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My Bathroom-#AKWriting Challenge

I’ve been sorely irresponsible when it comes to this challenge, and I could make a million excuses but I won’t. Instead I’ll just jump in when I can and since I love potty humor, I figured this would be an excellent place to begin.

My bathroom is not my favorite room in the house! 

We’ve been looking at houses for about three years because our bathroom and our kitchen are often the source of much profanity in our house as our boys are on the cusp of becoming much bigger teenage, adult-sized people. Our master bathroom is the size of a closet, and even though we have two and a half baths, I would kill for a Jack and Jill sink and a beautiful big bathroom with a huge bathtub that had jets and room to read in. I would seriously never leave my house.


The trade off is that we love our home, our land, and our privacy. Even though the bathroom and kitchen is small, we STILL love our home. If we could move our home and yard, blow off the back of our house to make the kitchen and bathrooms bigger, it would be a complete win for all involved!

That’s my potty story and I’m sticking to it! 

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30 Day Writing Challenge-Ageism

Not too long ago, one of my employees thought that I was the mother of a twenty-something year -old fellow employee of hers. Of course, I balked at the idea until I realized that I AM old enough to be her mother. Gaaaaaah!

In my mind,that twenty-something year-old employee is still me. Then reality sets in and I realize that twenty years have gone by in the blink of an eye. One marriage, two children, two houses, two dogs, and one long and successful career have flown by like a hurricane and I’m twenty years older than when it all began. 

It’s true that I no longer party until the wee hours of the night and that most nights I’m asleep before the evening news has concluded. I can no longer eat whatever I want or lose weight just by thinking about it. I have aches and pains that make me wonder what the hell happened to my body, and I no longer get carded at the bar, on the rare occasion that I’m in one. I’m now the old person at work, the experienced one, and am the senior person in most cases. My kids think that it I’m old and uncool because I don’t know who Fetty Wap is, and I agree with them most days.

I would be lying if I said that getting older didn’t suck sometimes, but I realize that it’s just part of life and I have no choice but to accept it. Fighting it is futile so I embrace my older self, appreciate the wisdom I’ve obtained, and accept that I’m going to have to visit my elliptical a whole helluva lot more than I’ve been. 

Now that I’m no longer the young kid who is up-and-coming, do I ever worry about my place in this world? 

No. 

In many ways, I think think that age is a state of mind. I’ve known seventy year-olds that are like forty-year olds and I’ve known thirty year-olds that remind me of eighty year-olds. When you choose to stop adapting, growing, and learning then you become less useful, less sought-after, and less valuable, no matter how old you are. I think that age matters less than state-of-mind. Does ageism exist in the world? Absolutely! It happens to those who are younger and those who are older and to say it doesn’t exist would be naive. Both think that they know more than the other, but each has something to teach the other. I now know who Fetty Wap is, and my kids learn from their old mom every day. I learn from my younger managers and employees and hopefully in turn, they learn from me. Because we co-exist and appreciate each other, the world is fuller and richer.

I’ve never felt less valuable because of my  age, whether it was to my family, my job, or the world. In many ways, I have so much more to contribute now. I’m wiser, smarter, better organized, more patient, and more intuitive than I’ve ever been. I’m also kinder and better able to let go of things that have hindered me in the past, like toxic people and unnecessary anger. While I no longer have the body of a twenty year old, I am more comfortable in my own skin, yet still willing to improve myself. As with anything in life, age is about perspective and the willingness to have an open heart and an open mind. 

There are times when I wish that I still got carded, but I wouldn’t trade my life now, for any of it. Even though I’m older, I wouldn’t want to learn all of those difficult lessons all over again or struggle through the growing pains. I’ve earned every laugh line and worry line that’s on my face, and I’m stronger for every trial and tribulation that I’ve endured. So, I say to Hell with ageism. Mine will never stop me or define me completely, and if I decide to write another book, get a tattoo, or dye my hair pink when I’m 70, then so be it. The world will just have to be prepared and deal with me! 😊😊😊

Six Book Marketing Tips

Hmmmm …

Disclaimer. This is a difficult subject for me this week, but I’ll attempt to tackle it anyway though I DO NOT claim to be an expert. I read somewhere that a new author should be happy to sell over one-hundred books and when I hit that mark I stopped counting. I’ve never made it onto a major bestseller list, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be there one day. But this journey has been tremendous and far more than I ever hoped for.

Selling books is not only an art,  but it’s mostly a business. Author Taylor Dawn recently shared an article written by Nicholas Sparks about the pitfalls of the book business. Book selling is not for the faint of heart yet as authors whose hearts are full of our stories, we continue to try and share them with the world despite knowing that it’s an uphill battle at times. 

I’m happy to share what I’ve learned in the past few years of doing this crazy book-thing especially if it helps someone even a tiny bit.

  1. Be grateful … for everything. Every reader, every review, every like, every connection, everything that tells you that someone chose YOU. With the millions of books in the world, I’m grateful every time someone chooses one of mine, even if they didn’t love it or didn’t connect with the story or the characters. Someone still chose my book to read and I’m constantly amazed that they would. Saying THANK YOU and participating in giveaways and supporting fellow authors with hops is a great way to show gratitude. 
  2.  It’s been said a million times but don’t spam people with your books 24/7. It’s annoying! They’ll unfollow, block, and ignore you for all of eternity. Enough said.
  3. Try new things. Some things will work and some won’t but there is value in trying. Before I try a new opportunity, I always do my research and read comments or ask questions of other authors who’ve done it. Some marketing avenues will work and give you great exposure while others will boost sales. Know your audience and know what they like. 
  4. Share the love! There is strength in numbers and supporting other authors/bloggers not only shows how awesome you are to new fans, but can introduce your readers to wonderful new people as well. It’s a win-win to get involved in giveaways, cover reveals, celebrations, and anything that can get your name out there.
  5. Be true, be you! Show your readers who you are, inside and out. They are readers and people, just like you are. Interact, listen, and respond … consistently. Every single reader is important!
  6. Do your research and don’t keep doing what doesn’t work. It’s important to ask around and take your time when making a decision. But don’t be afraid to try, although you do wanti be selective when it comes to spending marketing dollars!

It’s important to remember that this is a journey; a marathon and not a sprint. It can take time to build an audience so don’t get discouraged and don’t compare yourself to others. Marketing involves taking risks, trying new approaches, and being brave. Try all of the free stuff and be selective about what costs money because not all of it is tried and true.

If bloggers offer to help, interview, or spread the word about your books, then let them, and don’t forget to THANK them! Many of them do it just because they love books and for no other reason.

Be true, be you, and have fun while your doing it! 

ALS Bucket Challenge

Today I had the pleasure of being nominated to do the #ALSBucketChallenge.

I knew my time was coming because the challenge was circling around me, but I wasn’t sure when it would hit. And then it hit, today.

After I posted it, I had several people thank me for doing it because they have a loved one, or had a loved one who suffered from the disease. But it was my privilege to get to do the challenge, if it would for one moment, remind people of the Hell of this disease and make us think about those who suffer from it. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a progressive nuerogenerative disease that effects nerve cells in the brain from the spinal chord to the muscles in the body and ends in total paralysis.

I had to get past the personal embarrassment of posting this less-than-flattering video, by giving myself some “tough love” and remembering that it wasn’t about me. It was about something bigger and way more important. You can find the video posted on my Facebook page, and hopefully it will help just a little bit in this epic battle against this horrible disease that affects about 30,000 people at any given time.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=688043104608607&set=vb.435181503228103&type=2&theater

God Bless those who suffer from ALS, and the ones who love them. Let’s hope this challenge will help raise awareness and funds for research and hopefully a total eradication of ALS!

http://www.alsa.org/

Sorting Socks

I haven’t blogged in, what feels. like. forever.

I find that summer is an extremely difficult time to write. It’s not because the words are not there, but because the time to let them flow, is not. This can certainly make for a frustrated writer.

Between baseball, working, spending time with little boys who are home all summer, and juggling the craziness of plain old life, blogging falls to the bottom of the priority list, with working on my fourth novel not that much higher. I’m not whining… not really. Doesn’t anyone and everyone feel the way I do about things they love? Life just gets in the way which is expected.

But do you want to know what really makes me crazy?? It’s the ONE thing in life I can’t stand or accept no matter how hard I try. It’s the one thing that pulls me from being able to write and makes me insane… sorting socks!

With four people who wear multiple pairs of socks sometimes all in one day even, between washing, sorting, matching, and folding I waste hours of valuable writing time. HOURS! HOURS! If you’re like me, socks are the last thing I deal with when doing laundry. I would rather clean a toilet than sort through a gigantic pile of socks in every imaginable size and shape. It’s a task that feels futile… you know what I mean. Laundry is the one domestic duty I detest because it’s time consuming, annoying, and never ever ending. And honestly, I’d rather be writing. I’d rather be writing than doing many things, but I’m not kidding, I would rather go naked if it was socially acceptable that wash another load of dirty clothes.

An old friend asked me the other day,” How does it feel to be a writer?”

I struggled to answer the question because quite frankly, I don’t often feel like a writer. As much as I want to be, I’m more often other things. Queen Sock Sorter, being one of them. And it’s not a question of not wanting to write more often, it’s just a matter of what is most important in my life, and sometimes, those little pieces of cotton just end up to be priority above sitting at a keyboard and “bleeding” (Ernest Hemingway).

I jest, but seriously. Show me a writer, mother, blogger, full time career woman, SAH (stay at home) Mother, who doesn’t deal with the same issues? How many times do you say “I would work out more” or” eat healthier”, “get my nails done”,  or “take that art class” if only… I didn’t have to (fill in the blank)? So, I’ve decided it’s time to make a stronger effort.

Writing makes me happy.

It calms my nerves, empties my head, and is the one thing I do for ME. I don’t write because I’m expected to or even particularly great at it. If I stopped writing tomorrow the only person who might really miss it, is me, which I accept and am completely fine with. But being a writer helps me reflect so I understand who I am and can make better sense of the world which is why I’ve always done it. Which is why I’ve decided that this Queen Sock Sorter can also be a more prolific writer.

I just have to figure out how.

I’ll keep fighting to blog and to write because sorting socks just depresses me. And hopefully you’ll see more pieces from me in the near future as I practice my writing skills, release the demons, and do something other than practice my powers as a domestic Goddess. 😉 And if anyone wants to come over and sort my socks for me, you can comment below and we can negotiate. 🙂

 

Final Blog Day Challenge-Day 31 Why do I blog?

It took me awhile but I’m finally at the end of my blog challenge journey, and it’s bittersweet. Partially because I’m thinking “what in the hell will I blog about now?” and partially because I’m thinking “what will I GET to blog about now!!”

I started blogging as a way to open up, engage with others, and introduce myself to the world. I’m so thankful for those of you who stick with me and read. I know that I’m not especially funny or insightful, but you haven’t deleted me yet, which I take as a positive sign 🙂

I spent a few good years, closed off and shut down. So mostly I blog to re-open my own mind- to remind myself that it’s okay to share myself with people. When you close off and never share, it becomes a simpler life, but assuredly, a lonely one. The transition back into normal life doesn’t happen organically after you’ve made such an effort to withdrawal. I thought that blogging would help, and it has.

I’ve found through this experience, that I really blog for Me. I write to remember that I’m not perfect and that I am tragically flawed. It reminds me that in my imperfection I can still be beautiful. I write to remind myself of who I am. I write so that I don’t lose myself to the darkness and so I can find the light when I need it. I write so that I can breathe. I’m unbelievably thankful that I get to write, blog, and share and I’m humbled by every like and comment. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share. Every time I blog, I learn or rediscover something I’d forgotten or learn something new. I look forward to the challenge of creating topics on my own to write about but mostly I look forward to sharing them.

I don’t think I will ever be the closed down, isolated person that I was. Everyone struggles in their lives, in their own way. Writing has helped save me. It has given me the gift of self-discovery, has been my saving grace, and has reminded me of who I truly am.

Blog Challenge-Day 29 Where have I travelled…

I was born in South Korea, so I suppose that should be the first stop that I share.

I’ve driven to California and stopped at a lot of the states in between. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon at dawn and stopped at Mount Rushmore to meet the Presidents. I’ve driven down old Route 66, and floated down a river in the Mojave Desert.

In the early-mid 90s I had a little White Ford Festiva, that I affectionately called “The Egg.” The Egg and I, pre-GPS/pre-cell phone, made countless trips from Ohio to Cincinnati, Ohio to Kentucky, Ohio to the Panhandle, Ohio to Key West Florida, and all of the states in between. She and I drove from Florida back to Ohio in a massive Blizzard. She was automatic, basic, and small. But she kept me safe and never left me stranded. I loved that little car, may she Rest in Peace.

I’ve been to Canada a couple of times, pre 9/11. On one occasion, I almost got stranded. I had my Naturalization Papers, but didn’t have my Social Security Card or some other important document that I needed. It was my birthday, so Happy Birthday to Me, they let me come back into the country!

I’ve stopped at the Outer Banks just to sit on a beach, but it was in the middle of a windstorm. I drove the rest of the way home with sand in every part of my body.

I’ve been to Disney World in Florida a few times and a wedding in Las Vegas. I got married in Las Vegas and hung out in Freeport, Bahamas. I’ve been to Ocean City MD, Miami FLA, and Dallas TX. I’ve been to a lot of cities and states in between all of my destinations.

I’ve driven to Illinois and back several times to visit Family, for good times and bad times.

I’ve been to New York City, and fell in love with the City. She took my breath away. If I had travelled there as a younger adult, I would have stayed forever. I loved the energy, the vibrancy, the people. There was something about her that drew me in and I still can’t get her out of my mind.

The majority of my travelling was done pre-Social Media, so my memories have mostly been captured in scattered pictures and the recesses of my mind that can’t always be relied upon. I’m looking forward to days ahead when I can do some travelling again. I want to make memories as a family, and introduce my children to the world. I want them to know that the world is bigger than just our back yard.

The world is an amazing place, and I’ve loved every new experience that I’ve had in it. I can’t way to do it again.