All posts by Loni Lynne

My Quirky Inspiration

Sometimes I am amazed by how entertaining and fascinating my family can be. They are a constant source of amusement and even give me ideas for stories that don’t necessarily make sense–but are fun!

One of those inspirations I want to celebrate today. My youngest. 

She is unique in many ways which makes her stand out in a crowd.  She never had a lack of friends in school because of her sense of humor, openness and diversity. Her creativity shown in her writing but mainly her art projects. She’s a ‘gamer’ from “Womb to Tomb” as a sign on her bedroom door reads. She even lets me watch her play some of her RPG (role playing games) with her. Her commentary is uniquely her and can have me in stitches while she’s playing. A few years ago she taught me (a non-gamer) how to play Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls. She’s a fan of Dr. Who and Mystery Science Theater–she’s more of a tomboy at times then I could imagine. But when she dresses up for Prom/Graduation her true feminine beauty shines through.

What’s even more amazing is the special relationship between her and our oldest daughter. The two of them are each other’s best friends, which no mother could be prouder to have. Not all siblings are that close growing up. They feed off of each others wild energy, quoting movies, gifs, humorous YouTube videos that only they understand.

It was a mixed blessing the day she turned 18 a few months back. I knew I couldn’t stop it from happening and I hope I’ve prepared her for the role she will have to take on now–but I don’t want her to lose the wonderful, quirky personality in order to fit into a mold of societies making. She’s always been her own person with strong morals and ideals that I know will make the world a better place.

I was honored recently to share a special day with her. The day my book, Wanted: One Ghost was released was her graduation day. I had prepared for it, making all the preparations I could for my release in advance because I wanted to share her special day with her.  Watching her walk across the stage to receive her diploma, wearing her cap and gown and Arts and Communication Academy ropes…I cheered, I cried and I knew that she had made it and would be all right.

To you, Sweetie Pie-Pookie! I love you!

Help! My Tush is Getting Bigger–But I Have Deadlines!

Yes–goofy title but I shoot from the hip–which is part of my problem lately *sigh*. My hips have always been in trouble of causing conflicts–I could never do the ‘Bump’ without sending my dance partner into the next county.

And it hasn’t been getting any better sitting at my laptop on a daily basis trying to ‘bump’ out my next novel. 

I’ve read all the ideas from other authors in similar situations–let me see if you’ve heard of them, too:

  • Get up and move around every 15-20 minutes or so  (great idea if I wasn’t in a 1k1h frame of mind–so I try for after every session).
  • Keep healthy nibbles on hand to curb appetite  (this one from Weight Watchers meetings) –does baked tortilla chips and fresh salsa constitute healthy nibbles, as I sit at my laptop?
  • Go for a walk to clear mind and work out the kinks.  (This I do love to do but dealing with 20 mile an hour wind and cold days makes it difficult to force myself to get out there. Yeah, I’m chicken! But then it would probably be a great thing for my hot flashes–that have nothing to do with my sex scenes I’m writing.)
  • Plan healthy meals–(I laugh at this one, only because my hubby has been watching and drooling over Food Network shows that have nothing to do with healthy meals–and he’s the one who takes on the cooking–it’s his hobby.)

Okay, you get my drift–I’m looking for any excuse NOT to do the right thing.  I want satisfaction without having to sacrifice my writing time.  I’ve tried things but never found the right combination to maintain.

I’ve made a pact with hubby that we really do need to focus on our health. We are not getting any younger. I want to do things and go places with him as we go into our solitary years (if that really happens) as middle-aged adults.  I want changes but I don’t have the time to work out like a Hollywood Actress after giving birth. I’m an author who wants to work on my career and yet keep healthy doing so–behind a desk.

So I would love to hear from you on great suggestions–whether you are a writer yourself, or someone who has a desk job and trying to find the time in your schedule to work out.  Please, any help and ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Raising my cup of vanilla bean latte to you all (which could be part of my problem?).   😀




Writing Through the Angst

I am the first to admit the winter months (after the holidays) do me in.  DSCF0313

But how can I feel this way when the first week of the new year is like a new start for me?

We all have times, whether it is the first of the calendar year, school year or just sometime we decide on a “fresh start” to things, that things are going to change for the better.  Well, I’ve gone and done it again!

Here it is, half way through the month of a ‘new start’ and I can’t get the motivation I need to do what I know I need to do.  And because of that I tend to go into a slump, emotionally at times (and trust me, the wonderful rainy, dreary weather that I’ve been faced with does not help at all).

Years ago when I was just a pup, I went through the normal pre-teen angst we sometimes face growing up (anyone remember the awkward middle school/jr. high days), family issues that arose at times, etc. During one of my lowest moments I had a wonderful teacher who noticed my troubles and sat down to talk with me. She happened to be my English teacher.  I loved to read and had pretty good grades but she realized that term I was struggling.  I poured out my woes to her.  She gave me a valuable lesson for life right then.  She said keep a journal. It didn’t have to be some pink frilly locked book  but just something that I could write down my emotions, thoughts, worries, whatever happened to be troubling me.  She told me it helps her though the tough moments but also gave her inspiration into how to handle things.

So I took her advice. But the snippets of journaling seemed much too personal to me (I know-weird). I did something a bit different with my woes and joys.  I created imaginary characters to deal with the issues. These characters started telling their own story (though at times it was mine–just through someone else’s eyes). One of these ‘stories’ I entered in a contest my English teacher told us about. She read all of the entries and called me to stay after class.  I thought I was in trouble! Instead, she was amazed with my writing. She loved my characters, the storyline and told me she’d help me polish the grammar mistakes to make it pop. (Sound familiar?) 😉

My story was a ghost story for a Halloween contest through our local newspaper. I took first prize out of a range of 12-17 year olds!  I was so excited! How could something so much fun and so easy for me get first prize?  Next thing I knew, she had me enter other contests. I didn’t always place first but I did have my share of wins and finals-county and state levels included.  I had found my joy! And the best thing…it gave me an outlet (though I didn’t know it at the time–for me it was just fun).

Now, I look back on those beginnings and feel that same angst (a bit different–probably seasonal :P) and I turn to my writing. My characters become my sounding board to bounce emotion off of, they in turn take it and run with it on their own story . Believe it or not, in the moments of danger and disaster ending hooks, there is joy and uplifting moments of excitement. Like a reader, it gives me that adrenaline boost to go further, to explore deeper to feel more–and to create what I hope to be wonderful stories to share with others.

Here is to you ‘angst’–I raise a cup of vanilla bean latte to you (in times of creativity)  🙂  .

Hugs to all!

Thirteen is Always Lucky! (If you want it to be)

I’m going to follow up on my Mer-Sis’s wonderful post on 12-12-12 and go for 12-13-12. *Waving fin madly at Mer-Sis Kim 🙂 *

Yes, the dreaded 13! (At least to some.)

I’ve always tried to be the one who looked at the glass half-full, not half-empty. When my friends would cringe at the thought of Friday the 13th (other than the movies), I would shrug and pet my black cat curled up in my lap.

Well my friends, this is Thursday the 13th–so no fear there at all, unless you don’t like the number 13 in general.  To me the number represented a ‘baker’s dozen’–one more number past twelve, a little extra ‘something’…or just another day.

So unless you have Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, treat this day as you would any other.

I intend to embrace this day by doing some of my favorite things:

  • Waking up at 4:13 this morning (yes I did! Freaky or what?)
  • Having a cup or two of my vanilla bean latte 😉 (If I have 13 cups–someone better peel me off of the ceiling)
  • Writing at least 1300 words to my new WIP
  • Hugging my DD’s at least 13 times each (nope–they don’t get annoyed)
  • Going through 13 emails (at least!)
  • Answering 13 emails–depends on who they are from and the topic
  • Having at least 13 Cheerios in my bowl of cereal this morning
  • Texting hubby 13 times–just to be annoying!  (Mwwwahhhhaaahhhhh)
  • Adding an extra cookie to each batch of cookies I bake today (there is that Baker’s Dozen I told you about earlier)
  • Play 13 games of Free Cell on my smart phone while waiting for people today (picking up DD from school, running errands, appointments, etc.)
  • Send out 13 Christmas Cards.
  • Say hello to 13 Mermaids (including me)–Hi My Mermaid sisters!!  🙂
  • And…have 13 things to do on my list today!

What do you plan to do with “13” today?


Thankful for Being…Crazy?

Not my usual ‘thankful’ Thanksgiving idea but I had a brain spasm this morning–or my Muse kicked me in the seat of the pants or something…

Needless to say, I could rant poetically about all the ‘sweet, gooey things’ I’m thankful for and everyone would agree with me in a sentimental sort of way but what about all the ‘Crazy things’ we are thankful for?

Here goes:

I’m Thankful for…

  • My hubby not being able to put his clothes in the hamper. This means I have a ‘normal’ husband and we’ve lived to tell tales ‘good and bad’.
  • My daughters who enjoy goofy conversations, movie quotes at the dinner table and feeding off the crazy energy of each other. This means my daughters can entertain, hold conversations that will take anyone out of a sad or bad mood, and work together doing so.
  • Screwy schedules.  Over the years as a mother, housewife, volunteer, writer/author and all around ‘Jane of all trades’, I’ve developed the talent for multi-tasking and dealing with chaos.
  • Friends who love me no matter what. They see me with make-up, without–in stressed out moods, happy go lucky, etc. and accept every one of my ‘Sybil-like’ moments and still call me up for coffee days and writing sprints.
  • My laptop–for taking all my frustrations in words and stories and still being there for me the next day (most of the time). Hey, laptops get sick, too.
  • My editor. She learned how weird my sense of humor is with the side notes/changes in the review margins of my recent story–and we’ve become friends since then. (You are the best, Judy!)
  • For the times my hubby has had to go away on business. With him gone, absence makes the heart grow fonder. We cherish the moments we spend together when he is home.
  • For Skype–and whoever created the program. It’s as close sometimes as we can get as a family–when hubby is away.

There are so many other ‘crazy’ things to be thankful for, I’m not sure I could list them all.  What are some of the ‘crazy’ things you are thankful for?  Would love to hear them.

All the best and a blessed ‘crazy’ Thanksgiving…wherever you may be!

Nine Months and Counting…

I’m having a baby!!  Gotcha! 🙂

No, it’s not a boy or a girl…it’s a book.  (Hopefully not a hard-back! Can you imagine that trying to come out of the birth canal?)

Okay, I know pretty cheesy.  But considering the anxiety and excitement my news has brought to me and my family, one would think it was the same thing.  My ghost romance, Wanted: One Ghost was recently picked up by Crescent Moon Press. The conception took nearly eighteen months but now comes the hard part–the birth for all to see.

A few days ago I realized, I’m counting down the days/weeks and months along with my youngest–no, she’s not expecting (thank God) but she’s starting her senior year in high school.  In approximately nine months, both her and I will have a whole new life spread before us.  We are both nervous and excited.

I think I felt the same emotions when I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter nearly 21 years ago.  Would everything be okay? Was I going to be a good mother? How in the heck was I going to give birth and survive, even though millions of women have been in the same boat since the beginning of time?

I’m not the first to have my book (baby) published (born) and I won’t be the last.  But the preparations needing to go into a healthy delivery are just as important.

A few weeks ago I asked some of my fellow authors who’ve been there/done that/got the t-shirt what they did to prepare for their exciting day of delivery and received some wonderful insight. One friend sent me out to Christine Nolfi’s blog site:

Another sent me to Nancy J. Cohen’s post about her Promotion Checklist:

And others just sent me their own ideas.  All are great words of wisdom and I equated them to the wonderful women friends who’d been in the same boat I had, while I was pregnant with my first in Hawaii.  We look to others who’ve been there before, we want the good, the bad and the ugly truth so we know what to expect when we are expecting, what to prepare for and what to avoid.

That is what I’ve found so refreshing with all of my great writing groups I belong to–everyone is willing to share experiences and even learn from a newbie who might have a nugget or two to share.  And what’s even better, I haven’t met many of the people I’ve talked to face to face and yet they are willing to share so much.

So with that in mind, I am sharing here too.  I want to pass along the great links above (which I felt were very helpful in giving me a sense of where I needed to be and when) and hope to be able to pass the torch to another writer on the verge of giving birth to their newest creation.

If there are any choice words of wisdom to share with me (from those who’ve been there-or those who might have questions) please let me know.  I would love to hear from you all about experiences and expectations.



Monday Morning Push…Up.

This morning was a difficult morning…and yet, I feel I have a sense of need to ‘get things done’, despite the hectic morning.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Getting hubby ready for trip, daughter off to her last week in school, laundry finished, bedding washed and still managed my two mile power walk–I’m now ready to focus on the day ahead (as if I wasn’t all ready).

So this Monday morning is my push UP… for the week ahead, my yellow legal pad of items to tick off in between writing this week.

A recent need to revise a manuscript has me anxious to complete the B.I.C.H.O.K (Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard)program I had started last week. But I also want to take time to enjoy the beautiful day. I want to balance my accounts/pay my bills and still have money in the bank (ROFL–yeah, as if!)  I want to clean out my closet/my purse/ my car and two pantries and still have time to enjoy a movie night with my daughters.

I have goals I need/want to set for not only my work but my family life and health.  I want to approach each morning as a Push…Up.  There is nothing that can push me down.

Looking forward to adopt this ideal… Raising my cup of Vanilla Bean Latte to Monday Morning Push Ups!  May what we write down today for goals be done either by tonight or the end of the week.

So get your Push Up for the week  in!  What items are on your yellow legal pad to do this week?


Help! How Do You Restart Your Story After a Critique?

This may sound crazy but have you ever gotten to a point where you know you need to re-start your story and you don’t know where or how to re-start it?

Let me explain (no, let me sum up):  A Fast Draft of 50,000 words, a critique in which the first chapter needs revamped, and the revamping will effect the rest of the 50,000 words to a big extent.  Frustrating, yes–but needing to be done.  Or maybe I’m looking at it all wrong.

I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who has come across this situation whether by critique partners/editors or even your own gut instinct.  I’ve done this a time or two also but always ended up agonizing over it (like when I used to agonize over Algebra problems in high school–no, I’m not a Math person).  I would over think the problem until my brain wanted to explode.  Now I’m beginning to feel that way with this situation.

As excited as I am to work out this major kink to my story, I’m afraid of starting from scratch–and do I need to?

Who’s with me so far, or have I lost you on this?

I know critiques are subjective but I also know when a majority of the critiques come back with the same issue, something needs to be done.  The story premise is good, characters, etc.  but the general approach  is wrong.  (It’s always something.)  🙂

For those who are in the same boat what are your past experiences?  How do you put things in perspective and pour over the ideas?  Do you start from scratch by making a separate file? Do you copy and paste old parts to fit in with new? Do you drink a lot of coffee and rant at your Muse? Am I turning this into a dreaded Algebra problem and over thinking the issue?

I would love to hear inspirational ideas–no matter how crazy.  What do you do to start over?


What’s Zmeu with you? Or How Research Helped Me Find My Story Nitch

Okay, I know it’s a silly title but trust me on this one . . . it fits!  🙂

As many of you know (from my agony over the past month) I’ve been stuck in a rut with my story.  I’ve known about the story, actually wrote it a few years back, only to find out it just doesn’t have that certain, whatever it is a good story needs to have.

My idea for the original story came from a research session into the history of my ancestors.  My paternal grandfather came from Romania, the land of Transylvanian Alps (Carpathian Mountains), Vlad the Impaler, Bram Stoker’s- Dracula and various other mysterious stories that have been sensationalized.  But with all the fiction and history the general  populace know of, I wanted to delve deeper.

Two years ago I researched a bit into the early days of Romanian history, back before the Roman conquest, and found out about the Dacian clans who had ruled in the late B.C. to early A.D.  What I could find on them interested me–they were known as a powerful, mysterious people in a land infused with darkness and the unknown beyond the Danube where many other cultures and warriors had failed to conquer.  They worshipped powerful gods and prophets who considered them ‘immortal’ warriors . . . hmmm, see where I’m going with this?  I always wondered if this is where Bram  got his inspiration.

So out came some first draft stories based on this culture.  I’ve done a few other stories since then but this one came back to haunt me.  For the past few months it’s been eating into my soul, itching like a rash that won’t go away.  But no amount of lotion could fight it.  Finally I sat down, researched my craft–plotting (with the help of my fabulous Critter group), GMC, Deep Story  and some author friends who sat down with me and encouraged me to write from my heart and plot with my head.

So what does ‘Zmeu’ have to do with this, you ask patiently?  Getting there!

I went back the past two weeks and plotted an 11 page synopsis–for me.  While I was plotting I researched Romania again–everything from cities to ancient Dacian ruins, to airline schedules.  Along the way (as the Internet is known to do) I stumbled across an interesting creature known in Romanian folklore as the Zmeu.

A zmeu is a mythological creature of humanoid qualities that can shape-shift, has extraordinary powers and was always considered the evil creature. He was sometimes known to have taken the shape of fire-breathing dragons–stealing the fair maiden who was always rescued by the handsome youth once he’d conquered the ‘evil-greedy’ zmeu.

Well, pooh!  Who’s to say I had to have a handsome youth as my hero?  Why not a zmeu?  So with my ‘what if’ attitude and my Muse toying with my brain, I excitedly wrote out my story and started in on a journey of  Fast Drafting for the next two weeks–drafting the first 70,000 words to my new/old story with my dark, brooding ancient zmeu and a woman destined to love him.

So far my zmeu has led me on a journey flying high on his winged back into fantasy scene after fantasy scene and though 5,000+ words a day is tedious to accomplish–he seems to keep my spirits soaring.  Research led me to him and he is inspiring me to write his story.

I’m raising my morning cup of vanilla bean latte in honor of research, inspirations, muses and gut instincts that get us through to our goals.

Do you have a personal ‘Zmeu’ to see you through?  I would love to hear about him.


Brain Fried . . . Rebooting

I was thinking about a scene in one of my favorite 80’s movies, Real Genius starring Val Kilmer (for those who have seen or might remember).  The story is about a bunch of genius kids at a prep-college.  Val plays the lead who’s gone on to buck the system and is teaching the young newbie how to ‘ungeek’.  In this particular scene, in which I am referring to, it’s a montage of everyone cramming for end of the year exams. One student in particular (an extra) stands up from the study hall table and just yells.  He is just freaking out and runs from the room.  Everyone else takes a brief moment to look– at him as he has his ‘meltdown’, and returns to their studies–unfazed.

Lately, I feel like that poor kid.  It’s what I call brain overload.  Sometimes we just get to the point where everything we are focusing on just overwhelms us to the point nothing makes sense–no matter how many angles you try and approach the problem.  The other day I had that moment . . . with my story.

Yes, the one thing I usually find joy in (my escape if you will) became a torment.  I’m not published so there is no deadline (other than my own) so what is the problem? My problem is this story, a paranormal romance, has haunted me for five years.  I’ve tried it in various stages, even finished the first draft three years ago and went on to a sequel and plotted out two more for the series.  I thought I had it made.  But every contest, critique I’ve had on it came up lacking–so I revised it, not once but twice.  I put it to the side while I worked on a ghost story/romance last year but once that was finished my heart went back to the paranormal.

When I presented it to my critique group (whom I trust and value their insight implicitly) it confused them since they knew I could write better.  There were so many things wrong with it.  So I went home and started fresh.  Two months later . . . still nothing.  So I thought maybe using plotting guides a friend of mine sent me would help.  Traditionally, I’m a pants-er . . . not a plotter.

I haven’t sat down to actually plot. I realized going over everything again was just mind boggling–and so the ‘meltdown’ this past week.  I’m taking a few weeks off and stepping away from the books and writing to see if I can ‘reboot’ my brain.  I don’t want my favorite pastime to become a dreaded reality.  Not a good thing for a creative mind. 😛

So instead, I’ve decided (as I’m writing this post) I am going to work on my house (God knows I’ve neglected my duties as a domestic engineer lately), catch up on my ‘to read pile’ and see if the worksheets my friend sent me on plotting/GMC will help guide me from being a total pants-er to a plotter, too.

What do you do to ‘reboot’ when your brain is fried?