Writing Group Shenanigans

If you are a fellow writer, you have combed through Twitter and other sites searching for quality critique partners. Don’t get me wrong, having family who will read your manuscript is freakin’ fantastic, but writers speak a different language that only other writers understand.

Case and point #1: If I asked my dad how my pacing was, he would say it sucks. He’d think I was asking about my jogging pace, which is atrocious at best.

Case and point #2: If I asked my sister about the MC in my manuscript, she would blink a few times and ask what the f*** I was talking about. Not kidding. That’s a friendly version of her typical sentence structure.

Anyway, you get the point.

A few months ago, I signed up to join a writing group thanks to the wonderful Bianca Marais’s Tweet.

Best. Decision. I. Ever. Made.

Y’all, I found a group of phenomenal ladies.

They catch stuff that leaves me blinking in a stupor at my computer screen. And we all bring something different to the table. I like to think of us as dynamic dynamite. Even if it is kinda cheesy.

Crystal has a smokin’ hot character, Slate, who we all drool over. Not to mention her strong, caring cliff diving protagonist, Luren. Her story has a really cool concept with steamy scenes. Keep cold water nearby. You’ll thank me later.

Defne has a genius character, Roya, who has been stepped on and plotted against from an early age. The political intrigue and tension between characters are killer. In addition, her story has a unique concept that gets my brain cranking.

Then there’s Joy. Joy has impressive descriptions (I’m not jealous, not at all). Her character, Fen, is cool, calm, and just might knock someone off. Assassin much? Yes, please.

On top of their amazing stories and fresh concepts, Defne pops into Slack with memes she created. And I died. On the spot.

For your viewing pleasure:

Defne shared her meme-making secret with us, and y’all, she created a meme monster. Me. I’m the meme monster. I’ve been memeing all day long.

And to add a little more sugar to the topping, Joy throws this at us:

Luren – Joy’s Amazing Drawing

Whaaaaat?! Girl has serious art game. If I could steal that ability from her, I would do it in a hot second. Instead, I resort to buying artwork I can hang on my walls and drool over.

And then…Joy turned into a meme monster and created these:

If you haven’t joined a writing group, I highly recommend checking into it. It can be scary because you’re putting your heart and soul out there for others to critique, but you will become a stronger writer. You will learn from your group members, and you will chase the same dream…together. They will understand you in a way no one else does.

So take the scary leap, find your writing people, and see the magic unfold.

~Tiff~

Carrying You With Me—Always❤️

Grams,

It feels like you’ve been gone for decades instead of a few years. There are so many times I want to pick up a phone to call you. To rant and rave. To gush about my plans, my hopes, my dreams. Instead, I take a walk and speak to the sky. The vehicles that whiz by probably assume I’m softly singing to myself. But I’m not. This is where I talk to you.

Sometimes, Grams, I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff, teetering as I stretch out my fingers a little further—reaching for my dreams. And if I just stretch a bit further, I can grasp them and hold them close to my heart. But if I go too far, I will fall into the rocky valley below.

So I learn to balance. I learn to breathe. And, most of all, I learn to believe. Believe in myself. Believe in what my life’s purpose is. Believe in the woman you envisioned I’d be. Because you knew it would take strength and endurance to chase a dream. And I kept that two-sentence email from almost a decade ago to read when I needed to pick myself up off the ground after being defeated. I needed it as I brushed my knees off and dug back in. You gave that to me.

 

As I go into the Pitch Wars site and upload my submission, you will be right there with me. Just as you have been for every single word I’ve typed since you left this world for a better one. But no matter what happens, Grams, I won’t give up. Ever.

Love,

Your Tiffy

 

🧱The Echoes that Built Me 👷🏼‍♀️

Life is a beautiful, messy thing. When I was young, I thought I had life figured out. I blazed through each day, taking whatever path tickled my fancy and hoped for the best. As I became older, I realized I didn’t have a mother lovin’ clue. But through the chaos, the echoes of people, places, and events in my life molded and shaped me. 

Growing up, my grandmother poured her positive spirit into me. If I said I was going to do something—no matter how crazy it was—she believed not only could I do it, but I would excel at it. All the conversations, all the emails, all her words of wisdom and hope echo within me. Even though she’s been gone for over eight years, I hear her voice cheering me on. Through her, because of her, I learned perseverance. I learned that doors would shut, but if you keep at it, others will open.

My father’s leadership echoes within me. Who I am as a person was created through the conversations I had with him. Conversations that I will carry with me always. I learned to listen, respect others’ differences, and stand up for what is right—even if it meant standing alone.

I learned how to be a survivor because of my mom. The horrors she faced as a child and as a young woman could have destroyed her. But, instead, she chose to place one foot in front of the other. She decided to have a family and pour her love into her children instead of letting the hate she grew up in taint her. No matter what I face, because of her, I choose to be a survivor. 

Unconditional love echoes within me. The love I have for my children. Strong, steady, powerful. It is unselfish. It is humbling. It defined me and shaped me into a better person. A person that sees through a different lens. A lens of compassion, hope, understanding, and faith.

No matter how many doors closed, what obstacles I faced, or the heartache I felt, I was prepared for them because I had a strong foundation. Every echo built me into the woman I am today. For that, I am grateful.

Ms. Write Life

😱 Fear Fighters 🤺

The world is a big place. Fear of the unknown can be debilitating. It can wrap you in its dark web and kill your dreams faster than anything, or anyone, else can.

But the best things come from the moments when we’re scared.

From the moments when we’re afraid of rejection. From the moments when we’re unsure of what’s next.

Fear can cripple you, or it can feed you: it’s your choice.

Fear-wrapped dreams are not uncommon. Aspiring singers, actors, authors—all their goals are wrapped in fear. But each day, they choose to go out and conquer their fear. They decide to try again no matter how many times they’re rejected. With each rejection, there’s knowledge gained. There’s an innate desire to become better, to do better, that drives the dreamers. 

Life is about growing; it’s about learning; it’s about perseverance. 

Be better. 

Do better. 

Fall, then get back up.

Face your fears and let your worries fuel your desire to overcome your obstacles. Breakthrough the fear and become the person you’re destined to be.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to reach for the impossible. Don’t be afraid of rejection. We all take chances that bear no fruit. We all run for the impossible and fail. We all face rejection in our lives. 

That’s okay.

It’s what we do afterward that matters.

❤️ Ms. Write Life 👩‍💻

Never Give Up🏆

Y’all, today I feel accomplished. Today, I harbor hope in my heart as I stare at the typed papers in front of me. I finished editing my next novel, which I am pretty stoked about.

*insert screaming girl who’s jumping up and down like an idiot*

Yeah, that excited.

I’ve been working on my craft for a few years, and I have grown in leaps and bounds with each story. Some people might move on if they didn’t catch a break with their first manuscript, or their second, but if you love doing something, you don’t quit. It’s that simple.

You see, dreams aren’t a sprint. They’re a marathon.

Dare to imagine the impossible. Chase your dreams. Even if you’re wheezing along the way.

In life I’ve learned there will be doors you knock on that will never open for you, but just because those doors stay closed doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t knock on the next one. It’s during the moments that you stand in front of a closed door that determines how much you really want something.

Keep moving.

Keep improving.

But most of all, keep believing.

~Tiff~

Oh, Scotland, How I Miss Thee..

Coast of Scotland

Less than a month ago, I was lucky enough to visit Ireland, Scotland and England. I absolutely loved, loved, loved Scotland. If I wasn’t married to my wonderful, incognito redneck, I would’ve begged some poor, unfortunate Scottish soul to marry me just so I could’ve stayed. Instead, I tried to soak in every single second of it while I was there, almost cried when I left, and started looking toward the future of when I would be back.

Coast of Scotland – Rabbies Tours

I did a day tour with Rabbies Tours and visited Alnwick Castle and the Scottish Coast. The views were amazing, there was plenty of time to stroll around the castle, venture into the towns, and fill your camera with amazing photos. I stayed in Edinburgh at the Hilton, which was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I love the cobblestone streets, the bakeries, stores, and restaurants that line the streets. The local people are super friendly, which is a major bonus in my book. I really detest jerks, which is why I live in a small community where people still wave at you when you drive by or check on you while you are out for a walk – just to make sure you don’t need a ride. Yeah, my little town rocks, too. I was lucky to get my incognito redneck to put a ring on it. I love the little town where he grew up, which has become our home.

Our Country Livin’

If you’re wondering why I call him my incognito redneck it’s because my husband looks normal, dresses like any normal human being, doesn’t own a single pair of overalls, has all of his teeth, doesn’t chew on ‘baccer, but … he has redneck tendencies that come out from time to time when he fixes stuff around the house. Just sayin’.

So, if you have the opportunity to visit Scotland, I’d tell you to go for it. Life is about pursuing your dreams, no matter how crazy everyone thinks they are, making memories that will last a lifetime, and living your best life. Take the trips, taste the food, soak in the different culture and just … live. Chase your rainbow, ladies and gents. Always.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Much love, y’all!

Tiff

Ramblin’ Misfit

It seems like forever since I’ve been on here. The last few months have flown by for this girl. I was on the road most of February – hit 11 states for work in 10 days. Then I spent almost a week in Arkansas. Here’s a few snaps from the work trip(s).

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In-between all of the traveling that month, my son turned 16 – EEK! I’m still trying to get used to being in a car with him driving. My dad and sister are trying to get used to it as well. They even prayed before getting in the car with J. I can’t say that I blame them…

My dad turned 60. So, I flew to Maryland and back to Ohio the same day to surprise my son and my father with surprise parties. Each one thought it was for the other one. Needless to say, it was worth it. I was tired from all of the traveling and work stuff I had going on, but everything I do in my life is for my family. Jobs will come and go, co-workers will flit in and out of your life, some friends will be there one minute and gone the next, but family is family – there for you through it all.

My family are the ones who see the sides to me that I don’t share with very many people. I keep a solid line between my work life and my home life – so friends from work are VERY rare. Then I’ve been on the move most of my life since my dad was in the military, so the walls are up and I find myself being guarded and not really getting close to too many people outside of my circle of family.

Now, I’m enjoying a small reprieve from traveling before I hit the road again. I’m pretty excited about the next few months. Vacation is right around the corner, which means I will be in Ireland, Scotland and England in no time. I work hard, then play hard. Life is about creating moments and memories, which is what I do. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I would’ve visited new places or tried new things. I don’t always fit into the normal cliques, but this ramblin’ misfit ain’t missing a thing.

I hope y’all have an awesome day. I managed to get back into the whole gym/jogging scene, so I’m smelling a little ripe at the moment. Ha!

Much Love,

Tiff

WorkOut

Home

I happen to live in a small town where we have one caution light in the county and alcohol is non-existent. Before moving here, I didn’t realize there was such a thing as a dry county where alcohol isn’t sold anywhere – it’s not sold in grocery stores, restaurants and not a single liquor store is within our county lines. It almost feels like stepping into the past. Not. Even. Kidding. Your neighbors still wave at you as you drive down the road, people still like to stop and talk your ear off, and most of the folks around here can tell you they are related to you by some distant relation.

Growing up, I moved from place to place every few years, so whenever anyone asked me where home was, I didn’t really know how to answer it. Should I tell them Arizona because that is where my parents spent most of their lives? Do I tell them Germany since I spent most of my childhood years there? Or should I tell them Maryland since I graduated from high school there? I’m happy to announce that I no longer wonder how I should answer that particular question. Kentucky is home. It’s where my heart is and that’s really what home is all about.

I might live in the middle of nowhere and have to drive a good thirty minutes to get a gallon of milk, but I still manage to travel. Some of family likes to call me Ramblin’ Rose because I’m always on the go. I’m not scared to drive across state lines, I can drive in Washington D.C., Puerto Rico or anywhere else I decide to go. I think it is important for my boys to see other places and other cultures because just because people live differently it doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong – it’s just different.

Sometimes we have a tendency to quickly judge other people, which I try not to do. I think everyone has the right to live their life they want to as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else. In my opinion, I believe we are here to love each other and to be kind. I don’t want to be the one to pass judgement and cast stones. I just want to live my life, make the best memories I can, love hard, live harder and be at peace.

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I love my family, and I love the memories we have made together. I love looking back at pictures of my son running away from the waves because I can remember his laugh and his smile. I work hard to give him and his brother a life with these kind of memories, and I feel so blessed. Life. Sweet, sweet life. Build it around people you love and who love you back, folks.

Dad Kids Bellows 2

~Tiff~

Live Your Best Life

I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit lately. My oldest son will be turning sixteen in two weeks, which seems impossible to me. Where does the time go? If I died tomorrow, I know the one thing I have not failed at is being the best mom to my boys. Having a child when you are barely nineteen isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t go back and change a single thing in my life. My pregnancy at a young age was a defining moment in my life. It made me pause, look around me, and see what steps I needed to take to be what I needed to be for my son.

You can be a teen parent and be successful – even if you don’t make it on Teen Mom, y’all. I promise. It will take long days, even longer nights and determination, but you can do it. If someone would have told me when I was twenty-one that I would one day be in a position to take my family to Hawaii or the Virgin Islands, I probably would have laughed in their face. But…both happened. Some people focus on the fancy cars or big houses, but for me, it’s all about making memories.

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One day, both of my boys will be grown and setting off into the world to create their mark on it. They will remember the time we have spent together as a family – from planting a vegetable garden every year to the cool vacations we took. Not to brag or anything, but I’m a pretty decent cook as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have a chef, but wouldn’t we all?

To my boys, live your best lives. Love hard, tell your kids you love them and how awesome they are, and remember to always be kind.

~Tiff~

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