Tag Archives: vacation

Unplugged

I’m just flying home from a fabulous week on the beach where I put my phone and tablet into the hotel room safe, and didn’t look back. It’s a funny thing in this day and age not to be constantly in touch with your friends, your family, the world. And it really is the world you are leaving behind. Because of the Internet I now am in daily contact with friends from all over; Canada, the U.K., everywhere. It’s amazing. But it’s also consuming.

When I told my brother that I didn’t think my phone would work out of the country and that I wasn’t going to be on the Internet much, but that I would try to check email every day he said, “Well I can contact you via Facebook, right?”

And I said, “No, I’m not going to be looking at Facebook.”

“Well then, we can do a Hangout, if I need to get ahold of you. That should work out of the country.”

I just shook my head. “What don’t you understand about not being on the Internet?”

It was almost inconceivable to him that I was truly unplugging.

It turned out that I checked my email a few times during the last eight days. Not every day. I kept forgetting. I was busy. Busy doing nothing.

And it felt fabulous.

I talked to people, face to face. I danced with my husband. I sat on the beach and soaked up the vitamin D and didn’t even read while I did it. Sometimes I think our new world, while amazing, takes over our lives. I love getting to know new people online. I love checking in and seeing what they are all doing. But I also loved checking out.

And you know what? I think I’m going to try to do it more often. Not because I don’t love all my FB friends and family, but because I loved getting to know that other side of myself. The side that shows up when I’m not frantically online, writing, reading, keeping up with all the things I “have” to do. The inner side of me.

As a writer I do look inside, but not as much as I used to before I become a Internet social butterfly. Writing is an internal thing, but it’s also inspired by what’s outside. But what if you start to look so far outside, you forget to look inside? What happens to my writing then?

And what about you? What have you done for that inner self lately? Whether you are a writer or not, consider nurturing it by taking some time and unplugging and seeing what the other world has in store for you. Your inner world, the one outside of all the hustle and bustle.

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Filed under About the Author, Whimsical Wednesdays

Monday Craziness! And I’m Finally Finished With the Book!

Whimsical Wednesdays

a check in blog for you curious cats

I’ve been AWOL. Between my incredible vacation to Jamaica and finishing up edits on the third book in the TALES OF THE BLACK COURT fantasy romance series, BROKEN MIRROR, I gave up on trying to keep up with the blog. But I finally finished the book! WOOT!

Yes, that’s right. I was reading romance on the beach and spending one on one time with my sweetie. It took 14 hours to travel there, and another 14 hours to travel back, door-to-door, and it was worth every minute. Love the ocean. Love the atmosphere. And I love my sweetie!

Okay, back to reality.

We came back to rain, rain, rain. Grass that is out of control. And a sick kid, who promptly infected my husband. I’ve been holding it off until my edits are done. That’s a skill that women all over the world have, the ability to hold off the illness while the world falls apart. It doesn’t mean you don’t get sick, it just means you can be the last one to get it, after you’ve worn yourself out taking care of everyone else’s needs.

Crazy Week! And another Crazy Week! And then a third Crazy Week!

Why is it when you go on vacation, everything blows up so that when you get home you have to work three times as hard as normal? I thought work was going to be taken care of while I was gone, but it wasn’t, so I arrived home after traveling on Saturday (14 hours people) to work a nearly ten hour day on Monday. And the work still wasn’t done.

Plus, I had set aside this time to finish BROKEN MIRROR. It’s tough to write romance with a coughing sick child on the couch and work falling apart. But I kept at it. Okay, I sat too much with the child sipping tea and watching re-runs of Murder She Wrote and Midsommer Murders, because that’s how we roll.

And it lasted into the next week, and the next!

By golly, work still wasn’t taken care of by the following week. Parts didn’t arrive. Customers did. It was crazy! The child got better and the husband got sick. And I still had to edit. Add in driving for hours to help D2 pack up her dorm room and a flat tire in the rain during rush hour traffic. And another five hour trip the next day to pick up our pastured hog. (Well worth it as I cook my super delicious bacon and ham steaks.)

And I was still editing!

But now the hog is in the freezer. The eldest child is ensconced in the basement with all her gear. The husband is still sick, but back at work. And the book is put to bed.

So now it’s time for me to get sick, and boy can I feel it creeping in. I have that sore tickle in my throat, and I woke up with my lungs feeling yucky. And I know this is just the begining because I’ve watched them drop one-by-one. So, I hope to be blogging away next week, but I may be on my sick-bed watching Columbo and drinking Earl Grey. Don’t wait up!

Broken Mirror cover art by Viola EstrellaBROKEN MIRROR has been sent off to the copy editor. It will come out on time on June 18th, but you can order it now using Amazon’s pre-order function.

I’m super excited to test out pre-order, but I don’t know if I’ll ever try it again. Worrying about hitting the deadline has made me crazy. And truthfully, I would have wanted one more week on the book.

But then again, all authors want just one more week, don’t they?

It’s just that crunch time hit right after my vacation when my day job was super busy and everyone in the house was getting sick. I also have so many family obligations and social activities this month, that I’m really looking forward to summer and not having things to do. Crazy, but true.

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

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Filed under About the Author, Broken Mirror, Tales of the Black Court, Whimsical Wednesdays

Vacation Lessons of the Big Parks

Moonday Mania

Fun in the hot sun, or is it?

If you missed the big announcement on Friday, then check out my blog post listing all of the fabulous prizes available on the Bewitching Tours Sizzling Summer Giveaway, HERE and enter to win some fabulous prize packs. Or hop on over to the Bewitching Tours site HERE, and enter all four Rafflecopter contests at once directly on their site. Includes fabulous prizes, like my book (no being humble here) and a Kindle Fire. Best of luck, everyone!

At the end of May this romance writer set off on vacation with my intrepid spouse, MIL, two teen-age daughters, and one teen-age niece. I learned a lot.

jessica aspen at disney

After a hot day in line, even the most intrepid Colorado wildflower wilts.

I learned not to go to Florida at the end of May unless you stayed at the beach. We’re from Colorado. Denver has an average humidity of somewhere around 54%. Orlando’s average humidity? Somewhere around 74%. (Disclaimer: I looked at several different sources and they actually had different numbers, so that’s why the inexact science. Fiction writer, not scientist. These are my best estimates of the internet sources.) 

If you are used to humidity, then you don’t really notice it. Unless you come out West where you complain about parched skin. But if you live out West and you go on vacation to a hot, humid place, then you wilt. Tough, able to go without water in the hot sun, you add that humidity and we become whiny, exhausted, and difficult. Very difficult.We wilted like the Colorado wildflowers we are. Add in that no one wants to eat the same thing or ride on the same rides and I’d rather take three-year-olds to Disney. At least they fall asleep and you can stuff them into the stroller. Maybe abandon them at the stroller parking. Teens follow you around  and you can’t lose them.

We still had a great time and I’d go again, just not in the hot months. And I learned something else. I learned that the parks all did some things well. Disney had the food lines and quality of food down much better than Universal. The food service at Universal sucked. However, Universal had better lines for the rides. They had more shade and they had more entertaining things to look at as you went through the lines. They work their express lines differently. Universal’s overall ticket price is much cheaper than Disney’s, but you purchase an Express Ticket that moves you to the front of the hour long lines. Well worth it on a hot day, but it adds up when you buy it for every member of your party.

hulk roller coaster at universal studios floridaDisney let’s everyone use the Fast Pass, but you have to go to the ride ahead of time and get a ticket to come back at a certain time when you will get to skip the longer line. Only one Fast Pass at a time, so you spend much of your time figuring out how and when to get your Fast Passes.

So what did I learn overall? And how does that apply to writing and books? I learned that you need to check your customer service with real customers. And even if you have a guaranteed riderreadership, you need to still make them happy. These parks are crowded, but if the rumor gets started that you might as well go to a local park as go to a bigger park, then attendance will drop. It doesn’t matter how big you are, all customers are important.

Of course, I’m just a little fish in the big pond of publishing. But they are still good lessons to remember. Sometimes I hear bigger authors say they can’t change anything or learn new craft because this is the way they write and too bad! Well, I hope that’s never me. I hope I always want to learn new things and tweak my writing. I hope I’m always ready to change, despite the crowds who might someday flock to my books. Some writers are afraid to try new genres and in the process get left behind. Once again, I hope that’s never me. I hope I’m always ready to try new things, ride new rides, and change my ways. Change is not easy, but it is the essence of life.

And in the spirit of keeping my customer base happy I’m trying something new with The Dark Huntsman. I have a few hand picked beta readers who have said they would read it and answer a few questions. This way I’m hoping to get a non-writers viewpoint before publication. Does reading The Dark Huntsman feel like standing around in a hot line, or do you feel like you are zipping around the park on an Express Ticket? Would you read it a second time? Would you recommend it to friends?

toes underwater at the beach

Lazy toes under the water.

I don’t think I’ll be heading back to the big parks of Florida anytime soon. Not because they weren’t fun, they were, but simply because this was our last park vacation for a while. Next one is going to be just my hubby and myself and we’re going to the beach. No kids, no long lines, just sand, sun, and romance!

How do you please your customers? Are they readers too? What about in other businesses or things you do in life? Do you ask questions, take surveys, or do you simply hand them their plates and call “Next!”?

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania, writing craft