Tag Archive for: March

The Joy of Waiting

By Debra Sennefelder

I’ve done self-care unconsciously for a long time but I never really knew it was self-care. They were things I enjoyed doing and they had a bonus of helping clear my head and lowering my stress level. The activities I found most beneficial were workouts, my skincare rituals and making time to bake/and or read. I’m realizing now that it’s important to intentionally make time for self-care rather than let it find you. 

Engaging in self-care activities can sometimes be challenging because we’re all on tight schedules. We’re juggling work, family, volunteering and probably a side hustle. So finding the time to give ourselves a much-needed break and recharge our batteries is almost impossible. I know. I felt the same way in January.

I had three crushing deadlines and a puppy who still needed close observation (it’s amazing how much trouble she could get into) when I finally gave myself permission for a break. The opportunity to meet a friend for lunch presented itself and I accepted. I told myself going out to lunch would be a nice change from whipping up a protein shake and also a good thing for our puppy because she needed to get used to being home alone.

But since I wanted to be as efficient as possible, I ran a couple of errands before lunch and got the restaurant ten minutes early. I ordered a coffee and pulled out my phone to read. It had been weeks since I had the chance to read for pleasure so those ten minutes were greatly welcomed. I checked my watch and saw it was one o’clock and my friend wasn’t there yet. I continued drinking my coffee and enjoying my book. Ten minutes later she showed up. Turns out, her medical appointment ran late and she apologized.

I told her she had nothing to be apologize for and I meant it. I got twenty minutes of quiet time where I didn’t have to think or write or play tug of war. No, I was able to read. Not only did I get to read, but I also got to decompress and let my racing thoughts (I find that when I’m writing a book my mind is constantly churning over ideas and dialogue snippets) settle.  It was magical. 

Normally I’m irritated when I have to wait. I make it a point to be on time so when I have to wait for someone I do get a little annoyed. But that January afternoon I found the joy in waiting. I also found that self-care doesn’t have to be an hour-long workout or a soak in the tub, it can be sitting quietly in a restaurant focused on a book.

Do you have a favorite self-care routine? What helps recharge your batteries?

Debra Sennefelder is the
author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series.
She lives and writes in Connecticut. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking,
exercising and taking long walks with her Shih-Tzu, Connie. You can keep in touch
with Debra through her website, on Facebook and Instagram.

Character vs Real Life

Sparkle Abbey is hosting guest blogger, Shannon Baker

Today we’re joined by our good friend, Shannon Baker. She’s graciously offered to give away a copy of her latest novel Tattered Legacy. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. (U.S only.) Take it away Shannon!

I never start off a novel to work out my life
issues. I don’t create characters as some form of self-therapy. (Although I
used to have fantasies of torturing a barrel racer and leaving her unable to
speak. But I’m much better now.) Writers come to their books differently, but
for me, I generally find WHAT I want to write about and then populate it with
the most interesting WHO I can make up.

Recently, I got to thinking about my
protagonists, which to this point have all been women. I hate to reveal too
much about my personality, but when I match up what people say about those
characters and what was going on in my life at the time, I can’t help but see
how my sneaky subconscious was working overtime.

A reviewer for my first published book, Ashes of the Red Heifer (gratefully out
of print now) commented, “…
unnecessarily stubborn
and foul mouthed…” and an  “…overbearing,
stronger willed woman than I’ve ever met.”
 (Yes, I know, most writers use pull-lines that
say nice things about the book. I have those, too, but I’m trying to make a
point here.) At a book club one woman, trying to be as gentle as possible,
described her as, “prickly and bossy and not very nice.”

my trying to soften Annie up in revisions, she always kept that hard shell. So,
here’s what was happening in my life: My husband of 15 years was having an
affair (remember that barrel racer I mentioned earlier?) and I had two
daughters in school, in this tiny town, and I was holding every emotion so
tight no one would see me crack. That probably translated to the page, making
Annie tough and hard as granite.

wrote the next book after my family life had substantially improved. My kids
were on their own and I’d found the love of my life. Personally, I felt secure
and happy. But professionally, I was teetering. We’d just moved to Flagstaff
and it took me over a year to find a job. When I did, instead of being in
charge, as I was previously, I had no clout. While I loved the people I worked
with, I felt undervalued by the management.

In Tainted Mountain, the first in the Nora
Abbott mystery series, Nora is all kinds of conflicted. She gives the world the
face of a competent business woman and she’s smart and hard working. Inside,
she’s riddled with insecurities. She waffles back and forth between “hear me
roar” and squeaking in the corner.

In Broken Trust, book two, while I’d taken
a risky job at a start-up, Nora is struggling to take command of her life. By
book three, Tattered Legacy, written
after I’d survived menopause, Nora is full of confidence and action.

not Annie or Nora or any of the other protagonists that came before them. But I
can see where some of my real life transfers to their characters.

are far less subtle ways my real life infiltrates my books. For instance, how
often I kill a philandering husband. And just how many of protagonists wrestle
with mother relationships. Dogs, cats, and even horses find their way onto my
pages. Any aspect of my real life can seep onto the page. But not the sex
scenes. Those are totally made up or derived by watching movies.

you read a novel, do you wonder how much of the story or characters come
straight from the author’s life? 

Remember, Shannon is giving away a copy of Tattered Legacy. For a chance to win, just leave a comment below. Make sure you include your email address.

Shannon Baker is the
author of the Nora Abbott mystery series from 

Midnight Ink. A
fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder.
Shannon is an itinerant writer, which is a nice way of saying she’s confused.
She never knows what time zone she’s in, Timbuck-Three, Nebraska, or
 Denver, or Tucson. Nora Abbott has picked up that location schizophrenia
and travels from Flagstaff in Tainted Mountain, to Boulder in Broken
 and then to Moab in Tattered Legacy.  Shannon
is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 Writer of the
Year. Visit Shannon at 
www.Shannon-Baker.comWhile Tattered Legacy
is available from your favorite online or bookstore, if you’d like to support
indie bookstores, you’re welcome to contact Who Else Books at 
. Ron and Nina are the
best! And they might have a signed copy to send.