Progress on a Dream: Slowly but Surely It Will Happen!

Diving Head or Feet First

I’ve been dragging my feet on outlining my novel. As a first time writer, I pantsed this first story with the whimsical imagination and drive of a hopeless romantic. The daydreams of agents calling after reading my query letter and spectacularly polished manuscript, flooded my overactive thoughts, but when it was complete, I felt directionless after the writing coach didn’t work out (see previous blog) on how to re-outline. The first part of outlining wasn’t so bad. As I read each chapter I easily figured out where I wanted to make changes, the second part not so much and it’s where I’m currently stuck.

When I reached out to a writing coach or what I thought was supposed to be a writing coach last year, I felt discouraged after reviewing her material and videos, realizing I already knew most of this information from previous classes, workshops, online sites and literature. I just didn’t implement all this knowledge while writing. I felt I needed someone with expertise to hold my hand and provide guidance on what to fix with structure, plot, development etc. I wanted to rush the revisions process along since it had taken ten plus years completing the shitty first draft. I dove head first off a cliff and grossly put, “SPLAT.”

In December of 2022, I panicked in meltdown mode after I cut ties with aforementioned coach. I took deep breaths, after my blubbering and crying episode, then rested the remainder of the year. In January, when I pulled up my sleeves ready to get organized, scanning through structuring/outlining books and workbooks I owned, I went through another meltdown, this time minor thank goodness. I kept thinking how I wasted my time and money on someone who I felt didn’t help me at all. I had to take those deep breaths again and make peace again, and let go.

I gathered all my materials and the rough outline I drafted after writing each chapter, meticulously making notes as I read page by page, doing my best to re-outline with guidance through my writing craft books. I wrote a lot of “filler” chapters that didn’t move the story or held no significance to the plot and characters, but there were some scenes I could use. I worked through the first part of the novel cutting and inserting these scenes into places where they’d fit best and created a “cuts” folder to keep those handy and was told never to throw away or delete pages/scenes/dialogue etc. I could always use those “cuts” in a potential short story!

With a full-time job it’s challenging to make the time for writing when you’re tired after working. I’ve read advice from various authors on the best time to write or how to schedule your writing time and found early morning hours work best for me. Sometimes I’ll feel an itch of motivation in the evenings and plug away, but for me, mornings are best. I’m focused, alert and ready to go. I’m still not finished outlining, but struggling to ignore the critical voice in my ear that sometimes distracts me with “When are you ever going to start revisions?” “How long is this going to take?”

I’ve had moments of anxiety and depression sneak up, paralyzing my outlining process. I haven’t written anything since last year. As I cut and paste from chapters here and there, I feel as if I’m creating a mood book project, and the progress feels endless. Yet, I try staying focused and once the outlining is complete. I’m hoping the revisions and editing will flow like an abundance of trout swimming down a river ready to be caught by those avid anglers.

Where I Find Inspiration and Motivation

I’ve been listening to a lot of inspirational speakers the past few months like Mel Robbins, Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, Brene Brown and Eckhart Tolle on everything. Focus, Work Flow, Procrastination, Healthy Habits, How to Get Unstuck, Commitment, Manifesting and Intentions. When I watched a video Mel Robbins aired about how she was supposed to be working on editing her manuscript and had 24 hours to get it back to her publisher and spent the day cleaning out her refrigerator including cleaning the shelves, I laughed and felt relief. As a working writer, she, without shame, showcased her self-sabotage on video, assuring every one, “We all do it.” And the reason why we do it, is because of stress and uncertainty. It happens. I learned that’s what my problem is. I’d plan the day, but when I had that freed up time to write, I was tired from the stress of finishing my work tasks and found reasons to do other things. My mind would periodically wander into the dreaded “doubt” vault of “Will this ever get published after I’m done?” “Should I keep doing this?” It was such a relief to see her go through similar feelings and situations. She also noted that working on something hard is stressful. Outlining is hard when you didn’t do it first + stress = No outlining or writing X finding other non-stressful things to do = feeling defeated and unmotivated. Ugh.

I’ve also read about practicing mindfulness. Being mindful in what I do presently by writing my goals, dreams and gratitude daily, will reduce stress and avoidance when there’s a daily reminder of intentions. I also realized I needed to get back to meditating. Prior to working full-time, I meditated every day in the early morning and met with two other writers on Google Chats, about two hours later for accountability. I was clear, focused and ready to work. I cranked out a lot of pages during this time, but my writing partners fell off when I started full-time work again. I try focusing on steady progression, but it’s not easy sometimes. Funny how hearing other people on YouTube tell us what we already know, seems the trigger for action. However, their personal insight, solutions and suggestions for establishing better habits in order to break the bad ones or untraining yourself out of sabotaging patterns is the reassurance I need in breaking out of my own stubborn, lazy mold and get off the never ending, going nowhere carousel ride that’s been running in circles so fast I couldn’t jump off. I need to incorporate meditation back into my life since this was conducive to calming my mind and writing with clarity.

The more I listen to these snippets of advice and give myself permission to attain a dream methodically, patiently and learn to applaud the work I have accomplished, the stress diminishes and the anxiety I feel (which is my biggest creative process soul crusher) of wasting time, ebbs away. I’m also a freelance photographer and found getting out of the house and doing some photo shoots helped my creative flow on an external level. My mind feels reset, reprogrammed. It’s not easy to practice. It takes time to develop healthier habits in your creative process that works and remind yourself things take time.

The positive of the writing coach debacle was planning and goal setting and not berating yourself if you were struggling, frustrated or couldn’t meet those goals. We were on timelines, meeting online weekly with a small group of writers reviewing our goals. I’m highly motivated by deadlines or appointments when meeting with people in general. This is what helped me finish my first draft. We also engaged in free-write time, breaking away from our WIP (Work In Progress) and sharing. These sessions and speaking candidly with other writers about our free write shorts, invoked a sense of inspiration. We’d have an hour of open write time online too and one facilitator had us take six deep breaths before we broke into a writing session enabling me to clear my mind and crank out 1200 words in an hour. They were blown away. This was effective. A shift in my perspective, helped remind me I was doing this before and though the writer coach circumstance didn’t transpire in the way I hoped, it reinforced habits I know I can develop again.

I am still involved with a writing group that meets weekly, and once a month submissions are good accountability to write and gain feedback, but I’m still hoping to find a couple of other writers who can commit to a daily routine as I had last time. Unfortunately, the two writers I worked with found others they could write with, but I don’t allow that to deflate my goals.

What’s the plan now

This part is hard and stressful too haha. Not going to lie. I’m one of those, that after hearing a great TED talk or watching a YouTube video about empowerment and motivation, I’m high fiving myself or fist pumping with the song “Eye of the Tiger” playing in my head, saying yes, yes I can do this, only to fall off the boat, watching the moment sail down the sea. I guess after writing this (see I did write something even if it wasn’t related to my novel, but still…) I learned that repetitive action works best for me. Listening to these daily inspirational videos and podcasts, writing those daily goals, ambitions, intentions and redeveloping a writing schedule are going to be substantially beneficial in order to complete my outline and crank out my revisions.

And with that note, I am grateful for the full-time job as it pays my bills, gas and food. I am grateful for the home I’ve built with my husband, especially since we’ve been empty nesters for quite some time. I am grateful for the loving support and patience my husband bestows, waiting in the wings to watch my dream of becoming a published author and working writer come true. I am grateful for the people I’ve met and encountered and continue to meet during my writing journey and the places I’ve gone to network and learn from other writers. I am grateful for my health, family and friends and most of all I’m grateful for finishing my first draft. Even though the outlining is taking forever. I know it will come full circle. I will be a full-time writer. I will be a published writer. I will be traveling with my husband to our bucket-list destinations. I will buy that dream mountain home in Grand Lake where I see friends and family hanging out, having a great time and feel the love in my heart open with an abundance of gratitude to the universe for these opportunities once they happen, because they will. Reprogram your mindset, reprogram your habits and behavior.

I plan on:

Meditating before I write to relax my body and mind.

Writing down my goals, dreams and gratitude DAILY.

Listening to my inspirational speakers daily.

Spending quality time with my family and friends on my non-writing days.

Sleeping for 7-8 hours. Sleep is crucial. As we grow older, our bodies need it more than ever.

Working through the second part of my outline. I finished the first part, yay!

Writing the shit out of these revisions and edit like a rock star.

When opportunity knocks and I open the door of pursuits that will be aligned with my goals. I will be thankful and hold gratitude in my heart for the JOB that paid my bills, even though the job itself was never my passion and hope the person who comes in as I shut the door behind me will feel as much gratitude for the new opportunity they’re given.

Just writing this has got me inspired and motivated!

Keep those dreams alive people!

#amwriting #writergoals #write #grateful #gratitudeinmyheart #askforwhatyouwant #helpisalwaysthere #makeitwhatiwanthere #keepondoing #goforit #livepresently #livelifetothefullest

The Struggle on the Wayward Path is Real…

I have struggled the past year in pursuing my dream of becoming a working writer. My goal was to complete my rough draft of a novel I’ve been working on the past ten years at the end of 2022. I attained my goal, mission accomplished and felt exhilarated and anxious since the story and characters were a huge part of my life. Letting go the first novel you cultivate isn’t easy, yet I’m not finished. I have the arduous task of outlining and plotting since I’m a pantser (a writer who writes out the story and allows the characters to react and flow without plotting or outlining first.) This is challenging when you haven’t planned out your plot, story arc and plot points. However, pantsers succeed, it’s just a complicated revision process. The idea for the story culminated about thirteen years prior to actually writing a very rough sketch. After spending time in two writing groups (still actively involved with one,) taking writing craft classes and workshops I buckled down in October 2022 and called a writing coach I had been following for two years in hopes to finish the novel (which happened) and follow a rigorous revision and plotting plan with guidance (didn’t happen.)

At first, my faith was strong in this person. I felt “this woman can help me.” We had our first initial phone conversation which sounded promising. An informal interview, questioning whether we were both a right fit and how serious I was on completing this novel. She even asked how I would feel if I didn’t get this novel done. What would happen if I gave up and didn’t finish. How would it change my life. I explained the time invested and how far I’d come was too prolific to throw it all away and never fathomed giving up. I was determined, excited and ambitious. The energy was high and mutual feelings of success were matched, or so I thought.

We arranged for a second call and this time she asked my husband be present for the conversation. Much to his hesitation, he agreed. She proceeded to drill him with questions about how his life was impacted by my hours of writing, time sacrificed. How much belief he had in my confidence as a writer. He was supportive and reinforced the importance of my writing life. It felt good, all sounded good, until she dropped the price. Our mouths fell open. We asked for more time to think about it, meaning the next day, but were told we only had five minutes to discuss because the price with a discount wasn’t valid after that day. I felt optimistic and hopeful with the decision in paying, pleading with my eyes to my husband, who looked skeptical. Especially when I asked what her rate on return was, she proudly answered 100%. She had connections to publishers and could provide that feedback according to standard and shape my novel for the audience. Personally, it was now or never and my husband agreed for my sake, knowing I wanted this so badly.

I signed a contract for eight weeks and thought, perfect. She’ll help me finish and then we can get down to the grit and revise, tweak, fix, outline and plot. Well, I was part of a collective. The eight weeks was “learning the craft” from beginning to end which I respected and appreciated however, was hoping I could do that after finishing. I was 90% complete with the book and she was aware of that, but I was required to be part of a Facebook group and engage in activities and weekly check-ins, with one of her “trainers” which wasn’t too bad. We reviewed our writing goals for the week and discussed our fears, apprehensions and doubts. We also had one on one’s with the coach herself weekly, but this was reviewing questions we had on the craft modules on her site. The personal one on one with the coach were twice during the eight weeks. We submit 20 pages (40 total) of our WIP (Work In Progress) review the submission with the coach and go over any questions we had about our piece. She also discouraged involvement with writing groups. They weren’t conducive to the writing process nor adding additional classes or resources, stick to the program as is. When I finished we had a last interview, and that was, to continue on, I’d need to pay another exorbitant amount monthly for more exclusive, in-depth meetings with her and the publication process. I hesitated when she asked for my credit card information right away and told her I needed to wait the following week. She answered with another sales pitch, “I can’t guarantee your spot will be available.” I shook my head, “And that’s ok.” I replied. When I told my husband it would be $xxxx.xx a month more for me to continue, he lost it. He was angry and felt duped.

Learning Pains

He talked through what was alarming to him, but during the call we had with her previously, didn’t want me to feel discouraged because he could see how much it meant to me. At that moment, I realized he was right. I ran through the discussion in my mind before we paid for the eight weeks and reached out to a young woman, who was part of my small group and was a week ahead of me in the program. I didn’t see her name on the Facebook forum anymore when her eight weeks were up and was curious. I sent her a message and asked if she was moving forward. She decided not to pursue the program because she felt it wasn’t transparent up front and for what we paid was overpriced. Things my husband pointed out. She planned on finishing her rough draft and pursuing a content editor. This is what I thought I was getting, or more of. An all in one coach, editor, advisor and connection to the publishing world.

For lack of better words, I lost my shit. I bawled. I ignored my inner voice trying to show me the signs. I kept moving forward with my self-blinders feeling as if I knew what I was doing. Hindsight helps you stop and take a breath and a step back to re-align your position and it’s painful. There was nothing I could do about what we paid, other than just deal with it and learn from the experience. I don’t linger on the mis-direction; it’s done. I move forward on my own, equipped with the knowledge and resources I’ve attained over the years. My fear of doing this on my own is what paralyzed me and believing I needed someone to hold my hand. In retrospect, I finished my draft without any “real” coaching or guidance. I just needed to focus and shift that fear to belief that I can work on revisions, outlining and plotting myself, and I’ve had plenty of resources all along. She’s not the only expert, though she tried to make me believe she was. On top of the fact, as she pointed out and something I was aware of, as a new author I wouldn’t get a six-figure contract. I would possibly be offered on the low scale $20,000.00 tops. After calculating, the x amount we already paid and if I decided to move forward paying the x amount a month, I’d be basically paying a publisher to publish my book. Shaking my head.

Lessons learned

Current situation: Working on my outlining (painful, but I push on) and planning my escape from my 8 to 5 JOB that pays the bills with something I’d rather pursue, making money to live, feeling at peace, engaged and present. Not daydreaming about it. I had paid for a course to help me with this goal and honestly, have slacked off on this side endeavor. I’m tired of someone telling me I have to adhere to a company policy and that’s that, as if I didn’t have a choice. I do have a choice: leave. But, I can’t just walk away that easily and here I need to plan and prepare. I must reprioritize my time to learn and align myself with prospects for something I control and set my own hours that work around my novel writing. I’m tired of helping others make money when that wealth isn’t distributed fairly, especially during high inflation and cost of living. Find something else, work on getting out of where I don’t want to be. It’s so easy to advise others of this when I hear it all the time, yet I don’t follow it myself or I give up too easily.

I will research wisely before jumping feet first into something. Put the horse before the cart. The time is going to pass anyway, so adding that needed time toward my passion won’t hurt me. It will enable my misplaced energy into manifesting what I want in my life. Time was always the culprit. Never enough time, never enough time. I need to get out of my head and just do, without looking at the calendar. Commitment in the clouds is like trying to walk the streets of a foreign city without a map. Plan, prepare, persevere.

The struggle is real, but I have the control panel. I’ve had it all along.

#liveyourlife #planahead #struggles #lessonslearned #preparefortheworst #hopeforthebest #amwriting #writinglife #writer

I Left A Piece of My Heart…

It’s been way too long since my last post. September of 2021, left me feeling scattered; body, soul and mind. And since then, I neglected this beloved blog. My intentions flattened, writing adventure obliterated, and focus shattered. Was it the horrendous Mercury Retrograde that was wreaking havoc on everyone else too or the moldavite necklace I had been wearing lately that I was warned to be cautious with how long and often I wore it.

Moldavite is a natural, light green almost transparent glass. Tektite formed by meteorite impacts, found in Europe, most prominently in the Czech Republic (where my hubby’s mama hails) and what I describe as a bi-polar sort of glass. The metaphysical properties are strong. One minute you feel the enriched healing properties of transformation flowing through your body, the next a frenzy of overwhelming, out of control feelings surface, leaving you exasperated and mind warped. Whichever it was, it was not a great feeling.

I traveled back home to the Bay Area to visit with family for a long weekend. This was the first time since Covid hit that I boarded a plane. My apprehension to fly wasn’t bad until I arrived at the airport.

Denver International was packed to the brim with people. The concourse is under construction making matters worse trying to shuffle through people without standing or walking too close, but it was unachievable and the security line was a circus show. No way in keeping 6 feet distance apart. I reluctantly meandered through the roped path to the x-ray conveyors, working hard not to panic. I made it through, triumphant whilst plowing ahead, controlling my space in this chaotic, convoluted mess of an airport.

San Francisco International Airport wasn’t as bad as I expected. It was pleasantly stress free, herds of people weren’t on top of each other and the space in between was perfect.

Home away from home was a different story. At first it felt fine, but after the third day I felt heightened, my emotions were triggered easily and I couldn’t wrap my head around why this was happening. Hence, first paragraph above. I’m not one to easily admit when my feelings go awry. Most of the time people can figure that out by my silence and aloof body language. This time wasn’t so different, but I was about ready to lose my shit.

Thank goodness for mothers. Mothers who listen and although feel sad for what you’re going through, at least give you the gift of listening and try to offer words of comfort, especially when it’s about your brother. I still don’t know why he triggered me so much, but it’s in the past now.

San Francisco – Little Russia

My mother and I drove through Sunset, Richmond and the Presidio Districts of San Francisco. She also lives in Colorado and frequently goes back home to visit. She wanted to go to Fort Point as the last trip out to the Bay Area, she ventured on the wrong side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was happy to go with her. We ate lunch first, at Cinderella Bakery & Café. This location makes an appearance in the first installment in my 3 book series of a Work In Progress. My tortured lovers, personal transformation novel. The food, needless to say was delectable, scrumptious and succulent. I love using food adjectives, as you can tell.

Red Herring Salad on the left, Blinchiki stuffed with sweet cheese on the right served with sour cream and raspberry jam on the side and a beef piroshki next to a nice tall serving of Kvass. Yummy goodness!

So yeah there it is my nice Russian food spread. The male romantic interest in the story is a Russian punk rock drummer. I’ve done and continue to research Russian culture. If anyone has some tidbits to offer or advice on where I can find more unique, unknown, interesting Russian facts, please feel free to comment or send links! For the time being when in San Francisco, Inner Richmond District, check out Cinderella Russian Bakery & Cafe. Bon Appetit! I was also secretly hoping Dmitriy (Russian Punk Rocker) would join us, but fiction did not become real in this case. One can still dream…

We drove up to Fort Point, full of tasty Russian morsels and drink and parked at the Bay. I can’t begin to describe with much affinity for the ocean how being close to it makes me warm and fuzzy inside even though the chill factor can be slightly uncomfortable. But still, it was such a lovely sight to see downtown across the way and watching boats, parasailers, and schooners traverse across the dark-blue waters. The fog rolled in full force. I worked hard to get my shots in before the top part of the bridge was immersed in gray clouds. And that, was still a glorious sight to see. I love my city by the bay.

Fort Point and Crissy Fields

San Francisco Downtown from Fort Point
Beautiful Golden Gate Bridge from the east side of the bay
The fog cometh, enveloping the bridge like a mama swaddling her babe.

I didn’t want to leave. Seriously was waiting on Dmitriy. Ok I’ll stop. But yeah, my home, my old stomping grounds, not here but throughout, I could just sit for hours staring out in nostalgic thoughts. Many memories of my youth traipsing through the city, melancholy over the realization of places and locations closing up, going out of business, defunct because of Covid. My heart heavy with sadness, but I sighed knowing I was there before closures and was part of that city history. We all have it, growing up with places and sceneries we know will cease to exist but look back and feel liberated knowing we experienced the time and place before they became dust.

Just like the heavily chain linked cement posts lining the water, my memories remain in tact for as long as I can remember…

We cruised back through the Richmond District to check out the Balboa Theater. Another locale spot in my story. Where Ruby (the protagonist) and Dmitriy check out a movie after an impromptu dinner date. They watch True Romance that was just released. Should give you a hint to the era. I had fun writing this story that poured out of me and double fun living somewhat vicariously through my fictional character’s eyes, checking out the actual places, feeling the airy vibe and energy of these two star-crossed lovers. Special thanks to my mom for driving us here, there and everywhere.

Outer Richmond District

I like the Muni electric bus lines crossing over the marquee, couldn’t really avoid it from the angle I was shooting from, but it felt authentic in relation to city life. Uncannily Happy Gilmore was playing. Another movie from mentioned era above.

It was a great day driving through the outer rim of San Francisco. We plan to take another city escapade trip when we visit my brother together. Though I grew up super close to the city (San Bruno) and visited a fair amount of places in San Francisco as a kid, teen and young adult, I realized there were parts I had never explored. I mean REALLY explored. Most districts have their distinct unique places like kitschy, novelty shopping or local eateries and historical sites.

Now that I’m approaching middle age (GAWD.) I have a deeper appreciation for full immersion despite a fair amount of friends disclosing how heartbreaking the city has changed. So much since our younger years making it unbearable to be a part of the once cool, edgy ambiance that made the city what it was for us. It no longer exists, the 80s and 90s of the city long gone. A forgotten mentality and amalgam of happily misspent youth. I think, generations past feel this way every time a decade comes to an end.

My own parents felt the same way back in the 80s and 90s about their youth spent in San Francisco during the 60s and 70s, but they too, especially my father complained how bad it had progressively gotten within the past ten years with the type of element moving in and the natives leaving because of high cost living and the trashy city environment.

Pacifica – Rockaway Beach

We said good bye and headed back to Pacifica where my brother and his family lives, driving along the coast on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). We stopped at the restaurant my nephew has bartended at for the past 6-7 years give or take. Nick’s Rockaway, practically on the ocean. I whipped out my camera taking shots of the surfers floating on choppy waves like rainbow sprinkles on greenish-white foamy frosting. The fog followed us. Sea spray almost drenched me, yet enough to spritz me and taste the salt on my lips. Ahh my home away from home. I always savor the ocean songs from the surf breaking on the sandy shores and carry the green-blue water and crashing sounds back to Colorado while leaving a little piece of my heart behind. Remember me.

Pacifica, California – Parking Lot of Nick’s Rockaway – Riders on the Storm
Pacifica, California


Wow, I allowed way too much time to lapse from my last post. I took on a baggage load of commitments and this one was pushed to the backburner. Within this time I took on another workshop via Lighthouse. This time a 2 hour long Saturday course on Fairy Tales as the Foundation for Short Fiction because I’m on a journey of short story, short fiction writing lately. The class was instructed by the luminous Jamie Figueroa

Photo from Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop Website

A little bio on the instructor from Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop

Jamie Figueroa is Boricua (Afro-Taíno) by way of Ohio and long-time resident of northern New Mexico. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, Agni, and Emergence Magazine among other journals. Jamie received her MFA in Creative Writing from The Institute of American Indian Arts where she is now an Assistant Professor. Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer (Catapult) is her debut novel. 

Her class was whimsical, enlightening and fun. The stories from Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales and was assigned reading were interesting, compelling, mystical and magical, from all over the globe. Jamie’s debut novel is available to buy. I always make it a point to purchase an instructor’s novel(s) if they’ve been published to support and promote their art and scour through their spoken example in printed form. I got my copy of Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer yesterday and can’t wait to dive into it.

Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer

Jamie sent us a link to She supports this independent online bookstore so if interested in buying a copy of her debut, clicking on the title will take you directly to the storefront and book! 🙂

Speaking of short stories, short fiction and fables I’ve been submitting a piece of Creative Nonfiction since May. I’ve researched close to 50 so far and narrowed down the best publications that my piece aligned or fit the criteria of their type of genre/pieces. To date I’ve gotten back 5 rejections out of 6 submitted. Most of them were complimentary of my piece and one even sent several other publications to check out for submissions so my piece could find publication. My heart skipped a beat or two and I was a little teary-eyed, even though I was rejected, my determination seared through my being. A friend of my stepdaughter’s, an English professor from Colorado State University encouraged the idea that my piece was not meant to be published with those particular publications and it would find it’s home. She also added that she too, had a few rejections of her latest poetry submissions and she’s already been featured in several publications and also published her first work of poetry through an independent press, so her declaration of rejection boosted my confidence. Thanks D!

I could’ve allowed rejection to overcome my mind and soul, sucking me down a deep, dark vortex of envy and frustration but that didn’t feel natural for me to absorb in my moment of response. I thank my notorious and generous writing group who’ve taught me the value of constructive criticism/feedback, developing tough skin over the past six years. I’ve been submitting short pieces and chapters for much needed scrutiny of plot, story, structure, format, diction in the most diplomatic presentation and my ability to receive what will only benefit and improve my writing has paid off. I’m not going to lie, some feedback hit hard and not because of delivery but because of expectation of the reader falling short. That’s ok, the reader is always right as “O” told me when I was confused or battling setbacks of the infamous imposter syndrome. Am I even good enough? Will I be good enough? Will anyone care to even want to publish it once I’m done? Why am I even doing this?

We all plummet through the endless rabbit hole of whys and what ifs. It’s a matter of falling to the bottom with a renewed perspective of perseverance that takes the anxiety weight off of us. My writing group designated the last Saturday of every month for submitting our short pieces and poetry to publications for half the day, from morning to early afternoon. I had set goals I didn’t adhere for this month, like posting twice a week on this blog (oops, life happens, sorry) and submitting to at least 10 publications for the month. It takes a lot of work as I’ve learned where reading through the publication guidelines (a must and essential) and the submissions themselves to gain understanding and an idea of the publication fitting what you’ve written. Realistically, you can’t submit a piece of CNF to a fantasy/sci-fi based magazine. Does not make sense at all. Research is imperative and I take that time. I know in my heart it will happen and I will not give up!

A highlight of my past weekend was venturing down to Denver to pick up some native supplies for my Pop. He was like a little kid in a candy store, picking out his sage, spruce and abalone shells for his smudging practice. I drove him to Tennyson St, to the one and only Bookbar! I haven’t been to one of my favorite indie bookstores since geez, I can’t remember when, that’s how long and nabbed these beauties, along with some children’s books for my beloved granddaughter. One is a series of shorts by Haruki Murakami. This is homework, reading tons and keeping those mental notes. Reading is key to improved writing. Rinse and repeat that line.


That’s my update. Goal for the remainder of August. Keep up with blog. The 25th down, six more days to go. Post 3 more before we venture into cooler, crisper weather and colorful landscapes. I love Fall, most likely because I was born in the month the Autumn Equinox kicks off.

Hope all has been well with everyone. Eat that ice-cream, enjoy the outdoors soaking up that Vitamin D, hug your kids, tell your loved ones you love them, sing, dance, laugh, just do whatever makes your heart smile and your soul beam.

Luminous Rapture

Completed my Short Story 101 month feeling renewed, refreshed and provoked with a plethora of ideas brimming. The working title to my new short is shown above. I don’t want to give away too much but let’s just say this workshop allowed me to steer off course in unknown waters of pure imagination of the graphic kind. I’m so used to writing my family dramas or relationships with romantic entanglement stories that my mind brewed something fresh and fun even though there’s murder, torture, betrayal, theft involved. You never know what your psyche is going to pull through the surface and I’m thrilled with what I concocted. With that said my instructor Hank Lewis was amazing. A powerhouse of lyrical prose and knowledge. His own work just sang poetic sublime. He shared a fair amount of parental/offspring dynamic, thematically some of the pieces resonated with my own. My fellow students shared some evocative pieces and the assignments helped me dig deep with form, structure, language and voice. I didn’t want this class to end.

I love when I have epiphanically induced moments of inspiration through classes when an instructor slam dunks or hits it straight on the nail with guidance that motivates, invokes and pushes your limits. Writing is work, lots of work in the beginning for us novice writers, sometimes seasoned ones too. There’s always so much wisdom to attain through the thoughts and ideas of another that stoke your fires and I’m there people. Like I said, I wrote a short unlike something I’ve ever thought to delve or explore in this particular genre but I did and I’m over the moon happy about it. Thank you Mr. Lewis for an enlightening and rejuvenating class this past month.

I wanted to share some Summer Reading I embarked upon these past two months. A few of these books were pretty lengthy and took some time to read, but I enjoyed the escape and found they were worth mentioning, plus I indicated early on I’d share some books I loved. Some are short story anthologies. I like to do research and homework when working on specific pieces and since I was focusing on short form I found Joyce Carol Oates as a source of uplifting artistic individuality. I took a Master Class of hers on Short Story Telling and was invigorated with newfound revelations. Here’s my summer selections:

I am no one you know – short stories by Joyce Carol Oates
Lovely, Dark, Deep – short stories by Joyce Carol Oates
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – A novel by Ocean Vuong – beautiful details of self discovery.
The Index of Self-Destructive Acts – A Novel by Christopher Beha
The Prophets – A Novel and recommended by my beloved cousin Stephanie 🙂 Robert Jones Jr is magnanimous with story telling, a must read!
Mexican Gothic – A Novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this writer is starting to grow on me. She’s a modern pillar of blended folklore, myth within present time.
Silver Sparrow – A Novel by Tayari Jones.
Last but not least my favorite all time writer. Wonders of the West – A Novel by Kate Braverman. I shared one of her short stories in my Short Story workshop – Women of the Ports from “A Good Day for Seppuku.” She inspires me on a muse level and I’m just blown away by her mesmerizing and hypnotic style every time I read her work!

So there you go, my list of must reads. Reading is homework, builds skillset and voice, language, style. I have my favorites and I keep adding the more I read new work, but here’s a slew of noteworthy authors to check out and mainly women because I support my gender in this craft and POC because they have written the most thought provoking and lovely stories I’ve read presently:

Kate Braverman

Rachel Kushner

Elaine Kahn

Bett Williams

Rachel Resnick

Emma Forrest

Stephen Graham Jones

Gabino Iglesias

Joy Harjo

Rebecca Roanhorse

Jon Bassoff (local author in my area, gothic noir style!)

Catherine Wallace Hope

Taylor Reid Jenkins

Louise Erdrich

Zadie Smith

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Edwidge Danticat

Rudolfo Anaya

Raven Leilani

Laura Pritchett (Colorado Author)

Joyce Carol Oates

Roxane Gay

Joe Hill

I just love reading and anything that moves, grabs, sings to my soul is worth mentioning, including authors AND in case you may be looking for someone new to read, I hope this list offers some choices on your reading log!

Grand Lake, Colorado

I’m ending with a picture of my favorite getaway. West of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park; Grand Lake is an idyllic, lowkey mountain town that I love to relax and savor every bit of nature. I dream of owning a huge home on the lake there someday but for now we’re finally returning for a much needed vacation in September this year. There’s a favorite indie, local bookstore I shop exclusively for book gifts on the main strip. The owner is always gracious when I do and tells me I’m the highlight of her sales for that week, yes I spend that much on books.

Read lots, escape through stories and relish in the imagination of others. Take care of yourself this week; take a nap, watch a feel good comedic movie, take a walk around a lake, call up an old friend, journal notes of gratitude, eat dinner by yourself at a nice restaurant because you deserve it, hug your loved one and give them a kiss. We have one life to live in this realm, make it count so you don’t have to keep coming back to try and relearn the same lesson.

Carpe Diem!

Nostalgia and Fairy Gardens

I’m wrapping up Chapter 26, a backstory/past chapter. The main character reminiscing her teen years, already a mother at 18 with her first son and where she was in life. Although my novel is fiction based with real events woven through the scenes, I often find while writing about the past and embellishing quite a bit on the fiction part, I fantasize about an alternate plane. I’m sure many people do the same thing when in retrospect, we can’t help wondering if we’d chosen certain people, places or comebacks, where we would’ve ended up, presently.

Sometimes, it’s fun and other times morose, BUT I don’t allow the past to sneak in and play tricks with my mind. I write it out, and play with those scenes; What if she said “Go fuck yourself.” Instead of keeping her mouth shut with her tail tucked in between her legs, cowering in agony. What if…instead of responding or reacting impulsively, she just walked away and never spoke to “said person” again, or what if she was brave enough to take the leap and make that move to a different city or take the job she was afraid to pursue, disallowing feelings of failure or anxiety to consume her better judgement. That’s why I write. I MAKE IT, WHAT I WANT in stories.

I’m happy and comfortable where I am in life. Nearing my fifties, it’s true what they say, the older you get, you stop allowing silly emotions or trivial life crap to interfere and at times destroy your inner peace. The good old adage “Youth is wasted on the young” painfully and also endearingly quoted by George Bernard Shaw, makes sense now, in my current age.

When I was in my twenties, older people in my life used to share stories of their youth wishing they could go back for a “do-over” or the popular line I always heard as a young person, “If I were your age, knowing what I do now. I’d do things differently.” I didn’t understand this declaration in my twenties and felt somewhat offended at times. I remember a discussion my younger son and I had on a hike we took in Nederland, about generational labeling. He felt offended by the “millennial” definition because he didn’t identify with the mold and criteria of his generation’s theme. I told him my generational label was worse. We were called Generation X aka the “Slacker” generation. He just felt in a nutshell, it was redundant, the need for our culture to label or symbolize any generation, period. I understood his point and agreed. A millennial and slacker go off in the woods pondering what’s better; stop motion animation or computer graphic images, libraries (this sucks Mom, just “Google” it) versus Internet research – Side Note: I really miss the Dewey Decimal System in the old school card catalogs, opening those little drawers to find the card you need to find the book you’re looking for is not the same as using the online computer, I digress, moving on, – reading books in print versus tablets, cell phones versus rotary phones and lastly what’s better–being dubbed a millennial or slacker.

As I grew older, shifting and evolving, these “youth wasted on the young” statements began to make some sense, however in my personal retrospect I’d rather change my trajectory NOW and not go back and do it over again, because that’s part of our life experience. If we didn’t learn from our mistakes or choices how could we pass lessons on to our own children, exemplifying what we gained or missed in our youth, hoping they potentially choose wiser and strive to rise above. Writing this novel has risen a lot of emotive to the surface and it’s challenging to keep up the momentum and yet, at the same time, I find it’s been a rewarding and motivational experience. The more I write, the past stays further behind. I’m finding peace with this cathartic process. On my writing journey, I’ve read some books on inherited family traumas and books based on true stories about children convicted of their violent crimes.

I read Mark Wolynn’s It Didn’t Start With You as a client of therapy and for research. Insightful, gripping (when you have those aha moments as I did reading through this) and resourceful. There are Q&A sections to help you narrow down through the family tree where YOUR own behavior or mannerisms may have been inherited from; Grandma had the same body image issues or Great Uncle Leon on your Dad’s side had obsessive compulsive tendencies. It’s also a short and concise read, narrowing down science and fact.

Two more great reads on Trauma and Drug Addiction (two of the main themes of my novel)

Bonnie Badenoch’s The Heart of Trauma focuses on trauma affecting the brain and how cognitive therapy assist in addressing the client’s healing process. This reads as a college textbook with case studies interwoven guiding the reader in understanding the triggers behind the situation and the deeply embedded root of the trauma causing a chain reaction from the brain and what the brain is experiencing before it even hits the person on an emotional level. Great read, but needs to be read carefully in order to absorb the information provided.

The Heart of Trauma – Bonnie Badenoch

Gabor Mate’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts is a great read on how drug addiction affects the brain and why it’s not so easy for addicts to just stop. I didn’t agree with some key theories he had on root causes behind individual drug addictions, but appreciated his efforts in assisting and addressing the needs of the drug addicts he treated on the streets. This is a long read (about 500+ pages) with a lot of patience to get through it, but he writes engagingly, sharing stories of clients’ addictions and analyzing his own personal addictions (not drug related, he discusses all forms of addiction and how the brain triggers these addictions.) Anyway, for a person who is like me, doesn’t understand and at times isn’t always accepting of addiction because I never had the issue, it was informative and eye opening.

In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts – Gabor Mate

Lastly, I’d like to mention this book I have not read yet and evidently there’s a Netflix movie based on the book. This is a novel about a teen convicted of murder. I pulled it off my bookshelf to read soon, as it relates to my novel in terms of a teen being convicted for a violent crime (not the murder part in my personal circumstance) and because I like to read the books FIRST before watching the film adaptations. Walter Dean Myers’ Monster

Monster – Walter Dean Myers

I’ve embedded hyperlinks in the title of these books to purchase, if interested, between BookBar and Tattered Cover bookstores based out of Denver. Feel free to find them elsewhere, but as I noted in a previous post, I’m a huge advocate for independent bookstores.

Ok, I got nostalgia and trauma out of the way, or Nostalgic Trauma, however way you perceive, it’s all relative. On a lighter note, when I write emotionally draining chapters and feel the need to shift energies–I tend garden. I incorporated, this year, in my backyard, a fairy garden. I wanted to do this for so long and it’s come full circle. This is the first phase, first development. I’m adding on, as I’m admittedly addicted. I can’t help it, it’s a good addiction though, right?

I wrote a short story a couple of years back about a wife who creates her own fairy garden in the backyard, unbeknownst to her, two magical entities were eagerly awaiting in the shadows, completion of the garden, so they could move into one of the homes she set up. It was a leprechaun named Lanny and fairy named Sheila who moved into the cream colored, copper tin-roofed, green-doored home. My writing group got a kick out of the story. Here’s some pictures I took during the day and at twilight (trying to capture the solar powered homes and blue rock that light up at night but they didn’t in these pictures) to show off my hard work. Building fairy gardens is not easy. I put a lot of sweat and time into this, but it brought happiness and joy while I was working calmly and methodically. It’s the little things people. YOU MAKE IT, WHAT YOU WANT. I have to keep throwing my blog’s core value in the mix. No matter what you’re pursuing in life; YOU Make it what you want.

If you know of any fairies and magical creatures looking for some prime fairy garden real estate, send them to Firestone, Colorado. I’ll be adding more phases, so in the meantime, there may be a waiting list.

Enjoy life, read a book for hours, walk on a trail or in a park absorbing the beauty surrounding you, smile at people even if they don’t smile back, spend time with your loved ones, laugh, breathe, meditate and love. Rinse and repeat; live each day as if it’s your last.

Narrative Device

Ok it happened, finally…first Short Story class tonight and I’m pumped, invigorated and most importantly INSPIRED! I set up a once a week, evening write time with “J” which she wholeheartedly agreed considering she’s been in a writing slump since her beloved mother passed. She’s part of another writing group collective, that meets during the day, but wanted to keep up our writing flow together as a team. When you develop a nice intimate, relaxed environment with another writing partner who keeps your accountability in check, you want them around even if, momentarily it’s one day a week.

I like this class; it’s a small group setting, about nine of us total and everyone conveyed a sense of friendliness and openness to the group. I could feel the positive, creative energy flowing through the internet airwaves. Hank, as the instructor refers himself, is a powerhouse of knowledge and wisdom on the literature and storytelling forefront and I’m over the moon ecstatic about making a wise investment and choice enrolling in this class. My first one for the year.

What is my overall objective?

What is there to learn from this story?

Why are the characters pertinent to this story?

We had some profound handouts Mr. Lewis emailed to the class, to read, review and discuss our thoughts and ambitions as writers from these pieces. What stood out and why? We read and reviewed the first “Model Short Story” uploaded by one of the students, first up on the roster to submit for discussion. Hers, a short titled “Orton” provided a benchmark of what Mr. Lewis’s expectations were in a model piece as far as structure, form, plot and story were concerned. I’m on a motivational power boost to propel my writing narrative at a new level.

The path to artistic freedom – Black Canyon National Park, Montrose, Colorado 2018

I can do this, I won’t give up!


Yep it happened. I let a whole week go by without posting. Had good intentions, but to no avail, the week and weekend escaped me. I also didn’t attain writing goals either. I’m slowly chipping away at Chapter 26 which will be complete end of this week. Work is great, training has been smooth and I couldn’t ask for better co-workers, but the hours go by faster than I can keep up and time is not my friend anymore. Yet, does it really hold relevance minus appointments and such? I take a deep breath, feel gratitude in my heart and I’m here. Presently, I’m here.

My writing felt derailed after last week. I read through emails scouring through my weekly newsletters from Lighthouse announcing new workshops and online classes. I signed up with a four week workshop: Short Story 101 with William Henry Lewis. This will be my first class with this instructor. This course offers intensive reading and writing assignments. Right up my alley to realign my goals and commit to writing practice regularly. I’m excited and flustered. Anxious and exhilarated. An amalgam of emotions surging through my brain in a good way and I’ve completed my first month of full time employment, so hey, I met a mini goal somewhat even if it wasn’t writing related. As my writing partner “J” tells me, “Don’t let your second job (my employment) get in the way of your first one (writing.) I am blessed to have my writing family in my life for these reminders.

William Henry Lewis – Photo Credit: Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop

Here’s a nice bio on Mr. Lewis (not my words, from Lighthouse.)

“William Henry Lewis has published fiction, poetry, and non-fiction in many publications, including The Washington Post, O Magazine, Higher Issues In Education, Colorado Review, New Letters, African-American Review, Blackbird, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares. His work has been commissioned for museum exhibition, and his stories have been reprinted in several anthologies, domestic and abroad. His work as a young playwright was selected by Edward Albee, and his fiction has been honored by America’s top literary entities, including the American Library Association, Fellowship of Southern Writers, National Endowment for the Arts, Best American Short Stories, and as finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize.

Lewis is the author of two books of stories, In the Arms of Our Elders (Carolina Wren Press; three printings), and I Got Somebody in Staunton (HarperCollins; two printings), which was listed among Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2005, and selected as the city of Richmond’s Go Read book for 2006.  

His has been praised, among others, by David Eggers, Nikki Giovanni, Peter Matthiessen, Marita Golden, and Pulitzer Prize winner, Edward P. Jones and Lewis’s work has been highly acclaimed by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, TimeOut, Washington Post, and O Magazine. The Los Angeles Times Book Review praised his fiction as “beautifully written and carefully crafted,” while the Boston Globe noted his work as “moving, but unsentimental, these are stories of hard-won wisdom, potent intelligence, and compassion for the cadence of everyday life, establishing Lewis as a writer to be appreciated and admired.”

I think anyone would be excited to take this class after reading these achievements. The course outlines character, plot, structure and language applying the rules of short story telling, however he emphasizes breaking some of these rules which I love. I enjoy learning the rules to creative writing, yet it’s nice to break out of the mold. I was told at one point, it’s harder for first time writers to get away with breaking the rules, unless they can pull it off REALLY well. However, as an avid reader I’ve seen it done in both seasoned and novice writers novels. Not sure if rules do apply to the novice writer or not so I’m eager to find out in Mr. Lewis’s course!

The only fall back to enrolling with the course was it’s conflicting schedule with my writing group night. It runs every Monday evening from 6:30-8:30pm. I graciously let my writing peers know I’d be on hiatus the month of July while taking this course, but wanted to offer my email feedback to whomever the submitter was for the weeks ahead as a ghost participant. This is part of life happening to one of us. A few of us started new jobs, one came back from an Alaskan trip and one retired. This all occurred almost simultaneously. Major shifts and changes going on within this ever evolving dynamic group. I’m pretty confident, by the time I’ve finished this workshop, I’ll have fresh new short stories to share with my writing peers, along with newly written chapters to submit.

I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself after last week and posted this gem below. Excuse the “f” bomb , but it did put a smile on my face when I read it and whispered this back to myself. Yes I can, don’t give up! More to come, stay tuned! Stay healthy and cool as we journey into July!

I’m a What?

That’s what I asked when I was deemed a pantser. Yep pantser. I had no outline setup or plotting structured when I began my actual writing journey. The idea of the story and trajectory of chapters was transparent in my mind’s eye. I watched in daydreams the sequence of actions roll out; scene by scene, character tensions rising with their reactions but everything fell flat, it was surface work. The setup was there, but the emotive was lacking substance and empathy. I needed to dig deeper, pulling all the emotive from within, allowing each layer to unfold. The reader needed to fall into the rabbit hole and ascend the arc with the protagonist cheering her on to the climactic moment of self discovery or as Joseph Campbell’s monomyth reflects; the return from transformation.

Erika as the Goddess of Transformation

I realized mid-way writing my novel I should’ve outlined. I dreaded thinking about being transported back to high school English class when we were instructed the daunting task to outline prior to writing, free hand. I don’t want to date myself but I attended high school before laptops and computers were implemented in the school system; everything we were assigned always required writing by hand. My dear writing partner, J, met me at Lighthouse one Friday 500 afternoon (Lighthouse offers it’s members 2 “free write” days a month to write at least 500 words) offering help on outlining. She taught creative writing at Denver University and had some tips she followed, plus a reference to a writer’s website who offers free downloads of writing guides. K.M. Weiland is one of the websites I signed up for email newsletters AND downloaded her free 5 Secrets of Story Structure. I used the story structure later on and also ordered her Outlining Your Novel Book on my Kindle and the workbooks which, in my opinion are affordable. Click on this link to go straight to her site: K.M. Weiland’s Website. If you’re interested in the outlining book and workbook here’s the link from her page: Outlining Your Novel. The guidance J offered and these newly acquired tools were the benchmark to my outlining path.

K.M Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel Workbook, easy to navigate guide, highly recommend 🙂

If you are a pantser and can’t wrap your head around outlining there are also guides for pantsers, like Annalisa Parent’s Storytelling for Pantsers. I read this as well and found it concise, engaging, witty and resourceful. Annalisa Parent also has her own website as a writing coach if you feel you need external help and can afford those fees (writing coaches charge different fees dependent on their services and your needs.) Her site is cleverly named: A Date With The Muse. The nice thing about signing up with Annalisa’s site is she REGULARLY, and I mean daily, sends emails of various publications looking for writer submissions that pay substantial amounts if selected. She also has a an online writing community you can join called The Writing Gym. These are fee based programs, however signing up for the newsletter is free. She has a podcast and videos to check out.

Storytelling for Pantsers – Not my photo

Back to my outlining journey with J’s help. At Lighthouse J handwrote an outline template that helped her with the basic 3 Act, 27 chapters format if you want to start textbook style or you can develop additional chapters depending on the story length. It was easy enough however, I cringed thinking about high school. J even mentioned that was the negative factor in outlining because plenty of writers think of the high school way of outlining, but many writing coaches, teachers, professors and instructors have created an evolved and robust method of outlining with questions to ask prior to the process. Some outlining activities make it fun with “what if” scenarios sparking your brain to think outside the box.

Consider BEFORE Outlining

  • Who is your protagonist and how are they involved in the story
  • What is the conflict or situation that arises interrupting your protagonist’s world
  • The world around the protagonist; their life, people in their life, setting/location
  • What is the main thing that makes your story interesting
  • What are the internal and external struggles of the protagonist

I knew these things mentally, but didn’t take the time, narrowing down the details. When you sit and take the time to write out the answers; it forces you to dig deep. I’m going to compile a listing of my favorite writer resource sites and books that helped with extensive Q&A of your story’s needs, wants and goals. I found out later in the game this was important to know up front, BUT didn’t allow this discovery from hindering my writing progress. I plan on working with some major changes and editing with one of the books I mentioned in my previous post when my first novel is in the raw draft form.

I look forward, not back. A few quotes I love to remind myself, no matter what happens in life:

  • “It’s never too late to be who you dreamed of becoming”
  • “Don’t worry how much time it will take; the time will pass anyway”
  • “Don’t Give Up. You Can Do This!”

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Ms. Weiland or Parent. Merely offering my opinions and suggestions on what helped me up to this point in my writing career 🙂

The Quest for Balance

I am determined beyond measure to balance my time wisely between work and writing. Ironically and abashedly I had all the time prior to my new job. I had a set writing time with a writing group friend three days a week from nine to noon during which the first three months I was cranking out pages with fierce velocity, nothing distracted my concentration. Then in April the momentum slowed, life happened with mundane and not so mundane crap. I resorted to Netflix bingeing and Internet surfing, succumbing to the much dreaded slump and non-motivating behaviors writers encounter.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, knows the balancing agony oh so well….

During the Pandemic, my discipline was amplified while babysitting my infant granddaughter, whom I would plop on my lap while my fingers hit the keys as if I was performing Vivaldi’s “Summer” from The Four Seasons. I was on fire! Nothing was getting in the way….

In my writing groove with infant perched on my lap

I’m almost there, the glint dimly shining at the end of the tunnel. I can do this. I can’t fret over lost time and I will not dare rush hastily. It’s been over ten years now and I know I can, not think I can, know I can finish and sigh relief, even knowing it’s finishing my shitty first draft. That’s ok. The revision process has always been enjoyable for me, knowing the actual writing is complete. Last Monday night’s writing group was a few number. One of us is trekking the Denali snowy capped mountains of Alaska with a group of mountaineers. He gifted us with a cool (delayed response time) video to watch their progress, another has been busy with her real estate business (market is booming people) and the other one lost her beloved mother, mourning the loss and spending family time with funeral arrangements. Life happens to everyone, but we all maintain our singular goal of persevering through the good and bad of times and when we’re ready to get back into the groove of things, we show up wholeheartedly. It’s not always easy.

One of the members shared a book he’s been utilizing to navigate through his project called “Wired for Story” by Lisa Cron. I was excited to hear his thoughts because I too, own this writer’s guide along with her other book titled “Story Genius,” also utilized by another member (my writing partner on Zoom) who praised glory on the latter. So, uh oh, the dreaded, “so,” screw it. So, at her recommendation I purchased “Story Genius” planning to read and follow the prompts for story writing using brain science, explained in Lisa Cron’s words: “Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story and what keeps the readers transfixed. “Wired for Story” and “Story Genius” reveal these cognitive secrets–and it’s a game changer for anyone who has ever set pen to paper.” I’m hooked by that phrase already as a writer and avid reader.

Lisa Cron’s Story Genius and Wired for Story

I’ve provided hyperlinks on the two books aforementioned, if interested. They will take you to the Tattered Cover Bookstore based out of Denver. This is an independent bookstore and I’m a huge advocate for independent book shops. I know most people gravitate to Amazon and if you do fine, I’m not affiliated or an affiliate with Tattered Cover, however I am a huge proponent of giving my money to the non-conglomerate book sellers. Another independent book store I adore and love visiting is Bookbar based in the Tennyson Street arts district of Denver. The ambiance, wine and food are delectable and the support of local writers is deeply empowering and inspiring. The Denver Arts community is strong and I’m proud to be a part of it, as a Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop member. Both stores are linked below. Photos are not mine, but merely to share and encourage patronage if interest piqued. They do ship out of state.

Tattered Cover Bookstore (photo credit: unknown)
Bookbar (photo credit: Bookbar)

I’m wrapping up the end of the second week of full time employment with a hot bang (it was 95 degrees today, is it summer already?) I’ve submitted to writing group for next Monday’s night meeting with the next installment of what they’ve read up to date. I’m ahead by four chapters and trying to keep up the story propulsion. I’ve completed Chapter 25 and started Chapter 26 tonight. I’m doing a happy dance in my seat, fist pumping and air high fiving because I did it and while being sick (fell ill due to some heavy pollen in the air that kicked my sinuses to the curb, but heavy loads of Emergen C, zinc and homeopathic sinus medicine along with rubbing some peppermint oil on the back of my neck helped immensely and much needed resting naps this weekend.) I’ve submitted AND met my weekly goal. In my writing group we share three minutes of our past week (personal and writing related) and report on whether or not we attained our goals. We set weekly goals to hold accountability if we can and if for unpredictable reasons couldn’t, then we either carry those goals forward or set new ones. Some of us have daily/weekly writing count goals, some chapter completions (these are usually mine) and others, writing research including some leisure reading. I’m excited to share my good news of finally completing a chapter I was stuck on for the past three weeks. I guess working a full-time job was the much needed motivator I needed to enforce discipline.

The desert heat is dropping to the mid-80’s now and the crickets chirping at dusk signal it’s time to wind down for the evening. I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Happy Writing, Happy Reading, Happy Arts, Happy Photoshooting, Happy Work, Happy Life, whatever floats your boat, hope it brings you happiness.

Sandstone Ranch, Longmont, Colorado at dusk March 2021