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Lori Waters

Easy Pot Pie for the Busy Writer!

There is nothing better than a nice warm meal on a chilly autumn night.  However, when you’re in writer mode there’s not a lot of time to spend dallying in the kitchen. Following along with our Bad Girl theme this month, Quick Meals for Writers, I wanted to share one of my easy-to-make, family favorites.

Double Crusted Chicken Pot Pie

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Ingredients:

2 (9 inch) refrigerator pie crust

1 to 2 packages of pre-cooked chicken (Or you can prepare fresh or cut from a rotisserie Chicken)

1 (16 oz.) can mixed vegetables drained

1 can of cream of chicken soup

½ tsp. of Old Bay seasoning

1/4 tsp. of pepper

Directions:

Fit one pie crust into the bottom of pie pan (do not bake)

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and spoon into pie crust

Place remaining crust on top. Fold edges together. (You can cut off extra crust and fork the edges if you like but the crust is my favorite part, so I fold together)

Cut four slits in the top

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes!  (Let stand for ten minutes before serving)

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There you have it. Easy-Peasy! Stay warm and stay writing!

Remember to Dream Big!

4 Comments

Body Well Done?!

scooter - CopyThis month we are doing our series on maintaining good health as we pursue our writing careers. When you type for a living, you find yourself sitting A LOT. When you sit a lot, it’s easy to spread A LOT. 🙂 Technology is trying to help our dilemma with things like the treadmill desk, but as for me, I do all my writing from a chair. I really don’t have room for a treadmill desk and let’s be honest, it would be one more piece of workout equipment bought at retail and sold at yard-sale.

I wish I could tell you that I was a vision of health and could provide you with helpful tips on this subject, but I’d be a hypocrite. I struggle with this daily.  However, I refuse to give up on the pursuit of getting healthy. In fact, I was recently taught a very valuable lesson concerning health. I became pretty good at complaining about my body. It’s too soft, too achy, and it doesn’t work as well as it once did.

NOT ANYMORE!

I’m not sure if you noticed, but I missed my last blog date because I took a hard tumble. I could barely move my hand much less type a post. I’d like to say that the fall was from something exciting like rock climbing, but in all honesty, it was just a clumsy misstep from one deck landing to another. While I was recovering the awesome Sally Kilpatrick filled in for me. Thanks again Sally. You rock!

Now that I’ve piqued your curiosity, I broke a crucial bone in my foot, badly sprained my wrist, and took a nice hit on what my father loved to reference throughout my youth as my hard head. 🙂 It hurt! It hurt really badly! It still hurts! That was seven long weeks ago, and I’m still dragging around on a knee scooter and according to my doctor, I have at least another three weeks to go. My family has jumped in and helped out with household responsibilities, however seven weeks later, my mental health is taking its toll. Who would have thought I’d miss loading the dishwasher or walking the dog? All I want is the use of the body I became so good at complaining about. I have a greater appreciation for simple things like getting my own water or making my word count.

Please know that I’m not telling you my story for sympathy, that’s for sure. There are so many people with bigger health issues then my broken foot. I’m telling you this because, maybe like me, your body isn’t as healthy as you’d like it to be. Perhaps you also complain about how you look or how achy you feel. I’m telling you my story in hopes that you will start to appreciate the body you have this very second. Not the one you’ll have ten to twenty pounds from now. I challenge you to be thankful for your body and your health just the way it is!

I’m not saying we should settle here. Should we strive to be healthier? Absolutely! These past few weeks have been enlightening. I want to do more for the body that has done so much for me, by making better food choices, exercising daily and clearing the mental clutter from my mind. I want to show my gratitude for a body well done!

How about you?

Remember to Dream Big!

9 Comments

Remember to Dream Big! Once More!

dream bigEverywhere I look lately people seem to be stressed out—floating through life uninspired. If they have big dreams, you wouldn’t know it by talking with them. Sure, life is hard and it’s easy to let our dreams slip away. They become more of an unrealistic fantasy than a possibility. I’ve told you before, and I’ll probably tell you a few million times more if that’s what it takes, but please DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!

Did you know Morgan Freeman didn’t land his first big movie role until he was over fifty years old? Let that sink in a moment. He had done some work on stage and in television, but he didn’t make his true mark on cinema until he was the big 5-0. What if he’d given up trying in his thirties or forties because it was too hard, the competition was too tough, or he’d felt he was too old to break into the business? I hate to imagine the enormous void that Hollywood and we as movie goers would have suffered without his vast talent. The good news is we don’t have to imagine such a thing because Morgan Freeman had a dream AND he knew how to Dream Big!

I encourage you to get your dreams back and think of them often. Visualize your dream becoming a reality, down to the smallest detail. My big dream is to one day win an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Once you stop laughing, we can continue. 🙂 But seriously, it is.

There’s a scene, I let play over and over in my mind. I’m sitting in the audience of the Dolby Theater, waiting breathless as the screenwriter category is being announced. I can feel the soft silk of my gown brush against my legs. My eyes are downcast, too nervous to look up, and I can see where the chair in front of me is bolted to the floor. I feel the gentle squeeze of my husband’s fingers against mine as my name is announced along with the other nominees. I hear the actor say, “And the Oscar goes to Lori Waters for to be determined.”

My point is this; you need to clearly-visualize-your-dream as if it is already a reality! Of course, it’s going to take more than a visualization exercise to achieve your big dream.  A plan of action is required.

A successful dream is achieved by a series of accomplished goals.

Everyone needs to set goals. Setting goals holds us accountable. Every writer should have a word count goal rather it’s daily, weekly, or monthly. If your big dream is to hit the New York Times Best Sellers list, you must write the words.

Make sure your goals fit into your lifestyle. We all have different schedules, and one size does not fit all. For example, you may be best friends with Suzie Writes A lot. Suzie sits at her computer every day, even Thanksgiving and Christmas and writes 3,000 words. Nothing gets in the way of her daily word count. Well bravo to Suzie for accomplishing her daily goal, but please, please, please don’t force her goals upon yourself. You will end up falling head-first into a comparison black-hole, which in turn will leave your dreams and your self-esteem nowhere to be found.

I had a friend once say to me, “Lori, dreams are just a set up for failure and disappointment.” I respectfully, disagree. Dreams are the spark of hope that lives in each one of us encouraging us to do better and to be better. Without hope, what is there?

Don’t let living life on this complex planet steal your dreams. I will always have dreams, and I hope you will too.

And always remember to Dream Big!

12 Comments

Rushed or Ready!

I’ve spent the last few months working on a new project, and the adventure has been quite interesting. I’m writing a screenplay. Or should I say I’m trying to write a screenplay. There is this awesome screenplay contest for female writers over the age of forty, and the deadline for entries is early April. So when I started this endeavor, I based my completion date to be around that time frame.

My goal was to have it written, reworked and reviewed by my critique partners by the end of March.

I didn’t sit down blind, mind you. I’ve taken a few screenwriting courses over the last couple of years, read several craft books and purchased a great software program to help make the adjustment from writing novels to the visual medium of movies.

It’s not like I haven’t written a few books. How hard could this transition be? Piece of cake—right? Ummm….no! Wrong! In no way am I saying that writing a screenplay is harder than writing a novel. I’m just saying it’s different. Very different.

The FORMATTING alone that comes along with screenwriting has sent me crying in my wine glass a few times. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with how it works, but you are stopping constantly to change scene location, action and label dialogue.

Example:

INT. LORI’S OFFICE – AFTERNOON

Lori grabs her laptop and car keys and heads out the door.

EXT. PARKING LOT – AFTERNOON CONTINUED.

Lori hurries to her red mustang parked close to the building in a spot marked reserved. A hot guy leans against a truck in the next space over.

                                                                HOT GUY

                                                Nice car!

                                                                LORI

                                                Thanks . . .

Later if she actually gets in the car, you’re stopping AGAIN for INT., etc., etc. The constant interruption in the flow of the writing has taken me a while to get used to. Then there’s the fact that you only have 120 pages to tell your entire story. And in movies, the industry professionals like to see a lot of white space on those 120 pages.

When I’m writing novels, I have more time to describe my characters, actions and settings. I can get into their thoughts with deep POV. With screenplays you’re limited to only what you can see and hear.

Trust me, I’m not complaining. I love this new adventure I’ve embarked on. LOVE IT! Even so, with the adjustment being a little more complicated then I’d anticipated, I’ve had to face the harsh reality that  there is no way I will make the contest deadline. Sure, I could rush the process and send something in, but if I want this to be the best screenplay that I’m capable of writing, I’ll need to admit defeat. At least with this one contest.

Which leads me back to RUSHED or READY?

Have you ever found yourself in this type of situation? Maybe you’re under deadline and you find your work feels more rushed than ready. Unfortunately with the demands publishers are putting on their authors these days, the challenges are becoming more and more common.

However, if you’re not under deadline, please don’t be in such a hurry to enter a contest or send in a submission that’s not ready. Make sure you’re submitting the best work possible. You want your story to impress and stand out from the others. This is not an excuse to slack off on writing. Writers must write, just don’t rush it.

I know I’m missing my goal deadline but on the bright side, I plan to enter some other contest this year once my screenplay is complete. I’ve recently started reading another craft book for more advice on this new and strange way of writing, Michael Hauge’s, Writing Screenplays That Sell.2016-03-17 07.49.38

This way when I do submit I will feel confident in the fact that I’m READY!

How about you? Does your project have you feeling rushed or ready? I’d love to talk about it!

Remember to Dream Big!

8 Comments

Reading, Writing and Romance!

books 1I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. There’s something thrilling about the way a book can transport you from the hum-drum life of housework and carpool, to an English ballroom with silk gowns and handsome Lords, in a matter of seconds.

However, reading didn’t always come so easily for me. I remember walking the rows of my elementary school library running my fingers along the spines of all the magical stories wanting to be told. Yet unfortunately for me, if the books didn’t come with a picture scattered here and there to help me follow along with the story, I could easily become lost. So my options were limited.

Having two children with reading disabilities, it’s so obvious to me now that I suffered from the same undiagnosed challenges, but in the seventies, it was labeled lazy or disinterested. At least, that’s what my teachers would write on my report cards.

Even with my struggles, I didn’t stop reading. I couldn’t. I found as I got older and with practice, reading became a little easier. I still missed important words in text and flipped words around, but I’d recognize my mistake by the awkward flow of the sentence. The constant challenge to read one sentence after another, however, led to frustration and I hardly ever finished a book in its entirety.

THAT IS, until my best friend lent me her copy of Shanna by the great Kathleene Woodiwiss. It took me forever to read that book. Have you seen it? It’s huge. But I eventually did finish and became hooked on the wonderful world of Romance fiction.

I fell head over heels in love with Johanna Lindsey and her hero Viking Gods. Garrick! Selig! A shirtless giant, slinging a sword-YES PLEASE! I couldn’t get enough. Johanna Lindsey fan for life!

My sister suggested I read Mary Jo Putney. So I did. I was so used to my heroes being the cover model of everything perfect, from big huge muscles and gorgeous chiseled faces. Putney’s flawed and imperfect men were a bit of an adjustment for me, but only for about two beats of a second. You can’t help but adore her vulnerable heroes and simple, yet lovely heroines.

These authors ignited something inside of me. A desire to create my own captivating land of make believe. I’d composed a few short stories in high school. When I was twenty-two, I scrawled my first full length, HAND WRITTEN novel in a five subject notebook. My hero was based on Don Johnson’s character from Miami Vice. Stop laughing!!! The point is I’ve loved telling tales, for as long as I can remember.

I lived secretly under this shadow of insecurity. Could I dare think it possible that I could become a published author with my challenges? It took me years, but I did get published and it was an unbelievable feeling. Don’t get me wrong, the struggle is real and it still affects me now, but my desire to write is ultimately stronger.

So Dear Bad Girlz of the world, the moral of my story is this: Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from accomplishing your dreams. We are more courageous than we realize.

By the way, all those report cards many years ago, also came attached with “Lori spends way too much time daydreaming.” And they said that as if it were a bad thing. 🙂 When I looked out the window to the playground, I didn’t see monkey bars and see-saws. I saw ships and planks and pirates.

What authors inspired you to become a writer or an avid reader? I’d love to hear about them.

Remember to Dream Big!

18 Comments

CHRISTMAS AT THE REKINDLE INN release day!

Christmas at the Rekindle Inn

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Christmas is my favorite time of year, but this year is even more special. My debut novel, CHRISTMAS AT THE REKINDLE INN, is officially released today!

~Welcome to the Rekindle Inn~

JT and Mary receive an early Christmas present from their parents—a week’s vacation at a beautiful romantic inn in snowy Vermont. It’s the perfect getaway . . . unless you’re a month away from a finalized divorce.  A battle of wills may be what sends this couple to the lively North-Pole spirited town.  But when they arrive their search for closure is quickly transformed into something magical that can only be found at the Rekindle Inn.

 

 

JT’s eyes scanned the room.

Had his body tensed the second he recognized her?

Mary’s heart plummeted. Why did she care if he was happy to see her?

He closed the distance in a few long strides,

stealing the breath from her lungs with every step.

“Hey.” JT slid onto the barstool beside her.

“Hey.”

He flagged down the bartender. “Can I get a

draft?” His gaze loomed over her empty glass. “Make

that two.”

The bartender waited for her approval. She nodded,

and the big guy snatched her mug and turned to the tap.

“I started to think you weren’t coming.”

JT frowned. “Yeah, sorry. Got held up at work.”

“There’s a surprise.”

“Wow. I’ve missed that sarcasm.”

Her stomach tightened. Why had she said that? She

could care less how much time he put in at the job these

days as long as she didn’t have to stay up nights waiting

for him anymore. Afraid he’d been hurt on the job or

worse. Nope. Her days of worrying over Joseph Tanner

Walker and his workaholic ways were behind her. He

could live in the site trailer for all she cared.

“So what’s up? I’m guessing you received the so called

present from the folks?” He slipped off his jacket

and slung it onto an empty stool before propping huge

flannelled biceps on the bar. Mary caught the familiar

whiff of musk and soap.

She picked up her brochure of said Christmas

present, and fanned herself. The bar was stifling.

What’d they have the thermostat set on—order another

cold beer?

Amazon

Barnes and Noble 

The Wild Rose Press

Remember to Dream Big!

4 Comments

Great, Awful, Repeat!

writer picBad Girlz Series: My best and worst day as a writer.

Trying to narrow down my worst day as a writer is like picking out my worst dental experience–too many to choose!

It was a terrible day when I received my first rejection notice from a contest I’d entered.  Reading over the judge’s comments, “Was your hero trying to be romantic, because he came across as gross?” Inner me, “Thanks. Way to sugar-coat it there, contest judge.”  Painful, so painful.   Anyway, similar emotions and looming doubts resurfaced with my following rejections.

Also, there was the time my dream agent played with my emotions for two long weeks, teasing me with the hope of representation and concluding with, “I think this will be a hard first sell. Write another book and send me that one.” Devastating things to hear as a writer and to your own personal confidence.  It was a grab the tissues and crawl into the bed kind of day!

Reflecting back, I, as have many writers, have experienced several bad days, but somehow we carry on in hopes that our patience and talent will eventually be rewarded!

In contrast, there have been so many good days also. For example, going to my first RWA Writers Conference with Syd and Jenna P. and having Nora Roberts tell us, “The ones that make it in this business are the ones that never give up. So don’t give up.”  Then there was the time I met these fabulous writers, became fast friends, and started a blog called Bad Girlz Write. 🙂 I can’t even count how many awesome days we’ve spent together since then.

My first contest win was a pretty special day.

And I was sure the day I was offered my contract would go down in history as my very best day, but then I held my book in my hands for the first time. That was an unbelievable Day! Best days also occurred when I saw the glimmer of pride in my husband’s eyes as he showed my book to his best friend and when my daughter told me she fell in love with my hero and wants to meet a guy just like him. 🙂

All great days!

Unfortunately, the thing about these good and bad days is that you don’t reach the good days, and then get to send the bad days packing. Nope. Not how it works.

There will always be this back and forth of emotions, from misery to elation and everything in between, FOREVER AND EVER as a writer.  So my wonderful Bad Girlz of the world, if you happen to be having one of these very bad days, hang in there. Tomorrow may just be your best day ever!!!!

Have you had similar experiences? I’d love to talk about them.

Remember to Dream Big!

13 Comments

Epic Birthday Goals/ Bad Idea!

October 1st!.  Excuse me as I breathe a deep sigh of relief. You see the reason I say this is because September is a HUGE birthday month for me, my family and friends. Lots and lots of Virgo/Libra babies around here. In turn, September tends to be very active with gift shopping, dinners and parties. However, I’ve noticed as people get older we tend to slow down with the parties and only really celebrate the epic birthdays. You know, the ones that come with a decade attached to them.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve been guilty of setting some sort of goal or deadline for my big birthdays. I’m sure I’m not alone. How many of you out there in bad girl land, have said .  . .

“I will be THIS or do THIS before I’m thirty, forty, fifty, etc.”

Trust me when I tell you, this is a bad idea!

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about setting goals and having a plan when it comes to writing and life in general. For example, I have weekly goals. Word count goals, family goals, house and yard work goals. I try diligently to make monthly and yearly goals also. Have you ever sat in a job interview and been asked the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” And you should ask yourself that question. Having a plan can be helpful and motivating. However, I’ve learned the hard way to avoid associating these goals, especially my writing goals, with epic birthdays.

I’ve made this colossal mistake twice and let’s just say, these two particular birthdays came in with a big dark cloud of disappointment attached to them.

First Birthday Goal Mistake: “I’ll be published and have a book deal, by the time I’m blank.” I said these exact words and when this big day came around without a contract in sight it was painful.

Then I turned around and did it again!

Second Birthday Goal Mistake: “If I don’t sell a book, by the time I’m blank, I’m going to quit writing.”  How pathetic is that? A writer just can’t quit writing because she or he reaches a certain age. It’s part of our DNA. It’s a good thing too because I received my book contract one year after that big birthday had passed. What if I had given up like I’d originally planned?

My advice to you is this, be diligent about setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals and even five-year goals, just keep them away from your birthday. And learn to be a little lenient with these goals- slash-deadlines. Life is unpredictable.

I will write five thousand words this week.

I will start conditioning, so I can run that 5K in the spring.

I will actually get out of my yoga pants and put on real clothes this weekend. Small goals are important too. 🙂

Writers, we cannot predict what day or year we will get our first contract or our fifth for that matter. Nevertheless, we can keep working hard to see that dream come to pass. We can write our 10,000 words this week. We can submit to ten agents this month. We can take ten writing workshops this year.

Remember, birthdays are for celebrating! Celebrating the day you were born and another glorious year of life!! So please learn from my mistakes and don’t shadow your special day with the burden of deadlines.

If you do find these special days start to add up to special decades and you’ve yet to meet all the goals you were hoping to, that‘s okay. Keep dreaming. Keep believing in yourself.  You can do it!

Have you made the same epic birthday goal mistakes as I have? I would love to hear about them.

Remember to dream big!

4 Comments

Conference Crazy!

With the RWA conference right around the corner, I have one question. Are you ready? I’m not talking about having your room booked, bags packed and your flight plan arranged. I want to know if you are mentally ready.

Mentally?!

Lori, why do I need to be mentally ready? I’ll tell you why. In my experience, a big conference can be a bit overwhelming. Lots and lots of things are going on at one time, and all of this awesomeness can lead to sensory overload and sometimes drive you conference crazy. Don’t be surprised if you need to sneak off for a little down time to re-center.

 

Mingling!

The first day you’ll walk around in a state of amazement and euphoria. Your favorite publishers will be there. Your favorite agents will be there. Your favorite authors will be there. Right there in the flesh! They will be walking next to you, eating in the same restaurants, drinking with you at the bar. This is SO cool, yet emotionally overpowering at the same time.

Workshops!

There will be many, many workshops. You’ll find yourself stressing over which ones to choose. And sure enough there will always be a scheduling conflict, but it’s ok.  You’re only one person. Decide which one will benefit you the most and go to that one, then review the schedule again. You may find there’s another workshop with similar elements at a different time. If you go with friends, you can always take this tip from the Bad Girlz. We’ll split up and attend both, then share what we’ve learned later in the day.

Pitching!

I could tell you to relax and stay calm when it comes to pitching, but come on, really??? You’re going to be nervous. It’s natural. The best advice I can give you on this topic is to look good, be professional, and try your best. When you look good, you’ll feel more confident, and when it comes to pitching, we need all the confidence we can get. The industry professionals are looking for a great story and they’re not too concerned if your teeth are chattering when you give it to them.

Book signings!

Do you know when I attended my first RWA conference, I had no idea publishers gave away FREE books. Nope. I missed ALL the signings. Hangs my head in shame. However, YOU won’t miss them because I’m telling you about them right now! You will get to meet and fan-girl some of your favorite authors, and they will give you FREE BOOKS. Autographed books! Did I mention, FREE?

Keynotes!

Warning! The keynote speakers’ speeches will make you laugh, cry, and have you reflecting on why you write in the first place and digging that deep into your psyche can be exhausting.

Remember, as much as you try, you will not get to do it all. And that’s okay. Don’t stress. They have one every year. My point is this, don’t drive yourself conference crazy. If you find your feeling a bit drained, take a time out. Go sit in a coffee shop alone, or hide out in your room for a few minutes. Rejuvenate. Mentally prepare for the next thing on your list.

The wonderful news is YOU WILL HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. You will come home on fire, ready to be the next Nora Roberts.

Remember to Dream Big!

11 Comments

The Truth Hurts!

When I was told our series was going to be discussing safeguarding the emotional aspects of writing, my first response was—YIKES! You want me to reveal my sensitive secrets to the Bad Girl world? Then I thought, why not. We started this blog to help and encourage fellow writers, and if my experiences (even the negative ones) can do that, I’m in.

I applaud the Bad Girlz that have told their stories before me. Trust me, it’s hard to expose our vulnerabilities for all to read.

I guess for me, my biggest struggle is keeping my emotions positive. It’s easy to let my “feelings” get in the way of my future. Negative feelings! It’s as if I have this dark cloud of woe is me that lingers over my head, dumping buckets of pessimism all around me. This is something I battle, almost daily.

Fear—I am scared to death with every passing day that I may never be published.

How’s that for honesty?

Worry—I worry so much, I worry about how much I worry. I have lots of writerly  worries too. What if they don’t like my writing? What if they do and I can’t keep up with deadlines. What if my plots aren’t strong enough, what if . . . etc, etc?

The Worry Queen at your service.

 

Doubt— Every time I read a good book, I doubt my own abilities. Those authors have so much talent. I’ll never be able to compete with them.

Failure—Failure is the worst of them all. What if I fail? If I fail, I let down everyone who has ever believed in me.

So, what am I to do about this storm of negative emotions that constantly threatens my sanity? How do I safeguard myself and my writing from these feelings? It’s simple really. I can choose to think positive thoughts instead.

Hope—What’s life without hope? Hope for better things to come.

Faith—I know I can do this if I keep trying. Keep writing.

Strength—A must have in this business and in life actually. We all have it, but sometimes we forget that we do.

Determination—When I was a little girl, my father would tell me all the time that I was hardheaded. Well if you ask me, that’s not such a bad thing. I will never give up on my writing even if my only readers turn out to be my friends and family.

Characters constantly introduce themselves to me and beg me to write their stories. I see their faces and hear their voices. The scenes of their lives play out clearly in my mind as if I’m standing there with them. I truly don’t believe this happens for everyone, and I feel blessed that it happens to me.

I’m a story-teller through and through, and I will not let my own negative feelings stand in the way of my success.

Now that I’ve shamefully admitted my weaknesses, let me leave you with this. Emotions can play havoc on a career, teetering back and forth between belief and sabotage. Choose your thoughts wisely. Clearly, I still struggle with this myself, but I promise I will prevail. I’m hardheaded, remember? 🙂

If you are struggling too, I’m here to listen.

Remember to Dream Big!

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