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The Power of Color



The coat in question (with special guest appearance by Oliver the Cutie Pie.

The coat in question (with special guest appearance by Oliver the Cutie Pie.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed something strange. At the grocery store, the gas station, and even walking into restaurants, people who would usually never acknowledge me were smiling, nodding, even drumming up conversations.

I’m by nature a very introverted person, but won’t rebuff a friendly interchange, a nod, or smile. But oddly, it seemed the amount of these encounters had tripled. I couldn’t figure out what the difference was. Had I done my hair different? Was I projecting an outgoing personality? The attention was weird, but not unwelcome. I just wanted to understand why.

The winter weather in Michigan is usually a bit wacky, zero one day and forty the next. On a warm (warmer than zero anyway) day, I had to exchange my artic wear for a lighter jacket, and the extra attention stopped. Just like that. Like a faucet being turned off.

My super warm coat is a stunning shade of pink, not fuchsia, but a nice, bright pastel. Most of my outerwear is normal earthy tones, tan, gray, and brown, so this was a huge change. I fell in love with it because of the feeling I got when I saw it, happy, warm, friendly feelings.

It got me thinking of the power of color in everyday life. How appearances influence us subconsciously.

I did some Googling and found color psychology is a thing!

First, I stumbled on Bourn Creative, which defined pink as a color of universal love of oneself and of others, friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability.

I researched on and found a slew of marketing information. There are reasons why the Golden Arches are golden and the Target bullseye is red. Red encourages excitement, and yellow/gold symbolizes warmth and optimism. Green for John Deere tractors to tie it to growing things.

Now, according to the website, The Psychology of Color, personal preference plays a role. So, if you grew up being forced to wear olive green every day, and you HATE green because of it, then you may not feel the same instant attraction to the color, even if you are a farmer or someone who adore plants.

Men tend to prefer primary shades, and blue is the universal favorite across genders. Some colors are touted to help you get dates, study, or have more energy. Orange and teal are great for non-fiction book covers, while if you are trying to attract men don’t choose purple.

I don’t think any of these are axioms that work every time, but it’s interesting to speculate that your choice of outfit could influence your creativity, your feelings of wellbeing, chances on a job, or even a date.

I still love my coat and now that I understand The Pink Coat Effect, I may wear it more often or forsake it for my old brown backup on days I just want to blend.

How does color effect you? Do you have a favorite that inspires you? What about a signature shade? Comment below!

The Anxiety of Poor Timing

Getting a book series ready to self-publish has brought out a lot of anxiety for me. Am I doing the right thing? Am I making the right choices on how to launch it? What if this decision or that decision ruins an opportunity later on down the road?

I feel like I’ve suffered from bad timing with most of my career and financial moves (career and financial are tied in some way, right?). When I started college, job prospects looked promising. I had no reason to assume that things would drastically change by the time it was my turn to job hunt.

Except they did. During my senior year of college, 9-11 happened and then following that horrible event a recession. The next three years I attended graduate school and watched as each year became more and more grim. Graduates from my program had more and more difficulty finding full time work locally. Prospects were not only slim, the market turned hostile. Also, cue No Child Left Behind, which brought some much needed standardization across states, but had a lot of flaws that left Special Ed services in flux.

It wasn’t the best time to enter the field. Yet, I managed it anyway. Despite my professors telling me I’d have done better in another decade, I managed to cut out a career for myself, but it was not without struggles. I was budget cut from two jobs, and although they did what they could to keep me in some capacity it was still hard. Ultimately, and unrealistically I blame myself. Like I could have controlled the economy?? Part of me wondered if it was just an excuse (the government and union employment standard of first-hired, first-to-go or be lowered to part-time) and if I’d been more stellar in some way they would have kept me.

And always hearing the mantra of “If this was a different time you would be that employee we’d have been excited to have hired and looked forward to years of working with you, but alas, this is not that decade.”

My husband and I bought our house at the peak of the housing market, right before the crash. So we paid an inflated price for it. Everyone loves to talk about their amazing deal on their zillion square foot home and we have a very modest and lovely house that I’m happy to own, but we definitely over paid. Except it was what houses were going for in the market at that time. We had no idea of the impending housing crash or we would have waited a few years.

(Although we did get a fixed mortgage, so we didn’t have to deal with the lending fiasco that so many of our friends did who had other types of loans).

I worry that this will be the case with my writing career. That is was not a good time for *me* to become a writer. Maybe perfect for someone else with different qualifications, but not me. 

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but if I were it would be to be a little braver and not worry so much about timing. Just do. I can’t control economics, or the stock market. I can’t control buyer’s preferences. But I can control me and my decisions. If they were poorly timed, then at least I tried and one day that risk will pay out. I’m one of those people who believes luck is hard work meets opportunity.

I can’t help but to be superstitious about it though and it’s the Year of the Monkey, and I’m a Monkey. Not in real life mind you. I was talking about the Chinese Zodiac. Not in a “nobody knows you’re a monkey on the internet kind of way.” Anyway, year of monkey for a monkey–I thought it might mean something good and when I looked it up, it does! This is supposed to be my year for a major career risk that works in my favor. My horoscope says the same thing. Heck, I even asked the Magic 8 Ball online and it says “It is decidedly so.”

So, maybe for once my career timing is finally in tune.



I have been working on a sequel to my book Frozen Hearts. I started… *flips over to Excel tracking to check the date* …in July of this year. Sometimes when I’m writing it feels like I’m flying, like I’m in the zone, like I’m immersed in the world and characters and everything is ok.

This was NOT one of those times. The book has been hard to write.

First, I had a massive editing project to do which took a major chunk out of the beginning of the year. Second, I picked up an additional job, so my writing time has been compromised. My word count schedule is still at an extremely regimented level. I have a minimum daily word count I must reach or make up the next day.

No fun stuff, no internet, no tv before writing time, but my word counts are lower so this story has been a slow go.

I also went into it blind, pantsing it’s called in the writerly world, basically writing by the seat of my pants without a detailed outline. I did scratch out my overall plot points so I would have some direction, but the majority of it had to be snatched out of the air as it flew by.

Writing in short burst on a story that I had to wing has made this a grueling experience. There has been magnificent moments of discovery, of learning the characters motivation, of finding out what the real theme of the story is, but it felt like digging through sun baked sand rather than freshly tilled earth.

At this point, I’ve figured out a good idea of how and where the story will end. As I’m barreling at the speed of a sprinting snail at the conclusion, I often think of quitting. I get these horrible imaginings that this is the worst writing in the world and no one will like it, the story doesn’t make sense, and the characters are flat.

I usually feel this way at the end of EVERY project. Usually, I breeze past the self-flagellation. But because I’m keeping such a slow pace, my doubts are gaining more mass, speed, bulk, like a Hulk bent on smashing my writing dreams.

Again, I’m reminded of running (writing and running are inexorably tied for me).  At the end of a run when my knees are getting twingey, my playlist has run out of good song, my nose is running, and the cold is cutting into my lungs, I think—no one would know if I stopped.  No one would care if I stopped. The world would not shame me for stopping . I could just walk home. Then I hear that click that says, I would know. And I could not give up on my running, my project, or myself.

So here I am, the finish line is close but the doubts nag me, tug at me, slow me down. It really doesn’t matter because I know, even if I do have to walk home, I will cross the finish line.

What about you guys?  Ever tempted to abandon a project?

12/31/15 EDIT—I have finished the book. It still feels like a horrible unreadable mess, but I finished, and now I can edit the mass of glob until it’s a prettier more readable glob.   Happy New Year!



I can blame my first exposure to science fiction and fantasy on my dad. On snowy weekends when I was a kid, my brother and I would dog pile onto the floor (and each other) using my dad as a backrest and watch all sorts of movies and shows. From Westerns to Andy Hardy movies, we loved them all. But one of my favorites, and introduction to science fiction, was Star Trek.

This interest in science fiction was a mild flame and segued into the time of Star Wars. No elementary-aged kid missed the science fiction epic, and my family joined the masses to see it one summer night at a drive-in, and my young life was transformed. The movie had the quick-draw appeal of a Western, the swashbuckling of a pirate movie, and the adventure of any of my Saturday cartoons.

But better, it had a Princess that was a force to be reckoned with. Pistol in hand, she ordered the boys around, led missions, and hardly needed any saving at all. (The crushes on Luke then Han would come later—my first love was Leia) I still have my Leia action figure stowed away in a box under the stairs.

Then there was the Terminator with the unparalleled Sarah Connor morphing from victim to freedom fighter, taking her future in her own hands.  (Plus she could do a hard-core-full-on pull up by T2.) Who wasn’t inspired by her physical and mental toughness?

The list continues with Wonder Woman, the Bionic Woman, Xena, and Buffy. All main characters leading their own shows giving me the idea that a woman could be strong, powerful, and just as interesting as the boys.

Let’s not forget other non-main characters such as Zoe, River, and Kaylee from Firefly and most of the companions on Doctor Who: Rose, Amy, Sarah Jane, Martha, Donna, and Clara.

Another recent source of inspiration has been Game of Thrones. All Martin’s characters are gray and compelling, but his most moving examples of toughness, intelligence, and power are Arya and Daenerys. They lose everything that matters to them, yet they keep going, they keep striving, they keep surviving.

When I feel overwhelmed, lonely, broken, at the bottom of my will, I still think what would Princess Leia or Xena do?  What about Diana Prince or Sarah Connor or Buffy? Buffy literally died twice and kept going.

They wouldn’t give up or in. They would fight. And from all those years of watching these characters fight, I am pushed to dig a little deeper and  try harder. They may not be real, but the feelings they inspire are.

I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to both fantasy and science fiction is that it consistently provides wonderful examples of strong and intelligent women, and I only see that continuing with Katniss from the Hunger Games and Tris from Divergent. I’m proud to be a sci-fi/fantasy nerd and will continue to be inspired by and (create in my own) kick-butt females.

I am excited about the new Star Wars movie and hope the franchise continues to provide the next generation (and me!) some fascinating, powerful, and take-no-crap heroines.

What about you? Did you have a fave sci-fi/fantasy hero or heroine that gave you inspiration? Or just drop down below and say hello. Thanks for stopping by!


Your Writing Partner Primer

I had a few questions and emails from people after my last post, so I thought I’d expand on my advice here. Enjoy your writing partner primer:

Where to Find a Writing Partner

Writing forums — Critique sites

Makes sense to find writers in their natural habitat.

Online/in person workshops

Best place to meet someone and get a feel for how well you could work together. Not strictly necessary (Pam and I have never met in person), but helpful if you’re hesitant. Pam and I met in an online workshop where there were around sixty or so other writers participating. I get credit for picking her out of the line up. I saw she’d finished a novel and was ready to jump into another. Her dedication to writing was evident in her bio. I didn’t hesitate to send her an email pronto to beg her to be my partner. Our partnership has lasted a lot longer than the two month class.

Writing Cons

Same as above only usually on a much larger scale. Most workshops I’ve been to are small, usually less than a dozen people. Cons are hundreds or thousands of writers. Some you’ll have met online first and can then meet in person before making the huge writing partner leap.

At your Local Coffee Shop

It could happen. Someone who lives in the same area could be searching for YOU!

What to Look For

Personally, I think the best match is someone who is at the same commitment level. Like I mentioned before, Pam and I have different daily goals, but we’re both equally committed to doing a little work every day (which is why we update daily).

Find someone you can work with long term. Personality is key! Their skill level isn’t important and subjective anyway. I’ve written about this before to new writers, but sometimes people are concerned that they should only befriend “good writers” and I’ll tell you: that horrible, no-good writer everyone thinks won’t ever sell will be just as likely to become a bestseller as anyone else. It’s persistence, willingness to work on getting better that matters. Pick the person who is dedicated and has the most compatible personality. You can’t go wrong.

How to Structure the Partnership

Most of this will evolve organically, but once you find a person at the same dedication level to a creative career as you, the next step is to decide how often/when you’ll update each other and what each person will do to keep each other on track.

Pam and I update daily. The format looks something like this:

We praise the other person’s accomplishments from the email before. Did they reach their daily goal? Make a huge deal about that. Did they fall short? Help them dust themselves off and start the next day with a fresh start. Does your partner need a pick-me-up? A kick-in-the-pants? Next you state your goals. The conversations don’t need to be long. Sometimes we only have two sentences. Sometimes it’s longer depending on how things are going.