January 14th, 2012

Last night GW reminded me that it’s been several months since I last blogged. October 11 to be exact.

There was a time when I wouldn’t go to bed at night until my daily blog was completed and scheduled to be published come morning. Now, there is always so much to do, that I put it last – which sometimes means never.

When blogging first became popular, EVERYONE was blogging. To gather a following, you’d visit other blogs, comment on them and most of the time, they’d return the favor. It became like a community of friends. You’d have the ones you’d read without fail every day and some you visited on a weekly basis. You’d have your favorites, from the humorous to the serious to the educational.

It was a way to discover new authors. Or new people with the same interests as you. Or a way to learn something new. It was a window into other people’s lives.

It became a journal for me. A way to express and share what was happening in my life. I’ve said many times, I love to laugh and I laugh at myself as much or more as I laugh at others. Through the blog, I could share the silly things as well as the philosophical and the serious.

But soon, as all good things do, a fad fades into the sunset.

It became difficult to find the time to read them like before. You could spend all day reading blogs and get nothing else done. And always, newer and faster technology become available.

No, blogging is not dead. There are still hundreds of thousands blogs in the cyber universe. I still read a few of my favorites along with recipe blogs and crafting blogs.

But the world is different. Other social media was soon born onto the cyberscene.

First there was MySpace. Which didn’t last long. And, of course, I had a My Space page. It really was fun designing and easy to keep up with.

Next came Facebook. At the present time, it’s still popular and easy to use to share your life and even play games with friends and family.

Twitter became hot (and still is). It was a way to reach thousands and not have to write but a few lines at a time. Faster, concise, shorter, time saving.

Now, I don’t get twitter that much. It may be because I don’t quite understand it and it’s hard to keep up with it. If you don’t keep a constant eye on it, you could miss a tweet from someone you really wanted to read. It reminds me of the ticker tapes at the bottom of screens (sort like news flashes, stock quotes, etc). It goes way too fast and I don’t have as many of the followers, some into the thousands, that a lot of tweeters have. How they keep up is a mystery. And, again, you could spend hours glued to your computer or smartphone.

But that’s just me. And maybe there is a way to group it or categorize it or something to make it easier to read and keep up with so you don’t miss your favorites.

There is also Pinterest which is a major time sucker (or again, is it just moi). I could literally spend hours and hours on that site.

Don’t look for it! I guarantee you’ll be hooked also.

Blogging is still my favorite. Although a lonely avenue sometimes, it’s still a more personal one for me. Even though my blogging takes mini vacations, I probably will never completely stop.

Speaking of mini vacations, that brings me to the original question.

Next post I’ll let you know where I’ve been.

Besides Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, that is…

~Sandy

October 3rd, 2011

I adore you!

Let me count the ways:

1. Much cooler weather (of course, anything below 90 here in Texas is considered ‘not hot’). That delightful crispness in the air that sometimes surprises with a ‘bite’ to it. The wind whipping a kaleidoscope of fallen leaves around the neighborhood and the crunch of them under your feet.

2. Changing of the colors – brighter and more vivid with everything everywhere. Reds, golds, orange, yellows, browns. Just don’t blink because it doesn’t last long around here. But it does happen and it’s definitely worth the not blinking.

3. Fall decorations. At night, pumpkins and scarecrows and hay bales and ghosts just magically appear on lawns and porches.

4. The craving for my husband’s bean soup chunked full of veggies and ham. Or my chicken and sausage and okra gumbo. And don’t forget pumpkin pie, apple cobbler, banana bread and anything cinnamom. YUMmmm…!

5. My Starbucks order that changes from an icy cold, tall, skinny cafe vanilla frappucino to the hot, creamy pumpkin spice latte or the salted carmel mocha. Or whipped cream atop hot chocolate. Sometimes with a side order of a pumkin cream cheese muffin. So very decadent!

6. Sandals and capris, tennis shoes and shorts morphing into jeans and those cool boots that are so popular and never go out of style. Wearing socks around the house.

7. The sound of football game each Sunday. Notice I said ‘sound’ of. Not that I like to necessarily ‘watch’ the games, although I do pull for the Cowboys. But just having it on it’s so, well… fall-ish. And traditional. And who can give up tradition?

8. Snuggling together in front of the fireplace with hot chocolate or cider or a glass of wine, and watching TV, or reading a book, or just laughing and talking the night away.

9. Halloween! My favorite! The pumpkins, the decorations, the fall flowers, the trick or treaters, the costumes, the candy!

10. And last but not least, knowing that holidays are just right around the corner. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.

Autumn! The best time of year. How can anyone NOT love you!

~Sandy

September 30th, 2011

Did you know worry can kill you?

I hear the gasps in the cyber crowd now.

I worry… you worry… we all worry. We can’t help it. It’s in the genes. We worry about our family, our careers, our finances, you name it and we can find a reason.

But according in an article written by C. S. Clarke, PHD:

‘Worry as a stressor is a direct source of headaches, insomnia, ulcers, and other gastric distress, paranoia, generalized anxiety disorders, depression and phobias. Most stress experts believe that it is an indirect source of disorders involving the immune system, such as cancer. We can literally worry ourselves to death. For example, when worry leads to depression and the depression becomes deep and unrelieved, our immune systems break down to the point where even a cold virus could become a killer.’

Gasp again!

Whether this is a medical certainty or not, those of us who worry (hello, my name is Sandy and I am a worrier…), can relate to the physical manifestation constant worry can bring. Just ask anyone who developed problems like mentioned above. Or worse. Most can attest that worry played a big part of the medical history.

How does this pertain to writing?

Worrying means having a lack of faith. So when it comes to my writing (since it is on my list of top ten things to worry about) it implies I have no faith in my ability to ever be published.

Webster’s dictionary defines worry as ‘a mental distress or agitation resulting from concern, usually for something impending or anticipated.’

Bottom line: I’m killing myself by worrying because I have no faith in something that hasn’t happened yet.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

So go forth and write without worry. Save your health. Save your life.

Besides, I also heard worry causes wrinkles.

Gasp!

~Sandy

September 8th, 2011

It seems fall as arrived! After 68 days of over 100 plus degree heat, the long Labor Day weekend was a pleasant low 90′s.

Felt. So. Good. In fact, felt great! So did the long, long weekend.

We ran errands, saw a softball game, went to see a movie (The Rise of the Planet of the Apes was surprisingly really good!), took a friend out to eat for her birthday (never mind her birthday was in July), worked around the house, worked in the flower beds (I attacked the weeds, but the rose thorns attacked me. Ouch!) and took leisurely afternoon naps.

Ahhhh…such is the life!

Got some writing in.

Before we knew it, the weekend was over.

Not much more to report. Staying busy. Staying good.

~Sandy

June 20th, 2011

…was hot, hot, hot!

We have been in the triple digits for several days now and Texas heat can be miserable. It’s way too early to be this hot for the summer. Waaayyyy to early. Scary to think what August will be like.

Didn’t actually do much this weekend except run errands on Saturday and then come home and find ways to keep cool. Our subdivision has a cool pool with slides and other interesting toys, but we are just not much on sitting out and baking. Skin cancer, wrinkles, aging and all that, ya know. Not to mention the HEAT!

A week ago, we bought some more knockout roses to replace some bushes in our yard and only got two of them planted before we had to cry uncle. We ended up sitting on the front porch trying to cool down with water, vitamin water, popsicles, and other cool liquids to hydrate us. I think we may need to wait until midnight one night to try again.

For Fathers Day I was going to take GW to the Museum of Science and Nature where they have an interesting exhibit on Chinasaurs (were dinosaurs really any different in China?) and several iMax films he was interested in, but never made it there. Best laid plans and all that! We had an appointment with someone to give us a bid on landscaping our front yard, but he never showed up. Can you say ‘not too happy with that person right at the moment and wait ’till I see him again?’

So, instead, we went grocery shopping, cooked ribs (yum, the smell drove me nuts all day), watched movies, and generally vegetated. Even got a tiny bit of writing on my angel story (very tiny) and some on a short story I’m working on. Not a bad day at all just not what I had planned for GW for Father’s Day. Oh, well, he seemed happy enough.

Keep cool…

Sandy

February 9th, 2011

I’m sitting at home today. Again.

Snow and sleet hitting the windows and covering the lawns, icy and white. Again.

Old man winter and mother nature either joined forces to wreak havoc or are battling it out to see who wins. Not sure who to place my bet with.

Last night, I felt overwhelmed. And a little lost. So much to do and so little time to do it. In today’s publishing world, it’s up to you (unless you are Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Dan Brown, etc) to promote and sell yourself and your books.

How do you build your platform (according to the pros, it needs to be done BEFORE publishing) which includes promote, blog, facebook, twitter, read (read craft books, read to stay up with the market, read for pleasure and relaxation). And find time for family, friends, Critique partners, Yahoo groups, work, housework, yardwork… and most important – WRITE!

I decided I needed help.

Twitter? joined awhille back, but was scared to death of it. Didn’t know the rules or how it works. What if I did something wrong and looked like a doofus?

Facebook? Only do I get on it occasionally.

MySpace? Forget it. Haven’t been on it in years.

Blog? I try to blog on this blog as much as I can, but it gets sporadic. The YA blog, I’m trying to find posts that are appropriate for well….a YA blog.

So I did a little research. Found Kristen Lamb’s blog. Kristen is a Social Media expert and teaches how to build a platform and an author brand. She also has a series going on the blog titled Twitter Tuesdays which she talked about the do’s and don’ts of tweeting. Very informative and helped me feel more comfortable and stick a toe out in the twitter ocean. In fact, I downloaded her book, ‘We Are Not Alone – The Writers Guide to Social Media’ on my nook. Hope to get some hints and suggestions that may help me get a handle on what I need to be doing at this point in my career along with the most important thing – WRITING, of course.

How to get this all done? Planning. Lots and lots of planning. And discipline to stick with the plan.

I just completed a course with Kerri Nelson titled Book Factory and she taught how to be productive and prolific using timed increments in both your writing career and day to day tasks. Very good. Check her out.

BTW! Our Napa Valley Vacation photo scrapbook we made and ordered from Photoworks is here! And it is awesome!!!!!

Still freezing out there so I’m planning on fixing a roast chicken tonight ala Emeril’s recipe. Will soon have the house smelling yumptious!

Hang in there and stay warm!

~Sandy

February 2nd, 2011

“Writers make sentences. Wanna-bees make excuses .”

~Paul Raymond Martin

Ouch! That quote hurt!

But so true it is. And it applies to everything in life, not just writing.

I know I have been so totally guilty of it. And, although I am probably on the top ten list, I’m not alone. When I really search my soul, I know the things I really want done, I get done, come hell or high water. Make my list of housekeeping chores and at the end of the day, they’re all checked off. But not when it comes to my writing. And I don’t know why. But I am working hard to overcome that.

Yesterday, I promised myself I would not worry about the house, the laundry, or any of the many, many things on my to-do list. And I got 2300 words in on my Young Adult I’m working on. And it felt SO dang good!

Lucy Moment of the Day:
Earlier this morning, before getting out of bed, I was half asleep and listening to the news about Puxatony Phil and, according to legend, if he sees or not sees his shadow, predicts an early spring or a longer winter. While his handlers held Phil and talked about today’s findings, I asked GW what kind of animal Phil was. He very nicely reminded me it was a Groundhog! Sheesh! After I stopped laughing, I explained I meant what ‘kind’ of animal a groundhog was. I just got that ‘yeah,right’ look from him.

Today I’m still not going anywhere so will see how much I can get done. Michelle, I did no editing like ordered!

Pack your bags, Teresa! Practice your words, Denise!

~Sandy

October 11th, 2010

“Nature is the art of God.”

~Dante Alighiere

Sorry to be so long in getting back to this. Have been so very busy. Just got back from the Texas Wine Trail Tour in the Texas Hill Country, but that’s another tale for the blog later.

We are also nature lovers so the whole group took in what the area had to offer.

First on the list was the Petrified Forest. According to their information, over three million years ago, a volcano in the direction of Mt. St. Helena erupted and fire, ashes, and molten lava came out and coursed down the valley which now lies the Petrified Forest. It actually states that this is the same pale yellow, sandy ash in the soil that we walked on during the visit.

The Giant

Rock of Ages

Next we visited Old Faithful Geyser of California in Calistoga. NOT to be confused with the Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Somehow this Old Faithful didn’t have the ‘umph’ that Yellowstone has. It spewed about every ten minutes and left you with the baffled look in your eyes wondering ‘is that all there is?’

But it was interesting to find out that the barometric pressure, the moon, the tides and the earth’s tetonic stresses determine the height the geyser shoots and the time between the eruptions. They’d had an earthquake a few weeks before so it was kind of puny while we were there.

Out in the field next to the geyser, they had a small herd of goats that would ‘faint’ if you frightened them. Imagine that, fainting goats. What will they think of next. Of course, GW and the guys wouldn’t THINK of trying such a thing. Not them. Absolutely not.

Thar she blows...

...and again...

Um...Boo?

Hey! I said, Boo!

**Note: no animals were hurt, frightened, or felt the least bit faint during our visit.

Last, but not least on the nature tour was the Redwoods. One word. WOW!

No way to describe the feeling of being around something that grand and that old. And I am talking about the trees, LOL!

The Old Colonel Armstrong

to be continued…

~Sandy

August 5th, 2010

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

~Winston Churchill

…I attended the RWA National Conference at Disney World in Orlando, FL.

Had such a blast!

Dennie M, Michelle M, and I arrived Tuesday afternoon and got checked into our hotel, unpacked, and headed for dinner and drinks at the Cabana Restaurant on the small beach at the hotel. Sat outside where, surprisingly enough, the weather was very comfortable. We munched on their speciality pizza (I tried the fresh tomatoes and basil one) and it was great! Yum!

Wednesday morning we headed for the Magic Kingdom where Dennie and I rode as many rides as we could until the heat took over and we cried uncle and called it quits. I was game to ride anything that didn’t involve getting wet (you can call me a wimp but at least I be a dry one).

Space Mountain, Big Thunder Roller Coaster, Buzz Lightyear, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean – they totally rocked!

Wendesday night, Nikole B flew in and we ate at the sushi bar in the hotel and, after enough sushi and saki sangria, got brave enough to do karaoke. Michelle and Nikole sang, I pretended to sing (trust me, better that way), and Dennie took pics. Evidently, we were in THE place to be that night, because the next day every workshop we attended, someone mentioned it. Needless to say, I bet that night it was packed to the rafters with others wanting to get into the fun also.

Just for the record, I was not brave enough to try the raw sushi kind. That would take more than a few glasses of wine and by then I would be asleep and not eating anything anyway…

As usual, the conference was not only tons of fun, but so productive. I saw some friends I’ve not seen in like forever. Met some new friends like Raeann Parker from my YA group. (Waving to you, Raeann, and thanks for your help on twitter). Also got to meet some of my favorite authors like Tera Lynn Childs, Ally Carter, Tina Ferraro, Melissa de la Cruz, Sophie Jordan, and many many more.

Listened to Nora Roberts talk on how to suck it up and get the job done and how important friends are. She’s such a hero(ine) and inspiration to me. Every time the thought of how ‘hard’ writing (or life in general) crosses my mind, I hear Nora’s voice in my head and I stop whining.

Laughed hysterically at the Chat with Meg Cabot. I so love her.

Sat with Margie Lawson at the Rita awards banquet. She is one awesome, classy lady.

The YA RWA group had our first business meeting and it was so much fun getting to know them and put faces to the online names. This is going to be a really powerful group in the Young Adult field. Happy to be a part of it.

And congratulations to all the RITA and Golden Heart Winners!

If you are serious about writing, attending RWA Nationals is worth every penny.

Even if it is not at Disney World, LOL!

But it’s great to be back and looking forward to another trip with the hubby in a few weeks. This one is just for fun.

Must pack lighter, must pack lighter…

~Sandy

June 17th, 2010

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

~George Bernard Shaw


The beauty of the internet is that there is so much you can do from the comfort of your home. You can ‘window’ shop, buy, sell, keep in touch, make new friends, find old friends, play games, take classes, all in your comfy clothes and bunny slippers.

Occasionally, I will sign up for a writing workshop that many of the RWA chapters offer, but being so busy, will just print the lessons off and put them in a binder (I’m very organized, ya know). My intentions are to read through them and learn and apply what I can to my writing.

Recently, for the month of June, I signed up for C.J. Lyons workshop called Character Driven Plotting. This time, I decided to be an active participant and actually do the lessons and the homework and -(gasp!) – send them in for review.

I cannot stress how much more I’ve learned by doing this. Like many, I can read something and THINK I have the concept and then just move on down the road. But, by participating, you get such informative feedback that helps take it to a new level. And CJ makes you really think hard and dig deep for motivations and conflicts and emotions.

And for us who are such visual creatures, she provided the script to the movie Die Hard and is using the lessons to dissect the movie which is kinda cool. Unfortunately, now I am dissecting movies even worse now. Poor GW!

But try dissecting Shutter Island. Talk about weird!

Great workshop, though!

I recently reconnected with some old friends whom I have not been in touch with for several years and talked on the phone to one of them for TWO hours the other night! It was great catching up and hearing what everyone has been doing. Hard to believe that their kids are now grown, out of the nest, college graduates, and some even married. Wow! Do I feel old! (Not really, LOL. They may all be older, but not me! Although, I do wonder who that woman in the mirror is sometimes…)

Not much to tell on the cooking front. Haven’t been in the mood to try anything special or different.

Later!

~Sandy

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