Showers & Flowers #IWSG

 

What am I insecure about this month? Hmm.

First of all, WordPress is not being very nice and it’s not going to get any dessert. It’s possible it might get grounded if it doesn’t SHAPE UP! Stupid WordPress. Stupid formatting. ARGH! 

 

Anyhoo… I have a lot going on. Writing stuff and life stuff.

Life stuff, well, just happens and you deal. You get through it. Because. Life.

Writing stuff is…tough. I mean, writers NEED to write. That’s how we feel but, technically, it’s not true. It’s not one of the basic human needs. (But it sure does feel like it.) It’s like you must fit in your writing regardless of what else is going on. Which can be overwhelming.

Presently, I’m juggling a fair amount in the life category but, also, the writing category.

Trying to write in the spaces between life responsibilities. Editing a few books that have been patiently waiting to see the light of day. Getting those new covers together. Working on a (long-overdue) book. And, always, the technical crap. Ugh with that already. Please.

Also… My too-many-ideas syndrome is flaring up. And my ooh-a-shiny-new-project is back. I’m taking Tums but, alas, I’m still in distress.

So, yeah, a bit overwhelmed with ALL OF THE THINGS raining down on me. But April showers bring May flowers, right? Hopefully, this month will be calm. Pretty. Unsoggy. Blossoming with creative possibility and productivity.

Here’s to a bloomin’ brilliant May, my bloggy friends. 🌸

 

 

Do you try to fit your writing in or put it aside when life rains on you? Also, I’m super curious how many other writers have too-many-ideas and ooh-a-shiny-new-project syndromes. Do you? 

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month

May Prompt – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)
Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

Taking Writing Risks #IWSG

 

I never thought of myself as a risk-taker. A writing rebel. But, thinking on it, I guess I am.

I’ve mentioned numerous times (as recently as last month’s IWSG post) that I write what I want regardless of whether it’s popular, fits into any known genre, or is marketable. That, in itself, is risky. Also, the form, subject matter, tone, and style make my writing a pretty tailored taste.

I’m currently finishing my MS that’s not-novel, not-short-story, not-novella. And I break the rules of how it’s supposed to be written.

Also, I just posted about the possible downfalls of changing the covers of my books, wondering whether or not I should do it. Yup, I am. And they’re going to be what I like, not what they “should” be.

Oh, and, as you all know, I’m a pantser. ‘Nuff said.

So, um, yeah, I’m a risk-taking writer.

 

Wow. After writing this post, I realized I take risks in just about every area of the writing process. Yikes. 

Do you take risks in your writing?   

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month April Prompt – Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work? IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

 

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Your Book Cover

 

 

I’m not sure how many authors feel that annoying need to update their book covers. I didn’t think I would.

But I do.

However.

I have some questions, concerns, and downright worries about doing this.

Hence, the post.

Thoughts are whirling in my head (as always).

Where do I start? Do I go with what I love or what is marketable? What about the cost? What if I change my mind and/or the cover again? What about all the places I’ve already put the images online? What about readers who have my books and mistakenly think I have a new book and purchase it? (I’ve heard of that happening and, full disclosure, I’ve almost done it.) Gah!

I know I’m forgetting something. Or, possibly, many somethings.

I know some authors who update their covers regularly often occasionally and others who never have. *shrug*

Moneywise, timewise, pain-in-the-ass-wise. I just don’t know if it’s worth it. All this has kept me from just going ahead with it. But I’ve wanted to for a bit now and I’m getting antsy. What say you, gentle readers?

 

ThoughtBubble

My random thoughts in under 200 words.

 

Authors: Have you ever thought about changing your book covers? Have you actually done it? How did it go?

Readers: How do you feel about authors changing covers? Does it throw you off/make it difficult to find the next book in a series? Do you think the author has a new book? 

 

Reading & Writing in Specific Genres #IWSG

 

Genre. 

This topic vexes me. 

A few lines from my 2016 post, Footloose and Fantasy-Free

I wish my writing fit neatly into a specific genre.

[it’s easier to market your book and gain readers] if you can categorize what you’ve written.

The thing is, I write what I want and it’s not always tidy. 

Five years later, I’m still in the same unanchored boat. Bother. 

I do enjoy the freedom of writing without borders, without expectations… But, honestly, for simplicity, marketing, and pitching, it would be nice to have a specific genre.

Horror.

Boom. Quick and easy. Sometimes I’d love to say, “I’m a romance writer”, or “I write sci-fi”, or “I’m working on the seventh book in my cozy mystery series”. Alas, my genre doesn’t really exist. 

 

As far as my reading preferences, they can’t fit into the genre I write (because of the not existing thing).

I know what I don’t enjoy reading, but, other than that, I just go for what pops off the shelf, grabs me by the collar, and screams YOU MUST READ ME. (Always obey the books, my friends. They are powerful and all-knowing.)

Fun fact: Next to all sorts of of grown-up books, my shelves are chock-full of children’s, middle grade, and YA books. (Before you judge, there are quite a few truly remarkable, beautifully written books out there in these categories.) 

Whether it’s poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, I enjoy quality writing. (There are exceptions. Sometimes I just crave a bit of escapism, you know?) All that to answer the question: What motivates my reading choices? Great writing. 

 

What do you like to read? What motivates your choices?

If you’re an author, do you tend to read in the genre you write in? (Do you even have a specific genre? Please tell me there’s someone else out there who’s genre-free.)

 

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month March Prompt – Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice? IWSG

 

 

(Insecure Writer’s Support Group) Insecure Writers Support Group Badge This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

 

 

 

 

The Friends I’ve Made Along the Way #IWSG

 

Much has been said about whether people we meet online are “real” friends, the differences between online friends and friends IRL (in real life), and what type of relationship we can have with people we’ve never met. 

So I won’t get into a whole thing.

I will say blogging’s been a long and rocky road. In my travels, I’ve met quite a few people. Some great ones. Some grumpy ones. *shrugs* That’s life, online or otherwise.

Mostly, though, I’ve met truly amazing individuals and developed relationships. I have some acquaintances, some pals, and some fellow cheese-and-chocolate-loving friends. Dear friends. The fact we connected through blogging takes nothing from that feeling. You know the feeling. The one where things just click. That says, quite clearly, this is one of your tribe, lady. Break out the wine. Those friendships have moved out of the blogosphere. (They live in the suburbs.) 

Before I found blog hops, writing prompts, photo prompts, tags, and the rest of the wonderful ways you connect with other bloggers, I just wrote and connected with my lovely bloggy friends fortuitously. Or because Mars was in retrograde. Who knows?

You’re supposed to have an “online presence”. More importantly, you’re supposed to have loads of followers. I don’t. And I’m good with that. Because I’m here. On Lemon Shark. Where I post about life, the universe, and everything. And Lemon Shark Reef, where my writer-of-flash-fiction side splashes around with words. So, yeah, I’m good. 

I could list dozens of reasons I love blogging but the main reason is the friends I’ve made along the way. 

 

Hate to type and run but this blog post is due today so off I go… Cheerio and good day, gentle readers. 

 

 

 

 

I’ve known about The Insecure Writers Support Group for years. I joked I was too insecure to sign up. Also, the old Groucho Marx quip: I wouldn’t want to belong to any group that would have me as a member. Alas, here I am, writing a post for IWSG. (I simply couldn’t resist the question for this month about blogging and friendships.) 

IWSG Question of the Month

February Prompt – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere? 

 

 

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) 
Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh.     

 

 

 

 

My One Word for 2021 #OneWord2021


pine-cone-sig

 

I’ve been participating in One Word since 2017. Wow. Five years.

This quote from 2018 says it all:

Every year around this time I say, “It’s going to be different.” Well, gentle readers, it’s not. It’s quite the same. Which is to say, I let myself get caught up in a shitstorm of stress and overwhelm by choosing others instead of myself, by over-committing, by working too hard on things that don’t bring fulfillment or happiness, by helping everyone but me.

I’m feeling a bit like Scrooge. Another year? Another One Word? Bah! Humbug.

And so, of course, I was in for a visit from… 👻 🎊🎉

The Posts of New Year’s Past:

 

One Word for 2020 was: Focus. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid overwhelm? Fab plan, lady. Alas…

One Word for 2019 was: Move. Getting unstuck was sort of the idea. I’m still stuck but heartily sorry for it and flailing for a helping hand out of the pit.

One Word for 2018 was: Self. It was a good choice. It worked. A little. Some of the time. Not as often as I’d hoped.

One Word for 2017 was Accept. I did not accept anything. I sort of UN-accepted pretty much everything. I faltered. Failed. Moved on.

 

What I’ve learned from these Posts of New Year’s Past is I’m trying to be positive, providing some word to nurture, encourage, help… That’s lovely, but something was pulling me away from that. 2020 was a tough year. For many people. For many reasons. The celebration of that year being over is everywhere.

I’m not celebrating. Not yet.

I decided I’m not going to force positivity on myself. Oh, I know I mean well but, hell, things kind of suck at the moment, new year or not. Why not acknowledge the suckiness? And why force positivity when we all know that never works?

When you shove those negative feelings down, they resurface. Always. In one way or another, they bob up like a rubber duck in a tub.

So I’m going with a negative One Word this year.

Sort of.

I’m acknowledging the negativity that clouds my life and letting myself know it’s okay to not be okay about it.

My focus word for 2021:

ALLOW

With everything going on, I’m giving myself permission to feel however I need to feel. If I feel bad, that’s okay. If I feel sad, that’s okay. If I feel stressed, angry, or hurt, that’s okay.

No guilt. No “should”. None of that nonsense.

I’m allowed to feel however I feel.

If I happen to feel good, or even happy, that’s allowed, too. So, yay.

As always, a definition (*nerd alert*):

allow

[əˈlou]

verb 
  • give (someone) permission to do something.

grant someone the right · give one’s blessing to · approve of · give the go-ahead to · give the thumbs up to · give the OK to · give the green light to

I’ve got the green light here, my friends. The go-ahead. The thumbs-up. I’ve been granted the right and given a blessing. What else could I ask for?

  • give the necessary time or opportunity for.

Time and opportunity to feel. I guess that’s what else I could have asked for. *shrugs* Got it.

  • admit (an event or activity) as legal or acceptable.

My feelings are hereby legal and acceptable. Right on.

I’m allowing myself to feel however the hell I feel without the dreaded “should” and “shouldn’t”. And without guilt. I’m allowing my feelings to break free of that self-imposed New Year’s cocoon of positivity, emerging in whatever shape, size, and color they are. If I feel angry, well, The Hulk and I can hang out for a bit. If I feel sad, so be it. If I happen to feel happy, it’s going to be a genuine bubbling glass of joy.

 

Happy New Year, my friends. ❤ Here’s to your goals, aspirations, resolutions, or whatever floats your boat. Cheers! 🥂

 

Have you ever taken part in the One Word Challenge?

If you haven’t, why not try it? Or think on it a moment and leave one in the comments. What could your focus be this year? I’d love to hear what your One Word is for 2021.

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from the Heart #GivingTuesday

 

holiday-charity-gifts

 

I post this every year. I love it. But I usually post mid to late December for last-minute ideas.

This year, I’m posting today, December 1st, for Giving Tuesday. (Note: If you shop today, most organizations will match, double, or even triple your gift.) Enjoy!

 

Quick, easy, heartfelt. ❤ 🎁 Perfect for Giving Tuesday (and last-minute gifts):

 

Environment / Nature

ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION

arbor-day-post

Mission: “to improve water and air quality, slow climate change, and reduce poverty by planting trees.”

These Trees in Celebration certificates are lovely and every single dollar you spend plants a tree. They also offer “Give-A-Tree E-Cards” to send a holiday greeting with meaning. Because. Trees. Behold the beautiful trees! 🌲

 

Animals / Wildlife 

ASPCA

aspca-post

Mission: “animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected…”

Show your love for our four-legged friends. Give a holiday gift card in honor of a beloved furchild. I can’t stand the cuteness of that puppy. You know you want to help these little munchkins. Available in ecards.

 

Hunger / Poverty

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

heifer-post

Mission: “to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

Choose a donation and print it out or email with a custom message to the gift recipient. Or you can give a gift card (to print out or send via email) so they can choose their own donation.

* My personal favorite gift to give is honeybees. They are awesome. Here are 2 reasons why:

“Food for Life: Honey is the only food that includes all the essential elements necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and even water. Its unique chemical makeup also allows it to be preserved indefinitely.”

“Farmers’ Helpers: In the process of searching for nectar, bees pollinate plants. The placement of a single colony can potentially double local fruit and vegetable yields.”

Isn’t that incredible? It’s the bee’s knees. 🐝

 

KIVA

kiva-post

Mission: “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Print these out or email them to the gift recipient and they can start loaning right away. Change someone’s life, get paid back, help someone else… And on it goes. Making spirits bright.

 

Childhood Cancer/Childhood Diseases

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

st-judes-post

Mission: “Finding cures. Saving children. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Please do check out the site if you don’t already know about St. Jude Children’s Hospital. And, if you do, well… ‘Nuff said.

Printable Holidy Cards

Ecards for the Holdidays

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

   ❄️ Have a beautiful holiday season! ❄️

 

Hey, Lovely People… It’s #WorldKindnessDay

 

 

It’s Friday. TGIF, right? Also, it’s the 13th. Which means, well, it’s Friday the 13th. So… Spooky, creepy, unlucky, and all that jazz. But here’s a cool thing about today:

It’s World Kindness Day. 

What a lovely thought.

I mean, sure, yeah, every day should be World Kindness Day. Just like every day should be Earth Day. That said, regardless of wishes and whatnot, today, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. 

I’ve always been a fan of RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness). I also sort of like the whole being nice to people on a regular basis thing. And this day is rooted in a desire for more kind acts, random or otherwise. So count me in. Always.

A global celebration of being nice? Yes, please.

I know a lot of people (including me) will say we need this now MORE THAN EVER. Seriously. Look around. With everything going on… But then, really, not so much. We always need this. We do. 

While you’re being kind to neighbors and computer screens full of colleagues, remember to be kind to yourself. (That’s one some of us forget. *ahem*) 

ThoughtBubble

 

Here’s to kindness, both given and received. 

My random thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.

 

Hoping things are kind in your world today (and always).

Happy World Kindness Day, my friends.❤️🌎 

https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/world-kindness-day/world-kindness-day

https://inspirekindness.com/

https://worldkindness.org/about-us/

#WorldKindnessDay2020 ❤️🌎 #BeKind #MakeKindnessTheNorm 

Hinting at Shadows ~ 3rd Annual October Sale #FREE #FreeBook #BookSale

Universal Link

October is here.

It’s not the usual fun-filled season of Halloween parties this year but there are lots of lovely aspects of autumn to embrace.

I want to enjoy the cool weather, crisp air, apple cider, and pumpkin-spiced…everything. I also want to offer you my deliciously dark, decidedly not pumpkin-spiced words. Because. October. 🎃 👻

Hinting at Shadows, my first collection of flash, will be FREE from October 18th-22nd. 

So, if you haven’t read it, here’s your chance to grab a copy.

What some people are saying about Hinting at Shadows (I am, as always, delighted and grateful):

 

beautifully and richly crafted.

The author’s haunting prose very cleverly invokes strong images with the minimum of words. Sarah Brentyn delivers something quite different, written beautifully…

I was entranced from the very first story.

I’m dumbfounded at how much this author conveys and the emotions she evokes with so few words… Take time to savor this collection and fully appreciate the poignant writing.  

Hinting at Shadows…is sheer poetry in the garb of flash fiction.

 

If you’d like to download a FREE copy, here’s the link:
Hinting at Shadows 🖤

Happy reading, all!

 

A Canopy of Green

 

 

The trees haven’t started to turn.

Usually, this late in September, there’s at least a splash of color touching the uppermost tips of maples and oaks. The proverbial fall picture—yellow, orange, and red. The fiery gems of autumn.

But when I go for walks, I’m covered by a canopy of green.

It’s weird.

When I look out the window this close to October, I want to see a seasonal landscape. The jewel-toned leaves of autumn are gorgeous but, also, they would bring some normalcy to life. I kind of need that right now.

Yes, I know. I know there’s a scientific explanation (weather and such) but it somehow feels like nature is apprehensive. Like it’s mirroring the angst. Like the leaves don’t want us to see what color they are. They hide beneath their chlorophyll so we won’t see what the world really looks like. And right now, this year, the uncertainty of not knowing what color the world will be is too much.

 

 

My random thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

How are things in your world? Has some semblance of normalcy returned? Any autumnal color in your neck of the woods? 

 

Happy Autumn, my friends. 🍃🍂 (And Happy Spring to my friends in the southern hemisphere.)