In light of the last few days and the horrible loss of nine lives in the California mountains, the most well known being Kobe Bryant, many of us have been plunged into thinking, into wondering, into questioning whether we’re living our lives to the fullest and doing the things that matter and make a difference and make us happy.
I’m not an NBA fan, but one can’t deny the impact off the court that Kobe Bryant has had and the light he was for so many, and the countless messages of inspiration he left in his wake through soundbites from interviews, through his books, his documentary about the game he loved.
He did what he loved. More than once. His career as an elite basketball player. Then, as a father who was fully immersed with his family.
Sometimes I wonder if I still do what I love, the thing that makes me happy, the thing that I would miss if I didn’t do it anymore.
I’ve always written. Since I was in Jr High and going through some personal things at home. I’ve written stories, books, flash fiction, poetry. I’ve written to escape reality and to put reality in a form that I could dissect and understand it. I’m almost 49 years old and I’m still writing. It wasn’t the thing I aspired to do when I was growing up or when I graduated high school. I wanted to be part of the music industry. A roadie, to be honest. And a concert flautist. And a composer. And… And… And…
Being married and having children was not on my radar and the things I’d wanted to do and the things I actually did do were so completely different.
I miss music. I miss playing. I can still finger a scale in the air the way a guitar player can finger chords on an air guitar. I can still see the music in my head of pieces I played my junior year of high school which won me medals in competitions. I still have my flute, my music, and so many I wish I had… thoughts.
I wasn’t the best at all times. I was sometimes, but not at all times. But I never gave up. I used to spend hours a day practicing. 6 hours. 8 hours. 10 hours. I loved it. And I never stopped. Not until life changed and I didn’t know how to be one thing and still chase this other thing that meant so much to me.
I miss it so much some days.
I used to write like that, too. I used to write for hours and not stop. I used to write books that meant something to me, to readers. I used to write and write and write. Even while I was raising my kids and homeschooling. And then… I did stop. I did get discouraged. I did lose my nerve.
I keep coming back to it.
But I don’t chase it the way I once did. And I wonder why that is. I have no idea.
Do I miss it when I don’t do it? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.
There are always ideas in my head. There are always stories that run in circles through my brain, like the bunnies that hop through my backyard. But could I leave it behind and in 25 years still miss it? Or would it just something I did once upon a time? These are the things I wonder when I’m being honest with myself and to be honest with you, I don’t know what the answer is.
Music still flows through my bones. It’s still embedded in my blood. It’s still part of me. It’s something I need in my life that a day without it sets my teeth on edge and I start getting really grumpy.
There’s a song for every emotion. There’s a melody for every mood. There’s a harmony for every memory.
The one thing I will say about writing, about music, is that they go together for me. I have to have the music right before I start writing. And maybe for me that’s where the two meet and mix and mingle and bleed together. Maybe that’s how music is part of my life now. Not in the same way it once was, but in the way that fuels this job that I have chosen to do.
The other thing that goes with writing for me is reading. I do a lot of it. More recently than I did the last few years. And the more I read, the more I start wanting to write. Wanting. Needing isn’t part of that vocabulary. But wanting, is. So, maybe as long as I’m a reader, I’m going to want to be a writer.
There are always stories to tell. There are always my stories to tell. There are always words to express what I’m feeling, what I’m going through, what I’m trying to understand about reality, what I’m trying to heal from the past. And as long as there’s music, I’ll be able to put those words down, I’ll be able to write and in that way… I do love it. I do still love what I do. I do still have passion for it.
And maybe, in this, I will have made my own mark and inspired someone else to find a way to marry their passions enough love what they do, even if it’s not a straight line. I think that would have made Kobe Bryant, a man, an icon, and one who sought to inspire others to follow their dreams, proud.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely seen my desk shots. From neat and tidy to cluttered. But everything I need to do my job is within reach and I thought I’d share with you what 5 of those things are:
Coffee (or some type of secondary drink) … If you know anything about me, you know I love my coffee. I can’t live without my coffee. It’s an addiction and I’m okay with that. I’ve accepted it. I’ve admitted it. I’ve made peace with it. If it’s give up coffee today or die tomorrow? Well, get to work planning the funeral. I have a coaster a friend (thank you Susan) taught me how to make that my drinks sit on. And the drink is always within reach.
Planners (and pens/pencils) … I have 3. My Happy Planner with my day to day Hustles (I’ll go into this another day, but you can always email me if you NEED to know what the hell I’m talking about with this Hustle stuff). My Editorial Calendar with blog goals. I just found this one again from when I moved office spaces and have started going through it. It’s really awesome and indepth. Holy. Moly. And my 3rd planner is my Always Fully Booked one. It’s all about books. What I’ve read, what I want to read, reviews (though I don’t leave reviews) and where I plan to keep what books I plan to read and actually DO read during readathons. But planners are always within reach to keep me on track and keep me current with what I have going on in my writing, reading, planning, creating, social media, etc…
Phone (plus my bluetooth ear piece and earbuds) … Yep. No explanation needed with this one, huh? Didn’t think so. Plus, podcasts. I listen to podcasts on my phone and so, yeah …
Sticky notes and Notepads/Notebooks … I always have something I’m jotting down. Lately it’s been inspirational thoughts for where I want to take my business and other ideas I have for perhaps other businesses and growth, etc… But I also write down websites I want to visit, color codes that are on my covers, my website, books I want, calculations, doodles. I think better and with more clarity when I write things down by hand. And I am forever taking notes from the podcasts I listen to. There’s so much valuable information in them. (And… yesterday I grabbed my pink sticky notes, a pen, and practically plastered my office walls with thoughts, quotes, questions, and inspiration)
Personal care items … This could be a whole post in itself. There’s a mini bottle of coconut oil lotion, pocket sized waterless soaps, Lime Crime lipstick (Bomber is the shade), a bottle of perfume, glasses (one pair for computer work, one for distance wear), a cupcake nail kit, my ankle braces, and almost always a pair of socks.
So, what’s on your desk? What would surprise us? Anything? Please share in the comments below!
I am not a patient person. Especially in the kitchen. Not when I’m hungry and want to eat Right. Now.
One thing this year that I’ve started making is my own syrups for coffee. Mainly for iced coffee in the summer, but with fall, my favorite drink is a Gingerbread latte. Starbucks doesn’t start selling it (usually) until Thanksgiving, but again, there’s that not patient thing I’ve got going on.
So, I opt for making my own. I’ve made Vanilla Bean syrup and Caramel Vanilla syrup as well as straight up caramel syrup. And after I got the gist of it, I was pretty good. Gingerbread on the other hand, is going to be a bit more tricky, I’m afraid. See, it’s thick. And I need it a little thinner. The recipe I tried works. The flavors are good. The blend of spices good. But it’s still a little thick. I’m going to have to play with it.
Y’all know how much I love to play in the kitchen. A lot. I mean. A. Really. Lot. I haven’t spent as much time doing so this year as I had wanted or planned, but I do hope to remedy that in the coming weeks and months. This time of year inspires me. I just have to find a way to remain motivated at other times of the year.
My pictures are never as pretty as real food blogger pictures. But I use a cell phone camera, they use cameras that are incredible and have settings I have no idea how to use. Then there’s the photo editing and software. No, I just use my cell phone. If you click the links to get the recipes for the syrups, by all means, look at their pictures and how awesome they are. Mine are well, just mine…
Now, let’s start playing!
I’ll be trying different Gingerbread syrups over the next few weeks until I find the perfect one. For now, this is the one I’m using.
Lone Star Sweets has new covers created by TEZ Graphics. They’re beautiful. Bright. Light. And reflect the series.
I’ve flipped out the older covers and inserted all the new ones. I’ve uploaded all new information to Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and Barnes and Noble. Amazon seems to be taking the longest to get everything going in the right direction, but eventually, they’ll all be there and looking good. (more…)
When I wake up in the morning, I grab my phone and check email, Facebook, Twitter, my Amazon KDP dashboard (this one always makes me want to pull the covers over my head and hide), and Pinterest.
Twitter isn’t often fun for me anymore. My feed is full of links to blogs, books…things so scheduled out that I’m never sure anyone is actually there. I hate that. I understand the need and ability to schedule tweets or send all your social media posts automatically, but it’s called SOCIAL for a reason… and Twitter is meant to be social. My feed is no longer social. It’s a bunch of headlines and links. No engagement, no investment. This is fine and works for some. Not me. I like a good mix of interaction and links to what’s out there beyond my usually small window.
But today, I found some inspiration on Twitter…the most unlikely of places.
I’m a sports fan. We all know this about me. If you don’t know it, stick around, you will soon enough. After all, football season is only 5 months away. 😉 And golf is getting into full swing… (see what I did there?)
But, I’m a race fan. It goes back to when my son was little and seeing the cars on the track on TV helped him speak, helped him learn, helped him stand…
I’ve got a small racing series I write that I hope becomes a bigger series with spins offs and all sorts of fun. I have to be careful with the terms I use in my books, terms like Nascar, and the images I use on covers. But the basics of my book series stem from stock car racing, my own little fictional world where I can have and voice opinions, where I can share a few things I’ve learned over the years going to races, listening to radios and scanners, touring pit road, and seeing the garages.
And while I’ve been considering a spin-off, one of the directions I didn’t even know I wanted to go in hit me hard this morning. It was a total light bulb moment. It is a brilliant and fun and so full of possibilities direction, I can hardly stand it.
And this, my friends, is what writing is all about for me. It’s all about passion. What I’m passionate about. It’s not really going to sell a lot, because I’m not writing in a trending sub-genre of roamnce. I’m not changing who I am to write something. Through my writing, I am finding me, and I think that makes for a better, more fun book because it’s a journey I can take readers on.
What is this new idea? Nope. Not sharing yet. What I will say is it’ll be full of fast cars, strong women, and hot yummy guys… And you’ll see more information soon.
I love inspiration and being inspired and when it comes along in places I no longer really enjoy, that’s makes it all the more special because it makes me realize that perhaps I shouldn’t give up just yet…
If you don’t follow me on Twitter, click HERE. I would love to tweet with you.
Stay tuned, y’all…