Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group:

Holy shit on a stick ... with mustard and onions. Now I know I'm getting old. I can no longer blame the lighting in my bathroom or the "fun house" mirrors in my bedroom for my wrinkled forehead. I guess the doc telling me I didn't need Botox anymore (nope he wasn't paying me any compliments ... he flat out said my "thick" forehead skin no longer reaped the benefits of Botox injections.) He wasn't lying. It sure wasn't lasting the six months it was supposed to. Admittedly, there's no one to blame but myself. Growing up in the 80's and taking my first grown up trips without parents in there 90's, I visited every beach we could afford to pack 15 people into one Holiday inn and live on beer and peanut butter. We spent the rest of our money on olive oil and aluminum foil. No sunscreen for this wild girl. Uh-huh. Olive oil got me darker and the tin foil accelerated my tan. What in the hell was I thinking? My skin is paying for it now.

Six years! Thank you Alex. If I didn't feel insecure before I began writing this ... I do now, Lol

Six years of writing and I'm not yet published. 

Six years. But I have-not been consistent with my writing and that's on me ... just like the wrinkles from earlier bad choices.

I've had some starts and stops. The first few years I just wrote organically, (stream of conscious, I suppose some call it). Like I said, I didn't know much about the craft. 

Then I got serious about my desire to write a novel. And I began studying the craft. I think I read every book written on the subject. Some were extremely helpful and remain on my bookshelf and in my Kindle for easy reference and some ... well not that great, but this isn't a review. I took online courses and attended writing conferences and learned how much I didn't know and needed to learn.

I met so many fabulous, gifted, talented and helpful bloggers/authors along the way so I don't regret any of the the lost time. I don't consider it lost time. 

My family just seemed to suffer through several subsequent tragedies and I lost that oomph I had in me-- that spark -- that driving urge to write. The intense need to write diminished a little more with each tragedy. This past year, preparing my kids for their dad's death, I couldn't even force myself to write a blog post much less a scene for my WIP.

One day, a few weeks after the funeral, My youngest son asked me (out go the blue), "Hey mom whatever happened to the books you were writing?"

Say what?

Color me shocked.

I whipped my head around.


"Why don't you write anymore? You were the happiest I've ever seen you when you were writing.?"

"Really?" I managed another one word answer, unaware he even knew mom's dream of the best seller list.

"Yea. You used to sit in the car for hours waiting for my friends and me at soccer practice or the skating rink or anywhere really. Just a writing. Every time you walked in my room late at night you had that notebook in your hand, but you had a giant grin on your face. You loved it. You seemed so ..."

He hesitated, pondering. I dared not interrupt because that's what we argue most about now. So I waited ... and waited.

"Content. Yea, that's the word. Happy for sure. but man, mom you were so content. And I bet dad wants you to publish your book and quit moping around."

I needed a good cry, like belting out wet sobbing boo hoo tears, but I held them in. 

I already had my son, cheering me on, giving me "the pep talk," My son, the kid talking me out of my funky mood with a story so he didn't have to come right out and say, "Hey mom, get your shit together. I don't have a dad. My sister left for college. 

No more lifetime movies and bonbons on the couch. Let's pull through this."

What a wake up call. That and realizing the IWSG is on its 6th year. So a great big shout out to Alex Cavanaugh my blogging hero/ninja for giving me the courage to keep coming back.

The Next Contest Sounds Amazing. How many of  you are Entering

But the one I'm really excited about is the Show Us Your Writer's Insecurity Contest

It's been so long since I posted, I know I'm no longer on the IWSG list. Maybe I can add my name again

Oh, and I almost forget my good news ... well sort of good news. Nothing is good news when it pertains to death and losing someone you care for. But, I started writing again and it has blown me away how I've been able to channel my grief into my WIP. I write for hours and don't even realize half the day is over. I had my first ever 11K word day. And my scenes (rough draft) but the visceral, raw emotion is real, spell binding. I'm often in a trance. This is the best way to work through my grief. Good thing I'm writing a suspenseful , domestic thriller and not romance or comedy.

Valuable Tips For College Moms & Kids: Surviving the First Year

I'm Proud! So Why am I so Damn Sad?

First of all, I'm back from a lengthy hiatus. For those of you who know me or may have heard on Twitter or IG, my kids dad died this summer. He was only 50. He died from colon cancer. He had it a few years ago and we thought they had removed everything and that the chemo got the rest. He did well for a few years. We got the sad and tragic news last October. It was back and had metastasized to his liver and lungs. Anyone familiar with cancer and the stages knows what that means. However he was still doing remarkably well. He took the kids skiing over Christmas and never appeared sick ... even while skiing the black diamonds. Most of his friends, colleagues, clients and family didn't even know he was ill. Steve worked up until close to the end. Some of you may remember that I was going to change my A to Z theme this year and write short memoir essays so my kids would have pieces of their dad, their dad and me, and the entire family in writing to always read. They didn't know how sick he was in March, when I wrote my pieces. Unfortunately, I had to back out of this year's A to Z, as Steve became terminally ill in April. He had an operation to place a stent into his liver. The first was unsuccessful, they replaced the metal with plastic, but he never got any real relief and things went downhill from there. I just wanted to let you know why I dropped out and where I've been. My kids needed me. I waited until I was fully committed to writing before returning to my blog. I intend to share those A -Z stories here, just as regular posts. I hope you will read them. They're special to me. 

Whoever said when you reach down into your own raw emotion, the visceral emotion flows onto the page -- nailed it. 
Painful to write, but the first time I've ever felt emotions oozing from every pore. It taught me how to tap into my own emotion for fictional scenes, but that's another post.

We Didn't Teach Her Enough About the Value of a Dollar

I'm Worried ... Afraid

So ...

I'm Sharing 1-5 Unparalleled, Innovative, Survival, Weekly Tips For College Students & Parents. (Beginning Next Week)

This is what we've been working our butts off for so long ... college. Kids out of the house. Kids earning advanced degrees with all their integral super-tech iPads, iPods, iPad Mini, MacBook Pro -- "Oh Parental Figures we must have the foremost, indispensable super, uber cool tech devices on the planet, less some other geek pass us by, leaving us in the dust ( FYI , that means living at home after we graduate from junior college).

Oh hell no. We'll take out another mortgage on the house if need be. What's the difference if we're on number 6 or 7 anyway? I mean, it's too late for us. We screwed up our lives. We filled out all those credit card pamphlets during college registration (just for kicks really), I mean, c'mon ... who in the hell, or in their right mind, or with any financial sense what - so - ever - would ever approve either your dad or me for a major credit card?

Let's see. Here is a breakdown of our application.: FOR REAL! No joke

Name -----

  1. Address: Dorm - University 
Age: Dad 17 Mom (Almost 17)

  • Current place of employment: Student
  • Are you a full time student: Why yes I am 
  • Apparently back in the good ole days - the pre "my credit sucks days" The title full time student carried clout and exempted the applicant from the ordinary requirement of needing a job. Said job which provided income. Income which enabled said student to make at least the monthly minimum card payments ... while still digging him/herself into a giant financial hole that this student's parent neglected to explain. All that compounded interested and crap. 
  • A simple, "Money is not free, you idiot." Would have sufficed 
  •  But I suppose my parents assumed since I graduated top of my high school class, scored in the top percentage on both the ACT and the SAT, that I'd figured that one out ...  on my own.
  • It's rather self explanatory ... isn't is?

Wrong! Wrong! Oh how very wrong!

No on ever claimed that book sense = COMMON SENSE.

Nope. They are two mutually exclusive animals. I speak from personal experience. 

Back to the application. A few more minor questions which assured the lender I had never worked before ... did not own any stocks or bonds ... didn't have a savings account, then I signed my name and dropped the pre-stamped envelope in the mailbox.

Yup kids, this was during that prehistoric time before the laptop💻 and other mind altering📡 electronics. You may have seen one before. They're blue and the window opens like a giant 📪 mouth and it swallows your letter. And get this ... once it eats your mail, you cannot get it back. That would be a crime. 

What's really cool about the process is that as soon as Visa approves your application and gives you some ridiculously low line of credit like $1500, your student P.O. Box becomes inundated with credit card applications.
Don't balk at the fifteen hundred. Some were even less. Some were a grand. Some credit lenders took a risk and extended a heftier line of credit to broke college students. Anyway, for a college freshman, that's like winning 100K in Vegas, especially when your measly monthly allowance is $500 bucks. How many of you remember a life of beer and Ramen noodles?

Wow, Now you can order Ramen Noodles from Amazon. But Why?Click on the Amazon button on the photo for your very own package. They sure ain't 10 cents anymore, but still dirt cheap. I'm thinking of sending some to my daughter at Ole Miss in a care package as a joke. I wonder if she'll like them?I think they're an acquired taste, plus I'm not sending any beer to wash them down.

My biggest challenge wasn't preparing for an Algebra exam that wouldn't occur for another three weeks. Heck no. I had to study the local pubs and bars to find out who had the best happy hour prices so my friends and I could eat and drink without spending a dime all week by hitting the free happy hour buffets.

More Visas, Master Cards, American Express ... hint (no freaking limit) Discover, and that's just the main cards. Every department store in America and a few I'm pretty certain don't exists begin filling up your mailbox. If you're even remotely stupid like we were, what do you do? Your eyes glaze over and you think of all the "FREE" flat screen, smart television sets, apple computers, iPods and other gadgets you can't live without. Then when that Newman Marcus 💳 comes in, you update the hell out of your wardrobe. Now you're styling . 

Why have all those cards if you aren't going to travel? "I've never been to Europe you tell your then boyfriend - later husband, father of this fantastic, bright kid headed off to college. You know the one you're both praying doesn't make 1%of the mistakes y'all did or do any of the reckless and dangerous things you two did. Ding Dong ... but then you remember, she's the genetic make up of one half of you (oh poor kid, no chance of ever having any street smarts) + one half of her dad. And warning flags and light bulbs
go off until your head spins like the kid from the Exorcist.

She's smart. Bright. But, also the same daughter, when you told her you didn't have any money ... just last year ...  she actually said "That's okay mom, just write a check." 

You inquired if they had taught her about insufficient funds or "hot checks" in school?

She said, Nope."

Cut from the curriculum along with cursive handwriting, so teachers could teach the more important matters. She said ... and I quote: 

"Mom, Ms.  ------ (I left that teacher's name blank intentionally. First, because, I can't be responsible for what I may say about her and secondly because I don't think it's fair to hold her up to ridicule. It's not the teachers fault that that the school system decided to cut some fundamentally important classes from the curriculum).

So, Ms. ___said, "There's only so much teachers can do with students during the few hours we have them. It's about time parents joined the parenting party. From now on, parents will be responsible for teaching Adulting 101 to their own kids. It's about time parents stepped up to the plate"

I nearly ran the car off the road, I laughed so hard. I mean, I get it. It's true. Teachers can't do it all. It's hard enough in some public schools to ensure the kids get two hot meals per day. But the way my kid spoke and how she used her exaggerated hand expressions. It was spot on.

Someone needs to teach our kids about money. Why shouldn't it be us ... their parents? I don't mean to turn into one of those wacky helicopter moms who makes your college aged kid call or text you five times on his drive home (a three hour drive) and BTW asking your kid to do that or expecting him to ALWAYS ANSWER YOUR CALL OR TEXT ... immediately, or within like 2 minutes is actually dangerous. Kids get in accidents trying to stay out of trouble for not returning mom or dad's texts quickly enough. I've seen some kids shake with anxiety when they get a text from their mom.

Oh, and please don't ask your high school SENIOR (who's never even broken a rule) or done anything to make you not trust her/him or your college aged student to send you a "proof photo" when they tell you they are at a movie or at dinner or at Target. It's humiliating, shameful, degrading and I PROMISE YOU ... ALL THE OTHER KIDS ARE MAKING FUN OF HER. No wonder she has anxiety and depression issues. No wonder her boyfriend breaks up after the 4th PROOF PHOTO   -- I mean 4th date.

OK I started this about the damn credit card applications that seemed to be a rite of passage back in my college days. We even got Diners Club? Say what? Who knew? Well, we maxed that baby out all right.

Do credit card companies still bombard new students with a plethora of card applications that a one legged, lying dog, in the middle of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy could qualify for?

I hope not. Like I said, we want our kids to benefit from our mistakes ... by not making them. Do we need to have extremely serious talks with our grads who just started college about turning down all the credit being thrown their way?

Or is credit much harder to come by these days so our kids are safe from the credit hounds who could potentially ruin the future credit of a teen with their first set of plastic. We all know what that feels like. Monopoly money. If you don't have to actually pay for it right then, for some reason it doesn't seem to cost you (especially your much younger self, money). 

Until the bills start taking over your student union mailbox. And the calls home begin.

"Dad help. I don't know what happened. These people said something about free for 60 months and now they want my money. Help me daddy. They are threatening me." You cry.

Dad says, " And you graduated with a 4.0? A perfect score on the math part of your SAT? What part don't you understand?"

Of course today the kids just text and the words don't make sense anyway.

5 Common Credit Card Mistakes College Students Make

How many of you have kids in college? Any college freshman who just started?  Are you scared? Worried Happy? Sad? Mixed emotions? Have you had the big financial talks?

I'm going to share one to five (1-5) tips each week that will help parents, students or both.

Not your average, run of the mill tips you can get anywhere. I'm offering selected, emerging tips based on lifestyles that kids lead today. Powerful, proven tips to keeps your kids safe and allow parents to worry less. 

Let's survive college together (again)

Have you ever noticed that when we grow up we tend to forget what it was like in high school? College? To have dated? Had our first crush? Sneak boys in the house? Sneak booze in the house? Sneak out of the house? I run into so many old friends and meet so many new friends who act like they have no idea what their kids are doing. I know that I'm not the only parent who remembers what high school and college were like. I told my kids a long time ago that they'd have a really hard time ever trying to pull a fast one over on me or their dad ... because anything they ever tried to pull ... believe me ... we'd either done it ... or tried to pull it off. I told them to forgot about coming home with any nonsense like "Oh my breath smells like beer because I kissed my date goodnight and he had a beer." 

They knew better than to try and fool us. We tried every trick in the absurd book when we were young and remarkably we didn't forget a single stupid thing we did wrong or a single stupid lie we tried to tell our parents. So, I don't know if some parents choose to bury their heads in the sand or maybe they have forgotten what they did as adolescents. Not me. And I will use my knowledge, stupidity and memory to ensure my kids don't make the same mistakes I did. I want them to have fun, but I also know it's a different world today. I have rules, not that many and they know my rules and so far ... so good.

I'm working close with my daughter, not as a helicopter mom, but with her dad's death this summer, we've been forced to make some major adjustments. I'm also going to walk some students through the Rush/Recruitment Process, if you're interested. I realize this is a much bigger deal in the south, but you're all welcome to visit. I've missed so many of you.

My kids and their dad

A To Z Blogging Challenge

The 2017 A to Z Blogging Challenge is Knocking on the Door

Can you believe another year has flown by?

It is time for the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge once again.

Most of you know that there are some major changes to the challenge this year. The challenge has grown to such an outrageous number ... which is a good thing, but, it's become nearly impossible for the co-hosts to keep track of all the participants on the linky list each night. I had no idea how long it took each group leader to go through their portion of the list looking for spammers, and for those who simply had to drop out for legitimate reasons. Many of us have been there. It's one hell of a challenge. Not for the weak. I mean for those of us who've been doing it for years, we know what we're getting into. Even then, if we don't write our posts a month in advance, all it takes is a bad week at work or a sick kid and the walls start closing in. Now just imagine what it must be like for the newbies signing up for the first time. 

Suppose they don't have a theme. They didn't pre-write any of their post. They wait until April and off to the races they go. They write and publish that first post. They're feeling good. They click over to the sign up list to visit the five blogs below them as they were instructed to. But, while skimming the sign up list they come across several other blogs that attract their attention way more than the blogs they're supposed to read. So, they hop around for a couple of hours reading and commenting. 

They look at their watch. Damn. It's nearly midnight and they haven't read the blogs they were supposed to read. They haven't written tomorrow's letter B post either Oh, they think, I'll write it in the morning and publish in the afternoon. They check their own blog and see that they have ten comments. Wow, this is cool. So, they feel compelled to visit those blogs. But, I have to sleep they think. In the morning they visit the new blogs instead of writing their post, It doesn't get written until the next evening. Each day they fall further and further behind until one or two days of having to work late and that's all it takes to drop out. Or one week with a kid home with the flu. It happens. I promise. 

And the co-hosts have to monitor the linky list like they're the linky police.
Every single time one of the 2000 + people drop off for a legitimate reason or a spammer gets us, they have to remove their name, their blog and the link to it. Then we all get renumbered. Just thinking about it makes me tired. 

In the past when I visited a blogger who used a different platform than blogger, you know like Wordpress or Tumblr or some other, and they couldn't just click on my name or photo and be directed to my blog, I would tell them in my comment: Hey I'm number 655 on the sign up list. Now I feel like such a fool because I didn't realize once the challenge was underway that number wasn't constant. It was always changing. 

I missed the Theme Reveal this year. My theme is always Crime Fiction, but I'm considering something very different. I will post about my theme change prior to April 1.

In case you are not aware, there is a linky list over at Blog Chatter and Lee, the brain child ... creator of this challenge, Arlee Bird over at his blog, Tossing it Out, has another. You may want to check those out. Blog Chatter is also on Twitter@BlogChatter

Be sure to read this post on the A to Z Site If The List Doesn't Exist - A to Z Challenge

So what are you doing to keep track of your blogger buds (new & old) during the challenge, without the list? 
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