Get Out of Your Way

When you are a linear thinker, *raises hand and waves frantically*  learning new things takes on a life of their own. You, er, I spend way too much time searching, reading, and studying before settling down to a course of action. (The psychology major in me would call that procrastinating.)

My writing process follows this all too predictable pattern. I started with classes in May of 2013, leaping in with terror and enthusiasm. Surely there had to be a formula writers used?

Yep. There is.

It’s called writing.

Of course, there were other things to learn. Plot, conflict, character development, voice. Not to mention all the details about writing for a specific audience.

*Screech* What?

Once I finished my first book, 42 Rue de Jardin, I thought I knew what the next story would be. There was a logical progression in my mind. But one character (Stoney Carrington) had a different idea and demanded his story be told next. He was so insistent, he talked to me the entire way on a beach vacation trip. Garage Guy suffered through three hours of my dialogue with an imaginary person. Can you picture that scenario?

By the end of our vacation, I had the basic plot for Belle Chene. So I rolled up my sleeves. Outline done, things moved along nicely. Then, BAM. I hit a roadblock. Like an avalanche across the road.

For over two weeks, I stared at the blinking cursor as it mocked me, feeding my insecurities. I knew writers hit snags, so once again, I resorted to my tried and true methods. Remember that whole linear thinking and formulas strategy? Off I went on a tangent.

I’d like to say that this worked, the boulder in my mind cleared and I merrily moved on. Didn’t happen. HUGE frustration. Instead of reaching out for help, I pulled a turtle and withdrew into my shell. Why let others see what an abysmal failure I was at this stuff?

Then I received a phone call from one of my coaches who said she knew there was a problem. (I swear the woman is psychic.) After discussing my book vision, she made suggestions. Go back before the spot where you’re blocked and take it out. Look at where the characters are going. What are they doing? How do they feel?

And it worked. It took me another couple of days to clear out the debris in my head, but the words started flowing again.  *happy dance*

So Belle Chene got back on target with a finished first draft.

Lesson learned — To get out of your own way, sometimes we all need a little push (and a large shovel) from someone in our corner.

The Lies of Perfectionism and Confidence

Well, the universe has expanded to smack me along side the head. Again. Two recent posts from bloggers I follow wielded their respective two-by-four planks to say, “Listen up, Lucy!”


First came Kristen Lamb and a post on perfectionism. Then Marie Forleo talked about confidence with a quote from Lao Tzu that I LOVE:

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

(By the way, if you are in business or thinking about it and aren’t following these two women, just do it.)

Perfectionism sucks. Let’s just put that out there. It’s tied in to the whole confidence thing. “Do I believe in myself enough to…” whatever it is I’m considering. Or do I change and tweak for wa-a-a-ay too long?

Like this post. Rather than publish the initial draft – which made me cry with its simplicity and emotion – I fussed and messed with the text, placement, fonts. It always has to be more. Better. Perfect.

No. It. Doesn’t.

The world is waiting for the gifts that only YOU can provide. When you wait until you have the confidence it (whatever IT is) is perfect, you deny others the opportunity to share your talents.

Don’t do that.

Life is too short. And it would be a pity for the world to not see your shiny magnificence. This is the one time when distraction by bright shiny objects *ooh squirrel!* is a good thing. Just sayin’.

Hard truth —> With very few exceptions, the reality is that no one else CARES if it’s perfect or not.

Do it.

This perfectionist did. With no prior experience, I took classes, surrounded myself with talented people and am publishing my debut novel on March 7.

Is it perfect? Nope. Never will be. And I’m okay with that.

Am I confident? Not just no, but HELL, no.

And I’m okay with that, too.

Show the world what you’re made of. We’re waiting.

Dinosaur Survival in a Technology World


Image courtesy of PANPOTE / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of PANPOTE / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Yep. That’s me. Lucy aka Tyrannosaurus Tessie.


Hello. My name is Lucy and I’m an old fogey. *hangs head*

I’ve come to that conclusion after a string of technology (mis)adventures. Like setting up Twitter and Facebook author accounts, creating a self-hosted website, starting a blog. Oh and writing books using software other than MS Word. Yes, I know, everyone else has been doing this stuff for years. Hey, I never claimed to be current.

So even though I’ve been using a computer since the early 1980’s (when they were practically the size of a refrigerator – remember?), I now admit to making the walk of shame as a technology dinosaur.

The past nine months have seen excessive hair pulling, teeth gnashing, throwing objects, excessive swearing and generally snapping at Garage Guy when he asks what’s wrong. He’s learned to avoid me when there’s a certain look on my face that is obviously not indigestion.

“But Lucy,” you ask, “How can that be? Everyone knows all of those things are intuitive, user friendly, with forums and places to get help.”

To be fair, that’s true for normal people. I have met some incredibly helpful people who have pulled my sorry ass out of the tar pits. (Get it? Dinosaur-tar pit?) LOL

The sad reality is the ol’ Lucy fogey brain doesn’t work like normal people’s. I present the following as evidence…

1. Computer Conversion

In 2012, I converted from PC to Mac.  It was six months before I could navigate around without my eyes crossing. The poor Apple tech people had their hands full with me. You know, whatever the acronym is for ‘stupid person sitting before the screen’? I know there’s a term for us.

2. Twitter

It wasn’t too bad to set up although there are still things I can’t figure out — How do people get pictures in that area of their profile?

3. Facebook

It took 2 failed attempts at the Facebook Author page before it finally worked.

4. Website

OMG.  If I could figure it out, I’d insert a video of a screaming banshee here. Assuming I could find one.

Who takes 4 days to transfer their domain name because they can’t find the link that was supposed to make it easy?  *Raises hand* 

Picking a theme that I just HAVE to modify because I really want to create the brand vision that’s swirling around in my head. Took me six months to figure out.

Designing a sign up form.  Arghhh. Still haven’t figured it out. I know what I want and can’t translate it to the screen.

5. Book Software

I use Scrivener and it’s jam packed full of so many goodies it’s almost overwhelming. I love it but am intimidated at the same time. It can take my finished book and convert it to all different types of formats. Cool. Problem is I can’t figure out how to get chapter titles to work. *Head/desk*

6. This Blog

Ah, the easy part. All I have to do is write. How well is up for debate. But since my audience is comprised of the forty two crickets and three squirrels in my backyard, I write what I want.

Finally something that works. And it makes my old fogey, dinosaur brain happy.

When Embarrassing Your Adult Children Is Fun

For those of you with adult children, you know that sometimes it’s fun to mess with them. Two of my kids live near me, two do not.

When I embarked on this writing adventure, the only person who knew was Garage Guy. Obviously, there was a reason for wads of pet fur and piles of dust (okay, dirt) on the floor, late dinners or meals consisting of hastily slapped together cold sandwiches. Trooper that he is, he snarfed down those ham and cheese confections like they were a four-course dinner.  At least I kept up with the laundry!   LOL


In writing 42 Rue de Jardin, a pub scene needed a signature cocktail for the heroine, Cullan. Youngest child was a bartender for years, so I sent a text:

Me: <would u suggest a cocktail for a woman, not too sweet, just a little tart?>

Her: <vodka, cranberry and lemon-lime soda>

Me: <thanks, honey. what do you call it?>

Her: <don’t know. just made it up.>

A few minutes later:

Her: <mom, what r u doing???>


Garage Guy and I chuckled. He asked if I was ready to out myself. Hmm, I had to think about that for a bit. I wasn’t ashamed of what I was doing. But the whole ripping my chest open to bare my thoughts and imagination was (and still is) scary. Magnified by what I was writing – erotic romance. With graphic language.


I decided to dip my toe in the bathwater and talk about my writing. When former bartender daughter came over, I broached the subject. She was thrilled! Encouraged, I elaborated and told her the story context. She was quiet then said in a quavering voice, “Do you expect me to read it, Mom?”

This child reads history, political science and an occasional chick lit. Not romance. “No, it’s enough that you support my efforts,” I responded with a smile.

The relief on her face was comical.


The next child I told lives out of state and is a voracious romance reader. On the phone, she asked what I’d been doing. When I told her, she squealed, “That’s so cool! I wanna read it. Wait until I tell Gram. She reads romance all the time.”


Yikes. Do I really want my mother-in-law (or my mother) to read words I’m not supposed to know? Ai-yi-yi. Do we ever outgrow being a little girl in our own minds?


We discussed generalities about the book. She paused and said, “Um, you didn’t write about you and Dad, did you? Because I really don’t want to read about y’all’s sex life. That’s just…eww.”

*Cue hysterical laughter* No, it’s fiction.


My son didn’t bat an eyelash, though the romance genre isn’t on his radar. He prefers Stephen King, sci-fi and anything sports related. When he said he wanted to read it, I told him he didn’t have to just because I wrote it. “No, I want to,” he said.  *Happy dance*


Fourth child was told over Thanksgiving. Reaction? “That’s neat. When can I read it?”  *Happy dance times two*


Ah, yes, Thanksgiving. My first holiday with the family when they all knew about my writing. Mother-in-law’s comment? “You know I want to read it.”  Me: “Mom, my book isn’t like the ones you read. It has graphic sex and profanity.” Her: “Don’t care. You wrote it.”

With apologies to MasterCard – Family love and support. Priceless.

What’s Your Dream Worth?

Have you ever thought “if only I could?”

Of course, you have. Advertising caters to that desire. You know, ads that say ‘if I can do ___ (insert a topic – lose weight, start a business, learn a new language), so can you‘. Usually they contain ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures or testimonials. We all push those thoughts around in our minds. They percolate, bubbling to the surface, teasing our collective senses. Sometimes they resemble the pictures of La Brea tar pits. You know, those blobs of black tar that puncture the earth’s surface and spread to capture anything around them.

My dream was like that. I’ve spent years reading romance, loving the immersion and fantasizing about the characters. That’s what entertainment reading is for me. Losing myself. Being transported to other worlds where my physical body is more perfect than it really is and the love of my life sends me into fits of sensual bliss.  *Sigh*

But I never thought I could write something swoon worthy.

And so I puttered along, reading voraciously, making my contribution to the economy, especially after eReaders and one-click purchasing came along. But I felt guilty. I was using online reviews to help with my selections. Why wasn’t I paying that forward?  

I began posting reviews. It was fun and gratifying when people contacted me to say my efforts helped them.

Then romance-ageddon hit.

I read several romance books in succession that frustrated me and not in a good way. The dilemma? Write a string of less-than-positive reviews or do something else? My inner voice said, ‘Don’t like it? Write your own.’

Yeah, right. I’m no author.

It got louder, more insistent, woke me up at night. I ignored it.

While cruising over Twitter (which I’m still learning – I’m a technology dinosaur – a blog topic worthy of its own post), I discovered an editor/coach whose style resonated. She’s in your face honest about – ‘You wanna write? Then get off your ass and do it.’

Whoa. Are you seeing a convergence here? I did.

So this neophyte, clueless grandmother with a vague idea for a book signed up for a 4-week class on writing a novel. On May 4, I found myself among several talented people who were published or had completed works. All of them knew how to do this thing called writing.

Except me. I was in way over my head. And I knew it.

I have to apologize to my fellow participants because I didn’t add much to the class. Actually, I was too terrified to open my mouth. (And anyone who knows me would be stunned by that admission.)

When the class ended, I signed on for the next one. And the next one. Insecure much? Um, yep.

At 6 pm on August 7, I wrote the final period in my 67,000+ word first draft.

Did’ja catch that? May 4 to August 7, vague idea to full length novel.  Whoa.

I’d like to say that it’s full of melodic words, gossamer threads wafting down, tantalizing, taunting you just beyond your grasp, reaching in to wrap around your heart, changing your world for the better.


What? No, no. That’s not me. I’m not that poetic, lyrical writer who stirs the senses with just the right combination of words screaming up the bestseller charts.

I’m Lucy. With a story that makes me sigh, giggle and tingle with a little swoon. And I’m damn proud of that fact.

So back to the original question —  “If only I could?”

Sorry to add to the marketing hype but… sure you can.