A to Z Theme Reveal 2016

Should I Have a Theme?

I can tell you from personal experience that writing blog posts with a theme in mind makes the challenge go much more smoothly for me. My goal for the month of April is to meet as many new bloggers as possible, visit old friends, stay acquainted with friends I've made from past challenges while visiting and encouraging new challengers. I can only do that with a game plan.

Game plan:

Theme + Strategy

As you can see from visiting this blog, I write crime fiction and I blog about crime fiction so it's no stretch of the imagination to assume my theme will revolve in some way around, duh, uh ... can you see any clues? Why yes, I do believe you're right. Crime Fiction, of sorts. But, I'm going to change it up a little this year. Yea yea, I know, but there's only so many episodes of Law and Order and you can be the biggest fan in the world, but watching the same reruns over and over gets old. So, I'm staying with my crime fiction theme, but I'm adding some layers to it. 

I visited a theme reveal last year Pen in Her Hand and I loved it. She had a unique twist to her research related back to elementary school and what she called her 3 R's, and I'm sort of  borrowing stealing, (they say imitation is the best form of flattery or some other similar cliche) anyway, the alphabet will correspond with a one of 3 things I do. 


Crime Related Things I:

(1) Read About
(2) Write About
(3) Research for #1 or #2

Yup, I stole this idea from Pen in Hand Blog Reveal 2015


Strategy:

I'm long winded and my blogposts tend fall between 1000 and 1500 words. Is this good? Who knows. Is this good for the A to Z challenge? NO! Longer posts take longer to write and they take a long time to read. During the A to Z challenge brevity is valuable. Brevity = valuable prime time real estate.

A to Z participants want to pop by each blog, read the post, say hello, leave a comment and move on to the next. So my strategy this year is to cut my blog posts to a maximum of 500 words. Now, I have to go back and start cutting because I've written most of them and they come in between 500 and 800 words and a few are over 800. Time to chop. Chop. Chop. 

I've retained the original design company who created my blog design to do a complete blog makeover and I'm assured it will all be up and working by April 1st, the problem right down is that my blog is taking forever to load. I hope those of you who stopped by won't be put off by this problem. Please stop back by on April 1st. I've been assured the speed issue and loading issue will be resolved. And ... drumroll ... I will have my blogger comments back. No more Disqus comments. I know how much you hate them. 

Good luck on the challenge. 

Have you you checked out the other blogs on the Theme Reveal Bloghop?

See you in April


Insecure Writers Support Group: Grief, Guilt, Sadness all Rooted in Insecurity

IWSG: Insecure Writer's Support Group Sadness & Guilt Are They Rooted in Insecurity?

The Insecure Writer's Support Group, brought to you by the very wonderful, generous and talented Alex Cavanaugh

IWSG: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Wow is it really March of 2016, already? I know the topic is insecurity and I suppose the emotion I’m feeling is deeply rooted in my insecurities so I guess I’ve come to the right place. IWSG, a place I always feel welcome. I’ve made a plethora a friends here who’ve encouraged me when I wanted to quit, comforted me when I’ve been down and given me an appropriate kick in the ass when I’ve floundered in self pity.

My dad became ill shortly before Christmas. He got out of the hospital on my birthday, January 13 2016, and took a turn for the worse and died three days later on my husband’s birthday, January 16, 2016. So our family sort or skipped the holidays this past Christmas and I’m not counting my birthday so I didn’t age this year. My sister and I pretty much moved in with my mom, our kids in tow. We’ve been alternating days/nights with her. It’s not that she really wants us so much as we are afraid to not be there. My mom is the strongest person I know. You probably won’t believe this when I tell you, but I truly had never, seen her cry until my dad died and she has lost children and grandchildren. She always held it together for everyone else. Until … now. And … she fell apart. She said she has no reason to go on living without my dad. She said that when they lost children they always had each other to help them get through the pain and trauma. I suppose losing someone you built your life with and loved with your every breath leaves you empty with nothing left to give. 

I hope it’s just the grief talking. She seems to be experiencing all five stages at once and in rapid succession, then in no order at all. It’s like watching a runaway roller coaster cart carrying your child on an inescapable collision with the empty cart in front. Do you let the cart gather speed and hope that by not interfering with the natural order of the ride it will stay the course and remain on the tracks thus lessening the jolt of the impact or do you attempt to slow the speed  and risk launching the passenger 100 feet to the ground or some other unanticipated catastrophic result  Okay weird analogy, but my question remains, do you interfere with the natural grieving process or let it play out? And when do you or how do you recognize when a person has gone beyond what is normal for grieving? 

My dad’s death brought several family members much closer together and that makes me extremely happy with a tinge of sadness. Why does it so often take a tragedy to bring people close? I wish it didn’t, but I’m  grateful for the renewed closeness with family members. I hate to even mention some of these words like narcissist, narcopath and sociopath, because OMG, every time you turn around some pop psychologist not, more like anyone with a blog who can write (grammar not even required) is diagnosing someone in their family or an ex or their new squeeze’s ex or their ex B/F/F, or the lady who lives across the street whose dogs bark too much, you get my point. Everyone’s a self anointed psychiatrist now days. I can’t tell you how sick I am of reading other bloggers calling people narcissists. She’s a narcissist because she cut in front of me at Starbucks. He’s one because he only wears clothing from Neiman Marcus. Really — we call people a narcissist if they don’t agree with us, if we don’t like them, if they appear bossy. It’s become the teen talk of the south. My kids use it to trash other kids they don’t like, to hurt people, to lash out. It’s become the word a person uses to prove they aren’t one. When did this become the norm?

But, another good thing that happened after my dad’s death: We got rid of a a rotten bad egg. I won’t label, {but here I go with a label} but my mom had someone who was sort of using her and not treating her well, and that person is not going to be coming around anymore and that makes our family feel much safer. I’m just gonna go with with old words like I think this person was a con artist. That’s my personal opinion of the person based on the person’s behavior and some things we learned this person was doing. See, one name does not fit all. Sadly, she considered this person a friend and it’s hard to lose a friend when you’re mourning the loss of your husband. 

I really miss my dad. He was the one person in my family who never failed to ask me about my writing and he did so out of genuine interest. He didn’t ask to be polite. He didn’t ask the perfunctory, “So, how’s the writing going?” It was never a backhanded jab either. “So — your book out yet? I didn’t see it at Barnes and Noble. Tell me again what name are you publishing under?” My dad exhibited genuine interest and it showed in the way his eyes sparkled and lit up. It showed in the questions he asked. And they were really simple questions. “Tell me what your book is about.” “What are you working on now?’ “Is this one a thriller?” “Is the digital book market going to make a difference in whether or not you get published?”

So, I’m feeling sad. But what I’m really feeling is guilty that I let my dad down because I wanted more than anything to become a published author before he died. But that’s on me not him. The six weeks before he died and the six weeks after he died I didn’t write a single word. Then something came over me and I realized that I can’t fulfill my dream to become published during his lifetime, but if I want to become published at all or during my own lifetime or my mom’s or my husband’s or my kid’s or … I can set the bar anywhere, but the bottom line is I have to write and revise and quit feeling guilty over what I didn’t accomplish and get busy accomplishing. 

My dad was the most generous man I know and he was my biggest champion. He believed in me. He never doubted I would become a lawyer. He never doubted me when I told him I would become a published author. I need to prove to myself that I am worthy of the faith he had in me. Sad … guilty … all deeply rooted in insecurity.

Have you visited the other blogs in the IWSG Bloghop
Make sure you stop by and visit & thank all of the co-hosts.



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