and keeping my house in order (which, really, is kinda self-care because if there is chaos around me, my mind is chaos).

I used my bullet journal to help me out here. On each day, in addition to appointments, family obligations, and day job stuff, I had the same two checklists – one for self-care and one for the house stuff. It seems overly simple, I know, but sometimes in the midst of 4 kids’ school and work schedules, a husband who was traveling overseas for work, work from the day job… Well, some days, it was a struggle to be able to fill in those little boxes. But I did it. And I figured out what worked for me…how and where to fit those things that were important to me, my health, and my sanity.

And another moment of harsh honesty–there were some days in there that those 2 little lists were the only thing I accomplished that day. And doing them, filling in those boxes, sticking to it would make a really shitty day marginally better.

So, what now? I’m going to keep with those checklists, because the importance of self-care and being at peace with my surroundings hasn’t gone away. But now, I’m going to focus on getting back to what I love. Back to writing. And I feel ready to do that.

It has taken me quite a while to set aside the guilt I’ve been feeling for not finishing books that were meant to be finished this last year. A lot of stuff happened, and I wasn’t in a place where I could do it. Taking care of myself – physically, mentally, emotionally – had to take priority. Writing, as well as many other things, had to take a backseat while I figured out how to do that. But, now that I have, writing gets to be on the top of the list again, and I’m super happy and excited about that.

From now on, in these monthly check-ins, I’m going to look back at the previous month and how I’ve been doing, and I’m also going to write down some goals for the following month. So, here we go for February…

  • Continue with the self care and house stuff – definitely makes a happier, calmer me. 🙂
  • Complete Safeword Protected (Bound series) and Into the Deep (Albion’s Circle series) – so close on both of these, and since they have been on my plate, so to speak, for so long, getting these completely done and released will be a huge, huge thing for me.
  • Complete all scheduled blog posts for the month.

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Paige Prince

Wednesday Randomness: Finding the Balance

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Ah, balance. I have yet to find it. I’ve come close…really close at some points in the past. Now is not one of those times–believe me. This year has been rough. A lot of stuff that just…sucked. The last of which was surgery – minor but the recovery is taking a bit longer than expected.

Anyhow, so I have no great insights on how to find balance. I wish I did. I do know that what works for me…isn’t going to work for everyone. Heck, my way may drive other completely batty and vice versa. So, it’s about finding what works for you.

These days, as I mentioned, I’m struggling. Aside from the challenges this year has thrown at me, I have… Well I have a lot of stuff to juggle. Family stuff, more than one day/other job, in addition to writing. Writing, all too often, gets shuffled to the end of the pile. Which triggers mental crap that is all to familiar. The endless cycle of self-doubt and recriminations.

My inner voice at these times is:

tiredofyourbullshit

I’m getting past that. I’m definitely better at that than I was years ago.

One thing I’ve found that works for me, that gives me a chance of grabbing hold of that balance, is having a routine (or more than one throughout the day). My brain works better with routine – hey, my kids come by that honestly! A tool I’ve found that helps me so much with that…a bullet journal. Thank you, Jenny Trout, for introducing me to this fabulous little tool! It is literally keeping me on track lately. Ticking off the boxes every day is keeping me in forward motion.

(Here’s a link that explains and layouts the basic idea of it. There is a crapton of stuff on bullet journals online. A google search will yield a lot for you. Can be as simple/minimalistic or elaborate as you want it to be.)

So, for me, continuing to use my journal is my stepping stone to finding, and keeping, the balance I need in life.

And that is it for me this week. I’m off to get some much-needed rest after maybe…probably…okay, definitely overdoing today.

Hugs
J


Bronwyn GreenKellie St. James

Wednesday Randomness: Mistakes From My 1st Manuscript

So, this week, we’re talking about our first manuscripts – the mistakes, how we’ve changed as writers since writing them…

The first book I wrote was The Boy Next Door. I’ll be honest, it’s been a LONG time since I’d even looked at that book. I was a bit nervous to get into it, knowing I’d see things that I would do differently now. I’m definitely a different writer than I was back then.

When I reread it, I was pleasantly surprised. I knew I still loved the story itself. It’s friends to lovers, which is one of my all-times fave tropes in romance. I ADORE IT. I still enjoyed the hero and heroine – Mac and Darcy. They were fun characters to write and fun to revisit.

The things I’d change?

Dialogue – It didn’t feel as natural to me as in more current books. I’d definitely do that differently. I’m fairly picky about dialogue and try to make it sound as natural as possible. I’m always reading stuff aloud, seeing how it sounds, and I didn’t do that back then.

Point-of-view shifts – While I didn’t head hop (going in and out of characters’ POVs willy nilly) exactly, I did go back and forth way too often in the sex scenes. It didn’t read smoothly to me now.

The sex scenes – They were all right, but it was the first time I’d written explicit sex. Remember, that was a time in my life that if you’d have told me I’d be writing BDSM, MM or menage, I’d have laughed and said no way. I enjoyed reading those things but didn’t think I had it in me to write them myself. Imagine my surprise…jazzhands

…I’ve written all those things and continue to…so that is definitely an area of growth for me since then. And I’m soooo happy about that. 🙂 So yeah, I think the sex scenes could be…more in The Boy Next Door. LOL

Flat characters – Not the main characters, but some of the secondary characters could have been fleshed out, more well-rounded. Particularly Darcy’s mother. I cringed when I read scenes with her, because very flat, one-note character, and I could certainly do better.

Those are the big things. The Boy Next Door would be a different book if I wrote it today, for sure. Though, for where I was, at the time, it’s pretty solid, I think.


 

Bronwyn Green | Gwenyolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris

 

Wednesday Randomness: Goals for 2015

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Happy Wednesday! The last Wednesday…the last day, period, of 2014. How did that happen??

So, this week, we’re posting our goals for the coming year. Yeah, that’s not intimidating at all. o.O

For me, to set some goals, I had to take a look back at what I accomplished this year, compare that to what I set out to do, and evaluate. The goals I set for myself for 2014 were pretty loose and vague. I wanted to blog more and publish some books. Seriously, those were my 2 “goals”. *sigh*

Well, I did blog more, so that’s a win. Between Merlin Club and Wednesday Randomness posts, I’ve consistently blogged twice a week this year. So yay me. I count that as a win.

And I did publish some books. That, alone, means I made my (super pathetic) goal – even if some of the book were re-releases. I was a bit down on myself but then realized that what I accomplished this year was actually pretty awesome. I stretched myself and went way outside my comfort zone. First, I wrote a new adult book. Waaaaay outside, my friends. And I loved it. You know, after I stopped obsessing and freaking out. And secondly, I self-published for the first time. That was a daunting endeavor for me, but I did it successfully.

So I’m giving myself permission to be happy with the year we’re putting to bed. Now, onto the next.

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I’m not going to list every aspect of my goal making here – because it’s on a level of insanity, my friends. I’m trying to set very specific and quantifiable goals this year, both short-term and long-term. This list, however, will be more general, but a world above “blog more and publish some books.” LOL

Blogging

  • Continue to blog weekly – 3x/week.
  • Merlin Club continues for the first third of the year. After that…we are making plans. 🙂
  • Wednesday Randomness posts will continue.
  • I’ve also some new blog projects that are meant to stretch and challenge me as a writer and hopefully provide some entertainment to readers as well.

Writing

  • Write daily. Even if it’s only 100 words. This is essential.
  • Complete Albion’s Circle.
  • Write at least 2 new erotic romances
  • Write at least 2 new new adult books

Other

  • Get new business venture off the ground.
  • Be healthier – that’s vague but it basically means move more and eat better. Should be easy but it never is.
  • Be more mindful about family time – the kids are growing up and time with them is way important. As is time spent with the hubby, of course. 🙂
  • Get my house in order. :-/

And there you have it – my goals for 2015 🙂

Go check out what the other ladies are aiming to accomplish in the coming year!

Bronwyn Green • Gwendolyn Cease • Kris Norris

Until next week!

Hugs,
~J