Mama Diaries

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

IWSG and Happy Holidays!


It's that time again—the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group post. I'm really glad we have these things. Thanks to Alex and the crew for keeping this going. Otherwise, I'd probably fall out of touch with the blog world because life is just so darn busy! Speaking of busy—the question of the month is, "Does the holiday season make it easier or harder to find time to write?"  For me, the answer is resoundingly harder.  I'm a musician. 'Tis the season to perform Christmas concerts. Just this week alone, I have 3 performances and 4 rehearsals. That's on top of my job as an Executive Director for an orchestra and the more than 30 students I give private lessons to each week. Talk about busy! Oh yeah—and I have to buy and wrap Christmas presents, make Christmas cookies, and send out Christmas cards. That said, I've been trying to revise my Bubba and Squirt manuscripts so that I can submit them to the publisher early next year. I was on a roll with 2 chapters a day last week. (This week, not so much. I need to practice all the music I have. Plus I have to learn how to play the organ. I've had a two-week crash course with an organist for a performance I have to do this Sunday. Wish me luck!) 

Are you tired just from reading all of what I have to do? 😊

How about you?  Do you have more or less time to write this time of year?

I wish all of you a joyous holiday season! See you next year!


Friday, November 4, 2022

IWSG and a Wedding


As usual, I am late again for the IWSG post of the month. Maybe one of these days I'll be on time. The question is, have I ever participated in the National Novel Writing challenge?  Short answer:  Nope. Reason: Too busy! I admire everyone who participates and completes the challenge. It's a great way to force yourself to write and hopefully complete a project!

Here's what I've been up to:

Any guesses about where I was?


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Best Thing About my Favorite Genre and Updates


Today's question is, "What's the best characteristic of your favorite genre?" My favorite genre is historical fiction. I like that research is involved to get the facts straight and recreate the time period. It's like going back in time. I also like that historical fiction helps me learn things or reinforces things I already knew. 

What's your favorite genre, and what are the things you like about it?

Now, for updates. Many of you who have followed this blog for a long time remember my son, Bubba, and daughter, Squirt. (Not their real names.)  They used to entertain you with their funny antics and humor. Well, they are all grown up now. Five-year-old Bubba is eighteen. He just enlisted in the Navy and started boot camp. He'll be in the military for the next six years. working on cyber security. Squirt is a senior, graduating from college with a degree in music technology and production. It'll be interesting to see what career she ends up with!  And me...I actually completed the last manuscript of the last book of the Bubba and Squirt series. I'm working on revising now. A big accomplishment considering how much is on my plate!  And finally, the next time I post, I'll be married! So hard to believe! It's funny to see how the path of life winds around and takes you to unexpected places!

Hope you all enjoy the lovely autumn season!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Most Difficult Genre to Write


Can you believe I'm actually on time with this post? LOL! Got through DragonCon and the wedding plans are going well. I'll share a picture from DragonCon at the end of this post.

So, the IWSG question of the month is, which genre is/would be the hardest for you to write?  The first thought that popped into my head was Romance. I know there are many of you out there who are great romance writers. I don't think I'd be one of them.  Then the question would be, why not?  It's not that I'm not romantic. I most certainly am. But I think I'd just have a hard time writing love scenes. Steamy ones would definitely be a challenge. I guess I'd always had a sense that some things should be private. So, writing something so intimate for the whole world to read would feel weird to me. I'd probably struggle a bit coming up with a good storyline, too. But who knows? I've never actually tried writing a Romance. So, maybe it wouldn't be as tough as I've built it up to be.

What about you? Which would be the most challenging for you to write?

DragonCon:  Big event that the orchestra I'm the Executive Director for performs at. We played for a crowd of about 3000 people. It's always a blast! And our conductor was none other than the Joker!



Tuesday, August 16, 2022

IWSG August Post


I know. I'm seriously late with this. But I have a good excuse. I'm preparing to get married. That's on top of my already busy schedule. So, it's been kind of a whirlwind around here. Anyway, better late than never.

So, the question is, do I write to please other people, or do I write whatever I feel like writing? The answer is the latter. There are people who write whatever is trending at the time. Not me. I write whatever inspires me. The way I see it, if you're always jumping on the bandwagon, you get lost in the crowd. Maybe you'll be the next big thing. Maybe not. If I'm writing what I want to write, then chances are I'm enjoying it. And that's what it's all about. That's why we put all those hours in. To tell our stories.

Speaking of writing, I'm almost done with the last manuscript of the Bubba and Squirt series. I had to go on vacation to do it—at the beach. My muse works best there. Most people park themselves on a chaise and read a book. I write books. So much fun!  

Where do you write best? Do you write what people want or do your own thing?



                                                         View from my hotel balcony. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Where in the Book World Would I Live?


Today's question from the Insecure Writer's Support Group is, "Where in the book world would I live?"

Well, that's a mighty fine question. I had to think long and hard about this. I'm going with Corfu, Greece, the setting for My Family and Other Animals by Gerard Durrell (written in 1956). The book is Durrell's memoir of his upbringing there. For those who don't know, Durrell was a British conservationist. He had lots of interesting experiences with the flora and fauna there. I don't think that I'd be particularly fond of the insects he came across, but it sure is pretty!  Here's a photo I found:

Where would you like to live?

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

How to Keep Writing


Today's question is:  When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If you have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

I think this question is rather appropriate for writers and one I sometimes struggle with. Having just gone through a long bout of not doing much writing, I have discovered that the best thing for me is to plot out the story chapter by chapter. I am the world's worst pantser. Can't do it. I admire those who can. I had been trying to get through the last few chapters of the last book of the current series I'm working on. It should've been done in a month. But here we are, already halfway through the year, and I got maybe 5 pages written. So I thought about it. What's my problem here? And the problem was (besides not having much time), I didn't know what the end was or how to get there. I had been pantsing my way through it (which is not my normal procedure). So I took a few days to figure it out and write the outline for the end of the book. Low and behold, I just finished two chapters in 2 weeks. Holy mackerel kingfish! 

The other thing I have found helpful is to start a fresh project. Brainstorm, writing ideas down.  Or maybe pull out an ancient manuscript and breath new life into it. I'm actually doing that for a picture book manuscript as well. 

How would you answer this question?

Here's your Klaus picture of the month. He was very hot on his walk. He attempted to cool off under that bush. Not sure he was successful. (You can see he has 2 black spots on his tongue. Birthmarks. But we use them as gauges to tell how tired or hot he is. When you see both spots, he's super tired or super-hot. This is one hot dog!)

 One more thing:  I am having a lot of trouble with Blogger. I can't comment on most of your blogs, and even on my own, I can't respond to your comments. I don't know what the problem is, but it was like this last month, too. Want you to know I am reading your blogs and comments. Hopefully, it will get fixed soon!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

IWSG and Back in the Swing of Things


Okay. I know. I'm super-late with the April IWSG post. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle. But the good news is, I'm early for the May one. My three great excuses are spring break. work, and social life. I have so little time for hopping on to blog. 

So, the April question was, "Have any of your books been made into audiobooks?" No. I think it would be really cool if the Bubba and Squirt ones would be, but they haven't hit enough sales yet to become audiobooks.

May question:  What have been the highs and lows of writing? Highs:  Getting accepted by a publisher, seeing book sales, doing school visits, and getting good reviews. Lows:  Not selling as many copies as I'd hoped in spite of investing a lot of money into marketing. Currently, I'm struggling to find time to write and am losing some momentum. (The crazy thing is I'm so close to finishing. I probably have about 5 more chapters to write in the series. I wrote a grand total of 1 paragraph in the last two weeks.) I guess those are the only real lows. I've been fortunate not to have any scathing reviews of my books. Most people seem to like them.  

What are your highs and lows?

In other news, I'm happy that things are starting to pick up in the author world. Recently, I did a book signing at a local fair. It was great to meet so many people! And I'll be doing a school author visit in a few weeks. It's been several years since I've done one. So it's exciting and a little scary at the same time. Hoping I remember how to do them (and how to play the Chinese erhu!).

  And then there's Klaus. 

Always a bundle of trouble. But I think he's finally starting to settle down a bit. It's been a while since he's chewed a hole in the wall or eaten a piece of furniture.    

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

IWSG and New Book Trailer


Boy, that month sure went fast!  Seems like I just did this!  So, the question of the month is, "Have you ever been conflicted about writing a scene in your story? And how did you make the decision to write it or not?"

I had to think about this one. Usually what happens is, I write a scene, and then when I am doing revisions I decide if I keep it or not. The way I decide is I ask myself if it moves the story forward. If it does, great, it stays. If it doesn't, then it gets cut. I don't think I've ever sat down and asked myself if I should write it or not. What about you? Do you write and then cut, or decide first not to write it?

Wanted to share this with you—a new book trailer for my book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. I thought the animator, Arjun Singh, did an amazing job with it! And the audio, done by John Israel, is quite impressive! What do you think? 


 And of course, I have to give you another picture of Klaus. He's being a very good boy here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

IWSG and Sleepy Puppy


Today's IWSG question is, is there someone who has supported you in your writing journey who is no longer around?  Yes. Not that this person is no longer on the planet, but she is no longer in the blogosphere. That person is Crystal Collier. She was always so supportive and upbeat no matter what was going on in her personal life. It impressed me and meant so much that she stuck around to help promote my book Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. It was her last post. I truly felt honored that she did that.

So many people are like that here in the blogger community. Do you have anyone you miss who's no longer here?

And now for a Klaus story. Klaus doesn't like to be confined. When he gets crated, he restlessly paws at the bottom, trying to dig his way out. Well, he didn't get out, because there was a solid floor under his crate. But he did manage to dig a hole right through the plastic liner. Unbelievable!  All I have to say is those are some seriously sharp teeth and claws! 

Here's the little trouble maker, exhausted from his attempt at escaping:



Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Happy New Year and ISWG


Happy New Year!  I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and productive 2022!

So, let's see. This month's IWSG question is, "What's the one thing in your writing that you regret the most?" Well, that's a tough question to start the New Year with! I don't know that I actually have anything I regret. If I had to say something, it would be that I started my writing journey not knowing enough about the craft or the business. It was a spontaneous, unplanned thing. If you've read any of my interviews from some of the book tours I've done, you know that it was my 3-year-old daughter who encouraged me to get my stories published. Being in the sleep-deprived state I was in, I didn't do much in the way of research. If I had, I probably would have revised my work a little more and waited for a traditional publisher to publish my first book. It's been 17 years since That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN was published. I've learned a lot along the way and made some great connections. And yes, I did get traditionally published. So, in spite of my ignorance in getting started, it's turned out well. (Now, if I don't finish writing the last of my Bubba and Squirt books, I may have regrets. Two manuscripts are ready to go, but the last one is a little slow on getting out of my brain. Better get working on that!)


And here is big boy, Klaus. Today is his first birthday (January 5)! It's been a year of chaos and mayhem. But he sure is cute!