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It’s called procrastination. Not really. Well…. I’ll write more about it later.

I write most every day I’m not on vacation. I find the more I write the more ideas and words flow. I’m a believer in the notion that if you don’t use it you lose it. Who knows… maybe I’m wrong but I’m not willing to take a break and see. I’ve exercised long enough to understand that a week away from the gym causes great anxiety at the thought of returning and sore muscles afterward. Writing, like exercising, is part of my day. I enjoy it. Keeping the habit keeps me sane—as sane as any writer can be. After all, I spend a good portion of my time with imaginary characters.

My day begins with a cup of coffee and meditation or journaling. I read positive quotes or passages from inspirational books and visualize what I want to accomplish. Starting out this way helps erase the ever flowing to-do list in my mind. Then I get a second cup of coffee and that’s when the procrastination process begins. I check email, Facebook, email again, Pinterest, get a snack, a glass of water– take a deep breath and begin writing. Sometimes I have to play a little game with myself. I’m just going to write a first paragraph. It doesn’t matter if it’s any good…I’m just going to get it down. I can edit later. Usually, it works and within ten minutes I’m typing away. Two hours can feel like four. Just kidding, hours fly by and when I finish I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to pursue my dream job.

The greatest challenge for me this year has been dividing my time between my novel, blog posts, publishing ELLE & BUDDY and learning how to market my books. Even if I spend hours on a post I’ll still feel as though I haven’t accomplished enough if I don’t write or edit a few pages of my novel.

One of the best parts of being a writer is learning from, and working with, professionals in the field. I have a wonderful editor who continues to guide me. I can’t wait for her to read my new young adult romance. I’ve had the honor of working with, Muza Ulasowski, a talented illustrator, on our picture book ELLE & BUDDY. We’ve been collaborating for two years. It’s awesome having a partner who cares about a project as much as I do. Recently, I’ve met a publicist and a web designer who are excited to help me get my books out into the world. I’m very grateful for their help.

Well, it’s time for me to stop procrastinating and get to work on my novel… right after I check Facebook.

One day a picture on Facebook caught my eye. It was of a giant dog with big floppy ears. The picture was taken by our friend, a photographer, for our local shelter. The caption under the picture said that Buddy was the calmest dog he’d ever met. I didn’t really want another dog, we already had two…but there was something about Buddy.

When we called the shelter we were told Buddy had already found a home. Then two weeks later we received a call. Buddy had been brought back to the shelter. Excited, we hurried over to adopt him. When they found out we had stairs in our home they told us it wasn’t safe for Buddy. He was too large for stairs. Again we were disappointed. Still, I had a feeling that Buddy belonged with us. I waited.

A few weeks later we received another call. Buddy had been moved to a different shelter. Right away we went to visit him. July of 2012 Buddy came home with us.

Buddy made himself right at home. He figured out how to open doors and we discovered how much he loved string cheese! Buddy followed me everywhere. His calm nature showed love to everyone he met.

Oh, the drool! I carried rags with me wherever we went. I had hand sanitizer stashed all over the house. When we rode in the car drool would fly out the window and stick to my car seats. I spent many hours cleaning up after him. I didn’t mind one bit.

I wrote ELLE & BUDDY right after he came to live with us. I didn’t know it at the time that Buddy wouldn’t be around to see his book.

Unfortunately, only seventeen months after he joined our family Buddy was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We did all we could to save him. We had to say goodbye on January 5, 2014.

Buddy was a blessing to our family. He’s greatly missed. His memory lives on in, ELLE & BUDDY. He’ll always be my special Buddy.

Check Your Receipts

This isn’t the first time I’ve had an issue with discounts not being taken off at the register, however, it was the first time I was making a large purchase, promised a significant discount and then given such a run-a-round I swear the clerk was just as confused as I was.

I didn’t catch the mistake at first. I was in a hurry and I had seen someone I knew and began chatting instead of being mindful of the total I was quoted. When I left I had this uncomfortable nagging feeling. Something was wrong. The total was too high. I went home checked the numbers and searched for my discount. It wasn’t there. As I drove back to the store I thought of all the things I should have been doing instead and how if I had only paid closer attention I wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Surely the clerk had just made a mistake. I found him and asked if he would show me the discount listed on the receipt. He added the numbers and couldn’t. Asking me to wait he went for help. When he returned alone he began rambling making more promises of how my discount problem could be fixed. It made sense so I agreed. I still thought I was going to be credited my discount. At least that’s what he led me to believe. He then picked up the phone to call his manager. That’s when the manager he was supposedly talking to walked out of the back room and up to the register. Whoops! The clerk fessed up immediately. I said nothing. I was confused. What was the purpose of all this? All I wanted was the discount I was promised. Why did he offer it if he never intended on following through? Obviously it was to sell me more merchandise. Spend $$ amount and you’ll receive $$ of a discount. Haha! Not really.

I kept calm and smiled. This was certainly some situation I was in. It was obvious there was a reason they weren’t simply giving me money back. It most likely had to do with the sales commission. The higher my bill the more commission he would make. Giving me money back was not his priority. Eventually, they wore me down. I left with my old receipt and a new receipt and some items they told me they weren’t charging me for but they really were because it was in exchange for the promised discount. When I got home and compared the two receipts it appeared as if I was also given a store credit which the clerk never told me about or asked if I would rather have had cash. Also the items that were listed on both receipts (not all were) had different prices. What was $44.00 on one receipt was $37.00 on the other. The serial number was the same. Are you confused? I am.

When I finally added up all the numbers and store credits it appeared to be fine or very close to fine.

I learned that sometimes I simply can’t change a situation. They’re a business trying to make money and how they treat their customers will eventually return rewards or set them up for failure. Will I ever shop there again? No. They have lost my trust. Live and learn. He was a young salesman trying to earn a living. I understand that. However, if either of my children treated someone the way he treated me I would be very disappointed. Honesty and wanting to help customers rather than deceive them for a profit is a lesson managers should be teaching their employees. People are going to behave however they want and the only thing I can do is control my reaction to it, stand up for myself as best I can and then walk away and learn.

Wisdom Wednesday: Setting Goals

Alice: But I just wanted to ask you which way I wanted to go.

Cheshire Cat: Well that depends on where you want to get to.

Alice: Oh, it really doesn’t matter.

Cheshire Cat: Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.

I’ve always believed in setting goals. Most every inspirational book I read encourages doing so, however, sometimes the goal I set is so broad there are no specific details on how I’m going to reach my destination. It’s like saying I’m going to Illinois and simply getting in my car and driving without a GPS. I’d probably get there eventually but with my sense of direction it could take a long, long, time! For example, I have a goal of going to the gym at least four times a week. I have no plan once I get to the gym. Some days I’ll run. Other days I’ll lift weights. Basically, I’m just happy I’m there and I do whatever exercise I feel like on that day. As a result, I’m not nearly as fit as I could be if I had a plan.

The same goes for my writing. I’ve begun work on the second MYSTIC without setting a deadline for when it will be finished. Big mistake. Already, I’m looking back to January when MYSTIC was published and frustrated with myself for not having more of book two completed. Had I set a goal in January I know I’d be further along by now. Not setting goals give the illusion of freedom. You are free to live each day and take what comes. It’s just that when you look back at the previous month of your life there’s a really good chance that what you wanted to accomplish on the first of the month is still on an endless to-do list in your thoughts by the end of the month.

Step One: Decide which direction you’re going to take.

Step Two: Create a specific plan of action for reaching your destination. Write it down and tape it to your wall or your desk. Keep it visible.

Step Three: Go!

Don’t forget to congratulate yourself along the way. If you have any goals you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you. Start a conversation here or on Facebook. If you want to set a reading goal let me help you get started…

Announcement! MYSTIC will be free for the Kindle on April 5th! MYSTIC can be found on Amazon in many countries. Germany, France, UK, CA, ES and JP!

When Kai asked me to take him and a friend to Busch Gardens I was reluctant at first. July is extremely hot in Florida and I hate rollercoasters. Then I remembered the animals. Last year when we went to Busch Gardens as a family I had exactly three minutes and twenty seconds to take pictures of the elephants before the rest of the family pulled me away. With Kai off riding coasters I could spend hours watching and taking pictures of all of Busch Gardens creatures.Perfect. And that’s what I did. 

 

 

The year was 1988. I was graduating high school and everyone was doin’ Da Butt.

Twenty four years later it’s not about dancing, it’s about shrinking da butt. Spinning definitely helps.

And thanks to Dr. Oz I’ve learned more ways to keep my keister in shape. Here are some facts straight from his four step Butt Busting videos.

      • Did you know that when we sit we stretch out the fat in our butts and generate new fat cells?
      • Our buttocks are the first place we gain weight.
      • Want to lose some of that butt fat? Eat carbs. Yep, you read that right. Cells in your butt are magnets for fat and not carbs so bring on the pasta. Woo hoo!
      • If you take 100 mg. of Kudzu Root every morning and eat Dr. Oz’s Butt Busting Brownie two times a day it will help block fat from congregating on your derriere.
Dr. Oz Bust Your Butt Fat