I'm beyond honored! I just found out that 245 Days made someone's list of Top Contemporary Romance Reads!
I like to say that making lists doesn't matter, but it's nice to know that someone enjoyed what you poured yourself into a novel.
Glad to have written a story that touched you, Francoabrina and Ezvid. And I've added a couple of reads from your list to my TBR.
Thanks for sharing 245 Days with your followers! ♥️🧡💛💚💙💜
I guess this goes hand in hand with my previous blog post about my bullet journaling... things being in order and all... It just goes to prove how A.R.* I can sometimes be.
Today I'm going to share with you my #LifeHack with regards to cords.
Yes, those things that hang off of our small appliances, specifically the ones we put away when we're done using them. From kitchens to bathrooms, small appliances abound. Hand mixers, panini presses or waffle makers (did you know you could make a panini in a waffle maker? Not all styles, but works on some! Maybe a post for another day...), hair dryers, curling irons - you name it. I bet you could name a few appliances that have cords that get taken out and put away regularly.
Are you wrapping cords around the appliance? That's not great. the wrapping can actually kink the wiring inside the insulation (that exterior rubber part) and besides - it never stays tight enough and when you pull out the <insert appliance here> the cord unwraps.
Same can be said for stuffing the cord into the handle - when there's a handle around for stuffing.
Here's what I do - and it's FREE!
I gently fold the cord back and forth and slip into a discarded toilet paper roll. The pressure of the cord keeps the roll in place, and my cords aren't hanging all around getting ruined or tangled with other stuff. This also works with discarded paper towel rolls, either cut in half, or if you have a really long cord I guess.
But TP rolls aren't the only free thing I used to manage cord mayhem. I use chopsticks! Yep, The ones that come with the Chinese delivery, or brought home from the restaurant. (Of course, they're cleaned.)
Now, clearly this works when there's a handle on the appliance.
Looks confusing? It's not.
Step 1: Gently fold the cord in half and guide the loop over the appliance and under the handle (or in the case of my slow cooker, up the unit and through the loop handle on the lid.)
Step 2: Bend the loop over the handle and separate the loop so you can grab the cords leading to the handle.
Step 3: Pull those 'under cords' up and slide the chopstick over the loop part, under the 2 'under cords' and over the loop part (I hope my picture is clear there.)
And voila! Contained cord!
Okay - I admit this was a dorky post, but things like this make me smile. I also have labels in our bathroom line closet so my hubby puts things in the right place so I can find them! Like, we have a shelf for "Hair & Face" things, a shelf for "Dental" things, a shelf for "First Aid" - yep - I'm pretty geeky that way.
I hope I've made you smile & helped you out in some way!
I'd love if you shared with me some of the ways YOU keep organized and tidy! Comment below!
I'm a go-go-go kind of person. If I'm not actually going somewhere, I'm planning where I'm headed to. Sure it makes keeping my tushy in a seat to write all the more challenging, but it is what it is. For years, friends have tried to get me to go to a yoga class with them.
"It'll center you," they'd suggest
"It'll calm you," they tried.
"You won't believe your clarity and focus," they said.
I've tried it. I usually end up frustrated and angry that I could have used that hour for something else... something productive. Or sometimes it's the patronizing tone of the class leader. Or sometimes I'm simply struck with a great idea and I have to get out of the incense-filled, low-light, soothing-music filled room to write up the idea before it's gone.
In short, yoga isn't for me.
But know what I've found over the past year that has centered me? Calmed me? Given me clarity and focus?
I freakin' LOVE IT!!
I bullet journaled all last year - but I did kind of drop off at the start of November, and WOW did those last two months of 2018 feel frazzled and haphazard! I've finally gotten my 2019 Bullet Journal all put together and I feel like I can breathe again!
Here's the stat to my January.
I also have Book Reading logs, Habit Trackers, and Budget planning pages. I have pages for brain dumps, lists of thing I want to watch, do, & see. And of course I have weekly spreads to organize my Sundays thru Saturdays.
So there you have it. Bullet Journaling is my Yoga. What's yours? It's okay if it's actually Yoga.
I can't believe half of the year is already behind us!
I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who DO make New Years Resolutions every year. And like many others, I'd fallen off the rails by February, because - let's face it - walking 10,000 steps a day in the bitter cold of New England winters is no fun whatsoever.
I'd not give it much thought until I was listening to a marketing podcast (one of the resolutions I have maintained) and Bryan and Jim from SellMoreBooks.com were talking about this very fact - about those pesky resolutions having failed. But their discussion didn't stop there. They referenced a blog post on The 1 Thing talking about RESETting your Resolutions. That Mid-Year is a GREAT time to reevaluate and recommit to your resolutions, maybe change some.
This idea really resonated with me. After all, I already had to buy a new Bullet Journal because the one I started in January only had about 50 blank pages left - not nearly enough to carry me through December.
So - if you've let your resolutions fall by the wayside, no worries!
Reboot - Reset - Recommit!
So in my New Bullet Journal (July-December), I've already made my page and not just Goals I want to achieve, but I've sketched out a plan to get there complete with Habit Trackers.
Let's make the best of the 2nd half of 2018!!
The Reset article - here it is:
The Sell More Books Website/Podcast (Author friends - I HIGHLY recommend this podcast. LOADS of information about not only how to market, but excellent articles about what's happening in the Author world.)
Bullet Journaling. Wow - there are so many places to go and get info.
Here's my Pinterest Pinboard - which needs a LOT of organizing yet. I only just discovered the "Sections" feature there:
And here's my favorite YouTuber for Bullet Journaling - AmandaRachLee! Here's her video for getting her 2018 journal set up, but don't miss her monthly 'Plan With Me' videos! #Mesmerizing and #Inspirational!
And here's her Instagram:
This is where I've found myself...
Where do I start with this problem?
I think it comes from too many stories in my head!
I have one where the first draft has been finished. Been read by a bunch of Beta readers (like, 30!) and a developemental editing pass - and all the feedback is AMAZING! SUPER helpful! I was jazzed and cruising along! Then - wham-O! - I stalled. I couldn't even find energy to look at the WIP. Everyday I'd look at the piece, get four or five paragraphs tweaked then would be overwhelmed with an urge to... wash dishes... do laundry... clean a bathroom... anything but work on the piece.
So I turned to my backlog; my projects that have either been started or a sizzling idea. I turned to one of those sizzling ideas! But after some deep thought, confirmed by a couple of my nearest and dearest, I'm now twisted! What do I do with this idea? I've spent the past three days working on it. It needs work and I'm okay with that... but the characters have dropped off the grid.
The past few months I've been involved with a writing group in town at the local library. It was good! I enjoyed my fellow scribers' works, and got solid feedback from an old WIP I'd dug up from my own archive. The challenge there? Too many genre were in that writing group and did nothing to help me - only create more voices in my head.
Now I'm working on getting 'back to basics' so that my characters speak loudly again!
I just took an hour and did something else creative. I set up a Bullet Journal for the next 6 months (my first one doesn't have enough pages for me to even get through August - so I'd bought one and, well - now it's ready for me to set up July.)
I'm feeling energized again. With my next six months ready to go, some differently creative energy spent, I think tomorrow will be a good day!
(WIP - Work In Progress)
BUT HERE'S MY QUESTION FOR YOU: What do you do when you're stalled? What snaps you out of whatever particular funk you find yourself in?
I'm a success because I set out to write a book and publish it. And I did.
I'm a success because after that book came out, I was begged for more from readers.
I'm a success because people have messaged me to tell me how much they liked my books & some have said how my book impacted their life.
I may not have made a best seller's list, or be making enough money so my husband stops calling my writing a hobby, but (as the above part said) my books have affected people. My books have changed the way people think about themselves and their relationships, or about other people (speaking about my MM books here and that I've been told by some readers that they never really saw gay men as having the same kind of love that straight couples do, but they do now! *joy!*)
Sure, my writing could use stronger editing and maybe more digging in, but I'm learning. My degree isn't in English or Creative Writing. I have a degree in Psychology. I think I've done pretty good so far. (or is it "well"? I've done pretty well so far. *shrug*)
I am a success.
Furthermore, even my most beloved authors receive really harsh reviews. I just remind myself that not every book is for every person. Diversity is the spice of life. And that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
How does an author stand out anymore?
This is the growing challenge among authors these days, both traditionally published and Indie Authors like myself.
It seems that every week there 20 new authors. And 50-100 new books hit the market every day!
How does a reader know which books to choose?
Some authors release their books for $0.99 or even for Free. While this might gain the author downloads, personally speaking those are the books that seem to sink to the bottom of my TBR. I gravitate toward the books I've invested in. The books I have heard the most buzz about. The books by authors I have already read and maybe have met.
Furthermore, this practice breaks my heart. Why? That author is only earning $0.34 per sale. AND s/he has to pay her income taxes out of that. Not to mention the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars that have gone into putting that book together. (Cover art, editing, formatting, advertising, takeovers with giveaways! See the next section.). AND that's not even touching the HOURS AND HOURS it takes to write the book (Books usually take me about 2 full months to write. Let's round that to 60 days... and lets say that i "only" write for 6 hours. Truthfully I write closer to 8 hours a day, or 10 on some days. But at 6 hours a day that's 360 hours. That means you as a reader are dropping that $0.99 essentially paying the author $0.000094 an hour to write. Again, that's BEFORE taxes have to be paid. How much are YOU paid for your job?)
Some authors do Takeovers. I certainly do - but seems fewer and fewer readers go to the Takeovers, and those that do are just in it for the free stuff (specifically the Amazon Gift Cards because then they can buy anything they want...I've only once been told that someone used their gift card to buy my book. One person won the GC and actually posted something to the effect of, "Yeah! Now I can buy the new release from <Insert NYT Best Selling Author here.>" I wish that winner had simply said, "Thank you.")
I pay for advertising on Facebook ($10-$20 per day). I've done ads via BookBub (literally HUNDREDS of dollars for ONE ad.). ENT (eReader News Today) is also hundreds of dollars. Book Gorilla, BookScream... There's no end to marketing groups who will take your money to send your book into people's email inboxes.
But it still doesn't make an author stand out.
Reviews are super important.
You can help an author by reviewing.
You can help an author by telling your friends about the books you read that you enjoyed.
You can help by following that author on Social Media (Not just liking their page, but visiting that page & checking out the posts. Facebook will help you if you click on FOLLOWING and adjust to See First. And you can do this for ALL of your favorite Authors - then your newsfeed will have ALL of those posts first - THEN the latest news from Aunt Edna about her toe fungus.
What are things YOU do to support Authors? I'd love to hear from you!
Alexander Pope said, "To err is human, to forgive divine definition. All people commit sins and make mistakes. God forgives them, and people are acting in a godlike (divine) way when they forgive.
~ from: "An Essay on Criticism”
I'm NOT saying that Mary Tyler Moore made a mistake. I did.
So - here's MY mistake.
When I wrote Ditching the Dream 4 years ago, I reference this knew that this famous show took place in Minneapolis. But somehow, since my character, Elizabeth Fairchild had come to New York City for her own adventure of independence, I wrote in New York City. Imagine my horror when Ms. Moore's passing was announced on the news, and I saw my mistake staring me right in the face!
I didn't sleep very well last night.
I'm in the process of correcting the manuscript and uploads everywhere... But if you have an older version of Ditching the Dream with the incorrect reference, please accept my apologies.
How this oversight has been overlooked by trolls all over the internet for the past 3 1/2 years, I'll never know. Perhaps I've been blessed with many divine fans. ♥️
And Ms. Moore - please, please accept my deepest, sincerest apologies. And thank you for your wonderful career. You and your spirit will be missed, but you will live on in our hearts.
Something about being an author is I sit. A lot. Typing 2,000-5,000 words a day is really tough when standing. Over these past few years of writing...with all the sitting...I've put on some unwanted pounds.
Recently on Pinterest I have seen a lot of recipes for Mason jar meals. Several blogger who have posted their recipes talked about their weight loss while eating with this method. Rationale behind that? Two things: (1) Portion Control, and (2) Convenient. Two things that are like the home delivery diet programs focus on. Totally makes sense to me. I'm a terrible breakfast eater. Most mornings I just have coffee. That's it. Then it's lunch time and I may be rolling with a scene and I don't want to stop, and suddenly it's 3pm, and I haven't eaten anything all day. Well, you can imagine what happens next---I raid the refridgerator and pantry getting my hands on all the easy to eat foods... few are healthy choices, because to assemble something that tastes good takes time and, well - when you've gone 18+ hours without eating...you need to eat NOW!
I've considered the home-delivery diet programs, but the reviews aren't great... everything from complaints about bad tasting food to storing that much food that no one else in the house can eat. Well, I'm a foodie (and if you follow my Instagram/Facebook feeds, you know. So, food that doesn't taste great is out. Space is an issue too.
And then there's the cost! Sorry - but $200-$400 dollars a week doesn't fit in my budget.
Buying 12 mason jars only cost me $10.
And like most people, Sundays I'm like, "Tomorrow (Monday) I'm going to start eating right." Well, Monday morning comes around and I don't change. But Sunday afternoon, I took an hour or so and made 12 jars for this coming week. Two each of 3 different salads (6 days) of lunches and 5 oatmeal jars with freeze-dried fruits for breakfasts. AND I know exactly how much of each ingredient are in each jar, too, so I can accurately record my calorie count.
I'll keep you The 3 different salads I made:
And the salads with Chicken? I used 1 chicken breast for all 4 jars!
This morning I had the Chocolate Strawberry Banana Oatmeal and YUM-O!! So easy. I just heated 3/4 cup of Almond Milk (30 cal a cup...) and let it sit, then ate it!
For Lunch - I'm having my Asian Chicken Noodle Salad. Look how full my bowl is! And all I had to do was shake the jar, open it & dump it into my bowl! No microwaving! No measuring! Just good eating!
I'll keep you updated. You can follow my Mason Jar Pinterest Board by clicking HERE.
what do you do to maintain your weight?
Okay, so one of my New Year's Resolutions is to Blog weekly. And, I'm already beyond that deadline as it's now 10 days into 2016. But - better late than never, right? I rationalize it like this - my son was home from college for that first week of 2016, so it was still vacation. And NOW - the New Year has started for me. Which brings me to my resolutions.
I'm sharing them here because, as studies tell me, I'm more likely to stick to resolutions if I share them with others. So Here are my 2016 Resolutions.
What are yours?
Good luck to everyone & have a WONDERFUL 2016!!!
About Isabelle Peterson
Contemporary Women's author.