Friday, August 10, 2018

Busting Out of My Writing Funk

For two and a half years I've been thinking about, making notes on, and writing Book #3. I can't believe it's been so long, and I STILL haven't written the ending. I'm currently three or four chapters from calling it a done draft, but with so many changes and edits weighing on my mind it's hard to push forward. I feel like I don't know what my characters want anymore. I've lost sight of the story and where it needs to go from here.

I consulted the Magic 8 ball on wether I should set the story aside and start something new--but what if I never finish it?--or push, push, push to get it written. It gave me the Reply Hazy routine...again. Then, my neighbor stopped by to see how everything was going and suggested I forget about the manuscript for awhile. Was she telling me what the universe wanted me to know? But I'm so close! Just three measly chapters...

I should be able to do this, right? Yes, because I read You're a Badass, by Jen Sincero, and she said so. Ha!


I've always had a problem with procrastination, being a sloth, and tinkering with a million other projects, that I'm my own worst enemy, getting in the way of my own priorities. After reading, The Road Back to You, an Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, I found out my personality type is straight-up a #9, The Peacemaker. Wow. Sort of hard to ignore my bad habits when this book puts them right there on the page in black on white.

 

I have to prevail! It's in me to finish this thing no matter what people say or what obstacles I put in my own way (a kitchen update, painting shelves, weeding my yard, making up reading challenges, organizing my camper, designing new business cards, blackout poems, and on and on...)

So...here's my latest attempt to keep myself on track: a visual motivator! During the year I'll see how much writing I've been doing, and being a list-maker and a box-checker, I'll be poised and ready with my pink marker. 

Visual Motivation!

August had a sloth-like start, but the visual motivator is working! I was tired of all the purple squares (zero words written), so I put my butt in the chair and pumped out about five hundred words of crap today, but it's something! It's forward motion. Getting the writing done early in the morning leaves plenty of time for all the other distractions. Now I just need to keep up the good work.

Go me!
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"I don't want to fall back on anything. If I'm going to fall, I want to fall forward." ~ Denzel Washington 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

August Reading Challenge: Summer Camp

The Camping TBR Pile

I know, I know! I'll never get through all these books in a month, but I couldn't stop at my usual list of five. Every back blurb about summer camp I read, I fell in love with; it's one of my favorite tropes. So, while my own kids are off enjoying themselves, weaving beads onto necklaces, swimming, tromping through the woods, and making new summer friends, I'll be picking through my towering book pile and delving into some fun of my own.

I consider myself an avid romance reader, and even I can't comprehend how I've never picked up a Debbie Macomber book. Here goes with:

1.) Almost Paradise by Debbie Macomber - Romance

I bought the next two books at Costco and am going to buddy read, then swap with one of my kids. She reads fast; I read slow. Should be interesting.

2.) Lions & Liars by Kate Beasley - Middle Grade

3.) Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder - Middle Grade

A while ago, I picked up a book called Camp Dorks, only to realize it was the second in a series. So now, I have to read this so I can read the other. Oh, what a complicated book world this is!

4.) Pack of Dorks (Pack of Dorks #1) by Beth Vrabel - Middle Grade

Okay, so I did a search on "summer camp" and discovered there are not five, not ten, not even twenty...but twenty-five books in this series! Prolific much?

5.) Natalie's Secret (Camp Confidential #1) by Melissa J. Morgan - Middle Grade

I'm done staring at this awesome cover from afar. Went in for the kill, library-style.

6.) When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - Young Adult

I love camping! I love summer! I love this cover!

7.) The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane - Young Adult

Cute cover and over a hundred five-star reviews on Amazon. Okay, I'll bite.

8.) Sleepaway Girls (Whispering Pines #1) by Jen Calonita - Young Adult

Summer camp for adults? Yes, please. Now try saying "Firefly Falls" three times fast. Not sure how the alliteration came to pass, but I found these ebooks free on Amazon and thought they rounded out the pile nicely.

9.) Once Upon a Camp Fire (Camp Firefly Falls "Meet Cute") by Kait Nolan - Romance







Firefly Falls...flier fry falls...friar fly falls...help.
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Camping Creatively

The Creative Pile

Whenever I'm out and about, I always carry something from my creative stash shown above, wether it's my computer, a journal and a pen, or my blackout poetry bag. When the creative mood strikes, I want to be ready, and it keeps me being one happy camper. Sometimes I look forward to the oil change taking a little longer than expected, or a friend who's consistently late to coffee. My time isn't being wasted, it's still my own because I've got my stuff.

Currently, we're gearing up for a week of lakeside camping and part of my packing routine is to cobble the pile shown above into a nice, neat little package to stow in the trailer. Stuff meet the Tetris Queen.

PACKING LIST

1.) Writing - computer and journal
2.) Story time - audio books for the road trip, paperbacks, and my Kindle in case of insomnia 
3.) Blackout poetry - old book pages, colored pencils, sharpener, and an eraser
4.) Rock painting - acrylic paints, Mod Podge, and paint brushes
5.) Heart book marks - paper, glue, and scissors
6.) Editing - critiques from writing partners 

Portable Magic

Too bad the sewing machine doesn't fit! Lol. Regardless...if there is a burst of creative energy, I'm ready.
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"You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will." ~ Stephen King

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Sharing Books with Little Free Libraries

Road Trip!
Montana Bound

I took my kids on an adventure to the Flathead Valley last week, which was my first trip driving The Narwhal and pulling our little Jayco trailer. I packed several copies of Dealing with Blue and Riding with the Hides of Hell--now titled Burnout--to tuck onto free shelves as I found them, in a sort of quiet marketing kind of way. The first shelf I came across was in the office at the campground where we stayed. I asked if I could donate my books to their reading nook and they were all for it, so I was off to a good start.

LaSalle RV Park
Columbia Falls, MT

Free Library 
West Kalispell

When I came across this little house full of books, free standing on the street corner (above), I remembered reading about Little Free Libraries and decided to look up the Kalispell zip code 59901 to see where others might be located.

East Kalispell


East Kalispell

East Kalispell

I had so much fun searching for these little houses, tucking a book inside, and taking pictures that I wish I had a lot more books and a lot more time! It was like leaving Easter eggs filled with good vibes around town. 

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"Take a book. Share a book."~ Free Little Library

Sunday, July 01, 2018

July Reading Challenge: Independence

July Reading Challenge: Independence
Indie Authors, Indie Books

I don't have too many physical indie books on my shelf to take pictures of since most of them are on my Kindle. So for a good five-book photo layout, I shamelessly included my own books:

1.) Dealing with Blue by Stacia Leigh

and...

2.) Burnout by Stacia Leigh

The next book in the photo is a gift from my mom, a romance by a local indie-author from Oregon. Westerns aren't one of my go-to genres, but I'm willing to give it a chance:

3.) South of Wisdom by Edith Webster

Apparently, my mom is a big proponent of independently published books, because she also bought her grandkids a detective series for the young set. I read the first one and liked it...so onto number two:

4.) Blondie McGhee: Hidden in Plain Sight by Ashley Eneriz

And then there's the book with a man's chest on the cover and the word "naked" in all caps...color me interested:

5.) The NAKED Truth About Self-Publishing by The Indie Voice

Now, onto the digital world where I have a ton of books that I bought early on and have never read. The first two that popped up on my Kindle made it onto this month's TBR pile:


6.) Angelfall by Susan Ee


7.) My Heart for Yours by Steph Campbell

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"I didn't get here by dreaming or thinking about it. I got here by doing it." ~ Estée Lauder
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Business Card Stamp

I decided to make a business card stamp so I could use it to on various papers and incorporate my information into handcrafted corner bookmarks, which I will do *someday* soon. I went to Etsy and found SayaBell Stamps where the transaction couldn't have been easier. It shipped pretty quickly, too. 

Stacia Leigh
Teen stories with flirt, grit, and small town fun
www.stacialeigh.com

Say what?
SayaBell Stamps

The stamp details are engraved in the wood "handle" and came in a cloth pouch. Just wonderful. A great experience all around.

For a quick stamp test and photo shoot, I cut a couple of old Dealing with Blue proof covers down into 3.5 x 2" cards and stamped away. I love the recycled aspect of these cards! They have a nice feel to them as well.

Friday, June 01, 2018

June Reading Challenge: Leftovers

It's June! We're half way through the year, which seems like a good time to catch up on books that were in the previous reading challenges but never read. It's the month for leftovers.

June Reading Challenge: Leftovers

My reading list is to give a second chance to one book from each of the five challenges below:

1.) January: Make It Work
Read a career-oriented book - Creating Character Emotions by Amy Hood

2.) February: Wear Red
 Inspired by the 15th Annual National Wear Red Day - Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles 

3.) March: Shoes
Shoes on the cover - The List by Siobahn Vivian  

4.) April - The Kids' List
Middle Grade books recommended by the young team - Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes
5.) May: The Letter A
An alphabet book challenge -  A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

PNW Painted Rocks

After years of loading the car, making ice for the cooler, and tenting it...we were ready to upgrade our camping experience. The first step, buy a truck and the next, buy a travel trailer. Done!

184 BH Jayco
Or in my case...like a woman! Boom! Done.

The Dining Room

The Kitchen

The Bath
The Layout

Our maiden voyage for both rigs was to Battleground State Park for our annual camping trip over Memorial Day weekend. How fun and we had the best luck for travel and weather. Another bout of luck came when we found this painted rock on our first day:

A Good Omen
A Painted Rock by P. Gray

It was hidden at the base of a big tree and covered in sap. Written on the back of the rock was, "Post to [I think it says PNW Rocks] on FB when found. Keep or hide. P. Gray, 2018." It was legible until I used hand sanitizer to smear the pitch off, and then I guess I scrubbed to hard, which made the back difficult to read. 

First Voyage a Success!

I found two Facebook pages dedicated to painting, hiding, and finding rocks. Check out PNW Rocks and Pacific Northwest Painted Rocks (#PNWPR) We decided to keep Gray's art with our Jayco to remind us of our first successful voyage and to keep the good vibes close at hand. However, to keep the good will flowing, the kids and I will paint some of our own and start hiding. A fun Easter Egg hunt for the summer months. 

Keep your eyes peeled.

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"Everyone on Earth has a treasure that awaits him." ~ Paulo Coelho

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Annual "Thank you, Coach" Card

"Win or learn, never lose."

It's that time of year again, to make cards for the coaches, big fat thank-yous for the kids to sign. Coaching takes money, time, and a lot of positive energy, so HIGH FIVE to the parents that step up and volunteer for the job.

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"Coaches build teams; parents build players." ~ Charles Piazzi Smyth

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Alphabet Book Challenge: The Letter A

For the month of May, I thought about sunny covers and mom stories, the color pink and polka-dots. Nothing was coming together for a reading challenge theme until I saw my library queue-- the books I had on hold all had "A" words, so how about an Alphabet Challenge?

Alphabet Reading Challenge
Starting with the Letter 'A'

1.) The Adulterants by Joe Duntcorne
2.) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
3.) All the Good Parts by Loretta Nyhan
4.) Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman
5.) A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

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"If Plan A fails, remember there are twenty-five more letters." ~ Claire Cook

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rolling Out a New Book Cover

Ta da! I finally got some nods of approval on my new Burnout cover. No more black...although I couldn't fully get behind losing the leather jacket, which I left in the background. But I did brighten the whole thing with pops of color and hopefully made it look like the young adult love/adventure story that it is. A huge learning curve...but things are slowly coming together.

It's back on Kindle Unlimited, and in a week it will be available in paperback, too. Check it out, and help this baby see some light by leaving a short Amazon or Goodreads review. I thank you very much!

A road trip of tough luck and tough love.

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“I have a plan.”
Miki Holtz isn’t some rebellious sixteen-year-old just because she dyed her hair blue and rides a motorcycle. She’s an independent girl who knows what, when, and how to get things done…almost. She can’t seem to gain her dad’s attention or make a connection with her soul crush, Will Sullivan. But when her dad invites her along to the Burnout Biker Rally—and Will is going, too—she jumps at the chance to turn her luck around.

"It’s always trouble with you."
While grieving the death of his mom, Will Sullivan has turned into an undeniable couch potato until he’s forced on a road trip with his dad’s motorcycle buddies as some kind of biker therapy. What’s worse? He’s paired up with the prez’s daughter, Miki, a girl who once humiliated him in front of his friends—a girl he can’t forgive…or forget.

“I don’t like the way you like me.”
The easy ride starts off slow yet soon has Miki and Will running for their lives.


Burnout is an adventure story set in the Pacific Northwest where a strong girl and a moody boy discover love while trying to survive on a road trip from hell.

**FINALIST for Young Adult in the 2016 PNWA Literary Contest under the title Riding with the Hides of Hell.**

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Doodle Shapes Challenge

Doodle Addicts is hosting the Doodle Shapes Challenge where ten doodles will be chosen to win a copy of Nate Padavick's book below: 


This challenge was so much fun for all of us, kids and adults, that I thought I'd share. You have a choice of three shapes to doodle on. You can print in color and doodle with traditional media--pencils, markers, paint--or go digital. What do you see? Turn the shape in any direction you want and transform the shapes into fun doodles. Upload at DoodleAddicts.com to enter the Chronicle Books contest, or check out their second contest on Instagram.

Shapes for the Chronicle Books Challenge

Scrumptious Dinner
Highly Annoyed Bird
Quails in the Sunset


Contest Entry

The contest will be open to voting on May 8th at 3:00 pm EST. Have fun!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

April Reading Challenge: The Kids' List

My kids are just as passionate about books as I am, so it was fun to wake up this morning to the beginnings of a "Must Reads" list. Welcome to five Middle Grade books recommended by the fourth grade set.

April Reading Challenge
The Kids' List




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"Life is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical,
science-fiction cowboy detective novel." ~ Alan Moore