Archive | May 2012

Graduation!

It’s graduation time and all of us seem to be related or friends with someone who is graduating. This year, my daughter is graduating kindergarten, yes, they actually have graduation for kindergarteners! I am relieved that it’s a short ceremony and my heart goes out to those who are attending graduation ceremonies for high school and some colleges as I’ve heard that some of them last for HOURS!

Anywho, congrats to those who are graduating and to those who have been their support system. You all deserve to celebrate! With my week being busy as I’m sure yours is, my blogs will be brief and sporadic. To help with the celebration though, I’m offering my contemporary romance, Love’s Everlasting Song, for free on Amazon Kindle. I hope you enjoy my gift to you and enjoy the food, drink and joy that goes along with such a wonderful accomplishment!

http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Everlasting-Song-ebook/dp/B006L74IW2/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337695503&sr=1-6

When book reviewers go too far…

As published writers we all put our work out to stranger’s eyes to be read, critiqued, loved or rejected. It’s the gamble that we take and we understand and accept that. It used to be that you’re work was reviewed by a professional and was posted for the world to see, good or bad. You read where you could improve, how your next piece of work could be better or you celebrated that the reviewer enjoyed your work. In this modern and advancing world, we have Indie authors, such as myself, and now have self-proclaimed Indie reviewers. As authors we have to learn, grow, improve or we will not survive in the eBooks world but what about the reviewers? Don’t they have a responsibility to other readers and other writers to learn how to critique, how to review?

Mechanics of Murder was my very first book, written over 8 years ago when I was filled with a passion yet very little knowledge. Most of my fans know the background of Mechanics and the emotions behind my story to finish it for my ailing father. It is not a grammatically perfect book, filled with errors of a novice writer who wanted her father to get better. I will never be ashamed of my book, will never regret putting it out there and have prepared myself for the negative reviews on my punctuation and my grammar. I’m really okay with that. After all, it’s how we grow and learn and my work has done the same. With Love; Now & Forever became a best-selling book this year and I’m SO very proud of this book but it wouldn’t be half the book it is if I hadn’t learned how to write properly. Thank you, Mechanics. But in a recent 1 star review, my evaluator tore apart my characters and how they acted/reacted in a story stating that it was unbelievable. They claimed that because my character was 30 years old, she wouldn’t get butterflies or tongue-tied when her love interest came into a room. This is the first time I have truly found a review deeply insulting and I walked away for a day but couldn’t let it go. So here is my question of the responsibility reviews should have.

All of my work stems from my own life experiences, as I’m finding is true with other fictional writers. It makes sense; this is the only life I’ve lived as far as I can remember so I have to draw on my own emotions and reactions to explain through my characters. My story Mechanics is loosely based on my life and the relationship part is the base of my relationship with my husband. I blushed when I saw him looking at me, I got butterflies in my stomach when he came near and my tongue was often tied when we talked. I was 32 years old. We will now be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this year (yes, I’m 42 now) and I still get butterflies when I see him, I can’t keep my eyes off of him when we are in a room, he can still make me blush and often still literally sweeps me off of my feet. We are each others’ best friend and lovers. So when someone tells me that my characters wouldn’t act that way, it insults me because Steve and I do act that way and that is what I have to draw on for my characters. A part of me feels some pity for that person, that they either never had or no longer have that kind of relationship with a partner. But then my frustration kicks back in.

I welcome the reviews and critiques for my grammar, my formatting, and my layout. Without them I couldn’t continue to grow as an author, I wouldn’t be driven to learn to perfect my work which I know will never happen because I’m a human being, I’m not designed to be perfect. I welcome those who wish my plot was stronger or took a different direction, it drives me to come up with something that hasn’t been done (tough order for sure) but if you’re going to judge my work for all of the world to see, don’t tell me how I (or my character) would or would not react in a situation. We are all very different, individualistic people who make this world so interesting and exciting and we handle things distinctively. Keep your comments professional and limited to your knowledge of the written language and not something as unique as a person’s nature. Oh, one other little thing, if you want to be a reviewer and commentate on another’s work, make sure your own spelling is correct.

Life is meant to be fun, enjoy the journey!

Just a Mom. Yeah, right!

Mid-life crisis, financial changes, moving, career change, death. These are all things that have a huge impact on our lives including how we interact with other people. We all react differently, handle things differently and others looking in may not like or understand how you handle your situation. The most important thing that you need to remember is you need to deal with it. What makes you feel the most comfortable, most secure, what makes the most sense is more important than someone else’s opinion. Having said that, you also need to remember that if there are children in our lives, they are sensitive to what you are going through and their feelings/thoughts are important too.

For the past two weeks I have been dealing with all of the above. I’m not one (anymore) who blurts out everything of what I am going through or the struggle that I am dealing with. Instead I’ve learned that if I sit back and watch what is unfolding, to gather as much information as possible, to find a peace no matter how awful a situation may be, nine times out of ten the decision I make will tend to be the best outcome. So I have retreated into the comforting arms of my house, privacy, animals and family. I put aside my writing, my blogs, my marketing and promoting my books even though I was right in the middle of promoting my paranormal romance, Shadows. I needed to make time and breathe. I’m coming out of this struggle, (I wish I could say unscathed but then what would be the point of going through the struggle in the first place?) and I’m finding a new balance in my life. I’ve allowed myself to be just a woman, just a mom, just a wife, as if there is such a thing as “just” for us. Allowing myself this time, I’ve seen how much I have missed and that I need to once again adjust my life. My daughters, who are the most important people in my life, are struggling and needing their mother. My 5 year-old had the most horrific nightmare the other night that her entire body was shaking and she was physically nauseous. It took 2 hours to calm her down and even then, she was wrapped around my arm in a death grip before she allowed herself to fall asleep again. Tonight she was so scared that even tucked into my bed with the light on and the dogs in the room, she would not fall asleep unless she was touching me. I know that she is picking up on my struggle, my emotions and my inner disease which brings me back to my struggle on how to deal with things.

We ALL go through struggles, successes, failures, changes, life lessons. We all wonder if we are on the right path or sometimes ask, ‘how the heck did I get on this road?’ We all deal with them differently, see them in a varied light but in the end the decision needs to be our own. The thought that I present is that perhaps, if you see a friend, family member, co-worker struggling with a life issue, maybe hold your tongue, your opinion and simply ask what you can do for them. Maybe it’s watching the kids for a couple hours so they can take a breather, a casserole that just needs popped into the oven, a gift certificate for a mani/pedi or massage. The more we are able to fill their bucket, the easier it may be for them to fill their child’s bucket and with a drought going on in this world right now, we all need to lean on each other. Life is meant to be fun, even with the ruts, enjoy the journey.

A jaguar can’t change it’s spots, so glad I’m not a jaguar!

I’ve had time to reflect lately, something I need to do to assess where I am going, what I am doing and I have to laugh at the old adage that a person can’t change. Well, I’m living proof that a person can and let me tell you, I am SO glad I did! I reflect on my teens, my twenties and my thirties and I will be the first to admit that my guardian angels were working overtime to keep me safe and continue on in this life. The lessons are priceless and I will not take them for granted!

All people are different, including those with ADHD so my experiences and my actions are those specifically “RaeAnne” based, I am not speaking for anyone else. Growing up I knew I could do anything in the world that I wanted to, no one could tell me anything different and I was blessed with parents who didn’t tell me otherwise though I sure did put them through the wringer with my shenanigans. By the time I was 12, I had changed out my first engine in our 1962 Chevy truck having decided (with my father) that it was going to be my first vehicle. I wanted to be a world-sought horse trainer and my mother told me that I had to go for riding lessons, when the trainer told my mother that I was competent enough to train a yearling she would let me start training. She thought it would be years, I believe it was 6 weeks before the trainer pulled my mom aside and told her that I had a gift with horses. I trained my first horse before turning 14. I could go on and on, having 30+ years of spur of the moment, fly by the seat of my pants, Mach 10 with-my-hair-on-fire experiences but you get the point, I was open and willing to do anything, try anything, live day by day, minute by minute. I laughed at those who had day timers and pitied the fact that they had a schedule that tied them down.

My current life is SO much different and I honestly can say that I’m happy with the change. When I hit my 30’s, having been divorced and homeless, I decided no one was going to hand me my new life. I worked hard, bought my own mini-ranch and started raising Tennessee Walking Horses. I started keeping a schedule so that I could keep track of heat cycles, horse shows and work meetings. I started looking forward to things I had planned and enjoyed the last-minute trips less and less. Now, married again with two daughters, an eclectic mixture of horses, chickens and dogs, 2 college degrees and on my 4th career, I am the proud owner of not only one day timer, but two. I wish I could say that with my day timers I don’t have the chaos anymore but that would be a lie. I’m juggling a schedule filled with dance recitals, 4H, ranch repairs, car repairs, meetings, marketing, blogs and even the mundane things like laundry and supper that HAS to be done, my life is as busy if not busier. I think that if I didn’t have my beloved day timers that I would be lost, wandering around like a zombie, unsure of what to do, where to go, where I need to be. I enjoyed the freedom my teens and twenties offered but I will admit, I’m enjoying my forties just as much. It’s a different kind of chaos but I changed, I grew, I adapted. I am sure that when I hit my 50’s, I will have to change and grow and adapt as my girls graduate and start their own lives without Steve and I. I’m SO glad I’m not a jaguar! Life is meant to be fun, enjoy the journey!

This entry was posted on May 16, 2012. 1 Comment

Stress, we all have it

We all have stress. It’s as common and as natural as breathing. Don’t get misunderstand me, I didn’t mean that it wasn’t uncomfortable and at times, down right painful but so is childbirth yet it’s still a part of our lives. Stress is nothing new, though it’s been given a proper name just in the past 100 years. The types of stress we have dealt with have changed over the decades, most of us not having to worry about hunting for our food to survive or skinning enough animals to keep us warm during the freezing winter nights. The stresses we deal with have evolved and changed, adapting to our ever altering lives. We will never be without it yet can we learn how to properly deal with it or allow it to rule, possibly ruin our lives?

I am a very optimistic, very open, very loving person. Though I didn’t used to be. In my twenties, I was a very self-centered, very selfish and driven person. Everything I did or participated in was for my benefit, one way or another. My stresses back then were how fast, how far I could climb up the career ladder and having the best toys, the best vehicles, the best horses, the best of everything. I hit a brick wall when after receiving a prestigious award, was told by the owner of the dealership I worked at, off to the side of course, that I would never become the manager because I was a woman. My stress then morphed into what am I going to do with my career now, when I have invested so many years in this industry, only to find the ceiling for my advancement was lower than it was for my male counterparts.

Fast forward to my thirties. I took a hiatus from my career and accepted a temporary job at my sister’s company to get perspective. I moved my father out of his retirement apartment and in with me. I began searching for peace and stress free enjoyment. I met Steve. Those who know him know that he is completely opposite of me. I am very type A personality, a go getter, a planner, excessively controlling. He is laid back, everything always works out, it will still be there when I finally decide to deal with it, what’s the hurry, type personality. To coin the phrase, he was my ying to my yang. He taught me how to relax, to take joy in the world around me, the people around me and if you were quiet long enough you could see things change and grow, to blossom into beautiful things. It was because of him that I began to believe that I might be a good mom.

Flash forward one more time. Here I am in my forties with two beautiful girls, still married to my Steve, building a new career. I still have a drive to climb the career ladder and I still have stresses, just read a couple of negative reviews that I have received recently, but I have learned to surround myself with beautiful and calming friends. I know I am going to run into those who judge and criticize because as we ALL know we can’t please everyone but I’m learning how to defuse this new stress, how to turn my head and focus on something else that is blooming and changing. In this world of negativity, I choose to post only positive reviews. If I can’t “fill someone’s bucket”, as my 8 year-old would say, then I choose not to say anything at all. There are professional reviewers out there that know how to correct and properly review an author’s book without being insulting and crass. They know how stressful being a professional writer is and to their own credit, act professionally too.

As we start heading into our summer months look at the stresses you have, see which ones you can set aside, which ones you have to address, which ones you can just let go. See if there is someone who’s bucket you can fill. Not only are you creating a joyous feeling that helps counteract stress for someone else but it’s been proven that it can eliminate or ease the tension in your own life. We all have stresses and will until the end of our days but it’s how we handle it that matters. Go fill someone’s bucket. Life is meant to be fun, enjoy the journey!