Tag: kittens

Here’s a Reason to Smile

Life can sucker punch you at times. While you’re bent over trying not to regurgitate your breakfast, you’re not smiling. Smile? When I just got slugged?
Give me something to smile about, and then I’ll smile.
Judging by the frowns on people’s faces and the creases created by them on foreheads, I think there isn’t enough to smile about for most people.
And since I’m the gal who actually built her upper body strength in boot camp by smiling…I thought I’d help you out.
What? You don’t see how smiling builds muscles in the arms, shoulders and back?
Well, if you’re at Boot Camp and you smile, one of two things will happen:

  1.  You’ll get bugs in your teeth
  2. The Drill Seargent will punish you

Exact conversation from the summer of 1984 (and no, I’m not too old to remember back that far):
DI: Do you think this is summer camp, private?
Me: (eyes darting from side to side) Uh…NO, DRILL SERGEANT.
DI: The why are you smiling? (This is a rhetorical question so I stare straight ahead and wait for the rant.) Do you think this is fun?
Me: NO, DRILL SERGEANT.
DI: I think you’re having too much fun, private. Drop and give me 20.
Me: (Assumes the pushup position) One, Drill Sergeant.
DI: I can’t hear you private! Louder. (Yes, they really do say that while you’re counting out your repetitions.)

Anyway, maybe that story gave you something to smile about. And for the record, it didn’t keep me from smiling. I didn’t smile all the time (like when I was being tear gassed or after I’d hiked 20 miles carrying my 100 pounds of gear).
Why not smile? Think about how your face automatically wants to respond when you see a smile.
And afterward, you feel a little better. It’s like relaxing those facial muscles cues something inside your chest.
So, I thought I’d share a few things that made me smile recently.
My cat skidding across the wooden floors in pursuit of a well-used crochet item.

Seeing this sign when I drove into the Fred Meyer Parking Lot


A three-word text from my husband. No, it wasn’t “Is dinner ready?” I’m sure you can figure it out if you think hard enough.

My book cover shared on the page of an authentic fan (a person I have never met who reached out to me after reading one of my books)
Cute kitten pictures on Facebook (or Instagram or Pinterest)


A funny line in a book

Finishing my to-do list for the day


Now, I could continue to list some things. I smile an awful lot, and sometimes at the craziest things. (How many people do you know who grin maniacally in the Fred Meyer parking lot because they see a sign?)

Instead, I’m asking for your stories.

What makes you smile? What was the LAST thing that made you smile? Feel free to share memes or screen shots in the comments. Let’s give each other a reason to smile today.

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Maybe you like romance or some of my other books. I’m sure there’s something worth reading on my page.

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It’s Fried-Brain Friday

I’m so thankful it’s Friday. Aren’t you?

Welcome to “It’s been one of those weeks.” In fact, it looks like October is going to be one of those months.

But my followers want to see three posts from me each week. This is what I’m told by Social Media Jedi Master Kristen Lamb. Or if you don’t want to read them, I need to post them so Google thinks I’m alive and well.

And they’ll give me better consideration during searches.

Whatever.

one_of_those_weeks

I don’t really care about that so much when my brain is fried. I’ve got two speaking events to plan for (and the thought of the second one makes me nauseous).

Plus I’m supposed to be writing.

So, today I’m offering the first (of many) Fried-Brain Fridays. I’ll post a couple videos that might make you smile. Or maybe feel warm and fuzzy.

Or if nothing else feel grateful they didn’t have smart phones with video cameras when you lived your Most Embarrassing Moment.

And in case you’d rather have some cuteness. Or can relate to falling asleep however and wherever, I give you kittens.

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Check out Poet Inspired and my other books. Already read one or more? Your honest review is a golden nugget in this writer’s world.

Beta Reader Bliss – Or Not

betareaderblissIf you’re serious about becoming a published author, you can’t be afraid to share your writing with others. It’s inevitable that some of them will hate it. You know some of them will love it (and I’m not just talking your mom and best friend).

Some people use alpha readers. These people would see the rewritten first draft before it is edited. I’m not a fan of having all the picky things about my writing dinged. I want people to read like a reader and tell me what worked and what didn’t.

This is what beta readers do. I gave mine a huge checklist. Some of them followed it closely and others just marked the text and commented with questions or impressions they had. Both methods gave me valuable insight.

This marked my maiden voyage into the realm of beta reading, so everything felt somewhat surreal. Since most of my betas were also first-timers (at beta reading), I wanted to offer some guidance.

How I found my Beta Readers

Two of my beta readers are people I know. People who read the fantasy genre and know what they like, what works and what makes a good story.

My youngest reader was a former student. I interviewed him personally after he read the book. He had honest feedback and didn’t just “love” the book because his teacher wrote it. His was my first input and it made me break out the sandpaper so the other feedback wouldn’t hurt as much (hopefully).

A book group I meet with six times per year also took the book (a pre-beta version) and read it to offer their feedback. Since I consider them friends, I wasn’t really considering them beta readers, but I will consider their feedback. The first thing they helped me do was change the order of the opening scenes, making a stronger beginning.

The other four readers I found through WANATribe. This is a social media network for artists, and I have found tons of insight and inspiration by interacting with people here. One of the readers I found here was a professional YA author, one a writer with years of editing and PR writing and the final two: beginners like me. I figured that would offer me a diverse sampling of feedback.

Why I love my Beta Readers

One of my beta readers sent me updates as she read the text. “It took me awhile to understand the setting but now that I’m into it, it’s moving right along.” Comments that let me know it was holding her interest.

At the end, when she sent me the marked up manuscript she asked, “When do I get to read the next book?” I had heard that before from a member of the book group who read it. A good sign.

Cuddly beta readers - have claws!
Cuddly beta readers – have claws!

These people told me the truth. Seriously. One of the readers had something akin to a “don’t shoot the messenger” warning attached with his remarks. Troubled spots were noted and marked. Thanks to the sandpaper I spoke about earlier, I hardly even felt the jabs. After all, this was a story they slaughtered, not me.

Only a few areas found common dislike among nearly all the readers. These things will garner my full attention when the next round of revisions begin. Other things mimicked my own worries. Many good ideas for changing the areas that didn’t work also came to light. This is the sort of truth I needed.

All this honesty means I have more rewriting and revision to do before I’m ready to move on to the polishing phase. Not the news I was hoping for – certainly. On the other hand, precisely the reason I wanted beta readers in the first place. The outcome for my novel: positive.

Most of these betas volunteered to read the new manuscript or other work from me. In the end, that means they didn’t hate my writing or my writing style, which is good news.

Bottom line: this beta reading experience encourages me on my path to publication. I will use beta readers for my future projects and recommend the same for all of my fellow writers (who might be reading this).

If you are a young adult who loves to read fantasy, please use the contact form on my home page to send me your information if you would like to read the polished version of Daughter of Water. Of course, I will want honest feedback. I promise not to make it look like English homework.

Any other experienced beta readers out there? What do you like the most about the beta reading process? Writers: what sort of input do you want from beta readers?