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2018 Goals

  • Regularly write to my Grandma in Denmark.
  • Call my moms monthly.
  • Walk the dog three times a week.
  • Cook and eat better.
  • Re-institute the cleaning plan.
  • Work on my writing career--such as it is.
  • Reduce body fat and maintain current weight.
  • Take dance lessons with DH.
  • Do more crafts!
  • Take ballet and/or ice skating lessons.
  • Attend more STARS games.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

You want me to be a mentor???


My writing group started a program to get all our unpublished members published. It's called, unsurprisingly, GetPublished!. I didn't name it.

Sure, I've been a member of this group since 2006, but I've only been published since November of 2017. Do these people think I've listened to or retained everything I did actually listen to over the years? Do these people think I've done it by the book?

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Y'all and I both know better.

The chapter prez called and asked if I'd be a mentor. After I laughed, I reminder her of my own rookie status, but she assured me it was more about encouragement and accountability than anything.

Encouragement and accountability I can do.

I've reached out to my mentee, but we haven't had a chance to actually talk about our partnership going forward and what she really needs from us working together.

I'm looking forward to getting to know my chapter mate a little better, though, and just because I'm on the mentor side of this relationship doesn't mean I'm not going to benefit.

So we'll see how it goes. :0)




Monday, February 26, 2018

The Royal Family


So... One of my random minor interests for a long time has been the British Royal Family. The quote-unquote fairy tale of Prince Charles and Princess Diana happened back when I was in my formative years. Most young girls probably had a passing interest, right? I mean, upper crust, but common girl meets and falls in love (maybe) with the heir to the British throne. What's not to get caught up in?

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

And like many, I bought into the Diana-as-a-victim portrayal for many years. There's no doubt she struggled and had issues and a horrible lack of education-in-dealing-with-being-royal and not much in the way of a support system. But Charles, too, faced his share of issues and challenges.

I recently watched a six-part documentary on the Royal Family and it really rounded out my knowledge of things. I'm not a super-fan/follower, but over the years, I've really gained a new sympathy for Charles and have come see/believe that he was never the bad guy that news rags and magazines made him out to be. Of course, it takes two to tango, as the saying goes, so he's not absolved of everything, but it appears Diana was a lot less innocent than she appeared.

Any other royal watchers out there?


Friday, February 23, 2018

GRL, here I come for a second time!


I have a conference reservation. I have a hotel reservation. I don't yet have airfare, but that isn't cheap enough yet. I was told (whether true or not, I don't know) that airfare is best bought 58 days from your departure date.

In October, I'm going back to one of the few cons that solely represents my genre. I had a great time last year and am looking forward to another enjoyable experience. I was hoping to go as a supporting author (opportunities to hawk my wares) this year, but those slots sold out in under fifteen minutes. I'm on the waiting list, so please keep your fingers crossed that they add slots or that enough current slots become available for me to upgrade.

This year's GRL will be in Portsmouth, Virginia; I'll get to add yet another city and state to the list of places I've been, so that's nice.

The other really exciting thing is that...I've earned enough in royalties so far to actually pay for my conference registration!!! That just tickles me pink. The goal as the months pass and royalties continue to trickle in is to pay for the whole trip. :0)

This is the fun and exciting part of the publishing journey.

The hard part is writing the next book. Working on that...

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How do you feel about peanut butter?



I love it. I've been eating a ton of it lately and I'm wondering why.

I've heard it said that when you crave a food it can mean that your body is missing something, and it's trying get that something by craving a food that contains it. Well, that was a circular sentence, wasn't it?

According to the nutritional info, the thing peanut butter has the most of is protein. But I consume a lot of protein from other sources, so that doesn't seem likely. Maybe my body needs one of the dozen plus vitamins and minerals found in PB. It's certainly not the carbs...although I understand these are the good carbs, not that bad kind. So maybe?

Any ideas?

What foods do you crave often?

Monday, February 19, 2018

A busy and disappointing weekend...


The Stars lost again in spectacular fashion on Sunday. They gave up five goals in the 1st period and only came back to grab two of their own during the rest of the game. It's like someone flicked a switch and turned their talent off. Ugh.

In other sports news, DH and I watched the Daytona 500 yesterday, which was fine. There were a couple of major wrecks, but as I haven't really picked a driver to follow they weren't as devastating to me as they could have been. :0) It's been a while since I followed NASCAR and the driver landscape has changed a lot. I'm not planning on getting super into the sport again, but most fans have a driver or two to pin their weekly hopes on. I've got my eye on a handful, including the guy who won yesterday, but will watch a few more races and narrow it down to 2 or 3.

Going to my writers group meeting on Saturday was the boost I'd hoped for, but that meant a lot of work for me yesterday. Our group is putting together a collection of short stories to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Guess who's in charge? Yes, me. Although I'd wanted to be in charge of it since the 30th anniversary, so it's fine. Anyway, I thought I was going to be able to parse out the proofreading, but a couple of my helpers sorta bailed, so I spent yesterday proofreading a handful of short (3500 words or less) stories. Then I remembered I had to like put together some specialness for the celebration, which is next month. Like ordering the memento, planning table decorations if any, starting a power point presentation for a thing I'm planning, and sending out emails as needed to accomplish all of the above.

On another note, I got my hind-end back to the gym starting yesterday. Went again today. I stopped going because of the super-cold temps that early in the morning and also because working the contest takes a good hour, so that's when I'd work on it. But the contest is running smoother, so I don't need as much time. Anyway, I was feeling the adverse effects of not going and now that it's warmed up, I had no more excuses and every reason to go. So...yeah. Back at it.

The next thing to get after is writing book 7. I just need to park my behind somewhere, fit on the noise-canceling headphones, and write.

How was your weekend?




Friday, February 16, 2018

TGIF


This is how I'm feeling about life right now...


Not that I drink, but it's the thought that counts.

It's writing group weekend, so things are looking up.

Hope you have a great weekend.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Conflict Hurts!


I'm experiencing conflict right now!! I want to write book 7 and I'm struggling. UGH UGH UGH!!

About a month ago, I mentioned a class I'd taken last June and how I wanted to take it again... Well, I tried to contact the instructor, but I had her email wrong, so it bounced back and I was really bummed. But then an announcement for that very class came through me email and--yay--I'm currently knee deep in the middle of it.

I'm enjoying it as much as I did last time, but it's also challenging and frustrating in equal parts as I struggle through the psychology of my characters wounds, beliefs, and coping mechanisms.

Building conflict is a thing I really need to wrap my head around to tell effective stories. The instructor did say it took her years to get a handle on it herself, but she also has part of a psychology degree under her belt. So, yeah... I have a big learning curve when I get a lot of info thrown at me. It takes me a while to parse things. I feel like an idiot sometimes, needing everything spelled out for me, and that's frustrating because I'm not a stupid person. Not a rocket scientist, to be sure, but not stupid.

I really need to pinpoint my best learning style.

So, anyway, I'll persevere and study and try, try again. I may also take the class when she offers it again in the fall, but I don't think, in the grand scheme of things, this is the strict method for me. Many instructors say, "take what works/resonates and leave the rest." There are definitely things I'm learning, that I'll take away and apply, but as far as starting where she starts... I don't know.


Another class just came through my email that sounds right up alley, so I'm considering it despite the cost. But I really want to grasp this concept and how to make it work for me.

Well, happy Hump Day! See you Friday.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Sophie's Choice...


Time for some hockey talk. We haven't done that in a while. :0)

Over the weekend, the Dallas Stars had an opportunity to move out of the Wild Card slot for the playoffs and into an actual playoffs berth. True, they'll have to hold onto it, but they've had the Wild Card slot for a good month or so, so chances look promising.

One point separated the Stars and the team ahead of them in their division, the St. Louis Blues, going into the weekend with two games on the schedule for both teams. Did they make it??

Well, the Stars won Friday's game earning them two points, but so did the Blues, so there was no change as of Saturday.

On Sunday, the Blues played early and lost. The Stars had to have known this going into their own game. So what did they do? They lost in spectacular fashion to one of the five worst teams in the league. Ugh.

Granted, there were a couple of factors going against them, but they played like crap, even for them and even with the things they had to deal with.

Anyway, the answer is no, they didn't pull it off. They're no better off, but, on the other hand, they're no worse off. The team now has four days off to get their act together. On Friday, they play...guess who?...the St. Louis Blues. Someone's going down.

Now onto my dilemma.

I have three favorite teams, all in different divisions. The Stars can play both of the other two teams at various levels of the playoffs. While the Stars are my home team, the other two have very compelling story lines for why I would want them to win--

The Pittsburgh Penguins are going for a third Stanley Cup in a row. Due to changes in the league over the last dozen years, two in a row is difficult enough. Three would just be phenomenal. And as the saying goes, "If any team can pull it off, the Penguins can." Collectively, those boys have played a lot of hockey in the past three years--not just NHL, but other competitions as well--and they're tired. But after a questionable start back in October, they're lighting it up now in the last thirty or so games heading toward the post season. So, yeah, go Pens!


The Vegas Golden Knights are going for their very first playoff run in their very first year as a team. They've already broken numerous records for a franchise in its first season. They are, to pretty much everyone's surprise, first in their division at the moment and they've hovered near the top for most of the season despite a spate of injuries to their goalies--of which every team only keeps two on the active team roster. They've had three goalies come in this year from their minor league teams who've all done a yeoman's job of guarding the net. They could actually pull this off. What's not to love about this narrative? So, yeah, go Knights!


And then, of course, are the Stars--they've been to the playoffs only twice in the last eight years, losing once in the first round and once in the second. They've made it the Stanley Cup playoffs twice since moving to Dallas twenty-five years ago, winning only once in 1999. Would I love to see my hometown boys (I say hometown, but only four players are even American!!) get to the playoffs and win the Cup. Just because they're my team and it'd be super cool to have hockey eclipse every other sport in this state for a while. So, yeah, GO STARS!


What I discovered in watching Friday night's Stars game against the Penguins is that I definitely want the Stars to win right now, during regular season play. Why? Because they need to make it to the playoffs before my Sophie's choice can even be a choice. They need the points to climb the standings.

Any suggestions on how to choose when the time comes?


Friday, February 9, 2018

Book Six -- "Only For the Weekend" is now on pre-sale!




Now that this is out in the world, I'll be able to put a huge dent in my big fat to-do list. :0)

Then to get on with the writing of book seven. I really need to work on a final title. Its working title is "The Rancher and the Reporter." I bet you can guess the jobs of each of my heroes...

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Are you on Pinterest?


I'm not on it a lot, unless I'm extremely bored and every other avenue of entertainment has been exhausted.

Except...

I get emails several times a week letting me know that other people have pinned things I've previously pinned. I also get emails with tempting of images of things I've previously searched for.

Somehow, I got an email tempting with miniatures, which--wait, what??

I've always wanted to build/create/decorate a dollhouse. But they're not cheap and so I've just never been able to really get into it.

So I get this email and I click and look and look and look. I'm pretty good about not getting sucked down the rabbit hole to far or for too long. And a new world has opened up to me as far as miniatures go--

There are tutorials on making all the things you need, not just buying stuff. Making things out of cardboard--yee haw. I have plenty of that.  Making stuff out of household scraps. Got tons of that too.

I could build a single room, shadow bow or diorama style. No need to go whole hog on a whole house.

For now, I'll just keep perusing and saving until something leaps out and grabs me hard.

Are you a Pinner??






Monday, February 5, 2018

Productive Weekend...


It wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped--I'd planned to go to the Stars game with my daughter and her BFF, but I couldn't  find three or even two seats together on my last-minute-ticket app. I underestimated the popularity of Retro Night. We went to a local sports bar instead and enjoyed good food and hockey on the big screen. The STARS won and a good time was had by all.


 In other news, I finally came up the new title for book 6. The original title promised things that didn't happen in the book, so after some various searches through Amazon with keywords specific to my book, I found a title that didn't appear a dozen times in Amazon and that fit the story-line of the book much better. I was also able to finalize the blurb.

So TWO things off the list.

I've contacted my cover artist to see how soon she could change the title for me...but I haven't heard back from her yet... But it's the weekend. So maybe she's traveling or celebrating something. Fingers crossed I hear from her soon. I need to get this book out. And having the cover allows a whole host of other things to get done. I wish I was better at graphics.

Now that I have a new title and the blurb, I've been able to move forward much on several other items on the TO DO list. Whew.

I also added a few more hockey patterns to my Etsy shop. My traffic is going up--no place else for it to though. No sales as of yet, but *fingers crossed*.

Anyway, I hope you a relaxing and/or productive weekend.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Feeling the Pressure


Self pressure is still pressure...

There's a lot on my plate at the moment, most of it isn't terribly time sensitive, although the sooner I do it, the better it will be, but I need to shake off that need to try get everything done right now.

As soon as I can is good enough.

Although A.S.A.P. always seems to come with a sense of urgency. But if we take the phrase at face value, it means exactly what it says. It doesn't mean you necessarily have to push off other things to get something done, just get to it as soon as you can. When there's an opening in your schedule. When time allows.

I mentioned my BIG FAT TO DO list a couple of weeks ago and those things are weighing heavily on me to get done, but in addition to sorting out tasks for books that are already written, I do need to actually write the next one. But, of course, I'm struggling with that as well.

Nothing to do but take a deep breath and pick one thing on the list and do it. Then pick another and do it. And then the next and the next until everything gets done. Of course, there are another handful of things that need to be added, but I suppose, eventually, I'll run out of things to add.

The good thing about the list is that it's there and I don't have to add worrying about forgetting something.

The weekend's here, which means I'll have some time to work on the list.

How about you?? Big plans for the weekend?

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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America