Posts Tagged ‘anna’s world’

How We Write–It’s All Up to Us…

Friday, April 20th, 2012

My 2012 teaching tour kicks off tomorrow, with a one-day GRW workshop, speaking about planning through character along side the fabulous Tanya Michaels and and Berta Platas. My editorial work has really taken off in the last few months. Very business-y. I’m all full up with answers, right? Hardly. The only thing I know for certain still, after 7 years in the business as an author and editor/teacher/coach is that, in the end, what our publishing careers become is All Up to Us. We’re in charge. You’re in charge. Of all the random variables, no. But your choices are your own, to own and live up to and deal with the fall out from. Shirking that responsibility off when things don’t go your way, is a learning opportunity lost. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t give up your power.

buck stops here lucy director of everything

I’ve made a lot of decisions in the last ten years. The first of which was to leave my senior tech writing job to stay home and be more available to my extremely ADHD son, as he navigated public education (don’t try this at home, folks, these trix ain’t for kids). My fiction publishing career was about to take off. And then it did. Fast-forward five years, and the teenager was doing GREAT, meanwhile health issues derailed my forward momentum in my new business venture (branding me as author readers would auto-buy). Was getting sick and having surgery and getting even sicker, only to begin healing a year later and discover that the publishing world I knew had crumbled out from under what I thought was solid footing, my fault? Hell no. Would whining about my ”rebuilding” help me get through this set back. HELL to the no. 

What good would it do to blame anyone else that I have a teenager going to college in a couple of years and need more steady money coming in the door, after I was basically forced to take some unexpected time off?

buck stops here failed to stop

It takes time (more time than I wanted it to) to choose your next direction, after the last turn you took didn’t result in the fabulous success you were fighting for. A direction that is uniquely, undeniably your own is a work-in-progress, an obstacle course you never quite stop navigating. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Get in there!

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Yeah, this is a Waterfall Challenge update, too, ’cause the pics are from yesterday’s five mile interior hike to an amazing destination. But, really, what I took was an interior journey most of all. Five miles can take a few hours to hike, or if you’re willing to get in there and see the soul of the magnificence living around you, it can be an all-day experience. Guess which of these adventures I took yesterday ;o) Come with me to Raven Cliffs, but only if you’re willing to get down and dirty…

I’m what you might call an in-your face waterfall girl. Otherwise, I wouldn’t end up with pictures and memories like this one.

Raven Cliffs Trail 004 

Or this one.

Raven Cliffs Trail 005 

Or this one.

Raven Cliffs Trail 006

Each of these minor cascades were mere warm-ups to the big finish. Lots of folks might have pushed right by the lesser experiences I stopped and lived to the fullest. They’d never have gotten close enough to feel the fine mist of these crashing, rolling moments on their faces and clothes. After all, 2.5 miles, in means 2.5  miles out, and there’s an amazing finish ahead–cliffs with water sluicing down through them! The rest is just backdrop and filler. And then there’s the rest of your day you need to get back to.  Time to hurry, right?

Wrong. This WAS my day. My entire day. I wasn’t leaving a single moment of it behind, until I’d felt it all.

See what I mean?

Raven Cliffs Trail 010

That definitely deserves a closer look, right? (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Love the One You’re With…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Writers aren’t all that different for saner mortals. Even though most of us wear our freak flags like parade banners. As part of our every-day, we offer ourselves up for rejection–the very reality we tend to fear most. Because we’re bent that way. We write about our neuroses and dreams and innermost secrets. Then we go one step further in our quest to understand, by slapping our names onto what we’ve created before sending it out into the world to be judged. Which is tantamount to dropping your pants, then plastering a pic of the gory details all over social media. And in the end, most of us writer-types, the honest ones anyway, will admit that we’re TERR-I-FIED by the entire process, even though we cant’ stop ourselves from indulging in it. Why? For the same reason a “normal” person follows his or her passion. LOVE.


You don’t get to pick and chose how your mind works or what makes your creativity thrive. Life, in my honest opinion, is about learning to love who and what you are–and the love that you’re born to pursue.

Challenge that core reality, and you’re denying the inner freakishness that you’re here to explore and share. Take a look at my Things My Teenager Says series, if you want an idea of how proud I am of kids (and adults) who figure out exactly who and what they are, then fly that uniqueness proudly. I’m still on a path to owning my own stuff, probably a step or two behind my gifted teen. But I’m a writer. What can I say? I pay more attention most days to internal landscapes, than I do the world around me. I’ll catch up eventually. I’ll understand, one of these years, everything that love is supposed to mean to me and everything it’s not. Until then, I’ll be crazy, loud and proud, and fake it ’til I make it.

crazy love graphic

Being crazy in love with your uniqueness, even when it means standing out in ways that shriek at your insecurities and desperation to belong–that’s the life goal I wish for myself. And yourself. (more…)

Shoes Are My Heroin: This is my green…

Friday, March 16th, 2012

This morning I’m digging into the dream shoe closet for something to wear. There’s a funky outdoor wedding on Saturday. Everyone’s supposed to wear green, for St. Patrick’s Day. Naturally, I need my neon pink spring heels. I don’t wear green. Ever. Not even on my feet. Don’t ask me why. Probably for the same reason I always have to look up heels when I write it, to make sure it shouldn’t be heals. I’m difficult. I zone out on important things, then obsess about nonsense as if the day depended on it. Colors make me feel certain ways when I wear them, so I obsess about them. And green makes me feel sick. So, naturally, this will be my green on Saturday…

Pink Neon Theory

They’re so cool and light and totally comfortable, despite the heel height (don’t hate me, high arches are my friend). It’s like wearing a party on my feet, each first time I slip them on in the spring. Like ice cream melting in the sun or lemonade going down smooth and bubbly. And, yes, like shamrocks on St. Patrick’s day.

If I hadn’t gotten rid of them last year in a dream closet feng shui frenzy, these would have been perfect.

miu miu python green

They were all about great texture and soft-as-butter leather and a killer shape. I bought them for the shape. And the fact that they looked like a painting to me. And green I can handle on the walls, in limited amounts. On my feet, though… (more…)

I Hear the Craziest Things: Solar Flares, Kenetic Energy, My Dysfunctional Reaction to Stress

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

This should be a Psychic Realm post. Sadly (comically?), instead it’s my life. On the way to being scanned for possible signs of returning cancer (there were NONE, so YAY!), my reality went haywire, as it often does on already-difficult days. “Solar Flares,” some said. “Your kinetic energy misbehaves when you’re stressed,” my alternative friends remind me. “Karma?” others asked. You be the judge.

solar flare

When I’m stressed, I do tend to have an electric/magnetic effect on the world around me. And I was stressed last Thursday. This was the final ultrasound/biopsy that would tell me (hopefully) that I could stop seeing this particular specialist except for future once-a-year, no-big-deal, you’re-all-clear-but-let’s-just-check followups.

This is the specialist, after a long string of doctors, who 2 1/2 years ago blew my world apart and said, “Your chances of this being cancer are too high NOT to have the surgery.” End my thriving publishing career. End every part of my life since (until recently) that wasn’t about getting healthy again, after surgery destroyed what was until that point my “disgustingly healthy” endocrine system.

stress bang head

So, no, my state of mind each time I visit this particular medical office isn’t at its zen best. (more…)

How We Write: The Soul of the Matter

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

My Soul of the Matter posts are usually about my life and the life I see going on around me, and how I try to change daily the things I let prevent me from actually living. Because surviving isn’t enough. Thriving should be the goal. How We Write is usually a motivational rant about finding the soul of your writing, and not just worshiping craft rules. Today, I hope to accomplish both.


How we write isn’t always about process and technique. Because we’re creating story. And story is a powerful mechanism for changing minds, and through them our world. Always has been. We write because something drives us to touch readers’ imaginations and hearts and emotions. Their souls. That’s a powerful motivation that should never be completely obscured by our how.

My point?

Every story has a beginning. No matter how beautifully you’re capable of stringing words together, your story begins and ends with your character and your reader’s experience of that character’s journey. Your story must resonate with the heart. It helps if you connect with a theme (even in comedy) that reaches deep inside for a universal truth that can’t be denied. Then, if your gift is writing and you can master the toolbox of techniques that we must learn to bring that vision to life, your reader’s world will most definitely be touched by whatever inspired you to reach them.

How do we write ?

We focus first on the story, for as long as it takes to discover what we most want to say. And only then do we sit down to write.


For me, I’m an angsty writer who wishes my gift was making folks laugh until they cry. My work is cathartic at more of the other end of the spectrum. Darker-themed, challenging emotional journeys come to me. Always have. Like this morning, when it only took the first five minutes of my news program for my entire day (my life) to shift as I listened to this. (more…)

I Hear The Craziest Things: See Tate City and Hidden Waterfalls

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Waterfalls are my zen. They’re my destination every time I flee my every day and the weather permits interior driving/walking. My Waterfall Challenges are off-road, in the middle of nowhere stuff, which makes seeing this on one of those dirt-road trips a bit of a surprise:

See Tate City

Get it?

There I was in the middle of some of the most beautiful and rugged country a car can drive to in the North Georgia mountains, just shy of the state border with North Carolina, when off to the side of the road someone had painted a big red barn with a spoof on the tourist trap signs all around the more popular Rock City.

In the middle of a field.

Next to a mushy dirt road that resembled a mud puddle that morning because it had been raining for days.

Cute,” I thought to myself. “The locals have a quirky sense of humor. I like that.” And off I went to find the obscure turn off where I could park Bessie and hike into the woods in search of interior falls several miles away.

Then, I saw this.

Tate City Pop 32

“Seriously?” I pulled out my local map. (more…)

I Hear the Craziest Things: Anyone Got a Tissue?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Every time I pull a tissue from a tissue box in my house (once or twice a week), it’s always the LAST one in the box–even the box beneath my beside table reserved solely for my personal consumption. What does this say about our family dynamic?



  • Do others’ allergies outpace mine so dramatically?
  • Am I unknowingly using tissue in some fugue state, after which I suffer PTSD symptoms due to the trauma of blowing my nose and promptly forget I’ve indulged?
  • Are my men scurrying about, from one box to the next, looking for ways to score their next tissue hit while avoiding the horror of reaching into the linen closet for a new box?
  • Do they have a covert scanning method I’m not privy to, where infrared sensors alert to the immanent arrival of the final tissue, so they can be certain not to remove it from the box???

My entire morning will be consumed, pondering said mysteries…

How We Write: The Soul of the Matter…

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

If you want to write, write. If you want to publish, prepare to work your ass off getting very, very good at your writing. This business is all about soul. And I’m not just talking about your unique, creative voice–though that’s incredibly important, too. Today, I’m talking about grit. Stick it out, find your own way, stop waiting for everyone else to make this crazy business sensible and welcoming and easy, G-R-I-T.


I write my books; I edit for other authors. I’m close to offering my first two book contracts for Entangled Publishing. After publishing 16 novels of my own and reading countless propsals others have written over the years, all I know for sure is, this is all about soul.

  • Have you been rejected (like me)? Figure out if you have what it takes to get up the next morning and start over from nothing–because every published author must do that each and every time they meet a deadline.
  • Do you have a day job (like me)? Buckle down and accept that your personal life off the clock belongs first to the book you need to finish, not your hobbies and social (media) life–because the majority of published authors don’t make enough off their writing to support their families, so we’re all hoofing it to make ends meet while trying to stay creative in the dark hours of early morning.
  • Do you have a busy family (like me)? Love them and care for them, the tell them your entire life doesn’t revolve around them and they’re going to have to take care of themselves the 1,2,3 hours a day that you devote to your writing. Otherwise, they’ll consume you (and maybe that’s what you want, if family is the excuse you’re making daily for not creating new words).
  • Have you been dealing with an illness (like me)? Deal with it, by all means, your health is everything. But for Dog’s sake, knock off saying your illness is responsible for you not moving forward in your writing. I don’t mean to be insensitive or unkind, but whatever your condition is, I assure you I can find others who’ve managed to succeed battling far worse circumstances–because they refused to quit.

Soul is the thing that lives and breathes inside us, regardless of the piles of s**t raining down on our worst days. (more…)

Shoes Are My Heroin: Seasonal Insanity…

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Lots of Facebook chatter lately about shoes you need and those you lust for. I’ve scored both in the last few weeks. Neither are completely practical. But what’s the fun in practical? They fit like a dream and will feel great on my feet for hours. And there were bought at killer sale prices. PERFECT! Whatcha think?

These are my early-spring, neutral, sensible business pumps.

shoe pump wedge

Okay, they’re wedges, too, and will look great with summer pants and cotton skirts and even shorts. But also the trousers and spring dresses/suits I’ll wear when I teach. No, really, that’s why I bought them. That, and they have rounded toes (thank Dog, the pointy ones are out again)…

And since this time of year’s all about transition, I also needed something not-so-black to mix with the lighter things we wear under our coats in the south the next few months, (more…)