I’ve Been Reading…A Lot

For this episode of Tune In and Tune Up Thursdays, I thought I’d share with you some of the blog posts I’ve been reading lately, and links to some of the articles I’ve been reading as well. I do a lot of that now. I love the spark…

Most of them are inspiring. Some are full of practical information. Others are just for fun.

On Pinterest, I have a board for Blogging, Website, Social Media. I totally need to tidy the board up, but there are some great Pins in it for what we writers and bloggers and designers do. Tips and tricks and ideas. Check it out.

I fell in love with two posts last week. I mean, deeply in love with each and every word that pertained to writing.

  1. This.
  2. And this.

I found a link to this post by Joanna Penn, On Writing And The Fear of Judgment from a couple of years ago that was and is relevant to me and likely to a few other people, too. I needed it.

I found this post from Social Media’s Edgar on The Right Way To Fail to be reaffirming.

Along with blogs and websites, I’m reading books. On the sidebar, you can see ‘What I’m Reading’ and that’s generally going to be fictional, but I’m also reading other things like: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. They’re great for inspiring and motivating and looking within to see what, where, who, how, and why. And shit like that takes courage.

There’s also: Indie Author Survival Guide 2nd edition, For Love or Money: Crafting An Indie Author Career, both by Susan Kaye Quinn, and Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn.

I have found that a lot of the self publishing books have a lot of the same information, just from different perspectives, but they also each have something new to take away because not every one experiences self publishing, or anything else, in exactly the same way.

I learned about this site this morning and am curious to check it out.

There are many other things I’ve read, articles and posts and snippets and lists. I’m working on my goals for 2016 now and refining them. Reading about people who are successful in life, in business, and trying to utilize what is relevant to me. No more looking back and wishing and what if’ing. I’ve made the difficult admissions and made peace with it, made peace with me.

Let’s see what happens.

~lissa

 

Wordy Wednesday – Writing Words

After my post on Sunday, I was nervous. Scared. And those two words probably don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what I truly mean when I say I was nervous and scared. But a reader commented that I was daring, brave, bold, and fearless for writing it. I don’t know if that’s true, but I like to think it is. The support has been overwhelming and I’m filled with gratitude and humility that I have such a loyal group of readers and friends.

But one word that has come out of it all that I will fully own up to is FREEDOM! I feel as though a burden has been lifted and I can write again. It doesn’t absolve me of my responsibilities or obligations to others that I’ve promised projects to, or that I’ve told readers I would be writing…at some point…in the future, but it has given me a feeling of freedom and that feeling has opened up a well inside me that was blocked until I opened up and got some truths out.

I have high expectations of myself. Those who still read my books have expectations of me, too. I know I haven’t always lived up to them and I know I’ll fall short in times to come. For me though, the expectation now is different, is full of breath and light and possibility. I let go of things that were holding me down and holding me back and finally, FINALLY, started to let the words have their way with me and when that happens, y’all… I was in awe last night when I had a few moments to write at the words that not only found their way onto the page, but with the beauty of them. They’re raw and they’re in need of tweaking, but they’re awesome words. They’re free words. They’re not bound to an ideal that I have do something that I am no longer capable of doing in the way that I once did. I was elated and inspired.

And that is the feeling that writing used to create in me. Not the dread. Not the stress. Not the feeling of ‘ugh, I don’t want to write’. But the freedom in creation and in discovery. That’s what’s been missing for me and that’s what I found by being honest and maybe, just maybe, being a little bold, a little daring, a little fearless, and a little brave.

~lissa

Temptation Tuesday – Bearing The Ink

BEARINGTHEINKFINAL-300
The familiar itch to keep riding had been absent for several weeks after Gus met Bex, but ever since the wolf had shown up with all his theories and troublemaking, it was back. The desire to run as far away as he could get. Only, he couldn’t do that. Not now. He was in deep and leaving Bex behind was out of the question.

She was his home.

And he wouldn’t let her fight alone. He didn’t trust anyone to keep her safe better than he could.

He took a sharp curve, then another, and another. With each climb through the mountain pass, Bex clung tighter to him. Her thighs gripped around the hips. Her hands clasped at his t-shirt. But she didn’t tense. She wasn’t scared or frightened on the bike with him. She trusted him and he’d never betray that.

So, he’d stay. He’d resist the urge to run from his adoptive family, from the pain of the past being dredged up, from the tethers of falling in love with Bex. He’d resist it all and he’d stay.

Only, he didn’t know how to fight through it. He’d never had to. He’d always just picked up and left.

When the bike reached a stretch of road that was somewhat flat and straight, Gus took one hand off a handlebar and used it to cover her hands, linking their fingers. She calmed him. From the moment they’d met, she’d touched something inside him and the first time he touched her, peace unlike anything he’d ever known flowed through him.

He’d been scared ever since.

And none of it made sense to him. He was content to go with the flow, to take it however it came. But ever since the wolf, Luke Blackwood, had shown up, all Hell had broken loose and not only was Bex’s quiet life disrupted, but everything from her past and Gus’s past was coming back to haunt them.

He eased his fingers from hers and resumed holding onto the bike with both hands as the curves ahead came into view.

Bex leaned into him and laid her head on his back.

She was comfortable with him. She was at ease with him.

She’d never been scared of him, but she had been curious about him, something he’d relished. He’d been interested in her from the start. Her smile made him ache. Her body made hungry.

She had no idea what she did to him.

He knew for someone like Bex, trust didn’t come easy. She didn’t have many friends, no family left, had a sketchy coming into the world. She was naturally wary, but she was strong. And faced with what had been presented to her in recent weeks was more than any one person should have to deal with in a lifetime. She wasn’t who she’d always thought she was.

But she was who he needed her to be.

The winding country roads brought him freedom. Being out and away from the closeness of a family who didn’t really belong to him usually made him feel at one with nature, at one with who he really was. A bear. A shifter. A lover of the outdoors. An artist. The forests and the mountains were his inspiration for the art he used to express himself and that he used to help others find ways of expression through ink.

Bex relaxed against his back as he began to decelerate the closer they got to Dandridge. He loved it, the way she put her faith in him. As he turned down the side street that led to the Victorian house they were still in the process of renovating into her bed and breakfast, he scented the wolves, first. Blackwood must’ve left them behind. He also scented the bears of his adoptive family, namely his adoptive mother.

Bex gripped his shirt and lifted her head when he parked his bike. Her thighs didn’t ease their grip on his hips. Her arousal was strong, the way it always was when the wolves were around. It was the craziest damn thing that he scent of them made her angry and horny and aggressive.

If he hadn’t been on the receiving end of her horny aggression, or seen the split second shift from mild to angry aggression, he wouldn’t have believed Bex capable of it.

“She’s cooking,” Gus said, speaking of the woman who’d raised him as her own. He took his helmet off and hung it on the handlebars.

“I smelled it about a mile out,” Michael remarked as he mirrored Gus’s actions with his head gear.

“I can’t smell it. What’s she cooking? Anything good?” Bex swung her leg over and slid off the bike.

“She’s frying fish. Catfish.”

“Trout,” Gus countered.

“Nope. Catfish. It’s my favorite.”

“What does it being your favorite have to do with anything? She’s here at our house. So, it stands to reason that she’s making my favorite.”

Bex shook her head and took the back steps up to the kitchen door. “You two are pathetic.”

“They are,” Mama Bear agreed. “They’ve always argued about food. Especially fish. And sweets.”

“Other than fish, what are you making? Smells like hamburgers.”

“Yes. Hamburger steaks. The wolves didn’t want fish.”

“Why does it matter what they want?” Gus asked, elbowing Michael in the ribs. “Catfish. Told ya.”

“There’s trout too, you big baby.”

Michael grinned and hugged his mother. “I knew I was your favorite.”

There will be more information for you soon about a new set of Southern Shifter books coming in early February from some awesome paranormal romance authors, so stay tuned.

~lissa

Movie Monday – Holiday Style #3

It’s over. The holidays.

The tree is down. The lights turned off. The village packed. The decorations put away.

The music is no longer playing and the movies have turned to non-holiday romance. The following list are the final holiday movies I watched from Christmas to New Year’s. Overall, I LOVED them. The majority of them. Some, I’ve really disliked. But overall, I can’t wait until the holiday movies start all over again in 11 months…

A Christmas Mystery – High strung, overly dramatic newspaper reporter is looking for someone who sent her mother Christmas cards every year. She’s baffled that they weren’t signed with anything more than a printed heart and hires a PI, thinking her mother had a boyfriend who would want to know she’s passed away. Enter former Marine PI who… I’m thinking this one might be a DNFW… Did not finish watching. This is the 3rd movie on ION Television that I’ve watched this year. They need some help with casting. Some help with dialog. Some help period. It’s awful, really.

The Flight Before Christmas – Cute little movie. Girl is dumped right before Christmas and decides to take a flight at the last minute across country to visit her family. She meets up with a man who has been trying to make a long distance relationship work for 5 years. Mishaps. A meddling ‘Santa’. The Winslows from Family Matters. This little movie was fun.

The Spirit of Christmas – Paranormal. Ghost comes back for 12 days before Christmas every year. A lawyer is visiting his manor to sell it for the family trust. He trues to get rid of her. She doesn’t budge. While turning him and her around on Christmas spirit, the set to solving his murder from 95 years before and freeing him to move on. It was sweet and romantic.

Dear Santa – Rich, do nothing but shop girl intercepts a little girl’s letter to Santa asking for a new mom. She soon finds out that her parents are going to cut her off if she doesn’t find something to do or finds a man. Rich girl decides to follow the father and little girl around, then infiltrates their lives. She’s sweet enough, starts working in the father’s late wife’s soup kitchen, which comes complete with a gay too much lip gloss chef who’s too scared to strike out on his own. Rich girls shops in her closet for items to give to the homeless and shops in her pantry for spices and ingredients to give to the soup kitchen (Walmart brand, at that. Girl has never been in Walmart. Girl can’t cook either. But has a pantry full of spices and herbs.) in the end she gets the dad and daughter and supposedly changes. But the premise is a little… I don’t know. Bugs me.

Christmas Melody – My first issue with this movie was Mariah Carey. Why did they seem to show her in golden, angelic light every time she was on screen? Her character was bitchy and every movie has to have one of those, even Hallmark Christmas movies. My second issue was the final school festival song. Why do these movies have to out dramatize everything. It’s a small town elementary school production. It was to raise money, but it would’ve cost more money to put on than they’d ever make. I’d love a little reality check. I can suspend belief, but only to a certain point. The romance between single mom and music teacher was sweet. Oh and Folgers once again played a huge sponsoring role in this little film. Like right in your face huge. Subtle would work, too.

Christmas Belle – Dramatic much? Dear heavens… Grumpy man (beast). Too sweet girl (belle). Complete with a dog named Beast. She’s sent to settle an estate’s library. Lots of footage of the ‘beast’ running shirtless around the estate. A vineyard. A Christmas tree grove. ‘She’s gone back to the house.’ ‘I’m going back to the house.’ And a crazy ass overly dramatic proposal. Just… Wow.

The Twelfth Day Of Christmas – Secret Santa for all the right reasons. A really lovely, heartwarming movie… Aside, again from the obvious Folgers product placement, to the way Christmas threw up all over the girl’s house.

A Family For Christmas – Woman leaves to start a career. She was supposed to be gone 6 months. That’s where the movie starts out. Then skips to 10 years down the road. She’s still single and can’t see beyond her career. Her ex friends her on social media and memories pull her back in her mind. A Christmas wish later, she wakes up in an alternate life where she’s got a family and is married to said ex. She’s a full time mom, a wife, fully involved every minute of every day with her kids and family. Over several days, she learns that she really wants the ex and the family, but she also wants the career, just a modified version of the one she had. It was cute, but not one of my favorites.

I may give my thoughts on the Hallmark Winterfest movies, if I have time. I am looking forward to watching them. I never have before. But romance, even vanilla feel-good romance, makes me smile and fills me with hope.

I learned that I like a little reality in my holiday movies. I also learned I will NOT watch ION Television movies again. They were awful. I really like royal holiday movies. I’m not all that in love with Candace Cameron-Bure, but think Lacey Chabert is adorable.

Until next time… Have a wonderful January!

~lissa

Sunday Speeds – Under Caution

Do you see all those words there? They suck. They suck ass. And every last one of them are real. I know because I have first hand experience with each and every one.

Why is the title of this post ‘Under Caution’? Because that’s how I’ve been proceeding the last 7 years. Under. Caution. No green flag. Not even a red flag. Just the yellow one. The one that keeps you in place. The one that keeps you from moving forward or backward. Just going…nowhere.

The words over there <—-, I have been NONE of those. Part of that is because I’ve been holding on to Lissa Matthews for too long, the Lissa Matthews I started out as way back when. I’ve been holding onto her for so damn long and it’s not done me or you, the reader, any good.

The Lissa Matthews who wrote Pink Buttercream Frosting, Simple Needs, Sweet Caroline, Cracklin’ Rosie… She’s gone, y’all. She’s been gone since 2010.

A personal experience. A loss. A sadness. A weakness. All of those things took hold and never let go. I never let them go. I didn’t know how. (Let me tell you, this honesty stuff is HARD) But she’s not coming back.

So many readers have been waiting, hoping for her to come back and she’s not going to. She’s gone. That voice. That writing. That feeling. It’s all GONE! We all have to let her go. I’ve tried so hard to find her. To emulate her. To get her to show up, even for just a moment, and she’s gone. It’s hard to admit. It’s hard to tell y’all that. But it’s time. It’s been time.

So, if you’re waiting for her to come back, stop. Because she’s gone. Like the Hall and Oates song said, we better learn how to face it.

I know what went wrong, but I haven’t known how to fix it. And I’m still not 100% sure how, but it comes down to embracing the loss of that Lissa and embracing the Lissa who’s left.

I have to stop being scared. And I’m scared shitless. The voices I still hear. The words I still see. The disappointment I still feel. The time I’ve wasted and the uncertainty where I fit. The publishing world has changed while I’ve been riding around under caution. The expectations of readers have changed.

Every. Fucking. Thing. Has. Changed. And I know I can’t keep up, not going at the pace and direction I’ve been going in.

So, this is where we need to be. Where I need to be…

Facing my fears. Never giving up. Finding motivation. Excelling. Knowing where I’m going and why.

I don’t know how to get out from under caution, but I’m going to get the green flag. Lissa Matthews will still be writing. She, I, have too many projects and readers depending on me. I may try a new pen name, though. I may not. I may continue to write everything under Lissa Matthews. While I’m supposed to be concerned with my brand and making sure everything fits with everything else and who else reads me while they read others because that’s how some of the algorithms work with Amazon, I’m more concerned with finding myself and putting out books that we all love. You, the readers, and Me, the author.

I used to believe I could make it in this business. I haven’t believed that in longer than I care to admit or think about. But it’s time… Again… And if you’re one of the readers who’ve been waiting for the Lissa Matthews of Pink Buttercream Frosting and Simple Need to resurface, I’m sorry. She’s gone, her voice, her emotion, her naivete. It’s gone. I’m different. Lissa Matthews is different. It was never meant to be that way. It was never meant to happen. But it did. It’s time to move on and learn from the past and change and grow.

~lissa