My Life with the COVID-19 Lockdown…so far

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG)

 Our April 1 question – The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

  • On March 10, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued the State of Emergency Executive Order.
  • On March 16, she ordered restaurants and the schools closed
  • On March 21, she ordered a stay-home, stay safe lockdown for all residents to begin on the 24th

I began my physical distancing on March 16, so technically, as I write this (Monday, 30th), I’m on Day 16 of lockdown, with only four trips out for groceries or take-out food.

I’m one of the fortunate. My life hasn’t changed much because of this pandemic. Retired and writing full-time, I’m used to solitary time. The biggest change for me has been in missing lunches and dinners with friends and classmates, no meetings with other writers, and no book club discussions around the table.

Our library has been closed along with other businesses, but thankfully, I have several shelves of to-be-read (TBR) books. I thought I’d be reading more, but so far, I haven’t. Now that the stay-in has been expanded to the end of April, I expect that lack of reading to change.

My normal days, which look like my COVID-19 days at the moment, are about writing, jigsaw puzzles, reading, watch TV, and added cooking. I’ve never been fond of cooking but have always maintained a full pantry. Now that pantry provides me opportunities to be a bit more creative than I’ve been in the past. It helps that I have my own cookbook, The Super Simple Easy Basic Cookbook,  to fall back on.

All-in-all, this pandemic has treated me well. So far.

I wish we could say the same from those on the front lines: the doctors, nurses, caregivers, first responders, and the families of those who have succumbed to this horrible virus. My thoughts are with them all.

May the shortages stop and the line flatten quickly.

***

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

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It’s Read an eBook Week – March 1-7: What are you reading?

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG)

Rather than answer the March 4 question posed by the group, I’ve chosen to write about this week’s national recognition on eReading.

It’s Read an eBook Week – March 1-7: What are you reading?

 Already, we’re into the third month of a new year. A year where I was going to do more writing and be more organized with my reading.

I have three shelves of double-stacked to-be-read (TBR) books. These are the remainders from last year’s thinning from fives shelves, where I got rid of books I knew I’d never read simply because my tastes have changed over time.

My TBR pile, though, isn’t going down quickly enough to suit me. I think I read only three of them last year, and I have just as many books on my Kindle, which I haven’t touched lately.

And now today, I learned that this week, March 1-7, is Read an eBook Week. Did you know that?

Are you like me with a huge assortment of books on your eReader?

So, here I am again, revisiting my wanting to do better.

And I am. One book at a time.

Right now, I’m finishing Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen. An excellent novel about Mrs. Francis Osgood, a poet who fell in love with Edgar Allan Poe and he with her. Osgood, too, became friends with his wife, Virginia, his first cousin whom he married when she was 13 and he was 26. A petite woman who behind the beautiful skirts and seemingly gentile manners was a conniving, jealous creature who wished harm on others, especially Mrs. Osgood–or was she?

Mrs. Poe has been a book difficult to put down. I highly recommend it including the notes at the end of the book.

Now finished, I need to dig into my TBR pile again. What other goodies lurk there for my reading pleasure?

So, what are you reading? Did it come out of your TBR pile?

***

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgePurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

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A Valentine for You – With Love

Movies + Romance = The Key to My Heart

I’m a romantic in so many ways, it would take another blog to explain all of my many connections to Venus, the moon, nature, and more.

As a romantic, I adore love stories, both bittersweet and happily every after. Yes, I’m a Hallmark Channel junkie.

Combing Valentine’s Day this year with my love of movies, I’m sharing my top favorite romance movies in no particular order. These are my go-to romance movies, thus I’ve seen each of them multiple dozens of times.

Dangerous Beauty – With Catherine McCormack and Rufus Sewell. This is the movie where I really fell in love with Rufus. Based on a true story, it’s a movie about an aristocrat and one of the last courtesans of Venice. Just hearing the music score makes me want to go watch the movie again. In fact, I bought the music soundtrack. It’s that good.

The Love Letter – A Hallmark Channel movie with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Campbell Scott. A letter written in the 1860s is received by a man in 1998. Thus, begins their communication and a love story that transcends time. I fell in love with Campbell Scott.
The full movie can be viewed here.

Bridal Wave – A Hallmark Channel movie with Arielle Kebel and Andrew Walker. Laugh out loud funny and the very best of the best that Hallmark offers. Yup, I fell in love with Andrew Walker.

A Bride for Christmas – A Hallmark Channel movie. If you enjoyed Bridal Wave, you’ll enjoy these same two actors in this wonderfully funny Christmas movie.

Love Actually – With Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth and more. Great actors, great scenes, funny moments, and there’s not a bad story in the bunch. I’ve always adored the men of this movie: Hugh, Liam, Alan, and Colin.

Pillow Talk – A classic with Doris Day & Rock Hudson. There’s one scene that makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. Every. Time. Another movie that I’ve seen dozens and dozens of times. How can you go wrong with Doris Day & Rock Hudson? And, who didn’t love Rock Hudson?

Possession – With Gwyneth Paltrow, Aaron Eckhart, Jeremy Northam, and Jennifer Ehle. Two stories, two time periods. Modern-day literary scholars are searching for any documentation on two different Victorian poets after one scholar happens upon some old papers where the second is mentioned. Could there be a connection? The second story features the two elusive Victorian poets and their forbidden secret love story. Book by A.S. Byatt. Yup, I fell in love with both Aaron and Jeremy.

Somewhere in Time – Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour – He travels back in time to be with the woman he fell in love with through a picture on a museum wall. Filmed on Mackinac Island, Michigan, my all-time favorite vacation spot. Movie was adapted from the book, Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson, who also wrote the screenplay. I totally fell in love with Christopher here. Starting to see a pattern?

The Woodlanders – with Rufus Sewell and Emily Woof. Based on Thomas Hardy’s book, a story of two people—Giles and Grace—friends and childhood sweethearts destined for marriage. She’s now returned home from school wanting more. My favorite of Hardy’s stories.

Out of Africa – With Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Her strength and determination and his…well everything combined with the majestic of Africa makes this movie unforgettable. I fell in love with the movie seeing the opening scene as the train, seen from a distance, is crossing the plain with the soundtrack music in the background. Another soundtrack CD that I own. Rightly so as the movie won Best Picture; Best Director; Best Screenplay Adaptation; Best Cinematography; Best Music, Original Score; Best Sound; and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration. Streep was nominated for Best Actress. Actually, I fell in love with Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Way We Were. This movie just reinforced my why.

And finally, from Jane Austen’s books:

Pride & Prejudice – The 2005 version with Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadden. My most favorite of all the versions produced of Pride & Prejudice. Needless to say, I fell in love the Matthew McFadden.

Persuasion – The 1995 version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root. The movie where I fell in love with Ciaran Hinds and absolutely adored and could relate to Anne, Amanda’s character.

Persuasion – The 2008 BBC adaptation with Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penny-Jones. I totally fell in love with Rupert here. There’s a second longer trailer behind the first one.

Sense & Sensibility – The 1995 version with Emma Thompson (won best actress Golden Globe award giving the best speech ever!), Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant. I wish the screenplay’s actual music was playing in the background, but alas.

Sense & Sensibility – The 2008 BBC version with Hattie Morahan and Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame). Screenplay written by Andrew Davies, one of my favorite screenwriters.

Sigh. If only…

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Pictures Worth More Than a Thousand Words

I’m one of those writers who finds stories everywhere: from conversations, articles I’ve read, seeing something in nature, from words a character in another story utters, from looking outside my window, from songs, from reading a list of poisons, visiting websites on history, and so forth.

The ideas that have lasted over decades, though, have come from pictures. Ironically, I still haven’t written a story from those ideas. Yet. I suspect because the ideas are still formulating.

I have two postcards propped against some books on a shelf, which I look at every time I’m sitting at my desk. Their inspiration is a dark mystery or even darker suspense/thriller. I found them in San Francisco in 1989 while attending a writer’s conference. On Halloween night in 1998, I started writing a screenplay where I scared myself so much, I put it away and haven’t returned to it since. Though, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s time to get it back out and finish it!

During my first marriage, when decorating parties were the trend, I bought this set of three pictures in the 70s. They remind me of the English cottages and countryside, where I think of other times. They’ve hung on my office or bedroom wall in every home I’ve lived, and I look at them every day. A time travel always comes to mind that ties into a song that came out in the 70s, too. Every time I hear the song, the plot becomes more developed. It’s time I write that story, too!

So, why aren’t I sharing these pictures with you? I will when I write the stories. I wouldn’t want to give everything away right now, would I?

***

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgePurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Posted in #IWSG, Inspiration, writing | Tagged , | 19 Comments

It All Began With a Book Report

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

 January 8 question – What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?

 It All Began With a Book Report

 I often quip that I began writing because it was cheaper than seeing a psychiatrist. That statement isn’t far from the truth because that’s when I began writing in earnest due to life’s frustrations. My real start, though, occurred a decade earlier.

In a tenth grade English class when I was fifteen, I had a book report assignment. We could write about a character, the plot, or the setting. I was reading James Michener’s Hawaii at the time and was enamored with his writing, especially the many pages where he detailed the setting, the formation of the islands. I wrote about the setting in about 100 words or so. I remember getting an A- for content and a B+ for grammar. It was the A- I couldn’t believe. I reread what I wrote and was surprised at how lyrical, how detailed my words were. I wrote that?

It didn’t sound like me, and yet it was me. A me that many didn’t know about. Plus, the writing was way better than anything I’d ever written before.

Rereading my words, I remembered the sensation of being taken to another place, a magical place I now recognize as the zone. Up until that time, the zone usually occurred when I was reading. Where I could be transported into a different time, a different place, where the world would fade away.

Looking back at that time now, I find it interesting that 1) neither parent ever read that report, let alone any of my other assignments (EVER.), and 2) that no one saw my fascination with words (mostly reading at that point) where they could help me move into a career that would have suited me better, far better than the path of secretary and bookkeeper, both of which I was good at. I didn’t hate the jobs, but I didn’t love them either. The jobs were a means to an end—earnings to pay the bills. Later, though, those skills would lead me into academia, which I did love.

Through the next fifty years after high school, I would write a lot, in various genres, for various audiences, and in various media. Since my creation of Sharpened Pencils Productions LLC, I have been publishing two books a year.

I have a lot of catching up to do.

So many projects, so little time.

*****

After much pondering and consideration for her New Year’s list of 2020 projects, which includes finishing the last six of the seven Laurel Ridge novellas (covers below), Diana has chosen to finish a grammar handbook, an academic nonfiction text, and a historical screenplay based on a true event.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

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The One Trait Every Writer Needs

The One Trait Every Writer Needs

Originally posted on June 25, 2014 on my Only for the Brave blog, I offer this advice again. It’s advice that never gets old.

This trait is the one trait that finally saw me getting my first novel published. Originally, I had said if I wasn’t published with a novel by the time I turned 40, I would quit. At 40, I was so close, I couldn’t quit. At 42, I published my first book.

It’s a trait no writer should be without.

The one trait a writer can’t be without is PERSISTENCE.

The persistent writer:

    1. Submits their work.
    2. Accepts rejection. (It’s not personal).
    3. Accepts criticism.
    4. Wants criticism because they know growth occurs when mistakes are pointed out.  Plus, criticism means the writer engaged the reader, of if nothing else, hit a nerve.
    5. Pays attention to the details.
    6. Rewrites or revises, and rereads for polishing again.
    7. Resubmits.

And, repeats steps 6 & 7 repeatedly until SUCCESS (acceptance/publication) is finally achieved.

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The Joy of Writing & Knowing When It’s Time to Quit

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

December 4 question – Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

 Rather than answering these questions, I’ve chosen to write about an important topic that came up this past month.

 The Joy of Writing & Knowing When It’s Time to Quit

Throughout my writing career, I’ve seen a few writers who have said, “I’m quitting. It isn’t fun anymore. I’m not selling anything. No one is reading my stuff.” And, then, they do quit.

I’m watching a writer friend saying that they’re giving up writing. Many are rushing to the writer’s side, saying, Oh, no! Don’t quit, or This makes me so sad. It’s nice that they’re being empathic; however, I don’t think these people are listening. This writer is stating a truth, and I believe this writer actually wants someone to say it’s okay to quit or that it’s okay to take a long sabbatical.

A few are saying so but the words are wrapped in subtle positivity where the message of it’s okay to quit is buried in words of You’re talented in so many areas, and Don’t stop being creative.

Yes, there is creativity in all of us. Some are creative with yarn, others paint, others still with trash. Many are creative with food, decorating, playing a musical instrument, singing, and so forth. So many outlets for our creativity.

No one, though, can do everything well.

It can take years of trying and learning before a specific craft or art form is mastered. So, it goes: we try, quit, and try something else until we find that thing that fills us with passion.

There are some writers, though, who get lucky and find their passion and monetary success in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, those are the writers who too many of us compare ourselves to.

That said, writing is not for everyone.

Writing is hard.

Even for those of us who love to write, there are days that it makes us want to scream and cry out, Why am I doing this?

The other day someone was asking me if I’m able to write every day because I’m inspired. Not really. Somewhere along the way, an idea inspired me, but to do the actual first-draft writing, I’m usually gutting out the words. We know these words aren’t great and even somewhat stinky, fodder for the compost pile of prose as they read first written. We stick with it, though, knowing that stinky first words must occur because once shaped, they can become something wonderful—material that others want to read.

Thus, while the original writing comes first, writing is really about the rewriting. Hours and hours of rewriting.

It’s about rewriting, revising, polishing, and proofreading. And, for the self-published…promoting.

These are the parts that most people enamored with writing don’t want to do. Because it’s hard.

We writers don’t write every day because we’re inspired. We write because we put ourselves in the chair, turn on the computer, and just write—one word, one phrase, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time.

The joy comes once we get into the zone and where time ceases to exist, which for me can occur after a few paragraphs or a smattering of dialogue. It’s just getting those first words down that is sooooo hard.

Writing is a solitary craft.

  • Write because you have a story to tell.
  • Write because it excites you.
  • Write because you’re amazed that you wrote that.
  • Write because if you don’t, you’ll be miserable.
  • Write because you have a truth to share, characters who want their voices heard.
  • Write because you need to share.
  • Write because there’s no alternative activity or craft that provides the same joy.

Write because you simply have to.

Write because you’re willing to do the work!

A writer should never compare themselves to any other writer. Especially the monies earned, or what we think they’ve earned. Did you know that the average income for a writer is about $5,000 or less per year? AVERAGE!

It’s no mistake that so many writers teach, coach, edit for others, and work at jobs centered around writing. It allows them to earn an income that’s compatible with their passion.

Ultimately, no writer’s journey is the same as another’s.

So, to that writer who is talking about quitting, I say:

Listen to your inner voice, your gut feeling. You and you alone know why you want to quit. If writing isn’t fun, it’ll only make you angrier and more frustrated in the future.

Give yourself permission to know what’s right for you.

There is nothing wrong with saying, this path isn’t for me anymore.

If there’s no joy in what you’re doing, you’re doing the wrong thing.

Me? I’ll never quit writing. I enjoy it that much, even the repetitive, time-consuming, polishing, and proofreading parts.

******

This year, Diana published Love’s New Beginnings and Tomorrow’s Wish for Love. She’s currently writing six novellas all at the same time because they are six couples with six stories, all living in the same community, and who are in and out of each other’s stories, which included the first novella, Shattered Dreams, that is already published. She’s working toward a 2020 publication for all six novellas.

******

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgePurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

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Runes – An Ancient Oracle Tool: It’s All Been Rune’d

Once again, Keri Kruspe has written a fantastic post for my blog. I was over the moon reading this post because it spoke to me. Many times I’ve tried to use runes and Keri, through this post, has shown me why I want to continue and has provided the perfect book to achieve rune usage.

Runes – An Ancient Oracle Tool

by Keri Kruspe

Keri Kruspe - Runes 1

IT’S ALL BEEN RUNE’D

Recently I’ve taken the plunge and jumped into the Instagram pool.

Hey, that’s no small feat for me.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, social media and I have a tentative relationship. I resisted adding yet another quiver in my communication arsenal, but at the urging of many of my (younger) friends, I decided to look into the matter.

Keri Kruspe - Runes 2 phone appsEarlier in the year, I paid for a training program that included how to set up Instagram for authors and what was best to post (and when to post). So, I took an afternoon off and immersed myself into the hows and whys of this social beast.

One of the main suggestions the training gave was to have specific tropes to share – things that might be of interest to others instead of advertising my books all the time (boring!). Instantly I thought of sharing one of my favorite meditative techniques – consulting an ancient tool handed down to me by my favorite aunt about twenty years ago. In order to explain why the runes mean so much to me, I’d like to share a little bit about the woman who taught them to me.

My Aunt Jeanette was a formidable woman

Keri Kruspe - Runes 3 her auntMy Aunt Jeanette was a formidable woman, someone who was way ahead of her time. She was my father’s older sister by eighteen months and ended up taking care of him when their mother deserted the family when he was a young preteen. Then, at the ripe old age of fifteen, she entered into her first marriage. I say first because the woman was married eleven times. The funny thing was she only had one child…out of wedlock…by a married man…in the 1940s.

Even though she was married often, I barely remember her with any partner. She was one of those women from the sixties who was dressed to the teeth…bouffant hairdo, nails polished and manicured, her make-up model perfect. Living in Nevada, my family worked in the casino business, and she proudly told me that she was one of the first female pit bosses in Las Vegas – probably around the 1960s.

Then, around when she turned forty-nine, she took a 180-degree turn in her life. She quit her job, her house, her perfect image, and left Nevada and her family to live in Hawaii. There she lived for the next twenty-five years. To make a living, she took various jobs – from being a greeter at the airport (complete with leis) to a metaphysical minister.

As a Metaphysical minister, she began to read tarot cards and would draw a rune at the end of her card reading. The purpose, she informed me, was to aid the Spiritual Warrior…the one whose goal was self-change.

The Runes

The runes are a tool to keep one on course, on track for strengthening your intuition.

You see, the runes are used as an instrument for getting in touch with a part of yourself that knows everything. It’s a method of guidance and self-counseling used to assist us in navigating the unfamiliar waters we find ourselves in.

Using the runes is like consulting an Oracle.

An Oracle does not give you instruction as what to do next, nor does it predict the future. It points your attention to those hidden fears and motivations that shape where you are headed in your life.

Once you acknowledge what those might be, it directs your attention to inner choices that may be the most important elements in deciding what you choose your future to be.

When she taught me how to use these aids, I really needed the help.

I was going through a rough divorce and found myself a single parent with a toddler, a tweenie and a fourteen-year-old. Being able to get in touch with that part of myself that had been buried for years was a godsend. I firmly believe my ability to go into silence and contemplate the suggestions the readings gave helped to ground me and keep me sane.

A brief history lesson on the runes…

Keri Kruspe - Runes 4 vikingLegend has it the runes are a gift from Odin, the principal divinity in the pantheon of the Norse Gods.

Believed to be even older than the New Testament, they are akin to the Tarot and the Chinese Book of Changes. The runes were commonly used in Iceland during the late Middle Ages.

Unfortunately, the wisdom of those rune masters died, never having written their divinations down nor did they pass their experiences orally. Little is left of the original Viking practice except for stones, sagas, and far-flung runic lore. What we do know is to those who created the runes, the earth and all created things were alive.

To celebrate that fact, runes were carved into pieces of hardwood, incised on metal or cut into leather stained with pigment. There are twenty-four runes, plus one later innovation – the blank rune – the Unknowable. It is the rune of total trust and can be interpreted as exciting evidence of life’s progression.

How I Use the Runes

The rune cards I use on Instagram belonged to my aunt. She preferred the cards those while I have always felt a kinship to the actual stones. I keep the stones loose in a pouch and every morning, I let my mind go blank to open myself to receive what I should meditate on for the day.

I reach into the pouch, and a stone will let itself be known – hard to explain…it gets warm and my fingers automatically reach for it. I will then consult the book, The Book of Runes by Ralph H. Blum. The interpretations in his book are laid out clearly and in a loving manner. Easy enough to use and understand.

My aunt has been gone for several years now. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss telling her what was going on in my life.

I know she’d be thrilled I’ve finally realized my dream of becoming a published author…something she encouraged me to do since I was twelve. To celebrate her life as well as the teachings she gave, I proudly include her cards with my stones.Keri Kruspe - Runes 5 Keri with her aunt

See…I did listen. Thanks, Auntie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Keri – Author of otherworldly romantic adventures” Stories of heroines who aren’t afraid to take a chance on life…or love.

Keri Kruspe PicAward-winning author, Keri Kruspe, writes otherworldly romantic adventures for readers who want to fall in love among the stars. Her lifelong fascination with the unexplained phenomena started at a young age when she discovered Sci-fi/paranormal stories. Then in her late teens, she stumbled on historical romances and fell in love with them too. When the two genres merged on the page, she finally found her passion.

A native Nevadan, Keri resides with her family in the wilds of Northwest Michigan where she enjoys the stark change in seasons and the pleasures each one brings. An avid reader, Keri loves an enjoyable bottle of red wine, a variety of delicious foods and watching action/adventure movies…usually at the same time. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world on her latest novel while foot tappin’ to classic rock. When not absorbed in her writing, Keri works alongside her husband in building their dream home or discovering intelligent life in America in their travels. Visit her website for all the fun news, updates, and a FREE novella!

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How to Redeem Unredeemed Gifts on Amazon

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

For November 6, 2019

Rather than answering the question posed to the group this month, which was What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?, for which I had no good answer, I’ve chosen to write instead about a topic I needed to google, which then I wrote my own directions so I’d remember how to find the answer in the future.

Once I had the directions written, I realized there are probably other people out there, writers and non-writers, who have gifted Amazon books and not realizing the books may still be unredeemed.

Redeeming Unredeemed Gifts:

Putting Money Back into Your Amazon Account

Have you ever gifted a book on Amazon wondering if the recipient redeemed the book? Well, wonder no more.

The first time I followed someone’s directions to find that list of unredeemed books, I was shocked to find I had $84.00 worth of unredeemed books. Thankfully, I was able to follow this person’s directions and put that money back onto my account.

Recently, I gifted a book to someone living in India. Only after the fact did I learn that with my being in the United States, such a gift is unredeemable. Now, I had to undo my gift but I couldn’t find those same directions again. Plus, it had been a while, so all the online directions weren’t current either.

Figuring my way through a hodgepodge of different directions, I was able to undo the gift, putting the money back into my account.

As to the person I was trying to gift the book to. I asked for his Kindle email address and gifted it directly to his Kindle. Hopefully, that tactic should work. If not, I’ll be undoing that gift and will be sending him a Mobi file, instead.

At any rate, here are the directions I created, producing a document that I can easily follow in the future. I share the directions with you now, wishing you a great find of hidden cash in your account.

Directions

Once you’re signed in on Amazon, click on YOUR ACCOUNT. You’ll see this screen.

click on Your Account 1

Click on YOUR DEVICES AND CONTENT as shown above.

click on your devices & content

 

Click on MANAGE DIGITAL CONTENT as shown above.

You’ll see a screen of all of your eBooks purchased and these menus at top of the list:

click on Manage Digital Content 3

Change BOOKS to GIFTS

click on Change Books to Gifts 4

You want to see GIFTS SEND: PENDING next to the GIFTS button, as seen below.

If you have any gifts that haven’t been redeemed, they’ll be listed, to which the following directions apply.

First, click on the three dots menus on the left side of the book title.

click on menu on left side 5.png

Then, click CHANGE RECIPIENT EMAIL.

(If you need to change the email address of a book gifted to a recipient, this is where you would make that change.  For instance, I’ve learned that I can send a gift directly to someone’s Kindle if they provide me their Kindle email address.)

You’ll see this screen with the original recipient’s email-ID, their name, and your message if you filled them out.  Simply change the email address to your own, and click UPDATE.

click on change recipient email 6

You’ll receive an email stating you’ve received a gift Ebook.

 

Returning the Gift Money Back Into Your Account

Now to change that gift into Amazon credit, click on the button in the email.

click on Get Your Kindle book Gift now button 7

You’ll be taken to Amazon’s website where you can ACCEPT GIFT or LEARN HOW THIS WORKS OR EXCHANGE FOR GIFT CREDIT.

click on Accept Gift screen 8

This screen will open up and you want to click to REQUEST A GIFT CREDIT FROM CUSTOMER SERVICE NOW.

click on Request Gift Credit 9

 

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgePurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

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11 Reasons Why I Continue to Write

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group 

Posting for the first Wednesday of the Month, October 2, 2019

Because I’m in the final editing stages of my upcoming book, Love’s New Beginnings, which I plan on publishing in October, I thought I’d share some encouraging thoughts and moments I’ve experienced in my forty years as a writer.

11 Reasons Why I Continue to Write

Newly Published - July 2019

  1. Opening a box of newly published books never gets old. Never.
  1. If I don’t write, I get grumpy.
  1. I like to believe that one day I will be a best-seller author and have my story portrayed on the screen. At this point, I’m not fussy; while I had preferred the big screen, the little screen will do just fine.
  1. I get to hang out with other writers! And, they are the best people ever. They know how to spell! They laugh a lot. They know how to add to my idea, thus making it a great idea. They’re just as geeky about grammar as I am! They get me.
  1. I’ve become an expert in something: plotting, developing characters, writing, punctuations and grammar, writing loglines.
  1. I get to have geeky conversations on Facebook, such as whether the Oxford comma is needed or not. And, the conversations create more posts from one question asked than any political conversations elsewhere.
  1. Books and movies—old and new—get recommended.
  1. Diana's wall of booksIt’s okay that I have a lot of books. Lots.
  1. When writing, I enjoy losing track of time.
  1. It’s the only way I can get the voices out of my head.

Oh, and Reason #11 – Do I really need a reason when it’s pure fun?

Why do you write?

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgePurpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Posted in #amwriting, #IWSG, writing | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments