Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Singles Awareness Day…

Yes, I said it.

Yes, I’m single.  No, I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day. It just isn’t something that was ever really celebrated for me. Sure, I gave out the little cards when I was in school. As an adult, if an effort to celebrate was made it was all on me to make it a special occasion. I’m not the sort of girl who evokes a sense of romance. That’s just part of who I am. I’ve learned to accept it. Just as I’ve learned to accept being single.

I used to have big dreams of a husband and kids. I tried the marriage thing for 6 years. I learned a great many things about myself in that time. I also put up with far more than I should have in an effort to make it work. That’s all part of my past though and not something to be constantly relived. Today, my goals and plans for life are much different and, I think, much more practical.

I’ve accepted that a family of my own won’t happen and turned my attention toward creating a life that I find appealing and enjoyable. I spend my time writing and living vicariously through characters that fit more of an ideal for me.

The truth is, I’m too old fashioned for my own good. A woman like me really can’t compete in today’s dating climate. And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really want to anymore. I value things like loyalty and compromise. I don’t see those things in modern relationships.  I’m more likely to be the eccentric aunt in my own story. The modern spinster with books on shelves as life goes on.

For those of you celebrating the day of romance, I say have a glass of wine or champagne for those of us who are celebrating alone. I think I shall spend my evening in sweatpants with some icecream and my real Valentine, Pip the pup. A scary movie might take my mind off the obvious and put me in an inspired mood to keep the keys clicking away as they are now.

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Happy Everything To Everyone!

As a child I grew up with big family Christmases. The kind that includes cousins and other extended family all being under the same roof. There was a ton of southern food on two tables where we ate in shifts. In the living room of my grandparents’ home was a modest Christmas tree but, the gifts would be piled near the ceiling and out into the living room floor. The kids, myself included, would be in a flurry of excitement on Christmas Eve asking when we would open gifts until one of us got into big trouble for getting on one of the adults’ nerves. And when it came to opening them, it was a veritable blizzard of paper and bows that would look like colorful snowdrifts against the sofa’s and chairs until we started cleaning it all up.

I’m thankful for those experiences. And Christmas is very different for me now as an adult. This year, the biggest gift was the best. My mom was here with me. If you know me at all, you know that my mother and I are close. For me, Christmas has always been about things we did together. Decorating the house was a big deal. But, so is the making of the many batches of candies, cookies, pies, and cakes that become gifts to our friends and family. Those things make Christmas for me. And while, we were both battling some sort of cold or flu bug, it remains just as special an experience because she is here this year. Though I do wish that we could have worked out going North to be with my brother, my grandparents, and our family there. I’m just happy to have family to spend the holidays with. I know that won’t always be the case. Having already experienced holidays alone, I’ll treasure it when I can.

I suppose I’m a bit reflective now. Starting my 39th trip around the sun today and I have to give some thought to what the last year has given me so that I can prepare for a prosperous New Year. This year has been a lot of personal growth. The health issues alone that I have faced have brought me to a place of understanding my own mortality. We don’t get younger after all. And changes are already being made for the positive in that respect. There has also been a desire to get my life together at last.

It feels like much of my existence has been a sort of floundering about without real direction or purpose. This past year, I’ve done a considerable amount of soul searching trying to find meaning in life.

You see, like many young women, I expected that I would eventually marry and have a family of my own. That I would have the opportunity to create my own family traditions for holidays. To pass on my own wisdom and creative perspective to my own children. I expected that, like my mother before me, I would be a mom and have a home that I could fill with laughter and memories. I didn’t expect it to be perfect or without the need to make do with limitations. I simply expected it to be mine. But, nothing in my life has ever turned out the way I expected. It seems that is just something I need to accept and move on from.

I married… the wrong man. I tried to make it work but, in the end divorce was the only answer to a bad situation. I tried to date for a while, of course. That didn’t turn out so well either. My realization about the type of men I attract has led me to a place of not even wanted to jump into the dating game to attempt it again. I really am much better off on my own than in a relationship with these types of men. But accepting singledom at 39 means that I have to give up the dream of children and a family in the traditional sense. So, I have to find a way to fill that void in my life because if I don’t, I know that it will consume me and leave me a shell of the vibrant woman I once was. In fact, it already has done that in some ways.

For me, the logical choice is a focus on career. No, I do not mean my current day job. My writing has always been my comfort and my escape when things get dark and foreboding in my life. I have talked many times about my desire to be a full time fiction writer. Somehow, I’ve always managed to put it off in favor of other things. I think it all comes down to fear for me really. But, it is time to be brave and find my courage again. To get out there and do something with my life. I certainly can’t keep sitting around waiting for something that isn’t ever going to happen.

No, my 39th trip around the sun is one that I want to make sure I make the most out of. I want to push myself to write more, connect more with people who share my interests, publish, and really give myself a fighting chance of having a life that I want. The next week will be about reflecting and planning for a prosperous 2018. Bringing this year to a close and preparing to start anew.

There is still Christmas to celebrate this coming weekend as well as a new year to ring in. But, I am also going to be making some announcements here on the blog as well. So I do hope you’ll stay tuned and subscribe to be sure you don’t miss those.

For everyone reading, I hope that this finds you happy and surrounded by loved ones. Share your hopes for the new year with me. And I’m certain we’ll be seeing more in the weeks to come.

Merry Christmas to you all! And a Happy New Year!

~Anne Belle

And Then Life Happens…

What’s the John Lennon Quote?

Yep, that would be the one.

Living creatively is as much about stopping and experiencing life as it is about creating things that will enhance it for yourself and possibly others. It is impossible to create constantly. If we do we deplete the well of experience and inspiration that we draw from. Once in a while, it is necessary to stop and smell the roses. Whether that is literal or proverbial is entirely dependent on the artist.

NanoWrimo is a huge undertaking even for published authors. 50,000 words in a 30 day span is a huge commitement. It takes planning and foresight. Not to mention everyone in your life being on the same page as you and willing to pick up the slack if you are working full time. Planning is a must if you expect your story to have any sort of flow or cohesion at the end of November. And sometimes, life happens and you know you aren’t going to make that goal.

For me, when it happens, as in previous years, I don’t just stop. Whether I finish a self-imposed ludicrous deadline, or not, isn’t the end of the world. We can’t plan for all the interruptions that can happen in a month.

For example: You get sick. Your attention is pulled away on a project at the office, requiring you to work late most nights. A dog that is persistent in his need for extra snuggles or play time. (Don’t laugh. Have you ever tried to write something with a chiweenie yapping at you from the end of the bed? Impossible! I really need some noise cancelling headphones.) Kids needing attention or homework help. Not to mention extra acitivities with them being off from school or prepping for plays etc. Spouses that want attention or need something from you when you’re in the middle of a huge plot twist. (Suddenly I’m very thankful for my single status.) Toss in a major family holiday to the mix.

The point is. Life happens. No matter how much you plan your schedule or think you have all the distractions in check, life will eventually find a way to pull you away from the projects in your head. And that’s okay.

When you find yourself completely flustered with all these things; sometimes all you can do is embrace them. Enjoy the moment. Be present with the people you care about and who care about you. Whether they be big, small, or furry. They won’t be there forever. They will eventually leave you to your thoughts and projects. And you may find something in those moments that adds just what you needed to your projects.

For me, it is all about embracing this journey we call Life.

Today’s Issues

I usually don’t post controversial political things relevant to current events. I’m not a very publicly political person. I don’t enjoy the debate or the hate that it seems to initiate. There are all sorts of opinions and I really do think that the beauty of true freedom is that you can have them and still be civil to one another. We can, I hope, simply agree to disagree.

That being said, I feel very strongly about posting this viewpoint on recent events that happened here in Texas.  Sutherland Springs has suffered an enormous tragedy at the hands of a mentally unstable man. I’ve read numerous reports from a number of news agencies that pointed out several things of note.

  1. The man was discharged from active military duty due to bad conduct involving a criminal offense of domestic violence in which he fractured his own child’s skull and faced rape allegations.
  2. The Air Force failed to report this conduct-related discharge as was policy. This allowed him to slip through the cracks of legislation already in place to control gun possession.
  3. The suggested motive in this was related to a domestic dispute. His mother-in-law attended the church regularly but was not there on Sunday.

Now, I’m a survivor of domestic abuse. Of course, I have pretty strong emotional reactions to things like this. Because, as I see it, this has all happened over a manipulative narcissistic need to control. This is a man with a history of violent behavior toward the women in his life. And, from experience, I can tell you that when a man like this feels he is losing control he often lashes out and he will make threats against anyone his target loves or cares for just to keep her in line. Isolation is control and that control makes them feel strong and powerful.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand this sort of psychology/psychosis. Why? Because it seems that I attract it in spades. That fact alone makes me want to remain single. Once you go through a relationship like that you’re never quite the same. It is harder to let your guard down and trust because, let’s be real, all relationships are bliss in the beginning. The true colors come out once they think they have you hooked.

I’m not afraid of guns. I am, however, fearful of the people who have a blatant disregard for the law and human life.

What happened in Sutherland Springs is another tragic example of repercussions for not recognizing the psychosis and danger associated with domestic violence offenders. It really should open doors for communicating about mental healthcare in this country. The sad thing is that it won’t. Because these behaviors are largely normalized in our society. The women who become victims aren’t weak. They are strong in their desire to love another human being beyond the flaws. And when it does become clear that it isn’t safe anymore, these women often stay in an effort to protect the ones they love outside of that relationship.

So, yes, I’m praying for the wife of the shooter tonight. I can only imagine the horror she is living through right now. I am praying that she and the families of the victims get the help they need to grieve their loss and pick up the pieces. I pray that those, who can physically do so, will return to the church in solidarity to prove that their faith is in tact and evil will not prevail.

We live in an odd time. It is both scary and exciting. There are times I want to go out and do all the things but, at the same time there is a fear of even walking out the front door to do the most mundane of things. Some days the fear wins. Other days, I feel bold and determined to conquer that fear. Right now, I feel like crying for the senseless loss of life that happened in a place that should have been safe for all of those in attendance.

It is likely that I will cry. Aside from this tragedy it was a difficult day for me. For my part, I hope the rest of the week is smooth sailing. There are things to write and preparations to be made. And yes, dear readers, I promise a less heavy topic on my next posting. Something fun and creative is in the works. So please stick around.

What’s on my nightstand?

There seems to always be an interest in what authors are reading. Make no mistake, most of us are always reading something. Some of our favorite places are bookstores after all. So, I’m going to do a recurring posting series talking about books I’m reading and what I think of them. Hopefully I’ll be able to promote some of my fellow independent authors in doing this too.

phone-1052023_960_720I admit that I’m a slow reader. Between a day job that consumes many of my waking hours and trying to write my own fiction, this blog, and market the whole, I don’t get a lot of time to read for pleasure. But there is always something on my Goodreads shelf, Kindle Fire, and bedside table.  In fact, I’m one of those people who start a lot of books and take forever to finish them. If you want to follow me or connect over on Goodreads, I welcome you to check out the profile by clicking here.

So, what am I reading?

Big Magic

BigMagicPB

Big Magic cover courtesy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s website. https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/

 Creative Living Beyond Fear – by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is a great read for anyone who is ready to make the leap into a more creative lifestyle. I found it to be both inspiring and practical really. Gilbert doesn’t mince words when it comes to the valid fears that come up when you consider embracing your creativity.

She talks about various concepts that depict creativity as a series of experiences that are almost spiritual in nature. It is not a new concept. In fact, I find that the more creative people I talk to, the more I find most of us hold that belief about our own unique experiences in living this creative life. And there is something almost transcendental about bringing something to life on the page, easel, or whatever other media you choose to work in. What it definitely takes to do that is courage.

Big Magic is a huge pep talk for creatives. Wonderfully modern and frank in tone, Elizabeth Gilbert essentially tells creators to push aside the fear more often than they give into it. Reminders that while ideas are always out there, they may not all work out or be great ideas for a particular artist. The key is to step out and make the art instead of wishing we were or pining away for a life we aren’t willing to allow ourselves to lead.

I am definitely taking a page from her book of wisdom.  Realizing that life is about discovering what we are capable of.  I’m taking steps to write more and put myself out there more. Which is why you see me more often here and hopefully on the Amazon virtual book shelves in coming months.

What is your favorite book on creativity? I can always use more on my shelves.

Stop over and check out my Amazon Author Page for my latest work in print. All available in both Print and Kindle format. And don’t forget to subscribe so you can get the latest posts from yours truly.

The Writer Confessions: Part One

I’ve known that I would write for the rest of my life since I was about eight years old. I grew up with a Great-Grandmother who taught First Grade for 35 years. Between her and my mother (who read to me and challenged me to read more) I had a pretty good handle on the reading and writing thing before I even officially started school. My first stories involved magical unicorns and fairytale princesses and that seems slightly hilarious to me now; seeing as I write things that are a tad darker in nature these days. But, whatever I write, this is a life-long obsession for me. It is the one thing that I do on a daily basis that I cannot fathom my day being complete without.paper-623167_960_720

The years have passed too quickly in many ways. I’m not the bright-eyed girl that everyone in my mother’s side of the family assumed would go on to greatness. Back in the day I was full of big dreams that involved books, deep conversations, beautiful productions, and all sorts of creative things. I imagined adult life to be very different from what it is now. In fact, I envisioned the college experience to be something wholly different than what it was for me. But that is something I blame myself for. I certainly didn’t take full advantage of that opportunity when I was given it. My writing career isn’t the only thing in life to suffer for it.

In my twenties I was a gypsy in many ways. I lived in many different places spanning one coast of the United States to the other. I made friends, some of them were poor choices, all of them taught me valuable lessons about myself. And few of them remain in my circle today. The bohemian spirit is still strong with me and I often fight the temptation to uproot and start over in a new place. I suppose I’ve become a bit more practical as I’ve aged. There are other things to consider now that weren’t a part of my life before.

I met a man in 2006 who I would marry the following year. It was a whirlwind romance that seemed to quell my own feelings of inadequacy in being single. I’ve never been a woman with many prospects for suitors. And I admit, I settled. I thought I wanted a more traditional life. For a while it was a novelty and served its purpose but, six years later, I found myself standing alone in a courtroom as a judge issued the order to disolve the marriage that had long been over. I regained my name and set about rebuilding my life as best I could. How did I do that? Well, I wrote, of course.

woman-510480_960_720In the course of two years following that day I made greater strides toward writing as a profession than I had in all six of the years I’d spent as a homemaker and sometimes babysitter to his daughter. I often joke that he was the best however many pounds I ever lost. It isn’t far from the truth though. There were so many things that held me back when I was with him. Now, with more freedom to focus on myself and what I want in life, I see that more clearly.

The process of reinventing myself has been a long one. It is evolving and everlasting in many ways. I consider life to be a perpetual series of changes that are like an ocean of existence. Sometimes you have to surf the waves being high up on some curl of achievement. Other times you have to just simply tread water and hope that a safety net comes along to scoop you up. More often than not, it’s a matter of you and the boat weathering a storm into calmer waters where things are peaceful and flow freely for a while. Eventually the rest will cycle round again though. You do what you can and you roll with the tides.

The creative life is an oddity. It is complicated in how we somehow find a way to sustain ourselves with our art. Even when one works a day job, as I do for now, it seems that it is always to supply the need to create somehow. But, it is also a simple life if we allow it to be. To embrace each day with the initial question of “what will I create today?” To answer that and make its answer a reality is truly all we must do to be happy.  And isn’t that the goal for everyone? Simply to be happy.

So tell me readers; What will you create today? How will you find your bliss?

 

Holiday Mayhem

Nothing turns my day job into bedlam faster than a holiday at the first of the month in the middle of the week. Rarely is there a three day weekend with this current work situation. In fact, I think I remember one time where I had three days in a row and it was only because I ended up sick with the flu the day before the holiday. The first week of the month is always busy. Add in a holiday and you end up with a lot of confusion and aggravation. People just don’t do change well. That is a lesson in human behavior that I have learned well.

With that being said, the 4th of July was an epic day. I’d found a story that I wrote a while back when I changed bags for work. It is a little more horror but, it was really pretty good. I decided to revise it and put it out as a short novella for you. I will definitely let you know when it will be available. I’m just going to take some time to polish it up this weekend and ship it off to my beta readers. Then I’ll get all the other details together once I have my feedback.

I was amazed at my production time on the 4th though. I skipped getting online and doing the usual social media surfing. Instead, it was like old times. Me, the keyboard, and some music in the background. I think I tripled my word count for my best day in the past year. And yes, it was awesome!

It reminded me of why I enjoy writing so much. I get lost in my imagination when I do that well. It’s really like reality suspends itself for me and I’m really in my setting and talking to my characters. I think that’s why my early drafts are super dialogue heavy.  More than that, it was a rather blissful day with just me and the pup working away on what I wanted to. Those days are rare since I work a full time job. But, I’ll take them whenever I can get them.

Approaching my weekend, I want to see a similar amount of productivity. I know I have some errands to run but, my plan is to get those done after work tomorrow and then come home to work in the studio. Sunday is always a day for me to focus on my fiction. So I’m excited for that.

Another thing that I’m excited about is that I’m actually scheduling some posts so that things can be more regular here on the blog. My initial plan is to bring you posts twice a week. Posting starting next week on Wednesday and on Satuday.  I have a list of topics and ideas but, I would also love to incorporate what you really want to know. So, I have an open invitation for you to comment your questions. It can be about anything really. I’m not going to be very picky about sticking to a topic because the whole idea of this blog being a window into my creative world is pretty all-encompassing. So whether you have a writing question, a question about creativity in general, or something even more mundane don’t be shy.  Ask away.

The challenge for me is going to be finding images to use. I know blogs are pretty boring without them so, I’m off to look for resources for free images.

Homecomings

It isn’t a secret that for the last year or so I have been trying to find the right mix of things to make my marketing life easier.  For authors, it is never just about writing the book (unfortunately). That’s a big part of it, of course. There are just so many other things that go into it if you want to make it a full time living. Which, I do obviously.

I’ve tried out other blogging platforms. I was a long time user of another for more obscure rantings and ravings about daily life. That platform has been through a lot of changes and I’ve been through them all. This last change however, made me decide to try something else. I had the bright idea that I would simply combine and consolidate using a new platform. Surely that would make my life easier. Right? No. So, here I am back on wordpress. And yes, I will consolidate here finally. I finally figured out that this is by far the best platform for what I need and want to do.

So what have I been up to, aside from writing?

I took a vacation and spent some much needed time with my neices in Kentucky. Going back to the old homestead is always interesting. This time was no different. Those three girls are just a joy to be around. I was able to spend a bit of time with my baby brother. It sounds like he may be making a move closer to us soon. So we’ll see what that brings.

I also had a chance to spend a day with my best friend since high school. Deedra is always keeping me laughing and motivated to keep going on the worst days. It was good to be able to go out to lunch and spend some time like we used to. It felt like we were back on “field studies” again and I really need to do that more often.

I joined a virtual women’s writers group a while back. I’ve gotten so much out of it. Really wanted to partake in a big workshop the leader was doing. With the trip and some additional expenses, I couldn’t afford it though. She’ll have another and maybe I can do it then. The support and encouragement happening in that group is amazing though.

WordPress is acting funny for me today so, I’m going to keep this little update brief. I’ll figure out what is going on and make more regular posts going forward. Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have questions related to writing or the creative lifestyle. I’ll be happy to use them for a future blog or even possibly a video series. I’ve been saying I want to start a Youtube channel for a while. Maybe it is time. I just need to come up with ideas for what to talk about. That’s where all of you lovely readers can help me.

Taking Stock & Living Life..

Sometimes life gets in the way of doing the usual things that most writers do. I admit to being terrible about regular blogging folks. I’m usually working on a manuscript when I have time at the computer because my time to write is so limited. Between the day job and the cakes and cookies that time is a premium.

The bakery has been doing okay actually. We have had a small but steady flow of orders. It is so much more than a year ago that I’m cautiously optimistic about it. The next cake is due next week and new ovens need to be tested. We’re getting there slowly. I think that’s good though. Starting small means we adjust to things as we grow.

So some things have changed for me on a personal level. I actually went out on a date for the first time in two years. I’ve become rather picky in what I am looking for in a partner and I know that the only way to find that is to get out there and date. So, I went and had a lovely time with a man that was an equal with similar interests and ambition. So I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Even more surprised that we’re meeting again this weekend and still talking. Usually men run away or disappear on me after listening to me go on. So, I’m good with this. We’ll just see how things turn out. No rushing into anything but, I will say that this is a welcome change right now.

I am still wholly involved in Slauson Cove again. Fans of The Secret of the Storm will be happy about that. I’m not announcing anything with regards to release though. The first draft is far from being completed still but, progress is happening. That’s the big news from the studio right now.

Winter has yet to come…

Texas weather is rarely predictable from November through April. This year has been a constant back and forth of cold and hot. Our days seem to go from one extreme to the other. One day I went in to my job and it was 76F by the time I left work is was in the mid 30s. The next day we were sitting in the sixties again. You never know how to dress. Rain is a constant threat this time of year. So, an umbrella is a necessary accessory to have on a daily basis. And of course, when the weather changes, everyone fights off some sort of crud. I’m no exception.

Last week I was at the doctor for yet another upper respiratory infection. This is my second round with this. I’m not thrilled but the antibiotics are helpful and thank God I have sick time to take that is paid at this point; otherwise there would also be bills to worry about while I heal.  As it stands, I paid my copay, got my meds, and am on the mend.

Feeling better than I was. For the last couple weeks, I’ve just not had the energy to  do much of anything. It was as though I couldn’t get enough sleep. I worked, I came home, I napped, and did only the bare minimum. This left little time to get the creative juices going. Dare I even mention my lack of attention to my activity goals for this year? I didn’t get to the pool at all. And I miss it. So I have to get back to it tomorrow. Routine is not my forte right now.

df213daa9f7abb8efe5976173bbee54dI am in love with a new skincare and pampering line that I was introduced to. I like it so much that I opted to do the consultant thing and make a little cash for going on about it with my social contacts. So yes, I am an official Perfectly Posh Independent Consultant. You can check out the website and so forth if you are so inclined to help a writer out. One of the many supplements to the income stream so that I can pursue writing on a more full-time basis.

Honestly, I do love the products. I’ll be booking some in-person and virtual parties. Doing a bit of selling when I’m able to. But we’ll see how it goes. I won’t be heart broken if it fizzles out for me. I know how the MLM schemes work. I’m not going to hard sell anyone. Or be annoying about it. Just one more thing that has happened that I wanted to mention.

What else is there?

I am planning a vacation in the beginning of June. So I’m excited to be going to see friends and family again. It’s been too long. I’m overdue some fun times. I also plan to do a writer’s retreat weekend sooner than that. Taking time away for a night or two for the sake of focusing on a project and getting lost in it. That’s something that I can say is difficult when I’m working a full-time job. It’s hard to find the hours to sit down lost in my story. I need to though. I’m overdue for some serious time in the chair with the world of my own making. I think it is far more interesting than the one outside my door. But, I’m partial.

16602613_1589352667760112_1362999052483579042_nValentine’s Day was fairly uneventful. My mom bought me one of those Fragrant Jewel Bath Bombs. It had this lovely pink ice ring inside it. It was a great gift really. I was pampered in the tub and then had sparklies to boot. What more can a girl ask for? Maybe a mani because my nails are a mess lately. I really need to think about doing that for myself on payday.

Oh I should also get a picture in the new glasses. Since I got those last week as well. They’ve been a much needed change for me. These help my headaches and lessen the eye strain from being on the computer so much during the day.

I recently purchased a few books that I wanted to read and haven’t gotten around to. Currently on the list, I’m reading Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. I was a fan of the earlier work in the Vampire Chronicles so I am hopeful with this one that she’s gone back to the style and work that I enjoyed so much.

Now, I am going to rest and get back to the grindstone tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll find myself with some time to devote to the book or a short story.