THE END OF AUGUST 2015

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images_063August is coming to a quick end. Did I not look at a calendar, or do the days fly by and I do not notice? Knowing me, I’d say I do not notice.  Why? Because life is a merry-go-round, and I want to keep the momentum going. Still, sometimes I have to step off and watch the horses go up and down for a few turns. A breather, you might call it. And I got hit with this at my last SilverSneakers® class. One of the members hollered, “Hey are we going to have class on Labor Day?” Labor Day, that’s next month and the hammer hit hard. No, That’s next week.  They are such a great group, we will probably take the Holiday and be ready to come back refreshed, renewed, rewound.

August came and did its heat on all of us. The humidity hit hard against the body and I can only imagine what the states with such outrageous fires are going through. Now, Hurricane Season sticks its neck out and we have Tropical Storms forming in many different regions.

This made me think of the process of writing. An idea forms, and we wait to see what this idea wants to do. Yeah, even in the middle of the night, these thoughts filter into our sleep. Sometimes, these are the most important filters to trap into our dreams. We are asleep and our subconscious takes control.  There is no censor on these trips, rather our naked nature and we roll with the punches.

I am working on a new book and thought I knew what would happen. Wrong.  My character’s all have different names, the location is out of my control and so are my characters. This all happened one nightmarish night. I woke up in the morning and my bedroom looked like a ‘war’ zone. Guess I was fighting the changes, but then could not remember what changes. No, there were no scribbles on my notebook, because I’d knocked it on the floor before I could scribble. So, I sat at my computer and went to the folder of the WIP (work in progress). What I encountered was nothing compared to my — encounter. I keep plodding in the old file, hoping my dream will return in a more prudent manner.  Life as a writer at times sucks, and then a times shines. We are hooked and never give up or out.

Proof of this is the Trailer of my book, Breaking Point, which is out in printed form. If the ‘gods’ are with me, I will try to have this video added at the end of the post. If it works, the big thanks goes to Carolyn Wren, a Secret Cravings Author, who has given up her time and energy to produce trailers. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

This is what writers do…help other writers. There is no industry in the world that has the help from one writer to another writer, Thank you.

p.s.  video did not work, but challenges are a part of writing. If you would like to check this out, please visit my website at http://www.patricia-patterson.com. I’ll work on this challenge ASAP.

 

 

 

 

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WHAT DAY IS THIS?

The OtherlifeThis is the look of my days, not quite night, definitely not morning, and my eyes are red from writing and reading. Sometimes, I feel like there is no in between and it is hard to decide upon AM or PM. One thing for certain, the challenges for each day push me forward into uncharted territory.

This past Saturday, I attended my Georgia Romance Writers meeting and came away with new thoughts, new visions, and new ideas. Why? I was surrounded by writers. Some struggling to keep everything together and some celebrating new books and trying to balance their time and others hitting the blank spot of the brain. I realized none of us have it all together and this made me feel good. Do I like it? Nah. But, we keep surrounding ourselves with other writers and gather support. This is so important when you are struggling with a page, a chapter, a thought, and know you have others you can bounce these thoughts out there and get feedback.

I have found out that writers jump on the wagon and either pull or push you forward. It is the momentum from their hard work that propels new writers forward. Then, it is our turn to do the same to other new writers. Writer friends are friends we turn to in times of questions and they understand our problems. Why? Because, most of them have been in the same situations and managed to break through to publication and above.

Make certain you have life-lines to throw out to all of your writer friends, and they have the same coming your way. Beta Readers, Critique Partners, and Writing Groups are the best life-lines writers have. They may not be perfect, but it is a starting point. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be yourself. But . . . never compare yourself to another writer. We are all different and our needs are different. Keep your avenues open for everyone. Make sure your bridges to others are always open.

My big happening this week, I received my book in print and can hold my ‘baby’ in between my hands. And, it was not an easy birth, but I am busy on two other books. Maybe these will be a little easier to produce. No matter what happens, I will continue to write, write, and write. And you, as a writer will continue to write and write and write. Once a writer, the need to write, share, and publish never goes way. Good Luck to all of you writers.

A saying, I believe in and maybe you will too, is from Eleanor Roosevelt.
“The future belongs to those who dream.”

Happy Dreams. Happy Writing.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

dog days of summerDid you know this period of August and into September is named after a star, Sirius the Dog Star. Looks like this Sirius is enjoying his air conditioner. The hot weather during this period seems to be hotter, no breezes, and robs one of their energy to be active. I’ve thought about this and remember, way back when, times of air conditioning did not exist. Yeah, they had means to cool businesses, but what about homes. We used fans, like in the picture, in our windows, rooms, porches, and we drank plenty of lemonade, ice tea, water and lots of ice in every drink. Never thought too much about the heat, until we got our first air conditioner. It was a huge, clunky box which my dad installed in one of our living room windows. It cooled the room where we stayed most of the time. Why? Our first black and white television was in this room. As I remember backwards, a lot of firsts entered our lives. Exciting to see pictures on a big screen and be cool at the same time. Then came the first washing machine, but not like the kind that you have in your homes. No, this was similar to the old washer and had ringers you ran the clothes through, after the rinse, to squeeze the water out. Only, this new washer had a motor that rotated the clothes you put inside the machine. You could watch the clothes move around without the use of hands or paddles. Then you hit a release knob and the dirty wash water ran down a drain. When it was empty, you filled the machine with clear water for the rinse, started the motor again so the rotation would rinse the clothes. Now, the final release knob and the water ran out again. Hands ran them through the wringer and they were ready for the clothesline. Wash day was a lot of work. No, I like the laundry days now, except…Oh, the clothes smelled so fresh as they were unpinned from the clothesline and folded up.  I’m happy to have had these experiences and when I do laundry, thankful for all the new technology. But, would love to smell the freshness from the outside, not from a rinse of different smells. It is good to remember what was and be thankful for what is now. Sometimes, we want things to go faster, quicker, and forget what we need is downtime from all our activites. During these “Dog Days of Summer” take time to relax, read, write, connect with friends, old and new, sit back and enjoy your Ice Tea, or Sweet Tea depending where you are spending your hot summer days. Just keep in mind, these days won’t last forever. Soon Fall and Winter will creep up on the calendar. At this point, you’ll remember  the hot days of summer. Enjoy your days, write about your own memories, and you’ll be surprised at what your fingers will dig up for you.

Happy Memories. Happy Days. Happy Writing.

PUBLIC SPEAKING – WHO ME?

What did you sayYou hear these words and your voice starts shaking, your knees wobble, and your body feels wet from the sweat rolling around. You are a writer and now you are an author, so suck it up.

As an author, you need to present yourself to the public. Why? To sell your book, get asked to give presentations, be a guest on a program, and be recognized as a great speaker. But, you cannot do this without practice. Fear? Yes, fear is at the heart of all speakers, at the beginning, and probably every time they stand in front of an audience.

Remember, there is no greater speaker than that of an author. Who wrote the book? You. Who knows what the book is all about? You. Who knows about the funny places? You. Who can present the scenes of love, friendship, suspense and frustrations? You.

Now is the time for practice. Volunteer at your writer meetings to give an introduction for another author. No, not you. Volunteer to do presentations at a special meeting. Get yourself up out of your chair and behind the podium or even just  in front of a group with a microphone in your hand.

But, wait. You need to know how you sound with a microphone. Is your voice too loud? Are you speaking too fast, and no one can understand you? Does your voice stay in the same tone, like a monotone and no emotion comes out? Do you slur your words?

So, what do you do? If you have a tape recorder, use it. You can listen to yourself and might not even recognize your voice. Keep trying, and trying, and trying. Are you punching some of your words? Trying to emphasize words to get attention. Vary the pitch of your voice and you will have your audience captivated. Do not forget a pause between some words. This comes when you want your audience to be with you, listen, and feel what you do. You want your audience to stay with you from beginning to end.

What about your body? No, not the size, but what your audience sees as they listen. Are you dressed for the occasion? You need to find out about the type of audience you are addressing: a sports audience and you come in evening clothes? I doubt it. Or the reverse: an evening crowd and you come in your workout clothes? Yeah, I went overboard, but this gives you a chance to think about your audience. You need to invoke emotion and interest through non-verbal communication, known as body language. Facial expressions and gestures are a neat beginning. Eye contact is another very important communication. People in the audience love to think you are looking at only them. Give them your best.

A goof-up? Hey, we all mispronounce words, forget some words, and the best recovery is to acknowledge them and laugh at yourself. Your audience will laugh with you. Be sincere and honest.

Now, that you have done some practicing at home, in front of a mirror, and practiced, practiced, and practiced, it is time to take you and your book out before a live audience. Most of all, have fun with your time before the audience. They will feel part of your presentation and you will find yourself with new fans.

SPEAK UP.  SPEAK SLOW.  SPEAK YOUR BEST. PROMOTE YOUR WRITING.

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WHY DO YOU WRITE?

New BLog OutWhy? Because. Yeah, but because of what? Now, do I have your attention? Everyone writes for different reasons and some may seem familiar, some may seem ridiculous, and some may even be the right reason for you. We cannot group writers into one formation and have great stories. This is why different genres play an important part in each writer’s life.

If fame and fortune are your goals, then you need to work hard, harder, and even harder to make your writing and the story stand out from all the others. But, every story has been written. You can only let Cinderella go to one ball, right? You are the writer, take Cinderella to a different kind of ball and to kick-start the story, have her go barefooted. Change the setting and you can change the story into YOUR story.

Some may say to reap the rewards in monetary value. But all writers will not be awarded in the same way. Do you have another book to follow, maybe not a series, but another book in the wings waiting for acceptance by a publisher, or your own type of publishing. One book, no matter how great, will not be enough for writers in today’s publishing business. And, then the readers want more and more. If you are a writer and connect with your readers, then you must continue to honor your readers and craft another story for them and new readers. You write because you want to write and this is where you find pleasure.

Then, you find the most satisfaction in writing a penetrating story that touches even the hardest heart and you realize a goal you’d never thought about. The satisfaction your writing gives another person. And you hear a reader’s response that this story touched me and I could not put it down. Maybe, your writing helped that one individual come to grips with her or his fear, helped them make a decision, or found their love was still with them. You just wrote what was in your heart and let the words fill the pages for another person to read.

You write because you have a writer’s mind and heart. You are interested in the whole process of having ideas and crafting the words. This brings you happiness, even when you become frustrated and do a file save, before getting up from your chair and laptop to do a dance around the room or go for a walk to let the frustration simmer a bit. While you dance with your ‘broom’ partner, new thoughts race through your head. Or on your walk, the sounds of nature fill you with new insight to your frustration and new ideas flow. This is the writer inside you acknowledging your irritation and letting the muse nurture you back to your chair and laptop.

By now, you have a good idea of Why You Write. Keep your writing fresh, invigorating, suspenseful, and full of love for your readers. Surprise your readers. Yet you are the same writer giving new stories to your readers – consistent, interesting, and refreshing.

DO YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES?

unicorn danceThink of the word “SUCCESS.” Success comes in all different sizes and niches, but let’s look at life and writing. We all have different goals, but do you set them, keep track of where you are, and  are you willing to make changes to attain your success.

One pattern may not be enough. You may have to make alterations to your plans. Do changes throw you off track or out of kilter? Change is hard to master. Sometimes, even the thought of the word is enough to make one backtrack. Still, change can be exciting: new avenues to try, new ideas to grow, and new skills to learn.

Think of some of the mini-successes you’ve encountered. Some may have been small, quite small, and then you learned that these small successes led to bigger moments. What about all those query letters you sent out, waited and waited, and got rejected. Did this stop you from writing or more determined to continue. This is the grit we all need to keep us going. The big push to make us continue and work harder. Sure it hurts, but without pain success would not show its face.

Motivation moves us to visualization. Sometimes it becomes easier to reach up and out when we can picture what we want. Do you see your name on your book cover? Can you see yourself on television answering questions about your writing? Do you envision your first book signing? These are small steps you can conquer and get you ready for even bigger steps. We all crawled before we walked. (Well, most of us.)

Share your goals and your dreams.This will help you become accountable to yourself and others. Even your comments on social media can advance your success, when you share. No others will not always agree, but when you keep your emotions in check, you will show stamina, etiquette, and people relate to these standards.

If there are areas where you feel you’ve failed. Go back and see what caused these failures. Tear these failures into pieces and then put them back together in a different form. Use failures as a chance to do something different, to make changes, and keep your focus on tomorrow, not yesterday.

With every step toward success, you enlighten yourself, stretch yourself to learn, and the best part, you can help another person on your pathway. When you are warm, friendly, and  smile, people will return these gestures.

Now, ask yourself, do I have what it takes for success in my life and my writing? Of, course you do. We all get to the destination in different ways, but always go forward.

If you have encountered setbacks and survived, let me hear how you did this and what motivated you.

Happy Writing.

RESTLESS NIGHTS

Two friends“Hey, it’s been quite a while since we checked in with Patricia. Maybe too long.” Edna sounded worried. “With this title, we should have kept in touch more often.”

“What’s wrong with right now?” Ethel answered. “If we read this post, we can figure out how to help.”

How many of you have gone to bed so tired it hurts to pull the covers up? You lay in complete darkness and silence. Too dark? To silent?

Our lives are primed for ‘go.’ The absence of activities creates unrest in our bodies and minds. This causes us tossing and turning, and the need to roll over to ease the tension. Useless movements. Now what?

Turn these tensions into story ideas. But, we are supposed to sleep. Which would you rather do: be aggravated or mesmerized with new ideas?

Close your eyes, open your mind, and hear or see the chaos. Maybe both. Sometimes this comes with a faceless image in your dreams. Put them to work. Make them tell you what they want. Are you breathing harder and faster? Are these images running from something or someone? As the mystery seeps into your being, keep going. These dream characters may want to show you important clues

You feel cool breezes on your face. There is a sense of grass, street lights, and ripples of water. A park with a lake shows up on your dream screen. The images stop. You stop as they point to an object floating in the water.

Your eyes open wide. The dream breaks into many pieces. You roll over, switch on the light, and grab your pen. After a few scribbles on the pad, your body relaxes. Your pillow cradles your head and you drift off to sleep.

The story inside you wanted the attention you either did not feel or could not see. Your unrest became the only avenue for the characters to get your attention.

“Whew, this was a long night, but glad we were close by if she got stuck in the dream.” Ethel nodded to Edna. “Now, we can take our nap.”

“And dream,” Edna giggled.

LISTEN TO YOUR RESTLESS NIGHTS AND REAP THEIR REWARDS.