Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Blogger: Becky Povich

First, thank you Carol for having me as a guest blogger. I truly appreciate your kindness, and a big hello to all readers

I’m thrilled to be sitting under the Tiki Hut enjoying the glorious view in front of me: The soothing ebb and flow of the ocean’s waves, just strong enough to produce small amounts of frothy water rolling up onto the beach. Above it a royal blue sky with barely a cotton-ball cloud and the salty air tickles my fancy. It’s so visually stunning that even in 98 degree weather I feel goose-bumps up and down my tan arms.

Carol, the hostess with the mostess, suggested I bring along my laptop, knowing my creative muse would surely kick in after I arrived. She knows her stuff and never fails to impress me.

But first, I order a peach iced tea, made with fresh peaches just flown in from Georgia, poured over a tall glass of crushed ice. And for a little brain food, I choose tropical trail mix.

Ahhhh, I could live here the rest of my life.

I know why I’m here, though: To Write! I’m in the minority of Carol’s visitors this summer. I have not completed my book yet: my memoir. It haunts me but in a bittersweet sense. I want to write it. I want to finish it. I’m not afraid to do it. I’ve been talking about it for more years than I care to admit. I have a confession. I have difficulty focusing. What? I’m not the only one? Sheesh, I sure feel better!

I’m still working on the title for my memoir. One idea is:
Blame it on the Crowbar
Would that make you want to pick up the book and check it out? The crowbar explanation is in the first chapter.

Bye for now. I have my laptop at hand, and sense scathingly brilliant words ready to emerge.

You can learn more about Becky by visiting her blog:

 She also loves to receive e-mails: Writergal53(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest Bloggers Update
Two dates are still open:
November 16
November 30
Make one of them yours!
 Email me to sign up:
tikihuttime AT gmail DOT com
Remember, these guest blogging dates are for your character to visit
Under the Tiki Hut!
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I hope all of you on the East Coast are safe and damage free now that Hurricane Irene has moved on. And my wish extends to your friends and families as well.

No, I'm not going to talk about using weather in our stories. Others do that kind of thing much better than I do.

In fact, my weekend turned into a little whirlwind all its own that kept me busy doing all sorts of things other than focusing on blogging. I really didn't know what to write about here because it's Sunday afternoon and I'm still going hmmmmm.

So I decided to ask you some questions. Pick one or all or any combination and leave your answer in the comments. Tell us why - or not. I'm easy :)

Coffee or tea?
Favorite fictional character?
Summer or winter?
Favorite color?
Sweet or salty?
Favorite superhero?
Mountains or beach?
Favorite city?
Pizza or burgers?

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten things to do now that the Mercury Retrograde is over:

10. Go shopping

  9. Get a new hairstyle

  8. Start a new manuscript

  7. Buy a car

  6. Try a new restaurant

  5. Send queries

  4. Start a new job ... notice a trend?

  3. Plant a tree

  2. Indie pub your novel

And the #1 thing to do now that the Mercury retrograde is over:

  1. Buy a Giant Chicken - A short PG13 must read

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Blogger: Laura Kaye

Laura Kaye's HEARTS IN DARKNESS hit three top-rated lists on Amazon and was on the Top-10 bestselling list at Fictionwise for 10 weeks.

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
~William Shakespeare

Two strangers. Four hours. One pitch-black elevator.

Makenna James thinks her day can’t get any worse, until she finds herself stuck in a pitch-black elevator with a complete stranger. Distracted by a phone call and juggling too much stuff, the pin-striped accountant caught only a glimpse of a dragon tattoo on his hand before the lights went out.

Caden Grayson is amused when a redhead literally falls at his feet. His amusement turns to panic when the power fails. Despite his piercings, tats, and vicious scar, he’s terrified of the dark and confined spaces. Now, he’s trapped in his own worst nightmare.

To fight fear, they must both reach out and open up. With no preconceived notions based on looks to hold them back, they discover just how much they have in common. In the warming darkness, attraction grows and sparks fly, but will they feel the same when the lights come back on?

= = = = =

Oh, Carol, can I just tell you how much I need the Tiki Hut right now? I have been in editing mode on three different manuscripts for the past month, so I’m not sure which I need more—this quiet time to sit and write new words for new stories, or to just lay on this blanket, soak in the sun, sleep, and never move again! Oh, hell, I brought my laptop, and I’ve got characters chomping at the bit, I might as well write. Sleep’s overrated. Right? Right?

If I was at home, I’d be noshing on some Cheez-Its (totally addicted) and a diet ginger ale, but since I’m on vacation, I’m splurging. Oh, cabana boy? Wow…talk about ask and ye shall receive! What service at this Tiki Hut! And, mmm, what strapping cabana boys, too. My. I’m tempted to keep ordering just to create new opportunities to watch this guy walk towards me, then away, over and over again. Sigh. The view here sure is pretty. Oh, right. My order—I’ll have a big tray of fresh, juicy tropical fruit and a strawberry daiquiri, please. Totally thirst-quenching.

This is the perfect setting for the new erotic romance I’m writing at this very moment, set in a luxurious resort in the Caribbean. The sea air, the white sands, the crystal clear teal surf. Oh, and the hot bodies. There, running down the beach, shirtless in a pair of running shorts perched dangerous low on a set of lean hips. He’s my guy. He’s Jamie, my darkly beautiful hero with a tragic past. Mess of wavy brown hair, mountainous shoulders, cut abs, and strong, bunching thighs that are nothing short of a monument to masculinity. See? Here in paradise you don’t have to choose between taking in the scenery and being focused on your writing. Look around and enjoy what you see, because it’s just inspiration for that next story.

Er, would you excuse me, Carol? *shifts laptop to the side and jogs down the beach* “Jamie? Hey, Jamie? Can I, uh, talk to you for a minute?”

Catch ya, later, guys, I’m heading off to indulge my, ahem, inspiration.

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Laura is also sponsoring a giveaway - just leave a comment before midnight Pacific Time on Thursday, 8/25, to be eligible. The winner can choose a digital copy of any one of her books - HEARTS IN DARKNESS, FOREVER FREED, a paranormal, or her new erotic romance, JUST GOTTA SAY, when it releases on 9/30. You can learn more about Laura and her books at


Monday, August 22, 2011

Play Dates with Headphones

Guest Bloggers Update
Only three dates remain.
 Email me today to sign up for YOURS!
tikihuttime AT gmail DOT com
November 2
November 16
November 30
In addition, one September date has opened - September 14.
The post for this date only will follow the Summer Rules - 
you, the writer, will be visiting Under the Tiki Hut.
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Writing is a funny thing. 

Sometimes it's hahaha funny - like when you're playing with your pen and it goes flying across the room and smacks the dog in the side and he looks at you like what the--? Or you write something that makes you giggle two paragraphs further in the story.

But mostly writing is weird funny because you never know where it's taking you or what you'll find when you arrive or how it will affect you. You might be writing the perfect flawed character only to discover in the middle of the manuscript you're really writing about yourself. Or you start the manuscript writing in third person and when you finish, you're in first. And never realized when you made the change.

Some people think we writers are strange, zoned-out creatures. They could be right :) But I believe we're lucky. Our ability to create characters and have them tell a story is a gift. Don't ever forget that. 

Especially don't forget it when you're staring out the window, deep in the middle of planning a suspenseful scene, and wearing headphones ... and someone touches your shoulder.

The bruising should go away in a week or so.

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Blog Roll Clean Up
As promised, I cleaned up my blog roll over the weekend.
Please check the right sidebar to make sure your blog is still listed.
I tried to pay attention and not get carried away, but accidents love me.
And I might have gone a teeny bit crazy :)
But I can find old friends easier - and still have room for new ones!
If your blog is missing, just say so in the comments.
I'll add you right back in.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten items on the back to school list:

10. No mess at lunch

  9. Adult music

  8. Questioning looks from pets

  7. Quiet

  6. Nap

  5. Bubble bath

  4. Play tennis

  3. Wine

  2. A full spa day

And the #1 item on the back to school list:

  1. Finish your manuscript

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guest Blogger: Bonnie R. Paulson

Today our guest blogger is Bonnie R. Paulson, author of BREATHE AGAIN.

Maggie Lachlan is struggling to get over the death of her husband. After being overcome by emotion during a shift in the E.R., she's suspended indefinitely. Making things worse, she needs a place to stay after the quick sale of the house she shared with her late husband.

Fortunately, her friend Ryan Stewart offers her a room while she gets her life in order, much to the chagrin of his brother and housemate, Brodan Steele. Brodan doesn't want to like Maggie, not when he questions Ryan’s feelings for her. But it's hard to deny the attraction he feels for her when she's sleeping under the same roof.

Being so close to Brodan awakens something in Maggie, something she never felt during her marriage. But as long as she's haunted by the past, she can't open herself up to the future...

Bonnie will be giving away one digital copy of her contemporary romance novel to one lucky commenter who comments here before midnight Pacific time on Thursday, August 18, and post the winner in the comments on Friday. You can learn more about Bonnie and her new release at her blog:

Now, here's Bonnie.

Finally! I made it to the Tiki Hut. Kids at home with my mom. My husband is off down the beach somewhere running after the waves and I’m settling in with a virgin Pina Colada. Oh, they have the best Adirondack chairs here. My lap top rests on my legs, waiting for my fingers to dance across the keys. I’m very excited to write this story.

An umbrella shades everything. I’m not a fan of the sun, but the soft tropical breeze is more than welcome. Ahh. Yeah, baby. I breathe, long and drawn out. I’ve left laundry, dishes, volunteer responsibilities, work and deadlines on hold for my vacation.

Do I dare write? Do I have the strength of character to be self-disciplined in what can only be described as Heaven?

Do I even attempt to get into the world of my characters? I don’t know that I can. I have a book releasing August 22. I’m planning on crab for lunch. And oh, hello. The chiseled chest of my hubby crests over the beach. I’m on vacation. I know I should be resting. But what the heck? I’m married to the Marlboro man (minus the smokes) and the kids are absent. Adult only time!

I never take a break. Never. I work 24/7 as a mom, medical transcriptionist, wife, church volunteer, mother, writer, housecleaner, chef, disciplinarian, blah, blah, blah. Forget it. I’m off to make my own romantic scene. Carol, you’ll forgive me, right?

Brian! Wait up! (reality – hubby is HOT! Reality – I’m not, BUT Under the Tiki Hut rules state I can be as svelte as I want to be) Running across the sand, nothing jiggles but my muscular thighs and perky… things that haven’t been perky since my first kid. Never mind. Yay for me. I love this place!

BREATHE AGAIN releases August 22, 2011 from Carina Press.

Monday, August 15, 2011

And the Retrograde Will Be Over When?

For those who haven't heard, Mercury is in retrograde. That means my life has been filled with a lot of those days. You know the ones I mean.

The other day our garbage disposal disposed of itself. Another day one of our dogs tried to become the neighborhood bully. There have been more incidents, but you get the gist. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

I hope your days have been much less eventful than mine.

But since retrograde is about fixing things, I'm doing a

Blog Clean Up
Some of you might have noticed that my Blog Roll in the sidebar is out of control. Over the weekend, I'm culling blogs whose blogger hasn't visited me in a year or so. This does not apply to group blogs. The only way I know you've visited is if you comment or email me. So if you haven't commented here this year, I will be removing your blog from the sidebar over the weekend unless you comment here sometime this week. I'm pretty sure the bloggers this applies to no longer visit here, but I feel the need to say this anyway.

Regulars and new followers have no need to worry :)

Moving along, thanks to all of you for voicing your opinions last week about guest blogging. We'll do it again!

Wednesday, October 12, will kick off the Second Under the Tiki Hut Guest Blogging Event. Guest Blogging will end Wednesday, December 28.

Many of you indicated three months of the same theme gets a little predictable. So we're going to change it up a little. Since this is Under the Tiki Hut, I want to keep the beachy feel. But autumn and winter come to the beach, too. Depending on where your particular beach is, October to December is prime time for hurricanes and nor'easters. And I love snow on the beach.

So here are the rules. This time it isn't you, the writer, under the tiki hut - it's your character. Any character - one from your novel, your story, your memoir, or one you create especially to visit here. And since October to December is loaded with holidays, the holiday appropriate for the date of your post must be featured. That's it.

Your Character. The Holiday. Under the Tiki Hut. Very simple. Very easy. And readers get a feel for how you write. Any questions?

And I'm still stealing AND plagiarizing some of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Tips for Guest Bloggers:

* Contact me as soon as possible so I can fit you into one of 12 Wednesdays.

* I'm open to all bloggers. Humor is a must. Or suspense. Or a combination. No downbeat posts! This will also work in your favor. And my blogger buddies get preference.

* I schedule my posts on the weekend before they appear, so I need your post by Sunday evening before it's scheduled to go live on Wednesday. This will also help avoid any further Blogger snafus. And I prefer short guest posts - no more than 750 words TOTAL for intro/promo and post. I might fudge a little on that, but not much. Divide it however you want - ex. 300 promo and 450 story. If you're long on one, cut some of the other. If you're long, ask first - don't just send it to me. Readers are accustomed to zipping in here and zipping out. So the shorter the better.

* I’ll encourage commenters, but I need you to do the same. I'll promote on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

* I don’t require a free book or anything. Really! I would rather support you by purchasing my own copy.
These are Alex's exact words! Mine, too.

* Please have the courtesy to thank me when it’s over. And you really need to thank the commenters, too.
I'm not a Hot Tamales fan like Alex, but you can send him some :)

Thank you, Alex, for allowing me to steal your rules.

If you are interested in guest blogging at Under the Tiki Hut, please email me:
tikihuttime AT gmail DOT com

And please spread the word!

Thanks :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten ways to say no:

10. No means no.

  9. Moron.

  8. Thanks for the opportunity, but....

  7. I don't think so.

  6. Not on your life.

  5. N.O.

  4. When pigs fly.

  3. In a perfect world.

  2. In your dreams, sweetcakes.

And the #1 way to say no:

  1. You want me to what?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Guest Blogger: Isis Rushdan

Isis Rushdan is a native New Yorker, but has been globe-trotting since the age of 12. Wanderlust and her insatiable curiosity keep her on the move, where she seeks out great food and exceptional wine. Although she is a Major in the Air Force reserves, writing is her true calling. Her debut novel, a paranormal romance about star-crossed lovers who start a civil war over salvation, KINDRED OF THE FALLEN, is currently on submission. Her second novel, PARADOX, a sexy and fast-paced urban fantasy about supernatural badasses stuck in a hardcore rehabilitation program governed by angels, just landed in the hands of her agent. To learn more about Isis (yes, it’s her real name), swing by her website, or blog

Thank you, Carol, for having me, and a big hello to all readers!

Well, I’m in paradise. Lounging on a chaise under the Tiki Hut, I can’t get enough of the fresh air, azure sky—not a cloud anywhere, balmy sunshine, and frothy waves. I take a sip of my third ice-cold Sea Breeze cocktail (Belvedere vodka and cranberry juice with a splash of grapefruit). Ah, perfectly blended. I can’t get enough of those either. Hey, no judgment allowed in the Tiki Hut.

After one more hour of unwinding, I’ll pull my attention from the idyllic horizon and focus on starting my next novel. At least that’s what I tell myself. I glance at my laptop to my left and cringe with guilt. Then I turn to my right. My muse is napping, quite peacefully yet again, sprawled spread-eagle in the powdery sand. Nothing is stopping her from relaxing. So, what’s my problem?

Down the beach, a couple approaches, strolling hand in hand. Toned bodies, flawless tans, and rock star shades. Touching my tummy, I’m grateful I didn’t order the artichoke and cheese dip. Major bling on the wife’s left hand catches the sun and my gaze. The perpetual breeze acting like their very own wind machine doesn’t help the image percolating in my mind. They’re that couple. You know the one. Gorgeous, wealthy, not a care in the world. Lost in a bubble of love.

I suddenly miss my husband, who graciously offered to hit the gym back at the hotel to give me time to write so we could enjoy the rest of our day with none of the characters in my head barging in. Guilt pricks me once more, but a long drag on my drink seems to help.

The hot husband says something to his beauty queen wife. I expect her to smile or laugh. She doesn’t. Yanking her hand from his, she stands still as a palm tree. Her flowing curls make her stance seem more rigid and hard. The husband drags his fingers through his hair, letting out a sigh so deep even I can see his chest heave from this distance.

Finally, she says something, stabbing the air in his direction. He shakes his head, wraps his hands around her shoulders, his mouth moves faster than a lip-reader could decipher. For the first time, I wish I could turn down the volume of the waves. So I can eavesdrop. Does that make me a bad person?

The wife wrenches free of his grasp and slaps him. Hard! Throwing her arms up in the air, she paces, yelling. Darn those loud waves. He massages his brow. His head continues to whip from side to side. She rips something off her hand—her left hand—and throws it to the ground at his feet. Whirling on her heels, she storms off down the beach. Alone.

He drops his gaze to the sand, where her wedding bling sparkles. His shoulders slump, giving him the appearance of something beautiful and strong that is now horribly broken.

My heart clenches and I remember my rule about no judgment.

The husband looks in the opposite direction, perhaps back at the hotel. As he stands, deliberating, his wife marches farther away. Then he turns, picks up the ring from the sand, and races after her. Although she’s walking, her pace is enviable and he’s got a lot of ground to cover.

When catches up, he stands in front of her, palms up. “Please!” he begs. Now that they’re closer, it’s the one word I do hear.

Not only does she slow down, she actually stops. He drops onto his knees, throws his arms around her waist, pressing his cheek to her bare stomach. She tries to break away, but he doesn’t let go. The wind shifts, whipping her long locks behind her. Tears stream down her cheeks, past the shield of her sunglasses. She clutches his head. Their bodies sway to and fro.

He dares to draw back slightly. Just enough to slip the ring onto her finger. Holding her, he speaks. His free hand gesturing, emphasizing the passion I can’t overhear. She nods and kneels in front of him. Foreheads pressed together, they linger, sandy fingers stroking cheeks.

Talk about great inspiration. I’m pumped, creativity on full throttle. No thanks to my muse, who is now snoring. I set down my drink and crack open my laptop.

So, what are some of the elements that made a particular book one of your favorites? Passion? Conflict? A dose of the unexpected? Grab a beverage and share.

Big hug to Carol for letting me visit!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Something for Everyone

I don't know about anyone else, but this has been a busy summer for me. Now that the middle of August is right around the corner, I feel the need to start straightening up the blog and getting squared away to start writing on my new project in the fall.

Guest Bloggers
Initially, our guest bloggers were supposed to run through the end of August. However, I received such a great response that they're actually running through the official end of summer, September 21. It's thanks to all of you for giving them such great support for their imaginative posts. Give yourselves a loud round of applause. I've made a lot of new friends, and I hope you have, too.

But not for awhile. I will be unplugging here the last week of September and the first week of October to give myself a jump start on my new WIP. You'll survive without the cabana boys for two weeks :)

How To Spice Up Fall
All of you were such a great help in making summer special that I'm calling on you again for help with what to do for Tiki Wednesdays this autumn . Do you want guest bloggers again? They were the overwhelming winner back in the spring. Or are you ready for a change? You tell me. Whatever we decide will begin on Wednesday, October 12, and run through the end of 2011. If you want guest bloggers again, do you want them to blog to a different theme from the summer one? Answer a few identical interview questions? Totally open? Be specific about guest bloggers or different ideas. If you don't tell me, I don't know. Remember ... it's all about you! 

Award Season
Last week, Savannah Foxx presented me with the Irresistibly Sweet Award. Savannah has great photos in her post about this. Go see hers, because I don't have any - LOL. I'm supposed to list seven sweet things I can't resist. Most of you know I don't have a huge sweet tooth, but I didn't have much trouble coming up with seven, besides those luscious strawberries pictured in the award.

Topping the list:
1. Live-In Handyman

2. Fudge
3. Lemon Bars
4. Fresh Peaches
5. Brownies
6. Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
7. Shortbread Cookies

Ta-Da! How easy was that?

Because I'm bribing thanking all of you for helping me out with Tiki Wednesdays, feel free to take this award and embrace it as your own.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday's Top Ten

My top ten fun words to say:

10. Scuttlebutt

  9. Lilliputian

  8. Persnickety

  7. Soliloquy

  6. Doppelganger

  5. Gobbledygook

  4. Chimichanga

  3. Flibbertigibbet

  2. Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus

And my #1 fun word to say:

  1. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guest Blogger: Julie Flanders

Hi, all, and thank you for having me here, Carol. It's a big thrill to do my first ever guest post! I am new to the writing game, and this short story about a strange beach encounter is a reflection of that experience.

I’m at my favorite spot under the Tiki Hut, and I’m drinking a Mojito. No snacks for me, as I’m working on losing those last five pounds. Please, don’t ask how long I’ve been trying to lose them.

I’m staring at my laptop, and imagining my fingers flying over the keyboard, writing perfect prose that agents will fight over. But, my fingers aren’t moving, and I’m not writing anything. Not even a title.

Who am I kidding, thinking I can write? I’m too old for this. Why didn’t I start when I was younger?

I’m distracted from my litany of negativity by a woman swimming towards the shore. Her arms and legs are flailing, and I’m certain she’s not going to make it.

I run to the shoreline and stand there, helpless. I can’t swim. What the hell am I going to do? I look around the empty beach. Where are the lifeguards? The college kids playing Frisbee? Anyone??

To my immense relief, the woman paddles closer, and finally emerges onto the sand.

She drops to her knees, and I run to her. Up close, I can see her grey hair and wrinkles. She must be at least 70.

“Are you okay?”

The woman turns to me, and I see something familiar in her face. She looks like….me?

“I’m fine,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

I scowl. Always wanted to drown? Always wanted to give an innocent bystander a heart attack?

“Always wanted to do what?”

“Swim the length of this beach.”

“Really? Why didn’t you do it when…” Remembering my manners, I stop.

“When I was younger? Because I couldn’t swim then. I just learned last year.” She smiles. “When I was 78.”

“You learned to swim at 78?”

“Yes. Why?”

“I would think…wasn’t it too late?”

“No, it wasn’t.” She stands up and brushes the sand from her legs. “It was the perfect time.”

I can't help but notice that her voice sounds suspiciously like mine.

“Who are you?”

“You know me,” she says as she walks away. “I’m Julie.”

“What?? How do I know you? I don’t…”

But there’s no point in continuing. She’s gone.

I sit back down in my chair and wonder how many Mojitos I’ve had. I swear it was only one. Maybe I’m simply crazy.

Had she really been here? Or should I say, had I been here??

I stare at the waves and think about my visitor. Finally, I pick up my laptop, and start to write. I have a  title  for my story. It's called Learning to Swim.

And this is the perfect time to write it. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Creating: Taking Stock

I don't know about you, but I need to stop every once in a while and take stock of where I am. Not physically where I am, but where I am in relation to my goals and my to-do list.

When I do this, I also think about if I'm on the right track or if I've jumped track along the way and am rolling along out of control. I do that sometimes, too, without realizing it. Or sometimes I think I am, but when I take stock, I'm not.

I probably don't do this as often as I should. And I don't do it on a regular schedule. Usually it's when things get a little off kilter and I feel out of control.

So last week, things got a little off kilter. And I stopped to take stock.

Sure enough, what with my house being Grand Central Station for all sorts of family and with my attention focused on reducing the amount of time I've been devoting to the whole social media scene ... my writing time got shoved in the corner. Along with my reading time. I still managed a little of each, but not much.

So I gave my family and the social media part of my brain notice: No More Mr. Nice Guy.

Writing Time has reclaimed it's front-and-center position. It feels good.

What is especially amazing to me is that I keep track of my time on a writing planner. I know the hours I put in for each thing. But it wasn't until the family circus arrived that I had a problem. Until then, I just worked more so my writing hours didn't go down. But this week, I couldn't work more because of other priorities. That's when I noticed that my available time went to social media instead of writing. Or in my current state, instead of pre-planning characters and plot for my next manuscript.

Sometimes it takes a change-up for us to see what is right before our eyes all along.

Does this happen to you, too? Or is it just me?