Note to Self (and anyone else who needs to hear it): Your life is what you make of it. You are 100% responsible for your happiness.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Writing Tip - Start Off with a BANG!

I am very honored to be a part of 
T Denise Clary's new feature:
Tune in for writing and editing tips
as I guest-blog monthly for a wonderful Writer. 
It's going to be faaaaaaabulous. :)

New feature...
I am excited to announce a new feature I have added to my blog...

Once a month, Editor Jennifer Moody will grace us with her expertise and offer practical and useful editing and writing tips, starting this month of February.  Enjoy and happy writing!

God Bless!
T Denise Clary  

Start Off With a BANG!
By Jennifer Moody 
I read a book recently that an Author asked me to read. I was about 40 pages into it and asked my husband if he would shoot me so I wouldn’t have to finish the book. Seriously … it was dropping dead, full of unnecessary details, going nowhere, and boring me to death. But I HAD to finish it—I was ASKED to read it, by this Author who’s a super nice person. I prayed that it would get better because I did NOT want to dodge the question if she later asked me what I thought of it.

Jen’s Little Side Note: There’s a reason I’m not a Book Reviewer. When I see negative reviews I cringe, especially when they’re not constructive. As a reader I can appreciate the honesty. Several times a block of bad reviews has saved me from wasting my time on a poorly written book. However, as a Writer, I feel for the Author on the receiving end. When I’m editing a book, it’s a different angle than reviewing. Often the book is still in progress, but even if it’s complete I am still in the position of giving direction with suggestions, constructive criticism, restructuring ideas, etc. With a review it’s just… What’d ya think? (Umm…)

Back to my story… I’m happy to report that this book DID get better. Somewhere around page 60 it’s like the Author found their groove and the story started coming together and getting interesting. I kept reading. And I’m SO glad I did because the story really was quite good. However, if it hadn’t been for the connection I have with the Author, I would have dropped that book like a bug. I’m fickle like that.

So it’s something to keep in mind—starting off with a bang—because if your reader is yawning 40 pages in, and they have a dozen other books on their e-reader waiting patiently, it’s very tempting to hit the “home” button and pick another one to entertain their mind.

If you’re a Writer currently working on a novel, take a good look at your beginning (or better yet, have someone else do it)… Is there a bang? A “hook” that grabs the reader and makes them turn the pages to find out what’s next? If not, consider revising it. I’m sure there are Writers reading this and thinking, “Uggggh… I’ve rewritten my novel a hundred times already!” …I know, I know, I’ve been there. And you DO have to get to a point where your work, like any piece of art, is DONE. Just make sure you’re at that point, or… what’s the point?

Jennifer Moody is a Professional Editor and the Owner of MoodyEdits. To learn more about Jen, visit her website at You might enjoy her take on living a happy life, on her blog “Editing My Life One Day at a Time” at And if you wanted to be nice, you could like her Facebook page at :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are We Really Appreciating Our Blessings?

I sat down at my laptop with a cup of coffee for a little facebook scroll through posts from friends and acquaintances. At this moment life is peaceful, happy, relaxed. Scott and I have been getting ready for tomorrow's Super Bowl party where 30 of the people our lives are blessed with will come hang out for the game. About 30 seconds into my scroll I came across a post/picture from a friend asking for prayers for her friend's young son who's at Texas Children's Hospital. This beautiful child is dying, and the note with the picture, written by his mother, basically says just that... time has run out.

What I thought was going to be mindless reading/viewing, with likely giggles between sips of coffee (as is often the case with me and facebook), has turned into me questioning my appreciation of how blessed my life is. I am healthy, happy, employed. Scott and I have a good relationship, wonderful friends and family, amazing kids, a nice home. Our children are healthy, happy, and safe (my prayer to God every night).

And down the road at TCH, there is a family sitting around a hospital bed where a sweet boy, the same age as my younger daughter Laureli, has little time left. It makes you ask "Why?" And it makes you wonder why your life is spared such heartache. I often think that it's not that some are spared, but rather that it's not your heartache time of life right now. Some years later, who knows, you could be going through something terribly painful, and maybe when that's going on, this family will be experiencing great joy in their lives. I don't know if I'm right but since most people don't have 80 years of pure happiness and zero heartache, I think my theory is probably pretty close.

So as I finish my cup of coffee, and the deep thoughts I hadn't planned on thinking, I say to you... if your life is peaceful, happy, relaxed; stop what you're doing for 30 seconds and thank God. And if you know somebody who's hurting, say a prayer for them as well.

The picture below is Laureli and me last Christmas morning. The box is a gift from her to me ... it had a bunch of fuzzy socks in it. She knows how much I love fuzzy socks. :) This is one of my favorite pictures of us -- I just love how she's hugging me. Laureli is the BEST hugger I have ever known in my entire 43 years on this Earth. She hugs whole-heartedly, snuggles into the hug when she's giving you one, and says "I love you" freely and often. She is my sweet, precious gift from God and I will be grateful for her every day of my life.

Count your blessings. Love your loved ones. Be grateful for all you have.