6 Things For 60

I sent off a small package this week, and it didn’t include one of my books.  My friend, R, is celebrating her 60th birthday this week, which is a golden anniversary of our friendship.  She and I have become mostly Christmas Card Friends, but on those rare occasions we do get together, the years melt away, and I’m smiling at my buddy who shared learning how to do flips on trampolines, and swam with me like a fish ever since we met in Mrs. Clark’s forth grade class.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my dear, dear, friend.

Picture of Myrna reading Sliced Vegetarian

Thanks to my friend, Myrna, for reading between dance lessons at Colorado Dance Sport!

But sending that package reminded me that this is it, the BIG year for me too.  At the end of March I will mark six-oh! on my timeline and I’ve been searching for ways to celebrate.  I’m not a huge traveler, so a trip just wouldn’t stick in my mind as something I’d truly like.  Greedy guts that I am, I want something more.  Question is, what would really be the fireworks of my official entry into old-age?

One thing is that I’ve always wanted to share a real conversation with a national celebrity.  Bill Maher would be great.  He turns 60 on the twentieth of this month. I wrote and asked his publicist if my husband and I could take him and a guest out for dinner sometime between our two special dates.  He didn’t say no.  He didn’t say yes, either. Not even a “no comment” came back. Hmm.  So much for star gazing.

So now, here is my official list for my Birthday Fairy.  I decided to put up 6 wishes–one for each decade, and tie them to the number 60.  Maybe you can help Birthday Fairy make my dreams come true. Ready?  Here goes:

1. Get 60 Facebook Likes for my Author FB Page

I set up my author Facebook page a few months back, but so far, I have no likes.  I don’t think anyone but Prophet and I are aware this thing exists.  Starting in a week or so, I’m going to figure out how to post my blog there instead of my personal FB page and see if I can get 60 people to like it by March 31.  Will you help?  Can you tell your friends that this goofy author is looking for likes?

2. Post 60 Tweets

Smart goals are time specific, so again by March 31, I hope to post 60 tweets on Twitter.  This should be easy, but it requires that I actually visit Twitter more than once a month or so.  Are you on Twitter?  Want to start a convo?  This could be cool.

3. Get 60 Reviews for Sliced Vegetarian

Ouch!  This one is going to push all the magic skills the Birthday Fairy has.  Right now I have 6 reviews on Amazon, no reviews on Barnes and Noble and 6 reviews on Goodreads.  I also have reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Wisconsin Bookwatch and Booklist Review.  Three author friends wrote blurbs, and thank you very much to them. That makes 41 more reviews to acquire.  Do you know anybody who likes being the next great critic on Goodreads?  Please let them know that Sliced Vegetarian is in many local libraries in the US (and even one in London!).

4. Write at Least 60 Pages in Pot Shots

That’s right. No more goofing around. By March 31 I will have at least 60 pages (or 15,000 words) sizzling on the computer, begging me to finish this project!  Right now, I’m sitting at about 2,000 words, so it’s time to kick into high gear.  I’ll keep you posted on progress here.

5. Read 60 Books By December 31

Wow!  I have a really hard time sticking to 24 books in a year.  How can I get 60 read?  Why should I do this?  The why is easy–writers are readers.  We soak up information and ideas through constantly reading and observing.  I’ve been a slacker on the reading front. How is a lot more difficult.  I’ve selected two books for January, but I need to read three more.  A friend of mine gave me is “cheat” idea–read white papers, short story collections, and yes, children’s books.  Talk about getting excited to read again!  Good-bye Sudoku and Spider solitaire–2016 is going to see Liesa turning the page on those time wasters. Do you have any short book ideas or ways I can get 60 books read this year and still have a life?

6. One New Birthday Outfit

I’m going to handle this one, friends. Going to go to Brooks Brothers or Neiman Marcus–one of the stores that has a tailor and I’m going to go all out with an outfit collection–skirt, pants, dress, jacket, couple of blouses and maybe even the shoes to go with all this (six pieces at least). Think of those magazine articles that show you how to have a one special, multi-purpose outfit that creates the foundation of your wardrobe.  Look out, What Not To Wear, Liesa’s going to look good at the big six-oh!

If you have any way to help or give me ideas, please share!  I’d also appreciate it if you could link this article to your social pages so I get a better chance of turning 60 in style. Thank you, thank you!

Have a wonderfully creative week.

If You Want Something Done . . .

I’ve heard the saying over and over . . . “if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”  Always thought that saying was for the anal-retentive amongst us, and not for us creative types. I mean, who wants to be busy day in and day out?  I was quite happy for a long time to hang back when the call for volunteers and help went out.

Book copies from the publisher.

Success comes from getting the work done!

“Sorry, no can do. I’m in search of my Muse today.”

But then, I joined Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America.  Life picked up and I was running around doing a lot of volunteer work.  Still, there was no organization to my day.  If something slipped I thought, “I’m not getting paid for this after all.” I simply let the guilt build up dust bunny castles in the corners of my mind until I finally got whatever project was on my mind done.

Today, I’m looking toward having full time work again.  This is so cool!  I’ll actually get a pay check (hopefully) in the next couple of months.  No matter how small the check, I find work with pay a very self-validating experience. Ego boosting at its finest.  Thing is, will there still be time to write?


In fact, I think that work is just what the doctor ordered for the writer’s block I’ve been indulging in for far too long.  When I wrote Faith on the Rocks, I was working full time as a vice president of marketing for a software company.  And when I wrote Sliced Vegetarian, I had two or three clients that were keeping me busy full time.  When those jobs stopped, I found myself doing a whole lot of busy work without getting anything done.

And then, this summer, I noticed something about the stars of publishing–they’re really busy doing what they do too.

I spoke with Desiree Holt, who writes about 17 (SEVENTEEN!) novels a year.  She said she’s always excited to write and has projects in varying degrees of completeness going all of the time.  When she meets an interesting person, she takes his or her picture and asks them personal questions about themselves.  Her character driven erotica novels are rich with this constant level of input from the world around her.

Jeffery Deaver also spoke of having multiple works in process.  Joan Johnston, Cindi Myers, and many more successful authors keep plugging away with multiple successes. Slow learner here, but I finally caught on.

But all of these writers, to the best of my knowledge, started by being busy in their “work lives” before becoming full time authors.  Are you seeing trend here?

Creating ideas in a vacuum may not be the way to get things done.  Sitting around looking for that perfect moment, when the light flows across your page in such a way that every good feeling abounds and the words flow like champaign on New Year’s eve,  is for the birds.  I believe the human experience is as much about what we soak up in a day as it is about how we digest our experiences and put them down in story for others to enjoy.

When you have a job, you make time to read (because we writers love the written word) and carve out that sacred hour a day for writing.  You naturally become that busy person others admire or think of as an over-achiever. But don’t tell anyone that you wouldn’t want to be sitting in a quiet corner of your house, hoping your Muse will make a visit. That’s our secret.

I’m going back to work, and I couldn’t be more excited.  I hope that having new experiences will help me become a better writer–or at least a more organized one.

Wishing you a productive week.

Michele W photo of Sliced Vegetarian

Thank you Michele W.

P.S. THANK YOU to Michele W. who sent this photo from her library.  Ooh! I feel like a real author sometimes.