Monthly Archives: July 2022

Indie Authors – Are you planner junkies like me?

Okay. Who of you besides Sara Cannon. We know she’s the queen of notebooks and planners when it comes to organizing her writing and life. Check out her YouTube channels if you haven’t already!

I’d love your comments on planning systems you like to use, if any. If not, how do you organize your work?

Before I was a writer, I was a planner nerd. Well, maybe a planner girl? Planner addict? No matter what you call it, once a person starts collecting planners, it’s hard to stop. It’s only a question of which system you like best. Unless you’re like me and like them all for all sorts of reasons. These days, though, I’ve settled with Personal Planner. I can customize everything just the way I want, and it’s fun to design it each year. I often use my book covers for the cover art, but you can use their beautiful templates too.

For cover aesthetics in my favorite ring binders, it’s Filofax, first the Malden, next the Original, and third, the Finsbury. Gorgeous but too much work, unless you’re a normal non planner person who doesn’t need to decorate, and used the Filofax inserts that come with. Hmmm. Never could do that.

Other Ring binders:

My Instagram was devoted to my crafting and planners. Then, I started writing. I created an author account on Facebook linked to Instagram. Something happened when I tried logging in using two-factor authentication. Instagram booted me from my author accounts with nary an ounce of help to get me back in.

So, I decided to return to my PlanKnitStitch and rebrand it as starlightc.writer. I hated the idea it might seem like I was abandoning my stitching and planner friends, but I just didn’t have it in me to go for a new account.

I also have a love for all travelers notebooks for when you want super customization. And went the expensive route a few times just to get a Chic Sparrow or two in my collection.

A few other custom travelers notebooks:

Erin Condren’s are beautiful, but they just haven’t stuck, though I tried out a couple:

No planner nerd is full-on nerding over planners unless you collect Hobonichi Techos.

And of course the pens and pouches… I won’t go into the sticker collection… you’re welcome 🙂

The End…

I’ll share my LOTR, if you share yours…

1978 Houghton Mifflin Company

Stitched by me on hand-dyed fabric with hand-dyed silks and cotton floss – finished in 2020. Elevenses pattern by Fiddlesticksau

2002 12-disk collectors edition – 16 hours of movie – an amazing 16 hours of appendices (Yes we watched every bit of it all the way through – at least one time in one weekend!)

Admittedly, this was not collected by us, but acquired in an Ebay bundle about ten years ago. Had to grab all that amazing artwork.

Okay – I’m done nerding out now. And thank you if you made it this far!

Apocalyptic Pressures

Artwork by Kael Ngu

I don’t know about you all, but I’m feeling it, Conquest, War, Famine, Death. We’ve seen every form of the hammer coming down on mankind these last two years. What does it mean? Are we in an apocalypse, or is one coming? Or will all of the climate change, crazy-ass world leaders, and violence and hate disappear in some miraculous way before the horsemen make an appearance? What if they’re here and we just don’t know it?

Regardless, we plod along with daily life, those of us not touched by tragedy (and those numbers in just two years are staggering). For me, this means writing. I’m grateful to have a happy place to escape to, even if my first book was set in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where over a million acres burned thirty miles away the summer I published it.

I couldn’t even breath in my own house while I clicked away on my keyboard and tried not to think of the demise of old growth forests, pioneer towns, and all the animals trapped in the inferno. I dedicated my series to those brave firefighters and citizens battling blazes too hot to control, while the insane university professor started another one right behind them. It was the least I could do.

Many of my fellow indie writers tell fantastic stories with apocalyptic scenes, horror at it’s most grim, with the reaper waiting at the end for the hapless protagonist. I love them, love the thrill of knowing death is around the corner, waiting for the end to see what it looks like, but finding out it’s too late. Then I listen to the news. Our reality these days poses quite a challenge to horror fiction writers, when reality can be truer.

I’ve been dabbling in writing horror myself recently, to stretch my writing muscles, find out if I can go to those dark places in my mind that my pod people stay clear of, ever watchful of the shrouded figure with the scythe.

Maybe the aliens who seeded my mind with them know something I don’t, because they’ve given me characters who wish for happy endings.

Artwork by Kael Ngu

Now I Know Why My Pod People Aren’t Introverts… or Are They?

Many writers classify themselves as introverted because they are part of a select group of people who can create new worlds in their head, work in isolation for hours on end, and persevere to get every word just right all at the same time.

Louise Waters

Ms. Waters also writes:

Writing is hard. Not everyone has the capacity to create stories or articles out of thin air. More often than not, writing is an activity that requires solitude, which is why some of the world’s best writers are also introverts. As famous YA author John Green once said, “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”

Is this why my pod people often start out as loners, then become part of a pack? Hmmm…

Having selected those snippets above that leapt out at me from researching on Google, it should be noted that Ms. Waters, guest blogger for Jennifer Kahnweiler, declares herself an ambivert.





A person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features.

I’ve done a lot of those personality tests over the years during “team building” work meetings, at conferences, wherever. But, for some reason this short blog went a long way towards helping me figure myself out. Wait! I haven’t figured myself out yet? Am I the only one who’s still working at it in their 50s? Does anybody ever figure themselves out completely?

I would still be in the dark if I hadn’t started writing novels two years ago, and writing every day since. Because now this resonates in me, big time. I used to think I was more of an extravert. Maybe I was at some point. Now, I want nothing more than to tell stories from the place I’m happiest in. My solitude.

As in everything in life, there are no absolutes. I believe we all become something different at different stages of our lives, choosing different combinations that help us cope with our surroundings at any given moment. Sometimes it’s because we’re growing, sometimes it’s because we’re taking a step backwards. None of it matters so long as it gets us where we want to be eventually.

Camera shy guests

I’ll be putting this to practice over the next months with my fellow indie writers. My colleagues are happy to step up and let me interview them. However, I’ve been getting a pretty consistent message. Camera shy to the last! So, stay tuned to see which ones I can coax (including myself) into a video, or which ones are happy to chat with us in a blog. I’m just excited to see where this will go, and willing to be inspired by them however they want to share.

My goal with reaching out and talking with other writers and all kinds of creative people is to let all of you know that we’re in the same boat, struggling to become better writers, artists, crafters, creators… who want to learn and share what we’ve discovered.

Top resource for today’s blog

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD, is a bestselling author and one of the top global leadership speakers on introverts in the workplace. Her pioneering books, The Introverted LeaderQuiet Influence, The Genius of Opposites, and Creating Introvert-Friendly Workplaces have been translated into 18 languages. The Introverted Leader was named one of the top 5 business books by The Shanghai Daily.

Artwork by Ryan J Neal

Sharing! *** Eight FREE Books On Kindle While The Sale Last! Quickly Now! Hurry! — THE CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

This is going to be a very quick post. I just wanted to share with everyone eight books that are currently on sale for kindle for absolutely free and no Kindle Unlimited subscription required! Readers just need an amazon account and the free kindle app for their e-readers devices or phone. Yay! I’m not sure […]

Eight FREE Books On Kindle While The Sale Last! Quickly Now! Hurry! — THE CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

My Pod People Get my Music!

Do you insert references to your favorite music through the lives of your characters? (I fondly refer to them as my pod people. After all, they’re extensions of my alien-seed-planted mind, so why wouldn’t they love my music?)

I love doing this. It plunges me into the atmosphere of my scene, and I hope it does the same for the reader. I have extremely eclectic tastes in music, so it’s a lot of fun peppering my writing with just the right note to insert at the right moment. Check out book one, Ursus Borealis, for a great scene with Andras and Selena, while she’s wearing a t-shirt with SRV’s beat up Stratocaster stretched across her… chest.

My husband and I were going down memory lane over breakfast and discussing the concert-going highlights of our youth. He has vivid flashbacks of “Terrible Ted” at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in ’79. Yes, decades later, he is still grateful for witnessing in person Ted Nugent leaping 15 feet off stacked amplifiers as they swayed precariously under him, landing in clouds of backlit smoke, while tearing out “the riff of all time.”

As we talked and he described it just today, I found this newspaper clipping and it reports it just like he remembers. Made his day. Who said music doesn’t leave a life-long impression? Of course, our parents did not in any way think this was music. “You’re going to see Terrible Who?” (Actually, I think that moniker comes later in his career. His personal life was as shocking as his music. If it still is… I wouldn’t know. But he’s still killing that riff.)

From the Concert Database

Granted, our combined excursions weren’t extensive, which makes the handful we managed to partake in more special. I think my highlight was David Bowie at the Oakland Coliseum in ‘83 for his Serious Moonlight Tour. We were smack in the middle of the huge field, and Mr. Bowie was a speck, but his penchant for drama came through… Bowie performing MacBeth… and singing? Oh yeah!

Photo by Paula Parisi

My Horror Story Pod People are Redeemable… maybe… they haven’t decided quite yet.

Or is it that they are tortured souls? No matter how dark the pod person is that was seeded in my brain by alien’s with questionable intent, I can’t seem to allow them to be pure evil. Is that a flaw in me, the creator, or just the way my pod people want to grow? Are the aliens in the universe trying to tell me something?

No matter the reason, my vampires, faeries, shifters, or megalomaniac aliens are a hell of a lot of fun to write.

Is there a rule that they must always be the monsters humans are driven to slay? Or can they simply be tortured souls forced into circumstances requiring evil deeds, always searching for a way out? An inspiration to the human struggle? I don’t think I’m alone in the desire to make my pod people redeemable. So many fabulous characters in fiction follow that path. So, I won’t feel guilty if my fingers push out a story over my keyboard with a light at the end of the tunnel… but the story isn’t finished yet…

Click here for a wonderful poem encapsulating the human experience by Dr. Marie Dezelic that I just happened to find in a Google search. A snippet follows:

In that lonely place where no other human can actually accompany him. He is never fully understood to the capacity he wants or imagines he can be.

dr. Marie dezelic

I am excited to share that I submitted my first attempt at pure horror in tiny bits for a 100-word horror short story submission to Shacklebound Books, a small press that publishes anthologies and collections in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Check them out. I have no idea if my three stories about vampire brothers will be accepted, possibly not dark enough, but I’ll keep you posted and share them when I’m able.

It was a totally fun exercise, never-the-less. Fingers crossed!

For my published stories populated with redeemable… maybe… monster pod people, click here. I’d love to know if you think they should have a light at the end of their tunnels.

One of my pod people is a…wait for it… conflicted alien prince…

One of my pod people is a…wait for it… conflicted alien prince…
— Read on

So close to finishing book three in my series, I must keep sharing!

My pod people don’t want to come out… I don’t blame them.

Artwork by Jorge Jacinto

If you were a pod person (aka burgeoning character) just beginning your adventures in an amazing world of fantasy, would you want to leave it for the harsh reality that belongs to your creator? I surely wouldn’t. That’s exactly why I dive in there with them every damn day and come out only when I’m forced to pay the bills or feed myself.

I mean really. I haven’t met a single person who says, “get me the hell out of Hobbiton!” or ” I can’t take another day in Rivendell…” Oh wait… forgive me. Those are real, historic places…

Still, to fan the flames of creativity and keep the hearth fires lit in their lovely little fantasy homes, a different light needs to be shed on their lives. This means the creator needs to publish their stories.

The creator has tried hard to do that, publishing a short story filled with wonderful characters in a world that begs further exploration. It even won a writing challenge. Feel free to venture across the portal to the Tsuga Kingdom and meet Priss, Sam, Fern and Ebun, and even the notorious ancient crow, Old Murdock, in my free story available here. More of their adventures are in the works… if only they will come into the alternate light.

If anyone has tips on how to invite fantasy lovers to download a 20-minute free short story and give it a quick review, I would love to collect them here… and happy to pass them on.

Artwork by Mandy Jurgens