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Tuesday, July 16

A Yoga Challenge ~ @AuthorKristina Knight

For the last couple of years I've been running. Interval running, with more walking than actual running, but running. I like running, more than I imagined I would. I like the sweat that I get going. I hate those first few minutes of discomfort when I'm still getting my breathing right, but I like the endorphin rush once I'm in the groove.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I tweaked my knee - I ran too long and for too many intervals - because I wanted to challenge myself. Yeah, the best laid plans. I'm three weeks later and I still feel pain. It's not a constant pain and it's not debilitating and its really not enough to warrant going to the doctor. What it is is enough to keep me from running. So I've gone back to just walking, which is good.

But, I also know I need a change. Maybe even a challenge. Because I'm getting close to A Certain Age. I'm not afraid of turning that age, but I also know because of my weight that without a big change I'm probably not going to be able to run much longer. I may never be able to run a full 5k or 10k, and that's okay with me, but I don't want to give up my intervals.

Which brings me to the change and the challenge. I've decided to do a 12 week yoga challenge I'll still walk 4-5 times each week, but 3 days per week I'll add in yoga to build strength and muscle. I bought a DVD set last week and started it up on Monday of this week. I know, nothing like telling you how well things are going with one full day in the challenge bank.

Anywho, back to the topic.

The DVD has 12 "lessons" - you start with Lessons 1-3 and repeat them for 4 weeks, on the 4th week, you do Lessons 1-3 each day you do yoga. Then move on to Lessons 4-6 and repeat for 4 weeks, in the final week doing lessons 1-6 each day. Then Lessons 7-9 and repeat for 4 weeks, doing lessons 1-9 each day in the final week.

Each set of lessons builds on the strengths you've gained over the previous 3 weeks. Most people do this particular challenge with a weight or inches loss goal. I'm going in with this goal: I want my body to be stronger, overall, by the end of the 12 weeks. I want my knee to be healed. I want to be ready for an interval run at the end of the challenge.

How's it going so far? Well, day 1 is in the books and it was harder than I thought it would be. Like, by a lot. I trailed behind the instructor, I wasn't sure of foot placement and I forgot to breathe several times. Who knew yoga breathing would be weirder than interval run breathing? But. I did it. And I liked it. I'm excited for Day 2 on Wednesday. I'll report in on the full challenge toward the end of October.

How does this fit in with writing? More than you might think and I chose these 2 images and quotes because of that. Writing, like yoga, starts where you are. As a baby writer, you're not expected to know how to build a strong GMC or how to braid Trope A with Plot Point B. You're learning. You're getting stronger. You're scooping out those abs. Every day that you write, you become a stronger writer. As you become a stronger writer you start digging for deeper conflicts and those conflicts don't come just from your imagination. They come from your experiences - you don't have to write your specific life events onto a fictional page, but how you reacted to Event A might be similar to how your main character reacts to a catalyst on the page.

And with every sentence, every page, every book, the writing will get stronger. Just as with every tree pose, downward facing dog, and cobra stretch, my body is getting stronger.

What are you doing to strengthen yourself today?       ~ Kristina Knight

Friday, July 12

Working title...hmm... by Liz Flaherty #WordWranglers

So. About titles. When I write a book, I give it a working title, sometimes no more than the names of the protagonists. Or even the name of one. Summer in Stringtown Proper was Molly Linden until it reached editing stages and I had to make a decision. I liked Molly Linden but couldn't read it without thinking of Molly Pitcher from the American Revolution. Fifty-year-old divorcee Molly Linden didn't fit the part.

Sometimes it's the setting. River Walk was the working title to The Debutante's Second ChanceBy the time I finished writing the book, River Walk was much more than a working title. I loved it, it was representative, it was--in my writer's heart--even poetic. It would fly, right?

Well, no. Harlequin didn't find it any of those things. My editor told me the title they'd chosen. He showed me the cover they'd developed. Twelve years later, Harlequin has given me several lovely covers and worked with me on several titles. I still hate the title and the cover to The Debutante's Second Chance almost as much as I love the story.

Pickle Jar Dreams became Jar of Dreams. So Nice to Come Home To became Nice to Come Home To. I don't remember the working title of The Happiness Pact, but it is one of my most beloved titles--thank you, Harlequin marketing.

Where Once There Were Wolves became Home to Singing Trees not because no one liked the title but because it was hard to say.

One More Summer went through at least three titles before it was sold--Hidden Paths being one, and I don't remember the others. Then my editor, Mallory Braus, and I went through a minimum of 30 other titles in search of the one we came up with.

Nan and I were talking about favorite titles. The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday were ones we remembered. I love Persuasion and Rose in Bloom and Girl of the Limberlost and so many others. But did their authors love them?

I'm in the midst of title choosing now for my next book. The story has been The Long Summer since its inception, so it's going to be hard to get used to something different. I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

I hope you share some of your own title stories in comments, and wish me luck on what The Long Summer becomes.

Have a great week.

P. S. Added later! The title list has been made and pored over and agreement reached. Carol's story will be The Healing Summer and I am so happy for it. It's still a long summer, but the healing lets us know it's also a great one. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 9

Shameless Self-Promotion

I know I keep insisting on how hard it is for me to do self-promotion. It's true, I suck at it. But this is a safe place for me and I feel very comfortable sharing all my great news with my fellow wranglers and our readers. You guys already love me, right? Right?! 

Oh, whew... for a moment the impostor syndrome kicked in...

But it's not going to stop me from reminding you that there's only 9 days left until Meant to Be, Book 2 in the Four Irish Brothers Winery series releases, and I am so excited I can hardly breathe. The only thing keeping me from going completely off the dial is that I have a very close deadline for Book 3, as well as a raft of editing gig work that needs to be done. So I'm writing and editing like a madwoman. 

Oh, hey, just FYI: I'll be doing a drop-in at the Tule Book Club Facebook Group on July 18 (release day!!) at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. Would love to have you join the club and stop by to say hi! I could totally use some moral support! I'm giving away a fun prize to some lucky commenter and sharing some tidbits about me and the Four Irish Brothers Winery. 

Here's one of my very favorite scenes from this book--your own personal sneak peek at Sean and Megan's fun, fun friends-to-lovers story In this scene, the two of them have just left a disastrous double-date during which their dates ended up falling for one another, leaving Sean and Megan out in the cold. Sean is trying to help Meg understand how her date, Vinnie, is a real player. 
He glanced over at Meg, who appeared focused on navigating the curvy driveway into the winery property. “Here’s the thing”—he side-eyed her as she pulled into Char’s driveway—“Vin is like... like that dog in Up.
She switched off the car and turned to face him, her expression incredulous. “What?”
“You know the dog in that movie Up? We watched it with Ali at Christmas?” His point was valid if she would just open her mind, so he explained further. “The dog had a great ball that he was playing with—having fun, enjoying himself. Loved that ball. Then a squirrel ran by and he was completely distracted, dropped the ball, and chased the squirrel.” He grinned, hoping to get some kind of positive reaction.
She rested her elbow on the steering wheel and cupped her chin in her palm. “So, I’m the ball in this scenario?”
“And Vin is the dog?”
He nodded. She was getting it.
“And Gia is what? The squirrel?”
He threw his hands up in exultation. “Yes, exactly.”
She gazed at him for a long moment, “I’ve heard you say some really dumb stuff over the years, Sean Flaherty, but that has to be the dumbest. Stop defending him.” She yanked the keys from the ignition and opened her door. “Come on. I’ll walk you in.” 
So that's it! Hope this whetted your appetite for more of Sean and Meg's story! As always, thanks for your support and have a fantastic week!


Friday, July 5

Hitting a Wall

~ by Jana Richards

Aero, one of my canine colleagues.
In the last few weeks, I’ve hit a wall. And I’ve decided I’m done with the day job.

I didn’t come to this decision lightly. I’ve worked at this job for twelve years and I’ve enjoyed it and the people I’ve worked with. It’s part-time and I have the freedom and flexibility to choose my own hours, provided the work gets done. I started out doing month-end accounting, but over the years I’ve added several other duties, most of them to do with our annual conference, but some special projects as well.

For a long time now, this arrangement has suited me pretty well. Writing can keep you solitary and isolated if you let it, so getting out with congenial company was great. There are times of the year when things get pretty busy, but most of the time the job affords me time to write. I considered retiring from time to time but pushed the idea to the back burner. Until a few weeks ago I was content to let things ride.

And then we discovered that one of my colleagues has been using the company credit card for personal use. In other words, stealing.

Here’s some background. We’re a very small office, five or six people at most. So, you get to know your colleagues well. In an office this small, if one person doesn’t do their work or can’t keep up, it means the whole office suffers. Someone else has to pick up the slack. Over the last five years we’ve had some staffing changes that have been difficult, to say the least. Each time I’ve helped to pick up the slack and move forward.

Then we discovered the theft. And I discovered I don’t have the desire to step in to cover any longer.
I’m done.

Aero and his little buddy Huey are the best parts about work these days.
I considered the young woman involved in the theft my friend and I thought she felt the same way about me. She had been reconciling the credit card account for the last several months, and in my naiveté, I thought she was doing so to help me out because I’ve been so busy with the additional projects I’ve been given. To learn she had been using my friendship and trust to hide her theft has felt like a betrayal. I feel stupid and used. I’ve been both gutted and angry. She’s emailed me but I haven’t been able to bring myself to respond.

As much as I’d like to, I can’t throw in the towel immediately. We’re so short-handed it would be irresponsible to go now. I’ve told my boss my intention to leave by December 1. She wants to revisit that decision in September to see if it’s still what I want to do, but I don’t think my decision will change. It’s time to go. I’m only sorry I’m leaving with such a bad taste in my mouth.

Have you ever felt betrayed by someone you trusted and thought of as a friend? How did you handle the situation? Should I return her email?

Wednesday, July 3

Let the Journey Begin

There is nothing more exciting to a writer than to have the perfect vehicle that reaches a wide and varied readership, and being asked to be a part of Word Wranglers gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that.  Needless to say, I’m delighted to be here, and I look forward to sharing lots of ideas, stories and thoughts about writing, and more, with you.

As with all writers, there are muses and events in my life that have influenced and shaped my work.  I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and was part of a family who had been there since the early 1900’s.  What those pioneering people saw and did and accomplished in the earliest days on the shores and backwoods of that strange yet beckoning wilderness known as “Old Florida” has left the deepest impressions in me.  As I share thoughts, ideas and methods about my writing with you, I’ll also be telling you stories about my family because they have greatly influenced the fictional ones I create.  

All of my novels are based in the South; specifically Florida, and North Carolina, and I hope you’ll join me as I blog about traveling down the old dusty back roads of these places—places that still carry the echoes of the ghosts who wandered those roads so very long ago.  To them, I am forever grateful for their stories, and to the reader, I am most honored to be sharing my own with you.  Most of all, I am deeply humbled that you take the time to sit down in a quiet corner somewhere and shut the rest of the world out, leaving only you and me together for a time.  That is what all writers long for, and what keeps them staring up at water-stained ceilings night after night, weaving colorful tapestries of wonderful new stories to share with you.

Let our journey begin…

Janie DeVos
Women's Southern Fiction Books:
Beneath a Thousand Apple Trees 
The Art of Breathing
The Glory Land trilogy.
Available through Amazon and  
Children's books also available through Amazon.
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Friday, June 28

Meet Blaze. Or Blaise.

by Margie Senechal

Things I’ve learned since my last post.

I can write almost every day! I have hit the 900 words on more days than not. And on some of the days, I’ve even surpassed them. 
And I don’t “need” to do the first draft with pen and paper. The computer works just as easily, and I don’t have to spend additional time typing them into the computer.
Why, yes, that is a Liz Flaherty pen in the right hand corner
I’ve been writing on a page titled 900 Words or Bust and then I transfer them into my manuscript. I also have a notepad that I received in last month’s Scribedelivery box that doubles as a mouse pad and where I write my weekly goals and notes on my manuscript each week.

I remembered that if I write before I go to work, the story stays with me. I think about it and have even scribbled a few notes during down times. 
On Thursday I was tied to the register, I found a piece of paper and kept writing from where I left off. On Saturday, I took an index card with the last two lines I’d written that morning in my pocket and filled the front and back with a continuation of the scene. I now have an index card with the last lines I wrote on it tucked in the inner pocket of my vest.

How did I forget that the story stays with me if I spend time immersed within it?
Okay, one more bit of info about what's been happening since last we conversed.

We added a kitten to our family. Because, you know, why not? Her name is Blaze after the Blazer mascot. Although Jordan thinks we should spell it the French way, Blaise. 

Watching her, I realize how simple life is for a kitten. And what a joy it is to watch her explorations into our world.

Anything can be a playground; an office chair, a dying plant, a human’s foot. Last night, she was poking around my desk and found a binder clip. She was totally enamored and intrigued by it. Apparently, I didn’t need to spend money on feather and catnip toys, a binder clip will do it. 
And now, as I try to post this, the little imp keeps walking across my keyboard. But, oh what fun she is. 
Have a great weekend!