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How Imperfection Saved My Week

My intentions were good–a little TOO good. I had a plan for this week. Since I’m on the tail end of a few big projects, I had to bring my A game if I wanted to meet my goals. Trust me. I wanted to meet those goals.

 

 

Unfortunately, my A game got lost somewhere in a bag of Tootsie Rolls, a 24-pack of Coke, an insatiable need for long-sleeve T-shirts, last minute family events and–oops!–a few forgotten items from a previous to-do list.

Monday afternoon I found myself wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, watching 666 Park Avenue reruns because my stomach felt iffy. No, it wasn’t the Tootsie Rolls or the Coke, at least not yet. A panicky feeling rose at the thought of all the things I needed to do that didn’t involve the couch, blanket or reruns. But just that morning I saw a quote on Google+ that said something like “If you ignore your body’s whispers, you won’t be able to ignore its screams.”

Well played, G+.

So ten minutes after the first ripple of nausea passed, another arrived, and I listened to that whisper. Reclined on the couch. Flipped through the channels. Came across the show mentioned above (I really enjoyed the episodes I watched and can’t figure out why it got cancelled. It had a supernatural/evil building in Manhattan, rich people who are manipulated and sometimes murdered within its walls, and it had good acting, interesting plots and a really spooky vibe. Oh well.) and tried not to think about all the things I needed to be doing.

Thirty minutes in, I felt better, so I figured I’d have lunch and a Coke. My stomach handled both fine, but I was really getting into the show. I knew I should be working on my project. Instead, I stayed on the couch and fired up my laptop to write guest blogs during commercials.

When I’d written the guest blogs, I turned the TV off and dove into the project. Got a TON done and I enjoyed doing it. After dinner I headed to the store to buy long-sleeve tees and a few pairs of pajamas. Shopping and I aren’t friends, so I have to go when the urge hits. Bingo! Another dreaded task finished.

How was this possible? I was lazy and still managed to meet my daily goals?

Hey, if doing what I wanted to do worked, I figured I’d give it a go on dinner. Yesterday I’d planned on making fish, but fish didn’t sound appealing. I passed. No one in my family was crying about this, trust me! Instead of the planned menu, I made twice-baked potatoes with ham and cheese. Yum! A nice surprise.

When I get too set in my ways and too focused on my agenda, I become miserable. When I lightened up, watched some fun TV, ate too many Tootsie Rolls, skipped the fish and bought my shirts, I still met my goals, and I was happy doing them. Frankly, allowing myself to be imperfect completely changed my attitude and saved my week.

What can I be a rebel about today? Hmm…

What have you done lately to boost your mood?

Have a fun day!!

Snapshot of My Week

Empty Coffee Cup

I’m late to the party on the blog today, but I want to wish you all a happy weekend! It’s supposed to be super cold here, but who cares? It’s the weekend!! I need it BAD because my week has been like this:

Stares at computer screen. What’s this scene about again?

 

Empty Coffee Cup
Why is this empty?? Where is my coffee?? HELP!

Fill my coffee cup. Take a sip. *ahhh*

 

Sophie
Wait for it…she hears a noise and starts yapping…

 

Dog! Why are you barking?? It’s wind. Wind!

Computer. What’s this scene about again?

 

laptop
My brain is as blank as this screen

 

Kids tumble into the house. How was school/cross country/baseball?

 

Run
Cross country…the blur…I think one of my kids is in there…

Blinking cursor. What’s this scene about again?

Yep. That was my week. I’m ready to move on to Saturday!

 

How was your week? Did you accomplish anything? Big weekend plans?

 

Have an amazing weekend!!

The REAL Change of Seasons

Today is the final day of September. Until now the weather has been mild. My kids routinely wear shorts. But tomorrow? The seasons change for real. Friday’s forecast calls for a high of 59 degrees. Saturday’s? 54. Really?

 

101_3706

 

What is it about October? It’s as if a switch flips from warm to cold.

As much as I love fall, I’m trying not to think about the upcoming milestones–turning the furnace on, wearing a winter jacket, the first frost… *sob*

Another thought that makes me cringe a teeny bit? I haven’t bought appropriate clothes for my kids yet. This means shopping for jeans, long-sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, coats and boots. I’m also on the hunt for a new winter coat for myself. I tried several on last week, but my heart wasn’t in it. I just didn’t like anything. Plus, I want a coat that can fight the bitter wind of harsh winters. Some of them are just too flimsy and thin.

On a positive note, my hubby bought (and installed) a fire pit for my birthday. Yay! I love sitting outside, getting toasty,  making s’mores and looking at the stars. I’m hoping we’ll have clear weather this weekend so we can try it out.

Oh! I made a decadent treat last week–Caramel Apple Pie. I’d watched The Pioneer Woman make it on Food Network. Let me tell you, it is delicious. Here’s the link to the recipe: “Caramel Apple Pie.” You can NOT go wrong with this one! YUM!!

A few other things I’m enjoying right now? Getting ideas for Christmas gifts, watching college football on Saturdays (and since cross country is almost over, I will be able to spend Saturdays on the couch! Yes!), throwing a pan of ribs in the oven all day long, and wrapping up in cozy throws.

I realize my part of the world has four distinct seasons (although spring is pretty iffy!). What signifies the change in seasons for you? What do you love about this time of year?

 

Have a terrific day!

 

Come On, Brain! Make Writing Easier for Me!

Yesterday was one of those writing days. No, not a good one where the words are jumping from my fingertips onto the page. Not a delightful one where I’m chuckling at what the heroine just said and swooning over the hero’s grand gesture.

 

 

 

It was a long, slow, painful writing day.

 

Right away I could tell it was going to be dreadful. Within minutes I’d exhausted my supply of Gobstoppers. Ate a fun-sized Snickers without even tasting it. Had a Coke by eleven am. Nothing helped.

 

Why is writing so hard some days? I don’t know, but I have a bad session about every eight or nine scenes. Ugh!

 

Looking back, I knew the problem. I was dealing with an unruly scene–a bridge between story points, if you will. Emotional growth needed to happen, but not too much or too soon. I had to get the details right for the scene to be believable. I doubted my original set-up. Realized I needed to beef up the reasoning behind a key theme.

 

By the time I finally wrote the scene, I felt good, but not great. The scene still lacked tension. So back I went, layering in internal reactions to what was happening. Hours flew by, but my word count stayed low. That’s okay. I’m ready to move forward.

 

Writing, like everything else, is like that sometimes. I want it to be wonderful, but my brain balks. Oh well!

 

Do you have those days when work feels impossible? How do you get through them?

Have a terrific day!

 

 

What Revs Your Sweet Tooth?

I’m dreaming of a cupcake. It’s a yellow moist beauty in a cute pastel polka-dot wrapper. There’s roughly half an inch of chocolate frosting swirled on top. My word, I can taste this thing! Mmm…I love cupcakes.

 

 

 

I also love Chocolate Lasagna. A wise, wonderful woman from church brought this delicacy to a church potluck, and yes, I demanded the recipe. Bless her, she emailed the link to me. It’s delicious. I’m sharing it here, Recipe for Chocolate Lasagna. You’re welcome.

 

Last weekend college football kicked off, so I bought a bag of fun-size Snicker bars. They are all gone. They’ve been gone since Monday. Will I purchase another bag soon? I think we all know the answer to that.

 

I shouldn’t be admitting this, but Kroger had a sale event on Klondike bars this week. Hey, when they’re on sale for $1.99 and they have flavors such as mint chocolate chip and cookie dough swirl, it would be a crime NOT to buy them. Right? Anyone… *crickets*

 

As you can see, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. I take my coffee full of sugar and cream. Sometimes I dollop Cool Whip on top for good measure. I’ve never met a blueberry muffin I didn’t like, and I brake for cookies. And cookie dough.

 

What revs YOUR sweet tooth? Or are you  more of a salty person?

 

Have a terrific day!!

 

*All month my new release, Unexpected Family, will be in stores! It’s available online, too. Click on Unexpected Family for links!*

 

 

Ditzin’ It Up at the Post Office

I was not on my game yesterday. Maybe it was the muggy, 91 degree weather. Or recovering from a relaxing long weekend. I don’t know, but I had several errands to run and I’m not sure where my head was at!

 

mushrooms

 

It started with the post office. I had several books and the gift package from August to send. Well, my box for the gift package was too small, so I figured I’d buy one at the post office. The gentleman handed me a box that looked perfect, I grabbed my bag of packaging tools and a customs slip (for my Goodreads winner from Nova Scotia), and got to work. I taped the box and set everything in, but it became clear the box was too large. No problem. I figured I’d pad it with newspaper and come back.

 

Meanwhile, I began filling out the customs form. Naturally, I wrote the wrong address and had to grab a new one. Then I wrote the address first, made sure I had it correct and got back in line. I told the kind worker the box was too big and that I would come back later, and he offered me a smaller one. While he did his thing with the postage for my stack of book packages, I repacked the gift. Bingo! It fit!

 

Before I could tape it up, though, the employee gently told me I needed to finish filling out the customs form. Duh! I’d completely forgotten to fill out everything BUT the address. I finished that up and went pack to taping the package. When everything was finally settled, I grabbed my bag and left.

And came right back in, because I’d left my original box behind.

*shaking my head*

Yeah, it was one of those ditzy days. It didn’t get better, by the way, but at least I survived!

 

Do you have trouble with real life after a long weekend?

 

My blog tour continues! Today I’m talking about “Why I love September” at the Craftie Ladies of Romance blog, and I’m also featured for the Author’s Casting Call--find out who I would cast as Tom and Stephanie in Unexpected Family–at Edgy Inspirational Romance. Both are linked. I’d love it if you stopped by!

Have a terrific day!

Me? On Television? Yep!

It’s been an exciting few weeks. The kids went back to school, we’re getting used to homework and fall sports…and I was on TV yesterday! I know–I’m shocked, too!
Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

 

*If the above link doesn’t work for you, try this one! Local Writer Stops by WTOL.

Here’s the thing. I’m not one of those people who secretly wishes to try out for American Idol. Yeah, I can be a goofball, but when my friend called, saying she wanted to schedule me on two morning television shows, my inner show-off went in hiding.

I’d be nervous. I’d talk too fast. I’d say odd things! In other words, I’d turn into a complete spaz! And for real, what was I going to wear??

I spend most of my days in jeans, yoga pants or shorts. Dress up clothes don’t really exist in my wardrobe. Guess who finds shopping super stressful? Yeah, that’s me!

Then I mentally slapped myself. I’m a big believer in making the most of opportunities. My friend had gone out of her way to arrange this, and there was no way I was going to say no out of fear.

So I went shopping. Found three dresses I liked, but they made me look bulky. I realized a cute blue dress I’d purchased for a wedding would work just fine.

When I arrived at the studio, everyone was so friendly. The interviewers made me feel comfortable, and I didn’t sound like a complete weirdo! Bonus!

It was a really fun day, and I will always remember it. If you ever get a chance to do something out of your comfort zone, I hope you’ll shush your inner critic. Get out there and try! You might have fun!

Have you ever debated turning down an opportunity out of fear? How did you get through it?

There are a few days left to enter my month-long giveaway of the Unexpected Family gift package! Click on my HOME page and scroll down for the entry options!

Have a great day!

What Are Your Weekend Plans?

My kids went back to school yesterday. I could use two more weeks of summer, but we all survived. It’s been beautiful weather–hot, but not too hot, temps with blue skies and sunshine. Adjusting to the earlier alarm will take time.

A friend recently asked me my weekend plans, and I opened my mouth to speak, then shut it, frowning. I couldn’t remember. How was that possible? I pulled up my calendar app and got out my teeny-tiny purse calendar. Nothing!

It hit me. We have a FREE weekend!! No plans!

*throws confetti, dances a jig, twirls with head tossed back and arms open wide*

This phenomenon happens about three times a year. Beginning next week, our Saturdays and Sundays will be packed with commitments. But this weekend–this glorious summer, no plans weekend!–I’m kicking off my flip flops, ordering a pizza, and reading a stack of magazines.

Life is good!

What are your weekend plans?

There is still time to enter my contests. The first one is on my HOME page for an Unexpected Family Gift Package! The second one is on Goodreads, and you can enter from the sidebar of this blog! Unexpected Family is in stores now and will be available as an ebook on September 1, 2015!

I’m a Craftie Lady!

It’s been an exciting week. My new contemporary Christian romance, Unexpected Family, released in paperback yesterday! The digital book will be available September 1. I have a month-long giveaway going on if you’d like to enter. Just go to my Home page and scroll down for the details!

Another development I’m thrilled about is I’ve joined the group blog, Craftie Ladies of Romance! Craftie Ladies are Love Inspired authors, and you can find out our new releases as well as fun facts about our books and our lives every day.

I’d love if you stopped by! Here’s the link: “New Craftie Lady Jill Kemerer.”

Two more things:

1. The fabulous Laura McClellan interviewed me on her podcast series, The Productive Woman!! I will share the link as soon as I have it.

2. Next Tuesday I’ll be on TV! Yep, I’m going to be interviewed on Fox Toledo Daybreak (sometime between 8:30-9am) and WTOL 11 Your Day (sometime between 9:00-9:30am)! I will share links after for everyone. We’ll probably have a good laugh, because I tend to get spazzy when I’m nervous!! Ha!

I hope you’re having a fantastic day! If you have ANY tips on television interviews, please share!

Have a great day!

Writer’s Life: Mary Ellis

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance. Today I have the pleasure of introducing Mary Ellis. I met Mary several years ago at a book signing in Toledo, Ohio. She and Jody Hedlund signed their latest releases, and it was so delightful to spend time with both of them! Mary is so warm and kind. I wish everyone could meet her. I’ve enjoyed watching her career–she is a very prolific and terrific (hey, that rhymes!) author. Her new mystery series, Secrets of the South, kicks off with Midnight on the Mississippi. More details to follow!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

When characters take the initiative and change the direction or tone of the story. I love characters that become larger than life for me. It makes the daily word count so much easier.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Stepping back a little and not working such long days. Due to commitments, I had geared up to be uber-productive for the past several years. Now I need to slow myself down and let life return to a more normal pace. My husband insists on this, and I’m more than ready.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I work in my yard or take long walks with my dog. It does both of us good! I talk to Miss Chloe about my characters, while she wags her tail in support or sympathy. But the time we get back, I’m ready to tackle my story again and Miss Chloe? She’s ready for yet another nap.

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m putting the finishing touches on book 2 of the Secrets of the South Mysteries. Set in Memphis, What Happened on Beale Street is about the death of a talented blues musician and a pair of old friends who come to town to solve his murder. It will release in February.

 

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Wow, Mary, your new series looks amazing! I love what you said about letting the characters take over. That’s a great feeling. I’m glad you’re ready to slow down a bit, but I have to say I’m so impressed with how productive you’ve been. You have so many published novels!! Congratulations, and thanks for being my guest!

 

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Midnight on the Mississippi

 

 

What lies beneath the black water of the bayou?

Hunter Galen, a New Orleans securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, of embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life.

Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder as she establishes herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen-Nowak Investments, Hunter’s fiancée, Ashley Menard, rubs her the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman who seems to be hiding something, but is the PI’s growing attraction to Hunter—the police’s only suspect—her true reason for disliking Ashley?

As Hunter and Nicki encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and death threats both subtle and overt, danger swirls around them like the mysterious dark water of the bayou. Only their reliance on faith and fearless determination give them hope they will live to see another day.

 

Interested in buying Midnight on the Mississippi? Click here!

 

 

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Mary Ellis

 

Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Midnight on the Mississippi, first of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, is set in New Orleans. The second set in Memphis, What Happened on Beale Street, will release in Feb. 2016. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or Facebook.

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Have you spent time down south? Do you live there? What about it appeals the most to you?

(For me, it’s warm weather. I get tired of winter!!)

Thanks so much for stopping by!

 

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