Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays from West Virginia!

Happy Holidays from West Virginia!

I took a sabbatical from writing and blogging as I do every Holiday season and will return on 31 December with a blog of my favorite highlights of 2013. I hope you've been well during my blog absence and that you are enjoying your Holidays, so far! Ozzy, Pierre and I are well, thank you :)

Taking a break from writing is necessary for me so that I am fully present during the Holidays with my family and friends. I was able to attend to the pesky tasks at home that I'd neglected that help my home run smoothly and even had time to tackle stripping and sanding the steps on my staircase with my DIY buddy...which turned out to be a monster of a task. I need more time to finish the steps and will return to the job after the Holidays. How many layers of paint, stain and varnish can be applied to 108-year old steps? Tons, we found out! Can you say Icy Hot and Ben Gay?

The Holiday wreath hangs on the front door with berries and pine cones, the white twinkly lights light up the front window and the mantle is decorated with fresh greens and dried roses from the rose garden next door. I didn't steal...that's called pruning :) My home looks festive and cinnamon and evergreen candles offer Holiday aromas. No holiday tree this year, however. I'm traveling to Northern Virginia to spend Christmas with my children and family and will return before the New Year. I will be glad NOT to have to take down the tree and put away ornaments when I return!

I'm blessed and so very grateful for this day, albeit rainy and gray. Our 11 inches of snow came too early in the year and it doesn't look like we're going to enjoy a White Christmas. I'm not bothered with that, however. I'll soon be with my family and that's all that matters to me. 

Family, love, friends, peace, good health, prosperity, and joy. That's what on the menu this Holiday season.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Yes, I keep Christ in Christmas and send my blessings to you.

Ellie xo










Monday, November 11, 2013

Desire and Destiny

I've been causing myself a bit of anxiety lately by trying to do too much. My biorhythm is lower in the Fall, going into Winter, so I'm listening to my body. I'm going into semi-hibernation mode. Do you do that?

My house is warm and toasty and I've taken out the warmer quilts and comforters for my bed. I have a warm blanket on my couch for naps and I've already made a pot of chicken soup that lasted me three days. Comfort foods and creature comforts are on the menu these days.

During this time of year, I don't accept many invitations and I enjoy my home. The river park is closed for the season and my car doesn't leave the lot as much. I stay close to home except for the Holidays which are fast-approaching. I love my home so this is a non-issue for me. I've lived alone for four years, so this isn't something that takes getting used to. I'm always busy and I enjoy the solitude at this time of year.

As for writing, I continue to edit my first novel, A Decent Woman. Seems hard to believe, doesn't it? Well, my new book on writing and editing the best novel I can, has inspired me. I know my novel is interesting to agents because I've had more than a dozen agents contact me for sample chapters over the last year. I've decided to give my novel a modern twist and this seems to be great for my historical novel. I'm not taking out a thing, only starting the book with a granddaughter who goes back for her grandmother's funeral and finds her journal which tells the story of Ana, the midwife. I am enjoying the process and I believe this will make my novel current and more commercial.

Agents have told me I'm a wonderful writer, that they enjoy my writing style and that my story intrigues them. The only negative thing I've heard from them and I don't think they're being kind to save my feelings, is that historical novels are difficult to sell. Well, adding the modern day element should fix that. I'm excited about going forward!

In my free time :) I decided to paint a portrait of Ana, the midwife. My Afro-Cuban, former slave will come to life. I've always wanted to paint Ana as I see her in mind's eye for my book cover. I am starting today. I haven't painted a portrait in two years, but I know I am ready. That part of my creative life has been missing and it seems like the time to start when I'm close to home.

This morning, I started Oprah and Deepak Chopra's 21-Day Meditation-Desire and Destiny; actually it begins tomorrow, but I wanted a head start. I enjoyed 20 minutes of relaxation sitting in my chair and I must have been very relaxed because I didn't even know that my cat, 
Pierre, was snuggled in my lap. Nice. I love meditating and the clarity and peace it affords me.

I desire to continue to write and my destiny is that of a writer and an artist. I'm blessed to do what I love and am passionate about.

Happy Veteran's Day to you. I honor my father today along with men and women who have served and still serve this country with honor, pride and sacrifice. I also honor their families and the sacrifices they all make.

Ellie






Friday, November 8, 2013

When Do You Know When Your Novel is Finished?

Good morning! It's a beautiful day in West Virginia! The sun is out, it's a bit breezy and although it's partially cloudy, I'm enjoying my morning. The day could be better, but I'll take the sun peeking through the clouds any day. It rained all day yesterday, so I'll take partly cloudy.

Yeah, I've got ideas about what the "perfect" day looks like, but I'll take what is given to me. What choice do I have, any way? Today is what it is. I'll take it. Hey, I woke up. That is good enough for me.

I'm accepting about many things that happen and have happened in my life. I believe in going with the flow and finding the silver lining in every situation, no matter how difficult it may be or feel like. If my house feels cold and I realize that raising the temperature will result in a huge gas bill, I put on another layer and thank God that I have a roof over my head. It's all about how you look at things.

The only situation that I refuse to settle on, however, is my novel. Yes, the manuscript is finished and I've had my novel professionally edited, but is it really finished? I can't answer that question this morning.

I'm asked this question all the time--"Is your book finished?" I usually answer, "Yes and no" to which I get confused looks. Yes, I've written a book and it's saved on my laptop and I have a physical copy of the manuscript sitting on my dining room table. So, yes. But, every time I buy another how to write a novel book...I second guess myself which opens the door for self-doubt and worry. Is my book really finished? I hate reading a book and finding a typo. It makes me so sad for the author!

I know many writers who experience this. I've also had this experience in painting. When do you know when you're really finished with a work of art? It's a tough one! Maybe...

you know you're finished when you've read and reread your book and don't find any typos.
you know you're finished when you've exhausted every known avenue of editing.
you know you're finished when you've written the best book you know how to write.
you know you're finished when you've handed your manuscript to a couple of readers and  they don't find anything.
you know you're finished when you just can't bear reading your novel one more time!

I was at that sweet spot until I bought yet another book on editing last week. Crap. No more! I'm reading this LAST book on how to write a breakout novel and no more how-to books!!

My book, A Decent Woman, is ready and when I'm asked if my book is finished, I shall ask the person to cover their ears and I shall yell, "Hell, yes!!" 

Happy weekend to you all :)

Ellie






Tuesday, November 5, 2013

There's That Word Again.

Boy, do we play mind games with ourselves when we're in the creative seat. I sure do, anyway. I tend to teeter between writing my head off and being blocked a couple of times a month. Excuses, excuses, I know. Normally, I can work through most things, but my Inner Child is alive and well this week.

I'm looking for any excuse not to sit my butt down and write today. Are you like me? Is it all or nothing for you? I get in those moods. It's either write for nine or ten hours a day or nothing at all. If anything on my to-do list crosses my mind, it can break the creative cycle. As it has today. 

I love and hate lists. Mine never seem to end in this old house. There's always something to do and I have to remind myself that I do it alone. I give myself a break because I just can't do it all. I realize those are excuses, too. But, how realistic are they? They have to get done, right?

I have to clean. I have to put the Fall wreath on my front door. I have to throw out clothes. I have to find the perfect winter walking outfit. I have to walk Ozzy more before it snows and we have icy sidewalks. I have to lose weight before winter sets in. I have to do a deep cleaning before the days get shorter. I have to and I must organize my documents. NOT.

There it is. That word. Organize. I really hate it or is the word documents that I hate? Both cause me to scrunch up my nose and go clean my toilet.

Here's the weird thing--my house is organized. Okay, that's taking it to the extreme. The lower level of my house is organized-ish. If you come to my house, you'd see a nice living, a very nice dining room, a cute kitchen, clutter-free steps and semi-clean windows. As clean as 107-year old windows can be. My bedroom is pretty and the bathroom is adorable.

This is me trying to pat myself on the back for things that I have done! But, the list continues...

Other things on my mind this morning and I'd better get them down because they're driving me bonkers already:

I need to color my hair before the Holidays. There it is. That word. Holidays. Sheesh. I stayed home all weekend and wrote like a fiend and was SO happy. And then, I saw a holiday commercial, complete with Christmas music. What?

A friend told me how many Saturdays we have until Christmas...are you kidding me? Well, that just made me come to a screeching halt! Immediately, I had this sense of urgency and anxiety started creeping in. I could feel it. And, just as I was at 3,000 plus words on novel #2!

What else do I need to do before I can sit and write without interruptions, distractions, and delays? I need to wait until January 2014. Could that be true? The same thing happens to me in the Spring time when the plants are peeking through in my garden and I am dying to get my hands dirty.

What's the solution?! 

Just write through it ALL. Steal an hour or two to write and don't give in to the censors in your head. I'm telling myself that, by the way. Just write when you can and don't stress yourself out.

Okay, I feel better now. My Inner Child is happy again. I don't have to pull my hair out and stress my hair, the holidays, my house, my documents and my semi-organized house that could look better. 

All I have to do is show up when I can and write. So simple. It's ME who was complicating it all.

Ellie






Saturday, November 2, 2013

How I Crave You

My lips are still burning and I want more of you. Hot. Hot. Hot. That's what my night was. Juicy fingers, liquid dripping down my chin and I couldn't wait for more. I think I want some more today. Are you available, Anthony? I'll make that phone call and we'll settle on a time and place, most probably my living room. I'll eat you right on the coffee table and the only light in the room will come from the TV.

Bring extra napkins, please.

As much as I've tried to stay away, knowing full well that you're not that good for me, I just can't resist. Your spice, bite and tangy flavor when you're well done. Just the way I like it. I'm so addicted to you.

When you're around, there is nothing else I need. Please answer your phone and come quick.

SO, how was your Friday night? Mine was awesome.

GOTTA LOVE THOSE SPICY, WELL DONE, BUFFALO WINGS FROM ANTHONY'S PIZZA!!

Ha ha ha!

Have a beautiful day, everyone! I'm headed to NaNoWriMo to get my write ON!

Ellie




Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yes, You Can!!



Could you write a thriller?
How about a zombie apocalypse novel?
Perhaps romantic vampire or sci fi fiction?

Yes, you can!

Tomorrow is the first day of
NaNoWriMo!
National Novel Writing Month!

Get writing
and

HAPPY ZOMBIE HALLOWEEN!!

Have fun and be safe out there!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Seasons of Life

http://www.youtube.com/v/qr_L38bwZhU?version=3&autohide=1&feature=share&showinfo=1&autohide=1&attribution_tag=Rnz0yz3YeRx-YuNaLUWtKA&autoplay=1

This morning I'm listening to Amelie: Comptine d'un autre ete and it has me thinking of my father and other summers with him.

* I'm not sure if the video will show up and if not, I'm sorry about that. I'm still learning.*

Alzheimer's disease. Dementia. My father has Alzheimer's. Not full-blown where he doesn't remember his daughters or his second wife...but I know that day is coming which makes me sick to my stomach. He is still at home, but needs 24 hour care from his wife who is exhausted. My father forgets that he just ate and what he did five minutes ago, even if he expressed joy in the activity. It's such a frightening disease.

My father walked into the bedroom where my sister were sleeping and asked what we were doing in his house. We told him that we were visiting and he was happy and ten minutes after we put him to bed, he returned to ask what we were doing there. 

There is a new urgency to my life, more than before my last visit. Time waits for no one.

My father is a reminder to me that time is passing and with the passing of time come many changes in our lives and bodies. My face shows signs of aging; light wrinkles around my eyes when I smile and feathery lines at the edges of my smile. My belly and thighs are softer than in my 40's and I now tire after walking up a steep flight of stairs.

Thanks to my gracious step-mother, we enjoyed a wonderful visit in sunny Florida with her and my father, creating memories that we will keep and treasure. But, my thoughts are on my mind and all that I have left to do in my writing life.

I've written a novel and am writing a second which keeps my mind active. I do research for my novel and I travel quite a bit. I'm keeping my mind healthy because we never know what's coming down the pike for us...sometimes at warp speed.

The mind. What a beautiful and complex mystery.

Ellie