Thank you for reading and following Wayward Sparkles. It’s always my pleasure to share stories with you, and I always look forward to hearing your stories or getting your two cents about life. The blogging community is an amazing place. There are so many wonderful and diverse people who write and express themselves so well from all over the globe. I’m grateful for each of you. You teach me new things, you surprise and entertain me, and you let me see the world through your eyes. You always give me hope, support and cheer in an often crass, hardscrabble world. Most importantly, you are kind. In other words, each of you is a blessing, and I feel very blessed to have gotten to know you through your blogs and friendship. May all good things come your way in 2024!
I was hoping to talk about nothing but good things today, but between our next door neighbor getting her brand new vehicle stolen out of her driveway on the 30th at 3 PM (this used to be such a safe neighborhood!), our other neighbor’s family member suffering through Stage 4 breast cancer, a writer friend’s husband dying on the morning of the 31st, and David’s ex-wife’s funeral on Wednesday, it’s almost tone deaf to talk about having a great start to the new year.
My heart goes out to each of them, but it also reminds me of how short the time we have on this earth truly is. With that said, I’m damned and determined to make the 366 days of 2024 really count.
I was actually trying to find a new notebook (I always carry one) at the start of this year because it helps to write things down when they happen so I don’t forget details. And grocery lists. Those are important. Phone numbers, too. Recipes. Doodles. Ideas. All the bits that make up my life, really. As it so happens, I used up the last few pages of the notebook I’ve been carrying around with me over the last several months. So, the timing worked out that I needed a new notebook for the start of 2024. Anyway, I found this in my closet and thought, YES, this is perfect! My sis-in-law and brother got this for me a few years back, but I hadn’t used it — UNTIL NOW! Also, this is going to be the theme of this year.
Seize the day — with attitude!
About the book
I’m happy to report that I’m getting generally positive feedback from a friend who is currently beta reading my manuscript. She’s the first person who I’m not related to who is reading it. Also, she enjoys reading a wide variety of books, and so I was tickled pink when she offered to read it.
By the way, there is still time if any of you want to beta read for me. It’s January; and if you’re so inclined, you could snuggle up to my manuscript and read while drinking a hot beverage or two of your choice. Whether you choose to read by a nice fire and/or have a dog or cat of your choosing curl up with you as you read — well, that’s up to you — but it sounds like an amazing way to spend a cold winter’s weekend to me. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, please let me know. You don’t even have to know the ins and outs of writing. As a potential beta reader, I’m looking for someone who enjoys reading and can let me know if what they are reading makes sense; if it flows well; if it’s enjoyable or not; and if this is something that works for you as a reader. Of course if you come across glaring flaws in the content or redundancy, it would be nice to know that too. Again, it is mostly humor-based.
Anyway, I feel ultra blessed because my friend who is currently beta reading for me is someone who just retired. One day we decided to get coffee, got to talking and that’s when she expressed an interest in reading for me. We’ve known each other for a long time, but we haven’t really gotten to know each other that well because of our busy lives. Since she’s never read any of my work before (not even my blog), I wasn’t even sure if she would enjoy the genre in which I write (personal essay and humor.) She did say that she enjoyed humor, but she’s also someone who reads both fiction and dry non-fiction, so then I worried my manuscript wasn’t going to be of the same caliber of what she usually reads. We decided she should start out slow with the first couple of chapters just to see if it was her “cup of tea.” I told her not to worry if it didn’t interest her. What I write isn’t for everyone. But then she texted me and asked for the rest of the book. The last I heard (I never want to press), she said she was finding it “wildly entertaining,” and SHE SAID SHE KNOWS PEOPLE LIKE I’VE DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK!!!! Then she said a few other nice things as well. *blushing but ecstatic!*
Walking on Sunshine
Needless to say, I’ve been walking on air for the last several days. She still has a long way to go, and she has a lot of questions, which she is going to write down. And, of course, she might also find things she doesn’t enjoy in it, for which I’m prepared. But that’s what beta reading is all about — giving an honest opinion. Because how can I make it the best book I can if I don’t know what needs to be fixed? All of that to say, as long as someone’s not a slash and burn artist (and I can usually tell when someone’s being honest with me or whether they’re just being “not nice”), I take critique well. Anyway, my friend’s promised to be very honest and to let me know what works for her and what doesn’t.
Even so, I’m not resting on my laurels.
I’m starting a new book while continuing to go mad trying to figure out how to write a really great synopsis and amazing query letters. (Someone put me out of my misery now!) My goal this year (fingers crossed) is to write two other books after my really great synopsis and query letters — one with more personal essays in it, and the second will be a work of fiction. But that’s what writers do. We write. And we keep writing.
Speaking of writing and writers, my daughter Lauren has turned out to be an amazing writer of poetry. I know damned little about the art of poetry, but I know what makes me feel. And Lauren’s poetry (her turn of phrase, her imagery, her tone and mood) — I mean, WOW, y’all! I alternate between surprise, laughter and bawling my eyes out. And no, I’m not having crazy mood swings — it’s my daughter’s writing.
Lauren told me that she sat down and the words started pouring out of her and time stood still as she wrote.
Uh, oh! Now she’s done it! She’s been bitten by her muse and there’s no turning back! *huge grin*
In the meantime, I woke up yesterday morning to sweet baby (Millie) giving me a massage or kneading biscuits. Whatevs. While it might not have been a deep tissue massage, it still felt really nice. And starting the new year out with a massage is a pretty great way to start!
Blessings to each of us as we journey together through another year of writing, sharing our lives and enjoying music!
Happy Birthday, Mom!
January 2 would have been Mom’s 78th birthday. I can’t believe she’s been gone seven years now! Anyway, I hope these songs (they used to be her favorites) will reach her all the way in Heaven! Love you, Mom!
HAPPY 2024, WAYWARD FRIENDS!
Sparkle y’all and remember to Carpe Fucking Diem!