Friday Flashback

Yesterday, I brought home a box full of photo albums. They’re my mom’s. I decided I wanted to scan all of them into my computer and provide both her, my brother and I with electronic versions of these memories.

Photos are some of my most favorite things. As an amateur genealogist, it’s a thrill when you stumble upon an old photo of one of your ancestors. Especially one that you hadn’t seen before. Many times, the person reminds you of someone in your family… it’s so obvious they are related!

But as I did a quick look-through of my mom’s photos, I realized something even better tucked within each photo. Memories not only of people, but the places and things that surrounded us.

Here I am with a set of old headphones on. Probably listening to country music like Conway Twitty or Dolly Parton. I remember standing there, connected to the stereo so I couldn’t walk far (kids today will never understand) dancing to my favorite tunes. I loved music from an early age. The stereo seemed huge, but now I see it was just part of a lot of shelving that we had. (See those old encyclopedias? Ha! Kids won’t understand that today, either.) The headphones were almost as big as my head! Hm… there are a lot of those photos. I must really have liked listening to music!wp-1474296701100.jpgwp-1474296701107.jpgwp-1474296701105.jpg

You see that little chair behind me in this last picture? I LOVED that chair. It had the map of the US on the tabletop part and it’s where I ate (eating in front of the TV was big then, you know.). But, one day, my dad sat in it, joking around, and broke it. Gees… I still miss that chair. And the plastic under my feet? Did your family have that? It was meant to save the carpet from wearing out where you walked most. My gram had plastic on her furniture too. Really uncomfortable in the summer!

Then there is the album of my parent’s wedding. I’ve seen the photos a hundred times, but love this one the best.

wp-1474297099392.jpg

It’s not of my mom and dad, but of my dad with his best man (Dad’s in front of the preacher and his bestie is all the way to the left). (Don’t they look sharp in those white suits?) They are still friends today – almost fifty years later! And still neighbors, too.

I have many of me and my best friend, as well in these albums. Guess what? She’s the daughter of my dad’s best friend (See below – don’t they look alike…)! We grew up together and she’s still like my sister today. She was my matron of honor at my wedding!

Oh, and here are the multiple times we made deer bologna. As you can see, this was something I loved doing with my dad from an early age.

wp-1474297315024.jpg

wp-1474297315025.jpg

Mom still has both of those containers seen above. The silver one we use for ham and turkey now. Dad hasn’t gotten a deer in awhile….

Anyway, I’m going to go through more of these photos now. I hope you enjoyed my little walk down my memory lane. I need to start scanning these so I can hold on to these memories forever.

God bless and enjoy your weekend! Go out and make some memories!!

 

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Additional Services

I’ve been experiencing a few slow days here in my editing work so I’ve had time to do some work around the house instead. I’ve washed the windows, cleaned the house (goodness, it needed it) and worked a bit on my non fiction book. (My Young Adult novel is being read by a group of awesome writers right now and I’ve gotten good feedback! I can’t wait to get it out there for all of you to read it!)

I’ve also done a bit of extra work for some clients and found that it was a fun way to pass some of the extra time I had on my hands. So, I’d like to pass along my additional skills to every one of my readers in case you’re in need of something I can offer, too.

  • Editor: As you all know by now, I’m primarily a freelance editor. I work mainly with full-length fiction novels, but I’ve done my fair share of non fiction works, too. I specialize in substantive editing (the big picture stuff), but I have a keen eye for detail, too and I’m pretty OCD when it comes to misspellings and punctuation issues. I’m actually looking for some shorter pieces – articles, blog posts, devotions, etc. So if you have something you’d like an editor to look over – give me a shout out! My rates (I’m told) are very reasonable and I love to help others with their writing.
  • Writer: I don’t like to write for others – ghostwriting they call it – but I do some copy writing. Recently, I worked on an author bio for my long-term client, Shannyn Leah. If you haven’t read any of Shannyn’s books yet, you should. Especially if you like romance novels. Her new story, Winters Rising, comes out soon and includes fantasy with the romance – it’s such a good read! Check out the author bio I did for Shannyn here.           In addition to writing bios, I write book descriptions, too. I’ve written all of Shannyn’s – see the one for Winters Rising here.
  • Amateur Genealogist: I’ve done my own genealogy work for almost ten years now for both myself and my husband’s family. I’ve also helped a few friends with their initial family trees. Although, I think Ancestry.com is a pretty straightforward site to use, some folks have a hard time getting started. I’d love to help you start your family tree on Ancestry if you’re interested and see where it might lead! I’ve already identified a Revolutionary War Patriot (several actually) in my family, several in my husband’s family and, probably, at least one in my friend’s family. Not to mention Civil War Veterans! It’s so fun – let me help you discover your family history!
  • Beta Reader: I’ve recently realized the importance of beta readers as I wait patiently for mine to get back to me about my YA. I believe beta reading plays to my own strengths as a substantive editor because I see the big picture of the story first. Does it work together as a whole? Are there lapses in the timeline? Does the story need more … something … to make it shine even brighter? I’d be happy to do beta reading for anyone who needs it and will do so in exchange either for a free copy of your book when it’s complete or for a very minimal fee.

So there you have it – all my many skills! Truly, truly, I’d love to help you in whatever way you think I could. I believe that God has blessed me with the skill set I have in order to connect to others in a more personal way. I love working one on one with authors to refine their novels. I’ve made many good friends as a result and each and every one has been so equally supportive to me when I need it, too. Life is about relationships and I’m loving meeting new people and reading their work every day.

God bless and have a great week!

****************

To see more of my services, click here. To contact me about any of the above services, go to my contact page and send me a note. I respond typically within 24 hours. In addition, follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

 

Posted in Life and Happiness, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Practicing a Little Self Care

Monday night I didn’t sleep well. A headache, and then a migraine, developed overnight. By morning, I was a wreck. I couldn’t function and I’d had very little sleep. So I decided to take a personal day off for some self-care.

Self-care is a new term that people use to define taking a day for themselves. Doesn’t seem that difficult a concept to understand, does it? We all need to take time for ourselves once in a while, right? So why did I find it so hard to not do anything on that day? In fact, I’m writing this blog even as I sit here half dazed waiting on medications to work in my body and diffuse my splitting headache.

Since starting to work from home, I’ve taken off only approximately three sick days. Now, I certainly take days off to help my parents, have lunch with friends and do chores and errands not associated with my work, but I tend to make up for those days on weekends. And I’ve taken very few sick days. Days where I do nothing except sit around and… try to be well. To be fair, I never took many off when I worked in an office either. Still, it seems more difficult to accept some time off for “self-care.”

Why does it seem so hard for us to take time for ourselves? Why is it so hard for us to just sit?

Part of the reason for me is that I work from home now. I feel the pressure to work and bring in money for my family. I don’t make nearly what I did in my office job and, sometimes, … no, all the time, I feel like I’m not pulling my weight. It’s hard to maintain a high self-esteem when the work doesn’t come. It’s hard to face your husband when you felt like you’ve sat around all day doing nothing. (Although… if you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know there isn’t such a thing as sitting around and doing nothing for me.)

Maybe that was part of the cause of my headache, too.

Anyway, I sat around on Tuesday and did “nothing” … except for this blog post… and a bit of editing for my hubby… and tried to work a bit on my book cover… yeah, nothing really.

I’m sure I’ll be fine and, at some point, I’ll take a moment for myself. But for now, I have to go do the dishes.

What about you? Do you find it hard to practice self-care? Consider this meme and then give me your feedback in the comments below. (Note: I didn’t create this meme and do not condone the spelling of the word “commitment.”)

selfcare

 

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cause I’m A Woman

Who out there remembers this commercial?

Last week, I had this playing in my head over and over because the day went like this:

  • Got out of bed and started a load of laundry
  • Cleaned up emails
  • Tried to set up workshop for writer’s group (involving multiple emails)
  • Edited for a client (2 hours)
  • Finished laundry
  • Steam mopped downstairs floor
  • Cleaned entire (sans bathroom) second floor
  • Worked out
  • Took care of dog
  • Made dinner
  • Did dishes (the hubs did help with this one)
  • Collapsed on couch

And then I thought about writing this post, but I was too dead tired to do so. So I’m writing it now (a day later). When I looked up the commercial, I remembered that it had been for perfume. I doubt I smelled as nice by the end of yesterday as this woman did. After all, I had biked to my personal training appointment (in 90 degree weather), worked out – hard, and then biked back (in 90 degree weather). When I returned home I went right into making dinner and starting dishes. No shower. No cleanup. No nothing. I did not smell as nice as this lady for sure.

I also didn’t give the hubs much “lovin'” that day. We were both pooped and it wasn’t happening. Maybe if I had some of this Enjoli (Was Angelina Jolie around then? It sounds like a mashup of her name…) I would have been better prepared to continue all my wifely duties.

Or not.

Although I did bring home some bacon (and by that I mean money – not actual bacon. Although I have bacon in the freezer…) and did fry some things up in a pan (again, not bacon), I was in no mood to do anything else. I literally couldn’t even make conversation with my husband (in fact, he barely got a kiss) – there was no way anything more would have been happening.

So maybe I’m not a woman since I can’t accomplish everything this Enjoli woman does. Maybe I need this perfume. And that dress. And her hair. (Although it is pretty 80’s style going on there…) Or maybe, just maybe this commercial is full of it.

We can’t do it all. Women or men. It’s just not possible. But guess what? That’s why God gave me a help mate! He helps me (with the dishes and the bathroom cleaning) and I help him (food, I think is the primary help…) and God helps us both. My energy level and stamina are no mystery that comes out of a bottle of cheap smelling perfume (I assume… maybe it smells great. Do they even still make this perfume?) – these things come from God.

I am a woman. A child of God. A servant of the master. And I’ll keep frying it up in the pan until He tells me otherwise. (Again… not bacon.)

Posted in God, Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

When Did THIS Happen?

I was searching, as I so often do, for a post that I could write about today. And, as usual, not much was coming to me. I read other blogs, I looked in my journals for notes and, finally, I looked at my photo gallery on my phone. It shocked me to see what I found there.

Happiness. Contentment. Joy.

When did THAT happen?

In the last month, I’ve seen Rick Springfield in concert, learned to run, visited with friends from far away, celebrated a wedding, spent time with my hubby at an amusement park, traveled to DC to spend time with family and finished my YA novel. Whew! It seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

As I look back on the pics, I realize, though, that I truly enjoyed every moment. Yes, the trip to DC was long (we had to drive back in the rain) and I never sleep well when I’m away, but the moments spent with family and a few new friends made it all worth it.

wp-1472826379908.jpg

Cheers!

The Rick Springfield concert was amazing, but I really enjoyed the time spent with my old friend who went with me. We listened to ol’ Rick as kids and now, as adults, we were still together enjoying his music. (And we marveled at the younger people making fools of themselves, and the older people who seemed out of place. But at least we weren’t the oldest people there!)

wp-1472826485850.jpg

Is that Barry Manilow’s mother?

The laughs we shared for those few hours are what I will treasure for life. (Although if I had gotten to touch Rick, I’d be singing a different tune.)

The day at the amusement park with my hubby was not what we’d originally planned, but it turned out to be one fun day. I mean… with this guy, how can you not have fun?

wp-1472826559993.jpg

I’m thankful that I’ve learned to enjoy the events in my life instead of focusing so much on the negatives. It’s been a choice I’ve had to make over the last few years, but now I find myself truly focusing on the positives. Yes, we walked all day in DC and I was bone weary when we were done. But guess what? That meant the calories in the donuts we ate didn’t count!

wp-1472827088950.jpg

He was too quick for my camera – only the remnants remain!

wp-1472826613170.jpg

It’s these little things that will help me be a more stable and peaceful person in the future. I don’t want to dwell on the negative anymore. Life is too wonderful to fret.

How about you? Are you still stuck in the pits of negativity? Think about all the good things that have happened to you recently – big or small. Think about every time you laughed. Write those moments down, take a picture to remember the moment… ENJOY the moment.

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Labor Day

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. ~ United States Department of Labor

I want to thank my dad, my mom, my pseudo-dad and mom, Larry & Gerry , Mac, Glen, Uncle Bill and everyone ever associated with a labor organization for making this country actually great. If you know someone who has labored for the good of this country – thank them today.

7494446450_f35ddd8eae_o7496281002_0a5b554fd8_k 2179892432_2a836960fa_o 2179038448_08d1ce0428_o7496450250_6084fa829d_o4670205658_1d07c2fc7a_o

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Celebrating an almost finished piece

This past Tuesday I finished my novel. Well, okay, not finished, finished… but I wrote the ending. My word count is just shy of 50,000 and I’ve nothing more to say. It’s finished.

When I was near the end, I cried. And cried. And cried.

You would think that finishing writing my novel would be a cause for celebration, and it was… later. But after almost two years of kicking, screaming and proclaiming that I could write this novel… I finally finished it and the result was an emotional release I had not been forewarned about.

It doesn’t hurt that most of this novel is loosely based on childhood events I experienced with my best friend. That means I used certain moments from my own life in the lives of my characters. While it certainly helps with the word count and to get the story out there, it sometimes also means delving into emotional moments you’ve long forgotten.

With that said, I want my best friend to know – this isn’t a memoir! But the connection she and I had… have, is deep and emotional sometimes. And I think I captured that relationship in this book with my two main characters.

The final push of my novel writing came from a great group of friends who’ve been working to encourage each other to write “one page a day” for the month of August. I wrote my one page faithfully almost every day and it helped me finish this book once and for all. It’s amazing how a little push and encouragement can get you moving. Thanks ladies.

Anyway, after I sobbed for a bit (which I started as I wrote the last 200 words or so and made those last words very difficult to write…), I proclaimed my accomplishment to the world via Facebook. Then I texted one friend and told her we were having lunch together as celebration and another friend to tell her we’d celebrate this weekend. Then I emailed my hubby to share the news with him.

On Facebook, I got the much needed congratulatory responses. My friend hugged me fiercely when we met up for lunch and my other friend texted me with all caps and exclamation points. My husband? “So glad to hear you were able to wrap up your YA in a satisfactory manner.”

Humph. Must have caught him after he’d just written a very strict and professional business email. But I’m sure he’ll celebrate with me later… or else.

In any event, I spent the remainder of my day immersed with some writer friends who understand me completely (after I took a shower, while still sobbing, and cut my leg while shaving). I laughed at my friend’s stories without my own story looming at the back of my thoughts. I could truly just… be and enjoy the moment without that constant nagging in my head, “finish your novel, finish your novel, finish your novel…”

Then, I splurged on a peach-flavored fruit smoothie (YUM) and wrote this blog. Later, I plan on sharing some bubbly with the hubs (or with myself if he’s uncooperative).

wp-1472586590142.jpg

Yummy Peach Smoothie at The Well Coffeehouse

I can’t explain to anyone who’s never written something of this length how wonderful this feels. I wouldn’t have understood it before this myself. I was astonished when I cried and even felt a little foolish, but another writer friend told me she always cries when she completes a novel.

Always? That gives me pause. Do I want to complete another one?

YES.

Anyway, I know I have a long way to go until this novel is actually “finished” – I have to get some editing done, you know. But it’s compiled and formatted enough right now for my beta readers. I can’t wait (I think) to get their feedback, even though I know it’ll mean more changes. It’s a process I’m ready for despite the possible discontentment it might bring. For now, I’m basking in the glow of the semi-finished product and celebrating my tiny achievement. (And will wait a day or so before sending it off to be critiqued.)

Next, it’s time to work on the Bible study book I’ve also been working on. I hope it doesn’t take two more years of my life, but I know, no matter how long it takes, I’ll cry when it’s done, too.

 

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books To Read

Here’s a list of recent books I’ve checked out and think you should, too.

The Bard and the Bible

This is the latest book from my friend, Bob Hostetler. Bob is downright spot on when it comes to prayer (check out The Red Letter Prayer Life, too – and his other books), but this year-long devotional offers more than your average devo. Bob takes quotes from Shakespeare and compares them to Bible passages, then gives a short life application or illustration to go with both (you’ll be surprised how close some of Shakespeare’s words come to the words of the Word). In addition, each chapter goes along with Shakespeare’s life and gives little tidbits of background info like what age ol’ William was when he wrote certain things and where his inspiration came from. If you love William Shakespeare and the Word of God – you want this book.

Firebird

Okay – this one is an old one, but a friend of mine just suggested it to me awhile ago and I checked it out. So good! It has a lot of science fiction and some romance kicked in. It’s almost Romeo and Juliet to some degree, because their “clans” don’t get along and the family dysfunction is the best, but the imagery and the way these two completely different worlds view things is incredible. There are elements of Christianity in this, too, which made it even more interesting for me. If you like science fiction (Star Trek – not Star Wars kind) then you’ll like this. It’s a series, too, but I haven’t read the others yet.

Wool

So I just found out that this is a whole series, too. My brother-in-law was telling me about it and I realized I had read the first mini story of this collection and thought it was it, but there is more. I haven’t read the rest yet, so I’m only recommending this first short story for now. They live underground and someone has to sacrifice themselves every so often to clean the lens looking out into the outside world. Imagine that… you can SEE the outside world, but can’t go OUT into it. And then you can watch someone you know do it… to clean off your view and then they DIE in front of you. Killed by toxic gases eating through their specially designed to last only as long as the cleaning suit. !! There is not a word wasted in this short and it can be easily read within a half hour so if you’re searching for a quick, fascinating read – this is it. I’m going to buy the others, too, and I’m sure they will not disappoint.

As you can see, I’m into a bit of the dystopian right now. I also had a friend recommend The Red Queen to me, but I haven’t read it. I also recommend: Gray Area, Mercy’s Rain, the Firebrand series, and White Chalk (some foul language) … to name a few.

How about you? What books do you recommend?

Posted in Life and Happiness, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Editing Process

Since I’ve started my editing business, I’ve come to understand that there are varying levels of the editing process. I think many authors aren’t sure where to start after they’ve finished their great novel, so I thought I’d share a short explanation about different kinds of editing you will need once you finish your manuscript.

Beta Readers

Some people do not consider beta readers to be part of the editing process, but I think they are an integral part. Why? Because many times, the beta reader will be your actual readers. You can gather beta readers from a variety of sources like writing groups and online writing outlets, but they can simply be your friends, family, church acquaintances, your uncle’s boss’s sister… whomever. I do suggest utilizing readers who have a good grasp of the English (or whatever language you’re writing in) language and who are interested in the type of book you have written. (Folks who like books on the Civil War probably aren’t interested in Young Adult Romance.)

When a beta reader reads your novel, they will catch little discrepancies and even grammar/punctuation issues that you may have missed. In addition, betas typically don’t get paid money, but, instead, get a copy of your book when it’s finished. This gives them a bit of an incentive to do a good job for you. You can also utilize these essential readers after your book release for promotion and reviews (because they’ve read your book and, of course, are now your biggest fans!) You can also offer them additional incentive by including them in your acknowledgements (because who doesn’t want their name in a book?)

Content Editors

After your beta readers have read and given you great feedback, you can make any changes you think are necessary and then move on to the next editing stage: content or substantive editing. (The content edit is my strong suit.) The content editor will read through your entire novel and make note of any timeline or consistency issues. Was your character seated in the last paragraph but is now pacing the room? When did they stand up? Or were they on Tatooine and now they’ve traveled to Hoth? How did they get there? You’d be surprised how often I find mistakes in even thoroughly edited manuscripts! I recently did a content edit for an author who’d have MANY beta readers go through her work and they ALL missed major plot point issues!

Content editors will look at your manuscript as a whole and tell you if it works and what doesn’t. It’s the “big picture” edit.

Copy/Line Editors

After you have all your plot points, timeline and big details ironed out, you’ll go to your copy or line editor. This person will go over your manuscript line by line (hence “line” editor) and make sure that the content is accurate, easy to follow, fit for its purpose, and free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition. Sometimes a line editor will even help with formatting. Grammar and punctuation will also be marked through this process as well as misspelled words and any additional issues with the book as a whole.

Proofreaders

Last, but not last are the proofreaders. This is the final process of editing for your manuscript. Although proofreaders are similar to copy editors, they get into the really nitty gritty of your work. No missing period or comma will get by these folks. (This is NOT my strong suit…) By the time a proofreader gets your manuscript it has already been through many edits, has been formatted to what you want it to be and will probably have a table of contents, a cover and an index (if needed). This is truly the final stage. Once the proofer is done with it – it’s ready to publish!!

If you’ve written a manuscript, don’t think you only need to have it edited once. A manuscript goes through many, MANY rounds of editing before it’s ready for publication. I encourage you to submit to this lengthy and sometimes grueling process in order to publish your most polished piece.

After all, you didn’t spend all that time writing it to just put it out there with mistakes, did you??

Now go write! (And be ready to edit!)

If you’d like to talk to me about editing your work of art, go to the “Contact Sue” page and send me a note. I’d love to help!

 

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mini Post Monday

That guy named Job

I am in the middle of reading the Book of Job in my Bible. I’ve never been a big fan of this book, but I’ve fought hard to understand it. This time around I’m using a journal (my JOT) and a commentary by J. Vernon McGee. At first, I was just as upset about God and Satan having a little discussion about Job as I’ve been in the past. It seems as if they are just the puppet masters of our lives. Job hasn’t done anything wrong and, yet, he gets dinged. But now I’m on chapter 32 and Job is waxing on and on about how awesome he is. At one point, he sounds like Mother Theresa. “I made the widow’s heart sing,” (vs. 13) and “I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.” (vs. 15) Gees, Job… prideful much? The book started to finally make sense to me. Job wasn’t all he was cracked up to be.

You see, we can go about our lives doing good for others, tithing the appropriate amount (and more), and we can do everything (works-wise) that we think God wants us to do. But what if we have pride, bitterness or anger in our hearts? That’s what happened to Job. Yes, he was “doing” everything “right,” but God wanted more from him. He wanted him to be humble and contrite – to truly trust in the Lord and not on his own understandings, pride and material possessions.

It’s hard for us to be that way… I know it is for me. Especially in America, we have this sense of entitlement. (Heck, both presidential nominees are neck and neck because of it!) But God wants us to humble ourselves before Him, to clean out our house so there is only room for Him. One way I do this is by being real. I pray for God to remove bitterness from my heart, to show me ways to be humble and to remove any items that I’m relying on more than Him. Those are big, scary prayers… but the only way to really let God lead.

My Old Blog

Some of you may have seen a new tab on my site: “My First Blog.” I worked hard a few days ago to transfer all my original blog posts to this WordPress site (from Blogger) and now you can read (or re-read) them all by clicking on that tab. I’ll probably repost a few of them over the next few months and try to expound on my original thoughts. When I first starting writing this blog, I thought my writing was pretty crappy. When I look back on them now, I see that maybe the thoughts weren’t well defined, but God has had a plan all along. I’m thankful and hope that I may have made the difference in someone’s life with at least one of my posts. I’m grateful to have followers and I pray that God will continue to lead me on this path. If you read one of the old ones and liked it or would like me to revisit it – be sure and let me know!

A Break in the Action

My hubby just finished his second class of his doctorate and we spent some time this weekend in DC with his sister to celebrate and relax. I’m sure I’ll write more about it in a future post, but, since we frequent the DC area, I’d love to know what my readers would like me to check out there or what you’ve seen and think I need to check out in a future trip. I’m open to most suggestions including places to dine and things to visit. We’ve done most of the monuments and a lot of the museums. This past trip we visited the DAR Library (a book and history nerd’s dream!) We’ve also traveled a bit out of the area and done some local wineries. I’ve also been to a Nationals game – Go Nats! But what do YOU love to do in DC? Share in the comments below!

Have A Great Week!

I’m off to do a bit of writing and more editing for clients with deadlines. I pray you have an awesome week and look for all of God’s blessings in everything you encounter. Happy Monday!

Posted in Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments