Blog Archives

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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My Dog Is A Mess…

So this weekend was a little bit unusual for me. Well, it was just outside of the usual routine. I actually got out on Saturday night and went to dinner and listened to a local band while having drinks. If you know me at all, you know how rare that is. Yes, it was good for me to do something different. It allowed me to people watch for a bit and I’d forgotten how amusing that can truly be.

That was all fine and dandy. We made a trip to Walmart afterwards and picked up new collars for the pups while we were there. Now, mind you, Pip had a new collar a couple weeks ago. I bought him a heavy duty one like his bubba Odie. And he was all pomp and strut after I put it on him. Now, with everyone else getting new collars put on by me. He was all butt hurt waiting for his turn. Except, I didn’t get him a new one.

Now, I didn’t want to see him all disappointed. So, I picked him up and took off the collar I bought him a couple of weeks ago. Acted like I made a switch and simply put it back on him. Once again he was all pomp and strut and just as excited as the others were.

This pup is more than I could have hoped for in a companion. He chose me. I really had no intention of getting a pet of any sort when he came into the picture. He was persistent as a little guy and kept coming to me until I took him home. And I am so glad that I did.

He has been a source of constant love and companionship. Unconditional love is so rare and I get plenty of it from him. I’m a firm believer that every girl needs a dog. They are good judges of character. They are loyal and protective. A dog is probably the only thing on earth that would give its life for you if you were in danger. There are plenty of stories out there about dogs doing just that.

So yes, my dog is my baby. And I feel guilty leaving him on his own. Granted he is usually with my mom or dad but, vacations are always tough if I am off traveling. But he is always happy to see me when I come home. It doesn’t matter if I have been gone for days, weeks, or even just to work for the day. There is always a wagging curly tail and lots of puppy kisses for me when I get here.

On my days off he wants to cuddle up on the couch or when we take a nap. And he is always happy to just be near me. He makes me laugh with the way he chases that red dot or tries to trash his squeaky toys. And there is nothing cuter than his ears all perked up and his being curious about something.

I am not the first writer to have a dog for a companion. I know I am in good company to be a dog lover. His antics are a hoot. Maybe I will be able to film some of his funnier reactions for you. At least take more photos to share of my little snuggle buddy and Valentine for the forseeable future.

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?

 

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.

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.

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.

Happy Halloween…

If you’ve not already taken the kids out trick or treating then, I hope you have fun, get lots of loot, and make great memories. If you’re recovering from a costume party over the weekend, I hope that it was eventful and memorable for you. Likewise I hope that we’re all ready to jump into the holiday season and make the most of it.

For my Halloween weekend festivities, I kept it quiet. I enjoyed a well-deserved day and  a half away from the day job by snuggling with this little guy and watching Stranger Things 2 on Netflix in a glorious marathon of binge watching while working on an embroidery project that will be added to my mother’s Christmas decor. East Texas weather didn’t disappoint me either. It ended up being quite chilly and I was enjoying my new slippers and my favorite comfy pants. I even realized that I’ve lost inches since my sugery in September. That was a big plus for me.

October has been a busy month. The first half of it was spent preparing for a charity event where we displayed this beauty. I’m planning on a post to explain all of it but, just looking at it is awesome. Out of that we actually booked our first wedding cake as well. That will happen next year as they are planning early. I am excited about it though.

As I wrap up the month I am finding myself a bit more determined to make the most of the end of 2017.  I need to finish my current WIP draft and get on with the process. I’ve put it on hold long enough. Nanowrimo is a perfect excuse to do just that. I’ll post about that tomorrow and what to expect in November from me. There are definitely changes brewing for me.

There will be more posts of writing projects and other creative endeavors. And looking ahead. 2018 is sure to be a big year for me. It’s all about priorities. And I’m getting those in line.

 

Vastly Overrated…

You know, it is funny how sometimes I have this overwhelming desire to have what is considered a “normal” life. You know the type. The white picket fence, husband, 2.5 kids. I’m sure that it works for some people and they are quite happy with it but for me, it doesn’t necessarily work.

I’m quirky and introverted. I’ve always been so. I don’t think that is something that I can change about myself and be happy really.  It is also the thing about me that most “normal people” don’t get.

Now,  I can pass for normal when I need to.  I can don the dress, put on the makeup, and carry on a conversation with the best of them. But, where am I truly in my element and happy?

At home, in my pajamas, with my dog and my laptop, writing away at my desk or the kitchen table. That’s the usual spot. Sometimes you’ll find me on the couch watching Netflix with an embroidery project or at the easel with my headphones on. But mostly, it is just doing what I am right now. Tapping away at the keys on my laptop.

I think it is important for everyone to figure out where they thrive. I know that I spent way too much time trying to fit in where I never really belonged in the first place. All for the sake of having that version of normal I mentioned before.

Embracing yourself as you are is important for many reasons. I might be a baker and decorator but I rarely like to do anything that is cookie cutter even if I am aiming for simplicity. I try to think outside the box and do things that will make me happy more often than I just go with the flow these days.

So ask yourself these questions. Answer them honestly because, well,  they matter to you.

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What are you good at that you honestly enjoy?
  3. How much time do you spend of your week or day doing those things?
  4. What keeps you from doing them more?

I asked myself these same questions when I was just out of school and again recently as my life changed again. The answers evolved over the years. They were very different at the ending of my last attempt to be normal than I thought they would be. What I really learned from them was that I needed to find my bliss and stop reaching  for something that I wasn’t sure would make me happy and focus on the things that did.

Your normal is likely different from mine. The truth is, it is up to us, as individuals, to create our own version of normal for us. Going with the usual social norms, is akin to letting society tell you how you should live your life without question. And that, my friends, is vastly overrated. Take what resonates with you from it but add your quirks and your own flair to life. Wear the funky ties or the bright colors. Take your notebook with you wherever you go. Sketch in the park or set up an easel and paint. Dance or play your instrument on a busy corner for the fun of it. Speak up at an open mic night. Or whatever else you feel moved to do.

Whatever you do in your life. Just be you. We are all amazing in our own way. So, just as I sign my novels when I meet people, I say to you; Embrace your journey! Your story is in your own hands to write. So make it a good one!

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.