Def: an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.
I surpassed another author milestone yesterday in a month that I needed something good to happen to stave off the sombreness of a terrible event that happened this time last year. I won’t go into what happened last year, but I want to share my new exciting news.
My book received a Five Star Review from Literary Titan and went on to receive their Five Star Gold Book Award, with the following review
“Her Lover’s Face by Patricia Elliott is an intriguing and captivating novel that offers readers a whirlwind of twists, turns, and surprises. This family drama interweaves romance, suspense, and danger to create a beautiful and complex novel. The story centers around two imperfect individuals, and the novel opens with the death of Laryssa’s abusive husband. This sets the stage for the struggle that Laryssa, who is pregnant, must face as she navigates a new life free from her abusive partner.
What sets this book apart from many other romance novels is its depiction of the complexities of relationships. Elliott expertly portrays the flaws in her characters, ensuring that readers are unable to identify a clear hero or heroine. Instead, the novel explores the gray areas that exist within human relationships, effectively capturing the nuances that make them so intricate. The author also skillfully portrays the differences between the ways men and women think and react in certain situations, creating a narrative that feels true to life.
Laryssa’s character is the backbone of this story, and the author has done an excellent job of portraying her struggles as she tries to come to terms with her newfound freedom. When she meets Alex, who bears a striking resemblance to her late husband, the attraction between them is undeniable. However, Laryssa is determined not to surrender her power to anyone and seeks to define the terms of her own love and life. Unfortunately, both Alex and Laryssa are plagued with trust issues and a lack of understanding of each other, making it clear that they both require therapy to resolve their issues.
Her Lover’s Face is an excellent read that offers a nuanced exploration of human relationships, filled with engaging and multifaceted characters that will keep readers captivated until the last page.”
For the last 20 days, I’ve been hard at work tackling Nanowrimo. This has been a goal of mine for the last four years, but I’ve never attempted it until now. What is Nanowrimo? It’s basically a challenge for writers; where you have to write 50k words in the month of November to win. The idea is to write a novel quickly, but anyone who writes knows how easily life can get in the way. There’s work, chores, family, shopping, spouses, internet and whatever else you can think of that detracts from your free time.
In previous years when I thought of trying Nano, I was always in the middle of another project or, well, I just chickened out. I’m a mom of four(three at home), who works fulltime, so finding time to write can be tricky. Now, I could have just let this year be another one of those years, but I said no, “This time I’m gonna do it.”
I already had a few novels under my belt, along with a few short stories, so I knew that I had the ability to follow through on a goal; but, this type of goal required me to write every day, which was not something I was doing, especially not over the last year. We’ve had a lot of hardships over the last year, and that’s not including the trials we’ve had with Covid affecting our world.
If I was going to do this, I had to dig deep inside of me and bring out the person that I knew was hiding in there. The one who had finished goals before and never let anything get in the way. No matter how tough life is, I needed to show myself that I could do it. And like I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I’m all about setting a daily goal and keeping it.
So exactly how many words do you need to write every day to reach 50k words in a month: 1,667. Now that isn’t a lot to some writers, but when you have a crazy life, that can be a challenge. I wasn’t going to let that deter me though. I was determined to see this goal through to the end.
When I’m in a good writing grove, I would usually write 1500 words a day between Monday-Friday and wouldn’t write anything on the weekends, except social media posts. But that wasn’t good enough for this type of challenge. I had to up my game. And to be honest, I wasn’t even sure that was possible as I haven’t written much all year, and near the end of the year, I lost the job that really allowed me time to write. That was a devastating loss.
Life had changed so much for me that I either could hide my head under a pillow or change with it. I decided it was time to pick myself back up and this was just the way to do it. I made it my mission to write 1700 words a day, overshoot the goal. The question was, exactly how badly did I want it? Unless you’re determined, the chances of completing what you set out to do is unlikely. You need to believe it’s possible.
Below you can see my daily word count as the month progressed, culminating at today, November 20, 2020.
Some days I didn’t write as much, but I did manage to stay above my daily goal. Of course, that meant that sometimes we had dinner late, easy meals, takeout. Sometimes the dishes piled in the sink(Okay, that one was not so good*lol*). My son, Ethan, helped us not get buried under a whack load of them. And now that the goal is done, I’ll be doing a deep clean of my house, which somewhat looks like a tornado ripped through it. Clean laundry is piled on our loveseat, having just been plunked there after the dryer was finished. I did manage to get garbage out on a regular basis, so I had that going for our house. Haha.
Really though, I wanted to prove to myself that there was still a writer inside me somewhere, even when the world is crazy. I wanted to prove to my kids and others that you can do anything you set your mind to, as long as you are willing to do the work it takes to get there. It won’t always be easy. Sometimes it will feel almost impossible, but that’s what separates the doers from the dreamers. Doers keep doing even when the way seems dark. Dreamers just keep dreaming…
Congrats to all the Nanowrimo winners out there! What’s your dream? Share it in the comments below.
Here’s the opening to my Nanowrimo story, “Resurrection Hour: Hidden in Ice.” This is a rough first draft, so you’ll see it in all it’s raw glory. *lol*
Xavier stared at the young woman, who couldn’t be more than eighteen, walking towards him on the tarmac. One woman and man followed in her wake, carrying all the luggage, while all she carried was a backpack. She couldn’t be who they were expecting, but, for some reason, the description he was given fit her to a T—bright red hair peaked out of her parka.
When she stopped in front of him, his heart did a triple thump as her vibrant green eyes locked with his. There was something otherworldly about them, and he found himself at a loss for words. He couldn’t see much else, but it was enough.
“You must be Xavier. Hi, I’m Doctor Hannah Fraser,” she said, shoving her gloved hand at him. “And these are my assistants Cheryl Blakely and Flynn Peters.”
He stared at it mindless a moment before he cleared his throat, trying to get his mind back on track. The last thing he could afford was getting distracted. Being the head of security it was his duty to keep everyone safe, and get the doctor inside before they froze to death. It was 30 degrees below zero. Far too cold to stand out there and do idle chitchat.
“It’s nice to meet you.” After shaking her hand, he gestured towards the door a hundred feet behind him. “Right this way.” Xavier shivered as a chill blew underneath his hood, ruffling his dark brown hair. It was one of those colors somewhere in between black and brown that could be one or the other. It gave him a hell of a time filling out security applications or driver’s licenses.
Punching in the security code at the door and opening the door, he allowed them to enter first. Once the door was closed, he turned to face the newcomers. They were now in a small foyer, not any larger than a small bedroom. There was a desk on one side with a computer. Xavier pulled off his jacket and hung it on a hook in the corner before sitting down.
“I’ll need to see your identification.” He sat there patiently while they dug in their bags.
Hannah placed her bag on the edge of the table and pulled out a make-up bag, a small bag of medicine, two books-romance by the looks of it, and a bra. He glanced up at her and noted her cheeks turned a pretty hue of pink, making him grin. He couldn’t help but wonder if she was wearing a bra under all her clothes.
She chuckled nervously and continued digging through her bag’s contents. “I know it’s in here somewhere.”
In the meantime, her companions handed him their id’s. They had flown up from Vancouver, British Columbia. She was well-known in her paleontology field, which in a way surprised him. By appearance, he wouldn’t have pegged her for a doctor. She was someone who could have had her face splashed on a magazine, or even snagged a rich sucker to pay her way.
A shiver rippled through him and he pushed the thought out of his mind. He wasn’t going to go there. He’d transferred up here to get away from the memory of Catherine. Away from her bleeding him dry and ruining his life. What was Hannah trying to escape from?
“Ah ha! Found it. I must have put it in my suitcase when I was trying to find my notes.” She handed him her license and he couldn’t help but take a peek at her date of birth. He looked between her and the ID. There was no way she was twenty-eight. “I know. I know. I look sixteen, right?”
“I was going to say eighteen, but ya.”
After checking everything over, he leaned over and pulled out their access cards from the bottom drawer. With a few clicks on the keyboard, their cards were activated. “Your cards will give you access into your rooms, as well as any medical and research rooms within the facility.”
“Funny to have such high security in the middle of nowhere,” Flynn, one of Hannah’s assistants, commented.
“You can never be too careful, even out here. We have at least two hundred people in this facility and sensitive information.” That included his twelve man security team who covered all six floors. Not much has happened since he joined, so it was a nice quiet job.
“Speaking of which, has the specimen arrived?” Hannah asked, her eyes sparkling with excitement.
“One second.” Xavier picked up his radio and contacted one of his teammates to man the desk while he showed the newcomers around, and then responded to her question. “It should arrive later today.”
“Were you apprised of its condition?”
“They don’t tell and I don’t ask.”
She tilted her sweet head to the side and studied him. “You aren’t the least bit curious?”
Truth be told, when he first started here, he wanted to know everything. But they had enough on their plate without knowing every little thing, and the director didn’t like them prying into the research.
He shrugged his shoulders. “I’m not paid to inquire.” The less he knew the better because then he wouldn’t get accused of taking something if it disappeared or was misplaced. If it posed a threat that would be a different story, but a fossil frozen in ice was the least of his worries. They had the proper isolation rooms on the research floor to separate it from the rest of the population of Finley’s Research Station.
“I don’t think I could do that,” she said. “I like to know every detail.”
“Makes sense. You wouldn’t be a doctor if you didn’t like to know what makes things tick.”
As they were talking, one of his men walked in, dressed in their usual attire- white shirts with a security logo on the front and Finley’s Research Security on the arm patches, along with black pants and polished black shoes.
“Man the desk, please. I’m going to show Dr Fraser and her associates around the station.”
“Sure thing,” his buddy replied, taking up a position behind him.
Xavier nodded towards him, then turned his attention back to the newcomers. “We’ll put your luggage in your room before we do the grand tour.”
“Can we have 30 minutes to freshen up? It’s been a long flight,” Cheryl asked, her wavy hair standing on end from static after pulling off her toque. He fought to suppress a grin. It looked like she stuck her finger in a light socket.
He looked at his watch. “We might just have to wait until after dinner for the tour then because Director Adams wants to see you in the conference room in an hour.”
Pushing the chair back from his desk, he stood up and moved over to the sliding door. He pulled his access card from his pocket and held it in front of the scanner before punching in the code. The sliding doors opened and they walked into a hallway. To his left was a set of stairs that led down to the lower floors.
“You have two options. We can take the stairs or the elevator. Your pick.” He pointed down the long hallway to the elevator.
They had a pile of gear, so they opted for the elevator, even if it took them farther away from their room. As they walked down the hall, a square black case that Cheryl had stacked in her arms started to slip off.
“Oh no!” she cried as it tumbled towards the ground. Xavier snatched it out of the air, pulling it safely into his arms. Cheryl let out a visible sigh of relief. “Thank you so much.”
Instead of piling it back on top, he opted to carry it. By the look on Hannah’s face, the girl would have been up the creek without a paddle if whatever was inside broke. She held herself together though and didn’t say a word.
It didn’t take long for them to head down to the second floor. They walked halfway down the corridor and turned to the left, then a short bit later turned to the right. “Geez, this isn’t confusing at all,” Hannah said with a wry grin.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it. We’re essentially a great big square and if you get lost, there are security phones along the outer hallways-one in each corner.”
Xavier stopped in front of a room. “Dr. Fraser and Mrs. Blakely, this is your room. Flynn will be sharing a room next door with one of our resident engineers, Levi White.”
“Please, it’s just Miss Blakely. I’m not married,” she made a point of saying, as she fluttered her eyelashes at him.
Xavier smiled. “Duly noted.” Cheryl was a cute little thing, but she wasn’t his type. Besides, he had no interest in pursuing a relationship while stationed out here. They may be in the middle of nowhere and fun activities were slim to none, but he was here to do a job and that’s it. Anything else complicated things more than they needed to be right now.
Hannah swiped her card on the reader and stepped inside the room after the doors slid open, placing her gear on the table before turning to him. “If I need to speak to you specifically, where will I be able to find you?”
“Our main office is on the main floor where we came in, to the right of the elevator. I’m there from 0800 to 1600.”
“Good to know.”
“Well, I’ll leave you to it.”
Hannah nodded her head and then turned to Cheryl. “Did you want the washroom first or me?”
Special visitors to the island were given the best suites, which had a full bathroom, as opposed to the normal crew which only had a sink and toilet inside theirs. Only the director and assistant director had the same. Xavier didn’t really mind. It’s not like he had any entertaining plans.
Stepping out of the room, he allowed the doors to close behind him. Just as he was about to head back to the front his radio squawked. “Alpha-1 to Delta-1, the elevator has malfunctioned. The Director is inside. Repair crew has been dispatched.”
We’ve all seen them—the productivity memes. You know, the ones that say something like:
“You pick up a cup and attempt to go to the kitchen to do the dishes, but get distracted by a dirty table. You put the cup down to clean the table, then you find a bill that needs to be paid. On your way to the computer to pay the bill, you get distracted by dirty laundry on the floor. On your way to do the laundry, you get distracted by something else…and by the end of the day, you haven’t really accomplish anything at all.”
*Phew* Even reading that made me exhausted, but you get the general idea. There is a lot of stuff we want to do and have to do, but there is always something else that distracts us, and for some people, even more so. It’s not always easy to stay on task when so much is going on around us. Our dreams often take a backseat to life because them seem so impossible to accomplish.
Over a decade ago, I started playing an online game called Runescape. It’s this immense online multiplayer game and very addicting. You could interact with other players, chat with them, and train skills with them. Each skill could go up to Level 99, and as you raised your skills, you could do more and more things in the game. Some skills could take months or even a year or more to hit 99, depending on how much you play and how focused you are.
When I first started playing, I jumped from skill to skill, much like a person jumping from chore to chore or dream to dream. But I noticed after a while it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. That’s when I decided I needed to focus on one skill if I ever wanted to reach 99 in anything in a reasonable amount of time. So I chose to focus on their Woodcutting skill. I made a plan. I figured out how many logs I needed to cut and how many I could reasonably cut in a day and then counted out the number of days it would take to get to 99.
I started a daily journal on their forums to hold myself accountable to my goal. Each day I refused to do anything else in the game until that goal was done. People in the community were so used to people failing that they would tell me that my goal wasn’t possible; however, slowly but surely, I watched myself succeed, as did the community. Other people became inspired and started to believe that they, too, could hit the infamous 99’s. We even created a group to help inspire each other. We called it, “Achievers United.”
It was during this time that I learned the importance of focusing, making a plan, and giving myself a deadline—making sure that I didn’t let myself get distracted. Without a plan, a big goal can seem daunting because you can’t see the end in front of you. And without a daily log, you also can’t see what you’ve accomplished so far.
At some point, the novelty of working on something wears off and you find yourself in a dark tunnel, where you start losing motivation. You begin to wonder whether you can actually do it or not. Having a daily log lets you go see how far you’ve come from where you used to be, and that helps you start to believe that you can keep moving forward. If you’ve come this far, you can find the strength to keep going.
This is also where a daily goal comes in handy. If all you had to look at was the end goal and how you needed to, for example, cut 150,000 logs, you may get discouraged by the sheer size of the number. And likewise when you write a book, if all you focused on was that you needed 80,000-100,000 words, it might feel like too much. But if you break it down into a daily goal, and just focus on what’s in front of you for that day, it makes it so much easier.
How do you find out how much you should do on any given day? Well, work on your goal for one week. Do as much as you can each day so that you can see what you’re working with. At the end of the week, examine those numbers and pick something that you know you can do reasonably on a daily basis. In terms of writing, I know I can write 1500 words a day, so that’s my daily goal. If I do that, it’s possible to complete a book in 53 days, not counting your days of rest. Your daily goal may be different, it may be higher or it may be lower. Some I know can crank out over 7,000 words a day. For me, I think that would make my head explode. *haha*
But when you break it down into manageable chunks, your dream becomes a lot easier to envision. My favourite part of having played Runescape was that I learned valuable transferable skills that I put to good use in my life. It’s how I’ve managed to write “THE END” on so many stories. And I’m telling you that you can do it too. You just have to set your mind to it and follow through.
The road may not always be easy and you may fall short at times, but don’t think of it as failure, just think of it as a step towards your goal. You never truly fail unless you give up.
“Laryssa Mitchell is one of the lucky ones. The death of her abusive husband finally allows her to live again on her own terms, making her own choices. Her first official decision is to take back what was lost – her independence and her old job. But she soon finds herself in a living nightmare when she meets her new boss. If her husband is rotting in hell, then who is the man standing in front of her with a dead man’s face?
Alexander Richards doesn’t expect to catch an unconscious woman in his arms on his first day at work, nor does he envision himself willingly setting foot in a hospital again, reliving his painful loss. But that’s exactly what he chooses to do when Laryssa needs his help. Why?
She has a story to tell. He has a mystery to solve. In the midst of danger, passion sizzles between them, taking them by surprise. What will happen when all is brought to light? Will they be able to overcome their traumatic pasts and find love in each other, or will their ghosts have the final say?”
By this time last year, I only had three stories published:
“Her Lover’s Face” (Novel) “Wanted: Courage” (Flashpoint: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Flash Fiction Anthology 2018) “Never Far Away” (Rapture: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Flash Fiction Anthology 2018)
It’s amazing what can happen in a year. I’ve had a number of ups and downs since June of last year, non-writing experiences that could have made me give up again, overwhelmed by my challenges; but, if there is one legacy I want to leave my kids, it is that no matter what happens in your life, you never give up and you never quit. Follow after your dreams and never let anything stop you. Did you get knocked down? Well, get back up and try again. No one else can forge your path for you. You have to find the strength inside yourself.
In the last year, I had the following stories/poetry published:
“The Stranger” (poem published on Spillwords) “Love Knows No Apocalypse” (Mystic Desire: a Supernatural Anthology) “Love from the Mist” (Mystic Desire, a Supernatural Anthology) “Not You Again!” (Novel) “The Dinner Call” (OCEANS: A Dark Microfiction Anthology (Dark Drabbles Book 9) “The Ocean’s Thief” ( OCEANS: A Dark Microfiction Anthology (Dark Drabbles Book 9) “Poseidon’s Revenge” (Forgotten Ones: Drabbles of Myth and Legend) “Into the Fire” (Slow Burn: The Fires That Bind Us Charity Anthology)
“Patricia Elliott” (Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020)
“The Handcuff Proposal” (a novelette being published in a Black Velvet Seductions anthology)
I also have four, just about five, completed novels and two novellas that need editing, and another series I’m working on that revolves around a zombie apocalypse, in which two stories are already done. And I have two other series in mind. I guess the point of my blog post is that we can live our lives dreaming, wishing we were doing something, or we can get out and do it.
Has someone told you that your dream isn’t realistic? Show them that all you need is motivation to prove them wrong. Want to be a doctor? A writer? An astronaut? Then it’s up to you to set that in motion and never give up, even when the road gets tough. Life will always try to throw you curve-balls, and some of them will be doozies, trust me I know, but you can’t let the negative experiences determine your path.
Rise above them! Life is what you make it. I believe in you.
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman
Interested in her books, check out her Amazon Author Page:
As we wrestle our way through Covid-19, it’s easy to forget about other circumstances that preceded it, and I want to make sure that Australia hasn’t been forgotten about. Just before things went down with this new virus, these pictures were all over the internet and social media sites:
Our hearts broke for Australia. Many lives were lost and properties were destroyed. Men and women worked tirelessly to save what they could. I couldn’t imagine being on the front lines of something like that. It’s hard when you are trained to do a job, but, yet, feel powerless to do it against such a brutal force of nature. Still, the first responders didn’t give up. They worked hard—endlessly—but the job doesn’t end with them. Rebuilding and bringing life back to a devastated land takes support from everyone.
And to help do that, thirteen authors and Little Quail Press have banded together to bring you
a charity anthology called Slow Burn. All proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the NSW Rural Fire Service to help support the First Responders in their efforts to rebuild and protect their amazing country. We would like to ask you to join with us and get twelve Australia-based stories in the process for your reading enjoyment. It’s a win-win in my eyes. 😀
“Australia is burning, and the heroes between these pages are going to save it. Amazing authors have banded together to bring you smoking hot firefighter romances to support bush fire relief. From rural Australian settings to the world of mages and shifters, these stories will have you heating up — for more than one reason.
Proceeds from this anthology go towards the NSW Rural Fire Services to help rebuild after the devastation of our summer bushfire season here in Australia.”
Official release date: May 31, 2020 (currently up for pre-order)