Monthly Archives: January 2018

Monday’s Gotta Happen Right?

Welcome to the start of another work week readers. How was the weekend for you?

I admit that I was a bit of a lazy bum this weekend. I did some writing, of course. Not a ton of it but, enough to say it was productive. I also spent some time with the Winchester boys via Netflix. I know, I’m a little late to the party with this series. If I’m honest about it though, that’s probably a good thing. Seeing as I can never watch just one episode and… well… commercials suck! So, I’m enjoying the catch up. And those episodes will likely serve as motivation and distraction on the treadmill at the gym.

Yes, I said gym. I joined the local Anytime Fitness and got started last week. It’s going to be a long road for me. But, I started and I intend to keep going. We all start somewhere. Might as well be now.

In fact, I think it is important to realize that you can start over anytime and anywhere. Its what life is really all about. We live in one type of series of events for a while and then, we make a decision to change something and start a new chapter. Sometimes they aren’t very big changes. Other times they are upheavals that shake us to our core.

Look, I don’t know where you are in life. Only you know that. But one thing I know to be certain. None of us, including you, are simply the sum of our pasts. Everyone makes mistakes. It is part of being human. But, no matter what you face as a reality of those past decisions, you can make the choice to live differently and move forward.

Above my writing desk I have a quote that I pulled from an old planner years ago. That thing was full of juicy quotes. But this one stands out to me.

Every year, day, hour, minute, second…. is a chance to start over.

It really is true. And only you will know to what degree that applies to you.

Maybe you just need to make more of an effort in a particular area of your life. Maybe you need to make a change to put yourself first for a while and drop toxic relationships in your life. Maybe you need to completely reinvent yourself. Some of those are easier to make happen than others. I know. But whatever the case may be for you, it is time to make the effort to start anew.

So change your attitude, your habits, your look, or maybe just your socks. The point is, make that step to living your best life. Get clear about what that looks like for you and just go for it. You may surprise yourself. You’ll never know unless you try though.

Just know that I’m with you on that ocean of change. The gym, the videos, my writing projects, and even where I am putting focus this year for my own life is changing. It won’t always be an easy road. It is one that I know I need to travel regardless though. Maybe I’ll share more of that journey as we go along. Will you?

 

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Even in the midst of sadness…. Ideas Abound

As I deal with some technical glitches with my newest endeavor, I find myself frustrated and seeking solutions to these little problems. I realize how first-world these are. Even as I talk about them with friends and family it seems trivial compared to other things going on in the world.

In our local community a very young boy lost his battle with cancer this week. Understanding his fear of the unknown it is a bittersweet piece of news that leaves me a bit more heartbroken than I thought it would. You see, I have always had a unique outlook on death. Well, at least, I have for as long as I can recall. It has never really bothered me as it does many people. But, I cannot imagine having to comfort a young child who was scared, confused, and questioning everything knowing that he would be facing that unknown sooner rather than later. My heart goes out to his family. I know they are devastated. I would be. But I also firmly believe that he has his answers and he’ll eventually be giving them the scoop when their time comes.

I’m thankful that I live in a small town in times like this. There is something to be said for a community that is close-knit in times like these. East Texas has always risen to the occasion when needed. And this is no different. While not everyone will attend a memorial service for this boy, so many of us are praying for them and grieving with them in our own way. And they will have the support they need, I’m sure of that.

Remember what I said about inspiration turning up at the oddest times? Well, as I’ve thought about this boy and his family an idea came to mind for a short story. I started to put it on the page today and realized that I have plenty of tidbits for stories that could be produced fairly quickly. That got the wheels turning on how to put them out to the world. And that leads me to a question for you dear readers.

Would you be interested in short stories by me? Single stories that aren’t novel length but more a quick read for an afternoon sitting. I would release these on Kindle rather than having them available in paperback. Though I won’t rule out the possibility of releasing a paperback collection down the road. But, I would love to get some input from all of you as I consider how to proceed. Would you prefer them to be singles or a collection?

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Also, if you don’t mind, say a prayer, send some good will, or just generally give good thoughts for the family of little Brock. I am sure they could use them.

Start Where You Are… This Means You!

The biggest hurdle to any worthwhile endeavor in life is getting started. At 39 years old, I’ve learned this to be true of everything in life. Starting as a baby learning to walk or talk and up to now as I truly start to make a concerted effort to change careers to more artistic endeavors. Getting started is always the hard part.

I’ve started many new things in this budding new year. I fully intend to make this my best year ever. If it turns out poorly, it won’t be because I was slacking. There are three major areas of my life that are in a current state of overhaul.

  1. My career – I make no secret about wanting to eventually leave the day job in favor of working my author platform so that I can write books, help others do the same, and really do something I am passionate about in life. Starting where I am in this area means I am writing more, publishing new material, and working on this platform thing. The YouTube Channel is proving the bigger of those challenges. And I think I might have been a bit too ambitious when I said two videos a week. Fact is, I’m starting small here with the wrong computing power to do that. So, once a week is going to be it for a while until I can upgrade here.
  2. My Health – Last year was a challenge. But with heart surgery and things being back to “normal” for me, it is time to get my butt in gear and focus on getting healthier. So, I’ve joined a local 24 hour access gym and this week I start with the concerted effort to move more. I also bought healthy options for food throughout the week to make it easier for me to make healthy choices. So we’ll see how things go.
  3. My social life – To be perfectly honest, there isn’t much going on here. I’m content to be single for once. Focusing on that career and healthy lifestyle changes keeps me busy enough. I know that I should add more time with friends and maybe even try to date on occassion. I don’t really think that I have the time for that. I’m committed to my dog at this stage in my life. Yes, I am chuckling at the idea even as I write it. It is the truth though. I’ve been through the wringer with relationships. The only thing I am sure about is that my dog is loyal, fun, full of love, and super cuddly. I think we have a beautiful thing going on here. Since not many men can deal with the ambition and what it takes to be successful in this I think I’ll stick with the pup. Maybe I’ll add in a few more Saturday afternoons with friends though. I could use some fun in my life.

The bottom line here is that you have to start where you are. None of these areas are at an ideal time for me to start focusing on them. But, I’m making efforts where I can.

The one area that I don’t think needs to be spoken of is creativity. My life is creative by nature. If I am perfectly honest, I’m feeling it may be a bit too creative. I have too many irons in the fire and not enough space to do them justice. I need to give the space an overhaul and bit of a facelift I think.

I haven’t been at the easel in months. It is just taking up space at the moment. I need to try to find some way to organize the supplies so that I can stow it all away until I’m ready to just back to canvas. I’m in desperate need of functional bookshelves. I have research material all over the place that needs to be organized so that I can easily find it.

I need to set up recording space for the Youtube videos. I need better lighting to do that where I am at home. That takes space. So I’m going to have to get creative with that. On that note, I also need digital space and an overhaul in my set up. It is time to make the switch to Mac I think but that takes a big investment. I need a system that I can use for video production though. So, I’m going to have to find a way to make it happen.

I’ll make do until I can make changes though. I’m tired of using the excuses to stop my journey to being a success. I start where I am and with what I have. It can only get better from there. And that’s true for you as well.

What is it you want to do in and with your life that you’re putting off for the right circumstances? How could you just jump right in and get started this week? What small steps could you take to make those circumstances happen for yourself?

Food for thought readers.

Snow Days

Texas, oh Texas! You and your crazy weather.

So, it was in the 60s all day Monday. The weather stations kept warning of a winter storm coming our way. And so it did. My final hour at the office I saw the thermometer drop about 12 degrees. The rain began and I opted to come on home instead of making my planned stop off to sign up at the gym. Then, when I woke Tuesday there was all this white stuff that I hadn’t seen in two years. And there was no way my car was going anywhere in that.

You see, Texas so rarely sees snow and ice that they really never properly prepare for it. I drove professionally in Wisconsin in the middle of February. There were snow drifts above my head and temperatures well below zero. Try -30° wind chills, my friends. For a southern girl, that was pretty darn cold. I am no stranger to driving in the white stuff. But Texas doesn’t salt or really treat the roads for ice and snow. Instead, everything seems to shut down.

To be perfectly honest, I was happy with a couple of snow days. I spent them cuddling with my pup and writing for the most part. I made loads of progress on the WIP. And it was all good.

Today it was back to work though. The roads had cleared enough to be driveable again. There was really only one particular part that I was worried about on Wednesday. It still isn’t clear but, it is passable.  I tried to park in the driveway tonight. My car started to slide on me. So, I pulled up into the yard instead and proceeded to slip and catch my jaw with my car door. That’s gonna smart for a while. Glad I did my filming today.

I think I was starting to go a bit stir crazy though. I was ready to get out of the house again. So, I was off and running this morning with my travel mug of coffee in hand and gloves on. The experience this morning only solidified my belief that I would not do well full time in a colder climate. While I have a difficult time with the extreme heat we usually experience here, I’m not so sure that I could take months on end of this sort of snow and ice. I should really find something more temperate for when I retire.  Ha!

I was going to stop by the gym to finalize things there after work. I called only to be told that the manager couldn’t be there tonight but will be happy to meet me tomorrow after work to do all the paperwork. Ten minutes and we’re done and I can work out. So, I have my gym bag packed, my fitbit is charged, and I’m taking my water bottle with me along with my earbuds. I’m ready to get this thing started. I need to do it for myself.

Video Days…

Wow guys! I had no idea what an ordeal creating this content was going to be. I am still determined though.

As I write this, it is nearly 1:00AM and I have approximately 5 hours remaining on the rendering of my first video. I have no idea how long it is going to take to upload it to YouTube. But that will have to wait until I get up to be started. So, the video will go up at some point.

In the meantime, I did get my intro to load and I’m excited about that part. So I’ll be working on some other videos this week so I can get some content up but, so you can get the notifications and subscribe. Here it is!

I really wanted to show off the fun side. All the different things I do and I think I succeeded there. I may tweak it as I gather new experiences, clips, and images but for a start I think this is a good option.

I have learned a very important lesson though. I really need to invest in a better computer. This video editing is no joke. And I’m sure it will be a good investment. So, I’m already doing research. Glad this is coming up at tax time.

I know this is short but, I wanted to share what was accomplished. Now, I have to get to the day job in the morning so, I think sleep is a necessary component of my day.

Monday & Thoughts On Living

Hello my readers! I hope that you’re all fairing well in this wintery weather. Here in Texas it was a crazy day. As I was leaving the office the temperature was 52° F and as I got home 30-45 minutes later it was 38° F. I took my umbrella and my coat and gloves this morning when it was about 64° F. It is no wonder that everyone I come in contact with is sick. GermX is my friend lately.

I have a couple of things I wanted to put out there tonight. It is no secret that I have a YouTube channel that I’ve been preparing for. I’m happy to tell you that my first video will be posted on Monday January 15th, 2018. In fact, there will be two! One is a static invitation and about the channel type of post and the other will be actual content post. So, I’m going to backtrack on Monday to post links to those videos for you to easily access them. Why? Because I’m a total Newb at this and have no idea how this is all going to work out until I actually finish editing and uploading. So, please, be patient with me in this process.

I have been blogging off and on for years. I am a writer. It is what I do well. So, you may be asking “why have I decided to jump into the video realm? It’s a fair question. So I’m going to address it here, for now.

This is me. I’m a heavy woman who has always had a big heart. There’s no need to go into the details of why or how I ended up the size I am now. It is just a fact.

Every year, I make a list of resolutions. Like many others out there they include losing weight, eating healthy, drinking more water, and the usual things. But 2017 was a hard year in many ways. The latter half of the year left me doing a great deal of soul searching and dealing with the reality of my own mortality. I started to question myself on a much deeper level. I prayed for clarity and direction. To my surprise, I actually got what I asked for.

I’ve spent most of my life being concerned with what others thought about me. I hid from view in group photos and avoided full body shots. It is something a lot of bigger women (and I assume men) do. We want to look, act, and feel just like everyone else. But, we stand out no matter how much we try to hide away. Then we become painfully aware of any situation that even hints at embarassment for those we love. Subconsciously we read far more into things that are said, many times, than is really there. The result is even further seclusion from the world. For me, something has finally clicked. And I realize that there is something much bigger at play here than just me.

Getting in front of this camera is terrifying. I know that there are going to be people out there who will attack me solely because of the way I look. I deal with that every day. And I’ve often used writing as a way to cope with the emotions that go along with that. This has to get beyond the fear. It will get easier for me. There are going to be posts about writing, creative living, plus size living, and I want to allow all of you a bit of a window into my world. I think it is going to be an exciting thing once I move through the initial jitters. I hope that you will too.

Why now? Because I am tired of living my life on the sidelines waiting to be the perfect size, have the perfect smile, hair, or make up. Life is imperfect. We are all flawed. And I think it is so important for other bigger people to see someone being real, honest, living life, and reaching for a big dream. I’ve been inspired by other writer and youtubers out there who have shared their own journeys. And I feel like I have a unique perspective to offer that could help others find their voice and encourage them to start living their fullest lives as well.

So much in my life is changing. I’ve realized that writing a book isn’t enough. I want this to be a career for me. I want to entertain people with great stories and characters. I want to travel and meet readers, give readings, help and inspire others to reach for their own creative dreams. To do that, I have to get out of my shell. I have to undo years of conditioning. I have to be healthier than I have ever been before and strong enough to say, “You know what world, HERE I AM!” And I am finally there.

Conquering the fear isn’t easy but, I’m just going to go on blind faith that the right people will connect through these means. Blogging, Vlogging, and other social media are tools that will allow me to reach far and wide. This year, is about learning about them and then using them to live my dreams.

So, will you join me?

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’d be delighted if you would join me in subscribing to my new channel as well. Info will be live on Monday as soon as there is a video to share over there.

See ya soon!

 

Creative Projects 2018

The first full week of 2018 was hectic for me. The day job was crazy busy. That wasn’t so surprising though. First of  the month and after a holiday, I had to expect it. But, I don’t think it is every something I am really prepared for. By the time I was able to call it quits on Saturday I was burned out and ready to come home and relax. Hence no Saturday post because, I didn’t prep it in advance.

A lot of my posts are on the fly and fairly raw for you. This is my way of really giving you my first impressions and the best window into my little slice of the world.

My weekend was nice and relaxing. After the week I had, I really needed to decompress a bit. Being a crafter, I have a couple of projects lying around that I am working on in my spare time. There is a particular one that I ordered to do as a gift for my mother for Christmas. Unfortunately, it didn’t arrive in time for me to complete it. In fact, it didn’t arrive until the 30th of December despite ordering it in November. But let me show and tell you a bit about it.

My mother is very into peacocks at the moment. It is a decorating theme in her living room and kitchen. So, I try to find unique things from time to time for her. This ad showed up on my Facebook feed for something called “Painting With Diamonds“.  They had a sale going on and I decided to buy a kit when I saw this Azure Peacock. I thought it would be a lovely gift for my mother.

Now, I will say that I was disappointed in how long it took to arrive. And, yes, I contacted their customer service and was very happy with the result. So I will definitely order again because this was absolutely meditative and almost addictive once I got started on it.

The whole process is simple really. It is akin to a paint by number or counted cross stitch project but I think the results are a bit more stunning really. Now, I’ll have to post an update once I am able to frame it for hanging but, here are a couple of the process.

Now, I think that it is a great start for someone who is looking for an inexpensive way to start something creative. Why? Well, several reasons.

  1. The images are beautiful and inspiring. They have many to choose from.
  2. They are affordable. This small one was $19.99 and they have a discount code available for additional savings. (HINT it is DIAMONDS so use it when you check out.)
  3. Small or large is your decisions. They all come in various sizes. This was a relatively small project and all said, I’ve likely spent about 48-50 hours to complete it. Which is great for me to think about other things going on and get mental plans going.
  4. It is easy to start and stop and doesn’t requite a lot of space. I placed everything into a gallon ziplock bag when I was done at the kitchen table. 
  5. They provide most everything you’ll need. The only additional supplies that I used were scissors and some Ziploc bags, and a Sharpie to mark what number was in the bag. BTW I recommend snack size instead of sandwhich like I had.
  6. You have something gorgeous to frame and say ” I did it!” when you’re done. And that, my friends can motivate you to do other things.

Number 6 is probably the most important of those. Why? Because that momentum is what you really look for. You start with something small and then you branch out from there. This time it might be the diamonds. Next time you may buy a canvas and some paint and brushes. The idea is starting where you are and finding something to kindle that fire for passionate creativity.

I am working on an article that I want to offer my email subscribers that is a list of ways that you can start being more creative on a daily basis. As soon as I figure out all the back end things for putting it all up, I’ll let you know. It’s on my list this week to get those details worked out.

As I get ready to head back to the office I hope that you all have a great week and find some time of your own to decompress.

In the meantime, you know where to find me!

First Quarter Goals of 2018

Welcome back my dear readers!

I have to say, being back to the day job after the holidays is crazy and hectic. I feel all out of sorts trying to learn how to balance it all. But, I will find the right method and learn to do so. It is all a part of making some huge changes in how I’m approaching my life now. It is past time for me to really pour myself into the things I am passionate about. I’m so happy that you’re taking up the mantel with me or at least following my new adventure in life.

So, as the title suggests I am going to be talking about my goals for the first quarter of the year. I have to say that while I set a few last quarter as a trial there were a number of things that got in my way when it came to completing them. Although, I did manage to finish the first drafting of my WIP which was the big goal for me so, I’m super proud of that fact. Now it is time to go beyond that and really flesh out the story and add those details I think it lacks in places so that it can be ready for feedback before publication. Exciting stuff!

Oh and just wait until you see what happens next in Elora’s story! I’m so stoked for you to have it in your hands.

I digress though. So, back on track with goals for First Quarter of 2018

  1. Finish that revision phase for the WIP (Yep, that’s the second, as yet untitled, Slauson Cove novel.)
  2. Post twice a week here on the blog.  After this week, you’ll see posts coming up on Tuesdays and Saturdays here. So make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss them.
  3. Launch my Youtube channel and post two videos a week once that starts. – This one will be a learning curve and I’m not entirely expecting to reach it as it is written. But, I’m going to push to post some sort of creative living or writing advice video along with more of a vlog or day in the life video. More on the schedule as I see how it pans out. Trust me there will be links when it is ready.
  4. Grow my audience by a minimum of 250 new followers between my platform elements. That includes this blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and yes, I’m finally getting on the instagram band wagon. So, I’ll post links to all of those. Be a doll and share those links with people who may want to connect or learn more about some great reads.
  5. Answer all relevant comments on my blog and videos within 24 hours of them being posted. Yes that means interacting more with social media. This is definitely a new thing for me so, be patient with me.
  6. Build that email list for my bimonthly newsletter with the first 100 subscribers. Yes this is exclusive access to announcements before they are on the blog or on YouTube about the book, events, and giveaways etc. Keep an eye open for that. I’ll make a special post about it soon.
  7. Get that PO Box set up so I can post that for people to send mail to.

That’s it for this quarter. Of course there are plenty of other things behind the scenes like creating a launch plan for the new book, booking additional events, and making some other things happen. Cover art needs to be worked on, the book still needs a final title, and there is also formatting etc. So the work is never done. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what goals are you setting for yourself in the first few months of the new year?

Want ahead of the rush? Here are all the links to my social media for you to share and connect with me.

Anne Belle on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/AnneBelleAuthor/

Anne on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AnneBelleAuthor

Anne on Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8063125.Anne_Belle

Anne on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/passionforwords/

And as always, you can find other contact details in the contact tab here on the blog.

Happy New Year Folks. May it be happy and successful for you!

Welcome 2018 Now Create Something!

Happy New Year! 

Watched the drop from home this year with a bottle of champagne and my parents. Nothing too fancy really. We had finger foods and watched a movie after midnight. It was good company and a nice relaxing way to go out with the old. For all of you I hope that it was a safe and happy celebration if you were out with friends and that the new year brings you everything you hope it will.

Now it is time to get on with the business of getting things moving and shaking for 2018. As I think about all that I want to accomplish in the coming year I realize how much work I have ahead of me. I have to say it can be exciting and daunting at the same time. But, for me, it is time to kick the fear factor out of my headspace and go on with creating the life I wanted for myself.

This week will be a little different. I’ll be posting about quarterly goals and I’ll recap last year in a post. And I’ll be making some announcements and starting some exciting new things. But, you have a lot coming your way from me in 2018.

There’s a new book! Yes, I’ll be doing some official posts about the details. However, fans of The Secret of the Storm will be happy to know that they’ll get to return to Slauson Cove with Elora Castain. There will be some promotion events where you can meet me in person and I’ll be signing books. I’m working out details on a few of those for 2018.

If you haven’t read it then what are you waiting for? You can pick up a copy via my Amazon Author Page. Just go here or search for Anne Belle.

I’m also going to be brave and step outside my comfort zone this year with a new YouTube Channel. This is going to be a combination of advice, Q & A, and a look into my world. It should appeal to anyone who wants that look into the process of creating a fictional world, who wants to be more creative in their ow life, or who just wants to get to know me.

And, finally, I’m going to be producing a newsletter along with some freebies that will be exclusive for subscribers that will keep with my theme of creative lifestyle/living. This could be exclusive videos, printables, maybe even a short teaser or story for you. You’ll just have to subscribe to see.

So here’s to everyone having the best year ever! May the success, friends, fun, and happiness be plentiful for you throughout 2018. I hope you’ll join me on this crazy ride. Follow me here to get updates and sign up for all the fun coming your way.