A few weeks ago I was a guest on Love Romance Reads sharing my favourite Christmas cookie recipe (you can read it here) in which I mentioned the difficulty I had in choosing a favourite candy bar. I’m a firm believer in the use of rewards and chocolate is my go-to reward for achieving a writing goal. Or as comfort should I receive a four-page, single-spaced editing letter for my latest romance novel.
If I could have only one specific chocolate bar for the rest of my days, it would be a Nestlé Coffee Crisp.
No, wait, I’d choose a Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar.
I tell a lie, I’d pick a Lowney Cherry Blossom.
I think you see my problem.
Thinking of that last one, the Cherry Blossom, reminds me that I do have a firm favourite within a box of chocolates. If you were to share from your box of chocolates, perhaps that box of mixed chocolates you bought just in case guests dropped in as they are wont to do this time of year, and if the variety contained a chocolate covered cherry, be assured that I would choose the chocolate covered cherry. Every. Time.
Certainly, I enjoy the pecan clusters, and the toffee, and the hazelnut thingies, but my first love in the boxed chocolate world is the chocolate covered cherry.
Now I must confess to a bit of skulduggery.
If the box of chocolates is one of those with two layers, as most are, and the chocolate covered cherry has already been eaten from the top layer, I’ve been known to sneak into the second layer, before the top layer is completely eaten, and take the chocolate covered cherry. I know this breaks a long-held tenet of boxed chocolate eating etiquette but I can’t help myself.
Perhaps this requires a public service announcement.
If I’m anywhere near your box of chocolates, and if, upon exposing the second layer for the first time (or so you think) you discover the chocolate covered cherry is missing, be assured it was not an error in the packaging. DO NOT send an angry email or letter or telegram to the chocolate company demanding a refund or some other form of redress.
Also, if chocolate covered cherries are your favourite you might consider removing them from the box of chocolates, both layers, before offering the box to me.
What is your favourite candy bar? Or if you no longer eat sugary treats, which treat do you fondly recall from your childhood?
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The life of an author ain’t easy. When I’m not actually writing new words, I’m revising or editing already-written words. But that’s only half the job. The other half is trying to get my books into the hands of readers.
The mother of uphill battles.
The good news is that I’m not alone in my travails. The community of romance writers is the nicest group of people ever. Always willing to share advice, experience, ideas, or just a kind word.
I’m so lucky to have wonderful critique partners to provide feedback, bounce ideas off of, and hold the occasional bitch session.
I’m also lucky to have close friends who are also fellow authors. The fact that they live in a different country in a different time zone matters not. We chat online daily. But it’s not just idle chit-chat. We chat with a purpose, which is to be successful as authors, self-published and with traditional publishers.
To that end we took advantage of the new year – with that whole resolution malarkey – and we set goals. Not wishes, not dreams (become the next Nora Roberts AND land a movie deal), but sensible, achievable goals. (I won’t turn down that movie deal should it arise.)
The key to sticking with goals, for me, is to break them down into manageable chunks. Saying I want to have the first draft of a new book written by April 30 does me no good. But with a little math and a little cogitating, I can set the goal of writing two thousand words a day, Monday to Friday. That will get me to my goal of a first draft by the end of April even if I have a sick day, or I take a day off to choose paint colours for all the white walls in this house. I know I can write 2K words in a day because I’ve done it many times.
Another thing about goals, they work better if you’re publicly accountable. Which is where my author friends come in. We “meet” online every Sunday at 8:00 pm AST to report on our progress for the week. Some weeks we applaud and cheer everyone’s success. Some weeks we discuss what went wrong and brainstorm ways to make the coming week better. We are not alone.
This past week I read a fellow writer’s blog (my apologies for not remembering who that was) in which she recommended including a word count widget on one's blog to keep track of writing progress. Another way to be publicly accountable. So I’m going to dig around on this blog thingie and try to come up with a suitable widget. (Heavens, the newfangled words we use nowadays!)
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Ha! I bet you thought I got my days mixed up and was talking about wine, the beverage. Nope, I know it’s Monday and therefore I’m here to whine.
Although, I do prefer the British word – whinge – pronounced with a short ‘i’ like ‘wind’. Just the sound of the word is annoying, as is most whining. Or whinging.
So…what’s my complaint today? The ever present lack of internet in the house. Yeah, first-world problem. Cry me a river. But no internet is cramping my style I can’t just pop on the world wide web when the mood strikes, or when I think of something needing to be done.
For instance, I was reading about how to personalize my newsletter sign-up page. The one I have now is boring. Go take a look, I’ll wait…
See? Nothing exciting. So I wrote out and thought out what I want to change to make it all sparkly and enticing. But I’m so slow with figuring out that tech stuff I know it’ll take at least a few hours of tinkering and cursing. Sitting in the car. With no bathroom facilities. I’m not that young anymore. Thank goodness we have what we have, with thanks to the folks who run this village and are helping us out.
But still… *whinge*
What’s your complaint for today? (It being Monday is a given.)
Today is Dictionary Day. Go look up a word. Try matutolypea. My picture would fit nicely next to that word.
Most exciting news! Tomorrow is the launch day for a fabulous new book by my good friend Cara Carnes.
I dare you to look at that cover and not get all hot and bothered. Rawr! And knowing her stories as I do, the inside of the book is even hotter. Go! Order that book!
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