Posted in Uncategorized

Sick, but still kickin’

I started feeling sick last week, but I knew it was “just another sinus infection” and that I was supposed to see my doctor last Thursday, so I just kept running along and doing my thing. Well, the appointment day came and literally as I was walking out the door, the doctor’s office called to say that my doctor was out for the day and would I like to reschedule. I said sure, thinking they’d put me in within a couple days. Nope. They rescheduled me to February.

The next day my spouse was also supposed to see the doctor. Same doctor. Same walking-out-the-door phone call, but this time they said the doctor was out sick. Interesting. He got an appointment rescheduled for the day before mine.

By Monday, I was so dizzy that I felt like the world was swirling around me, which did not bode well for my speaking engagement. I called to see if I could get in to see another doctor for my antibiotics and steroids and they said yes, but not until Thursday because they were swamped with my regular doctor being out for the next month, sick. Hmm. Methinks my doctor has Covid.

My Monday Plan

In any case, I went to my meeting and was prepared to run it…I thought. Unfortunately, there were no instructions on the computer station on how to run the sound equipment, there was no former President to walk me through it (he was out sick), and our tech guy turned out to never have used the system before. Oh bother. It was chaotic, but we got through it. We never got the speaker/microphone working. I ended up in the middle of the room, cell phone on speaker in my hand so the Zoom participants could hear, and I muddled through about half of my presentation before all the interruptions started to really kill my focus. Well, not just the interruptions, but the sinus infection.

My video – the ETWG YouTube account only has one video right now – this one

So the next morning, I made a video of the entire presentation, including the slide show, which I didn’t get to really use during the meeting. I added captions to my video, uploaded it to the writers guild’s youtube account, and sent a “thanks for putting up with the chaos” message out to the members. They seemed to like that. I got a ton of email messages thanking me and asking about the future of the guild. That part was very nice. I spent the day working on writing and attended my Spiritual Practices class. Oh, and I got a rejection of some poems I’d sent to a literary journal way back in October. They liked them, but they weren’t right for their vibe.

Wednesday I collapsed in a puddle for the most part, though I did attend both a writing group meeting and another meeting, and later went out for tacos with my long lost artist friend, the other Lisa H. See, I use my rest time well, right?

The short story contest we entered

Thursday morning, my midkid surprised me with the news that he wanted to enter into a writing contest. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was kind of expensive to enter into, but it provides professional feedback on four short stories he will send in. So I registered him and then thought about it and registered myself, too. I will talk about that in another post.

I finally made it out to see the doctor that is my eldest son’s primary care doctor, whom we affectionately refer to as Dr. Dudebro, due to some entertaining messages he sent the kid after his last appointment. In any case, Dr. Dudebro was way overbooked and everyone AND the nurse all had Covid (I love the thin walls in this office). I made it out of there mostly unscathed, I think, but I have not just a sinus infection, but an ear infection in both ears. Yay me for being a medical overachiever!

After that was another writing group, the brainstorming fantasy writers group that I just joined a few weeks ago. They are a great group for brainstorming with and really got to the center of the problem in my novels in a way that I hadn’t seen before. I got offline and spent the rest of the day shifting POVs around and making my stories more cohesively plotted in both that novel that I shared a chapter of with them and the one I’ve been working on all this year.

Linda Coats

In sad news that day, I found out that one of my favorite high school teachers had passed away earlier in the week. I will write more about that later, I’m sure, but I am just not up for it yet.

Friday I continued on my merry way, getting more stuff set up for the East Texas Writers Guild and putting more plot notes into various novels. I basically spent all day at the computer, then went to bed at 9:30pm.


This morning I got up and saw first thing that a different one of my poems had gotten accepted for publication by another anthology. Wahoo! Way to go, me! I celebrated by going to a marketing webinar about newsletters. 😉 I really know how to party, right?

Posted in Everywhere But Home, Lifelong learning, Organizing, Speaking, What I Love, Writing

First Speaking Engagement of 2022!

I don’t remember if I mentioned this before or not, but last month I was elected as President of the East Texas Writers Guild. I will be speaking at their first meeting of the year this next Monday night at 6:30pm. Come on out! We’re a fun group. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

My mailing list: Lisa’s Literary Landings

I’ve been working hard to get my writing business set up this week, since I have several pieces coming out later this year: a time travel story in a multi-genre beach themed anthology, a memoir-style essay in an anthology about parenting, and a couple poems in a literary journal. Today’s set-up involves getting my mailing list started. So, if you are interested in keeping up to date on where to find all my publications and to get a free short story, please visit this page: Lisa’s Literary Landings

Posted in Around the House, Family Time, Friend Time, My Own Personal Weirdness, Speaking, Writing

Happy New Year!

2022 definitely started off with a bang for my family.

I promise we wet the ground and the trees first.

It hasn’t stopped moving since. January first was technically a “rest” day from writing for me, but because we were hosting our Board Game Extravaganza on the second, January first was all about cleaning and setting up my dad’s Tyler house for the party.

You didn’t want a photo of me cleaning, did you? No. There was a gorgeous sunset on January first, though. Bonus: my husband nearly ran me over while I was taking this photo because I was standing in the middle of the road. 🙂

So January second came and only one party guest arrived. We usually have around 50 people at this event, but a) Covid sucks (so many people were exposed the week before), and b) cold weather sucks (I am not leaving my warm house for you), and c) (the most entertaining response) an owl attacked some chickens. But still, we played a bunch of games with our new friend, who asked when we were doing this again.

My dad asking a question about the Lords of Wonderdeep.

January third was a blur of me trying to do all the things that had been piling up, undone, in December. Imagine me whirling around with laundry, binders, notecards, glasses, and eyeglasses in hand while pushing a shopping cart loaded with cleaning supplies and you get the general idea. No writing occurred, but much planning and tidying at my own home. Plus leading my first East Texas Writers Guild Board of Directors meeting as President of the Guild.

Today I am working on typing up note from last nights meeting, writing scenes 2-5 in Chapter 11 of Caro’s Quest, and booking a photographer for my headshots for the UtNC Anthology.

Off I go! Hope y’all had a happy start to your new year.

Posted in Uncategorized

Story of the anthology story

I’ve been working on a short story for an anthology on and off since mid-October. I did a ton of research up front, then wrote a way too long time travel story based on a shipwreck. A week later I came back up for air and discovered that I’d missed key ingredients needed: Fun! Summery! Not mentioned in written documents I had for the anthology, but in the group chat afterwards, it seemed emphasized.

So I started new research for a lighter version. Picked a subject to base my new story around, dug out the parts of the original story that wouldn’t work, and started re-writing. It was going slowly. My problem was that I loved my location and it was problematic. I didn’t want to use a different one, but this one was hard to make summery.

One night I had a dream about a little girl in a closet full of dresses from every era. I tried to put her out of my mind until later, but she popped up now and again.

I was super busy with other things last month, so I had very few writing days on this project. Last week I gathered up all my research, pulled out the bits of the original story, and started playing with the ideas. The little girl from my dream came back and told me exactly where she fit in.

Yesterday I sat down and wrote 7,000 words for the new story in about four hours. Today I spent another nine hours trying to whittle that back down to 5,000. Tonight it goes out to my critique group for round one of critique edits. I’m hoping the heart of the story shines through, even with the cuts. We shall see.

Posted in Writing

Words to Go on Caro’s Quest

Prologue +203

Total= +203

Chapter 1 -1,881
Chapter 2 -669
Chapter 3 -407
Chapter 4 -363
Chapter 5 +137

Total= -2,773

Chapter 6 +2,085
Chapter 7 +3,347
Chapter 8 +6,884
Chapter 9 -78

Total= +12,238

Chapter 10 -776
Chapter 11 +4,659
Chapter 12 +7,307

Total= +11,190

Epilogue +447
Total= +447

To Write: 24,078
To Delete: 3,627

Posted in Uncategorized

Things I do when my spouse is traveling

My spouse and I have been together since 1997, so when he’s out of town it is deeply weird. This time he’s in Houston for a few days, then will be back for a couple, then gone again for a few more. I have lists of food I’ll make for dinner, things we will do in the evenings, but it’s never easy when 2/5 of our household is gone.

Nights like this, I tend to draw back into myself. I read a book (tonight’s is for the UU book club: Memoirs of a Geisha) and listen to my favorite female musicians (Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Indigo Girls, Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Juliana Hatfield, etc.) by candlelight while the children wander in and out, foraging for food or bidding for my attention in new and exciting ways.

Sometimes I indulge in long phone calls with old friends or family members. Tonight it was my birth family. I was trying to explain about my youngest wanting a piccolo for Christmas and how that was a wonderful thing. They said it would be so loud and off-putting, but to me, it’s music and comfort and safety because I can hear the melody and know exactly which kid it is playing and where my kid is and what they are doing. Their traumas are different than mine. I am terrified of not knowing what is happening to my children, of not being present, of moments unacknowledged. My goal as a parent is that my children never spend a moment wondering if they are loved or seen or acknowledged. I spend my days making sure that they know that they are welcomed and loved and seen for who they are, and that they know that however they may change, they are still loved. There is more about all that in the memoir I am writing, of course.

Tonight there was also a brief storm, so the youngest and I wandered outside and danced in the thunder and lightning, a tradition we’ve had since he was little. The rain drops were huge and we were quickly soaked, but it is what we do. We danced and sang and when we became too cold, we came inside and burrowed in blankets on the couch, listening to the midkid practice his French horn.

And now it is growing closer to bedtime, but I am unable to sleep. I never do when my spouse is gone. I will probably stay up and watch movies he would not enjoy, while listening to one of my kids sing his Region Band music, which is identical to music I and my friends played when we were in high school. It’s funny how things go around and come back to themselves.

Posted in Around the House, Everywhere But Home, Exercise, My Own Personal Weirdness, Parenting, Television & Film, What I Love, Writing

This week isn’t going how I thought it would

Tuesday, I got up and was so hopeful. Sure, I had my Spiritual Practices class that evening, but I had all day to write, so it was going to be great!

Nope. Due to some not-quite-disclosable things that are in the works, I got caught up in not one, but two different side projects. One is writing adjacent and in the end won’t require as much of my time as some of the things I’m doing now, but there was a wrapping up of one set of things in order to hand them off to someone else so I’d be ready for the next thing. I know how vague that sounds, but that’s the way life is sometimes, right?

The other thing is not writing adjacent, except in that I am writing up minutes for a group that I had thought I wasn’t taking part in any more. So there was catching up for that group’s information and making sure I still had access to all the notebooks and cloud storage that I need to do that work.

By the time I completed both things, it was time to hit the gym. On Friday, I rejoined the one that is walking distance from my house, instead of the one that I only go near on the way back from taking kids to school in the morning (which isn’t a good time for me to write, due to my ADHD meds timing). I went and learned where all the new stuff was, which machines I could still comfortably use, and which ones are still out of my happiness zone. It was a good workout, and I felt better for having done it.

The rest of the night zoomed by (literally haha!). Wednesday I had two meetings scheduled, so I knew I’d have to make the most of my in-between times for writing. Unfortunately, by the time I’d gotten home from the first one and eaten lunch, a problem had sprung up.

My kids school had a potential shooting threat. They informed parents right at the same time the 504 coordinator called to ask me if we could postpone our meeting for that afternoon. Because of the way our high school sends out alerts (first in the form of a phone call from the school’s main phone line wherein a computer voice reads the entire body of the message, including the URL’s – letter by letter; then almost immediately as an identical text message, an identical email, and then as a link to an identical letter in our district app), and the fact that 90% of the more than five a week they send are either about buying football tickets or that the PTA is selling Chik-fil-a at lunch on Friday, I have stopped answering calls from the school. So I missed that phone call and drove directly to the school. It was a madhouse. Literally hundreds of parents had driven there to take their kids out of school. Since there’s only one way in and out not on lockdown, they were all in the same foyer I needed to check into in order to get to my appointment on time. I was speaking to the woman guarding the door about my having an appointment “Honey, everyone is saying that,” when the 504 coordinator called me again. Since I was already there and the coordinator was meeting me at the inner door, I was ushered right inside. I heard the scoop on everything potentially threatening that was going on, had my kids 504 meeting, and offered to take the kids home anyways, even though it sounded like there was nothing actually going on other than the parental mayhem out front. Both my kids declined. One didn’t want an unexcused absence and the other wanted to go to Writing Club (oh my heart!).

They both wanted me to keep close “on standby,” so I ended up hitting the nearby stores and doing some early Christmas shopping to keep busy, since I had no computers or iPad on me to write with in the parking lot (the notebook I’d brought for the meeting literally had two pages left and I used them during the meeting). Scooped up the first kid out, then sat in the car waiting for the second kid for almost an hour.

I was exhausted, physically and mentally, by the time I got home. I ate dinner and was just heading to bed, when a kid -the one that has never in his life sat still for a movie – begged me to watch a silly Disney movie (Halloweentown II: Kalabar’s Revenge) with them. Of course I had to.

Today was an early-to-school day for the kiddos, but I had all the chores I hadn’t gotten done Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to get to work on, plus grocery shopping, so I did those things first. Then I had critiques to do for the Pineywoods Critique Group (which has a new website with a forum and blog here), along with hitting the gym again so I don’t turn into a stiff blob like I was all last year). I also needed to finish one last bit of an old transcribing project that I had promised someone ages and ages ago.

All of this is a long way of saying: it’s late Thursday and I’m still at 684 words for NaNoWriMo. *sigh*

Posted in Computers and Internet, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, What I Love, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2021, Day One

I am doing NaNoWriMo as a rebel this year. I am working on adding about 35000 words to the second draft of my current novel, writing a 3500 word short story, and restarting what I’d quit working on during last year’s NaNoWriMo. You can find my profile for NaNoWriMo here.

Today I felt exhausted after a super busy weekend chaperoning my kids band at Area Marching Contest and the whole Halloween extravaganza. I didn’t think I’d get much done.

I only opened the first file for editing just to let myself stare at it while I finished my tea. Then I was going to get up and reheat my breakfast burrito. I noticed a couple things to fix, then a couple more. Next thing I knew, my tea was gone, so I took my burrito out to warm it up and when I glanced at the clock on the microwave it was three hours later.

I ate some lunch with my husband, who came home about five minutes later and told him about my magical morning. Then I told him about my plan to go to the gym in the afternoon. He left for work and I went back to the bedroom (which is also my office) to use the restroom. While in there, the computer made a weird noise, so I stopped to investigate for a moment before leaving for the gym.

Next thing I knew, it was 3:30pm and time to pick my kids up from school. So I stopped to do that and went back to writing while they were working on homework.

In all, I wrote 2,200 words on the current WIP. Of course, I also edited out about 1500 not so great ones. So I’m at 684 for the day. This is the last editing day this week, so I should still be able to make it up with just a hundred extra words a day this week.

It was a good start to National Novel Writing Month.

Posted in My Own Personal Weirdness, Writing

Words to Go on Caro’s Quest

Prologue +395

Total = +395

Chapter 1 -1641
Chapter 2 -733
Chapter 3 -491
Chapter 4 -340
Chapter 5 -240

Total= -3445

Chapter 6 +2067
Chapter 7 +3187
Chapter 8 +7742
Chapter 9 +153

Total= +14,149

Chapter 10 -814
Chapter 11 +6756
Chapter 12 +7803


Epilogue +447
Total= +447

To Write: 28,341
To Delete: 4,259