Category Archives: About Me

Inspiration, Perspiration, Dedication–Don’t Fight the Write @JulesofTripleR #amwriting #Fridayblog #writers

Inspirational- Nobody is too busy, it's just a matter of priorities

Inspiration, Perspiration, Dedication–Don’t Fight the Write

I’m asked a lot about where I get my inspiration from. There’s one simple answer…life. I listen to what’s going on around me. I seek out articles on the Internet that are about people who have done things differently, changed their paths, had it rough. I remember back to what has happened in my life. I grew up poor. Dirt poor would have been an upgrade. I went hungry many nights because I wanted my family to be able to eat a decent serving of food, so I feigned that I wasn’t feeling well or wasn’t hungry. I remember back that feeling of a pit of hunger deep in my stomach–an acidic, rumbling cavern–when I need emotion. I watch people at stores and coffeehouses. I make up stories in my head about them. I choose to be inspired by all things instead of confused or downtrodden by memories or current happenings. 

I also get asked about my schedule for writing. I write six (and sometimes seven) days a week. I’d love to take weekends off, but that’s not possible at this stage of my career. I want to write all the words, to take readers to a place where they can forget their day. I want to satiate a hunger inside of them for escape into another world. I want them to know they’re not alone in their struggles and issues. So I write almost every day. I write on holidays. I write on vacations. I write in bed. I skip some functions with my hubby to write. And last year I wrote 602, 462 words. No, not all of those words will ever see the light of day. Many times I write just for me, too. But still…I mentally perspire with writing every day, it’s my priority. 

Then there’s the question of dedication. Why do you have this overwhelming need to write and to write a lot? I came into my passion late in life (in my 40’s, so not that late, but still). Once I’d realized I could release a part of me through words, I haven’t looked back. It’s true that once you find what you love doing it doesn’t seem to be work. I also dedicate myself to helping other writers become whoever/whatever/whenever they want. I believe that gifts and knowledge must be shared. I love reading a line that someone in my critique group wrote and it makes me tingle, shed a tear, hold my breath…then I feel like I have given my all to someone else and that dedication is the best feeling in the world. 

With a little inspiration, perspiration, and dedication, writing can be the best release of emotion to take not only the reader to another place but also the writer.

Don’t fight the write—just write. 

 

 

Happily Ever After: Writerly Musings #FridayBlog #AmWriting (or am I?) #Humor

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Oh, if it were just that easy to start a story … or finish it with “and they lived happily ever after”. But … it isn’t. **Sigh**

The last two years I’ve focused on improving my writing by taking classes and reading books, and talking to other authors about plotting, characterization, themes, motifs (which, um, still like wtf?), arcs, first act, second act, black moment, third act, resolution, until my head spun and  my heart sunk. 

Could I ever be the writer that XYZ is? Or would I ever say the words as eloquently, excitedly, ferociously (etc., etc.) as ABC?  Would I ever stop using adverbs? 😉 

Or am I just as good as I ever will be? 

The questions haunted my gut like a bad fruitcake for the last quarter of 2016 while I continued to write and throw away words. And write and discard words. And write and chop words. Finally, the words ground to a halt. Not some cool sliding to the side and gray smoke in the air from the tires rubbing on the pavement stop, but a jerked-against-the-seatbelt, airbags-in-face, whiplashy stop. 

And then after I’d celebrated 2017 in a grand fashion with all the hopes and resolutions my head could concoct, I was boohooing through a day and my mentor had had enough and she slapped me. No, not physically, but ironically with words. She said “Stop that $hit! Be the writer you are, but be better each time.” Or something very similar to that fact. Whatever it was, the words and sentiment made me think just long enough and deep enough that I realized I don’t want to be like XYZ or ABC… I just want to be Jules Dixon.  

I want to write about people who have problems and solve them with friends and family by their sides.  

I want to write stories that find their way into people’s hearts and they remember how they felt reading about these people’s lives.

I want to find inspiration in everyday moments and share them with readers so they sigh and ooh and ah and feel.

I want to release a part of me into words and then let it go. Let. It. Go.

I want to take each day as a new beginning and know that there is no real end to writing.

I want to …. live happily ever after.

  

 

A Year in Writing: Glancing back but facing forward @JulesofTripleR #Goals #AmWriting

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Every new year I like to take a look back and see what I accomplished and plan what the next year will look like. I never consider years to be “over” or that this is the “end” because to me writing has no end. It is fluid, continuous, and streams from a writer in almost ribbons of thought and feeling. If I were to stop that, I would stop being me. And I like me. 

Last year with Evernight Publishing, I published, six novels and two short stories. I independently published two short holiday stories. I grew as a writer and to further that effort took several professional craft improvement classes. I joined several groups of writers and continue to do work with the local Romance Writers of America group, Romance Authors of the Heartland and took over as President this year. I also organize a group of like-minded authors who critique and help each other to move forward with our careers with support and accountability. 

Professionally it was a very good year and I’m happy to report that 2017 looks better than ever.

On the docket for writing are: 

REINS: Cherry County Cowboys #4 (Zeke and Matt)

BOOTS: Cherry County Cowboys #5 (the final in the series) (????–guess you’ll have to stay tuned to see who this one is about)

A quad of Romance on the Go Triple R books all under the title of Rules of Love–Trust (Chloe and Jake), Communication (Ember and Kirsch) Respect (Breigh and Luke), Honesty (Emie and Cade).

Rock This Love: Triple R 12 (Laken and Easton)-A Novel

I’ll be starting a new series, but not sure what I’ll be doing with that…anyone have any ideas? 

And then two Holiday Hotties series–Halloween and Christmas/NYE–three books each. 

Oh, and three anthology submissions, with the Evernight Publishing’s Owned by the Alpha being the first and my submission titled Mooncrest: Crystal Wolves Series

Phew, I think that’s it. I’m almost tired thinking about it, but now that it’s out there, I’m streaming all the words. Wish me luck! 

Hope you all have a wonderful 2017! 

Hugs to all!

<3 Jules 

 

 

 

Top Ten Things I Learned at the RAH Retreat…

This past weekend I attended the Romance Authors of the Heartland (RAH) Retreat–a chance to learn more, dream more, and do more in 2016. I came away with hope, inspiration, and some new questions, but mostly I was pumped to get writing today. So in that spirit…

The Top 10 Things I Learned at the RAH Retreat:

  1. There is no right way to do something only my way and your way. Along with being passionate about writing, authors (especially Indie authors) tend to be very passionate about publishing and certain aspects of the topic. For instance, KindleSelect, also referred to by some as the KU or KindleUnlimited program. Want to get a room of authors talking? Take a solid stance on the subject and put it out there for discussion because there will be 101 different opinions and guess what…each of them is right for that author. I choose to be in KindleSelect because I get more readers for my non-Indie title (soon to be titles) and I’m building a readership fan base. I have a reason and that’s good enough for me. 
  2. Choices are as numerous as the categories on Amazon. Authors will ask for opinions and help and will accept both, but if they don’t implement the given advice it’s not on you, it’s their choice. From writing style to publication to marketing and everything in between, there are so many nuances to this business that it’s almost impossible to say you made the “wrong” choice…we as writers just make “our choice”. Make a choice and stand by it, but if it’s not working, be willing to take a step back, ask for advice, and then maybe, just maybe be willing to make another choice. 
  3. Goals. The number one thing I came away with this weekend is set those goals and then break them down into manageable chunks and then commit to those chunks. That S.M.A.R.T. acronym is the way to go. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. If the goal doesn’t hold all of those, it’s likely to fail or be put low on the totem pole (and who doesn’t have one of those that goes forever). I set goals for writing, relationships, health, career and wealth, dreams, and travel this year. There are many other categories, but those were ones that spoke to me this year. They do change because I change, even during the year I might find that my health needs more goals for me to remain able to do my career goals, so I will add to or maybe my travel dreams get bigger and I have to work harder to earn more money, then I make a change and forge forward…just being SMART about the goals. Here’s my Vision, Goals, and Dream board for 2016! My Vision Board for 2016
  4. Being kind to myself in the long run will help me to understand who I am and who I want to be. I have dreams, but sometimes I set pretty lofty goals and dream maybe a little bigger than is realistic, but I think that’s good. Who ever said “Dream small…it’s better that way”? NO ONE! Because it’s the big dreams that keep us going, keep the daily minutia of writing and repetitive tasks that are involved from becoming white noise of a life that doesn’t have excitement and emotion. If I don’t reach a goal, it’s not a failure, it was me stretching, as long as I’ve put effort into the goal. Life is hard enough with outside pushing in on us for more, more, more–give yourself a break every once in a while if a dream is taking a little longer than expected or your time just isn’t allowing it to come to fruition. Dreams are worth it whether they come quickly or slowly. 
  5. Minimize distractions. Even at the conference my need to be connected was so great that I was the one holding up my hand and asking for the conference wi-fi code. What the heck! It was slightly ridiculous, but so ingrained. Even in a restaurant one of my first questions “Do you have free wi-fi?” I pledge this year (and I even implemented it last night by NOT taking my phone out of my purse when on a date with my hubby and even turning it off!–I know scary) to disconnect more. Less FB, less Internet, less texting and more face-to-face contact, looking the person in the eye and making…I know it’s crazy…conversation. 
  6. Get inspired! Victoria Alexander gave the opening speech and I was blown away. She did the 20 Things I’ve Learned (which no doubt inspired this post-so thanks!) and the top two that stuck with me were: Regret your mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. I still revisit lying to my clarinet music instructor back in 4th grade and regret telling her that my clarinet was being cleaned at the music store when really, I just didn’t want to practice or more importantly have her find out that I didn’t practice. Why do I continue to dwell on it? It’s well over…well…lots of years have gone by. One because I know me. I hate disappointing people. So that has to stop, because people aren’t disappointed for long and from my experience they get over their disappointment very quickly. I doubt Ms. Hazen even remembers that day, but I remember going home and crying about it. The second point she made that stuck with me was: You probably won’t win Powerball. Yep, Victoria, you were right $20 down the drain (technically I did make back $4, so only $16) but it’s the probably in that sentence that makes the dream still hold on to hope. And I’ll be buying another $20 today when I go to the grocery store. But, I’m not dwelling on the lost $16 either. 
  7. Heart is essential An authors books should speak their heart. If the book doesn’t sing from or to me and I don’t enjoy reading it, readers probably won’t either. I love every book that I write, but the day comes when I start writing one and it doesn’t give me those goosebumps and butterflies or I hate coming back to it each morning to write, then I will move on. That is a promise to myself. 
  8. Branding. Giselle Regus from Harlequin Love Inspired did a great speech on her top 10 tips for authors. The one that spoke to me was “Your voice is your brand, your brand is your voice.” Wow, I starred that quote a million times. Tweeted it. Told my hubby. Sang it from the rooftops. Then I started looking at my brand and I wasn’t totally unhappy. I wasn’t totally satisfied either and started to make some changes. From now on I am committed to LGBT writing. I love it and I love the voice I can give to the genre, strong characters with real life problems. Even if they are some pretty inventive real life problems, they are still possible and realistic and I do my research to make sure details are solid. 
  9. Time management. If a session isn’t interesting or the information doesn’t speak to you…get up and leave. I forget that I paid for the conference. So, when I was talking to my hubby and explaining that I’d struggled with a session and being focused and engaged. He said “Then next time, get up and leave and do something productive.” DUH. Sometimes he just says it right (do not tell him I said that ;-)). My time is valuable and if I’ve heard the information before or I’m not getting something from the presentation or even if the presenter isn’t clicking for me, I should be doing something else. Now, if the information is giving me something new or inspiring me or the speaker is just that engaging, then I’ll stick it out. And it is not a reflection on the speaker or me, it is a choice that I make as an adult with goals and dreams to make the most of my time. 
  10. Website. UGH. Giselle also did a great talk on websites. I’ve already started to revamp mine, but it’s always a work in progress. My new goal is to give more insight into me as a person on here. So FYI…right now, I’m reading Sherri Shackleford’s The Rancher’s Christmas Proposal, here’s my coffee cup for the day and my goal is 3000 words written and one blog post. That last one is now…DONE. Off for more coffee and everyone have a great day!IMG_1630

<3 Jules