Who’s That Blogger? Sarah Brentyn

I’m over at Barbara Vitelli’s today with a fun interview for her awesome new series called “Who’s That Blogger”. I’m delighted to be back at her place for a cuppa and some laughs. Barbara (aka Book Club Mom) is a fab book blogger and lovely lady. Please check out the interview, leave a comment there, and peek around her blog. Cheers!

Book Club Mom

whos-that-blogger

Blogmaster:  Sarah Brentyn

Blog names:Lemon Shark and my fiction blog, Lemon Shark Reef

Type of blog: I suppose Lemon Shark is an eclectic blog focusing mostly on my thoughts about life and writing and surviving the aforementioned.

Where in the world?  Ooh! I know this one! “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Score ten for the Shark.

Blogging since when? I don’t really keep track of these things. However, there’s a handy list on the side of my blog so, with just a peek, I can see I’ve been blogging at Lemon Shark since…2014.

What’s your story? What is my story? “It was a dark and stormy night…” Damn! Taken. My blogging story is odd. Why? Because, although I have a blog (two, actually, I have two and, yes, I know that’s not a “good idea” or whatever but I have a fiction blog called Lemon…

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The Art of Saying “No”

 

 

Your friend asks if you would edit her essay. Your kid’s teacher asks if you would run the bake sale. Your boss asks if you would stay late.

What do you do?

When you can’t take on one more thing? When your plate is overflowing? When you simply don’t want to?

Has anyone here mastered the art of saying “No”?

You in the orange shirt.

“Um…open your mouth and say the word ‘no’.”

Hmm. Interesting.

*pushes button*

*person in orange shirt drops through trap door*

Anyone else?

Good. Now that we’re all on the same proverbial page, let’s talk.

 

Some will say it varies. It depends on who is asking and what they’re asking. I’ll allow this line of reasoning. To a point. This is part of the issue.

I mean, really, if your boss asks you nicely (or not-so-nicely) to stay late, most people say, “Sure, you wretched piece of…” or probably just, “Sure.” Some people, like me for instance, say, “Of course! Not a problem!” Then those people, like me for instance, wonder what just happened.

If a friend wants help with a project, most people will probably help but they’ll be honest about what kind of time they have to offer. After all, their friend will understand. Some people, like me for instance, will sigh internally and not speak up about my lack of time and tell them to send it (if they haven’t already sent it because they know I’ll say yes).

It’s easier to say no to the bake sale request. Or so it would seem. But then some people, let’s say…um…me for example, begin thinking about the last time they assisted in any of their son’s school activities. Then, when they can’t remember (because it was like 7 months ago), say, “Absolutely!”

These answers come from negative emotions such as obligation or worry (employer), fear of upsetting someone (friend), and guilt (school).

For one who has not mastered the art of saying no, or even taken classes in it, this can be problematic regardless of the circumstances.

And for one who feels guilty or obligated or in some way responsible for making everyone happy, saying no to demands on your time can be damn near impossible. This is what I lovingly call The Yes Mess.

I want to scream. I want to scream loudly, “Hell, no! Are you kidding?! I couldn’t fit another thing into my schedule if I wanted to! I’m not a robot! Aaaahhhhh!” Or something like that. Instead, I say, “Sure! No problem!”

It is a problem.

I feel like this is linked to self-worth. By neglecting myself for others, I’m basically saying that other people’s projects, assignments, happiness, work, time, etc. are more important than my own. In other words, other people are more important than I am.

They’re not.

I need to remember that.

Instead of immediately saying yes to everything, I am making myself a promise to say, “Probably.” Or “I think so.” I know. It’s ridiculous. It’s not even close to a “no” but it’s as close as I can realistically get at the moment. Baby steps. Plus, this might make it easier to come back and say that I can’t.

If I’ve already agreed to something, that is even more difficult for me. I don’t want to let people down so I run myself into the ground making sure I do it. Or I let it slip through one of the numerous cracks in my life and feel horribly guilty.

So. If I say yes, I am giving myself permission to say, “I thought I could fit this in my schedule but I just can’t right now.”

I am not exaggerating when I say this stuff stresses me out, hurts my health, and keeps me up at night.

My health and well-being (and that of my family) must come before any demands on my time.

That’s really the end of that. Let’s see how this goes.

 

 

Have you mastered the art of saying “no”? If not, why? If so, how do you do it?

 

The “Yes” Mess

 

 

When you say yes to every request, you’re going to have a real problem. Because, sooner or later, you’re going to ask yourself, “How did I get into this mess?”

You, sweet stuff. You are how you got into this mess. No reason to play the blame game. Okay, lets play. Tag. You’re it. You’re to blame. You did this.

You probably didn’t know it would turn out to be so:

  • Time-consuming
  • Annoying
  • Boring
  • Frustrating
  • Difficult
  • Time-consuming

But…would that have stopped you?

If you had known, what would you have done?

When faced with someone asking for your help or a favor (big or small) are you able to say, “no”? If not, that’s something you really ought to think about.

Which I am. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. As you’ll see in my post tomorrow.

This has been called many things including “the disease to please”. Catchy, huh? Literally and figuratively. FYI: I have this disease so use Purell when you’re done reading, just to be safe.

Until tomorrow, gentle readers.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you say “yes” to every request? Where does that leave you?

 

 

 

Vernal Equinox: Balance in a Time of Imbalance

 

 

I found a post from exactly one year ago and, unfortunately, I’m in a similar place. I thought this year would be different but, alas, I’m here…in this post about a day not working out the way I wanted it to.

I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. I’ve taken on too much and have fallen way behind online and in real life. Looking back at this post from last year tells me something: I need to change. I accept that.

Easier said than done, as they say. I’ve got to agree. They are right.

I’ve never liked the term “balance” because, as I’ve stated numerous times, it’s unattainable. But today is the first day of spring. The Vernal Equinox.

This is a time of balance.

On the equinox, day and night are of equal length as the sun crosses the equator. Today, we experience the same amount of darkness and light—outside and within ourselves. Take a moment to meditate, to reset. Adjust any imbalances you feel.

I wrote that just two years ago. I’m going with it. Though it seems contrary to what I’m saying here, it’s not. Adjusting imbalances is not quite the same as trying to achieve balance.

While I won’t be chasing my tail in a futile attempt to attain complete balance in my life, I will be sitting. Just that. Sitting. Breathing. That’s nice, too. And paying attention. To the things I’m neglecting that need more attention and the things I’m spending too much energy on that are draining me. I will try harder to listen to my inner self.

I found this, too:

This is a time of beginnings.

We are being offered a fresh start. Spring cleaning removes dust, dirt, and clutter from our homes. The debris that has accumulated over the cold months can be swept away, leaving an inviting space. Our external environment affects our internal one. In this way, we are helping clear our minds as well.

I needed to see that. To reread those words. To remind myself what I believe to be true. And to do something about it.

 

The Vernal Equinox is a time of balance and beginnings. It’s a perfect time to take stock of your life and press the reset button. It’s also a great time to start new projects or dust off an old project and breathe life back into it. Mother Nature is backing you up right now. What will you do with this gift?

 

Happy Spring! 🌼 (And, to my friends in Australia, Happy Autumn!)

 

Pants off to That!

 

 

I’m 110% pantser. Always have been.

I’ve published a book and am happy with it. I haven’t reached that point of cringing when I see it or think about it. I actually like it. Hope that lasts…

Anyway, yes. Pantser. Me. Pantsing. No outlines, no planning, none of that stuff.

Never. Ever. Nope. Not me.

I am pantsing my way through two novels at the moment. Which is quite different from my previous book of short fiction. I’m pleased to say it’s going well. It works for me.

Right?

It does, right? Yet… I have loads of books lounging on my laptop that have been there between two and twenty years. (You read that correctly. I’ve been writing a long time.)

 

Which brings me to my point. Finally.

Is my pantser approach what has kept those stories on my computer?

I truly do enjoy letting my characters lead the way but is it realistic to complete an entire novel without any planning?

As a grown-up person who has been on this planet a few decades or so, I know that “never say never” is not just an overused, annoying phrase. It’s true.

I’m pretty sure I’ll always be a pantser but who knows?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

ThoughtBubbleAre you a pantser or a plotter? If you’re a pantser, do you get to a point where you start planning? 

Do you believe self-proclaimed plotters can “wing it” or pantsers can plan, plot, and outline successfully?

 

 

How to Get Your Blog Post Back from the Depths of WordPress

 

lemon-shark-screen-shot-sarahb

 

I was minding my own bloggy business when I messed up a post that I had spent some major time setting up. I don’t know how I even did it but I turned the entire thing into one big link to a Google search. Huh? Right. Moving on.

WordPress would NOT let me ‘undo’ as I usually do when I muck something up. I was stuck. In the muck. Oh…

And non-techie me figured out how to fix it. Little ol’ me! Most of you probably already know this but I thought I’d share just in case I could save a fellow friendly blogger the trouble of rewriting a post. (I even have visuals. This is all mind-blowing, I know.)

I made up a Wonderful New Post to walk you through this super easy process.

 

STEP ONE:

Write an awesome post and be proud. Fix those typos, polish, and click “Save Draft”, as always.

screen-shot-revise1-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP TWO:

Mess up your awesome blog post and panic. Then notice how you now have “Revisions” over to the right. You didn’t have that before. You must “Save Draft” at least twice before that shows up. This “Revisions” is your key to salvation. Or your post’s salvation. Same, same. Click on “Browse” over in “Revisions”.

screen-shot-revise2-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP THREE:

You get a choice here. You’ll now see two versions of the post. Click on “Previous” on the left of your screen OR slowly move the sliding arrow in the middle of your screen over to the left.

screen-shot-revise3-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP FOUR:

Cool! You’re getting closer to your original (or the version you want back). It says this was my “9 minutes ago” revision. But…it still has my mistake in the green there, see? I don’t want this.

screen-shot-revise4-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP FIVE:

Neat! You’ll notice the big, blue button that says “Restore This Revision” is now clickable. (It wasn’t before.) Click that button when you see the post you want. Ah! My mistake is no longer in that green area.

screen-shot-revise5-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

STEP SIX:

Look! It says “Post Restored”. I have my Wonderful New Post back. Click “Save Draft” then “Publish”. (Or schedule, if that’s your thing.)

screen-shot-revise6-sarahb

Click to enlarge

 

Happy blogging days, my friends.

 

I Like Short Books and I Can Not Lie

 

bookshots

 

Last summer, this happened: James Patterson’s BookShots.

I love it. I want to sing it to the world! I’ll settle for the tiny corner that reads my blog but I’m singing, my friends. Loud and proud. “I like short books and I can not lie!”

Take a look at this. (And, if you’ve seen it, heard of it, know everything about it…don’t spoil my fun.)

Their message for readers is:

BookShots
Under 150 Pages. Under $5.00
Impossible to Put Down.

All the info you need (plus a modest boost) in a small, catchy slogan.

What’s this all about? This is what it’s all about.

Patterson’s catering to people who love to read but have very little time to do so. In fairness, he’s also targeting those who don’t read often or have the attention span of…what was that? Aw. A chipmunk! How cute!

The bonus for me, aside from having very little time to read, is that, as we’ve established, I love short books. I’ll be writing more on my undying love for novellas later but, the thing is, BookShots is bringing back novellas for the digital age with some clever marketing. Because, really, they’re just novellas in disguise.

(This whole line of books kind of reminds me of pulp fiction but, eh, what do I know about that?)

ThoughtBubble

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

Have you heard of BookShots? What are your thoughts on it? In general, do you prefer shorter or longer books?

 

My New Blog Scares Me #MyFirstPostRevisited

 

my-first-post_revisited-bloghop

 

I’m calling out bloggers to publicly share their very first post.

I want to see them all. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Whether you’re thrilled to have an excuse to dig out that old post and give it some fresh air or you’re seriously considering deleting it after I tag you, I want to see it.

It will be interesting to read these (as a fellow blogger) and, also, for you to find your oldest post and see where you were then as opposed to where you are now.

 

As per the rules, here is my first ever (unedited) Lemon Shark post:

 

My New Blog Scares Me

I’ve been blogging for over a year. Yet now that I’m switching the location of my blog, I’m scared. This is a bizarre and fascinating phenomenon which I feel should be studied.

The site is so fresh and clean and shiny. I don’t want to muck it up. Quite suddenly, my posts are no longer adequate. My writing is no longer worthy. Because…why now? Oh, right. The fresh, clean, shiny new blog. It is not to be muddied with words willy-nilly. Posts must be planned and polished to perfection. Ah. But that’s not how I write. So I am faced with a serious decision. Do I change who I am for my new blog?

I have this chance at a new online existence. It’s mind-blowing. I can be whoever I want. I can be funny. Well, I’m not sure about that but I can be very serious and literary. Although. With the fragments… I do love fragments. And swears. They’re fun.

My point is still valid. I can easily, with the click of my mouse, switch the colors, the theme, and even the name of my blog. With a wee bit of thought, I can change the whole focus of the thing. I can become someone else. Someone else who is me because I am still here writing and I’ve joined Twitter and I like all my tweeps there and whatnot.

So I’m stuck staring at the screen. It’s taunting me. Really, it’s not. Well, maybe a little. Some of the taunting is me of course, I know that. But screens can taunt. Ask anyone. *whispers* They can.

My first post needs to be a Mona Lisa. Or a Girl with a Pearl Earring. Okay. Aiming a bit too high. How about the slightly lesser known, but still magnificent, Spaghetti on Wheat?

My magic 8 ball says…“Ask Again Later” What?! I was counting on that! How much later? Stupid toy. Forget it. Here goes. My first post on my new blog:

Hello, gentle readers. Spaghetti on Wheat.

Thank you.

 

 

Yup. So there it is. My very first post here on Lemon Shark. Okay, now I get to tag five bloggers. Have fun. Because I think we could all use some silly fun.

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…ten two twelve five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

Completely silly rules that I’m making up as I type:

  • Drink a glass of wine, bottle of beer, cup of coffee, mug of herbal tea or whatever floats your boat after you hit “publish”. (In other words, toast yourself. Go you!)
  • Read the post out loud in a Mickey Mouse voice.

 

Rachael Ritchey (Since she created the awesome badge for this blog hop, she’s my first victim.) 🙂

Now the five…
Norah Colvin
D.G. Kaye
Geoff Le Pard
Silver Screenings
Loni Townsend

Can’t wait to read everyone’s first post. 😈 Pass it on…

 

my-first-post_revisited-bloghop-resized

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Hinting at Shadows

 

Hinting at Shadows is “New on the Shelves” at Sally’s Cafe & Bookstore. I’m excited to be on the virtual shelves here with so many other talented authors (including Sally).

Sally Cronin is a prolific blogger who is extremely generous with her space and time. Take a peek at this lovely introduction and browse through the bookstore while you’re there.

 

new-on-the-shelves-update

 

Today’s author is Sarah Brentyn with a collection of flash and micro fiction. Hinting at Shadows was released in November 2016. Continue Reading…

 

Help Me Find Your Blog

 

gravatar-image

Your Gravatar

Your G (globally) R (recognized) Avatar (um…avatar)

 

I’m not saying you must have one of these or even should have one. It’s totally up to you, of course. But it’s possible you’ve heard something like this from me:

“Hello. 🙂 Just an FYI: Your Gravatar leads to your old blog.”

Or

“Hi there. 🙂 Your Gravatar is unclickable.”

You may already know this. You may not care. You may want it that way. But, just in case, it’s an easy fix.

Sometimes, when I’m rushing around or out and using my phone (which, if I’m honest, isn’t “sometimes”, it’s “most of the time”), I’ll click on your name (or image) to get to your blog. It’s quicker and easier than searching through social media for your handle or typing your name into Google then scrolling until I find you.

If you have a Gravatar, think of it as your avi, bio, blog, social media, and all that jazz rolled into one.

Update that bad boy for your bloggy friends so we can find you. Or don’t. But please don’t take offense if I comment about your GRA. Take it with some grains of salt (around the rim of your glass), a margarita, and a smile.

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you have a Gravatar? Does it link to your current blog/website/social media? Do you keep it up-to-date or have you forgotten about it until now?

FAQ and useful info: http://en.gravatar.com/support/

 

After talking to some tweeps, thought I’d add a quick how-to sort of thing:

Sign in to Gravatar.

Click on “MY PROFILE” at the top of the page.

On the right, you’ll see a list.

“WEBSITES” allows you to add, well, websites. (You can add all sorts of things here that you want to show up as a thumbnail image below your name – not just WordPress blogs, FYI.)

“VERIFIED SERVICES” gives you a drop-down menu letting you quickly and easily add social media by cutting and pasting the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, YouTube, and more.