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April 19, 2018

Vicki Batman on What's inspiring you? #readromance #springishere #RLFblog

Nature is!
I have always liked the beautiful colors of flowers; however, my obsession really began about three years ago when Handsome and I traveled the Rhine on a river cruise. We began our journey in Lucerne, Switzerland in late June. The weather was perfect, in fact, almost like spring compared to the heat my area experiences in the summer. Many variety of flowers bloomed everywhere. I became captivated and took many photos. Some flowers resembled those grown at home. I also spotted new plants. Even the tiny orange weed in the crack next to a white-washed building captured my fancy. 
This year, the spring flowers are bountiful, most likely due to the abundance of rain and cool temperatures. The antique climbing roses is loaded with tiny pale yellow bouquets. (These are the same plants I nearly chopped down, too.) Every day, I see new things—a snowball viburnum bursting with large blossoms. Many colors of Iris. Hot pink Gerbera daises. Green roses.
The air is fresh, perfumed by the budding flowers. The breeze lifts my hair and brushes across my mouth only to stick on my lip balm (no flavor). On dog walks, Champ, our white malti-poo, toddles along, stopping to pee every ten feet. His smoky gray brother, Jones, has long straight legs and walks like he knows what he is doing, only he doesn’t most of the time. Kids handling super-hero kites which are struggling to find lift. My neighbor is dead-heading the yellow and purple pansies with their fanciful smiles along her front walkway garden.
So how is all this loveliness inspiring?
I’ve been working harder at effective descriptions by adding how I feel and what I see. Hopefully by doing so, you--the reader--are experiencing a better mind picture.

Here’s an example from Temporarily Employed, my humorous romantic mystery:

“Yuck.” Pretty much covered the whole freakin’ day.

A blinding red-white, red-white strobe, reflected in my brand new Wrangler’s rearview mirror, seized my attention. The police.

I tossed my hands skyward, ready to surrender. I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Like I’d commented this a.m. to my roommate, Jenny, “Today, anything’s possible.”

My Bad Day checklist included:

- Crappy job interview, one which might have provided desperately needed income.

- Wore gut-busting panty hose on a hot day which had now worked past my waist and strangled my diaphragm.

 - A barely blowing air conditioner indicated something had malfunctioned in my new, fun car.

Hopefully, you are seeing a young woman having a bad day, absolutely nothing going right. And the cherry on the sundae is the police stopping her.

If you would like to read more, the fun is at: Murder & Mayhem .

April 3, 2018

Michelle Miles: New Quarter…NEW GOALS! Sorta…

It’s really hard for me to get it in my head that it’s April. APRIL! The first three months of the year are gone in a puff of smoke. 

I think I’ve mentioned before I have this journal I use daily to keep me on track for my goals. I discovered, too, long ago that it’s too hard for me to plan an entire year of goals. With the Best Self, it breaks down the year into 13-week increments. I set three goals for those 13 weeks. They can be anything I want. So, because I want to produce more books and get myself out of debt, I decided to start tracking these goals.

This quarter, I’m starting my fourth journal. As I look back at my previous journals, I’m kind of a one-trick pony. I have the same goals listed. Well, the same OVERALL goals. Ultimately, I want to write full time and have zero debt. But the journal allows me to break that down into manageable pieces I can achieve.

This last quarter, I finished drafting the second book in my urban fantasy series. Book 1 is still unpublished. I’ve been asked when it’s coming out and the truth is I don’t know. At the end of 2017, when I finally got back to writing the series, I had a wild idea. Write the entire 5-book series from start to finish. So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve started book three and hope to have it drafted by the end of June. Plus, I’m still tweaking book one. What I really like about writing them all at once is I can go back from book to book and add little foreshadowing moments to make it look like it was planned all along (I’m a pantser. Please don’t ask me to plot. My brain might explode.)

Anyhoo, one of the other things I want to do is get myself out of debt. It’s so hard, folks. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I’m convinced the Universe is conspiring against me. Just when I start to make a little extra money, the house payment goes up. Tax Refund? SNORT. What’s that? We haven’t had one in years. I hate it so much. And so, it’s a struggle to get myself in order and keep on that budget and send large chunks of money to these credit cards. I feel like I’m climbing a mountain with no day pack. I may die of exhaustion any minute now. 

And then I put on my happy face and decide to keep on keeping on. I can do this! 

Last quarter, I managed to accomplish 2 of my 3 goals. I’ll take that as a win.

This quarter, I want to accomplish all three goals. They’re pretty much the same as last quarter but that’s okay. I’m still working toward the big, overall goals. I talk more in depth about all of this over at my blog, which you can read here. Also, if you’re interested in the Best Self Journal, you can find out more here as well as purchase.

I know I have my work cut out for me and to that I say BRING IT ON.

Oh, and happy April!