Monday, May 18, 2015

Conversation With My Younger Self...

I lay awake the other night, just sitting there, thinking. It's something I do often. Usually, I will think about my to do list for the next day, bills that have to get paid, shopping to get done and what the hell are we doing for dinner? Crap, I forgot to pull something out!

I can lie awake all night long thinking of the weirdest, random stuff that doesn't need to be considered right then and there, but my brain always says otherwise. My brain pushes these issues. A. Lot.

But the other night, I heard a, "Psst!" from some deep, dark corner of my mind. Trying to ignore it was futile, so I looked inward. Standing there in some of the most ridiculous 80's attire, was my younger self.

"Remember me?" she said. Yeah, sadly I do, kid.

"What happened to you?" she asked. I told her she had to be more specific.

When I was a kid, growing up in the midwest, I was a chunky little brat. When I was 11, we moved to Arizona. We lived with my aunt for awhile, in this retirement/family mobile home park. This place was huge. The center area/main entrance was large, circular and housed a playground, basketball court, two pools (one for adults, one for kids and kids could only go into the adult pool on Saturday between certain times), shuffleboard courts, offices and public bathrooms. There was probably more, but I can't recall right now. All I know is that was also where the bus stop was located during the school year.

I lived at the far end of the park, right up against a mountain that we called Cat's Back. I think, but I'm not certain, that we were about two and a half miles from the bus stop. We moved there near the end of summer and getting a ride to the bus stop was out. I was on my own and walking that far took awhile, so my aunt's neighbor gave me a bike. It was not the coolest, or the newest, but it was in good condition and I kept it that way for the longest time. So I rode that bike to the bus stop and back, every day. Five miles a day. On weekends, I rode it down to the pool, would go swimming and ride home. By the time school started, my chunkiness was a thing of the past and I looked like a reedy twig.

Where my aunt's house was, was at the top of a pretty steep hill. I would zoom down that sucker in the morning, pushing the bike to its limit, trying to hit a top speed until I reached the bottom and then see how long I could coast. That part was full of washes, so there were lots of uphill and downhill areas. By the time I hit the main road leading into the rest of the park, it was a gentle slope downward to the bus stop and I could coast the entire way. Going home, was literally all uphill. I had to work for it. At first, by the time I got to that last hill, just before home, I'd only make it up so far before hopping off the bike and walking the rest of the way. Later, I kept pushing myself to see how far I could ride the bike up before getting off. Eventually, I'd ride that sucker up to the driveway and coast into the carport. Victory!!

I never gave up. I kept pushing and pushing.

The pool was a different story. I had to take a swimming test to be allowed to swim by myself, without an adult present. Because I wanted to swim. All. The. Time. But I didn't know how to swim. So I bugged everyone to come to the pool with me. I was allowed to go with friends and their parents, but they didn't go as often. But I went as often as I could and I pretty much taught myself how to swim. I'd watch people, I'd watch swimming on the Olympics. I even taught myself how to dive. I finally worked so hard, took the test and passed on the first try!

Again, victory!!

That mountain behind the house? Yeah, I climbed to the top of it one day, sat up there enjoying the view, went down the other side and walked home. By myself. I think I caught hell for that one, but I can't remember.

I did a lot of stuff on my own back then. I really didn't have anybody to hang out with. I had a few friends, but they had siblings and families to do stuff. My aunt volunteered places, my mom was in school, my brother was working and doing his own thing. I was pretty much a loner. I explored a lot and had some fun in the short time we were there. Then we moved into town and it was so different.  My freedom pretty much went up in a puff of smoke. I still did stuff, but had to watch out for people, so I didn't do as much or anything like what I did at my aunt's house.

These were the things my younger self talked to me about that night. What happened? Why don't you push yourself anymore? Why do you give up? Why don't you explore like you used to?

You know what? I have no idea. Something to think about. If you were to have a conversation with your younger self, what do you think they'd ask?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Just Some Nonsense...

I'm just sitting here, enjoying my day. I'm not being productive, per se, but I am enjoying it, nevertheless.

I'm finding that I can break out of my constraints I've set for myself. Meaning, I feel like I have to work on one thing at a time, but lately I've been working on more than one at a time.

I still feel guilty not finishing book two right away, but what do you do when you have all these ideas hammering the inside of your brain to get out, but your blocked on what you want to finish? So, I have to tamp down my feelings of guilt and just work on what is being demanding right at that moment.

I suppose the reason I feel like this is due to the fact that I already have so many unfinished projects in my life, that I don't need to add to my laundry list. I do try to tackle at least one unfinished thing a week, but find I get overwhelmed rather easy. Because working on one thing makes me think of everything else. I'm to the point, however, where I'm just going to make a list.

Now, for something completely unrelated...

I'm still looking for guest bloggers. I'm looking for authors to either do an interview with or send me a post about your latest book release with purchase links, etc.

This is what I'm looking for:

* Keep posts to 400 words. I know I get wordy, but it's my blog!

* Keep the content clean and don't write about politics or religion. Unless of course, that is what your book is about.

Topics I'm looking for include, but are not limited to: World Building, Character Development, Writing Advice, Promotional Advice, How to Use Social Media Platforms, Software, etc.

Send me links to your books, your websites, your Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/Whatever...

Throw it all together into an email and send it to me at Paridzule Dot Keep At Gmail Dot Com. All I ask is that you do the same for me. It isn't that hard, is it?

Hope your week is going well and I'm hoping to hear from you!

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Writer's Life...

As writers, it seems we're put through the ringer more than the rest of the world. Sometimes. Perhaps it is because the higher powers that be want us to experience more, feel more, so we know how to share it with the world when we write our story.

I say sometimes, because sometimes it seems like that one author you admire so much seems to have it easy. They can crank out best sellers like a factory worker. But you never know what that person had to go through to get there.

I've seen all sorts of questions from new authors, wanting to know how to manage their time, how to just sit down and write, what to write and why, for the love of all that is holy, do we write?

It's different for everyone. Managing time is difficult for me. I end up writing in spurts. I go long periods without writing and then start to feel guilty or ashamed for not writing and try to force it. Then it comes out like crap, but it is down on paper for me to revise.

Not knowing what to write really hasn't been that much of an issue for me. Getting from point A to point B in my story has been. And I write because I have cool ideas and stories to tell. It is something I would like to read, but have yet to find out there. And I am dipping my toe into so many different genres, it's been fun!

But my life, it's anything but glamorous. I live paycheck to paycheck. If something were to happen to my car, or me, or my family (knock on wood), it would set me back and I'd be stressed and frantic. My sister in law had commissioned a book cover and an editor, had plans to make payments and her husband got laid off. The money she had went to bills. So she started a GoFundMe campaign. I've been tweeting about that. I've seen others who have needed help start campaigns as well. It's important to help out, even if it is just sharing links. Every writer out there has a dream and they all deserve to live it.

I know other authors who struggle with bills, with their health and other things, but they keep on writing. It isn't self flagellation, it's just the love of the craft.

Okay, maybe a little flagellation...

But if you love to write and your life is chaotic at best, you will find a way. You might need to rely on your community once in awhile, but you will get by. I hope all of you find success, no matter what your definition may be. But this community of writers has been good and supportive when it matters. No matter what sort of support you are seeking. Keep your chin up and don't give up!

Please note there are TWO links to two different campaigns. Help out however you can, even if it is just sharing the links on your social media or blogs.

What's your writer life like?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Looking For Guests/Interviews...

Hi everyone! I've been making a few changes to the blog, trying to revamp it a bit.

A few things to note: I'm no longer doing reviews. time just doesn't allow for it right now and until I can get my butt back into shape on the internet and manage my time better, I'm putting reviews on hold.

If I'm currently doing a review for you, patience please! I will still do it, just give me some time.

I'm currently looking for some content. What I mean by this is, over on the left hand side, I'm adding book links for my fellow authors. My contact info is on the Policies page for guest posts and such. I'm looking for author interviews or guest blog posts. I have a questionnaire I can send to you for interviews and there is a list of what I require for guest posts, including links to your social media platforms and books.

I'm also looking for your book links. I'll add them to the list as I get them. Please send me the links via e-mail.

All I ask in return is that you reciprocate. Share my links, invite me to guest post or do an interview. I love doing guest posts, but I work best with a topic. Interviews are fun, too!

I also have a whole list of book links I'm working on to start using on Twitter. If any of you are having issues using Twitter, I'm more than happy to help out. Again, find a way to reciprocate. We're all in this together. If there is one thing I've been missing in my time away from here, it's the close community of writers helping writers.

So, book links are now being displayed on the left. I have a page for links as well. These can link to anything you like, just email me.

Hope you are all having a good week and I'll see you soon!

Monday, May 4, 2015

I Love When That Happens...

I'm often amazed at the way my mind works. It astounds me and, often, makes me think about what kind of person I am. I'm typical, in some ways. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?

I had a bit of bad news and in the midst of it all, I had a story epiphany. Has this ever happened to you? So focused on reality and things going on in your life and you have to stop, pause and write something down.

Weird. Just. Weird.

At any rate, there are a couple things going on. I finally got tired of Facebook. ::Can hear the sighs of relief  and cheers from here:: I know a lot of people did not like that social/marketing platform. I have a Google+ account and have been neglecting that, along with Twitter. Don't get me wrong, I'm good at Twitter, I just don't use it as often as I should be.

Needless to say, my enthusiasm for promoting much of anything has waned and dwindled down to almost nothing. So I'm trying to spark it back up again.

I have a few places you can follow me:

Twitter: Which is @MLChesley. I love getting followers and it doesn't have to be book related. I'm casting aside a lot of people who were just trying to up their numbers/followers, or just no longer suit any of my needs. I'm following writers I know from my social media places or have read their books and liked them. I'm following TV/Movie stuff, games, gamers, just about anyone I have something in common with and who are willing to follow me back and not dump me because I'm inactive sometimes.

Pinterest: Yep, I'm on there, too. I'm getting ready to start adding more stuff to my boards with my books/short stories. But I also have a ton of awesome fantasy artwork, other art, gaming stuff (Come on, it's me, remember??) craft stuff, jewelry. All sorts.

Google+: You can find me there. It's either Mel or Melissa Chesley. Just run a search, you can find me.

Facebook: It's still active just because of family, friends and other groups.

I always follow back. I'm trying to get back into a better time management routine. Things have been changing from week to week this past month.

On a good news note, my daughter graduated from CNA school and will be testing in June for her certificate. She's also applying for a job to get her foot in the door. I've been babysitting and working part time on the weekends, so I don't have much time for myself, but I'm gaining some back.

Alright, so you know where to find me now. Have a great week!

So what odd circumstances have you been in when you received an epiphany about a story you're working on?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Revisions, How I Love/Hate Thee...

I've been working on finishing up book two, revising and polishing it all up. I keep getting stuck in a certain spot, so that tells me that it just isn't time to rush into that part of the story just yet.

It will come, all in due time.

In the meantime, I switched over to a short story I wrote out in one of my many notebooks. It was from a writing prompt and I'm wanting to flesh it out a bit and expand upon it. Trying to get stuff up and out there.

Speaking of, I did put up a short story on Amazon. Heaven Sent. I know some of you read it when I put it up here awhile ago. It was something I wrote for Writing Dot Com's Writer's Cramp contest and won. Even though there were only like 6 other entries, I was proud of it.

A few people asked me to expand upon it, but the word limit for WDC was 999 words. I put back in a few of the details I had to omit for the contest, bringing it up to just over 1,300 words. It's on sale for 99 cents. My plan is to get that one up there, then put out another and make that one free.

Adversarius is currently free on Smashwords. Hopefully word will get out and it will be free on Amazon as well.

I just keep plugging along. Trying to get things out there and work through it all.

Heaven Sent is paranormal and I use my name, Mel Chesley. The fantasy stuff is written in collaboration with my husband, so the author name on that is M. L. Chesley. Hopefully that won't be too confusing. If it is, I'll just stick with M. L. and go forth from there.

Hope you all had a good weekend and have a productive week!

What have you been working on lately?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Checking In...

First, a shout out to all who are participating in the A-Z challenge. Woohoo!! Keep up the good work!

Second, my book, "Adversarius" is free on Smashwords until book two comes out. I'm trying to give myself a swift kick in the rear to get it done. Very close, but have hit a couple bumps in the road.

I'm very proud of my daughter, at the moment. She's been working her butt off these past couple weeks. She's working part-time and going to school to become a CNA. Something I would have difficulty doing, so kudos to her for sticking to it!

I've been watching the grandkidlet while mom goes to school. It's been a long time since I've had to occupy the time of a toddler. Challenging and fun at the same time. But, it sort of interferes with writing. But these are the sacrifices I'm willing to make.

The other thing interfering with writing is just all out blockage. I'm stumped on a part of the story, and having to re-write another part. I'm frustrated, so it affects the process. Then I get all these other ideas for stories and I'm a bit unwilling to work on them, knowing people are waiting for book two in my series. But, I figure, might as well shift gears until I work out the problems in book two.

I hope you all are having a good week! Keep up the good work on the A-Z Challenge, you're almost done!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How Much Is Too Much...

Hmm... that's a very open ended question there. But in this case, I'm referring to stories in general.

How many stories do you work on at once?

Personally, I can only focus my attention so far. Which means, I can only work on one thing at a time. But that does NOT keep the ideas from flowing in! I have well over a dozen ideas sitting, waiting patiently in the wings.

Every so often, I have to get the ideas that come down on paper somehow. More often than not, I'll resign myself to the couch, notebook and pen in hand, and write out as much of the details as I can without getting completely sucked in to a new project. I have a composition book for each one. Working titles written on the cover.

I even have one designated to short stories. I think I need an intervention.

Every time I go to Wal-Mart, I pick up at least 3 or 4 more. I have two blank ones, but I already have an idea for one more.

I'd love to work on more than one idea at a time, but I've tried doing that and it just all gets too jumbled. And more ideas start creeping in. So I'll just take my time and do one, complete it and move on.

How about you? How many stories can you work on at once?

Monday, March 23, 2015

How To Get Past That Block...

Got writer's block? Don't worry, you aren't alone. Every writer experiences it at one point or another.

The main thing is to keep moving, keep writing and get past that block!


It's different for everyone. There have been times when I've had a block, and I stare at my computer screen until I go cross-eyed. Or, I'll avoid writing altogether and do something else, but that isn't productive. Because, I know, and most of you know, I won't write for a very long time.

You can't wait for inspiration to strike, you have to push past it, sort of like that runner's wall. If you're jogging and you hit that wall and stop every time, you won't improve. You won't further your distance. So you hit that wall, and you keep running. Eventually, it goes away.

So does writer's block.

I have spent time searching the internet for help, but there isn't much help out there, just advice.No one is going to give you a magical key or formula for bypassing this experience.

Find what works for you.

Here's what works for me, and yes, every time is different, but the one that works the most? Writing.

I'll go on Pinterest, type in "fantasy art" and start browsing. I write fantasy, so it helps me a lot. I'll find an awesome piece of artwork that inspires me and I'll write a piece of flash fiction for it. I'm getting quite the collection, because I found I enjoy this exercise very much.

I also have a book of 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder. I have it on my Kindle. I popped it open one night, went to the first real prompt, (because he included some freebies in the first few pages for previewing) and was immediately inspired to write a short story. So I finished that short story before I moved on to the next one. Now, not every single one of them is inspiring, to me, that is, but I am going to make an effort to write something off of every prompt. What was awesome, though, is just one prompt not only inspired a short story, I worked out some issues for a couple of my other projects I'm working on.

I will also listen to music or watch a fantasy movie. More often than not, I've got the soundtrack to so many fantasy movies queued up and ready to go. I have a Writing playlist on my iPod. I even subscribe to lots of musicians on Youtube. I will find fantasy music, plug into it, and start writing. There are days, though, when I don't have a lot of time. So I'll go to Youtube, find some "Epic Fantasy Music" that lasts an hour and hit play. When it's over, I step away from the writing if I have to. Otherwise, if I have time, I'll find something longer and keep going.

There are so many places to find inspiration. No matter what you write. It's up to you to find it!

So those are my helpful tips. These are things that work for me. Leave a comment and tell me what works for you! Maybe I'll try it.

Have a good week, all!