On my WordPress blog I've put up a 2700 word excerpt from my motorcycle romance racing novel entitled Racing the Line. I will be formatting the first three chapters of the book for Smashwords soon. I welcome any and all feedback on the story!
Racing the Line
I added a bit more to the excerpt from Unbroken Flames. Just a bit of dialogue but it introduces a few more main characters. There's so much yet to come...
For anyone who subscribes to my blog via email or still checks this site regularly, I am transitioning to using WordPress for all my blogging. You can get there through clicking the "JULIEANN'S VOICE" page or through this link http://ramblingjulie.wordpress.com. I hope you'll follow me there! I will continue to use this site to post my artwork and fantasy writing.
If you live somewhere that is finally enjoying the warmth of spring, I envy you! Winter doesn't seem to want to release its grasp on Upstate NY. We've had a few warm days but they're quickly replaced with bitter winds and returning snow. Today started out in the 40s but dropped 15 degrees by the afternoon thanks to gale force northerly winds. The weather has changed from sun, to snow, to sun and back again more times than I can count and with the wind chill, the temperature is barely in the 20s.
I am extremely frustrated that I can't plant anything outdoors yet or even spend much time outside without freezing even in a winter coat and gloves. I'm going to attempt flower gardens in containers this year despite last year's rather unique garden failure. Last year I thought I planted tons of daisies but what grew was everything but! This year I'm buying already started plants and keeping the garden more manageable. I also hope to have a water feature of some sort and of course my rock garden.
My lilac bushes will be overflowing with blossoms if the weather ever warms up and my irises are hesitantly starting to grow. The birds have all returned, even the blue herons, and every day I hear them chirping in the trees probably wondering why they came back at all. They might want to reconsider their choices of scout birds for next year because the ones this year were optimistic with their warmth reporting.
I've decided to battle the lingering winter drearies the best way I can think of, by painting spring! Spring flowers, blue skies, bright flowing water and warm sunshine! I still remember what it looks like though I haven't felt it in forever and I know what I'm looking forward to. So while it continues to snow and blow and be nasty cold outside, I stay warm inside and paint pretty scenes in spring colors. I'm hopeful that eventually it will warm up outside and life will finally renew itself but in the interim I'm filling my portfolio to overflowing with new creations!
I am a freelance ghost writer. What that means is that I write a whole bunch of blog entries, articles and product reviews using my own unique writing style but I don't get to take any credit. This type of work used to feel like I was selling out or something but I have grown to like it. I am constantly learning new information and finding great ways to edit myself. I am passionate about all the words I write and that will never change. I can't claim the ghost writing pieces as my own but I know they are and I take immense pride in that.
Ghost writing has primarily been a way to supplement my income but as they continue to cut my hours at work and reduce benefits, it's grown into a second job. I'm working toward making it my only job and it is proving to be a welcome challenge. I have to force myself to unplug when I write. No TV, no texts and as few distractions as possible. I've been rising early and staying up late to write. I write as much as I can when I don't have my daughters so I don't miss out on time with them. Raising my daughters will always be the most important job in my life. I adore being a mother and I took to it naturally and my girls come first.
The blogs and articles I love writing the most deal with raising children, being a mother, interior design and landscaping. I have hands on experience with the first two subjects but I felt it was past time I do some genuine research on the others. Reading stuff off the internet is all well and good but information online isn't necessarily fact. I wanted to read actual printed books on the subjects so I made a trip to one of my local libraries. I forgot how much I loved libraries until I started walking through the shelves grabbing books. It was like coming home! I had to stop grabbing books when they became too heavy to carry but I was so excited by what I found. I went home and started reading and used what I learned in one of the books in an article that very night. It felt so amazing having actual fact-based knowledge on the subject.
I continue to improve and streamline my writing style and I'm enjoying doing research. I must be doing something right because the clients on the freelance site all give me high marks and I've even earned a bonus on one article so far. It is so rewarding and fulfilling that people appreciate what I write. Working as an anonymous writer has increased my self-esteem and feelings of self-worth far more than any retail or office job ever could. I shall continue on this path and eagerly step through the doors it opens to me.
Your time is valuable, never forget that. Those aren't just words to use as an excuse when you don't want to do something, those are words that should actually mean something. Time is far too fleeting and precious to waste on frivolous endeavors that do not further you on your path. Know and accept that your time is valuable because YOU are valuable. No matter what anyone else in this world might say or think, you are an important commodity and should never be taken for granted.
If life has repeatedly shown you that something you say or do makes a difference and is appreciated, open your eyes and see that. Do not dismiss praise and recognition as a one-time thing or feel that you if you accept your own importance, you're not being humble any longer. As long as you work hard and earn that positive recognition then it is truly yours and it is not conceited to acknowledge that. When that pat on the back happens once, smile and enjoy it, and when it happens consistently accept that what you do comes from who you are as a person.
Take pride in your work and follow your bliss. Everyone has their own perspective so your efforts will not always be seen as beneficial or praise-worthy. Don't believe that the opinions of the few are the feelings of the majority though. Stop being your own worst critic and start seeing yourself in the positive light others see around you. The sooner you understand that both you and your time are valuable, the sooner you will be on your way to much better things!
I adore being on a warm beach. I'm not one to sit out in the sun all day tanning because I believe in being pale and healthy. When I'm at the beach I'm well covered in sunscreen and my toes are in the water. As cliché as it may sound, one of my favorite activities is walking along the beach. Nothing compares to strolling in the shallow waves enjoying the feel of the sand beneath my bare feet. There's just something beautifully calming about walking on a surface that softens gently beneath me as warm water flows over my toes and ankles.
As anyone who has ever walked on a beach knows, the incoming tide will inevitably wash away all traces of footprints. When I walk in the shallow water my prints are nothing more than indents in the sand below the surface and my passage is quickly forgotten by the ocean. Sometimes I'll stop, crouch down and pick up a handful of wet sand just to feel it in my hand. It is impossible to hold sand for very long because it falls swiftly from the grasp. Sand of the perfect dampness to create sandcastles will hold its shape for a while but as it dries it crumbles, if the waves do not destroy it first.
Sand has long been used to gauge the passage of time because it flows so swiftly and free. Trying to hold onto sand is a futile endeavor because it is not meant to be trapped. The tighter the grip on it, the faster it escapes, but if you leave your palm open and have just a small pile there, it will remain a while longer. Warm beach sand sparkles in the sunlight and is smooth to the touch and it is happiest when left where it came from. The only way to truly hold sand for any length of time is to transform it into something else. Intricate glass creations can be created when sand is heated and blown by skilled craftsmen.
There is no holding onto true, free, unaltered sand and it is best to remember this. Sometimes holding something even tighter just makes it slip away faster. By opening your palm and allowing something to be as it is you grant it freedom and sometimes in that freedom it will willingly form itself into something that you can in fact grasp. You cannot predict when certain things and people will slip from your grasp. That is a good thing because then when they choose to return as something attainable, it is a blessed and surprising gift.
We've all done it. Walked up to a door and tried to pull on it when it's a push open or push on it when it's a pull open. It can be embarrassing, especially if we do it with the same door more than once. Why can't we do it right the first time? Why didn't we pay attention? How could we keep forgetting?
Doorways and passages in the journey of life are no different. There are those doors that we keep pushing on with all our might but they refuse to budge. We try a different approach by pulling on the door but it still won't give and yet the handle turns meaning that the door is unlocked. Then we start to wonder why that particular door is locked to us, especially if it's one we're sure should be open to us by now. Where did we go wrong? Will the door open for someone else? Or is the timing just wrong and we have to wait a while longer?
Sometimes the best course of action for such stubborn doors is to just move on and try a different doorway. This doesn't mean we can't someday come back to that door and test it again but our journey should not center around something that is barring our path. Some doorways will be wide open to us and some of us will step right through those fearlessly while others will wonder why they're open. Is it a trick? What lies beyond the door? What if we don't like what we find? Doorways are always open to us for a reason and the longer we stand there succumbing to doubt and fear the more likely it is that the door will close on us and we'll never get our answers.
Fear can cripple us and prevent us from ever taking those forward steps that will bring us to a more promising future. We stand there holding onto a door handle pulling, pushing and wiggling it because we're afraid that letting go will undo all the progress we've made to open that door, even if we've made no real progress at all. There comes a point when we just have to let go, drop our hands, wipe the sweat from our palms and turn a different direction. Look for another door that speaks to you and try opening it and who knows what you'll find. Not every door will open to you but those that do are meant to be walked through. Even if you have to close your eyes to do it, step through that open doorway and experience what lies beyond.
Sometimes events in our lives seem so familiar we're almost convinced we know how they're going to play out. But we really don't know because it is not within our abilities to possess that level of certainty. What fun would life be if we always knew what was coming? It might be less stressful and worrisome but it would grow stale rather fast and we would long for not only the ups, but the downs.
Life is not like a road on a map. Roads were built by men and when they are drawn on maps it is assumed they will keep that same path for the foreseeable future. When roads change, maps get updated and barring a natural disaster, those roads will continue to maintain their designated lines. We can all certainly map out what we want our lives to be and strive for certain attainable goals in our education and career. When it comes to planning for the human factor of those goals, none of what is written down is ever permanent or guaranteed.
When things start to veer off the planned path we've made for ourselves, we can get anxious, stressed, worried and confused. We get up on our proverbial tiptoes and crane our necks trying to see around that next bend in the road of life so we can prepare for what's coming. What we forget is that nothing lies beyond that bend yet and it is up to us to decide to either accept that or go nuts trying to guess what it might be.
Worrying stems from a fear of the unknown and the belief that if we can just control everything then we'll be safe. Total control isn't possible and sometimes being safe means not really living. It is far better that we hope for and work toward the future path we want than live in dread that the way will suddenly fall out beneath our feet. The path will fall out beneath us at some point but there is always a bridge somewhere that will help us continue on in a different direction.
Continuing our journey is how we create our own unique road of life. Even when we can't see what lies around the bend we have to take that leap of faith and believe that we have the strength to endure the journey and see the light beyond.
My words are like my brush strokes, I'm never quite sure where they'll flow to and when they'll stop.