Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hobbies Outside of Writing

Lots of people have asked me what do I do when I'm not writing clean romantic suspense novels full of martial arts, disguises, and strong female protagonists. Or other stories like my clean (sweet) chocolate rom-com set in Switzerland. Well, I thought I'd let you in on my little secret. My life is not full of writing, although some days I wish it were.

First off I have a family. I am a wife to a brilliant scientist. I am a work-from-home mom to three beautiful kids who keep me humble, teach me patience, and long suffering.

Second, I am active in my church. I volunteer to co-teach at religion class to 8-9 teenagers at 5:45am every day that there is high school.

Third, I'm involved in my community.

So what does this look like? I'm not particularly busy, thankfully. My weekday starts at 5am. I wake up, pray, mediate, and read from the scriptures. I get dressed in appropriate clothes and attend or teach the class for about fifty minutes where we try to help teenagers appreciate the Gospel. Help them to make better decisions for their lives and help them make spiritual goals. Then when they leave my house, I help my kids get off to school.

Then I exercise and listen to inspiring messages, audio books or music. Exercise is important for my mental health, physical health and to help jump start my creativity. It's a discipline. I started exercising when I was in high school. A friend of my mother's who was a refugee from Cambodia wanted to go for a walk, but she had two kids and two strollers (not one giant one people have today). So my mom said I'd go with her. So I did. She told me about her life in Cambodia, escaping the Khmer Rouge and her life as a refugee. Those walks were interesting, gave me perspective I needed as a 15 year old. Our friendship deepened and she also helped me establish the habit of exercise for which I am so grateful.

My son is pursuing a black belt in Tang So Doo for the last four years. Our evenings are full of classes.

I also like to sew. In the summers when my kids are home I do things like reupholster chairs, oil paint landscapes and portraits, and draw. This summer, the kids want to learn how to quilt. A friend of ours gave us a bunch of quilting fabric to make quilts this summer. I'm excited about that.

I love doing home improvement projects. I paint interiors, fixed the washing machine with a soldering gun (yup, proud of that one, if you want to see pics, I have them), paint furniture, garden, and try to teach these things to my kids.

I also volunteer at my kids schools, be on a committee for HOA. I feel really normal.  That's me in a nutshell. I might be able to think of other stuff later.

What hobbies do you have? How do you spend your time?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Yes, you can do it! Top five tips for achieving a dream

I've always been one of those people who tried new things. I don't really like getting out of my comfort zone, just like the next gal, geeze, I am human, but I do like to try new things.

When I was in fourth grade, my friend, Heather, urged me to try out for the community theatre production of Annie as an orphan extra. My mom let my try out only because she thought I wouldn't make it--thanks mom! She knew the commitment and time required for a production of this scale. But she let me try out and guess what! I made it! I did! *Brag time* Out of the 225 girls who auditioned, only 12 made it into the cast *Close brag time* My siblings said it was because I already looked like an orphan. Har, har! But honestly, I think I made it because my friend knew the director and she needed a ride to the rehearsals from our small town.

One of the best compliments anyone has given to me was when my brother said he thought it was awesome that I tried out for plays. Then he confessed, he never would have had the guts to do something like that. I was stunned. I never even considered not trying out. It's like the possibility of making a fool of myself didn't even occur to me.

I've thought a lot about that as the years pass. Why wasn't I afraid to try out for a play? I think one of the things that keeps me going is that I'm not afraid of failing. (I am afraid of success, however. Success changes the status quo. We all fear something, I guess, hahah!)

So I put together my top five tips to give you the encouragement you need to take the leap.

1. Be not afraid. Fear is your worst enemy. Sometimes what I do is imagine the worst thing that can happen. When I was afraid to go SCUBA diving, I mentally walked myself through what the worst case scenario would be. Which in this case was death. And I was like, if I died right now, what could happen? My kids would miss me and I would miss them growing up. But my husband could remarry, and they'd grow up okay. Then I ask myself the likelihood of that happening. Pretty minuscule. After I mentally faced that worst fear, I was ready to go down.

2. Start small. Baby steps. No one says in order to be great, you have to do great things. By small means are many great things accomplished. How do you write a novel? One word at a time. How do you start a business? One client at a time.

3. Set goals. I have a blank book my sister gave me 12 years ago. For over a decade, I have written weekly "To-Do" lists. This keeps me focused and on track. And yes, sometimes I go back in and write things down that weren't originally on the list and check them off. But set goals that you can define, reach, and stretch you.

4. Vision boards. I am not much of a visual person, probably due to the fact that I didn't wear my glasses for the first half of my life and missed so many details. However, having something like a vision board, or a vision statement can help keep your goals in the forefront of your mind. If you have a dream, write it down, see it every day, work toward it.

5. Surround yourself with supportive people. Everyone needs a support team, people who are positive, who believe in you and encourage you. If you don't have those people living with you, find some community on line. I love my writer community on Twitter and my writing group friends. I also have the most supportive husband (both physically and spiritually) and friends.

What are your dreams? How did you achieve them? Or what are you doing to achieve your dreams?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Blog Topics

 I always struggle with writing something on my blog. I like journal-ing and have kept extensive journals (if you know me at all, you're probably mentioned in my journal. Isn't that a weird thought?) But for some reason, I really struggle with blog topics.

I would like to be of some use to people out there.

So I have a question: What do you want to hear about from me?

Do you want to hear about my writing process? How to write/get published? Writing tips? Overcoming discouragement?

Would you like to hear about my life? It would make a great cure for insomnia.

Would you like to hear about my struggles? I have struggled with a few things and have managed to find peace. I would only do this if I felt like it would help someone else. I'm rather a private person and prefer a one-on-one method of communication.

Or something else entirely?  Comment below with your suggestions.

Third Place from Book Buyer's Best Contest

A sweet romance wins third place Sweet romances can compete and win! I'm super excited for this honor.  I want to tell you, please keep ...