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I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. What makes us happy? What makes us sad? How can we change sad to happy? So many questions.

Here’s what I’ve come up with for me, personally:

1. No one else can make me happy. No one else is responsible for my happiness. I have to find that myself.

2. There are things that can help make me happy. I’ve realized that being more fit has definitely elevated my mood, but it also seems to help long-term, too.

3. There are some things I can’t change. I can choose how I deal with them.

4. Bad things happen to good people. I have to accept that fact and move on. My husband has had many health problems. Some of them are very serious. I’ve had a few of my own. Sometimes it feels like we can’t take one more thing going wrong. We both choose not to dwell on it and to live life as well as possible.

5. There are people who are much worse off than me. There was a lady who had been bed-ridden for a few years. My husband used to visit her nearly every week. She was very sick and could do almost nothing. But my husband loved visiting her and loved her attitude. She always said there were people worse off than she was. She passed away recently, and the world lost a shining light.

6. Death is a part of life. It’s sad when I lose someone I love. But it’s a cycle that’s been going on since day one of the world. I choose not to dwell on it.

7. This may not pertain to everyone who is reading this, but I pray. I read the Bible. I try to focus on spiritual things as much as I can. I have a very loving and supportive church family. But, again, although sometimes I might need their support, it’s ultimately up to me to be happy.

I know many of you are depressed or lonely. So many of you have troubles that are probably worse than mine. And I know it’s hard to stay positive when you feel like your world is crashing down around you. But if you can reach inside you and find that little bit of happiness, that small kernel of hope, maybe things will look better. Life is a cycle, and it goes on.

Love and good wishes to you all!

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I think it’s time for me to get back to blogging. One reason I haven’t is that I haven’t had that many likes or comments lately, and everyone is saying they just want to communicate on Dramabook Facebook. But I miss the days of blogging where this is my space where you come and visit. Or that’s your space where I come and visit. And you can say so much more. So I’m going to try to get back to it. I have a couple of people who regularly comment on my posts, and I appreciate that so much. So maybe, if I start doing this more often, I can get my following back.

So what’s going on in my life?

1. I’m writing again. It’s going slowly as I get back into it, but it’s going.

2. I’m editing for clients quite a bit, but it still seems to be feast or famine. Since I haven’t had too much editing work for the last month, I’ll probably suddenly have four people wanting an edit RIGHT NOW. LOL. I want to thank Ruth Ann Nordin for always giving me plenty of time. She always plans ahead. 🙂

3. This is third on my list, but certainly number one in my heart…I have a brand new granddaughter! This makes two for the oldest son and one for the youngest son. *eyeing my baby boy*

4. I’m trying to get fit again. I think I might have mentioned, at least on Facebook, that I fried my Fitbit fitness tracker in the ocean when I was on vacation in May/June. Fitbit offered me 25% off a new one, which they didn’t have to do since I was going to buy one anyway. Great customer service! Anyway, the new one does a few more things, including telling me to get up and walk if I haven’t done at least 250 steps in that hour. And I’m doing it almost every time. You can’t argue with your Fitbit! 🙂 I’ve been tracking my food faithfully with the Fitbit app. I’ve been getting on the treadmill at home, and I finally bit the bullet and joined the gym again. My insurance will pay for it if I go at least 12 times per month. I have more energy, at least on the days I get enough sleep. That’s something else I need to work on. The Fitbit tracks my sleep; it even tracks what sleep stages I’m in and for how long. One thing I’ve noticed is that I wake up several times during the night. I usually average about 45-55 minutes awake per night. I don’t know what’s up with that, but I think I’ll try to start going to bed earlier.

Anyway, that’s my life right now.

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I’ve been playing around with Dragon software. It’s been really strange trying to dictate my books instead of typing them out. I’ve tried this several times, and in the past, it really hasn’t worked for me very well. But my friend, Ruth Ann Nordin, has been using this. I figured I would give it another try. After all, I did buy the software, and I hate having something I paid money for and not be able to use it. So, as we speak, I’m actually using the Dragon software to write this blog post. And I did write about 900 words today on my current WIP using Dragon software. One of the things I noticed was that when I dictate instead of type, it seems like my dialogue sounds more natural in the story. This kind of makes sense when you think about the difference between typing and speaking something because we speak naturally, and that’s what dialogue is. I’m going to continue using this for a while to see if this really helps.

One of the things that I do differently than Ruth is that I speak my punctuation. It’s kind of a learning curve because it can take you out of your story, but I found that if I don’t do the punctuation then when I go back to edit it, it really takes more time than if I had just typed it in the first place. I really don’t want to spend that much time editing. So I’m just practicing doing the punctuation such as speaking periods, commas, question marks, etc. and seeing how that’s working for me. I think I will be able to do okay with that, but I’m still having a little trouble with saying “open quote” and “close quote”. (I actually had to type those words because, when I said them, it actually put quote marks instead of the actual words I said. LOL)

Do you use Dragon Naturally Speaking software? If so, how do you use it? Do you like it? What do you feel like the pros and cons of this are? I would love to hear from you.

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Newsletter and Stuff

I haven’t been posting on here very much lately. I was going through a period where I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue my writing “career”. In addition to my day job, I’ve been doing a lot of line editing lately, and it’s taking up most of my time. I’m certainly not complaining because the editing gives me spending money when we can’t afford it out of our household money. But I miss writing. And I’ve started reading over Keeper of His Soul, trying to get back into the book so I can finish it. I really don’t have that much more to go. I need to set aside a little time to just do it.

That brings me to the newsletter part. See that tab up at the top of the page? The one that says “Newsletter”? Well, that’s where you go to sign up for my…guess what?…newsletter! I haven’t pushed the newsletter in the past, but I would love to get a good list going. I promise, I won’t spam you with a bunch of emails. I’ll only send emails when I have news or maybe if I want to share something interesting.

Here’s an incentive. When Keeper of My Soul is published, I’m going to do a drawing from all my newsletter subscribers. The prize is going to be a box of goodies that will be worth at least $100. There will be more about that later. There will also be a signed copy of Keeper of His Soul included in the goody box.

So go ahead and sign up! You know you want to.

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It’s that time of year again! Every year I walk in the JDRF Walk (for juvenile diabetes) in honor of my preacher’s daughter, who is now about nine years old (I think) and was diagnosed when she was five. This year, she has a problem with her hip joint (they think it’s a complication from her diabetes), so her parents are going to pull her in a wagon or push her in a wheelchair so she can still participate in the walk. I always walk with the family, and we’ve added a few extra people to the group this year.

I’m asking for donations again (no amount is too small!). I almost hate to do this on my blog since I haven’t posted anything in awhile, but I’m going to try to remedy that soon. Anyway, if anyone is interested in donating, email me at lauralynnelliottauthor@gmail.com or message me on Facebook, and I will give you the link to donate online. I’m not going to post the link here for privacy reasons.

The walk is this Saturday, so I need all donations by Friday. I’m not usually this late posting this, but I wasn’t sure I was going to post it until today. I HATE asking for money. But this is a good cause.

Thanks!

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first-day-first-paragraph-tag

Thanks to Ruth Ann Nordin for tagging me for First Day, First Paragraph.

Here are the rules:Publish your own post on the first day of the month.

  1. Use the graphic above.
  2. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
  3. Explain the rules like I’m doing now.
  4. Post the first paragraph of a story you’ve written, are writing, or plan to write someday.
  5. Ask your readers for feedback.
  6. Finally, tag someone to do the post next month (for example, if you do the tag on the first of January, the person you tag has to do it on the first of February), and comment on one of their posts to let them know the good news.

For my first paragraph, I chose a short story that’s free to download. I chose this instead of one of my novels or novellas because this one has always been near and dear to my heart. I love the Beauty and the Beast type stories, and this one has a special twist.

The Beast in the Mirror

Here’s the paragraph:

From the shadows he watched her. She was exquisite…perfect. He knew he would only be able to watch her from afar. She was beautiful, and he was a beast. So he would watch her, admire her, but he would never speak to her or even let himself be seen by her. Her delicate senses didn’t deserve to look upon such ugliness as his.

What do y’all think?

So, I’m going to tag L. S. Engler for March 1!

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signature-pen

So am I back on track now? Time will tell.

Saturday, I sat down and wrote 2120 words. That’s the most I’d written on Keeper of His Soul in a really long time. This book has been the bane of my existence lately. Not because I don’t love the story; I really do. But for some reason, I’ve been afraid of it. I’ve been experiencing really bad “page fright”.

Here’s what I think is going on. I wanted this book to be a novel since it’s a sequel to Soul of a Vampire, which IS a novel. So then when the story moves a little too fast, I panic because it won’t be long enough. But what I need to do is let each story be what it will be. Some are meant to be novels, some are meant to be shorter. When I first talked to Susan Bischoff about this story, she even said she thought it would make a better novella than a novel. But I wanted it to be longer. When I try to force a story to be longer, though, I end up with words I don’t really need. I tend to write lean. I write short and to the point. I like things to move fast. That’s the way I like to read, too. So that’s why I do better with novellas most of the time.

Right now, this book is at about 35,000 words. It’s getting close to the last scene of the story. So it’s going to be a long novella or a very short novel. (There’s a lot of controversy about what’s considered a novel. I say 50,000 words. I’ve been to conferences where they say 40,000.) At this point, I’m going to stop worrying about it. I just need it to be long enough to warrant making a paperback. At about 35,000 is where I kind of draw that line. I know some people will do shorter paperbacks. I’ll just see how it goes. At least I worked on it a lot Saturday and again at lunch today. I’m kind of back on the horse.

I hope all of you are doing well and are enjoying this holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s is like one big fun time for me. Maybe it’s all the Christmas movies. And the food. Yeah, the food. 🙂

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