Back in the swing of things?

Well, I had hoped to start this year off right and stay on top of posting on my blog. I hardly ever make New Year’s Resolutions as I know they will be soon broken or forgotten. And so it seems it is the same with my “goal” of posting again regularly on my blog. (My last post was Jan 7 – in case you haven’t been keeping track.)

Let me give you a quick round up of things that have kept me busy instead of blogging…

1.) Writing – I have been working a little more on my latest novel. Here is another area that I feel I need to spend more time working on my WIP. It has been slow going and even with no PTA/School taking up my time at the end of December, I haven’t been consistently writing – and I am so close to being done with this draft!

2.) My job – I do work part-time for my husband’s law firm. Over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday I did work on his personnel policy – all 37 pages of it as well as a budget for the new year. We are also decorating a new conference room – which means lots of ordering of items.

3.) The Kids – Of course the new school semester started up for the kids on January 4th. There is driving them to/from school and tennis practice, following up with homework and helping them select their courses for next year. And there is taking Jase driving – it is only 4 months until he gets his liscense.

4.) My mom – She was in the hospital for 10 days at the beginning of the year. No, it wasn’t COVID. She had some swelling in her brain. I went over to visit her three times to give my dad a break (he was there almost all day). I’m thankful that she was allowed visitors as I know in parts of the country, some hospitals allow no visitors at all. She is now in a short-term care facility as she does physical therapy and prepares to return home. But they have stricter visitation standards so I do my checking in over the phone.

5.) PTA – How could I not mention this one? (Especially since I am on 3 differnt boards.) There have been board meetings and general meetings, training sessions, a newsletter, many, many emails, and preparing the agenda and for voting at next board meeting (which I’m incharge of leading). There is a chance some of these PTAs are going to have a “do over” year. Since we can’t volunteer on campus, Texas PTA is letting board members keep their same positions next year. That means I could be President for a third year. (Typically you can’t hold any position for more than 2 year in a row.)

So, I have been busy and as always, I put the blog lower on the rung of things I need to do. Heck, even book club has been higher lately. (We are reading The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian.) But I am vowing to do better. I know I can. I know I can find the time to get back to posting three times a week. Still not a New Year’s resolution. I may not even call it a goal. I’m just going to do it.

My top 7 writing/publishing/marketing posts

This past year, I have not done a good job of keeping up with blogging about writing or publishing/marketing topics. I even have a few in the works that I didn’t get completed. I vow to do better this year. Until then, let’s look back at the top 7 posts on writing or publishing.

Social Media for Authors

Your book is done and out there for the world to find, read, and love. Of course, no reader (beyond friends and family) will find it without some marketing. One of the best – and typically free – way to market your book is on social media. Maintaining a presence on social media these days is a must for any writer. (To keep reading, click here.)

Setting up an Author Facebook Page

The biggest social media platform is Facebook with more than 2 billion users every month (with 95% of those accessing the app on their phones). There are more than 65 million businesses with a Facebook page. (To keep reading, click here.)

Using Twitter to reach readers

Twitter can also be a great way to reach readers.

Twitter is a social networking site where users can send short (280 character) messages called Tweets. You can include a hashtag (#) to allow people who are interested in a topic to find those who share that same interest. But be warned – using too many of these looks like your message is spam. (To keep reading, click here.)

Why writers must be readers

I’m sure you have heard it – from teachers, other writers and in books on writing – “Writers need to be readers.” Or something to that effect.

Writers work with words and it is in their best interest to know them well. A writer who doesn’t read is like a musician not listening to music or a chef who never samples other foods. Reading and writing go hand in hand. (To keep reading, click here.)

Writing out of order

Now I am not a planner. I do not outline my books before I write. I do have a loose outline and typically plan out a few chapters at a time. And often I do have the end of the book in mind when I begin writing. But since I only have a loose outline, I am free to let my characters dictate how the story goes. This method works for me – usually. (To keep reading, click here.)

Creating a character list

Creating characters can be fun. You develop their characteristics, physical traits, and their backstories. And you get to name them. Now you don’t always need to spend a lot of time on characters. If they are a minor character, you will spend less time developing them then say your protagonist. But as your protagonist runs into people sometimes those people at least need a name – and perhaps a description. (To keep reading, click here.)

Sharing a great writing website

The other day I was writing the scene in my latest Work in Progress, and I noted that I tend to use some words or phrases quite a bit. In a conversation, people nod, shake their head, shrug, and so on. And as this is the first draft, it is quite normal to fall into using these words or phrases. But I was thinking rather than wait until my next round of editing, what words or actions could I use instead? (To keep reading, click here.)

My Top 10 Parenting Posts

A new year has begun, and it is time for my annual post of my top 10 parenting posts from the previous year. Now as many of you know even though Monday is for parenting posts, I often post on other topics on this day too. And what a crazy year this has been. And since COVID-19 is all over the news, I decided to try and pick posts that were not about the pandemic.

So here are my top 10 posts in no apparant order…

The challenges of eating out with picky eaters

This summer, I encouraged the kids to try some new foods. They are both picky eaters in their own way. And being non-adventurous eaters, they are usually hesitant to try new things. While this summer’s experiment went well, I now need to expand the items they will eat when we dine out. (To keep reading, click here.)

Hosting a Stress and Anxiety in Adolescence Seminar

Twice a year, our middle school parent-teacher association (PTA) hosts seminars to educate parents on student related issues. In October, we brought in several police officers to talk about drugs. In February, we decided to cover Stress and Anxiety in Adolescence. (To keep reading, click here.)

Celebrating Star Wars Day

Today is May 4th – better known as Star Wars Day. For those of you who are not Star Wars fans, May the Fourth sounds a lot like May the Force – as in “May the Force be with you” or as fans say today “May the Fourth be with you.” (To keep reading, click here.)

The kids are growing up

I know. It should seem obvious. Kids do grow up. But sometimes you just look over at your child and are startled at how much they have changed. (To find out more – about my 15 year old and 12 year old, click here.)

Planning a trip to Disney World…during a pandemic

For over a year, we have been planning a Disney World vacation. Last Fall, we settled on going over Thanksgiving…in 2020. Yeah, who would have guessed we would be in the midst of a pandemic? (To keep reading, click here.)

Disney during a pandemic

Over the Thanksgiving break (Nov 21 to Nov 28), our family went to Disney World. Yes, as COVID-19 cases rose, we took a vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida. It was a fun trip – and one which felt safe. Disney has taken a lot of precautions, and they are serious about enforcing them.  (To keep reading, click here.)

Oh my! We have a new driver in the house

It is a mix of feelings when you first born reaches the age where he (or she) can learn to drive. I’m excited for him to move onto this new area, but at the same time, I have trepidation about him driving out there with all those other crazy drivers. (To keep reading, click here.)

Shark teeth and having the dentist pull baby teeth

If there was a contest to see who could have the most baby teeth pulled by a dentist, I think my son is winning. I’ve lost count how many teeth he has had pulled but I feel safe to say that 14 of his 20 baby teeth have come out at the dentist office. One of them during a cleaning but the rest we had her pull. (To keep reading and learn about shark teeth, click here.)

Students can and will wear face masks

Back in August when our school district began considering having in-person school, many people wondered if they would be able to get the students to wear masks all day. Would the kindergartners be able to keep their masks on? Would teens think they didn’t need them and keep taking them off? Would teachers spend most of their time telling students to put back on or to stop messing with their masks? (To keep reading, click here.)

Talking about racism, protests, and rioting

With stories all over the news, internet and social media, it is no wonder my son heard about George Floyd, the African American man who died due to police brutality. There is no excuse for the police officers’ actions. And Floyd’s death has sparked outrage and protests. (To keep reading, please click here.)