Humor · Musings · What I Do When I'm Not Wrting · Writing · Writing Life

Blogging; Re-Hatched #AmWriting

Let’s see if I still know how to do this blogging thing, here…

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Image by funnylove @ DeviantArt

I’m back to blogging after several months of sorting out personal and business things. Never fear-all is well. If it weren’t for WordPress notifying me that my renewal was coming up, I might not have been back as soon, though. I guess you could say I lost my footing for a while in where I wanted to go with everything. After the closing of my publisher’s business, a year or so ago, it caused me to wonder: what am I doing with this writing thing and why?

I’ve published two novellas and a few short stories. They are no longer available online. Sadly, I felt the need to let them all rest for a while. I doubt they will re-published. I just don’t feel right about it. I’d like to go a different direction, more consistent with my life, today.

I’ve tried to be on Facebook for little bit, but it seems weird. I like blogging, Twitter, and Pinterest way more. Also, you’ll see I’m turning off comments on my blog posts now. It isn’t because I don’t LOVE my excellent readers-I DO! However, there are endless ways of contacting me aside from the blog commenting. I love to hang on Twitter and most of you all can email anytime to respond to something that resonates with you. It’s a matter of having the communication flowing a couple of ways instead of all directions. I’d rather be able to respond to you in a live tweet or email than checking a ton of inboxes on Goodreads, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

I’ll be back soon to let you know what I’m thinking of on the writing front and otherwise. Thanks for waiting on me 😉

Email:

lauriekozlowskiauthor@gmail.com

Humor · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Directing Professional Growth Through Stress

An author is a force to be reckoned with as they juggle endless duties. From administrative tasks, to marketing implementation; then continuous study/brushing up of the writing craft and publishing; also, reading books in and out of their chosen genre for a well-rounded literary palate. This is only the tip of the iceberg for most authors. For those who are new to reading my blog, I write romantic fiction and multi-genre short stories. In professional terms, I consider myself a newbie self-starter at three years into the journey. For a year I blogged and have continued to blog. The next year I added in self-publishing two works of fiction – Serendipity Summer, a heartwarming and comical romance, was picked up by Booktrope Media and Publishing. October of 2015 Serendipity Summer was re-published by Booktrope. And now as we approach 2016 I’m looking forward to continuing the second book to follow Serendipity Summer in the Riverbend Way series.

In the time I’ve been building a social platform, writing, and publishing, I’ve noticed a majority of authors (including myself) are fueled by the challenge and madness of it all. After three years of being self-published and hybrid-published, there are many writers who are “rich” in giving of themselves even with no immediate monetary success. I think several authors experience what I have experienced at one time or another in their career: we continue to do what we do because our lives are enriched in some way with the process of writing, producing, publishing, and connecting with others who appreciate it, too.

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Whether authors and writers (one and the same, IMO!) want to admit it or not there is an emotionally rewarding “payoff” to the madness. The return on investment (ROI) surely isn’t immediate when we start out and for some unfortunate ones not at all. Then if caught in a weak moment and discouragement sets in, it’s easy to buy into the “art doesn’t pay” trope just about every writer has heard from friends, family, and strangers alike. They do have a point. Tweet: Many writers have separate careers from writing and publishing. It takes time. #LaurieWriting Many writers have separate careers from writing and publishing. It takes time. Everyone has an opinion and they have a right to it! Authors know about the right to opinions better than just about anyone. So then the author has a big decision to make each time they are challenged with so much it’s nearly too much to manage: act out or act on the pressure-task-cooker they’ve stewed in for the love of their art.

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*************REDEEM MY GIFT************

Yet there are OPINIONS ALL AROUND. Little is more valuable to a writer than to be able to visit a website knowing that what they read will lift their spirits. Perhaps it’s time to weed out some of the more negative perspectives on the people I follow, like, retweet, and friend to reflect my own positive outlook for writing and author community. I get that authors can sometimes be difficult, moody, and hard to work with-but diverse types of personalities are everywhere. Generally everyone goes through slumps, defeats, and success.

I wonder sometimes when I skim articles shaking their proverbial finger or fists at authors for not doing EVERYTHING if the people writing the pieces have actually re-read their manipulating content of all the things authors could do better. Sure, a lot of the posts hold great writing craft and marketing tips, but at what cost to the writers value of their individual process? Writers, haven’t we heard over and over and over: PROTECT YOUR CREATIVITY.

So why do we (yes, me too-though not as much as I used to because there are times when it doesn’t serve my writing process or motivation) continue to absorb what I like to call “tough-love” information in our precious reading time?

It could be tough-love motivates you (me)? Suggested content of an article screams :”here’s the heart where my art was born, please stab it with your scoured word-spear” -your mouse clicks the link- and the brain replies, “yes, please!”

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img cred: newsnster.com

Facing the negative, not responding to it, and taking from it what serves your writing process is a clear indication of professional maturity. As we continue to write, we allow an internal compass to guide us. This compass is a combination of self-discipline (directly benefits our interests) and what some call a thick skin (directly benefits others interests): Our Interests + The Interests of Others = The Sweet Spot where stress has potential to become a compass for professional growth and direction.

If you take something with you from my ramblings today, please remember it’s okay to re-direct your goals this year and adjust your internal compass. Tweet: Stick with what nurtures your health and well-being. Always be writing. #LaurieWriting Stick with what nurtures your health and well-being. Always be writing. 

I’ll leave you with a paraphrased quote from  friend who guided me into the publishing waters:

I realized after nine books, working with an agent, and treading water in traditional publishing -then going into self-publishing and being my own agent-that someone somewhere wanted to read my books. Then gradually many someones read my books. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Next Week on LaurieWriting: 

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Humor · Inspiration · Movies

Sleep is for the WEAK. Unless You’re Human.

A few friends and I joke about being vampires because we work indoors all day, and we love to read all night. It’s a notable quality to have a sense of humor when life is busy or throws unexpected “OMG. Why is this happening?” moments our way. I’d like to forewarn you, this post will be a bunch of weird, rambling musings. I’m pretty sure my head might fall to the floor and roll around at any moment. No worries, it’s detachable head syndrome. I pick it right back up, and it fits back on my shoulders until it falls off again.

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Image credit: pumpkincraze.com 

I’ve undergone a lot of the “OMG” moments while simultaneously also thinking “Wow. This is really happening.”

A month ago, when I had time to watch television without losing sleep, the current season of the show Nashville ended. It may have ended before that, but the fog is thick in memory lately, so go with it. 😉 Anyway. Nashville is an over-the-top drama that I find entertaining and funny. I am sad to see the season end so until next season is on Netflix; I’m watching Monarch of the Glen.

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I found the new-to-me show on BBC and I love it. This thought leads me to an “OMG” : O.M.G. I apparently have the feels for countryside mini-series in whatever country around the world.

Buy me a bonnet, I’m bonnie!

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It’s possible to walk through a pasture used for parking and not step in a cow-pie. For those who aren’t familiar with what a cow-pie is: it is cow or bull poo. My daughter and I walked a half a mile, some of it through uneven pastureland used for parking at the Fall Festival. It was worth it to see my husband cross the finish line in his first 5k race. I wanted a picture of him, but my phone went dead, but here’s his smiling and handsome face. Next to him is my nephew who ran beside him.

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This leads me to another OMG thought: O.M.G. I am so proud of my husband for running his first 5k. I’m glad I didn’t sprain and ankle carrying the cooler with their drinks in it through the field. Thank you, cows, for not leaving your crap in our immediate path.

I knew from the start that writing is a full-time job with minimal pay–if any–until years from starting the journey two years ago. I’m still swimming in the writing waters with an optimistic spirit though some days seem more jaded than others. I know I am meant to write and publish, and I’m at peace with the decisions I make in writing. I’m exceptionally happy to have gotten in with Booktrope Publishing and work with team professionals. All this happening over the course of a couple of years leads me to another OMG: O.M.G. the book that first started as a popular blog series has transformed into viable word-baby novella that a publisher loves.

But to be fair–I loved it first 🙂

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Serendipity Summer — To be released October, 2015

In Laurie Kozlowski’s contemporary romance novella, Serendipity Summer, friends once separated by life’s unexpected challenges discover they have a second chance at love in the charming mountain town of Riverbend, Tennessee. Jake and Anna reunite during a sensual, late-night swim and restoring an old inn together blasts their chemistry off the charts. But as destiny urges their hearts forward, intruding secrets from the past threaten their opportunity to finally have lasting happiness.
Serendipity Summer is the first book in the Riverbend Way series and reflects small-town life, includes some comical relief, and incorporates heartwarming characters who triumph over difficult life circumstances.
Please note: Serendipity Summer contains detailed sex scenes and occasional strong language. This series is recommended only for those 18 years and older.

This post concludes a few O.M.G. meandering thoughts swirling around in my brain. If you have any to share, put ’em in comments (‘omg’ thoughts, I mean. Please do not leave your brains in comments. The comment section of this post is a brain-removal free zone. lol) I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

Humor · Writing Life

Playing Hooky! #crochet #writing #humor

My daughter informed me that she and her friends do the “OooOooh… I’m telling” thing at school but they do it different than I’ve ever heard. They say “OoooOh…you look nice today.” When she shared this with me I could not keep the giggles in.
So I’m ‘telling’ on myself today. 😉 I crochet between writing sprints to give my eyes a break from the screen. I love learning new designs. After two days, I’ve gotten the star stitch down. It’s beautiful! ( OoooOhh.. it’s beautiful.) Lol. 😀
Here is what my painting/craft desk looks like:

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But now it’s back to writing! No more playing hooky.
Have a great weekend! 

Health and Wellness · Humor

To Su-shi, or Not to Sushi:That is The Question #food

I’ve always wanted to live near the ocean, but not because of the beach or sailing or sunrise over gorgeous, expansive waters–for the fresh seafood. One of my favorite places to visit is Charleston, South Carolina. Southend Brewery in downtown South Carolina has delicious she-crab soup. One year, before our daughter was born, we went just for the soup! Plus my husband is a curious student of history and Charleston overflows with unusual, entertaining, and sometimes disturbing historical truths. But this post is about a lighter topic: to sushi, or not to sushi?

Back to the thing about seafood.

Seafood and chicken are a reliable source of protein to avoid hunger pangs and I’ve been pre-preparing weekly meals. I’m taking my time and not depriving myself, exersizing a few times a week and eating delicious and fresh food. I’ve lost five pounds in a month, and energy is increasing more each day. I pre-prepare meals on the weekend (and sometimes in the middle of the week, if possible because fresh veggies and fruit from the farmer’s market).
Foodies will understand when I say, I did not want to mess with sushi. Unless it is from the kitchen of a sushi chef, it couldn’t be remotely good.I love sushi. Cooked or uncooked. Drizzled with sauce or not. Ginger, ginger, ginger, nom nom nom nom —
Er…yeah. So it’s goooood.
But I am not a sushi chef. I do not aspire to be one. I respectfully resign from the notion I could or would ever be a decent fish-slicer, seaweed roller, or sticky-rice super sushi-chef ninja.
So now that we’ve established THAT: this weekend I made sushi.
Here is my first attempt:
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BEHOLD. The enormous and overly-stuffed lemon-peppered talapia, fluffed jasmine rice, and seared asparagus in a common, disposable tupperware container.

And (better) second attempt:
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OH LOOK. My tiny sushi ninja-chef emerged. 

Hey. Let’s not forget the nom, nom ginger (below the sushi roll slices) and drizzled hoisin sauce.

Ohhhhh….yeaaaaah.

It may not be from a sushi-chef kitchen, but it’s fresh and delicious from my kitchen! Quite a delicious meal to eat until we make it to Charleston, or somewhere near the ocean again. 😀

Thanks for stopping by to read my post. I write romantic fiction with heart and humor and I am represented by Booktrope publishing. My newest release will be launching soon. That means I’ll be giving away book swag to readers soon though my blog! Don’t miss the giveaways. I love to show my appreciation for your support. Giveaway announcements and other fun opportunities are announced first and foremost on this blog. Be sure to follow my blog so we can keep in touch! Also, I have a Facebook page, if you’d like to connect there. Don’t forget to like the page and choose to “show first in newsfeed” or else Facebook may hide the post from you! Have a great week and take care. ~ Laurie Kozlowski

Humor · Music · What I Do When I'm Not Wrting

6 Things Fans of the Show #Nashville will Understand #humor #tv

Being a mom is amazing and weird. My child is almost seven years old, and I’m only beginning to watch TV again since–
(Crickets chirp) (Bullfrog croaks) (Seven Christmases pass by)

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Someone received their gifts early.

So we ditched our satellite and we use Roku instead. The show Nashville is one of the few shows I can’t stop watching. Don’t ask me why I enjoy the predictable and over-the-top modern soap opera. Or why I giggle at Rayna’s bitch face and fist-pump the air when a character does the “right” thing…only to screw it up by the next episode. It could be the same reason people scratch private areas when no one is looking or eat crocodile.

I became annoyed by the end of the first season of the show, yet it’s three seasons in and I won’t stop watching. I’m hypnotized as the characters continue to fail and succeed and go crazy and die and sing decent and shit. (Not that last part for real. Gross.)

Those who enjoy the show as much as I have will know about how certain characters in this series portray their roles. Today I’d like to point out a few obvious but interesting characteristics from the main people in the show.

I love Julianne. To start out, I disliked her. She is snobby and snotty and came across as a brat. As the series evolved (it escalates quickly!), she won me over. Throughout everything, Julianne never lets me down in one aspect:

The Barbie-Back-Posturing

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I’m convinced Julianne hasn’t bent her back a day in her life. I wonder how she shaves her legs. Probably LASIK.

Will Lexington will always be gay, sexy, and an unavailable cowboy much to the dismay of all straight women around the globe. Good for him, though. 

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Damnit.

Rayna James executes the perfect resting bitch face. Even her smug expression reeks of bitch faceness.

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Deacon Clayborne is the most profound of all lead male characters though he uses simple vocabulary. His hair is perfect in the manly-mused way, too.

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Avery means well, but he has the hormones and mood swings of a PMS’ing pregnant woman on steroids. Speaking metaphorically.

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Scarlett has two boyfriends at the same time. Avery may have his heart taken, but he has fallen for sweet Scarlett lock, stock, and barrel. Gunnar is the least jealous of the three. I hope Scarlett leaves both of them and her mother behind to sing acapella in Vegas.

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Some Other Reasons Why I Love This Show

This.

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This.

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And this.

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Ya’ll come back now, d’ya hear?

Flash Fiction · Health and Wellness · Humor · Inspiration · Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Mental Health · Movies · Music · Musings · Uncategorized · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Go-To Resources To Unleash Creativity

There are times when we need to change up our routine to keep sane. For instance, if you work in the same cubicle doing the same tasks for the same minimal pay–perhaps your life could benefit from creativity. Or if you’ve finally taken time off to use your vacation time and don’t want feel like you need a vacation (from) vacation, simple creative activities could help.

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Check out this list of go-to resources to unleash creativity and use the ones that catch your interest. The lists are in two categories: writing related and non-writing related. I admit most of the recommendations are veered toward introverts because I’m a happy and proud introvert myself. 🙂

Writing Related

The thrill is gone. Once upon a time you had the feels for the book or story you started, but the thrill is gone. Maybe you need a break from a long-term goal. Your imagination can go wild when you write flash fiction. From 100-1,000 words, challenge yourself with a new story trope or idea.

Not sure about where to find ideas? Try TVtropes.org and find tropes from your favorite categories and genres related to movies and TV shows. Finish your story piece and publish it or keep it to develop later. But finish it. You did it! Now go back to that big idea. You can do that too.

No idea where to start or what to do. Do you like movies? Most people have a favorite movie they know or can quote. They are familiar with the story. But have you ever applied your writing to one of your favorite movies? Screenwriting tips from Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” method uses a three-beat system to divide scenes up into three beats. Take a look and print off the worksheets. Then sit down and take brief notes when you watch the scenes in your favorite film or even tv show. You’ll eventually begin to grasp story structure.

Apply what you learned about writing to a short story idea. Perhaps the story could also have potential to become a working outline for a novel (Here is a helpful site to download free resources to outline a novel, when you’re ready.) You’re off to a great start. Keep writing!

Blog? What is this blog thing and how do I do it? A blog is a place of unlimited potential for just about anyone. You can make a blog as formal, as funny, as serious as you want to make it. It can be on any subject under the sun. Blogs are happy places where you can be yourself on your part of the web. You’re able to monitor comments or turn them off. Blogs LAST beyond the ever-changing whims of social media channels. Check out Hubspot’s blog topic generator for ideas on what to post. Visit bookpromotion.com to know how to effectively pimp your blog out. Also, don’t be afraid to go to your favorite blogs and see what they are doing. Copying posts is a BIG no-no without permission from the author, but you may come across content that inspires you to write your own spin on the topic.

“I’m all out of love for ideas.” Yeah. We’ve all been here before. It sucks. To re-vamp your inspiration try Pinterest. Type in some of your interests or things related to your interests. Like if you enjoy cooking, type “recipes” or if you only like to eat vegan type “vegan food.”

Non-Writing Related

Oh my, are the options endless here. I’ll throw a few out for you to explore. Of course, if you think of any others, do those too. You know you better than anyone.

*Love Machines (technology)*

I-Movie is a fun way to create a movie or book trailer. It’s simple to put something together and share it with friends for fun or compile something for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. The music is pre-loaded, but I think you’re also able to upload your own music. Just be sure to use royalty free images and music.

Did you know you can create simple memes, Facebook banners, and jazz up your photos in MS Word and Pages for Mac? You can. It’s time- consuming, but for those who love to tweak (not twirk) until the sun comes up, you’ll love doing this. Here’s a YouTube tutorial for Facebook banners . There is a ton of instructional videos on how to design on Word or in Pages (for Mac.) Go crazy designing and show off your work.

Move to the beat. Playlists encourage movement and happiness. If you’re sad, there’s a song for it. If you’re mad, there’s a song for it. Playlists on Spotify are a fun way to categorize music for whatever mood you want to nurture. If you’d rather bypass the low monthly fee, try I Heart Radio. There will be commercials on your favorite radio stations, but that is why it’s free. YouTube is another way to categorize music videos into stations, and it works sort of like a playlist. If you’d rather not be bothered with ads, the small monthly fee is well worth it.

*Hands-On Hobbies/Occupations*

Crocheting is a skill that can be learned and is a creative and relaxing way to create numerous things. Check out Crotchet Guru on YouTube.

Repurposing home goods is good for the environment, but it also saves money and encourages practical solutions in a creative way. Here are some ideas from a previous post I’ve written. Pick something you like to do and make it your mission to complete it.

Pottery creation is a way to spin ideas while creating original art. You can paint, glue, and design to your heart’s content. Then use the final product later as a centerpiece, stepping stone, or pen holder.

Adult coloring books are a thing now. Check out these free and printable designs. For those who are mentally burned out, coloring is a subconscious way to soothe anxiety and stress associated with burnout.

Cuddle an animal if you have high blood pressure, PTSD, have anxiety or depression, or want a better perspective on life. Local animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to walk and care for the animals. The advantage to volunteering is that you’re able to love on the animals too. When potential adoptive parents come in to ask about the animals, you’ll know their best attributes so they’ll find a loving home. Who doesn’t need more love in their life?


Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow this blog. I follow back and enjoy keeping in touch through blogs and email. My email is authorlauriekozlowski@gmail.com . I have two FREE flash fiction stories for you to enjoy. The first one is a humor diddy: Undercover Panty Agent . The second story is suspense: Dagger of The Damned. My usual genre is contemporary romance fiction and I write for Booktrope Publishing. More on recent publications can be found >here<.  I have book to be released soon and will set up a newsletter because it will be fast forward from there! 🙂 Happy reading and writing!

Laurie Kozlowski