Lifestyle

If We Were Having Coffee: July 2017

If We Were Having Coffee

Happy Monday, friends!

It’s been a while since we’ve had one of these featured posts. I loved the concept of this feature when I came across The Perpetual Page-Turner’s post a couple years back. One of my favorite things in the world is sitting with a friend over a cup of coffee, chatting.

Grab a mug of your drink of choice and let’s chat! I’m drinking Colombian brewed coffee with amaretto creamer. Lately, I’ve been missing the feel of fall in this sauna heat of summer and wanted to have a little fun with my drink. I infused my coffee grounds with some sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice before brewing. The smell and the hint of pumpkin is delicious. It puts me in a much needed happy place. What are you drinking?

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Wherever I turn–on social media–I’ve stumbled across this book; Write Naked by Jennifer Probst. It’s been a while since I’ve bought a craft book and this one was calling to me. Finally, I got that nugget of knowledge shipped over.

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Another one of my favorite things is reading about a writer’s journey–their publishing journey, their writing process, their daily rituals and routine as a writer. I’m always searching YouTube for any ‘Day in The Life’ type videos from authors. They’re sadly far and few in between. I’ve skimmed a couple chapters here and there and already, I’m loving Jennifer’s voice and how real she is in this book.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; it’s so sad when creative people hoard their knowledge and experiences in fear of someone taking them and surpassing them in success. So, when I come across successful people who happily share and gift us little people with what they’ve learned, it makes my heart happy. I think there’s room for all of us. The beauty of art is it’s in the eye of the beholder. There’s something for everyone.

I’ve got my sticky page-markers and highlighter ready to devour this book.

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Last week, I dove into a long awaited book that went live early. Judging by her previous book which I read, I knew I was going to embark on an emotional read. I stayed up way too late (#NoRegrets) and read it in one sitting. To say I had the mother of all book hangovers the next day is an understatement.

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Tied by Carian Cole is hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking. Both main characters have experienced such gut-wrenching tragedy in their lives, you can’t help but feel your heart bleed for them. Their path leading toward emotional and mental freedom takes time and the hope and faith of one character’s child-like view of happiness and love.

I knew going in I was going to come out happy due to their previous release; the first book in this companion series. Torn (book 1) did what no other book of it’s concept has done. She took a taboo story concept that many fun, smut writers have delivered and actually made it a genuinely beautiful story of an older man and younger girl who journey through so much pain and growth till they finally find themselves free in love. *claps* Bravo, Carian Cole, bravo.

PS. Nothing wrong with the fun, smut, taboo versions that are currently popular in the erotic romance market. Again, the beauty of any art is that there’s something for everyone.

Personally, I was just shocked and impressed that someone took that taboo concept and actually made it work that way. It was brilliant.

Tied also did not disappoint. I’m still trying to recover for that hangover. *hugs pillow and soft blankie*

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In not fun-book news, my laptop died. Dead. RIP. I feel like I’m missing a limb. It’s been 2 months. We were able to salvage 80% of the important stuff which is why I’m not spending my days rocking in a corner mumbling. The other reason I’m not rocking back and forth is cause we had just financed a new desktop for my mother’s business. I have momentarily adopted it for work purposes and such.

Because of this, I lost my video editing program hence YouTube videos for the CRW channel came to a screeching halt. *sigh*

Financially, I don’t see myself being able to get a replacement computer anytime soon which puts a lot of normal activities to a halt. It’s been a bit of a struggle and I’m trying to strategize how to create new routines and make it work.

The struggle is real.

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Photo Courtesy of: Tahereh Mafi & Ransom Riggs

Welp, that’s all for today, folks. Hope your week is productive, adventurous, and loaded with tons of belly laughs because those are just the best.

Till next time,

hugs-des

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Writing Blog

The Journey To Becoming A Writer I Didn’t Even Know I Was On

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Recently, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my love for writing. Personal issues have come to play and lately, my time to dedicate to my writing projects has dwindled. As creative people, when we and our day-to-day lives conflict with us working on our passions, guilt and frustration tend to set in.

At times, we even begin to question whether or not we are worthy of pursuing that creative passion any longer. I will be real enough to admit I’ve found myself thinking these thoughts. I’ve pictured people who’ve known about my writing pursuits saying to themselves, “Maybe she isn’t really passionate or a writer then.”

I mean, I’ve thought that. Why wouldn’t anyone else?

Which brings me back to my recent reflection times. Occasionally, in the last couple years, random memories have come to me; memories where writing has been my creative haven.

I’ve read and watched interviews from authors talking about when they began loving words. Most of them have stories about being kids in elementary, writing stories, winning contests, etc. Reading that, I’d sometimes sit back and wonder, “I don’t remember doing any of that…have I always loved writing?”

Granted, I call myself Dori because my memory is horrendous. Nonetheless, memories of nerdtastic moments have come to mind little by little. Moments that have all been a part of the journey I’ve taken towards being a writer…I just didn’t know it yet.

Taking A Trip Down Memory Lane

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Earliest Nerd Memory

We had a neighbor who was close to my mom. Her daughter was in her later teens and I was seven, I believe. I don’t remember why but she offered to teach me cursive (script handwriting) and the excitement was big, people. Right now, my heart breaks just thinking about how cursive is no longer taught in schools. I…I can’t talk about that right now. *wipes dramatic tear*

Back in the day, third grade was the year in school you would learn cursive. I was in first grade when she began teaching me. I felt very cool and “adult”. *shakes head at seven year old me’s age perspective*

Needless to say, once third grade came around and cursive was introduced to the curriculum, this little girl right here was mighty happy and perhaps a bit gloaty. Yes, gloaty; a word I just made up, thank you very much. One of my earliest nerd memories.

Eleven Years Old, Breaking Rules, Loving Detention?

The school year was fifth grade and it was during the age of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”…man, I just aged myself. Anyway, I can admit, I’ve always been the goodie two-shoes of any group. This particular time, peer pressure created a situation where seven little snot-nosed eleven year olds weren’t as sneaky and cool as they thought they were. They got caught–dirty style. This led to an unusual form of detention for all of us that lasted five days.

One of the five days, our punishment was to meet after school in the library and sit at a round table where our principal announced we each had to write a 500 word essay. While everyone in the group groaned, I, ladies and gentlemen, lit up like a freaking Christmas tree. I was so excited to hand write in my nice little cursive an essay. My nerd colors flared hard and my “cool” group most definitely shaved off some of my own cool points.

Favorite Middle School Class Ever

It wasn’t the popular elective to choose but my seventh grade little heart didn’t care. I couldn’t believe I actually had the chance to take a Creative Writing class. Middle school had been a very dark period in my life. Poetry started becoming a frequent outlet for my emotions. This elective came into my life at just the nick of time.

Emotional Outlets Found Young

From a young age, I found comfort in journaling. Anything requiring stationary tools excited me. I once gathered all of the neighborhood kids and made them sign up to be a part a club that had no rhyme or reason. The whole point was to play with forms I had from my mother’s job. I set up a station in our backyard, made them line up, and fill out these forms that made no sense to us whatsoever.

I’m laughing because this memory actually just came to me and I can’t believe I made them do that. Talk about nerd-alert.

Journals. Right.

Collecting notebooks and writing down what I was feeling while sitting alone on the floor in my room was a frequent activity. Along with writing my emotions, I would dabble and play with poetry.  I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. No one in my family is so I had no influences or access. (Now, I practically read a book a night; go figure.)

At this point, I was on a creative journey I didn’t even realize I chose to be on.

Since about eight years old, I had a dark, negative voice in my childhood who knocked down anything creative I shared. My confidence and self-esteem about any of my attempted passions was very low which taught me at an early age I should keep them secret. I still enjoyed them even if I was told I was horrible. I didn’t want to give them up, whether anything ever came of them or not. So, I began what became a staple habit in regards to my creativity; secrecy and solitude.

My first year of high school was the beginning of a creative breakthrough that would mold many years of my life to come. There, the battle between hiding my passions and taking small chances to peek out of my secured fort and seek validation began. Music, theatre, dance, and writing took center stage in my life. I was writing all the time. I wrote songs, I continued writing poetry, I wrote theatre plays and later, screenplays (movies). The idea was to go to school for film and theatre. These creative ventures consumed my life. Thus begun my journey towards writing novels.

Don’t Quit Your Day Dream

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People are going to place expectations and make assumptions about the things you love and pursue. They will happily let you know when they think something should happen by and how it should look like. Your audience and peers–and this applies to any and all forms of the entertainment industry–will set a standard. Once you’ve announced you’re pursuing this, which they too are a part of, a magnifying glass will be set over you like a stop watch; analyzing and waiting.

This isn’t always bad. You will welcome those into your life and process who will encourage you and be a constructive voice. They’ll talk you off metaphorical ledges and slap some sense into you when you need it.

Then you’ll have the bad. The pressure. The harsh criticism. The negative naysayers challenging your every move.

And last, you’ll have the innocent crowd who mean no harm. The ones who genuinely want to support you. They want what you declared to one day give them creatively and are waiting. And waiting. They wait while others just like you produce and wonder, why haven’t you yet?

In the end, yes, we create for them. But more importantly, we create for ourselves. We do it because it’s bursting through our pores wanting to sing out. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. It’s where we feel a bit at home.

Whether it takes you two months, two years, or twenty…Don’t quit your daydream. Keep dreaming. Keep creating.

hugs-des

Lets Talk BOOKS

BOOKTALK: ‘THE CO-PARENT’ by Nicole Strycharz

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The Co-Parent
Book Three of The Relationship Quo Series

Synopsis:

Brianna: My life has always been a little ironic. I’m afraid of the dark, and I’m blind. My parents were my world, but they died in 9/11. I wouldn’t mind a relationship but men perceive me as a burden.

So it shouldn’t have been a shocker that the guy I fall in ‘like’ with ends up being a top of the line player from the UK. It also shouldn’t have shocked me that the guy that was meant to be a sexy fling; just an erotic encounter to reminisce over, left me more than just a memory. He left me with a bump.

That’s okay, because when life bitch slapped me into being blind, pregnant and single…I just called ‘plot twist’ and carried on. Besides, this little surprise in my belly is relying on me to get it all right. So do we really need him?

Gabriel: Party, drink, sex, work, repeat. Sometimes I’ll throw sleep in there. Aside from that the life of a millionaire has brought me everything, but in the night is when I realize I still have nothing. Being a party animal might be frowned upon but it led me to her.

She’s the most fascinating woman I’ve ever met and her body and flaming hair make me wild. Can’t trust women, though. That’s why I left. Best not to give women power, but now she’s carrying my child.

Brianna’s unique, though. She doesn’t want my money, she wants my partnership. She wants to ‘co-parent.’ What the bloody hell is a man like me supposed to do with a child? I still live like one. So here’s my options. Persuade her to forget it. Walk away or Stay.

But can I stay? Can I be the co-pilot she needs and the father our child deserves?

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My Thoughts:

I can not even begin to express all my thoughts and emotions on this book. They’re all over the place and I want to tell y’all all the things but at the same time, don’t want to spoiler you from experiencing it for yourself.

Each book I read from Nicole blows me away. I’ve said it for all her books; this woman takes you on a JOURNEY. She crafts these 3D characters and they’re events through time brilliantly.

From the beginning, I absolutely LOVED Bri. We got a glimpse of her quirky spunk in the previous Relationship Quo series book, THE FRIEND ZONE. In her own book, THE CO-PARENT, my heart instantly felt connected to her and her upbringing. For those who read THE FRIEND ZONE, you’ll enjoy that we get Chloe and Bri bestie goodness.

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Bri’s motto when life’s being a punk is, PLOT TWIST. I loved that. This girl made me laugh so many freaking times. Not a huge spoiler, but if you read the previous book you already know she’s blind. The brilliance of how we experienced Bri’s world as a blind person was beautiful, unique, and inspiring. Bri didn’t let anything hold her back from living a full life.

We meet Gabe…hot, British, bad boy Gabe. This boy has issues. This boy is broken. This boy goes through a long and rough journey to learn how to love and be loved. Prime jewel of the bad boy cart and yet, so much of who he is and what he deals with feels raw and new.

Get ready, cause this author did something I have not seen another author do! The reason it was brilliant and the reason it worked was because these characters and their situations are so raw and real. I loved this book so much!

The Scoop!

The RELATIONSHIP QUO SERIES is far from over!!! More couples! More unique situations we always find ourselves in with this crazy game called, Love!

Check out Nicole’s books and follow her on social media! Happy reading, friends!

hugs-des

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Nicole has been writing historical romance for over ten years. Her passion for history fuels the creativity for her novels and she finds the tools there to create a compelling plot.

However, she’s evolved into writing contemporary romance as well, with more modern stories to come.

“The Divorce” and “Meadow Creek” are both nominated in the 2016 Indie Book Awards! “The Divorce” also won second place in the 2016 Best Cover Design in ‘Urban Literature Magazine.’

Nicole lives in Virginia with her three children and their amazing Grandparents. She is always reading or working on the next book between mommyhood adventures.

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Lifestyle

Quick Life + YouTube Channel Update

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Oh, 2017, you’re definitely keeping me on my toes and we’ve just met!

With 2017, came tons of deep thoughts about life, where one finds themselves in this current time, what one wants for their future, etc. All the deep thoughts. *sighs, rolling her eyes*

Deep life thoughts are nothing new for me (because I overanalyze EVERYTHING) and in the past, they came with very little follow through when it came to certain desired changes. Subconsciously, I thought, if these things were meant to happen, then the universe would make them happen.

Pff! Yeah, well.

I’ve given the universe way too much damn credit and power and have wasted many a’ years waiting for things I want to happen instead of MAKING them happen.

This has been the new motto and determination I’ve had for this new year. Not to get too personal but I have desired many things in my life, especially creatively–among other things–and to a certain extent, you work hard for them but in part, you’re also waiting for life to make the other half of the equation happen.

I ran into a fortune cookie last year and before you laugh, it was perhaps the first and only fortune that stopped me in my tracks and I took seriously.

Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.

It challenged me, caused me to ask myself the tough questions. Was I really working hard enough, giving my BEST toward the things I want?

And the answer was, nope. I wasn’t. So, what was I going to do about it?

The first month of this new year has already been a bit overwhelming with huge shifts in my small business and also my family organizing a spontaneous move. And though, my brain wants to shut down and not work as hard as I could, I’m finding ways to be reinspired daily because there’s tons to do and falling more behind, leading me further and further from the things I really want will only hurt, frustrate, and disappoint me. Those aren’t healthy emotions I should be encouraging.

“Old habits die hard,” they say. Being kinder to yourself. Here’s taking it all one day at a time, challenging your level of true productivity and making our dreams, desires, and goals come true.

Welp, folks. This got a bit personal. I just needed to let that out and who knows, maybe someone else needed to “hear” it too.

Below is a quick YouTube channel update. Till next time, friends!

hugs-des