romance author

Red ink – lots of red ink!

I am editing away and I just wanted to share a photo of just one page that has been marked up for editing. It’s blurry deliberately, but you can see the white page, with it’s nice black type, but then you can see my red ink markings covering the whole page.

The red ink is correcting clunky paragraphs, misspellings, removing things that were unnecessary, changing sentences around, basically all kinds of editing that will make this read better and sound better and improve the flow of the words.

This is just edit number two, there will be a third edit before it’s submitted. I am shooting for Thanksgiving time roughly, or earlier if possible.

I decided three edits would be a good number – I could edit it repeatedly, over and over and I might never think it was good enough – so, there has to be a stopping point where you send in a good facsimile of the best version of your novel, and if they like it, there will undoubtedly be more edits too.

So, back to work I go, while at the same time home schooling my (possibly) dyslexic daughter prior to moving, and oh yeah, I’m renovating and preparing my home for sale, packing boxes, painting, house-hunting. It’s a busy time!

How do you edit? Let me know in the comments, I’m always open to new ideas!

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My romance novel is finished (apart from editing)!

Woo hoo – not a very inspiring start to this blog post by a supposed author, but I finished it, the novel is written!

In all honesty, it has taken me a long-ass time to write this thing and it’s only around 60K words, but the majority of it has been written this year. I’d say probably two thirds of it was written from March 2018 onwards, so once I got motivated, the words really started flowing.

I credit that partially to Paul McKenna’s self-hypnosis book that I cannot remember the title of right now, but has the word “calm” in it for sure. It might be called “Instant Calm”, and I use that audio recording all the time to get myself into a calm state of mind. I highly recommend it, and I’m getting no kick-back for saying that, it’s a genuine recommendation.

What the self-hypnosis did was to make me focus my mind, because you can’t write anything without having focus.

So, this past Monday, while my husband snored in his recliner after doing some gardening in the heat of Labor Day, I started working on the epilogue to my book and suddenly I realized it was done. I typed the final sentence and just sat there staring at the screen blankly for a few minutes.

Then I saved my work and backed it up to the cloud because I’ve had hard drive crashes before and then sat there some more, staring at the screen.

My husband woke up then and saw the last few minutes of the movie he was supposed to be watching and then came over to me, and as he walked those last few steps towards me I lost it! I just started to cry, which turned to sobs, which ended with me in my husbands arms and him looking worried. I quickly explained that there was nothing wrong and in fact there was something totally right. When I told him my momentous news he was suitably happy because he knew I was writing something, but not the plot of the book because that’s my baby.

So, it’s twenty-four hours later and I haven’t even looked at my manuscript since finishing it yesterday because I need to let it settle for a couple of days before I start editing it and tearing it apart. I am going to use ProWritingAid to help with editing, simply because it always picks up on when I use the passive voice and also tells me if I’m repeating the same sentence pattern, which I have been known to do. It’s another one of the things I use to assist me in my writing because all the help you can get before submitting your book to a publisher is worth it.

Sometimes I don’t even realize I have been using the passive voice and as soon as it’s pointed out I fix it. I can’t afford to pay a professional editor to edit my manuscript right now, or self-publish it without real editing, so I’m going to try submitting it to Harlequin because it really fits in well with one of their existing romance lines. (If you write romance novels, you can visit their website and check out their guidelines and find where your novel could fit and more importantly, how many words you need for that particular line, just click on the blue Harlequin above.)

I decided to document my process here on my blog, so I plan to begin editing tomorrow. Once I am done with that stage and ready to submit, I will blog here on the day I submit it, and so on, just to give other people an idea of how long the process was for me. It’s different for everyone, but I thought it would be cool to have a record of what I did and when I did it.

So, tomorrow, I print out 200 or so pages on my bargain priced laser printer (purchased for $6 from a college surplus equipment sale), and then I begin editing. My first task is a complete read through, where I will highlight problem areas where it just sounds clunky to me, or areas I might need to cut or flesh out. I always spot glaring mistakes at this point too – like misspelling a character’s name, etc. The second edit is the one where I fix all the typos and passive voice issues. The third will be my final cut, leading to my final word count and my final draft.

So, check back with me or follow me, to see how this process is going and feel free to comment.

I will at some point write a blog about all the tech resources I find useful, with links to those items too, but for now, I am just one happy, happy, woman – I did it!

(BTW, my amended deadline for finishing the first draft was September 1st – I finished on September 3rd – not bad. This was of course my 2018 deadline, since I was stalled on this project before this year rolled around!)

Happy writing everyone! May the words be ever on your fingers! (Yeah, I’m stealing from the Hunger Games, LOL!)




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The minefield of self-publishing!

Well, I am just about finished with my romance novel, apart from editing, so then I realize the hardest parts are yet to come. I have to choose a cover that says ‘read me’ and also looks professional because I won’t buy a book unless the cover appeals, whether it be traditionally published or a KDP book. I have to promote the shit out of it, which generally costs money. I have to be willing to put it out there, in the world, and maybe it will sell, but maybe it won’t.

I want to be brave and bold; a woman in charge of her own writing dream. Yet here I sit, second-guessing myself and wondering if I should just submit it to someone else. Maybe I should see if a real publisher wants it? Maybe let someone else design the cover and do all the promotional work? As I sit here, doubting myself, my inner beast voice says, no, no, no and hell no. (Actually it uses the F word, my inner voice belongs to a 60+ female truck driver it seems, and she’s not scared of anything.)

I just chose an awesome cover today, but the finer points of the design are not complete yet – I’m trying to decide on the font sizes and types, so I’m off to the book store to do some research of which book covers appeal to me. I don’t like covers with photos, so I chose an illustration for my background. The picture makes it look like many of the romance novels that I like to read myself – watercolor scene of a romantic background that goes with my story. I will reveal the cover as soon as it’s all finished.

My new motto is “no excuses”, so, I’m going to do it, because I have nothing to lose and if it doesn’t work out, so what? I mean, the guy who invented the light bulb failed a ludicrous amount of times before he succeeded. I do not want to fail that many times, or at all if I’m honest, but if I don’t try at all then that’s the ultimate failure, isn’t it?

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I suck at blogging!

So, here it is, 2018, and I barely blogged last year and I had so many other things going on that I just stopped writing for basically most of the year and I woke up this morning and gave myself a good talking to. I mean, it’s my fault I didn’t write because I just didn’t make the time to do it. I allowed my everyday, mundane life to take priority over the part of me that loves to write. I should have carved out an hour a day by not watching the nightly news, or writing in car pool, or something. So I blame myself for my inactivity and resolve to try much harder this year.

It is not however, a New Year’s Resolution, because we all know how those generally work out.

I want to write at least 1,000 words a day until the end of this month, which will see this draft completed. I plan on setting myself a timer so I can check up on where I am at and I’ve carved out 2 hours per day that I can devote to this. It may not be two consecutive hours, but I will fit them into the day, along with an hour for exercise (which I am actually better at sticking to than my writing schedules).

But are there any apps out there that can help me? So far, I think Scrivener may be the best app for writing, but I think I’m going old school and just setting a timer and writing and seeing where that goes.

I do like an app called “Word Count Dashboard” where I track my writing sessions and set a first draft completion date – except that I have had to amend that date several times. The one thing it does do is tell me the dates on which I wrote a few words, or a lot of words, and how long it’s taking me (in days) to get to my goal. It also lets you know how many words you need to write a day to finish your novel to a certain word count by a certain day.

Mine says 921 words per day is what I need to write to reach my goal by January 31st. That doesn’t sound like a lot, until you factor in the days when you simply cannot carve out even a minute to write because you have activities to attend with children.

Nora Roberts apparently doesn’t have this issue because she is a writing machine and is simply far more organized and structured and basically, she has this writing thing down. I am sure she has her bad days, but she doesn’t let them get her down like I do. Maybe that is what I need to be working on the most in my “other” free time? I need to have the confidence and perseverance to just go for it!

So, who’s out there reading this? Do you have any favorite writing apps? Any great advice? Any words of wisdom? Or even if you just need to vent about how your life gets in your way too, go for it!

Welcome to 2018 – the year I make the New York Times best seller list, LOL!

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When to publish?

So, I am doing a million things at once as always – I’m building a built-in shelf unit for one entire wall of my family room from floor to ceiling (using my trusty Kreg jig of course), I’m also part way through painting my bedroom blue, editing first draft using professional editor, looking for a great cover image AND learning how to use In-Design from Adobe to create a professional looking cover for both print and e-books. I think I have my fingers in too many pies at the same time, LOL!

I decided not to send the manuscript, or at least the first 3 chapters and synopsis, to a major romance publisher because partly I watched a documentary on the romance writing industry, which is available on Netflix, called Love Between The Covers. This documentary sent me in search of other information on writing for those big romance publishers and I came across this blog post:

From researching in general, I realized that the writers for these mega-romance publishers, who put out large volumes of all kinds of romance monthly, do not seem to get paid very much at all, and yet they do sign to multi-book contracts and are expected to keep churning out book after book at pretty fast speeds.

There was one woman in the documentary who was going to go it alone, I can’t remember her name, I’ll have to watch it again and check out how she is doing. Perhaps she eventually went to a publisher, or maybe she is doing great on her own? It really doesn’t matter much to me because I decided after viewing the documentary and reading numerous articles, that I want to at least try publishing it myself.

I mean, I can publish an e-book for free for goodness sake and Amazon has all the instructions on “how to” on its website, I checked them out, it’s pretty straight forward, you just follow the instructions and hey presto, book online for sale.

Now obviously, there is more to it than that – you need a good cover, you need to make sure the book was edited (not by a friend or relative as they either don’t have the skills to do the job properly, or they won’t want to hurt your feelings, the exception being if you actually have an editor in your inner circle, then whoop-dee-do!), you need to publicize it.

All the above things require you to use your God given talents to get your book out there, looking professional, and make it work and it’s a lot of work and I’m not even finished yet, I’m just part way through.

But really, what do I have to lose? I put in the time and effort and get the book out there and no one buys it, so what? I could still try the traditional route. I suppose what I’m saying is, if I’m going to earn so little in royalties from a big publishing house and be so tied to what they want and how they want me to do it, maybe just doing it myself I can make the same amount of dosh, BUT I will have control over the product from start to finish and I will have control over how many books I publish in a certain space of time.

I can still enter my books (I’m being optimistic with the plural here), into romance writing contests and put them up for the awards that are out there for this genre and also for self-publishing awards. I can do all that and retain control over my creativity and again, if it doesn’t work out, what will I have lost really? Some time, perhaps, but I will have gained a clearer understanding of what I’m doing and I’ll have learned a lot along the way, including how to use one of Adobe’s awesome design programs.

So, really, it was a no-brainer, this whole idea of trying it by myself.

But how does everyone else feel about self-publishing? It doesn’t have the stigma of the old days when it was called vanity publishing because you had to pay someone to print your books and to be honest those books generally weren’t good. Let’s face it, there are millions of self-published books out there right now that were never edited properly and are horribly written, and they are probably not selling well, if at all. But in amongst those dire attempts at self-publishing are some really good reads.

So, where do we all stand on this? I’d love to hear from some of you in the comments, and if you have tried it, how did you do, and if you want to, any tips?

If you are interested in the romance genre I’d recommend watching the Netflix documentary and taking a moment to check out that other blog I put a link in to, it’s fascinating stuff!

Signing off for now, ciaou!


author, bullies, family, kindness, manuscript, romance author, romance writer, Uncategorized, writer

The End Is Nigh – The End of 2016, That Is!

So, it’s the end of the year and what a year it’s been. We’ve had a the death of a beloved grandparent, who almost made it to 100, just shy by a few weeks. We’ve had cancer scares and actual cancer, and all of the former are now 100%, and just taking it one day at a time. We’ve had epiphanies about moving and schools and finally got everything sorted out, at least to the point where we can be happy with our home and not moving for the moment, and happy with my daughter’s new school, although it’s not cheap to have her in a private school, it is however, not one of those high-faluting posh schools. It’s simply a church connected school.

And then, most bizzarre of all, was the election. I mean, what the heck? And I’m not saying I’m for either side of the equation, because I didn’t like either of the candidates one bit, but that was an election campaign that I hope we never see again because frankly, it was embarassing. Neither side was dignified in any way, neither side was inspiring to me, neither side deserved to win. I just hope it all works out in the end.

It did make me realize something important though – I really don’t want to be a part of this, any of this. I want to be in a place where I feel like I belong, where my world has meaning, function, family, belonging, and it isn’t here anymore.

There are a couple of people in my extended family who are great people, fun to be around, real family. Then there are the the rest of them, who are racially and ethnically prejudiced, who are controlling and disapproving of everything, who have never made any attempt to know me at all and are nothing like a family by my definition. They are the ones who drive a wedge between me and my husband, who cause stress every time they visit, who insist on throwing things in each other’s faces. They are like something from a bad family comedy movie, the kind of movie where you can’t believe this is really someone’s family, and yet they are a real family. A real dysfunctional family, full of passive aggressive, know-it-alls who are never wrong and never allow for the fact that someone might not agree with their stance on something.

For instance, people who send instant messages the day before Christmas that say the following:

Thanks for the great Christmas gifts for my kids, they opened them already and loved them. By the way, I didn’t have time to get to the post office with your daughter’s gift, so it’ll be there some time after Christmas when I can get to the post office.

It’s the 29th and no gift yet, but I’m SO glad their kids enjoyed the gifts I got and wrapped and mailed weeks in advance.


The other side of the coin is the two people on that side of the family who DID send gifts, in plenty of time, wrapped and everything, and they were great gifts and we have had a lot of fun with them, but alas, we don’t see them much because they live about 700 miles from here and not near an airport. Great people though, great fun to be around.

And then there’s my family. We live thousands of miles apart on two different continents, yet on Christmas Day we webcammed and shared stories and boy did we laugh and get silly. Then on Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas for some of us, we webcammed again, and boy did we laugh and have fun asking Alexa (a Christmas gift) to tell us jokes and we were just being ridiculous and having a laugh.

We even got to share the news of a Christmas Day engagement which was so special and just made everyone so happy, but also made me miss the family dynamic of a healthy, functional family.

My family isn’t perfect by any means. No one’s family is, it’s completely impossible.

But my family are a family – the definition of family to me is a group of people, related by blood or not, who care about each other.

My husband’s family (apart from the aforementioned exceptions), are all about control, about who can get what from whom, who has the most money, the biggest house, and all that crap. They don’t seem to understand that none of that matters.

Kindness matters. My daughter has a tee-shirt that says that and it’s so true.

So, we have been talking, and we have come up with a long term plan that I can share here, but won’t be sharing with anyone else until we’re ready – we’re moving. Oh yeah, we’re MOVING, not to another suburb or another town or another state. We’re making a transcontinental move, the logistics of which we have not worked out yet, but we’re giving ourselves 18 months to “git er done”.

I am committing myself to this task, and also getting my novel into the hands of the publisher shortly too. It’s going to be an exciting time for all of us, and a little nerve wracking, but it’s a grand adventure and we’re all excited to embark upon it.

So, here’s to the end of 2016 and the start of a new and exciting phase in our lives!

Happy New Year everyone!




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OMG, where is the year going?

I swear, one minute it was Christmas, the next minute it’s summer. More projects in the house have been completed and we decided not to move, so that is a relief as moving costs so much money and I wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do right now anyway.

So, theoretically, you could say we saved $30K, considering the realtor costs we would have had to pay and moving costs and legal costs etc. Not bad!

So, in lieu of moving, we decided to re-floor the entire main level of our home and we were going to do hardwood because that’s what everyone does, but then I said, screw it (I actually said those words too!), and we decided that we would put in flooring that we liked instead.

So, I am installing Pergo instead, which is very hard wearing and I just love the way it looks too. So far I have the living room and dining room done – next up, tearing up the Lino in the kitchen and the carpet in the family room.

I have already partially prepped the front hallway, and then after that I am ripping up the stair carpet and re-finishing the stairs – haven’t decided how to do that yet, I think it might be dependent on how bad the stairs look under the carpet and since I have no way to know until after I pull the carpet up, then we shall see.

First year of home school is completed too and my daughter did so much better. Her reading level improved exponentially, so that kind of proves that she needed more one-on-one teaching. She wants to continue home school for the rest of elementary and then go to one of the more scientific middle schools. This week she is doing a coding course online that is something to do with Java – don’t ask me, she knows more about that than I do, I’m just good with the normal Windows type stuff.

Finally reorganized the garage too – it’s only halfway done, but that’s how I spend my memorial day weekends, getting things done while my husband is home from work. He took our daughter to the pool today while I assembled some storage cupboards, perfect case of synergy!

And now, finally, I get to have a shower!

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I have a very wet knee!

So, it’s really been a long while and I have been busy, busy, busy writing, but also traveling a bit too, but then came Snowzilla, or whatever you want to call the January 2016 snowstorm, and well, things went to hell in a handcart!

In preparation for the impending storm, we built a snow fort next to our swing set (made from a wooden picnic table) and threw a tarpaulin over it, which we weighted with garden pavers. This at least would give a small area for the dogs to “go” under, we would just have to see how much we would have to shovel to get them to the snow fort.

We didn’t really think we would get over 18 inches of snow where we live, they tend to be a bit Henny-Penny or Chicken Little, and exaggerate the heck out of a storm that is coming, and when it arrives it’s frequently anti-climactic.

Not this storm!

It started on the Friday night and it was coming down pretty hard and I’m thinking, if it snows like this all night, it might get interesting by morning.

It did snow like that all night, so much so that we couldn’t open our sliding glass doors for fear there would be a mini-avalanche into the house, and it was still snowing at 7 am as I tried to get my two tiny dogs to go out for a pee. No such luck, there we were, outside, shoveling a clear path to the snow fort for the dogs while they sat inside, in the warmth, watching!

It kept on snowing and we were at about 16 inches when we suddenly thought that it might be too heavy for the high deck we have, so out we went and shoveled that off – it took an hour, and during that time the novelty of snow wore off completely. We were now dreading shoveling the driveway and walks and the snow plow had gone by and pushed boulders across the driveway drop-down – oh yay snow!

It was pretty windy, so we decided to wait out the storm a bit before shoveling out front, plus it was bitterly cold too, so what could it hurt?

26 inches of snow fell – everywhere in the street was amazingly beautiful but completely buried. It was hard to tell where sidewalks or driveways were, and the road was no longer plowed, it was simply part of the drifting, pristine white landscape.

It really was picture-postcard-perfect – for about 5 seconds – then we realized we had to shovel it, and it was deep, really deep, higher than my snow boots deep – crap!

The storm was over and people began to surface in our neighborhood, shovels in hand, and the back breaking work of removing 26 inches of snow, spread across a 20×30 ft driveway, and then sidewalks, and then the backyard for the dogs, and then the upper deck, that we’d already shoveled 16 inches off, now had another 10 inches on it.

The novelty of the snow was totally obliterated after the 3 hours it took us to dig out the driveway, sidewalks and drop down – 3 hours of work, spread over about 7 hours, because, well, it just isn’t any fun shoveling snow. The idea of buying a small snow blower / thrower took shape at some point during the shoveling and said item is sitting in my front hall, waiting to be assembled, which I will get to tomorrow (probably).

Alas, we forgot to remove the slide cover from our wooden swing set. It was an awesome tunnel-like cover with soccer balls on it that kept the slide cooler during the summer months – it was crushed like Godzilla had sat on it, and it was torn to shreds along the joins. Oops, should have taken that down, oh well.

We did look at the roof tarp to the swing set and it had a ton of snow on it, but we forgot to do anything about that (hey, we were exhausted from fricking shoveling!). At some point late Saturday, I heard a weird cracking noise. I checked out back for falling trees etc, but nothing. In the morning we got up to find the roof of the swing set had collapsed due to the weight of all that snow – well duh! Not only had it collapsed, it had ripped one of the roof trusses clean off during the collapse, which made us realize we had to shovel the top of the swing set, lest it collapse from about 30 inches of snow that had built up on it, double ugh! But how to get up there to shovel?

I am not an agile person, so getting to the top of the swing set to shovel it was problematic because the roof and the snow had completely blocked the ladder entrance, so I had to shovel the table (that was pretending to be a snow fort for the dogs). Then I climbed on the table and did some of the most awkward snow shoveling I have ever done in my life, just to clear the swing set tower out a bit to allow me to climb up and start shoveling it properly.

I think by the time that was done I was cursing the day I had ever said, “ooh, snow is so pretty.” No it’s not, it’s pretty exhausting perhaps!

So, the slide cover roof had collapsed, the swing set roof had caved in, what more could happen? The roof leaked! The actual roof of the house started leaking about the end of the day on Sunday night, I could have cried. I may actually have cried, if I hadn’t been swearing so much at the ceiling, interspersed with running to get containers to catch the water.

It wasn’t a big leak, thankfully, but it carried a hefty price tag – thank you Christmas bonus for paying for that!

So now, about 10 days after the storm, here I sit, lamenting how long winter is, and grateful that the Groundhog didn’t see his shadow this morning and therefore predicted an early spring. (I don’t know how he didn’t see his shadow, since it was a lovely clear day in Gobbler’s Knob, but hell, I’d rather think we might get an early spring than a longer winter right now!) As an aside, apparently he’s only right about 55% of the time, so an early spring is still very iffy based on those odds.

I feel like I was a little dog chasing its tail for the past 10 days and now finally, exhausted, I am able to get life back to as normal as it ever is.

Mostly, I am glad to get back to writing and renovating my house, even if I do have a brand new project (AKA ceiling repair due to the leak).

How many weeks is it until spring is supposed to start officially? LOL!

Oh yeah, back to the title, my very wet knee! I have already repaired the swing set roof today and removed the destroyed slide cover, but in the process of re-roofing the swing set I knelt down in a puddle of water. “I have a very wet knee!” I proclaimed to my nine year old, who cracked up laughing and said my knee had peed itself. I really shouldn’t have laughed at that but I did and every time she comes into the room she points at my pant leg and reminds me of it.

I still do have a wet knee, but it’s no longer very wet!





author, charity, family, kindness, manuscript, romance author, romance writer, Uncategorized, writer

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, it’s been a long time since I posted here and it’s been a crazy few weeks. We went on a road trip of close to 2000 miles (there and back), and I’m still recovering mentally from that. Who knew driving so far could be so exhausting? I mean, you’re just sitting on your butt the whole time you’re in the car, right, so how can it just drain you?

The book is almost finished, it’s in the editing stages and rewrites, which is awesome. Book two in the series is already being heavily plotted right now too.

Still working on the house and a future move too, and then there is the prep work for Thanksgiving day tomorrow, which includes getting the turkey ready to go in the oven in the morning. Oh, and who can forget Black Friday shopping, which apparently starts on Thursday now, so the name is totally bogus. Personally, I’d prefer to have Thanksgiving day be all about family and friends etc, and leave the Black Friday shopping until it is actually Friday – call me old fashioned!

I wanted to post today (ahead of time I know!), because we all have so much to be thankful for and it’s easy to neglect things. I’m thankful for my family, even the weird ones! I’m also thankful for my mind, which won’t accept that the world we live in can’t be peaceful and also won’t blame all people for the actions of just a few.

I’m also thankful for my warped sense of humor that had me listening to Adam Sandler this morning (from his SNL days) singing the Turkey Song, and I still cracked up when Kevin Nealon joined in on the YouTube SNL version. If you haven’t even heard the song, just go to YouTube and look it up, preferably with video from SNL, it will make you smile for sure, it may even make you laugh out loud.

So, to anyone out there reading this, be inspired to be thankful for all those little things that people do for you and actually tell those people how glad you are they are in your life and how nice it was of them to do whatever it was that helped you out.

I am thankful to my Dad for putting up wallpaper on an accent wall while he was here on vacation, and I’m thankful to my Mom for inspiring me to read as much as possible from the age of 4 when she taught me to read. I haven’t stopped reading since!

I am thankful for my sister, who is deeply nuts and quirky and funny.

I am thankful to my wonderful husband because he is my one and only and there is no one else I would want to be on this life journey with.

And finally, my daughter, who has more kindness and empathy in her soul than can be fathomed, you are my heart, my soul, my joy and my inspiration.

So, try to remember that those people in your house visiting right now, annoying as they may be at times, are the reason we celebrate this holiday, and if that doesn’t work, put on that Adam Sandler song for some light relief!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

author, bullies, computers, family, kindness, manuscript, romance author, romance writer, school, writer

Lend me your ears!

So, it’s an anniversary of sorts for me today – the 10th anniversary of the second time I married the man that I love – but not that we were ever divorced, we just had a civil service and then a symbolic service later. This second wedding is actually not at all important to me because I was already married as far as I was concerned and I didn’t get to decide any of the details.

The funny thing is, until today, I had never actually admitted to myself or anyone else, why this anniversary wasn’t important to me and today it just came out, all in a rush. I don’t care about this anniversary because it actually brings back bad memories of how I was railroaded into a service I didn’t want, conducted by a priest who openly disliked me and told me flat out he would not marry me to my husband until my husband pointed out we were already married anyway legally.

I realized today that it was in fact this one single thing that did a lot to change my life because from then on I decided not to let anyone walk all over me or my thoughts, ideas or opinions. I don’t let my in-laws dictate what goes on in my life, I don’t let others tell me what to do and I form my own opinions without needing to hear the input of those around me.

I do listen to people I trust and I do value their thoughts and ideas, but those are the people I chose to be in my inner circle. They say friends are the family you choose for yourself, and I feel strongly that there are many friends that I have, that actually are way more important to me than some people I have a blood connection to and behave more like the definition of family I grew up with.

Haters gonna hate, says Taylor Swift, and she is so right!

My heading today of course had absolutely nothing to do with this subject and yet it also kind of fits with my little mini-rant too. I am actually having ear issues again, it’s a recurrent thing for me but it’s been a while since the pain made me not want to even try going to sleep.

So what should I start binge watching now? Empire? Supernatural? Criminal Minds? I know, it’s an eclectic list on my Netflix account.

Nope, let’s not do that at all, let me grab the iPad, open up the Pages app and start editing my manuscript again. Now that IS a productive and distracting thing to do and it might take my mind off my ear pain and the lingering sadness I feel today on this anniversary that has only negative feelings attached.

I am grateful for my beautiful husband today, as I am on every day, and for my funny, loving, quirky daughter and my equally quirky family (both sides, LOL!).

I am grateful to God today too, for sending me the clarity to understand why this day has always been bittersweet for me, and giving me the courage to tell my husband, who always knew I didn’t like the day, but wasn’t sure entirely why.

Today has been a really lovely day with my family – we had fun, went out to lunch too, played some games and just simply enjoyed each others’ company.

And now, off I go to edit / write / rewrite – whatever is needed today – and once the pain meds finally kick in, I plan to go to sleep!