Tuesday, January 23

My Word Is PEACE @NanReinhardt

My word for 2018 is PEACE. Just that one word. I don't have a long list of others, even though I do have a long list of things that need to be done this year. Not the least is writing two books for Tule Publishing. I also need to garner enough editing gigs to keep me in health insurance, the cost of which went up so much for 2018 that I nearly had a heart attack when I signed up. I suppose that would've been a fitting way to begin using it, eh?

I want to spend time with Grandboy and my kids, who live just twenty miles away now instead of two thousand. Husband and I continue to be in awe that getting to them now requires a simple 30-minute drive instead of an entire day on crowded airplanes and in busy airports. We are so blessed!

I need to keep up my social media presence with blog posts and sharing interesting things on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. You know, it's hard to find interesting things to share on Instagram when you don't have little ones around constantly to snap pictures of and each day is pretty much the same as the one before. I need to continue to promote the Women of Willow Bay--to keep my name out there in front of readers and find new readers. And I need to write.

 I need to swim at least three days a week to keep my knees and hips lubricated, and I need to write. Have I mentioned that I need to write? Not just the novels, but on my own blog and here and the occasional guest post on Romance University and other such writing websites. I should seriously think about getting a newsletter started, although  I have to be honest, I don't have a clue how to begin. And seriously, how many people really read the newsletters they get in their inboxes? I subscribe to probably twenty and I confess, I read maybe four or five of them.

Doesn't sound all that peaceful does it? Well, here's how I am going to work for peace in my life. First of all, I'm going to get up every morning and write before I do anything else--I've already started this and it's dang hard some mornings, but I'm always glad once I get into my office and begin writing. The key is not to do anything else before I write except pee and put on the ratty sweater that serves as my robe and my bunny slippers. No email, no Facebook, no NPR news, no coffee . . . nothing. Just sit down and write for at least an hour. When that's done, I can move on with my day, which I'm making more organized, I hope.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, I'm hitting the pool after breakfast because it's hard to feel at peace when you hurt. Working out in the water eases my joint pain and soothes my soul. It's a deal breaker.  Also, unless I'm on a radically rushed deadline, I'm going to stop work at five p.m. every day, have supper and wine and conversation with Husband. I'm looking forward to spending time at the lake when summer rolls around, but I'm quite content to enjoy winter evenings by the fire with Husband, Acorn TV, and my Kindle or my knitting--which is another thing that needs to get done very soon. I'm knitting a blanket for my new great-nephew, Asher, who is a cutie pie. Knitting is good for creating peace, plus when you're done you have a blanket or a scarf or dishrag or a sweater. Ta-da!

So PEACE--that's what 2018 is going to be about for me, well at least as far as I can manage it. No big changes and no radical life choices--nothing more stressful than picking out a new sofa-sleeper for the cottage or new shutters for the city house. No decisions more significant than what wine we're going to open each night or where Liz and I are going on retreat. I'm going to release all the situations in my life that I can't control, all the stuff that keeps coming back to make me crazy, and all the people who play havoc with my serenity.

Anyone else seeking a quieter, simpler life this year? Talk to me. How are you going to find peace in 2018?


Monday, January 22

Good times @Liz Flaherty

It has been a while since we've visited "a little o'this and a little o'that." Since I don't have a theme for today, let's take a look at what's going on. Or been going on.  

Book report. Have you read Kristan Higgins' newest one? I don't know that Now That You Mention It is my favorite, but it comes pretty close. I meant to stretch it out over several days when it showed up on my Kindle, and I did make it for...well, one and a half. And now I'm looking forward to...

...Kathleen Gilles Seidel's The Fourth Summer. If I can only choose one favorite voice in women's fiction--which ain't happening--it would probably be hers, and it's been too long since we've had a new one by her. And while you're pre-ordering, how about...

...Nice to Come Home To, the next story from Lake Miniagua. If you're wondering what comes after The Happiness Pact, here's your chance to find out.

If you're a fan of the Christmas Town anthologies, I can tell you plans are in progress for the 2018 stories. And we're already having a good time!

Cool things report. Fifty years ago, the basketball team from our school--fewer than 600 in the upper six grades--went to the finals of the semi-state tournament. This was pre-classes in Indiana, which means every school in the state competed and we made it to the final eight teams. I was a senior that 
year, and I can honestly say it was the best thing that happened in my entire high school career. It also gave us a bar as far as inspiration, goal-setting, and not giving up went. Many, many of those 600 from 1968 have carried those things with us. On my personal blog, Window Over the Sink, you can read about that time.

So, on Friday night, our school had a 50th reunion for that team. All the members except one who has sadly passed away were present, all the cheerleaders but one, and many of us who still remember that time. We sat in the same bleachers we sat in all those years ago, laughing and sharing and remembering. 

The last reunion was their 20th, when my son played on North Miami's team. On Friday, at the 50th, my grandson played. It was cool and sweet and I was so glad to see everyone.

Stop by and see... Ava Cuvay's visiting Nan today as a continuation of Nan's Celebrating Indiana Authors. If you haven't checked in lately, you should. The interviews have been interesting. Ava's--which I haven't seen yet--definitely will be, because I'm pretty sure she could change an ink cartridge and make it fascinating. 

Health report. I have been fighting hot flashes. I mean, really, I'm 67 years old, for heaven's sake, and they are still part of every day. Not a good part, either. Since I am such an advanced age, hormone therapy is in my past. I've tried OTC stuff and antidepressants, none of which have worked. My nurse practitioner emailed me and suggested flaxseed oil pills--well, they're gel caps--twice a day. I just started them today, but I'm hopeful! Do you have any experiences you can share?

Times they are a' changin'. As we've hinted, changes are coming to Word Wranglers. We're still not sure what they all will be, but we hope you hang in there with us. Let us know what you like and what you don't. If you're a writer, we'd be happy to have you come over and do a guest post. For that matter, if you're a reader, we'd love to hear what you have to say. Just comment here or find us on Facebook and we'll set you up. 

That's it for me today. Have a great week!

P.S. I just noticed that today's entry is the 2000th Word Wranglers post. Thanks to all retired Wranglers for helping bring us this far and to everyone who visits us. 

Saturday, January 20

What Does Determination Look Like? @JanaRichards_

This is the picture I keep in my office. The bottom says "Determination forges the path to success."
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the goals I’m working on for 2018. I also mentioned that the word I’ve chosen for myself as a sort of inspiration word for the year is “determination”. I’m determined to move forward with my writing this year. I have goals for books I want to self-publish, books I want to submit for publication, and books I either need to finish or write from scratch. At the same time, I have to continue marketing my existing books. I’ve got a couple of ideas on marketing that I need to pursue.

I have ambitious plans. Like I said, I’m determined.

I’ve made lofty plans before and have fallen short. I don’t want that to happen this year, so I need to do something to ensure I have a better shot at meeting my goals.

First of all, I need to take care of myself so I have enough energy to get things done. My weight has crept up the last few years, and, aside from not liking the way I look and not fitting into my clothes, I’m sure it’s a drain on my energy. Dieting is not my favorite thing to do, and to be honest, I’m not very good at it, so I’m going to try to frame this as eating healthier rather than dieting. Fortunately, Christmas is over so the chocolates and sweets are gone. To give me a further incentive, I’ve decided that come January 1, 2019, anything in my closet that doesn’t fit, no matter how much I like it, has got to go. If anybody wants to “eat healthier” with me this year, I’d be happy to have a buddy to keep me accountable.

Exercise goes along with dieting like peanut butter and jam (which is probably off my diet). I have a gym membership, but I have to confess that I don’t go as often as I should. For the remainder of the 2018, my goal is to go to the gym at least twice a week, and my yoga class once a week. I’m pretty sure there will be days when I’m not going to want to drag my butt to the gym, but maybe if I keep reminding myself of my end goal – having the energy to write and publish and market – maybe that will give me the incentive I need. I hope.

The third thing I need to do this year is cut back the hours I spend at my day job. I don’t want to quit completely, but I’m going to reduce my hours. Writing is too important not to do everything I can to give myself the time I need.

One of my horoscopes this week made me smile. Yeah, I know horoscopes are hokey, but this one gave me a boost. It said “You are empowered. You sense that you’re up for more than you previously thought you were. You see now that you can take on more than you thought; you can handle more than you thought; and you can do more than you thought.” I’m going to make this my mantra for the year.

So that’s what determination looks like for me this year. What are you determined to do this year?

Friday, January 19

Fox for Sale: 99-cents

By Ava Cuvay

Happy Friday! I’m spotlighting writer pal Miranda Lynn today. She has a new release out, and it’s
99-cents for a short time. Check it out!

Her new release, “Sterling,” is Book 3 in Miranda’s Black Mountain Pack, a fox-shifter paranormal series. We at Word Wranglers believe love, lust, and sexiness continue as we age, and after one look at “Sterling” I just gotta say hoo-boy-howdy-hubba-hubba! Maturity has its merits… he is a silver fox! (Ha! Get it?! Sorry, my Teen Beat subscription days are coming back to haunt me! Don't worry, Andy Gibb... I still think you're a fox, too!)

Did I mention “Sterling” is currently 99-cents! You can't buy a Snickers for that these days... and this book will also be sure to satisfy! Check out the blurb and excerpt!

Feeling the need for a change, fox-shifter, Sterling accepts a mission in Texas to help a struggling pack’s club. The situation is worse than they thought when they arrive but when Sterling meets Reana he knows he’s been given a second chance to have a mate. Too bad she doesn’t want one. 

Reana is one of the few in her pack not effected by the black magic affecting them. When Sterling came to town, she thought he’d be the answer to their problems with the Resistance. She wasn’t expecting a possessive mate ready to settle down just when she’s ready to take off. 

Time is running out and Sterling needs Reana’s help to save the pack before they’re forever trapped in this web of magic wreaking havoc on all their lives. But Reana isn’t sure she can accept fate and her mate, just as she’s ready to leave pack life behind for a life of solitude. Will Sterling change her mind and get his second chance? Or will Reana’s strong will keep them both from the happiness they deserve? 

The annoying lyrics of “What Did the Fox Say” invaded my much loved cycle of sleep. I cracked an eye open ready to tear someone a new asshole until I realize the music was coming from my own phone. Son of a bitch.  
“Damn cubs,” I muttered as I drug myself into an upright position and grab the phone silencing it without even glancing at the caller ID. Whoever it is could call back after I’ve had my first cup of java.  
Rubbing the sleep from my eyes I glanced around to orient myself. Once again I had opted to crash in my office after closing time rather than journey the five miles home. I had been spending more nights at the bar than at my place. My fox and I were becoming more restless, with a need I couldn’t define. I just know that he wanted to move, explore. That persistent need increased with each passing day, like a flea bite I couldn’t reach.

More about “Sterling” http://bit.ly/2mDwCBI

About Miranda - Time Travel and Paranormal Romance author. Her Destiny series takes you on a roller coaster ride through time with sexy Highlanders and sassy female heroines. If shifters are your kryptonite then check out her Black Mountain Pack series which throws a twist on the traditional shifter lore.

Miranda is a mother to two teenage boys who are sure they know it all, a 75lb lapdog, and a 15lb foot warmer. She is thankful her husband doesn't mind the extra voices in her head. Miranda is an only child who grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois which left her plenty of time to make up stories in her head for entertainment. She currently resides in Tennessee where she wonders if Mother Nature will ever stop with the hormonal mood swings. She fuels herself with coffee, chocolate, and wine.


Thursday, January 18

First Stop

Image result for clutter bugby Margie Senechal

I'm not proud of what I'm about to show you, but sometimes there's just no choice.

My phrase for the year--in case you forgot over the past two weeks--is You Make it Happen.

I was smart in that I didn't state exactly what I wanted to happen, just that I'd make it happen. But, one of the main things I'd like to accomplish is to get organized.

So, first off. "Hi! My name is Margie and I am a clutterbug."

Phew! That felt good.

On Monday, I took these pictures of my writing space.
 Is it any wonder I haven't written anything substantial in months? Even though I rarely sit down and write here, usually I take a notebook to B&N or Starbucks, this are is indicative of my mind. How does one focus through all the clutter?

My days off were Tuesday and Wednesday. I pulled by old Kindle Fire off a shelf, charged it, and put on The Handmaid's Tale--which I'd been meaning to watch since before it actually premiered. And hunkered down to work.

That pink bag in the back right is filled

Okay, so not only am I clutterbug, I might also have a bit of a hoarder gene inside me somewhere--at least when it comes to offices supplies like pens and paper, and tote bags.

I went through my pens and threw a quarter away and packed half in a baggie to share at work, keeping only the ones I really want. Of course, now I have room to go buy some more. NO! Stop it.

I took down a bulletin board that was no longer served as such since you couldn't get a tack in or out--it was that old and warped. I replaced it with some triangle cork things which opened up that wall to hang some more crap. I love that corner wall filled with pictures, writerly things, and momentos of people who mean a lot to me. You can't see them, but the white magnet board has magnets with Liz and Nan's bookish info on them. There's also agent cards I received at conferences but never sent the book in because I haven't finished it. Someday, maybe...

I took three boxes to the Humane Society Retails drop off. I bagged up some Lego sets to make room for books on my shelves. I put the shopping tote bags into my car so maybe I'll actually use them.

I still need to go through my file cabinet and the drawers, but I made definite progress. And that's my goal for the year. To take my house and garage apart in tiny increments and declutter. Next, the kitchen table.

And here are the results of my labor. The new, improved writing space. And did it work? Did decluttering my writing space declutter my mind and let the muse free? Yes, I wrote three pages yesterday. So, there you go. I made it happen.

May you have a great Thursday that propels you into a wonderful weekend!