I'm back! But I have a very good reason for my long absence. See this lovely picture? Nice, huh? Well, my wonderful yearly vacation to the mountains didn't end so well. I fell at the bottom of this beautiful mountain and broke my arm. Waaaah! That's about the worst thing that can happen to a massage therapist. We can't work with fiberglass wrapped around our arms.
Okay, no, the worst thing would be death and then there are plenty of other horrible things in between a broken arm and death like having a shark bite our fingers off or a flesh-eating virus take out a whole arm or... you get the idea. Fortunately, broken limbs heal and now I'm back to work.
Sooooo, you'd think I would have had plenty of time to write blog posts while I sat around and healed, right? Wrong! After I spent a few days binge-watching Netflix and day-drinking wine (deja vu from March 2020), I went on Upwork and attempted to rustle up a writing job. I could still type, awkwardly, but far better than I could do many other things. (Note to self: Beg doctor for removable cast should I ever break a bone again - showering and soooo many other things becomes sad, frustrating chores with one arm inoperable and covered in fiberglass.)
Fortunately, a wonderful person I'd worked with at Upwork in the past had a book they wanted written, a cowboy romance. Yippee-ki-yay! I got to work. My goal was a chapter a day five days a week. And folks, I did it. Until I went back to work at the day job I plunked my butt in the chair and twisted my lil' old casted hand around and hit the keyboard until I got to 70,000 plus words. I turned in the Epilogue today. Go me!!!!!
Well, I did a lot of the writing via dictation, which I just learned I can do with Microsoft 365. Sweet! That saved me some arm pain though I found it's somewhat clunky to use. But I was happy to have it. I was also happy to write an entire fiction book again, which I haven't done since 2021 due to the insanity of the past two years.
Guys, I love my day job. I love owning a business, keeping people healthy with massage, finding creative solutions to problems, and whole lot of other good stuff that goes along with being a small business owner and a massage therapist. But it's been getting harder and harder to be a small business owner and it takes more of my time and money every year and there is much more bullshit to deal with constantly. I have less time and energy to write.
The Haiku books I created these past two years were fun and I'm damn proud of those so I might do more in the future. They let me play with graphics as well as words. But...maybe it's time I wrote another fiction book. I had more chapters to do on the cowboy book after I went back to work. I wanted to finish the story and the person who hired me said it would be fine if I worked at a slower pace. I found I could produce 2,300 words a week and still have time to keep up with my day job, enjoy a somewhat sedate-but-still-fun social life, and not be zombie-tired or manically- stressed. I've been both of those and I swear, as God is my witness, I'll do my damnedest never to be dangerously tired or stressed again because I pushed myself too hard.
Is it better to write 2,300 words a day than a week? Shit yeah! I could knock out a book in no time. But I gots to keep the day job so I have to put that first. And now the big question is: What Do I Want To Write?
That's been my dilemma for a while. What I enjoy writing isn't necessarily commercially successful and will be hard to market. But guys, I think it can be done. One thing that got driven home to me while ghost-writing this book: I CAN write about anything. For awhile. I MUST enjoy what I'm writing if I'm going to do it for any length of time. And keep my sanity.
Isn't that true of all jobs? And relationships? And friendships? And...you get the idea.
Stay tuned to see what I come up with.
I hope you were in the path of the eclipse this past week and got to enjoy that awesome show by Mother Nature. Florida got a partial view and it was pretty cool. Like I don't love our library system enough already, they provided free eclipse glasses so thanks to them, I was able to stare at the sun and keep my eyeballs intact.
October is still pretty crazy in my world, thus the late blog, which will likely double as a post for last week and this week. Work is thankfully busy, I'm planning for an upcoming trip, and there are oodles of delightful Halloween-y and autumn-y things to do. Do you like my creepy lawn decorations? Cool weather just moved in here so it's possible to go out in the yard and start my herb garden without collapsing from heat stroke. I know, don't be jealous that we get to garden in fall and winter in Florida; remember we have hurricanes and fire ants and one thousand percent humidity for months. We deserve a break.
My weird pain is something in my low back and hip area and it comes and goes randomly. Do you have an issue like that? A lot of people do. The previously-mentioned gardening probably has something to do with this bout of pain which is not debilitating, mostly annoying. I'm used to feeling fit as a fiddle. (Who came up with that expression? Why are fiddles, of all musical instruments, considered fit?) But sometimes a bit of discomfort is a good lesson for me to remember that many folks walk around in a lot of pain all the time. I count my blessings that I feel well almost always and try to be more patient with others who behave badly, knowing they might be having a massively painful day and that's why they're acting bitchy.
I got a good round of work done on my upcoming haiku book and am looking at a November release date. Of course I'd like it to be at the start of November, which would be perfect because this book ties in with my holiday haiku book, but it'll more likely be the middle of the month. It seemed like I had so much time to work on my book over the endlessly steamy, hurricane-fire ant-filled summer but lookie here, ha-ha, it's holiday time already!
But I'm not going to stress about that. I'll work as hard as I can and still enjoy my favorite month. October rocks!
What I'm reading: I need to finish up the Sookie Stackhouse book I started, Deadlocked, so I can get into the book for book club. Even if I don't finish the book club book, I like to go to meetings. Everyone there can recap the book for me.
What I'm watching: Oooooo! Spooky stuff! Check out Renfield on Amazon Prime and you'll get a kick out of Nicolas Cage at his maniacal best. Nicholas Hoult is a new face to me and he and Awkwafina and Ben Schwartz make this movie delightfully creepy and fun.
What made me happy: I got a new TENS unit for that weird pain and so far, it seems to help. It's amazing how much power those little things put out! I also have an appointment to finally get my ass in gear and get some x-rays to figure out what's going on. Do I need to stretch more? Add extra calcium to my diet? Up my gym routine? Win the lottery, quit work, get a massage every day? I like that last one a lot!
Thank you for reading.
“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” ~Charlotte Whitton
Did I say October was going to be busy? Holy shitshow it's been crazy and we're barely a week in! After a great concert by Killer Queen on Saturday night with my concert buddy, my honey and I had to seize a cool-ish weather day and go for a motorcycle ride. Even though I have a gazillion things to do, like write my blog post, time spent with him is important and especially since he's had medical issues this past week and needs a dose of fun. "I actually feel good for the first time in forever," he said, while he sipped a beer and ate lunch. And that makes my heart happy. (Not really forever; he tends to overdramatize a wee bit.)
Life gets crazy but I try to remember what's most important. Love is right up there at the top. Writing is high on the priority list and I managed a few words on my book today so Go Me! Friends and entertainment are also vital for my health; never any guilt when I squeeze those components into my schedule, so I might as well get used to a month of crazy because there's more time-consuming but fun stuff on the horizon.
Thank you for reading!
"We are most alive when we are in love." ~ John Updike
Can you tell I have a slight fan-girl crush on the guitar player? Front row seats rock!!!!!
Another birthday month comes to a close and I'd have to say this one was successful. I'm still on this side of the dirt, which is always good, and I had big fun this September with a comedy club outing and an arcade outing. I rounded up fun friends who came to both of these events with me and having my honey along is always a blast. I also didn't overschedule, correctly assuming I'd need a weekend in between festivities to chill. A girl has got to know her limitations. Speaking of knowing limitations...
My regret for this birthday year is that I haven't written more, but fortunately, I'm getting wiser as I get older. I'm getting better at letting go of disappointment and not letting it stop me from moving forward, even if it's only at a snail's pace. Snails still make progress. I'm not doing the guilt thing about my low writing productivity because maybe these past two years of writing super-short non-fiction books isn't because I'm too busy, lazy, or not smart enough to write "real" books anymore. Maybe it's the space between the notes, my time of gearing up for something big. Temporary low productivity doesn't mean I'll never write a lot again and this year was cra-cra for me (see the post on 9/12/2023) so I have a good reason for only putting out a wee book.
I remain optimistic for my writing future.
What I'm reading: The third, and I hope not final book in The Misadventures of a Paranormal Post-Relationship Personal Effects Repossession Specialist. How's that for a doozy series title? I've enjoyed the whole series and the most recent book, A Siren Sings Her Heart Out, is possibly my favorite. The offbeat humor is right up my alley and I love the relationships between characters. Also, in book three, we finally get a glimpse of the hero's mysterious past. Start with book one and you won't be disappointed by any of them.
What I'm watching: Who loves Mel Gibson, even though he's bat-shit crazy? Check out Force of Nature to watch him in a perfect role. The movie got bad reviews but I totally enjoyed the action, the cheesy storyline, and the frequent humorous lines. When the bad guy gets what's coming to him at the end I know you'll cheer like I did.
What made me happy: Finally catching the baby-making machine Pixie! The Cat Crew and I have been trying to catch this female for over a year. She's been fixed and is back in her 'hood and will be much happier now that the boy cats will leave her alone and she won't get preggers again. I tried explaining that to her but she was giving me the stink-eye, for sure!
Thanks for reading!
"Music is the space between the notes."~ Claude Debussy
Every year a few of my writer buddies go to the NINC conference, along with a whole bunch of other writers. NINC is Novelists, Inc. and to join you have to meet a criteria of having earned a certain dollar amount selling books. I've never earned that amount so I'm not invited to the party. Honestly, most years I can't afford to go anyway and don't have the time but still. I want to be able to have the option to go or to say no, I'm far too busy spending my millions of dollars I made from my last book doing other fabulous things so there, nanner nanner nanner. Being able to join NINC and attend the conference, however, is a real goal of mine so it gives me a good reason to keep writing.
I swore I would write once a week and this week it's going to be short as I suspect other weeks will be also. But like I always tell my honey, everything we write doesn't have to be an epic masterpiece. Just get the damn words on the page. So, here's what's going on with me.
What I'm reading: I just finished The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, our book of the month for my book club. It was a decent read but shiiiiiit! Those people had a rough life. Made me glad to live where and when I do because I think I'm tough but I'm not Kentucky hill-woman tough and I don't think I would have survived long in the situation the book's heroine was in.
What I'm watching: Check out a super-cute movie called The Spy Who Dumped Me and enjoy the absolutely delightfully wacky performance by Kate McKinnon. And does Sebastian look familiar? Picture rolling hills of Scotland behind him.
What made me happy: Planning a trip to Arcade Monsters this weekend to celebrate birthday month. Yeah, I like games. I like drinking beer and playing games even more. I'll just throw my own party!
Thanks for reading!
I always like to do something that scares me during my birthday month so this year I'm challenging myself to really and truly keep up a blog. My goal is to publish here at least once a week, maybe more. What, you say? Writing a blog isn't that scary. Uh, yeah, but commitment is and this year has pretty much already scared the shit out of me so I'm taking it a wee bit easier with my birthday month challenge this year.
What happened this year? Pull up a chair and a glass of your favorite beverage and I'll tell you my tale of horror. Due to Florida suddenly becoming a hugely popular place to live, prices have skyrocketed. The rent on my shop went way up so I had to move my business. Not once but twice and let me tell you, I had a lot of crapola after being in one location for ten years. It was heartbreaking, a lot of physical work, and I spent way too much time being pissed off at greedy, asshole landlords but in the end, I ended up at a great place with a fabulous roommate and I'm incredibly happy with work life now.
Insurance has gone through the roof in Florida and many companies, including our homeowners' insurance, flat-out left our lovely state. Seems it was costing them money to pay for all these hurricane claims. Huh. Property taxes soared like a vulture swooping down for some good ol' Southern road kill. Sooooo, now I have higher bills to pay and, oh yeah, I had to get a new car which is lovely but comes with payments which is a major adjustment after not having a car payment for a long time. All this means lots of money going out. Yep, that's scary.
Writing, publishing, and marketing takes time and money and I don't have a lot of either right now. To put effort and $$$$ into a book that I'm fairly certain won't sell like crazy is disheartening. But. You never know when the Universe is going to surprise you with Random Shit and any of my books could actually sell like crazy, or at least sell a wee bit. I'm a persistent bitch and even if I only put out one short book this year, that means I haven't given up. If, however, I do absolutely nothing, that's exactly what I'll get back.
I'd like to say that all is well now and I'm moving along at breakneck speed but that's not true. There are still plenty of challenges in my life and with all the craziness going on these past few years I've shifted course several times. I wish I had more books planned but I don't. I wish I knew exactly what I want to write going forward and have adjusted my wacky schedule to write those awesome books but that's also not true. My writing goal this year is just to publish the second book in my Humorous Haiku series and that book is moving along nicely and should be done soon. Next year...we'll see.
Making a commitment to carve out more time for writing and for sharing more about myself IS scary but I'm moving forward, which is the only way to go. I'll end with a favorite quote. Thanks for reading.
"You fail only if you stop writing." ~Ray Bradbury
I think this year has made us all need an extra laugh or two, right? Much as I love Urban Fantasy and Paranormal books and dark, spooky things, I like to laugh, too. My favorite Halloween movie this year was Hubie Halloween. Hysterical! I have several funny Christmas movies already picked out including Bad Santa. I know, it's kinda juvenile humor but I still like it. We just watched The Night Before and it's another Seth Rogen bromance-party movie and yeah, even more juvenile humor, but I still laughed. There shall be no judgement on our taste in books or movies in 2020.
I've joined with a bunch of fabulous authors to give you a selection of free books, short stories, prequels and samples. If you haven't grabbed my Badass Demon Bounty Hunter series prequel, Demons Don't Do Decaf, now's your chance. Use this link and check out our goodies. https://storyoriginapp.com/to/BGyMlJ5
Happy Thanksgiving if you're in the USA and Happy Fall or Spring to you, depending on which hemisphere you live in. Remember, stay strong through all this craziness and find ways to make yourself peaceful and happy. I hope reading books is one of them and that we authors can make your day better by sharing some laughs and freebies with you. *big mwah*
Because 2020 has tricked us enough, right? I wrote a short prequel to Who Let the Demon Out and I want to share with you. It's free! Isn't that a nice treat? Follow this link
But if the email demons mess this up (and you KNOW the email demons are out there), give me a shout and I'll get your free copy to you. Have a Happy Halloween and remember, even with all that's going on, we can still have fun.
PS Do you like to read and review books? Check out Lola's Blog Tours and sign up if you want to review Who Let the Demon Out. No deadline on this so you have plenty of time to finish making that cool Halloween costume and buy more candy to replace the bag you already ate. What? Am I the only one who did that?
Come visit one of the many stops on my fabulous Bewitching Book Tour. At several interviews I share my deepest, darkest secrets. Okay, maybe not the deepest, darkest ones. I don't want to scare you so bad you run off screaming into the night. ;-) On this post I'm sharing information about my writing career, advice to new authors, and info about a tough scene I wrote in my last book. Check out my table-tipping adventure here. Want to listen to a short reading of an excerpt? Visit Bertena at Midnight Musings here. I love when Southern women say cuss words, and there's a few of them in my excerpt. ;-)
Please visit one or all of the tour hosts and enter to win a gift card. Thanks so much!
October 5 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
October 5 Roxanne’s Realm
October 6 Jazzy Book Reviews
October 6 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom (Guest Blog)
October 7 Supernatural Central (Interview)
October 7 JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder(Interview)
October 8 Simply Kelina
October 8 Midnight Musings
October 9 The Book Junkie Reads
October 9 Fang-tastic Books (Guest Blog)
October 9 Sapphyria's Books
October 12 T's Stuff (Interview)
October 12 Paranormalists (Interview)
October 12 Lisa’s World of Books
Floridians are the opposite of most of the rest of the country in that we look forward to winter with much glee. This year especially, since many of us are choosing to mostly participate in outdoor activities and dining. And gardening. Check out the video below to see my container garden. Right now it's a weed garden, but the weeds have flowers so let's say I'm growing flowers. :-) I plant cherry tomatoes and the last years I've had more success with a winter garden than a summer one. Eventually it will cool down and I can get the plants started. It's so weird gardening when most of the country is stocking up on firewood, but it's our reward for putting up with the long, fiery summers. I can't wait to get started!
I also can't wait to get started on my new book tour with Bewitching Book Tours. Details on that coming soon.
This site contains adult content. Please do not continue if you are not 18 or older.
Psst, Chrome users, you may need to do a little tweeking to get the RSS feed to work. Great YouTube short video here. http://bit.ly/1D9Deu5
To have my blog delivered to you automatically, please enter your email below.
I would love to hear from you! Drop me a line at naomibellina AT live.com