Reflections on relaxation

Flowers and weedsHappy Monday! I’ve been busy resting, LOL! Me, my husband, our son, and several of our friends have all had health issues that have forced us to slow down. I guess those who are already taking care of themselves and not pushing themselves too much, have fared better during this Mars in retrograde period.
Flowers and weeds-3Speaking of Astrology, I just finished reading An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears, and it’s now my favorite book. Here’s my review. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1548715711. In this historical mystery, the budding new field of medicine included consulting the stars before performing any medical procedures. While I find Astrology fun and sometimes remarkably helpful, I really don’t want my doctor relying upon it, so I guess I’m glad that they don’t. (Although perhaps some of the diagnoses would be more accurate…)

My second novel is coming out on Wednesday, woo hoo! Unlike An Instance of the Fingerpost, no animals get hurt in Third Strike’s the Charm.

Flowers and weeds-2

Today’s images are from my treasure trove. I’m on for a photo outing on Friday. I can’t wait to get fresh shots for you.

Flowers and weeds-4

Have a great week!

Waiting…

From my outing with my friend in downtown Los Altos…

A Day in Los Altos-17
A closed building waiting to be knocked down and rebuilt, Los Altos California

Getting to the next thing, keeping busy, getting organized…

A Day in Los Altos-4

Not just waiting around for someone to buy my creation…

And having fun with hobbies and friends…

Nia and Cherryl in Los Altos Apr 2016

How was your week and what do you plan to do this weekend?

 

 

Opportunity pivot! Plus fresh photos

After all that, I’m setting aside my work in progress to pursue an opportunity at Harlequin. I’d like to get into Harlequin. I haven’t made a huge effort, I’ve tried a few times, but this year, I’m shooting for it, planning to compete in their So You Think You Can Write Contest in the summer. However another opportunity has come up for their Desire line. So I am setting aside yet another book that I have started to go for this. It requires three chapters and a synopsis by the end of March. Here goes!

Meantime I have some nice new images to share with you. I had not realized how beautiful the coast near me actually is. If it weren’t for photography, I’d be stuck inside all the time and not realizing how totally gorgeous northern California is. Thank goodness for this art form. I went with a very dear friend who is a brilliant artist. Cherryl is also a whole lot of fun and very encouraging.

Here is the loot that I collected, plus a photo my friend took of me. Enjoy!

Bean Hollow last-1Bean Hollow last-2

Bean Hollow-1Bean Hollow -1Bean Hollow -6Bean Hollow favorites-3Bean Hollow -8Bean Hollow favorites-2

 

On a photo shoot at San Gregorio Beach California Feb 2016 small

I plan to go to a romance reading lunch this weekend, and then hopefully get together with one of my writing friends to discuss outlining. Woo hoo! (LOL) Whereas some people love going to sporting events, these are the kinds of activities that thrill me.

What are you plans this weekend?

Exploring creativity, sideways thinking

So I’ve been working all week on the plot for the last of the Cruz sisters’ trilogy. The third one has a mystery plot. It’s a lot of fun, but requires a lot of thinking, and my concentration seems way off. I flit around the project, every time the thinking gets hard, I jump to the internet. I have to keep reminding myself to go back to the work. I don’t know why this is.

Well one of the things about creative writing is that you spend a lot of time with your own mind and discover things about it. I was not happy with this jumping thing. Seems like I need to concentrate and fill in the plot one thing at a time, but I don’t know what to put in all the slots.

This post is sprinkled with unrelated photos, but their very lack of relatedness, relates, because this is the kind of thing I’ve been doing all week, think a little, then do something else.

Test
Lake Tahoe
SONY DSC
Oregon, Horsetail Falls

I would read the outline and the guidelines for the classic mystery. Get stuck. Jump to something else. This behavior seemed very unproductive, and I was getting frustrated with myself for not sticking to the plan and concentrating.

Did I share this info graphic with you? This is actually for the book I worked on during NaNo, but which I have set aside to work on the last of the Cruz sisters.

Aesthetics of my novel

Yes, that novel is very outdoorsy, and there are horses.

So here’s what happened when it seemed all I was doing was thinking sideways. Solutions came. I filled these into the outline. It’s sort of like translating vertical motion to circular and therefore useful motion the way a car translates the piston motion to the wheel motion.

What are your plans for the weekend? I hope you will be having fun.

5 ways to set new years goals

So as not to overwhelm yourself, look at the big picture and keep it simple. Make sure you get big things done. We need to protect our big things against the tide of small things, which we tend to do because they are smaller, easier to accomplish. Think about what big things will make you feel the most fulfilled at the end of the year.

  1. Choose no more than three large projects. For example: Market <book that is coming out>, Complete <work-in-progress A>, Write <planned-project B>. Don’t even bother putting down the next steps about getting them sold, marketed or whatever. (I’ll show you what to do with those steps on Monday when I revisit our project management discussion.)
  2. For routine maintenance items, keep the list to three important ones. For example, maintain my marketing efforts: blog, facebook, newsletter.
  3. Keep most of your personal goals separate, and keep them simple.
  4. Create development goals. For example, improve my writing by doing the exercises in Make Your Words Work by Gary Provost and by reading 100 novels. Again, choose no more than three.
  5. For your three big projects, break them into steps. Look at your calendar, which should also reflect things like planned vacations, conferences, and so on, so that you can get a realistic idea of when you can accomplish the projects. Be sure to build in some slack in the schedule. If you think it will take 3 months, give it four. Work on the projects one at a time if possible. Put all your projects on a big piece of paper with the steps as boxes so you can check them off, and so that when you have to set one aside to work on another, (which counts as working on one at a time), when you return to the original project, you can quickly see where you are on the other project. I’ll go over this big-piece-of-paper concept again on Monday.

If you complete your big projects before the end of the year, then you can make more goals.

For 2015, my big project accomplishments were:

  • Finished and started querying Mark Taggart and the Circle of Stones
  • Wrote and submitted Third Strike’s the Charm.
  • Edited, formatted, and published Heartland.

I didn’t write two other books I wanted to write, but that’s okay. I’m still getting the hang of my process. But I want to get to the point that I complete my goals. It’s okay to abandon some goals and make new ones within the year, but I want to accomplish the number of big projects that I set out to do.

I used the second half of December to read, think, and to work on the tools that will help me get where I want to go with my writing.

RENOVATION 3

I’m enjoying my process, and I’m not working under contract. (With Wild Rose Press, authors enter the contract after the book is written, not before.)

What are you looking forward to accomplishing this year?

Before you go, I’ve been working on this photo. Which do you prefer?

Snow in the Sierras

Happy Friday.

I was in a snow storm last night, well sort of. I was looking out the window of a high rise hotel in Reno Nevada at this beautiful snow falling on a railroad yard. It’s hard to photograph falling snow, but you can see it in the lights. Okay, the snow floating in front is WordPress snow, I’m talking about the snow in the photo, LOL!

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I have a lot of writing to do, but I’m going to start tomorrow. Tonight I’m tired, so I’m going to read.

How is your Christmas/holiday shopping going? I have done a little. Next week is going to be busy.

Here’s what the mountains looked like today.

 

Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought 8 and Sand Harbor

So I tried drinking less water, and it really didn’t work out that well! My lips dried out, which is a sign of dehydration, as is fatigue. *pauses to drink water* Here is the article that debunks the need for 8 glasses of water a day: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/upshot/no-you-do-not-have-to-drink-8-glasses-of-water-a-day.html?emc=edit_au_20150824&nl=afternoonupdate&nlid=18605385&abt=0002&abg=0&_r=0

I do think this bears some thought. Anyway, I tried it, and I do feel remarkably better if I have eight gulps of water right after I wake up. Then if I have a couple more big glasses throughout the day. How about you?

I made it out to Sand Harbor today to take some photos with the dusting of snow we received. It was very cold, but pretty. Enjoy.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
Bench overlooking Sand Harbor
Waiting for summer

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Staircase at Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe
Waiting for little feet running down to the sandy beach

Staircase at Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

I am changing my blog schedule to two times a week. I love blogging and seeing all of you, but also feel that I need to create a bit more time for writing and reading, including other blogs. So I’m going to try twice a week. I think once a week will be my minimum, but I don’t want to drop to that yet. We shall see how it goes.

Thanks so much for visiting, and have a great week.

 

 

 

 

Final days of the Halloween Hop and…travel photos #giveaway

Happy Friday!! Thank you to everyone who joined my newsletter, liked my Facebook page, and voted on my Monochrome Madness photos.

It seems like all-of-a-sudden I’m super busy. The truth is I know how I became so busy. I procrastinated…after all I didn’t have to go out and take photos of Lake Tahoe, but then again, I sort of did…know what I mean?

The pressure is self-imposed and comes from trying to clear the decks for National Novel Writing Month, which starts on Sunday. I (hopefully) will be writing the first draft of a new novel called…drum roll…Work in Progress! 😉 In terms of clearing the decks, so far it seems that the faster I go the further behind I get, which was not part of my project planning!

Today I thought I would share with you a few photos from an amazing place. You may have seen these before, but in a way they’re different because I processed them in Lightroom, which is new software for me.

I will start this off with a question for you as a prompt; remember comments get you into my giveaway contest (details below). Is there any place in the world you dream of visiting? Have you been there? Do you plan to go?

For me this place was Easter Island which must have been the earliest place I’ve ever dreamed of seeing. I learned about it in grade school and when I saw those giant stone heads and learned of the mystery surrounding how they were moved from the rock quarries on the mountainside down to the various shoreline positions, I thought it was the most mystical place on the planet. I was lucky enough to get to visit Easter Island in 2012.

Here are some photos of those famous statues. They are in a gallery for you. If you would like to see larger images, just click on one of the photos and you can scroll through.

By the way you can always view travel photos on my Travel page, which has a button at the top of this blog and is also here. They are grouped by place in alphabetical order.

Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop 2015Now for the Halloween hop with Melissa Snark. The giveaways on the main site are:
(1) $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Here is a direct link to the prizes:
Halloween Hop

Comment here on Nicci Carrera Romance to be entered for: a copy of Love Caters All by me, a copy of Left of the Rising Sun by John Holland,  or a copy of Dynamic Range, Leanne Cole’s photography magazine. (You can see this in the side bar on her blog.)

More Halloween Hop and Tahoe photos

Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop 2015I’m still doing the Halloween hop with Melissa Snark and 60 or so other authors. Thanks to all who have commented. Details below.

The giveaways on the main site are:

(1) $100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card or
(1) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card

Here is a direct link to the prizes:
Halloween Hop

Comment here on Nicci Carrera Romance to be entered for: a copy of Love Caters All, a copy of Left of the Rising Sun,  or a copy of Dynamic Range, Leanne Cole’s photography magazine. (You can see this in the side bar on her blog.)

I’m trying to decide which of these monochrome photos is best. What do you think?

A black and white image of boulders in Lake Tahoe, Sand Harblr
Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe
A black and white image of boulders in Lake Tahoe, Sand Harblr
Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe
Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe, a yellow shrub on a granite boulder
Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

And now for some color. These are also from Sand Harbor, one of my favorite places in the world.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

Thanks, and happy hump day!