Posted in Writer Musings

Remember When…

Let’s turn back time to 2017.  Remember when I posted New Year, New Start 2017 on January 1, 2017?  Don’t remember, Dear Bloggites, click the link, take a moment to read the post, I can wait right here for you.  Let me know when you are back.

Okay, now that you are back, I had grand plans with those three key words: Change, Passion, and Luck.  Today, I was flipping through my notebook of the different scribbles I make, some on new written works, some on classes, some on random thoughts to do something with, on this flipping excursion, I came across this:

Goals 2017

Now, if you look real close, you will see the graph I made on adding one new thing each month.  January just had ‘Skin Regiment’ which I started (thus the check over it); February added ‘Get Dressed’, odd goal but those of you who work from home will understand the ease it is to just stay in the PJs all day; March added ‘Workout’ to the other two items.  Now, as you already have noticed, I did not check off ‘Get Dressed’ or ‘Workout’ and the ensuing months, I added nothing, nada, the big fat 0!

All those goals and plans withered away and died as life began demanding all my time.  Also, the items and sub-items for Change, Passion, and Luck, did not happen.  A synopsis of the goals and if it happened or not:

Change 1: I will find myself on my own again with my son, the dog, and the guinea pig with no roommate for the first time in, geez, years – Did not happen and we lost my son’s guinea pig earlier this year.  Still hoping the roommate moves out but until he can find sustainable money coming in, I don’t see it happening too soon. 😦

Change 2: I have been paying for a gym membership for the past year and have not utilized it…going to utilize this gym membership to change my health for the better and reach the weight I am happiest at once again – Did not happen, however, I did let that gym membership close and now I paid for an entire year at another gym closer to my house, maybe this year…

Change 3: My current business is surviving this lull in the industry and seems to finally have bounced back…continue to find ways to build income from this business – My current business is still struggling and my co-worker is looking for another job because there is not enough work for two people to do (if you have not figured it out, my roommate is my co-worker).

Change 4: I am going to take advantage of the social invites I get and start actually going – Didn’t happen, I am getting better, but not where I wanted to be.

Passion 1: I have a wordsmith business…I plan on growing this business up, one client at a time and look forward to the new relationships I shall make along the way – While I have had some clients, it is nowhere near where I wanted to be at this time now.

Passion 2: I am now looking at taking myself seriously as a writer and growing this part of me on a personal level…My goal is to sign up for some form of writing class each month to build my talent as a writer and start opening doors to the publishing world to promote myself as a writer – I did good with the classes for the first three months, as well as, writing, but then life scattered the classes and writing to the wind.

Luck 1: I know with every situation I face, I will need a little luck in finding my way – Luck is still my friend but decided to work in the background and not allowing all the doors and opportunities to be opened.

Luck 2: Waking up every morning…just start finding things to fill my time outside work – Did not happen.  Waking up did, but nothing outside work.

As, you can all see, my goals and plans were dust in the wind rather quickly.  Now that a new year is here and pretty much at the same point when last year’s goals petered out, I am ramping up my determination and going to push through everything to obtain these goals this year.

I hope you travel on this journey with me, Dear Bloggites, because it is lonely sometimes and encouragement and especially accountability go a long way.  If you do not see me posting for a while, shoot me a comment here and give me the proverbial “Kick in the Ass” to get me going again.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

The Struggle Is Real, People!

Hey, All!  It’s me again.  I know, SHOCKING, two blogs back-to-back, and even more shocking, they are not on book reviews!  I am still doing my reviews as I read, but as you can see, with the lack of review posts, that I have not been reading (Bad, P, Goofy JugglingBad!!!).

We all start the new year with grand goals and plans for our life and most of us see those grand goals and plans fizzle as the months go on, well guess what, mine fizzled as soon as it was out of the proverbial gate at the beginning of the year.  I love to write, I love to read, I love books, as you know, Dear Bloggites, and I make plans to do this, and this, and this, and then life says, “Deal with THIS!” and all my plans get scattered to the wind.

Last year, 2017, I promised myself that I would get back to writing my novel I started before my Dad’s Cancer spread and was put on hold for me to take care of him and his needs.  I was blessed to have those last months with my Dad, but I promised myself after he passed that I was going to focus on my writing.  So, Dad passed in August of 2016, and I miss him every freaking day, he was my best friend and my sound board, and I flounder now when I am struggling with things.

I promised myself 2017 would be the year my writing career took off, and I was doing well for the first month and the second month: I was taking writing classes, signing up for writing retreats, writing daily on my novel, etc. and in the third month, my business got busy, so writing was put off due to long days of working my business.  That busyness carried into the fourth month with writing classes going by the wayside along with the writing because my brain was fried from the demands of work.

The fifth month rolls around and I found myself in the hospital with my sister who almost died.  We spent two months in the hospital, her fighting for life, and me fighting for her rights while she could not.  Praise God, the fight won and Four of Seven (my name for her in the Familial Roll Call) came back to us.  She struggled for many months, but she was alive and had all her faculties.

By the time all this took place, I found myself facing the last few months of the 2017 with minimal progress on my writing and all my plans and goals shot to hell and resting where all writing projects go to die.  So, I rallied.  I promised myself that 2018 was going to be the year my writing career took off (sounds like a bad case of ground hog’s day, the movie) and I was going to change my work hours to accommodate my time to allow focus on writing.  I was going to blog regularly, book reviews and writing progress and whatever I want to share, and I was going to start on the classes again and try and give the writing retreat another shot.

Then January 1, 2018 was here, and I was laid up with a severe case of the Flu.  For the first two weeks, I was in bed, barely working, and wishing I was dead just to make the terrible feeling go away.  I recovered from that only to find that my body has decided it wants to start causing me issues with more intense pain aside from my chronic pain I live with from the car accident I had in 2005.  It hurt to move a finger, and I am still struggling with this factor as of today.  But, once again, my plans and goals for my writing career were blown out of the water.

But guess what?  I came prepared with a rope to pull it back in.  Well, sort of.  I am doing writing classes and I am getting so stoked and encouraged that I am feeling the tingle in my fingers and the yearning in my brain to put pen to paper (or finger to keystroke).  Something I honestly have not felt since before my Dad got sick.

See, I can make all these plans and set all these goals, but if the desire and passion are not there, the plans and goals are easy to disregard.  Without passion, any activity or goal becomes work, or for me, just another job after hectic days with my business.

I did not get it until I started listening to all the different authors who were interviewed in the Women In Publishing Summit offered by Alexa Bigwarfe and sponsored by Vivante.  This is not a plug for anyone, however, I do want to thank Alexa for bringing the passion back for the writing mojo I love.  Alexa’s book, Ditch The Fear-Just Write It!, had the greatest statement that spoke to me.  The statement was, “Warning.  This is no ordinary plan.  It is the ass-kicker you need when you want to give up.”

This statement may not mean anything to you, but OH MY GOODNESS, it was like I was slammed in the head with a resounding, “DUH!!!!”  That passionate writing mojo said, “Oh, yeah!  Now we got it!”  I literally heard these two thoughts (heard thoughts…whaaat?) in my head as soon as I read that statement in Alexa’s book.

There will never been the perfect time to have my “writing career take off” – Life Happens.  Life will ALWAYS happen.  I will always have road blocks being thrown up at me when it comes to writing.  Why, you ask?  Because in order to achieve something worthwhile, you will always have challenges testing you and your determination to obtain that achievement.

With this new thought process, I am now embracing my passionate writing mojo and I am just going to do it, no matter what.  Even if I am waking up at 4:30am wide awake after falling asleep only 30-minutes to an hour before, I will write.  I have thrown out the plans and goals and I am just going to write.  It doesn’t matter what I write or even how well I write, as long as I write, I will be organically working those plans and reaching those goals.

Goofy SurprisedIt is so refreshing and freeing to think this way.  I love it!  So, you and I will be having almost daily chats, Dear Bloggite, because I want to share my Journey with you and maybe you will decide to share your journey, no matter what it is, with me, I would love to be there for you and support you in this Journey we call Life.

My challenge to you today: Think about your life.  Is there something you always have an intent to do but somehow never get around to doing it?  What can you do, to make that intent happen?  Are you going to need to throw out the plans and goals, like I had to do or are you going to have to tweak your life a little bit to make it happen?  Let me know down below in the comments. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

A panda walks into a café.  He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

“Why?” asked the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit.  The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

“I’m a panda,” he says, at the door, “Look it up.”

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

“Panda.  Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China.  Eats, shoots & leaves.”

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne TrussHi Ho, All!  I am doing a bonus book review, well heck, not really a bonus since I blog on most of the books I read. 😀  As you all know, I am a writer, albeit newbie writer, but a writer nonetheless and am always looking for books that cover the craft of writing and storytelling.

Being a Grammar Nazi, I always get giddy with books over any kind of grammar lessons, and I was nicely surprised when one of my Beautiful Books & Broads Book Club Tribe Monkey Member came up to me and handed me this book stating she immediately thought of me when she read this book.  Between the punctuation lesson and the snarky sarcastic way of the author, Lynn Truss, Darling Janice knew this was a book for me to read.  Thank You, Janice!!!

I was hooked on this book immediately from the first snarky sentence by the author.  I love being reminded of proper punctuation and in this day and age of “Text Speak”, punctuation is a dying art.  The book Eats, Shoots & Leaves, talks about all the standard punctuation marks that are slowly being disregarded in this world of technology where no one questions why their sentence seems off because Word did not tell them there was an issue. 😦

Lynne Truss covers the history of each punctuation she is talking on and provides great examples of how and how not to use each of them.  I was smiling from cover to cover reading this book.  If you are a writer or not, this book will definitely help remind you of how to properly state things in a written work so the meaning is completely clear without a question.

I give Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.  It is a definite must have for anyone who knows how to write. 🙂  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Books & Broads Book Club: My Monkeys, My Circus

Have you heard the phrase, “Not My Monkeys, Not my Circus” before?  Well, I want to tell you about the book club I am a member of.  The Books & Broads Book Club and the Members of it ARE my monkeys and they ARE my circus and I would not have it any other way! 🙂

We all long to find that one place, you know the one, Dear Bloggites, the place that you can just be you in all your quirky glory and be accepted and loved.  It is that place that becomes your haven in a rough world; your lighthouse to your lost boat; your circus to your monkey.

March 13, 2015, I found My Monkeys and My Circus.  I did not realize that taking that break from life to visit a book club would change my life forever, but it has, and I am so grateful for it!  There were roughly 7 ladies and 14 eyeballs that looked at me when I walked though that fateful door.  After a moment of being in the amazing presence of these ladies, I knew I found My Monkeys.  THIS was My Circus.

From all walks of life, we come being drawn by a love for books but it is our chemistry, our easy way with each other that makes the magic happen each month.   The shared love and care we all have for and with one another is hard to find in life.  I have many challenges in my life that pull at me and demand from me which drains my spirit but once I walk into that room, with those ladies, I am renewed and refreshed.  I feel all the strain seep out of my body until only happiness and joy are left.

Books & Broads Christmas Party 2016 1
Books & Broads Christmas Party 2016

The Books & Broads Book Club is my sanctuary in life.  I look forward to the day I can revisit Our Circus and be our Quirky Monkey selves!  I will never be able to express my Love, Appreciation, and Joy these Amazing Women bring into my life, I am just forever grateful that on that fateful day in March, I found My Monkeys and My Circus!

 

I Love You All, My Monkeys!  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in A Dog's Life

Ragonk – A Dog’s Tale of Survival

Ragonk Sitting Pretty
Ragonk – December 12, 2014

Ragonk (Rah-Gone-Kuh) teaches me many lessons in life. He has taught them to me from the moment he walked into my life one December night. I have been blessed by having this Boy-O come into my life and he gives me joy. The first lesson I learned from Ragonk is how to survive a bad situation until a better one arrives.

Back in December, 2014, Ragonk wandered into my garage with no tags and looking very scared and skittish. My roommate and I were having a Ragonk Party (radio blooper by one of the station employees when he was trying to say, “Rolando McClain” on the radio station we like to listen to called The Ticket).

The animal shelter was closed until Tuesday and I looked at the dog and said, “I need to come up with a name to call you over the weekend until the shelter opens.” One of my friends popped up and said, “Well, isn’t it obvious, his name should be Ragonk!” I called him that and he answered and has been Ragonk ever since.

I noticed as soon as Ragonk walked in the door that he showed signs of an abused dog. He was your typical abused dog that dropped his head and body bracing for a hit when someone walked up to him. He was scared to death of the sound of bacon cooking on the stove. He ran away anytime he saw a towel in someone’s hand and hid, shaking like a leaf once he was coaxed to come out of his hiding place. He walked tentatively around for fear of being yelled at or hit. His fear was more noticeable with men than women, but he was scared all the same of any person he saw.

Ragonk & Baden
Ragonk with Baden’s Ashes & Picture in the Background

It broke my heart. My dog, Baden, was old and grumpy but never knew what fear was and he welcomed Ragonk like he did all other animals, with a sniff and tail wag. Ragonk had a blast playing with Bodie, my roommate’s dog, and had a funny reverence for Baden. Whenever Baden would try and play with Ragonk, Ragonk would wag his tail until Baden did his first move then Ragonk ran away. If Baden was laying down, Ragonk would wag his tail and go sniff him but run as soon as Baden twitched.

As the weekend wore on, I noticed that Ragonk’s fear was starting to ebb and he was beginning to trust me and my roommate. He stayed by my side or would follow my roommate around wagging his tail. Yes, Ragonk was settling in.

Tuesday rolled around and I took him to the animal shelter where he immediately freaked out scratching my neck up and trying to get out of my arms. This alarmed me because I was not used to this behavior from him.

When I walked into the animal shelter they said they knew who he was because he was a “known escape artist” to them. They chipped him and so were able to tell me his name is “Steve” (STEVE!) and placed a call to the owner and inform him that the dog was found. The shelter offered to keep Ragonk, but based on his response, I declined and said I would keep him with me.

Happy Boy
Ragonk – March 20, 2017

A couple of days go by and I have not heard anything so I called to follow up. The animal shelter said the guy did not call them back, so I gave them permission to give him my phone number thinking when he got home the shelter was already closed and that was why they did not receive a call back.

The weekend rolls around and still no contact from the owner or the animal shelter. On the following Tuesday, I called back to the animal shelter and they were shocked that the guy had not called me back. I gave them permission to give him my address because I worked from home so he could stop by any time.

On Friday, I called the shelter back and they said they still had not received a call and offered to give me the guy’s address so I can show up with the dog on his doorstep. This guy lived two blocks from my house!  I told the shelter no because if I showed up the guy would take Ragonk and he obviously did not want him back based on his lack of contact.

After I hung up from the shelter, I called my long-time vet and asked what the statute of limitations were for an abandoned dog. My vet informed me it was ten days to two weeks, so I scheduled an appointment for Ragonk on the following Monday since the two weeks would be past.

The best thing the owner of Ragonk did was not contact me back. As time passed, Ragonk put aside his fears and took a chance on trusting us strangers who took him in and gave him a home. He survived an abusive existence to find happiness in a new home with lots of love by running away into my arms.

P.S. The “known escape artist formally known as Steve” has never once tried to run away from his new forever home.

Life is Good.jpg
Life Is Good!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in This & That

Reading + Writing Vortex = My Addiction

Hello, Dear Bloggites!  How many of you ever find yourself so immersed in an activity that you are ‘sucked into’ the vortex?  Hands? Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Oh, HEY!  There is one…oh, wait, that’s mine…

Ever since I was a kid, I have had this ability to tone everything around me out and become one with an activity.  This is a very strong super power of mine when it comes to reading or writing.

I will pick up a book with the intent of reading just one chapter and then hours later shake the imagination monkeys from my brain and return back to the real world to find the one chapter turned into ten or twenty or an entire novel! 😀

Yep, it is a wonderful super power, indeed.

The reason behind my reading vortex is simply the enjoyment of finding a new world to bring into my life.  Whether it is a scary story, funny story, romance, or biography, I love meeting new and interesting characters and learning about their lives and the world they live in.  I walk away from a story with new friends and a satisfaction so grand that I cannot wait for the next great adventure!

Queue in my other addiction of choice: writing.  I am working on my first novel and have written many poems and short stories in my life but the writing vortex I fall into willingly while writing my novel…man, no words can describe it!  I usually start off with a refresher of where I left off last and as soon as I start reading, my vortex engine begins to rev and then it is off I go!

When I write, the characters and their story drive my fingers and words.  I may start out with a concept or intent for a story line but as the characters are developed their life takes over and they become the driving force behind my writing.  Many times I realize at the end of a chapter or scene that it did not resemble my initial intent when I sat down to start writing.  This feeling is so Amazing and Otherworldly to me that I feel like my world is the imaginary world while the novel’s world is reality.

It is hard to try and express what this feels like because it is just that: a feeling; a sensation of images and thoughts.  It is my addiction.  A very good addiction at that.  It does not hurt anyone or mess up my life other than to take me to a new when instead of my when.  Other writers can probably express it better than I can because all I can come up with is my writing vortex…LOL

Reading & writing are so important to me, and for me, that they become something I need on a daily basis to live.  My Neanderthal friends will never get how or why I am so into reading or writing, but my Bibliophile friends are reading these words and shaking their heads yes while adding their own feelings to this. 🙂

See you on the flip side!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Dave! The First Trilogy by Marc Richard

Smarmy, snarky, and silly makes for a great read Every. Single. Time.   These words describe my latest book review read, Dear Bloggites.  I had the pleasure of receiving a request from Marc Richard to read his Dave! The First Trilogy novel.  Marc was a doll and gifted this fun story for free with the most intriguing description.  Marc said that the story was described as, “Douglas Adams meets South Park” or “If Christopher Moore had a job at Cartoon Network writing for Adult Swim.”

dave-the-first-trilogy-by-marc-richardI giggled at this story from the get go.  The storyline is about some unexpected heroes planning on saving the world in 2030 from the new President “Uncle Mel” Gibson.  You have the typical dumb butts that everyone loves even though they are annoying as all get out.  You have your lovers who found, lost, and found love with each other in a time of crisis.  You have the typical serious type and all the mix in between. 🙂

Marc Richard does an amazing job at writing each of the main characters with such realness and blunt opinions.  Throughout the book, you meet the minds of various people who shamelessly promote Marc Richard’s books and he even does a cameo appearance interacting with those he created.

This novel had some unique points of view from the characters and the author does a great job with helping us feel how they feel with the different situations going on.  The entire story was as if The Three Stooges had a baby with Laurel & Hardy and birthed Dave!  The ridiculousness made this story the most fun reading I have had in a long, long time.  The only negative I could say about the book was how it started out with the email chain mail.  That was funny on its own, but I did not see an easy transformation from the email chats to the real-time world that was going on once we started following the different characters on their quest.

Thank You So Much, Marc, for this fun book.  I LOVED this silly story and I am so sorry it took me so long to finish it due to life getting in the way.  I plan on reading more of your works and will recommend your writing to anyone looking for good, mindless fun in a book.

I give Dave! The First Trilogy by Marc Richard 5 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you love a good laugh and entertaining storyline, this book is for you, Dear Bloggites! 🙂

~4-Ever, P