Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A is for Action and It's IWSG Day

Happy IWSG day—the first Wednesday of each month. IWSG has never missed a posting day (even though I have!) so I’m combining my A to Z Challenge and my IWSG post. I hope it doesn't seem too discombobulated. Anyway, many thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for creating IWSG. It's a much-loved, very special organization.

It's hard to believe April is here all ready. For almost a year, I've been looking forward and thinking about my A to Z theme. If I was smart, I would have prepared each post ahead of time, but not me. When it comes to the A to Z Challenge, I like to live dangerously. Off the top of my head the night before posting--or morning of. Okay, here we go, we'll see what happens!

Like the TV ad said…we were ready to make our dreams a reality. I'd wanted to yank up carpet and knock down walls for a long time. The 30+ year old home hubby and I purchased in 1996 definitely needed a face lift. But, the time was never right. Hubby worked out of town, we had a daughter in private school, then college ... we just didn’t have the money to invest in home renovation.
So last year, one year after hubby retired, we decided to take ACTION. I could hardly believe it! I began my list of desired improvements and started my research. Exciting times—or so I thought.

Here's my ACTION List:
Living Room: New ceiling fan with great reading lights, new baseboards,  and new flooring all the way down the hall & into master bedroom, paint, removal of wet bar to build floor to ceiling book shelves.
Dining Area:  New flooring, paint
Kitchen: Combine kitchen & dining area, new flooring, new countertops – granite or …? Backsplash, New stove top, new dishwasher, microwave and oven. New garbage disposal, doors on bookcase under bar, remove built-in desk and build shelves with doors, new cabinets? We’ll see.
Master Bedroom: paint, new floor
Master bathroom: new shower, shelves over built-in chest, shelves over bathtub, paint. And new floor.
Guest Bathroom: new countertops and sinks. New toilet, new floor. New tub?     
Son’s room: paint? New floor?
Daughter’s room? New floor?

This is the list we discussed with the contractor—more about him later—and of course, it was all negotiable. At this point, what we wanted and what we could afford were still two different things--sort of like wanting to be published by one of the Big 5 publishers but settling for an unknown small press.
Listen to me: Research is imperative. It doesn’t matter if we’re going to a new doctor or a new literary agent, moving to a new city or a new publisher—research is crucial to keep us from making unnecessary mistakes.
I learned the hard way that no matter whether we’re taking action on our writing dreams or renovating a house, we need to always ask the right questions. What are the right questions? Well, sometimes we don't know them until after the fact. 
Do you know any good questions to ask a contractor before he starts knocking down walls? I'd love to hear them. What would you ask your agent if you learned he was e-bombing your book proposal to publishers--even though some of them didn't publish your genre?
Research + Asking the right questions = a happy writer and a happy renovator!

Join me tomorrow for B-day.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Today is my mom's birthday. She lives in Texas and she's 91 years old. One of her very favorite things to do--when she was able--was home decoration and bargain shopping. And she could sew anything! I wish she was still capable of making curtains, shopping for just the right lamp or piece of furniture--arguing with contractors. I've really missed and needed her this past year.

In March 2014, hubby and I started renovating our home. Let me just say... I'd rather go through natural childbirth...AGAIN! Our renovation ended this month. Yep, one long, miserable, frustrating year later. I refer to it as the renovation from hell and can't help but wonder how my mother would have handled it. Obviously, I wasn't too good a taskmaster, and neither was my husband. So in honor of my mom, I plan to take you through our renovation experience, give you questions to ask and things to be aware of and consider, if and when you start your own home renovation. There's certainly no need for you to make the same mistakes I made. If there's a particular subject you want me to discuss, let me know. I may be able to share some info. I hope you'll join me every day during the month of April as I race through the alphabet and share my construction experience.

Mom, happy birthday, and I dedicate my 2015 A to Z Challenge to you.

Welcome to our renovated home.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Markets that Pay

Just popping in to say ... I absolutely love Cindi Myers Market News. She's posted some interesting markets for you. Check out the Jack the Ripper story request, and the call out from Heroes and Heartbreakers. There's more, and these are paying markets, people! Always a good thing.


Let me know if you send something. I'll cross my fingers for you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

IWSG: Be Intentional

I haven't blogged in quite some time. In fact, last month I completely forgot about IWSG day. It came and went and I didn't even think of it. Very unusual for me since I've always looked forward to first Wednesdays. This month I made a mental reminder. So thanks Alex Cavanaugh for not kicking me out of the club! 
I've been trying to get a handle on exactly what I want for my writing. Seems like a ridiculous thing to say at this point in my life, but I guess that's just about it. Maybe a better way to put it is ... I'm trying to get serious about writing; become intentional. I feel like "become intentional" is the new catch phrase. Some years ago we were saying, "Just do it!" and I told myself to just do it constantly.
So, now I'm being intentional. I'm gaining clarity about what I really want and, as the life coach says, "choosing how I “show up” and contribute. Every week, I meet a friend at the library--the way I did in Oklahoma. As a result of these meetings, I've discarded one novel (it had extreme problems) and started the revision of another one--with less problems. I wrote a piece for one of the confession magazines only to decide it would make an interesting novella so I'm in the process of trying to outline it longer. I completed a short, short mystery that I sent off to Woman's World. The story just spewed out of me, and that's always a good sign, right? I'll let you know if and when a rejection comes in.
I'm also working on two nonfiction books. One is about a woman who was blind for a number of years, and then she was healed. It's a powerful story. I met the woman in Oklahoma and recorded about four hours of interview with her. My second book is, of course, a writing book. Doesn't every writer want to pen a writing book?
In additional to my "intentional writing" I'm hoping to get a website soon. Yeah, I'm taking this intentional stuff seriously. I've vowed that when I walk into my CPA's office next year, I will NOT be embarrassed! I will not! (Now, that's intentional.)
How about you? What have you written lately? What are you doing to further your writing career ... or your jewelry making business, or any other goal or dream you have? Whatever you're doing, be intentional. Share with us.