27 April 2015

Eyes on the Prize

So I'm sitting at my computer, staring at the white screen of death that Word gives you when you fire up a new document. I've shifted in my seat at least three times. I pulled up the internet, then immediately turned it back off. The number of dramatic sighs have gotten lost in the din of my brain saying, "just go take a nap."

It doesn't help that the curtains are open, and there is a breeze blowing outside that keeps drawing my eye to the tree with the red leafs across the street.

You see, I just did it again!

Oh, and there may or may not be a small bag of cookies on my desk. At one point there were cookies in there, but not anymore.

Which makes me sad.

But as I was gearing up to write a blog post about book covers, I kept getting distracted by all of these other wonderful (and frankly more interesting) things around me.

I think about what to type, but before I actually begin typing, I have a cookie. Then I must finish the cookie, lick my fingers clean, then go back to typing. But by then, I've decided I didn't like what I had been thinking about before, and I have to start over.

It is  vicious cycle. One I'm sure we've all been through at one time or another. Or five times this afternoon.

So why do we stall?  Why do we dawdle? Why can't we follow the advice of Nike and "Just Do It?"

In my case, the problem is generally one of two things.

First, and forgive me a moment of spirituality, I will figure out that I'm going in the wrong direction in any given project that I'm working on. Sometimes I can fight and fight and fight, but in the end I give up, and turn down a different path, and BAM, life is roses and Sprite. This happens in my life as well.

Second, my eye is not, as they say, on the prize.  Or, and this is a subcategory, I don't have enough of a project thought out to actually have a prize in mind.

Let's take this blog. What is the purpose of my blog? In the beginning, about a thousand writers told me that I had to have a blog, so that when I got fans they would know where to find me. They would want to know witty and silly things about my life. So that's what I blog about. Plus some writing stuff.

But that's sort of gone all wishy-washy. Especially since blogs are no longer the preferred platform of social networking.

But I like blogging. I don't love Twitter.

So why am I here?

Not sure. I guess my goal now is to figure out what my prize is. Then I can go for it.

As long as cookies don't get in the way.

Take a look at something you're doing in your own life. Is it making you happy? Do you know why you're doing it, or could the reasoning use an overhaul? If you don't see a prize, then consider taking the time to reevaluate your actions. Don't waste time on things that don't really matter.

On the flip side, when you see a worthy prize ahead of you, work like crazy to get there. It's always worth it!

20 April 2015

The Altar of Well-Meaning Advice

Crying freaks me out.

You know in the movies when the woman breaks down into hysterical tears and the poor boy doesn’t know what to do about it. Hug her? Get her a tissue? Slowly walk away while keeping eye contact the whole way?

I’m a girl, but that’s usually my reaction to tears. I know when I cry, I like to be left alone (except by the husband, who is required to hug me until I tell him he can leave). So that’s what I usually do.

Over the last month or so, I’ve watched a lot of friends and family members struggling. I won’t go into details—we all know that this life can throw curve balls and sling mud on a level that rivals political campaigns. Just imagine your worst day or week or year and perhaps double it.

I’ve had a lot of friends who have had miscarriages. This is a horrible situation to be in. Years ago I was speaking with a friend’s husband, and I simply told him how sorry I was.

He glared at me.

I said nothing more, mostly because I had nothing more to say. I’ve never been through that. What advice could I possibly offer him?

After a second, his face softened, and he said, “Thanks. I thought you were going to go on.”

“Uh, no.”

Then he snapped. He told me how many people tried to tell him about the time that their friend or family member went through the same thing, or that he should just turn to God, turn away from God, go take a vacation, quit his job to be home with his wife…pick a statement and someone offered it up on the altar of well-meaning advice.

He’s a passionate guy, and he was furious. He said to me, “You know what? You can tell the people who have been through it, because they don’t elaborate. They look at you and say, ‘I’m so sorry.’ You know that they know how you feel, and they remember that nothing really helped them, so they just pat you on the shoulder and walk away. Why can’t other people do the same?”

At this point, I was glad I’d stuck with my simple sympathy.

But he’s right. In general, people who love you want to help you. They’re not always equipped to do so, but that hardly ever stops them. And sometimes it’s hard to not smack them. Or, in my cause, wonder why I’m not giving them a hug or offering them food.

We’re here to help one another through this mess of life. I wish I had the perfect answers for everyone who had questions, and I wish I knew the exact words to say to pull someone out of a downward spiral, but I rarely do. And most of the time, if you’re the one crashing, and you’re not ready to be comforted, no one’s words will help you

As an author, I put my characters through hell all the time. As a friend, I wish I could write the problems away, but it doesn’t work like that.

Everyone is going through something. It may not feel as important or as real as your own problems, but for the person suffering, it is. Be a listening ear. Don’t judge, and whatever you do, don’t make light of someone else’s pile of issues.

No writing advise today, just a call to be a good friend. Everyone needs one or two.

06 April 2015

The Brand Demand and the Guy Who Wrote It.

Hey everyone,
Today we are hosting the, ah, er, umm...one and only (because the world can only handle a single copy) Johnny Worthen.

Seriously, if you've met him there is no short description, and if you haven't, hold on to all of your bits and pieces.

Although if you have a short description, leave it in the comments. I'm curious.

Johnny has a handful of books already published. None of them are the same flavor. Which is pretty much awesome. His latest baby is:

As usual, I sent him some highly personal questions to answer. Although I held off on anything having to do with the bathroom or bodily functions. Mostly to spare you.

1-Write down the next four thoughts you have. (I'm just trying to demonstrate your acute and somewhat epic ADD)

1— I’m sick of this song. I should change it.
2— Where’s the remote?
3— I spend too much time looking for the remote.
4— Come on! Where’s the goddamn remote!

2-Let's say you are king of the world, what one food would you purge from planet Earth?


3-Would you support Pay Per View combat rounds in the Senate? They have to fight it out in order to speak on the floor? They get to choose weapons—thumb wars, swords, Q-Tips...

No. Bullies always win things like that.

4-What is the most frightening aspect of Southern Utah Romance Writers? There must be a story here.

G rating. It’s not tantalizing, it’s not titillating, it’s trying and tame. Give me flesh!

5-In six words, describe politics. I'm insanely curious.

Rich people exploiting poor people.

6-What get rich quick scheme tempts you the most?

Armored car heist.

7-How did a political thriller make it to the top of your to write list?

The politics is mostly motivation. It reflects the frustration many left leaners feel in a very conservative environment. It was born out of the Prop 8 debacle in California and the terrible Bush years we’ve yet to recover from. It’s a story about a person who holds strong beliefs but holds them without a tether to the world he’s trying to protect. Galen Reed, the protagonist, limits himself emotionally and intellectually as he fights a Robin Hood crusade against toxic hypocrites and unfettered capitalism. It is ultimately a character study of loneliness and purpose, two of my favorite themes.

8-What was the best part about writing this book?

I’ve always admired Edward Abbey. When I became a writer, I wanted to do something like he had done and create a mythology of resistance. THE BRAND DEMAND gave me a chance to connect with his MONKEY WRENCH GANG a little bit. Different times need different tactics, but both gangs are fighting for what I think is right.

9-So, why should we read your book? Hmmm? (This is the part where you dazzle us with your rapier wit.)

THE BRAND DEMAND is an adventure/mystery. It’s about bad guys who are good guys and one guy who meets a gal. It’s got high stakes and local color. It has an eclectic ganga and a sex scene that makes me blush. It challenges both sides of the political spectrum and is a page-turning read. It’s very cool.

10-What's next? Following your career is like riding the Tea Cups—you never know where you'll end up.

This is a hat-trick year for me. First, I have THE BRAND DEMAND now. In July, CELESTE, THE UNSEEN BOOK 2, hits the shelves. That’s a thrill right there. And in the Fall, I have the start of what I hope to be my signature series, THE FINGER TRAP, a Tony Flaner mystery. It’s a comic noir, full of social commentary and mid-life crisis.

Next year, DAVID, THE UNSEEN BOOK 3 will hit and I’m shopping a handful of other titles hoping to break into the big five. I’ll be attending and presenting at writers conferences as much as I can to pick up clues and leave a few. I’m living the dream. Wish me luck

If you would like to as Johnny any questions, mock him or (and this would be better) say hello, here are the many ways he has given the innocents of the world to stalk him:

And if you're now dying to read THE BRAND DEMAND, click on the title and go thee forth unto Amazon!

Look at that face.
Don't let it fool you.