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Pretty Spring Things

Today was a beautiful spring day, mostly sunny (at least by afternoon) and in the mid-sixties. And on our five-acre property, many signs of spring have emerged, sparking the hope that this past cold, wet winter might be over at least.

So I thought I’d do something different on my blog. I thought I’d share some of the pretty spring things we’ve been seeing. The first two are more like tasty spring things. And the first photo reminds me that as soon as I finish this post, I need to run out and pick some asparagus for supper.

When I saw what you see in the next photo, I thought, “I shall know soon if I have mice in the garden.” How? Because that strawberry, at least half-ripe (and the first one of the season) will disappear or get nibbled on within the next couple of days if I do.

The next is some kind of small purple wildflower. The photo’s not as good as it could be because the wind was blowing.

Overnight, our rosebushes have bloomed. There’s another bush on the other side, and it’s heavenly to walk between them! They are heirlooms, so the roses give off a lovely fragrance.

Here is a single rose.

Some sort of small, white wildflower that the butterflies and hummingbird moths love.

Case in point.

Yellow wildflowers mixed in with a few of the purple ones like the one I shared above.

What kind of beauty are seeing right now, where you live?

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In a recent post, I admitted to being all over the idea of increasing my daily word count. I lamented about how lo-ong it takes to write a novel unless you’re churning out 3,000+ words per day.

So I discovered that if I don’t edit while I type, I can type 900 words every thirty minutes. I tried that for three days, blocking out four thirty-minute periods. Here’s what happened.

First, I couldn’t reach that word count in every thirty minute period that I sat down to write. But I’d convinced myself that if I was going to be a career novelist, I needed to buckle down and spend whatever time was necessary cranking out 3600 words a day. Thus, the “whatever time was necessary” often meant spending more than four thirty-minute periods to write – or sitting down for more than thirty minutes at a time.

Have I ever told you I can’t stand sitting? Not for long periods of time, anyway.

By the end of the third day, I was burned out. Burned out on my latest project, burned out on writing in general.

Here’s the other thing that happened. Because I wasn’t editing as I was going, I was spending an extra hour a day (or more) to fix the millions of mistakes I’d made. I had almost no leisure time left, no time to do housework.

After that third day, had to ask myself this question: Who are you racing?

I was racing the self-published authors who can crank out a book a month because they pay someone to do their editing and proofreading (I do my own, with help from J). I was racing them because supposedly, if you publish frequently your name gets out more often and you make more money.

I was racing my attitude of “slow is boring.” My mindset that “I hate writing a novel if it takes longer than three weeks.”

I was racing, racing, racing…and I fell down, exhausted, before I’d barely passed the starting line.

So, I extricated myself from the rat race of self-publishing, deciding that if I couldn’t have fun writing, I wouldn’t do it.

I’ve gone back to aiming for 600 words per half hour. Edited and revised. Because when I type “THE END”, I want to be at least 75% through to a final draft.

And I’m not tied to sitting down four times a day for thirty minutes. Usually, my first two writing periods are each thirty minutes long, but often, the rest of the word count comes in fifteen to twenty minute bursts.

My goal now is an easy 2400 words per day, and I hit it almost every day. On days when I don’t have much non-writing work to do, and my creative energy keeps flowing, I can get another three to six hundred words in. Edited words, edited. Meaning, some days I can write 3,000 good words without feeling like I’m killing myself.

I have plenty of leisure time, I’m having fun writing, and the burn-out is a distant memory.

I even have time to resume blogging.

Happy reading.

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Emily Josephine’s Latest Publication

Coming soon!

I’m going to release the first four books of my new faith-based series between mid-July and early August, 2019. The name of the series is “Pine Mountain Estates”, and the title of the first book is Pine Mountain Secrets. When I launch the series, I will also have a boxed set available for purchase for those who’d like to buy all four books at a discounted price.

Read on for the description of Pine Mountain Secrets!

What if the one secret you were holding was the one thing holding you back from a life of complete freedom?

Arianna, a sixteen-year-old from Uganda, is on the run. Who and what she is running from, she doesn’t want to tell. She’s learned, over the past eight years, not to trust Americans. But when an injury forces her onto the mercy of Allison Whitlock, who finds Arianna in her shed one cold, southeast Oklahoma winter morning, she begins to see that some people are worth her trust.

Until Allie’s best friend comes along, pushing Arianna to make a decision that could not only destroy her only hope at freedom, but that could take her life.

Allie has her own secret, a secret that is slowly eating away at her conscious. What the authorities believe about the car accident that killed her husband and one of her sons five years ago may not be the complete truth. But the one person who knows the truth, her older son Jared, ran away four and a half years ago and has not been heard from since.

The secret begins to burn even hotter when Jeb Mitchell, the man accused of causing the accident, returns from his time in prison and shows up at Allie’s door. Allie wants to make things right with her neighbor and former friend, whose wife was also killed in the accident. But she doesn’t believe it’s her place, since she wasn’t at the scene. And so, the secret continues taking its toll.

A girl and a woman, each holding tightly to a secret that binds them. Forgiveness and trust are the first steps toward freedom, but they need a miracle to push them all the way.

Make sure you’re signed up to my newsletter so you don’t miss it when it first comes out!

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They’re BA-ACK!

A few days ago, I was pondering the progress of my latest novel, the fourth book in the “Pine Mountain Estates” series whose title has yet to be decided, when Hank Johnson showed up.

If you’re reading this blog post, you know who I’m talking about. He’s the male protagonist of The Envelope, my most popular novel by a long shot.

I don’t mean that he showed up at my door. Now, that would be scary. What I mean is, he waltzed into a scene I was planning for my current book.

The scene doesn’t take place in Zimbabwe. It doesn’t happen in Dallas. It doesn’t even occur in southeast Oklahoma, the home base for my latest series. It takes place in Phoenix, Arizona.

Twenty years after Hank and Sheila got married.

That night, I dreamed about both of them inserting themselves into the cast of “Pine Mountain Estate” characters.

Yes, authors dream about their characters sometimes. Especially if they are characters the author has fallen in love with. Especially if the author is a genius and a fantastic person.

So how I ended up dreaming about them…

Anyway, I love the characters in my “Texas Hearts” series, and I love the characters in “Pine Mountain Estates.” And, honestly? If I could go back and do it again, I would have continued the “Texas Hearts” series, following the characters as they grew older. For a long time after publishing the last novel in the series, I actually missed writing about them.

Then, seven years after I published The Envelope and about twenty years after I wrote it, Hank and Sheila wrangle their up into my conscious mind and tell me that they miss me, too, and could I please figure out a way to bring them back to life?

Turns out insinuating them into the plot as minor characters was easy. But no sooner had I done so, than wheels began turning in my mind.

I got dizzy, so I turned them off.

But before I did, the wheels had generated some vague ideas, ideas about how the cast from “Texas Hearts” could gradually join up with the cast from “Pine Mountain Estates.” It would be fun, because all the “Texas Hearts” people are my age and older now.

Okay, all except the baby of the bunch, Antonia (sorry, girlfriend. I know you’re getting close to perimenopause by now).

Anyway, Hank and Sheila Johnson are back. And I think the others will be on their way soon.

I’m looking forward to it.

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To Dictate, Or Not To Dictate?

In this post, I discussed my discovery that I can write more words per minute if I refrain from editing as I type. I also revealed the result of a dictation experience, that I can compose a section of a book much faster if I talk it out, instead of writing it out.

So, I went through the tutorials on my computer to train it to my voice. And I tested it. The result was either laughable or horribly disappointing, depending on your perspective.

The computer got so many words wrong, that if I were to talk for an hour and then go back to edit what it transcribes, I wouldn’t be able to figure out what I was trying to say.

I could remedy this by spending hours in front of my computer, dictating a few words at a time and then dictating a correction every time it made a mistake. But I’m not sure that would be worth my time.

I heard that the speech recognition software on a computer comes from Dragon Naturally Speaking, the most popular dictation software. But maybe the software that they sell works better?

Nope. My husband looked it up, and Dragon seems to make the same percentage of errors.

I’m going to stick to not editing while I type.

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