Arianna's Destiny
SKU: 978-1976099465

Price: $15.00
Sequel to Arianna's Honor, Arianna Collins has to once again help Prince Nicholas, whose kingdom is on the verge of war. With the help of her Gypsy friends and the Prince's best friend, Jeffery, she has to try to protect Nicholas's kingdom.
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Arianna's Honor
SKU: 978-1981404995

Price: $10.00
Arianna Collins wanted a simple life of just taking care of her brothers and being free to do what she wanted to do in life. A loyalty her father felt for the king has Arianna helping to protect the prince from threats on his life. Can she help him to be a better ruler for the people of the land? 
Nicholas Golding has lived a life of luxury without giving much thought to much else. Suddenly he finds himself away from his castle and learning more about the people and the land than he ever wanted to before, and he might just be a better person than he ever planned to be.
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Broken Trust
SKU: 978-1548167417

Price: $15.00
Sam Turner's childhood taught her to trust her painting more than she should trust people, and that is what she has done her entire life. Then she meets Ali Westcott, a music store owner who is full of color and life and friendship. And she meets Ben, Ali's brother, who makes Sam think maybe there is more to life than being alone.  
Benjamin Westcott has always wanted to be an architect. He likes the clean beauty of a building coming together with his plans and attention to detail. He doesn't have time for messy emotions if he is going to get his home for runaway kids built. Everything in his life makes sense, until he meets Sam and starts to wonder if a little mess in his life might be just what he needed after all.
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Dear Teaching: I want a Divorce
SKU: 1721894977

Price: $10.00
One person's look at a 20-year relationship with the teaching career and all of its ups and downs. Through all of the highs and lows, what always made it worth it, was the "kids," regardless of their age, who shared the classroom and the heart of the teacher. The challenges and obstacles disappeared when it was just her and her kids. The conversations shared, the dreams supported, the lives connected, all pushed her to keep fighting the good fight and give everything she had to give. And she did this all for twenty years, but it came at a price that eventually became too high to pay and she had to walk away from the only life she had ever... 
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Driven West
SKU: 978-1986622813

Price: $15.00
Go West. Madison Sawyer gets a strange email with a simple message and she finds herself wanting to escape her life and do just what the email says. She finds herself heading west and being guided along by a Navajo Indian and his wife, both of whom have been dead for 15 years. They are asking for her help to solve the mystery of their deaths and pushing her toward the town of their deaths. When she gets there, she realizes some people will stop at nothing to keep the truth from being discovered. She also finds a man she didn't even know she was missing in her life. With the help of this man, Drew Taylor, she finds a life she can't imagine running away from, if she can find the secrets of the town before the town's secret keepers succeed in getting Madison killed.
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First Down (Book One of Lucky Charms)
SKU: 978-1546923480

Price: $15.00
Dillon Winters knows all too well the dangers of being star struck by someone in the spotlight. Her ex-husband taught her that lesson quite well. All she wants to do is take care of her daughter, Lilly, and keep her bar going strong.  
Josh Matthews only wants to be quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs and hang out with his friends. He laughs at his teammates superstitions and wants no part of it. When he kisses Dillon for the first time and wins the game, he wonders if there is something to this Lucky Charm idea. With Dillon and Lilly, he finds things missing in his life that he never knew he needed.
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Hat Trick (Book Three of Lucky Charms)
SKU: 978-1976031137

Price: $15.00
Ty Cole doesn't understand why every woman he dates turns out to be riding a trip to crazy town, but that fear has him not wanting to date anyone at all. He just wants to play hockey for the Kansas City Mavericks and hang out with his friends. When he meets his friend's sister, he is bound and determined to not find her attractive. The fact that the whole team thinks she is his Lucky Charm is not helping since he is supposed to kiss her as part of a skit before each game.  
Mackenzie Wilson had an ugly engagement and an even uglier break up and is just trying to put her life back together. When her brother, JD, tells her about a job opportunity, she has no idea what she's getting into...suddenly she's surrounded by superstitious hockey players and a guy she never wants to stop kissing.  
Will they find out their feelings are real or is it just to win the Championship?
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Redeeming Trust
SKU: 978-1548325497

Price: $15.00
Ali Westcott loves that things worked out for her brother and sister, but she is bound and determined to not fall into love's trap. She has her music store and is perfectly content with her colorful rebellion, no matter how good Lieutenant Michaels looks in his uniform or how much he seems to accept her exactly how she is.  
Vincent Michaels likes the order and discipline of his job. He likes to take care of things and do his part to get the bad guys off the streets. He certainly has no room in his life for a rainbow-dipped pixie.  
As much as these two try to fight it, they can't quite get each other out of their heads. Will their hearts be able to speak more loudly than their heads to give them a chance?
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Shades of Blue
SKU: 978-1983682728

Price: $15.00
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Stealing Second (Book Two of Lucky Charms)
SKU: 978-1546448709

Price: $15.00
Stacey Adams has been in love with her best friend, Chris Jasper since way before he was a shortstop for the Kansas City Royals. Jasper loves baseball and hanging out with his friends, never taking life too seriously. Then a surprise from the past shakes up his world and a kiss that started out as a joke, won the Royals the game and has his whole team calling Stacey his lucky charm.  
Book Two of the Lucky Charms series has the whole gang from First Down trying to get the Royals to the World Series, if Chris doesn't manage to screw everything up in the process.
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Whatever You Make of It
SKU: 978-1983682506

Price: $15.00
Johnathon Morgan wanted to make partner at his law firm. That's it. That's all he wanted. Everything else he could figure out later, including life with his girlfriend, Rebecca. The last thing he needed was a distraction. But sometimes life has plans for you that are outside of your control. He starts to read a book and expresses all of his thoughts out loud as he reads. To his surprise, the characters in the book can not only hear his spoken thoughts, but can also respond to him. Soon he finds himself completely lost in their world, learning more about himself and what really matters than he ever thought he would
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Words to Write to
SKU: 978-1981702688

Price: $7.50
Michelle Sodaro has used quotes and weekly activities to help people write on a more regular basis. She hopes to help people develop weekly habits for anyone who wants to make writing more a part of the daily life
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Break Throughs

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 07, 2019
A look at some of my breakthroughts in 2018
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NaNo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 01, 2018

NaNo

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 6:20 pm Edit This
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For the past six years, I have taken the month of November and hid out to participate in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo (or as I lovingly refer to it as “nano”).

The goal is simple: 50,000 words. 30 days. See…easy </div>					
				
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Favorites

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 21, 2018

Favorites

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 5:10 pm Edit This
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When I taught, students always wanted to know who my favorite student was, and I of course never let them know who and tried really hard to not actually have any favorites. (Well, I tried…)

At the book signings this summer, I was asked which book I had written was my favorite. Um…each of them? All of them? How could I even begin to say that. Each of them holds a separate place in my heart, each of them is special to me, and each of them is my favorite.

So, I thought I would look at why each of them is my favorite, over the course of the next few days. And I know that the more books that come out, the more favorites I will have. And all of them will be my favorites. And that doesn’t make any of them less my favorite.

Now, as an English teacher, I know what I am saying is not grammatically correct. Favorite is superlative, as in “there can be only one,” and for me to have multiples is not how I am “supposed” to express it…but maybe you haven’t heard… I am not an English teacher anymore…

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Dear Teaching

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 26, 2018
This is an excerpt and then brief commentry about the upcoming Dear Teaching
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It happens every time...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 02, 2018
So I just clicked send on my 10th novel last week, and as it has happened nine other times now...after my novel is done, I feel the tiniest bit lost. This novel has been my sole focus for a few months now (okay, when I say sole focus, it's not "entirely" true that I didn't work on any other project, but my MAIN project was this one). I used to not finish anything, which is why I have drafts all over the place and in various stages of "done."

In 2011 when I held Whatever you Make of It for the very first time, I knew that I needed to finish each of  my projects and I needed to focus my poor...
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Check this out at Amazon.com

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 18, 2018
3/18 and 3/19 the first book in the Lucky Charms series is free on Kindle.

First Down (Lucky Charms Book 1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0714NR5JT/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_imLRAbRSWWGMG
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Limbo...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 12, 2018
So normally I hate limbo. I hate not knowing an answer or solution. I like to know what it going on so I know what I need to do to deal with things.

The ONE exception to this...and it is where I am right now.

I sent off my 10# novel to my wonderful reader. And now I am in the most blissful of limbos...She is reading it as she can...just as my life doesn't get to have a pause button to write, hers doesn't have one so she can read...but already my phone has received some texts about things...which I love.

The only time I can wait is when she's reading my novel. I know she will guide me to any plot...
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Pause Button

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 26, 2018
Okay, I know why I don't get one...and that if I had one, everyone should get to have one, and then where would we be...in some constant state of pause either from our own button or someone else's. Every horrible and not so horrible (though still mind-twisting) time travel novel and movie comes into mind and I know the end result would be horrible. Imagine you are in the middle of a conversation...or other activity...and they push pause. Um...hello?? I'll just see myself out, then.

I also know why I don't get one...with as little self control as I have with ice cream, I think we all know I would over use my pause button...didn't get enough sleep...PAUSE...didn't understand what someone...
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Names...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 19, 2018
So, I have never had tiny humans of my own, but I have had many many many fictional characters who I created (who all came into existence without any bodily fluids or screaming) and names are...well sometimes they are the hardest part of a novel. Just kidding, but it does come in close sometimes.

In Arianna's Honor, the prince changed his name four times. Four. Arianna started off by introducing herself. "Hello, dear author. I am Arianna Collins. This is my sword...and this is Prince Whatshisname who you are going to make me keep alive."

In my other books, Ali was always Ali, Sam was always Sam. Dillon for a while was something else for a while and her daughter, before announcing she...
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DeJa Vu

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 06, 2018
So around this part of the last novel...and the one before that...and the one before that...etc. I get to a point where I hit a wall...sometimes I hit the wall at full speed and sometimes, like this time, I run into the wall in slow motion. It's always there...this wall, and it stops me every time.

Next month I will have my 10th book out. (Even hitting the wall, that is still my goal). 10. Double digits. Wow...that's pretty crazy. And this wall has happened every single time,(well, to be honest, even more than 10 times...I have 6 first drafts that are just sitting at the wall waiting for me to pick them up and finish them.) every time I get...
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Accountability

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 01, 2018
Every night, when I do my workout, I text a couple of my friends to tell them what I accomplished in that workout and they cheer me on as friends do. Also, those nights where my spirit is willing, but my knees say no, they show me grace and remind me to do the same. For the first time in my life, there have been times where my body was ready for the workout but my soul was exhausted...for which, given my hectic schedule, I need rest more than I can fight.

I am grateful for my friends who hold me accountable. They keep me motivated and I have started to see slight changes in how my clothing fits, which is...
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PPWC: Pikes Peak Writer's Conference

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 22, 2018
https://www.pikespeakwriters.com/ppwc/

Three years ago, I went to the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference for the first time (as opposed to the two years prior when I had registered and chickened out...after all, who was I to go to a writer's conference).

And then I went in April of 2016...and it was amazing, and as it turned out...I had every right to be at a writer's conference, because I am, and have been...a writer. And for 3 days, I wasn't a teacher...I wasn't a hyphen (a teacher-author)...I was just...amazingly, an author. I was among my people. MY PEOPLE. People who understand the highs and lows of this calling and who wouldn't choose any other path. (This is not in any way downplaying the role...
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Finally...they are all together

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 12, 2018
So, back in November, when I moved, I had a blog about how I felt better when all my stuff was in the same place. Well finally, all of my books are in the same place.

I started out with iUniverse and self-published Whatever you Make of It and Arianna's Honor there.

Then I went to BookBaby, where I self-published Arianna's Destiny,  Broken Trust, Redeeming Trust, and First Down.

Then I learned about Createspace. After I got past the unproductive self-lashing for money wasted, I researched what it would take to bring all my babies home.

I edited the ridiculous amounts of grammatical errors in Whatever you Make of It.

I made Arianna's Honor the same size as all the other books (something which had bothered me every single time I...
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Online dating

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 09, 2018
So, in a made up statistic, I love being single about 93.7% of the time. I don't have to explain why I'm still "not done writing" (is there such a thing??) or why, "yes, I do need that package of pens, can't you see it says the word NEW on it?" I don't have to explain why school supply season is my favorite season. I love being single...most of the time. For that 6.3% of the time (look at me, doing math...) when I don't love being single, I think online dating is a good idea, because really, where do people even meet people anymore??

Things that bug me about online dating:

Profile pics which are too close up, taken in the...
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Keep it short...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 08, 2018
One of my resolutions this year was to continually break out of my comfort zone...I want to do this in as many ways as I can as an author and a person.

Short stories has always been an elusive thing for me. I admire people who can do it well. Mine always never get off the ground or turn into a larger project.

Ourwritingtherapy.com has a list of 52 short story prompts. So I am trying it.

Last week's short story tied directly into Dear Teaching...but this week, I am going to definitely try to get this to be a stand alone short story. I hope.

Wish me luck. I'm going in.
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Happy New Year!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 01, 2018
There is something magical about a new year. New fresh calendars, new journals, new goals. Like we get a fresh start, a clean slate, a tabula rasa.

This year I am going to get 4 books out. Last year the goal was 4, but the before, during, and after of a move had me changing plans to maintain some semblance of sanity.

I also plan to conquer my trepidations about making audio books and have my novels having that third format to join the paperback and kindle formats.

I plan to read, review, and promote more of my author friends.

I plan to let go of all crushes I held on to...fresh slate. Distraction free.

I plan to have more fun...as soon as I...
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Check this out at Amazon.com

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 28, 2017
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J, O, Q, U, V, X, Y, Z

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 26, 2017
Definitely one of my more unique blog titles...but I was looking through my projects (organizing and making notes), and I realized that the 8 letters listed above are the only ones I don't have a title for...And there is enough OCD left in me (I really have tried to get rid of most of my obsessives, but sometimes my control issues make this impossible...a little joke) for it to bother me that I don't have all of the letters of the alphabet represented by a novel or non-fiction project.

I don't know if this remedy-able. I also don't know if that is a word...but I am going to claim poetic license and use it  anyway.  Some of those letters are easier...
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Unpacking for the New Year

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 22, 2017
Okay, yes, I moved at the beginning of November, and maybe I should be unpacked by now...and I am, well, mostly...except where I am not. And those boxes I haven't been able to unpack are more metaphorical than literal (In all honesty, I have about 3 actual boxes from the move which are odds and ends and haven't found a place yet in my new home...but they fit nicely in the closet).

The boxes I am unpacking are my memories, my struggles, my fears, my setbacks, my illusions, my heartbreak, my mistakes, my disappointments in myself and others, my crushes, my questions, my negative energy, my negative self-esteem..basically everything which has been holding me back from being all I can be....
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Buy One Get One

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 01, 2017
For the month of December, I am selling my books as Buy one Get One. If you are interested, please send me a message. Books are $15 for the first one and the second one is free
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Day 26 of Gratitude: Hugs

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 26, 2017
I know what some of you are thinking...has she been kidnapped?? She has personal space issues and tends to freeze awkwardly when people come in for a hug...and that is true...but I'm working on it.

The truth is I love hugs...not from everyone I meet, but from people who I enjoy the company of...people who don't send off creepy vibes...you know...non-sociopathic people.

In the last few weeks, I have seen a few people who I haven't seen in years...and without hesitation, I hugged them...and it reminded me how much I am grateful for hugs.

So next time you see me...if you are not a creepy vibe sender...feel free to hug me...but not so tightly that I can't escape if I need to....baby steps,...
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Day 21 of Gratitude: Crushes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 21, 2017
Crushes are fun. They remind me what it feels like to be alive. They make it easier to be alone in things.

Sometimes I like to talk to guys I don't actually have a chance with in actual dating....not as an insult to me...just that we are too different, want different things, like different things, etc...but it's nice to talk to them. Be reminded to smile. And of course...the most important...they help my writing. I have stayed hidden for so long I fear it has hurt my writing, so I peek my head out of my shell, catch some crush-y feelings and use it to fuel my writing until I find something real again.

So to my crushes out there, those who...
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Day 20 of Gratitude: NaNo 2017

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 20, 2017
So...the month (and NaNo) are 2/3rds over. I am currently 1/5th of the way to the 50,000 word count goal. So if I am 1/5th and then 2/3rds...carry the 5 and subtract purple....yup...I have a long way to go.
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Day 19 of Gratitude: Change

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 19, 2017
So I think I have a fear of a stagnant life...one where there is no change, no growth. A life where everything is the same...and nothing challenges me and I get...shudder...bored. I can't think of a scarier word actually.

This year, I have quit a career, started writing a non-fiction book and a mystery, and moved. All of these things were out of my comfort zone. I taught poetry to tiny humans. I started swimming. I decorated a pumpkin. Again...all outside of my comfort zone. And I have loved every single bit of change I have brought into my life. I didn't do them without fear. I did them in spite of my fear...because change is beautiful.

I don't want to just...
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Gratitude Day 18: Help

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 18, 2017
I had two friends who helped me move and bring all of my stuff up to my new apartment. Helped me put stufd together. Helped me make it a home. I had other friends who helped me have stuff I was needing for my home. I was and am very blessed to have help.

Sometimes I forget I have osteoarthritis. I forget I have no cartilage in my knees, and my stubbornness of "I can do this all by myself" and "I got this" changes to "I can't do this without help" and "I don't got this at all." It's a humbling reminder that it's okay to depend on others for help and to return the favor when you can.

Throughout my...
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Day 17 of Gratitude: Writing utensils

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 17, 2017
I tend to use up pens and pencils on a fairly regular basis. I think of them as my soldiers in my battle against the blank page...giving their all to get the novel written. *I really like those pens and pencils where I can see if there is enough ink or lead for me to finish my chapter...because while I have gotten rid of some of my OCDs (I no longer have to start down stairs on my left foot- I can just go with which ever do it's turn it is) I can't have a chapter half blue and half black...and if a pen or pencil gives its all mid-chapter, I have to finish with an ink or lead...
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Day 14 of Gratitude: my schedule

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 14, 2017
I think one of the difficulties I had with teaching was that I do my best writing first thing in the morning. My subconscious mind has had a chance to rest and I write best when it's first thing in the morning and there are no interruptions for a couple hours.

Between writing, my full-time job and my part-time job, it works out perfectly if I write when I first get up...then I need to add a workout I to my day. Then part- time job. Then full-time job. Cycle, rinse, repeat. Ad nauseam.

My life is busy right now. But my schedule is perfect. And I am so grateful for my writing and my jobs...and I will keep this up until...
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Day 12 of Gratitude: Cooking shows

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 12, 2017
I love watching people follow their passions. I love watching their faces when they have created or done something that pushed them outside their comfort zones and helped them grow. It inspires me to work harder on my books...on my projects. It makes my comfort zone not quite so comfortable.

My current obsession is called the Great British Baking Show or something like that. Not a very clever title, but I love to watch the bakers try to appeal to and impress the judges. Love watching them bake. There is something breathtakingly beautiful about watching someone light up as they talk about and do their passion.

I am grateful for other people following their passions...because it pushes me to follow mine.
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Day 10 of Gratitude: NaNo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 10, 2017
So NaNo 2017 is 1/3rd of the way through. Sadly, I am not one-third of the way to the 50k...but today, In an glad to say I made it back to writing.

Last week I moved and this week was beyond crazy with both jobs...I was getting swirly because all my things are not under the same roof and all of those things were making writing rather difficult. *note to self, don't pack in October to move at the beginning of NaNo.*

Tonight...I put it all away. I got work done for my jobs and I picked up my pen and finished Chapter 3...and will start Chapter 4 when I finish this blog. I am back on task with my NaNo...it will...
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Day 9 of Gratitude: Smiles

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 09, 2017
There are a few vanities that I have...I love my hair and my blue eyes...and I love my smile. Actually, I love most everyone's smile. Smiles are one of the simplest ways we can affect those around us in a positive way. Just a smile.

Some people only ever see my genuine smile. Some people only ever see my fake smile...but I try to smile every day. I try to smile at people...even those who don't smile back. I love smiles.

It's really one of the first things I find attractive in a person (my unhealthy obsession about male biceps, not withstanding).
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Day 8 of Gratitude: Bravery

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 08, 2017
So last week, a not un-cute boy started talking to me in a coffee shop. He had heard a friend of mine and I talking about education and was also a part of that world. We chatted for a bit until we both went back to our respective computer screens.

I pondered for a minute and got up and gave not un-cute boy my business card. Told him if he wanted to talk more about education or whatever, he should email me.

Did I think he was going to...no, not really...though there might be a story that has that beginning of a thing.

The point isn't that he didn't email me. The point is...I found him very not un-cute...and I gave him my...
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Day 7 of Gratitude: Goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 07, 2017
There are people who believe in my goals right along side me. You know who you are...

There are people who believe in my goals sometimes even more than I do...I know who you are and am thankful for you every day.

There are also those who think my goals are a pipe dream. You know who you are...and so do I...and I forget a lot of things...but I will remember where you stood when it mattered.

I love my goals. I love that my books are going to pay the bills one day...that I am going to have worldwide book tours...that I am going to make it...that I am going to win an Oscar for best original screenplay.

Just in case you don't...
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Day 6 of Gratitute: My things

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 06, 2017
Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara is one of my all-time favorite movies, for a thousand reasons, but one of them is when she doesn't feel at home without her things around her. As I was moving, and my things were here and there, I felt discontent...and now, with most of my things under one roof, I feel grateful for having "my things about me." *I would have all of my things, but I am old and my back and my knees are not doing great with the stairs and the cold...but by week's end, I should be all settled.

It's odd, the things we find comfort in, but I love to have my projects all under one roof,...
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Day 5 Gratitude: The kits

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 05, 2017
I couldn't say this on Friday when they had the torture and inhumanity of being forced to being locked up in prison cells (carriers) and transported to their new home. I couldn't even really say this yesterday when they were still traumatized from their Friday. *sarcasm font*

But today...I am once more (and always) grateful for the kits.
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4th day of Gratitude: Friends

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 04, 2017
Sometimes, I am absolutely amazed I have friends. Every day, I am absolutely amazed by my friends. I have friends who accept and love my quirks, friends who love and support my goals, friends who don't outwardly bash my goals, and friends who do all of the above and so much more.

If I count you among my friends, and if you count me among your group...just know that I am grateful for you every day.
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3rd day of gratitude: moving day

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 03, 2017
When you have been putting things in boxes for over a month, it is a great relief when you finally get to take things out of boxes and start to figure out where it makes sense to put things.

I always forget how much I hate moving my cats until the time comes to shove them in carriers and zip them in as fast as I can. The Siamese didn't catch on quickly enough to fight me. The tabby...always the tabby...hid under the bed until I moved the bed. Hid under the dresser until I moved that too. He verbally protested and thrashed about. Then on the drive, the tabby sulked quietly while the Siamese acted as if I was torturing...
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Day 2 of Gratitude: Sleep

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 02, 2017
So there is a lot going on in my mind and world at current. Today, and every day it happens...I am grateful for restful sleep. It's not an every day thing...even on the best of days. Being a writer is sometimes a challenge to restful anything...but between my move and my job and my other job and NaNo (which I only got 700 words on today, but that is okay...progress is progress)...I am definitely grateful for restful sleep.

 
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Day one of Gratitude: NaNo start

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 01, 2017
So, I am going to do this again this year, and hopefully I make it all 30. There is just a lot going on, but all of that is something to be grateful for, so I should be just fine.

I move on Friday. I am working a full-time job and a part-time job. I also am planning on getting 2 more projects finished before 2017 sees its closing. No one has ever said I was sane or realistic. So, of course, to add to the mix...is NaNoWriMo (or NaNo) 50,000 words in 30 days.

I woke up this morning at 2, with an idea for a perfect way to start chapter one...but my muse was sleeping, so I put it in...
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Preparing for NaNo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 23, 2017
So...did you look at your calendar, realize November is NEXT week and squeal like I did? November means warm clothes and football and hot cocoa and all those good things...but to some writers...November means NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo (or NaNo) is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is 50K in 30D (that's 50,000 words in 30 days...which averages out to about 1667 a day). It is a beautiful, exhausting, exhilarating, challenge and I have participated in it since 2012 when I had Redeeming Trust as my novel challenge. I did not let myself even think about any other projects and the end result was a writer's block around chapter 12 that I could not break and lost all kinds of time.

2013 was First Down ...
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Keep Coming Back

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 16, 2017
So far in my author life, I have self-published a single (Whatever you Make of It), a double (Arianna's Honor and Arianna's Destiny), another double (Broken Trust and  Redeeming Trust), and a trilogy (Lucky Charms: First Down, Stealing Second, and Hat Trick). I have potential ideas for a 2nd Whatever, a 3rd Arianna and a 4th Lucky Charms: Quarterfinals. I don't currently have any ideas for a 3rd in the Trust books, though I cannot imagine my time with Sam and Ali is really done.

One one hand, I love these characters--I know them and love them, in fact have known and loved them for years now. They are my friends, and now that they are published, they are my readers' friends as well. People have asked me...
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Closure

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 11, 2017
Yesterday, I was standing in a classroom at a university...which at a time not too long ago, was the ultimate dream...to get my PhD and teach future teachers...pass the torch and help those who came after me...that was the goal for such a long time...until it wasn't.

When I quit teaching in April, I felt good about my decision to focus on being an author. I felt a peace about my decision, which always lets me know I am on the right path...but there was a small part of me that wondered, if I was misreading the signals, making a mistake, if I would have regrets.

Yesterday, I stood in the classroom and waited for 3rd and 4th grade tiny humans to...
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Talking Poetry to Kids

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 10, 2017
A few weeks ago, a friend from high school asked me if I would be interested in talking to groups of kiddos about poetry. She had remembered how much she had enjoyed my poetry when we were in school (and what a compliment that was, for someone to remember enjoying something I wrote over 20 years later).

I told her I would love to do that. I didn't even hesitate. Is it outside of my comfort zone. Yes...very far, in fact...but what an amazing opportunity.

And also, what a not so subtle reminder, that I need to work on my poetry again. For too long I have avoided feeling too much and my writing has suffered...and my poetry writing has been reduced...
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Stacks o'books

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 02, 2017
My book count is up to 8...the goal is to have two more out by the end of this year...but as I turned the calendar page to October, I wonder if that is feasible. Have to say though...this stack of books always makes me smile. It makes me remember why I am doing things. Why I am making my life more difficult...it is for this stack of books and how I want it to grow.

I remember in 2011, when I held Whatever you Make of It for the first time with its beautiful green cover...all of the projects in my head gathered around and collectively gasped...they each wondered when it was there turn...and I knew then what I wanted to...
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And then there were four...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 16, 2017
So my friend and I were at lunch a while back and she said she wasn't ready for Lucky Charms to be over yet. I could totally empathize with her, I love this group of characters too. I have held them in my head, getting to know them and letting the world know about them little by little. Everyone loves Lilly...and how could you not. I have never wanted kids of my own (20 years of teaching and I feel like I have hundreds of kids)...of course if I could have a Lilly, then how could I resist that?? I find myself wanting to put a quarter in a jar every time I swear. So, of course, I understood...
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Hat Trick

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 14, 2017
 The third book in the Lucky Charms series is now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Ty Cole plays for the Kansas City Mavericks and watched his two best friends, Josh Matthews and Chris Jasper, find their Lucky Charms in Dillon and Stacey, respectively, and he couldn't be happier for them. As far as having a woman in his life, he is pretty sure they are all crazy or something about him makes them insane, so he is just going to keep it safe and avoid the fairer sex.

Dr. Mackenzie Wilson lost her job and her fiancé in one swoop and is just trying to put her life back together. She gets a job as the doctor for the Mavericks (thanks...
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Refresh

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 12, 2017
I decided while I was finishing Hat Trick, that I would add a new ritual to my book writing process. A sort of cleansing of the mental palate, if you will. There is such an amazing feeling once I send a book off to print and release it out into the wild. With my first couple of books, there was a panic...what if I clicked send too early? What if she wasn't really ready? How do I un-send (a wish I have also had with more than my share of text messages as well)?

Now I know that there is no perfect draft, no perfect anything, really, which takes a lot of pressure off. I am excited to have people meet...
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Kansas City

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 04, 2017
So, people who know me, know that I am a die hard Chicago fan. I love my Bears, my Bulls, my Blackhawks, and my Cubbies (no, I am not a White Sox fan). My love for Chicago teams is strong...even though I have lived in the Kansas City area for quite some time. (I fully support KC teams...as long as they are not playing my boys).

When I decided to write my Lucky Charms series (as well as when I decided to write Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust), I at first started with the Chicago area because it made sense to write about the teams who had my truest loyalty...and then I switched to writing about Kansas City, because though my...
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Check this out at Amazon.com

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 01, 2017
Stealing Second: Book Two of the Lucky Charms series https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711VQPYP/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_nEjGzbMW2HX85
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Broken Trust

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 23, 2017
Broken Trust https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0731FGJSZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_6s3CzbMVAP4HK

This is on sale for a short time. I recently re-read (and fixed a few minor edits) and every time I read my book, I still laugh and cry at the same parts. I live these characters and hope you do too. And their sequel is Redeeming Trust, also available on Amazon
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First Down

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 29, 2017
(Kindle version on sale for a limited time)

Having a book that you know from the start is a part of a series, is an amazing feeling. Having the first book and second book out in the world and being deeply into the editing stage of the third book in the series, is an even more amazing feeling. I know and love the group of characters who have grown and evolved from the first moment I knew I had to write this story.

This entire series started at a hockey game. I was fascinated by this Super Fan, who got the whole crowd energized. He became JD. As soon as I knew JD's character, he "introduced me" to the rest of the...
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Check this out at Amazon.com

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 28, 2017
First Down (Lucky Charms Book 1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0714NR5JT/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_kU5uzbKMRYQGQ
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To my students...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 06, 2017
Top 10 things I wish all of my students knew:

1) your past does not define you

2) you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to

3) when I say I believe in you I'm not blowing smoke up your ass 

4) my life is better having known you

 5) when you tell me about the things that happen in your life I want to hear about them no matter how many years it's been since you were in my class

6) I took it personally every single time a student failed an assignment because I should have done more

7)  I hated it when you would give up and it made me want to shake you and just say keep going 

8) I know I'm...
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Less...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 10, 2017
Just as there are things I need to do more of, there are just as certainly things I need to do less as well...

**Worrying -- turns out it doesn't help the situation in any way, shape, or form. Things always have a way of working themselves out, so worrying is wasted energy.

**Spending money -- I don't have my teacher salary anymore. Time to really stick to the budget...that's the only way this works. And I'm not going to get into what teachers should be paid...that dead horse doesn't need any more kicks.

**Eating out by myself -- See above. Though I do this sometimes as a break to write outside of my office, but it needs, again, to stick with the...
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More...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 08, 2017
So, as I am adjusting to the teacher-free life, I am realizing there are things I want to do and have more of...

** Writing (obviously, as this what was the driving force behind this career change). It will be amazing to have actual scheduled chunks of time to write every day rather than stolen moments between grading and meetings.

**Reading -- there is so much I want to read and haven't had time to. Suggestions are always welcome.

**Publishing, promoting, and all the other parts of the business side of authoring. These have all been woefully neglected.

**Relaxing -- I have heard of this an am excited to check this out.

**Netflix...though as not to take away from writing or reading, but again, suggestions...
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Career -- Author

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 05, 2017
Wow...okay...this is getting real. The first items on my to-do list this morning are to update my profession on Linked In, Facebook, and to revamp my resume. I need to put end dates on my teaching career (and I need to do this mentally as well as on my resume, as I keep thinking I have to be at school next week).  There are people who keep hoping it is just over for now, not forever...and I don't know how to answer that. All I know is that right now I am considering it a permanent change.

I was a teacher.

I am an author.

I gave teaching 20 years of my life (not counting the schooling to get there).

I want to give my author career more...
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Brave

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 03, 2017
Walking away from teaching is very much like walking away from a 20-year marriage. I say that as someone who has not ever been married...but who has sacrificed and has been loyal and has devoted my whole life (at the cost of my writing and any kind of a personal life) to teaching.

A lot of people are telling me I am "so brave" to walk away from my full-time teaching career to more fully pursue my author career.

To me, it's not about being brave, nor did it really require any kind of courage, per se. (Of course it is still very new and shiny, so maybe when it sinks in -- you know, in a couple of weeks when I...
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No Guarantees

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 02, 2017
7 years ago there was a shiny game plan. It has taken me longer, having to do it "alone" instead of as it was originally planned...as part of an amazing duo. I put "alone" in quotes, because I am not now, nor have I ever truly been "alone" as I have an incomparable support system, both physically here or spiritually present. It has taken me longer, but I got there. I quit teaching and am working a job which allows for writing to be full time.

What I learned from losing Trav was there are no guarantees in life. We are, none of us, promised the chance to see tomorrow. Anyone who has lost a friend or loved one can attest...
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Writer's conference

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 28, 2017
Today starts my 2nd time attending Pikes Peak Writer's conference (which is celebrating its 25th anniversary!!).

Last year I was so nervous before the conference started, not knowing what to expect or where to go or if I even belonged here. (I had self-published 4 books and still felt like I was playing at being an author...which was mostly due to how much time proportionately I spent writing, as compared to what I spent teaching).

Then I made myself leave my hotel room and go down among the other authors...and I found my people. The writers, the dreamers, the poets. I was among my people. *With the exception of sitting next to the guy I refer to as "butter boy" because he...
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At last...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 16, 2017
So Easter is hard for me...too many thoughts of my favorite Easter and breaking confetti-filled eggs over heads...and too many thoughts of what came next...so while all of my coworkers and friends discussed Easter plans and food and gatherings, I knew, the best way to celebrate was to finish my novel. Those were our plans, after all...and now they are all mine...and that thought used to terrify me, but right now, with the end of my teaching career a mere 10 days away, I find myself exhilarated to see happening, the plans you put into place.

"You have wanted to be a writer since I have known you, Mich. So do it. Be a writer." And I did. And I am....
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Plot Twist...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 03, 2017
So the game plan 7 years ago (wow...7 years...) was to quit teaching and work at a job where I could focus on my writing...the other part of the game plan was to get married and see if he could turn the "Maybe" of having kids, to a "yes" (if there was ever a man that could get me to a yes on having tiny humans, it was Trav). Then everything changed, and in one moment, the wind was knocked out of me, and I was alone with all of our plans...and no idea how to make those plans still happen...so I put them on the back burner for awhile and I found a new teaching job and just told...
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Letting go...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 07, 2017
So...I may have one or two control issues (Okay, that "one or two" is a bit of an understatement...)

One thing that being an author has taught me, is to let go of some of my control issues...for example...what a project should look like in the end. There have been many things I have tried to force into what I wanted them to be...and it worked as well as the square peg, round hole conundrum.

Another thing I have learned is that projects will get finished when they are supposed to...this is a hard one for me because I have A SCHEDULE. I have a GAME PLAN. I want these ducks lined up at this time...and oh crap...where did all the ducks...
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Lucky Charms Series

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 17, 2017
So First Down met it's publication date of 2016...it was mid-December, but it still says 2016 on it, so it counts. So far, people have seemed to like to my crew of characters, which is always the best compliment.

Some people have told me that my book kept them up past their bedtimes...I do believe that is the ultimate "sorry, not sorry" (at least for an author).

Stealing Second is well on its way to its March publication date. It may be closer to the end of March, but it will be out next month (wow...if saying NEXT month doesn't light a fire, I don't know what would). I am putting some final touches on the story for the fictional Kansas City Royals...then...
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End of a road...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 20, 2017
I find myself standing at the end of a road...I decided in May of last year that my teaching career needed to come to a close. I had been questioned about my integrity one too many times because my percentage of adults who didn't pass my course was too high...the implication being that I am a "bad teacher" when the truth is in fact I am a very good one...one who feels the sting of every single "F" I have ever given out...did I not do enough? Could I have pushed harder? Did I push too hard?

I have cried at every graduation I have been to...every graduation except the one I attended last year...last year I just felt numb. My...
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Dreams and goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 16, 2017
Trust me, Dr. Martin Luther King, jr...I know the power of a dream. I know what it is to picture something that others might not see...or might think "That sounds nice, but it's not very realistic now is it" and while my dream is not as universal as yours...it's still all-encompassing and what keeps me going.

I am making solid plans for my dreams. I am making those dreams into goals. I am taking steps every day in the direction of my dreams. I believe in everything I am working toward...some people believe right along side me. Some people want to, but can't quite see it, and they believe in me if they don't necessarily believe in my dream. Some people...
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Quizzical Queries

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 09, 2017
So I love the process of self-publishing, and I will continue to self-publish regardless of anything else that happens. I am also querying agents to check out the traditional publishing route. Anything that puts my books in more reader's hands, I am a fan of and am going to try. Count on it.

The querying process is dizzying. Why can't there be one standard thing that agents are looking for. Query letter should have this, this, and this. Synopsis includes this, this, this and not this. Never do this. Always do this. AND....send.

But no...there isn't agreement in what should be in a query letter..what should be included in a synopsis (chapter by chapter? Overall? 3 pages? One page?) Send the first...
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And then there were six...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 04, 2017
So yesterday my 6th paperback came in the mail. To say I was distracted while at work, is an understatement, but I still did my job to the best of my ability, so my present and my future are getting along currently.

I am excited about this novel...as I am for all of my 'babies' but this one is the first in a 3-part series, which means I get to play with my characters for two more novels...even better, those novels are written, so now it is just editing and polishing things up so that they can join their first one in the PUBLISHED category (moving up from the EDITING category, which then makes room for some new projects to join...
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Hello, 2017

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 01, 2017
This year is going to be my best one yet. I said that last year, and it was true...it will also be true this year, because I will work my ass off to make it true...as I did in 2016. 

I am going to get 4 books published in 2017. They are all done as first drafts and are in editing mode. Well, three of the four are in edit mode. The last of the four needs to be finished in its first draft, but there is time. 

I want to be braver in 2017. I dabbled in this in 2016...I tried three new foods. I want to try new foods. I want to try new experiences. I want to date new...
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Saying goodbye to 2016

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 31, 2016
Wow. What to say about this year...in some ways, it feels like I had just said hello to it...and in other ways it feels like it lasted about 17 centuries.

We lost a lot of people in the entertainment industry...which I imagine happened when our parents were our age as well. Of course there wasn't Facebook to give us minute by minute and post after post...and it's sad. It's always sad to lose positive energy and bits of our childhood. But as with any loss, the memory remains and that is ours to keep forever.

I published two books this year. That is a first for me. I now have Whatever you Make of It 2011, Arianna's Honor 2012, Arianna's Destiny 2013, Broken Trust 2015, and...
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Restless...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 28, 2016
Some of the best advice I have ever heard about writing was to work on something new immediately after finishing something, and I have to be honest, this has never been a problem for me as I was always starting new projects (much to the dismay of my current projects and the prospect of actually finishing anything).

The past year and a half I have devoted to finishing projects I have had "done" for a while. Case in point...First Down was published this month and I had originally started the series on the first day of 2012. One one hand, I need things to percolate a bit...on the other hand, get it together, Michelle.

So I am in editing mode for the...
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First Down

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 26, 2016
On December 20, 2016 at 12:13AM, my 6th novel was born. I sent her off to the fabulous people at Bookbaby so they could check her over and format her and get all shiny for the world.

She is already out on Kindle.

She will be coming out on Nook in the coming weeks.

She will be on my doorstep, in paperback format, on January 5th.

As the first in the Lucky Charms series, she leads the way for the other two books, Stealing Second, due out in March 2017, and Hat Trick, due out in June 2017.

This entire series started at a hockey game on New Year's Eve, 2011,  with one Missouri Maverick's super fan who danced around in the stands to get the crowds riled...
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Making Changes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 13, 2016
2017 is going to be a BIG year for me. I don't mean in the "new year, new me" thing we all say every year, but in the...okay...it's time to do this...wait, let me try this again...

IT'S TIME TO DO THIS!!!!!

That's a little better.

I am cleaning out my closets, metaphorically and literally. I am letting go of things and people which no longer fit in with where my life is headed. I am not going to hold on to them just because I have for so long...Just this morning I went through my gmail and deleted every message I could get rid of. Tackling my hotmail mess will be next on the list.

I am letting go of things that weigh...
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Christmas Songs

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 02, 2016
Okay...It is December. NOW it is okay for there to be Christmas songs. Some of my favorites:

1. My Grown-up Christmas list

2. So, This is Christmas

3. Baby, it's cold Outside

4. Grinch's song

5. Where are you, Christmas?

6. Do you see what I see (for some reason I used to sing this one to my brother??)

7. I'll be Home for Christmas

8. Please, Christmas, don't be Late (Alvin and the Chipmunks song)

9. Last Christmas 

10. Anything by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
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December goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 01, 2016
Ah December...how is it even possible that you are the calendar page I see...

So I have some things I need to accomplish before December turns its page...

First Down needs to come out. I have received two very powerful messages...one in a missed call that was logically a wrong answer, but struck me to my core regardless and two in an email from someone I have never met who told me I had a great future in writing...well okay then, let's do this.

I have two favors (one from an ex-coworker and one from an ex-student) to work on...writing a bit for each of those.

My NaNo project...I need to continue to explore my life over these past two decades.

A friend told me...
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Grateful for: Reflection

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 30, 2016
I thought this was an appropriate note to end this month of gratitude on...as I have spent a lot of time in reflection this month.

The classes I teach now have reflection journals and I emphasize to my students that  it is a rarity in life (though it shouldn't be) that we take the time to pause and really reflect on what we learned, what we experienced, what we feel.

My NaNo project was a reflection on pretty much my entire life...and while I only got about 1/3 of my NaNo accomplished this year in the time frame of the competition, I am still counting it as a success. And it will get worked on, to be published this time next year.

I...
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Grateful for: Vacation

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 21, 2016
So the past nine days, I have been on a vacation from the world of teaching. I did this because, well...it's the November of a very long year and some time away was needed. I also took time in November because, well NaNo...and while it is unlikely I will get to 50K in the next 9 days, it has been an amazing project to work on, just more emotionally exhausting than I thought. Turns out it's hard to reflect back on two decades of life. I also worked on Stealing Second (from the Lucky Charms series), so I wasn't lazy, just multitasking, as usual.

It's been a good bit of time off, but now it's time to finish this year out as strongly...
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Grateful for: Trying New Things

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 14, 2016
Yes, I know...I had to read that one again too...this is MY blog right? And I'm grateful for trying new things? Did I type that right...but yes, yes I did.

In the last few months, I have tried three new things...which is 3 times more than I have tried in most years prior. Guacamole -- most of you who know me, probably know I have an issue with food and textures...and if a food is too busy texturially speaking (it's not a word, but it should be) I avoid it...add that and it's a color that reminds me of my least favorite part of babysitting (I am trying to say it without saying it, folks)...and really poor guac never had a chance...
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Grateful for: the Jeep

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 07, 2016
I have wanted a Jeep since I knew what cars were, and like everyone who loves Jeeps, I always figured I wanted a Wrangler...do some off-roading, take the doors off and just go crazy. (I may or may not have grown up watching Dukes of Hazard).

A trip to Utah last year proved to me that I like guardrails and concrete...and civilization (you can take the girl out of the Chicago area, but you can't take the city out of the girl).

Also, given the fact that I am allergic to most of the outdoors, I should probably at least pretend to pay attention to that...not that I ever drive with my Jeep's windows up (unless it is raining or snowing and...
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Grateful for: Future Plans

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 06, 2016
Every time I publish a new book, I can hear the other projects whisper, "when is it my turn?" and I cannot wait until each and every one of them exists in a finished, published book format. Whether it is self-publishing or traditiional, all of my books will get their day in the sunshine. I have my project quilt up in my office as a constant reminder to stay focused and get things done so that each of my projects gets its turn. I also have projects who haven't quite made it to the quilt yet, but will get added as things get finished. (I have conquered many of my OCD tendencies, but with the project being 45 and a...
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Grateful for: My pretty books

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 05, 2016
Whenever I lose sight of what I am working toward (like, for example, when I get a form letter that lets me know the novel was not even looked at by the agent I queried), I look at my pretty books and know that one way or another, I am going to make a living as an author, I am going to claw my way on to the New York Times Best seller list, and I am going to make it.

I have self-published 5 books and am working on #6. My goal is to double my number by next year and have 10 books out at the close of 2017. They are drafts that have been written and have been...
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Loyalty

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 04, 2016
In a week where the Chicago Bears beat the Vikings and the CHICAGO CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!! HOLY COW!!! I felt it only fitting to write about my gratitude about loyalty, which ties in well with yesterday's post.

Some people don't understand true loyalty -- true, stand the test of time, believe in you forever, tried and true-- good times or bad -- hard times and easy times-- Loyalty. 

I once scored points at a teaching interview. 

Principal 1: How do you define loyalty?

Me: I have been a Cubs and Bears fan my whole life. 

Principal 2: That is a fantastic answer. 

I am extremely grateful to people who are as loyal to me as I am to them (which is also as loyal...
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Grateful for: Friends and Family

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 03, 2016
"Thank you for being my friend." Golden Girls theme song

Where would any of us be without our friends and family (whether that family is blood or the family we choose). Those people who stand by us at our darkest moments -- lift us up when we are down at our lowest -- and fly with us when we are at our highest. Those people who are our anchors and our wings simultaneously. (*hey, spelled that word right for maybe the 5th time in my whole life*)

I have some truly amazing people in my life. I would not be where I am without them. I am standing on the edge of making some pretty major life changes and I know, without...
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Grateful for: NaNo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 02, 2016
About five years ago, I stumbled across the website for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I was intrigued. A novel in a month? 50,000 words is not a "novel" according to Writer's Digest magazine, but it is a solid first draft. And written in a month? 30 days? 50K in 30D? Interesting.

The first year my attempt was a mess. I went in with no game plan and figured I could easily get the 1667 words a day. I mean I write ALL the time...it's kind of my deal. I started of getting 2000 words a day and I was thinking I got this. Then I slowed down. Then I slowed down some more until coming to a complete stop at...
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Gratitude

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 01, 2016
I start my day and end my day, expressing my gratitude. People and things for whom I blessed to have in my life and without whom, my life would be infinitely more sucky.

When life has knocked me down the hardest, I find that this habit of gratitude keeps me getting back up to fight another day. The alternative is to what? Cry in my Frosted Flakes? At least I still have Frosted Flakes.

I am grateful for the lessons learned by some people and some events. Learning who actually has your back and who doesn't is perhaps one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. Who wants you truly and absolutely succeed and who is just waiting for you...
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It's NaNoWriMo time again

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 31, 2016
Tomorrow starts National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again and I can hardly contain my excitement...it is so much fun and I totally geek out for it.

The challenge:

**50,000 words in 30 Days (50K in 30D) (this averages out to about 1667 words/day).

The challenge for me:

**Getting the 50K is challenging with a full-time teacher gig (thank goodness for vacation time and national holidays), but the more challenging part for me is having those 50K words be all about the same project as my self-diagnosed ADD which keeps me bouncing from project to project leaving a trail of half-finished projects in my wake.

What I have learned from previous NaNo's:

**If I seriously only allow myself to work on only my current NaNo project --...
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First Down Update

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 30, 2016
One of the hard parts of being a "grown up" (I figure it's only fair I put that in quotes since I tend to put them there for the kiddos I teach) is the financial part where the I have to pay for this has to come before the I want to pay for this. I have been working on a balance of my have to's vs. my want to's (it's very middle-child, ego --in the ID, ego, and superego trilogy, Gemini me) where there is an equal as possible a balance between the two parts in regards to resources (money) and schedule (time) since there is a finite amount of both money and time. I have pared down my budget and...
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Balance

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 24, 2016
So after being dizzy for the last couple of weeks, I have really come to appreciate having balance (I have also enjoyed standing up without vertigo). Had my health screening and Blood Pressure is perfect as always, so that is not the reason for the dizzy...but I do know what caused it.

Teaching full-time is not a 40 hour and out kind of job. You grade until you are "done," you explain until they get it, and you care...well you just end up caring all the damn time. I haven't figured up how many of my Facebook friends are previous students, but I know it is a pretty high percentage. The care doesn't stop just because they graduated or the class...
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Art therapy...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 14, 2016
So, I am going to an art museum today. I have been pushing myself to the point of exhaustion with keeping up with my grading like a good little soldier and starting a part-time job and working to get First Down out in the next couple of weeks. The past two weeks I have been dizzy and confused. A sure sign I need to slow down a bit and breathe.

I have always been fascinated by art...by those who can create art. My gift lies in words. I have no gift in drawing (my previous high school students can attest to this. Sorry for the nightmares I caused). I haven't tried painting or clay past a disastrous elementary school class, where my teacher...
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Are you Happy?

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 07, 2016
So there is a countdown going on and yesterday was 451...451 days...(for those of you who don't feel up to counting this morning, that brings us to 12/31/17...and no...it's not the end of the world as we know it...but it is the end of a world I know and have known far too well for far too long.)

With yesterday being 451, I thought about the wonderful book (Fahrenheit 451) by Ray Bradbury throughout the day...even going so far as to get out my well-worn, well-loved copy and flip through...catching a phrase here and there and smiling about this part of the book or that. Because I have taught this book and because I have loved this book, there are underlined passages...
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Ahhh...October...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 05, 2016
For some reason, and I do it every year, but I start thinking, "well, time to put this year to bed and get ready for a more productive next year." NOT this year. No way. No how. I still have lots to do before 2016 ends.

I have two more books to publish this year. First Down is due out this month. It is coming along nicely and I should have no problems meeting my deadline as long as I keep my eye on the prize. I have people helping me from getting too distracted by other projects, so I should be just fine. Stealing Second is due out in December and I have some work to do on that one, but will...
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Looking back on September

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 30, 2016
What a busy month. WOW....30 days? Really? There were only 30 days this month? Can I have a recount? Or a nap?

I ordered copies of all of my books so that I have them in stock at all time. Found out it is easier to sell them if I have them on hand. Weird, right?

I had my 2nd book signing, which was a success. I have some new readers who will hopefully become fans.

I have had some rejections from agents which makes me sad for a minute that they didn't love my pretty books...and then I dust myself off and strengthen my resolve. I WILL make a living as an author...and I will get to where I want to go....
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Happy birthday, Trav

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 27, 2016
I remember the year I lost you and your birthday snuck up on me...I had been trying to stay super extra busy so it didn't hurt to breathe without you. And Facebook, in its helpful way, told me to celebrate with you and honestly I would have given anything to do just that. 

I have five books now. You srarted that. You gave me the wings I needed to be the author I always said I wanted to be. And look, five books out and plans for however many more. I like to think you are proud of me. I know you would be. 

I miss you. I also feel you every day. 

Happy birthday!!!!
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Coming off of a high

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 26, 2016
In my 41 years on this planet, I have never been chemically "high" and can count the number of times I would consider myself "drunk" on one hand...so I have no actual basis of comparison for this. I wanted to start with that disclaimer.

Friday 16 September, I had my 2nd book signing...and it was amazing. A day...all about me and my beautiful books. I got my curls "fixed" (as much as the fantastic mess on my head can be called "fixed") and wore make up and dressed up and got to celebrate my books with friends and fans. I have some new readers, which is always fun as the hope is that they like what they see and come back...
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Pre-game jitters

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 15, 2016
So when I taught face to face classes, I would get this antsy, butterflies all over, bouncy insides before the start of EVERY class. Yes. 19 years later and I still get nervous before facing a crowd for the first time. Will anyone show up? Will there be at least one person who talks to me? Will someone at least pretend to laugh at one of my jokes? Humor me, people...it makes both our lives easier.

Where I teach now, it's all online, so that is nice...there is less pressure to be humorous, I don't have to worry that my pretty yet messy curls look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. And since we have starts almost every week,...
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Book Signing

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 01, 2016
I am having a book signing on 16 September from 7-9pm at Bead Boutique (508 NW Englewood Rd Kansas City, MO 64118).

I will be selling copies of these five beautiful books and will be more than happy to autograph them.

In 2011, someone I love said to me "you have wanted to be an author since I met you...so do it. BE an author." And that set this all in motion. He is gone now...but there is not a day I don't feel him with me as I write. I know he is celebrating with me and watching over me at all times.

It is so surreal to think that I published my first book in 2011. Looking at what I knew...
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Revisiting: Broken Trust

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 25, 2016
Continuing on my Throwback Thursday...my 4th fictional child. She came out last year and her sequel, Redeeming Trust is now out as well. This story started as a dream. It grew into two novels through a conversation over French fries. From the start, I pictured the talented and awkward Sam, and of course I pictured the colorful and full of life, Ali. I pictured Ben, though his picture became more clear later on...mostly...for me, this story was always about two best friends. After all, where would any of us be without our best friends.

Sam is an artist (her painting is depicted on the beautiful covers for both Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust, both designed by the Amazing Amanda Fugate). She uses her...
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Project Quilt

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 23, 2016
SO a few years ago, I had all my "current" projects up on my wall...and it reminded me that I needed to quit playing World of Warcraft and get to work on these projects. After a few moves and updates to the project list, it is finally back on my wall where it belongs. That's a lot of color in one picture...it is even more so in real life :D But I was careful to not have the pink paper visible on the pink paint or the green paper visible on the green paint. That and not having the same color side by side or directly on top or bottom...was all I allowed my OCD to have a say in...
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Revisiting: Arianna's Destiny

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 18, 2016
Continuing my Throwback Thursday bit...my third book (first sequel). Arianna was supposed to wait her turn in line. Arianna's Honor came out in 2012 and then there were other books that were 'next.' But then my girl, Ari, was rather insistent that her sequel be next. The characters in my other novels happily stepped aside to let her pass. I am pretty sure it was not her sword that motivated them to let her cut in line, though I am sure her sword and her skill with said sword did cross their fictional minds. But whatever the reason, Arianna's Destiny became my 3rd published book. Her birth date was 2014 (and yes that gap will bother me forever...I have a 2011, a 2012,...
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The Best of Me

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 16, 2016
The first time I heard "Best of You" by the Foo Fighters, I was enthralled by the lyrics...I immediately watched it on You Tube and couldn't stop watching Dave Grohl (who is amazing...just amazing). There is so much emotion on his face as he sings this song. I don't know who/what it was written for...and just like I don't care about the inspiration behind my favorite painting, Starry Night, I don't care why this song was written...but every time I hear it it makes me realize...no one has ever gotten the best of me.

No one has ever gotten all of me. Some have come close. Some think they have gotten the best of me...some think they have known all of me....
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Revisiting Arianna's Honor

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 11, 2016
So, doing a Throw Back Thursday again, with my second book, Arianna's Honor.



Arianna is my favorite. I know. I know...I am supposed to love them all the same. I have heard parents say the same thing. I have said the same thing as a teacher...but Ari is my favorite. With everything she has been through, everything she has become...she is my hero. When I am tired, she reminds me to keep fighting. Her fights were more of the physical, sword-wielding type where as mine tend to be more spiritual/emotional (though on a very small level, it pushes me harder to work out regardless of my knee pain.), and she reminds me to push harder, keep going.
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Revisiting Whatever you Make of It

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 04, 2016
So in honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought I would revisit my first "born," Whatever you make of It. (Published 2011 and available on amazon.com)

I was so clueless about so many things with this one. Fumbling and worrying at every stage...all part of the new parent package, or so I am told.

So Whatever you Make of It is the story of Jac and Jyn (or Johnathon and Rebecca, depending on your viewpoint). Jac and Jyn live in a book, but they don't know this until they hear Johnathon's voice.

Johnathon is obsessed with making partner at his law firm, no matter the cost. His relationship with his girlfriend is strained; his relationship with his parents, almost non-existent. He starts to read a book...
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Doing better as an author pt 2.

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 01, 2016
So in an effort to grow my author life...I have faced some fears and broken out of my comfort zone.

I have entered my novels and a short story into competitions. It's scary, to put your children out into the world...knowing all that can happen out there. But they can't live in my closet forever. The world deserves to meet Sam and Ali and Jac and Jyn. My fictional "kids" have been ready for years...and it's time for me to let them out to play with people outside my head and my amazing support system.It's time.

I have been to my first writer's conference and have been among my "people" breathing in the inspiration and energy. For 4 days I introduced myself...
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Ink Therapy

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 29, 2016
So normally I am talking about pen to paper time when I talk about ink therapy, but today, it is all about celebrating the fact that my 5th book is out.

Five years ago when I published Whatever You Make of It, I started this tattoo on my right shoulder blade to represent my first five books. I intentionally only had the bottom one filled in because I didn't want to A) jinx it that I would never publish another book or B) publish them in a different order than they were on my back (and my OCD could not have handled that permanent reminder). Arianna's Honor was next, as was always the game plan, but then Arianna's Destiny cut in line to be...
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600th Blog

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 28, 2016
I started my blog in July 2011...well, this blog. I did have another thing (that started with or had a 'z' in it, maybe?) "back in the day" (side note, I do giggle a bit when people who are two decades or more younger than me, use this expression).

July 2011. Two months after my world turned upside down...well for my 30's at least. It happened once in my 20's, once in my teens --though teen years tend to be rather topsy turvy, there is one event that changed everything, just as there was one event in my single digits that had lifelong effects. So far in my 40's my whole world did turn upside down last year, but as that...
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Doing better at this author thing

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 25, 2016
I have been doing a lot of thinking of where I was both physically and "authorily" a year ago compared to where I am now. (Without a doubt, I am in all ways measurable in a better place now).

The advancements I have made as an author are really the most tangible (and those steps I have taken are the direct result of all that has happened in the past year.)

I now have my 5th book out. Redeeming Trust  was originally promised out last September, but I had some people to meet and experiences to go through before she was truly ready for her close up to the world.

I have my three-book series, Lucky Charms, on deck (pun intended). The game plans is...
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And baby makes five

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 19, 2016
In 2011, I published my first book. Whatever you Make of It changed my life forever. When I held that paperback in my hand, I knew the ultimate answer to the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Then I published Arianna's Honor and though it wasn't her turn, Arianna's Destiny insisted on being published next. It's hard to argue with a girl who wields a sword that well.

Broken Trust  was next and Ali and Sam came into the world. Now that sequel, Redeeming Trust, is out and I couldn't be more excited. She's beautiful, and holding that paperback, the answer is still the same. What do I want to be when I grow up? An author. Full-time. Forever and ever.
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Pieces and Parts

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 13, 2016
So sometime in my younger time (younger time being any time before now) that was the joke about McDonald's chicken McNuggets...that they were "pieces and parts" of chicken (it may be true, I have no knowledge one way or the other)...that is just what I thought of with my blog title.

I mentioned on Monday that I put too much on my to-do list and that it is easy for me to get overwhelmed. This is absolute truth. I was thinking last week of the things I want to get done this year (2 more books out, NaNo, blogs, etc.etc.etc.) and I started to feel like a better idea was to rock myself quietly in a corner somewhere.

So over the weekend,...
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to-do lists

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 11, 2016
Sometimes I over plan my to-do lists...and by "sometimes" I mean daily. I always put more on the list than I could possibly accomplish in a 24-hour  period. I do this on days when I have to be at work and I do this on days where I work from home and it used to drive my OCD tendencies crazy to not finish every single thing on my list. I haven't gotten rid of all of my OCD tendencies (I will likely NEVER be okay with a messy white board and will likely always still grab 5 cookies instead of 2 cookies...the former because it's just messy and distracting and the latter because...cookies.) Now I am okay with unfinished tasks on...
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It's awfully Monday for a Tuesday

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 05, 2016
So I love holidays (though 4th of July is kind of a love/hate since the animals I live with are not happy at all with the 4 days of constant celebration). Love days where I don't have to log in and can just be free from the full-time teaching responsibilities for a bit. And then the day after the holiday happens and I don't know what day it is.

So this morning, I got to work...my new schedule that I blogged about where I come in later to be able to write in the morning...I forgot to pack my lunch last night...forgot to bring anything for lunch today...forgot my cup for my oatmeal...forgot my utensils (no, my OCD hasn't gotten worse,...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things - Finishing

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 30, 2016
So as we bring this month to a close...I have to say...I am okay with where things sit. I got 28 of the 30 blogs (and  27 of the 30 workout days, bringing me that much closer to my shoulder piece goal).

I used to never finish things. Well...except cake, pancakes, and ice cream...those I always finished...thus the need for workout goals.

The quote by Erica Jong "I went for years without finishing anything. Because of course, when you finish something you can be judged..." so perfectly described my philosophy of life and I didn't even consciously realize that was the reason I would start a new project (or seven) to never ever have to run the risk of accidentally finishing something....
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30 days of blogs: Author things --Smiling

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 29, 2016
I have been told I have a great smile. I think all genuine smiles are great smiles because they express joy and positive energy.

Things that make me smile...a real smile, not a "I have to smile so I don't punch you, smile" are... **this list is not all-inclusive...really just 30 things that came to mind first...if I really listed EVERYTHING that makes me smile, we would be here for a minute...I'm a pretty happy person>

**Being introduced as an author. "This is my friend, Michelle Sodaro. She's an author."

**Talking about writing.

**Thinking about writing.

**Writing about writing.

**Writing about anything at all or nothing at all.

**People excited about my books coming out. (CLICKING SEND ON REDEEMING TRUST ON 1 JULY!!!!)

**People talking to my characters...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- Outlines

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 28, 2016
I really meant to write about this right after I wrote about prompts, but I got distracted. I know...I was shocked too. Me distracted? That hardly ever happens...ooooh...shiny....

I used to scoff at people who used outlines. I didn't want to be confined to the constraints of an outline. I was a creative spirit. No outline was going to cage me. I would be free to write what I want and hear me roar. Oh sweetie, sit down.

So it turns out having a game plan (even one that is literally written in pencil) is pretty handy to keep the plot moving a long at a steady pace. Knowing where you want your characters to get and what (in general) is happening...
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30 days of blogs: Author things --Fresh air

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 27, 2016
So I am so very grateful for air conditioning. So very grateful. I really don't think my knee could handle it if there was no cooling down from this heat...I hurt almost every day...but I am still doing my workout more days than I am not doing it, so I'm trying.

One of my favorite things to do is drive my Jeep...those of you know me should know this...it's my dream vehicle and I love her. She's beautiful and perfect.

If I get out early enough, I can drive to work with the windows down and not look like (or smell like) I just stepped out of a sauna. And I love the fresh air. It is such a contrast to the...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- Inspiration

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 24, 2016
So, if you have read my blogs for any time now, you know that I find inspiration just about anywhere and by talking to anyone. I found a single rose in a parking lot and had about 50 potential ideas on how it got there (including it walking there and falling down in exhaustion).

There are people I have met that are a one-hit wonder...they inspire one idea...one scene...one bit of conversation...one secondary character.

There are some people who inspire many ideas and many stories. Who become a primary character... a recurring theme...a constant source of inspiration.

I am always amazed when I meet new people and they instantly become old friends...as if we have known each other in previous lifetimes...as if our...
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30 days of blogs: Author things --Early mornings

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 23, 2016
Recently a writer friend asked me when my best writing time. I immediately said "early mornings" and then looked at my (self-chosen, I might add) schedule and asked...why do I get to my teaching job during my prime writing time? To be honest, I am not the most productive at work things first thing in the morning, and that is probably because my heart longs to be writing and editing and making progress on my lovelies.

So in July I am going to change my schedule to be more conducive for my productive times for both my author life and my teaching life...and yes, I realize I should have done this ages ago...but I will do it starting July 5th and...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- Smiles

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 22, 2016
It is a fascination of mine to smile at people and watch their reaction...which of course then gets put in my notes for a future book.

Tiny humans are usually the best at smiling back...and they smile unabashedly and clap their hands (often with food in the tiny hands which makes a mess they also don't care about). Research notes that mashed potatoes are especially effective in this.

With teens, I usually have to put more work into getting a smile back...it's evidently universally and historically impossible for a teenager to express enjoyment of anything, so my smiles to teens are usually more dramatic...it's really difficult to be growly around someone acting like a fool...and usually the smile is a "wow, what...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- Helpers

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 21, 2016
I have some idea-bouncer-offers that are absolutely fabulous for the help they give me in my times of need.

If I am in a good writing zone and don't want to get distracted by the Bermuda Triangle that is Google, I will ask one of my idea-bouncer-offers and if none are available, I will mark it with a big circle on the draft to come back and fill in later. I have 4 that I ask random things of fairly regularly. They are fantastic and help me out when I don't know the names for things (one day, "foyer" was nowhere in my mind for "what do they call that place right inside the front door of a place?")

I also have...
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30 Days of blogs: Author Things -- Prompts

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 20, 2016
I don't know how many times I have promoted or recommended Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse vol 1 and vol 2...but I know how many times I have used them. Okay, so not like an actual number of times I have used them...that would be impossible to speculate and as I don't keep a tally on my calendar about how many days I have used a prompt or two from her book...I can just officially go on record and say I have used them A LOT...

Each edition of The Pocket Muse has a prompt for every day of the year...let that sink in, and while it sinking in, remind yourself that there are 2 volumes...that's right ladies and gentlemen, elves and trolls...that...
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30 days of blogs: Author things -- alternate realities

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 19, 2016
I felt this was a fitting one for today. Some of you will understand why...but as I am not an air-er of dirty laundry, we will just leave it at that...

One of the things I look at when I am writing, is to not make my novels too autobiographical. Of course there is going to be parts of me and my life in there just as there are going to be parts of other people I know in there. It's a fact of a writer's life that anything is fair game (which people should really keep in mind when dealing with me and my friends...).

I often look at my relationships and friendships and family-ships and make sure that my books...
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30 Days of Blog: Author Things --Sleep

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 18, 2016
I get some of my best ideas from my dreams...from those times when sleep is my friend, when my knee is not aching and the bone spurs are not aggravated which make the sheet hurt me...when my kittens realize there is an entire bed and they don't need to sleep on top of me...when my mind has quieted enough to get to stage 4 REM...

It's rare when all of those things happen at the same time, and usually as soon as they do, I have to get up to use the restroom...and then I have to start the process over again...

But when the dreams come, some of my best story ideas come with it. I met Arianna in a dream...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things --ColorNotes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 17, 2016
I have blogged about this app before. I have praised its name and sang songs about its glory...it's true, I mean I was in the car and the song was really horrid, but it's true. I mean who wouldn't love color-coordinated post-its for project ideas? I do my grocery lists here. I keep poetry snippits here. I keep ideas about any number of my random projects here. And it's all color-coordinated and at my fingertips. It's also synced to some account so I never lose my goodies...I think Facebook...because what isn't synced to Facebook (I'm distracting my "big brother paranoia" with shiny things right now). It's free for Android but costs like $2.00 for iThings (yet another argument for why...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things --Freedom

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 16, 2016
There is no freedom for me quite like the blank page. It's the one place where I don't feel like I have to pretend or hide. It is the one place I feel completely free to be me. I can be as inappropriate as I want. I can be as happy as I want. I can be as sad as I want. I can be as confused as I want...I can just be.

I have never been a fan of censorship. As an author it makes me cringe...as a teacher, it also makes me uncomfortable. (I am not talking about parents being parents...they need to shelter kids a bit and have a say in what is in their kids lives. I'm...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- pancakes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 15, 2016
I had something else planned to write about today, but decided instead to pay homage to my favorite author food. (And it is one that I can ALMOST eat with my left hand.)

I was stuck on how to finish a chapter. I'd write a few words. Stare at the page...my pen...my kittens...the wall...write a few more words...stare at the page...my pen...the kittens...the wall...you get the picture. In an hour and a half, I only wrote 150 words. This is a deplorable wph (words per hour). I knew how I wanted the next chapter to start...and so much of me wanted to just skip to the next chapter to get the pen moving again. Just leave half of Chapter 22 unwritten...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- Space

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 14, 2016
No, not the final frontier...though I do enjoy Star Trek (not enough to be an official Trekkie...)

There's something amazing about having my own writing space...my own desk...a place where my projects are not disturbed or moved or organized (there is a method to the madness, but of course there is madness in the method as well.).

I try not to grade in my office space, but sometimes it is unavoidable...as much as I try to keep my teacher life separate from my author life, sometimes there is inevitable crossover, but it is minimal.

I can leave my current project open on my desk, ready for me to pick up my pen the next time I sit down and I know, without question,...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author Things -Blank stare

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 13, 2016
Sometimes when people are talking to me about things I don't understand (math, computers, how fax machines are not, in fact, magic...) I get this blank stare on my face. I have tuned them out and am mentally playing with an existing story or going to a world where fax machines are actually seen for the bits of wizardry that they are.

And then sometimes when people are actually conversing with me about topics I do understand, I still have the blank stare on my face (this also happens when people are talking near me or even about me...I am an equal opportunity blank stare-er.

If it happens during a good conversation, chances are I am trying to figure out where the...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things -- My muse

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 12, 2016
Cue the cheesy 80's music video...Rod Stewart singing "Forever Young"

Stella is my muse. She is the perpetual 12-yr old fairy that has no concept of sleeping in, the appeal of boys, or "days off"

I have always felt her presence, have always known she was there, but it wasn't until 6 years ago that I knew her name. Before that she would come visit when she saw I was writing, but then she would leave in a huff whenever a job or a family member or (worst of all) a guy got between me and my writing.

6  years ago, I didn't know what I was going to do...all the plans he and I had made seemed impossible with him...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author Things --Workouts

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 11, 2016
I know, I know...I was kind of surprised too...but as I was thinking about what author things I would consider to be my favorites, this came to mind. And I couldn't dismiss it...because the truth of it is, doing a daily workout helps me to be healthy in general...it also helps me with my writing.

People told me that once I got into workouts I would fall in love with them and would miss them if I missed a day...I laughed because that is the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. People told me that I would WANT to do them and I just stared at them and said, "no, I would rather just write. Thanks."

The nice thing about writing...
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30 Days of blogs: Author things --Solitude

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 10, 2016
I enjoy time to myself more than most people I know. There are some people who cannot be alone...cannot have time where it is just them by themselves without other people around. These people fascinate me (as all people do)

An author life demands solitude. You can (and need to) talk to and interact with other people about writing, about life, about adorable kittens and pups, about the price of tea in China (if such things are in your wheelhouse of conversation). You can discuss plans and give plot teasers and talk about your characters as if they are really sitting next to you (this gets varied responses, by the way...) But at the end of the day, (or beginning of...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things --Pens

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 09, 2016
I love pens. I mean I LOVE pens. I love how they look in their packages at the store, love how they look in the tubs with the other pens, love how they feel in my hand as I write. Sometimes the hardest decision of the day is not which project do I work on, but which pen should I use today :D

I have hundreds of pens. HUNDREDS...I added them up last year with the idea that I would use up what I have before I buy more, but then stores put the word NEW on a package and my eyes light up like a Christmas tree. NEW PENS!!!! I don't have those!!!!

I will never run out of pens...and perish...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things - my brain

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 08, 2016
I love the way my brain works. Take for example, the ride into work today...

I saw a family of geese. There were grown up geese and baby geese and what I can only assume by their scruffy appearance, teenage geese. I immediately imagined the baby geese telling everyone to slow down and wait for them. "I have tiny legs." The teenage geese wondering why they couldn't go to the park when all their geese friends were going to the park. And the adult geese looking for some magical puddle of alcohol. This all happily played out in my head while I stopped at a stop sign.

People who say "I want to be a writer, but I don't know what to...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things --People

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 07, 2016
People fascinate me. They really are fun to watch. Their interactions and their facial expressions. What they say and how they say it. Their body language. What they reveal without even knowing they have revealed anything at all.

When I was working on my Bachelors degree I got a psychology minor to go along with my English and Education classes, in the hopes that I could teach psychology...that didn't pan out because of ridiculousness in the education system (my first taste of such ridiculousness) but as it turns out, I use my psychology classes more than my education classes when it comes to learning how to talk to students. It's all about analyzing them and studying them...which helps me immensely as...
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30 Days of Blogs: Author things --Music

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 06, 2016
It's very very rare that I can write without some sort of background noise. Music works best...though Law and Order reruns come a close second, but since they have a visual aspect as well as an auditory one, it is sometimes a distraction rather than a help.

Pandora is wonderful 95% of the time and usually I just write and enjoy the beat of the music. Sometimes it will play something so awful that I want to put it in time out. Really Pandora? What could I have possibly liked that would lead you to think I like this song that has me wanting to stab my left ear drum? Go in the corner and think about what you have done....
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30 days of blog: Author things -- Morning Inspiration

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 05, 2016
"I don't need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me" Ray Bradbury

*If memory serves, there is another type of morning inspiration that also works wonders, but we'll stick to ideas for this bloggy-blog.*

So one of the best feelings in the world is when a new idea for a novel or project wakes me up with a gentle whisper..."hey, wouldn't it be awesome if we wrote about this?"

And sleepy me replies, "Mmmmm...yes that would be a great story. We should write about that."

And then my muse waits a minute for me to either get up or put it in ColorNotes on my phone. "Ahem...."

"No, I got it. It's a great idea." Pat pat to the little fairy that lives in my...
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30 Days of Blogging: Author things -- Food

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 04, 2016
More specifically, food I can eat with my left hand...but that would have made the title for the blog even longer...

There are a few times that I wish I as ambidextrous...and for the purposes of my pretty blog-y blog I will talk about the times it would come in handy as an author. When I am in a good writing zone...when I am not aware of time or the pain in my knee or that I have needed to use the restroom for an hour now. Eating is inconvenient at these times because there is the fear that if I put down the pen, the bubble will be burst and the zone will be finished. I am not saying I...
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30 Days of Blogging: Author things -- purple flannel

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 03, 2016
When I worked at K-Mart (a thousand years ago), I bought an extra large purple flannel plaid button-up shirt.

At first, it was just a shirt...nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly nothing magical.

I was struggling with my writing one day: Seasonal Affective was winning on one cold and dreary winter day. I felt a chill and grabbed that purple flannel and sat down to write. The words flowed from the pen to the paper and I felt complete once again.

It's not magical. Good God, if it was, I would never take it off...are you kidding me? It could be 90 degrees in the shade and I would be wearing that flannel if it meant I was always writing....
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30 Days of Blogging: Author things -- Pets

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 02, 2016
There are so many differences between a teacher's pet and an author's pet (or pets). A teacher's pet does anything to make the teacher happy and an author's pets (or at least mine) are more about what makes them happy, and while they really do take good care of their human, almost everything they do is self-serving (and even though all of their actions are rather selfish, they are still better universal creatures than most people I know).

There is a scene in Practical Magic where Sandra Bullock reveals she wished for a love so specific (even down to two different colored eyes) that she knew he couldn't exist.

After I had to put Chase down, I swore I didn't want another cat....
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30 Days of Blogs: Author Things

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 01, 2016
So every time I do the 30 days of blogs in June, which if memory serves, this is year 3 or 4 of me doing this challenge, I like to have a theme of sorts...to keep things organized...this year, I am all about my author life, so I am going to blog about some of my favorite author things.

This year, I have made it a point to make more connections and friendships with authors. At current, I have about 7 people that I talk to on a regular basis about writing. I need to do more to meet more authors.

I went to my first writer's conference this year and as a whole, we are an odd group of people...given the...
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Saying bye to May 2016

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 31, 2016
Well this was a rainy rainy month...I could definitely use some sunshine...please, and thank you.

I worked out 23 of the 31 days, which considering I had a weekend in Chicago and then a weekend of the sick, is a pretty damn good ratio...especially given how my knee feels about rain. I used  to laugh a bit when people would say their knees knew when it was going to rain. Not laughing anymore...because wow...that is a unique kind of pain.

I started the edit of First Down and have the entire Lucky Charms series printed out and ready to edit and make even stronger (though I have to say...it's pretty strong right out of the gate.

I ended my part-time job this month...am looking for...
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Happy Birthday, Author

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 30, 2016
41 years ago I was born. In my time on this planet, I have had more blessings than scars, more smiles than tears, and more friends than enemies. Seems like I am doing something right after all.

I have taught for 19 years. The class that just ended for the part-time gig, reminded me that I still have a passion for the career, which has helped the full-time gig. It's easy to get lost in the bureaucracy of the education world, especially when, like me, you are a purist when it comes to education and learning. I think school should be all about learning, the student, and getting an education that is worth a damn. We will see what the future...
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Looking back on year 40

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 29, 2016
Last year I was reflecting on my third decade on this planet, and I commented on the fact that my 30's had bouts of anger and passion, moments of absolute joy and soul-crushing sorrow. Two of the greatest extremes of human emotion with the loss of Trav and the publishing of my first novel...talk about hitting a bottom (not rock bottom...that was still waiting for me) and having the most natural high imaginable (which is the only kind I know :D).

It was the decade that showed me about love and truly started my author career.

So far my 40's have been really odd and extreme. I have been growing as an author and letting go as a teacher. A transition is...
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Progress

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 23, 2016
So today I paid off one bill. One tiny step closer to financial freedom.

Today I also did workout 23. I was even able to breathe through my nose for part of it (over the weekend I had some sort of sick going on...I took naps...NAPS...as in plural...)

This weekend (in between naps and Dayquil) I wrote a chapter, got the next agents information to send my novels to (I am going to send them out as soon as I hear back from the current agents I have queried or June 6th, whichever comes first).

This weekend I also wore a skirt...in public...by choice. And it was not as uncomfortable as it has been in the past...yeah workouts...this is motivating as the number...
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Getting Closer

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 18, 2016
So I used to do things for all the wrong reasons, and it wasn't until I lost everything that I even realized why I did the things I did.

SO much of my life has been me making decisions based on what other people would think or approve of (acknowledging how much I needed others approval, often at the cost of my own was a hard truth to face). I became the teacher my students needed me to be, the family member others needed me to be, the friend people needed me to be, the lover men needed me to be, even (and this is perhaps hardest to say) the writer others needed me to be....and it's my doing. I trained...
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Too Comfortable...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 17, 2016
So, it happens every time...I get too comfortable with things, am not proactively working on things I should, and putting off other things I should not put off. All the while being impatient with my lack of progress.

Life likes to wait for moments like this to throw curve balls in to middle of plans. Every. Single. Time.

Most recently has been about my working out...that's going too easy, so let's make it cold and rainy in May...um, thanks. Now the arthritis is acting up and it is harder for me to push past the pain.

My schedule has often been cramped from full-time teaching, part-time teaching, and trying to get as much writing and editing done as possible. I kept lamenting about...
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Nauseated...or is it Nauseous

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 11, 2016
In Never Been Kissed Drew Barrymore does an excellent job of discerning the difference between the two and while I loved that movie (me relating to someone that awkward when it comes to social things and dating, who knew?) I can't for the life of me remember if I am currently nauseated or nauseous.

Yesterday, a simple question from a very good friend hit the very core of me and when I realized the truth of the answer, I immediately took action to fix it.

Her question: Are you afraid to send out query letters?

Um...No.

NO....

No?

Um, yes.

Yes...so very afraid.

But then to prove to myself I wanted my author life more than I was afraid of it...I sent off a query letter for each of...
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Push-Me Pull-You

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 09, 2016
So...the original Dr. Doolittle had a 2-headed llama-type creature called a push-me pull-you and I am feeling a bit like one today...I got caught up on some reflections, have started the editing of First Down and have written more on Don't Let Go, but then fell "behind" on my blog and other projects I have been working on as well...but I think I am okay with this...in fact, given how many things I am trying to juggle along with a full-time and part-time teaching gig, I think it is the only way for me to even be able to stay quasi-sane.

I like making progress. I like to mark things off my to-do lists, of course...my teeny tiny bit of OCD...but I also...
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Making Plans

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 02, 2016
So as this fifth month of 2016 gets kicked off, I first have to say that it's a bit chilly, but so far this year, the seasons have been pretty random. Since I am pretty random myself, and I try really hard to not complain about things I have no control over, I am okay with Mother Nature being indecisive.

So my reader is done with Redeeming Trust and my list from her on what to fix is significantly shorter than previous novels. Maybe I am getting better at this author gig after all. So a goal for May is final out loud read-through. I know it has seemed to take forever, and I do apologize for that...my life turned upside down...
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Whitman

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 01, 2016
"These are the days that must happen to you." Walt Whitman So, looking back over my A-Z blog challenge, I realized I skipped W...and maybe subconsciously I wanted to write about Whitman today...after all, Whitman was his favorite poet...and today being what it is...6 years ago today was the last time I heard his voice out loud. It was hard to choose a Whitman quote. Of the transcendentalists, he was my least favorite...but since he was the favorite of one of my all-time favorite people, I will honor the poet today. Everything happens for a reason. Every person we meet, leaves a mark on our lives. And there are days that we must experience, must endure. Must have as part of...
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A-Z Blog: Zafon

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 30, 2016
"I always felt that I was a writer, that was what I had to do." Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I have written since I knew how to hold a writing utensil, certainly before I knew the power of words. Reading was always a magical escape for me and when I learned that I could tell a story that would also help me escape, I couldn't write enough. That feeling that I always had more to write, more stories to tell, more characters to meet and introduce to the world.

It's an amazing feeling to know what you are meant to do. I have always known I was meant to be a teacher and a writer and I have loved teaching just as I...
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A-Z Blog: Yolen

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 29, 2016
"Write every day. You don't have to write about anything specific, but you should exercise your writing muscle constantly." Jane Yolen

How do people train to run a marathon? Okay, obviously, I have no practical knowledge of this as I don't run (which was funny...when the doc told me I have osteo-arthritis in my right knee, he said, totally straight-faced "you should not run as exercise" and I said, "well, I haven't done so for 40 years now, so...") but I imagine that people train for a marathon by running...a lot...like daily...and build up their endurance. Right?

It's amazing how many times I read, hear, get the same advice when it comes to writing. Write every day. Not when you feel like...
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A-Z blog: Xinran

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 28, 2016
"Writing can be a source of strength." Xinran (And a thank you to Goodreads for having author quotes by letter of the alphabet...)

Writing is my ultimate source of strength. It is how I recharge and how I deal with disappointment, joy, confusion, excitement...it is my go-to for everything and I need to remember that.

I need to recharge every day, because being an adult is exhausting. Did you know you have to pay bills Every month? I mean, seriously...EVERY month??? Exhausting. And evidently it takes more than one day of exercising and eating right to lose weight? Exhausting.

Writing is a source of strength for me. It keeps me focused and balanced and more than anything, it renews my faith that I...
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A-Z blog: Vonnegut

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 27, 2016
"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down." Kurt Vonnegut

I love this quote. I love this author. (I am also glad his last name starts with a V -- for this challenge)

I have to remind myself to be brave. To put myself out there. To put my writing out there. To get rejected (personally and professionally) because if I don't try, I will never get where I want to go. I can complain about being single...I can worry about it...I can have fits of rage about it...but unless I put myself out there...it won't change.

I have to put my writing out in the world. I have to quit being afraid of rejection...of...
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A-Z Blog: Ueland

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 26, 2016
"No writing is a waste of time -- no creative work where the feelings, the imagination, the intelligence must work. With every sentence you write, you have learned something. It has done you good." Barbara Ueland

I do a lot of brainstorming and freewriting...journalling and reflecting. And some people ask me why I don't just write on my current project because isn't all that other "stuff" just a waste of time.

No. No, it's not. Thanks for asking.

The more I play with words, the more I use them and shape them and manipulate them (I wish that word didn't have such a negative connotation, but there it is), the more I work with them, the more they work FOR me. Maybe in...
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A-Z blog: Thoreau

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 25, 2016
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." Henry David Thoreau

So it is interesting that I picked this one (a favorite of mine) and that it landed on this day...after the conference and at the beginning of a difficult week for me. 6 years is a long time and simultaneously an instant in the grand scheme of the universe. It is also, as luck would have it, on a Monday...and who wouldn't want to wake up to the life they have imagined on a Monday.

I am working on it, Mr. Thoreau...I am working very hard to go confidently in the direction of my dreams. Working very hard to live the life I have imagined....
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A-Z Blog: Salvatore

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 24, 2016
"If you can quit, then quit. If you can't quit, you're a writer." RA Salvatore

Recently, a writer friend of mine stated he had written his last book. Part of my soul cried, but the rest of me just nodded. "He'll be back..." and I was right.

I talked about this on the P day of the challenge. I used to think about quitting writing a lot more than I do now. 6 years ago things changed and I still hear his voice in my head "You've said you wanted to be an author for as long as I've known you, so do it. Be an author." And then the next year I published my first novel, Whatever you Make of It. When...
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A-Z blog: Rosten

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 23, 2016
"Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean he is vain; it only means he is hopelessly self-absorbed." Leo Rosten

Last weekend I got to hang around with so many writers. All writers. All the time. And while I certainly agreed with this quote before I met everyone I met in Colorado, I certainly can attest to this quote's truth. We all wanted it to be our turn to talk about our projects, our stories...us.

If you have ever had lunch with me...you know that I will get my phone out to put something in to Color Notes, some little snippet for a story that if I don't capture, it will disappear.

I love talking about my stories and my characters and...
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A-Z blog: Quindlen

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 22, 2016
"Give up on being perfect and begin the work on becoming yourself." Anna Quindlen

I love the person I have become through the experiences that have shaped me. I love this strong, independent woman I am now, who hasn't let the crap in this world make her too hard to love, too jaded to believe, too frustrated to keep trying. I love how every class I teach shapes me, how every story I write shapes me, how every person I interact with shapes me as well.

I am no where near perfect...but I am perfectly happy with the person I have become. The lessons I have learned were painful, the loss I have experienced is absolute, but they too, have made me...
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A-Z blog: Peale

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 21, 2016
"It's always too early to quit." Norman Vincent Peale

So I have a confession to make. Sometimes...I contemplate quitting writing. I think about people who are not authors, who work their M-F jobs and have weekends off and I think about all the things they can do that I don't have time to do because I am writing this chapter or editing and revising this chunk...But then when I think about their activities and free time, it doesn't seem anywhere near as interesting to me as what is going on in this or that story. SO I pick up my pen, laugh at my silly idea of quitting, and get back to "work"

How could I possibly quit? I didn't quit when...
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A-Z Blog: Oates

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 20, 2016
"I have forced myself to begin writing when I've been utterly exhausted, when I've felt my soul as thin as a playing card...and somehow the activity of writing changes everything." Joyce Carol Oates

There is nothing in my life that writing can't fix.

Upset about how people treat me in specific or just how people treat others in general? I write about it or I write about one of my fictional worlds where people are more decent to one another (or can be killed off without legal repercussions).

Sad about missing a lost love? He stays alive in my pages.

Exhausted from lack of balance between teacher life and author life...write until I feel balanced again.

Too tired to function? Pen to paper and get...
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A-Z Blog: Nietzsche

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 19, 2016
"All I need is a sheet of paper and something write with, and then I can turn the world upside down." Freidrich Nietzsche

Ah the power of blank paper and a writing utensil...it is truly amazing what the latter can do to transform the former into anything that is needed for the creation of a story. There is an excitement with that first blank page of a new notebook...a new story that starts the moment the pen touches the page.

Where are you going to lead me?

What truths are you going to reveal?

What new and exciting characters are you going to introduce me to?

What journey are we going on that start the moment the pen  first touches the paper?

Wherever we are going,...
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A-Z Blog: Morrison

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 18, 2016
*So,  I was at a writer's conference Friday, Saturday, and yesterday...and I promise to blog about it, after the A-Z challenge is complete and I have had time to process everything*

"Wanna fly? You got to give up the shit that weighs you down." Toni Morrison

Writing makes me fly. It makes me free and it helps me to be more ME than anything else I have ever experienced. Don't get me wrong. I love teaching...but with teaching, I am Ms. Sodaro. I play a role. I play it well, because it is important to me and I love to see my "kids" succeed. Graduation is always an emotional experience for me because as my students walk across that stage, I get...
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A-Z blog: Lamott

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 14, 2016
"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor; the enemy of the people. It keeps you insane your whole life." Anne Lamott

I spent almost all of my childhood, my 20's and my 30's trying to be perfect. I was not only sure it existed, but that it was attainable. I was sure if I could just study hard enough...and work hard enough...be the perfect daughter, the perfect teacher, the perfect student, the perfect girlfriend that I would be happy. No one would ever be disappointed in me and life would be...well, perfect.

All it really did was make me stressed out and constantly disappointed in myself.

I wanted to be the perfect teacher. I wanted to never let my students down. (I still...
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A-Z blog: Kafka

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 13, 2016
"A non-writing writer is a monster courting madness." Franz Kafka

I know I have responded to this quote before in my blog, but it doesn't become less true...and actually with every book I finish it becomes more true...the madness becomes more real...almost tangible...certainly something electric around me and I get twitchy. I get short with people (well shorter than my normal 5"5' anyway). I get moody. I lose my normal peaceful zen.

I try really hard to put pen to paper every day...for whatever amount of time I get. Sometimes it is a half an hour before bed...sometimes it is stolen moments at lunch time...and there is an annoying awareness of the clock, so I can't lose myself completely in my writing,...
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A-Z Blog: James

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 12, 2016
"It's time to start living the life you've imagined." Henry James

Yes, yes it is. For years now I have imagined my author life. I have dreamed about it and made plans for it (just on paper...not anything I really followed through with). I have talked about it and talked about it and talked about it.

The past 6 months have been some of the best in my life (strangely enough they came after 6 of the harder months in my life). In that time, I have entered two of my books into a competition, gotten a PO Box like a grown-up author, am attending a writer's conference, will be meeting with an agent, have typed up query letters, and have my...
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A-Z Blog: Ionesco

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 11, 2016
"A writer never has a vacation. for a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing." Eugene Ionesco

I missed a day yesterday, which is okay because thankfully April has more than 26 days.

It is very appropriate to write about this quote this week as I am heading to Colorado for a writer's conference on Thursday. This will technically be a vacation as I am teacher-hat free for 4 days...but will not be a vacation by most people's definition of the word. It will be exhausting and rewarding and I am going to just experience as much as I possibly can. I have the workshops and events I want to attend, highlighted on the schedule. I have an appointment...
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A-Z Blog: Hale

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 09, 2016
"Writers write while dreamers procrastinate." Shannon Hale

One of the days I'm going to write a book. I just need the perfect time. The perfect financial situation. The perfect room. The perfect life...

I have heard words like these ever since I finished the first draft of Whatever you Make of It. I have heard it even more frequently when I held the books in my hands, marveling at something I made. Holding something that used to only exist in my mind, and now exists for the whole world to see and hold and read.

I have also heard "it must be nice to have time to write; I am far too busy for that."

Actually, yes, yes it is nice to have time to...
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A-Z Blog: Gaiman

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 08, 2016
"Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day and on the good writing days, nothing else matters." Neil Gaiman

So I ate Chinese tonight with chop sticks and any time I can use chop sticks effectively, I am  happy because of the tasty tasty food, of course, but also a little sad...because when I have had good writing days, my hand is far too cramped to effectively hold chop sticks.

The days where I lose contact with all the troubles and stress of the day-to-day world. When I forget to eat anything that can't be fed to me by my left hand. When my right knee is numb from not moving and my ass is numb from sitting...those are...
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A-Z blog: Faulkner

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 07, 2016
"I never know what I think about something until I read what I have written about it." William Faulkner

There are times...when the writing zone is so good...when I forget there is a world around me, a seat under me...I forget about my almost constant knee pain...I forget about my bills and my stress and my questions...I forget about everything...I just write...the pen fills the page and I feel as connected to my inner spirit as I can possibly achieve.

My freewrites...when there is no planned topic and it is just whatever comes to mind.

My reflections...when I start with a topic, but end up writing about what I really needed to write about all along.

My chapters...when the characters are all on point...
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A-Z blog: Emerson

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 06, 2016
"Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wrote my Master's Thesis on the healing powers of writing...I cannot even compute the amount of therapy money that writing has saved me...and a notebook is always cheaper than a therapist and there are no judgments or labels...just freedom to explore something and find out how you really feel about it.

If I don't know how to deal with something  or don't know how I feel about something...I write about it. If I don't know how something could work out, I write about it.

If I am angry, hurt, confused, sad, happy, stimulated, frustrated, pissed off, irritated, enamored, whatever...I put it in a story...I don't have to play nicely...I don't have to bite...
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A-Z Challenge: Dahl

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 05, 2016
"I don't care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book." Roald Dahl

First of all, I can't imagine someone not loving Roald Dahl's stories...he was all over my bookshelves as a child.

But more than that, I am conflicted about this. On one hand, I would love for everyone to finish every story of mine they start. I would love that. I think that would give me a fair shake to win them over...

On the other hand, Stephen King, (unbeknownst to him, of course) gave me permission a few years back to not finish every book I start. I give a book 3 chapters usually, and if it hasn't caught me by then,...
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A-Z blog: Cather

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 04, 2016
"There are only two or three human stories and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before." Willa Cather

There aren't really any original stories. They have all been told over and over again. The love story. The war story. The story or betrayal. Of revenge. Of victory. Of Loss. Good vs. Evil. The journey...all our favorite plot lines.

It's not our job as authors to try and find an original, never been told story. It is our job as authors, to take a story that has been told thousands of times, and tell it in such a way that our readers feel as if they've never heard it before...that even though they know how it...
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A-Z Blog: Bach

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 03, 2016
"The more I want to get something done -- the less I call it work." Richard Bach

All I REALLY want to do is write, edit, revise, and finish my projects. I mean, I enjoy teaching, of course...I mean I have done it for 19 years now, so there must be something keeping me going back every day. Even as much as I love my teaching gigs, what I REALLY yearn for is time to play with my novels and other projects. I want to bring more of my characters to life and let other people get to know them. And, as Mr. Bach said, there is no part of author life I consider to be work.

Someone asked me once, "Don't...
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A-Z Challenge: Atwood

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 02, 2016
"Unless something has gone disastrously wrong, other people aren't that interesting to write about." Margaret Atwood

One of the things people say to me when I tell them I'm an author, is that their life would make an AMAZING book. "We're talking INSTANT best seller, here. You should write my book."

To be honest, there are a couple of people who, upon hearing parts of their story, I agree with them...that there would be a benefit for people to read this story. My tattoo artist being among these people.

In general, though, the problems I see with this request are as follows: I have started over 40 projects, between my fiction and nonfiction...though not a single biography in the mix...so, if you are wanting...
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A-Z Blog Challenge...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 01, 2016
Yes, I will be doing the A-Z Blog Challenge again this year and I have my topics picked for 26 days (I will be taking a break from 14-17 April and will be blogging briefly about the writer's conference I will be attending).

My topic this year is Inspirational Quotes by Authors, featuring such amazing people as Margaret Atwood, Willa Cather, Neil Gaiman, Anne Lamott, Toni Morrison, RA Salvatore, Kurt Vonnegut and 19 others :D

Please enjoy my Inspirational Quotes by authors blogs for the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge.
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Progress, pt. 2

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 29, 2016
So last week was a busy week with getting PO Box keys and typing the two shiniest words on to Redeeming Trust's  final page...

I also ordered business cards. They should be here on Thursday!!

(Consequently, these would have come in handy last week when a friend treated me to Starbucks and introduced me as her author friend...an introduction which thrills me from my curly blonde hair to my colorful socks...and if you question that, just call me an author sometime and watch my face light up.)

There is a list on the fridge at home of things I need to get done or pay for or get going on in some fashion. (Those of  you who know me, know how much I love...
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Progress, pt. 1

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 28, 2016
So last week, I got to type the two most beautiful words on to the screen for Redeeming Trust..

This morning, I handed a copy to the friend who has graciously offered to edit and I emailed a copy to my reader...who has been more patient with me than I probably deserve.

Now that novel #5 is safely in their hands, I can start to work on the Lucky Charms series...pausing after I get their respective feedback to make any changes necessary and then getting Redeeming Trust formatted and paid for and badda-bing...here's my book.

I'm making progress...one step at a time.
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Keys...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 22, 2016
Yesterday I added a key to my key ring and it started me thinking about how symbolic keys are.

They could be the start of a new life...that new key to a new place to live. A house key. A home. A feeling of belonging and knowing you are in a safe and supportive place where you can just be you...and that's enough.

They could be the realization of a dream...the key to the vehicle you have always wanted. I know when the nice man at Car Smart handed me my Jeep keys for the first time, I held on to them tightly and contemplated the damage I'd do to anyone who tried to take them from me. Nope. She's mine. Back...
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Off balance

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 21, 2016
Well, last week, I think I maybe clocked in 6 hours for my author time...which if it was an actual job-job, I would likely be in more trouble than I have put myself in. I know not to harp on "I could haves" or "I should haves" because like Chad and Jeremy sang, "that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone"

So I am not going to beat myself up about it. It was a busy work week for my teacher life and because I do need sleep on a fairly regular basis, I didn't get to be an author enough of the time. And exhaustion was not at all helped by the drastic temperature changes, so I slept...because rest is important, and...
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Tired...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 16, 2016
This morning I tried to put my phone in the work fridge and text someone with my lunch bag. I don't think the text went through.

As today is Wednesday and assignments are due Tuesday night, it should be a pretty busy day for me, which could make for some interesting grading. Maybe I will try to grade with my lunch bag (and yes, I did take my phone out of the fridge...and then giggled for far too long because now I could make cold calls).

Caffeine will be my constant companion today as will Pandora...and Pandora, if you are listening...I need up-beat music I can dance in my cubicle to, if you don't mind.

Last night when sleep was supposed to be...
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Holding myself accountable...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 14, 2016
So, I have found a workout that I can do even with the arthritis in my knee. It is the first workout (in my entire life) that I am actually a bit sad if I miss a day, so that is kind of amazing. My favorite part is I can do the workout with music only and don't have to hear the incredibly cheerful (if her nonverbals are any indication) person on the DVD.

So far...for Lent, I have not had a single pop. I have had a couple of Hershey Kisses...because they claimed to be carrot cake flavor, and I was doing an experiment as to how that could be possible. Turns out, it's possible.

I clocked in 17 hours of...
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Part-time job

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 09, 2016
No...I didn't get another job-job. My full-time teaching job and part-time teaching job keep me satiated, thank you...but I did decide that I am going to treat my author life as a part-time job.

I am going to start "clocking in" and keeping track of my hours at the library in town. I am going to go there every day that I can and put in my time...without the distractions at home...the laundry that never seems to be completely done, the books I need to read (yes, of course there are books in the library, but there is a nice little table in a corner that limits my distractions), the cleaning I need to do, the shows I need to watch...
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Lucky Charms

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 07, 2016
Yesterday morning, as I ate my Lucky Charms cereal, I allowed myself to think about my Lucky Charms series...just briefly...I still have to finish typing Redeeming Trust before I can play with Lucky Charms (and last week I was home only to sleep between work and subbing for finals and such so I didn't get as much...okay any typing done, if I am being honest).

So I can't work on Lucky Charms just yet...but I can think about it and come up with a game plan for the series...while I eat my cereal. I mean, they have the same name, so it's practically impossible to not think of one while I think of the other (I have no statistics to back this up as I...
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Put it out there, part two

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 04, 2016
So next month I am sending Whatever you Make of It and Broken Trust out into the world, as I mentioned in my previous blog.

Next month I am also putting myself out there as well as my fictional children. I am attending a writer's conference...with other writers...where we will talk about writing...with writers...who write...

There is also a 10-minute one-on-one I get to have with an editor or agent from a publishing house, where I get to plug myself and my novels and get feedback.

And I get time off from being a teacher. Just a bit of a reprieve from the teacher hat. No Ms. Sodaro at that conference, no sir. It's Michelle. Michelle Sodaro.

I get time in my Jeep. I get to be...
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Putting it out there, pt. 1

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 03, 2016
So a month from now I am sending two of my novels out into the world with no adult supervision. I am entering them into a Self-Published novel competition. It's time. They are ready. ME? Not so much. But yeah, I mean, of course I'm ready, right?

Right?

How do parents do this? How do parents send their kids off on the school bus? On a field trip? On a date? Off to college?

Do you follow the bus to make sure it is safe?

Do you become a stalker at the museum?

Do you sit with them awkwardly at dinner to see if the date is going well?

Do you follow them to classes to make sure the professors see their brilliance?

How do parents do...
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Hiding out...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 02, 2016
An acquaintance kindly told me that I needed to have more of a social life and while I tend to agree that I do 'hermit out' a bit too much, and while I do want to go out and meet people (I would LOVE, for example, to go on a date, which is rather impossible when all I do is teach and write)...I also look at my calendar and wonder where in my schedule I could do this as I assume it is like exercising and you have to be out in public more than once to see any results.

Right now I teach a full-time job that I love (and anyone who tells you that teaching is a 40-hour work...
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March goals...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 01, 2016
Do more.

Do better.

Get shit done.

No excuses.
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Reflection on February

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 29, 2016
And we put another February to bed...almost everyone I talked to said this was an odd month...just odd. Maybe February has Napoleon's "little man syndrome" (and yes a story idea is forming where the different months are personified...if that surprises you, you really don't know me all that well, haha.)

I started exercising this month, with the idea that being more active will help my knees, bot the one that has osteoarthritis and the one that hasn't been checked yet...it would also help my energy levels and the depression I am keeping at bay (just barely some days, but I'm counting it as a win, nonetheless).

I have 3 chapters left of Redeeming Trust let to type and then my reader FINALLY gets...
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Patience

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 26, 2016
I hate waiting. I mean I really REALLY hate waiting...like a lot. Fast forward was invented for a reason, people, and we really need to upgrade its uses. LIKE NOW.

Because I hate waiting so much, the Universe does a really good job at making me wait...for everything...and then sits there and watches me twitch.

I want Redeeming Trust done NOW (okay I'm not the only one who wants this...which should count, right...) and it's getting closer every day. I have 5 chapters left to type and then it's off to my reader...who hopefully doesn't find so many plot holes that I have to scrap it and start over completely.

I want Lucky Charms done NOW as well...which is awkward as I haven't even started...
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Baby Steps

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 25, 2016
This morning I drank a Special K Protein shake instead of grabbing a donut. Not monumental, but a baby step.

I bought a walk-workout DVD and have done it 4 days in a row...I didn't do it yesterday because of work and such, but I still reached my step goal according to my fitbit.

I didn't do as much typing on the last 5 chapters of Redeeming Trust as I wanted to yesterday, but I did do some.

It is only 2 weeks into the 40 Days of Lent, but I haven't had any pop or candy yet. I'm holding strong, which is better than I have done any previous year.

I can't pay all the bills I need to this paycheck, but I am...
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The paradox of February

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 24, 2016
So every year, about this time, it occurs to me that February is a paradox...by calendar days, it is the shortest month (even in years such as this one where it has 29 days instead of its usual 28) and yet, somehow, it always feels like the longest month in the history of all time.

Maybe it's that awkward time after football before baseball where we are not quite sure what to do with ourselves? I know there is still basketball and hockey to watch, which is helpful...but still...

Maybe it's all of us waiting for Spring? We get these little teasers of nice weather but nothing stays the same for more than three minutes and the warm weather only serves to...
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Nod to the Dreamers

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 22, 2016
I was thinking, this weekend, about the dreamers...those people who continue to pursue their goals despite the negativity and naysayers. Singers who continue to put songs out there, despite the critics of their style or person...the students who pursue their goals despite the lack of support system...those person who try for a job that others mock or try to dissuade them...I think this would was built on dreamers.

Whenever I talk about my full-time author life, I usually get one of two reactions...there is either skepticism and doubt or support and belief. And whether the former is due to them not having a dream they want more than anything so they don't believe such things can happen, or they don't believe...
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SUNSHINNNNNE!!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 20, 2016
Okay, so it is February (I double checked my calendar) and here in the KC area, we have temperatures that are very non-February-y and I am loving loving loving it. (Well, except my sinuses and allergies which are beyond confused and trying to have parties to try to figure out if it is Spring or still Winter so they know how to act).

Being solar powered, as I am, I am loving this weather. When it is nice out...sunny and warm (though the wind has me walking around a lot of the time like Cousin It) there is just a positive energy around and I just SOAK IT UP. I am pretty full of positive energy most of the time (when...
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Off balance...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 19, 2016
SO once again, I have lost my balance of the different things I need to do and I feel behind and upside down all at the same time. I need to take some time (while still making progress, because there is no slowing down right now...) and regroup my thinking and my activities. Just need to get the wheels in my mind re-aligned so I can continue on down this road.

I have made great strides in the typing of the edits for Redeeming Trust and if I stick to my game plan for this weekend, the draft should be ready to send to my "patient" reader by Tuesday. Then when I get it back from her (and hopefully she doesn't make...
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Out of whack feng shui

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 05, 2016
I used to not give much credence to the idea of feng shui...used to tell myself and others that I thrived in chaos and that my organizational system (or lack thereof) worked for me and creative genius needs to flourish and don't judge me by my mess...judge me by the finished product...and maybe I truly believed it or maybe I was just a little bit lazy (probably a combo of both).

The problem with my feng shui is that is not only external. Yes, I have projects and physical things all over the place in my living space. Yes, I have things spread out and rather messy...but that is just what you can see. I have the same mess inside my...
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So it's February...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 01, 2016
Somehow I blinked again and it is the beginning of a new month...did "they" shorten January this year because it feels like it was just a week ago when I was jumping in with all of the others to scream out the 'New Year, New Me' plans...and I am still making progress and I am still making changes (not giving up on the whole season because of the first preseason game) but it just seems like I misplaced part of my January.

Looking at my resolutions...I made tiny bits of progress...I have talked to new people, opened an account for my writing, made teeny tiny itty bitty steps toward getting out from under my debt, have organized more of my projects,...
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Grandiose Plans

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 27, 2016
I always have the best plans and intentions and goals...and perhaps I am a little too optimistic (although sometimes I think the world in general could use a little more optimism, but I digress). My publishing plans for 2015 were Broken Trust, Redeeming Trust, and First Down of the Lucky Charms series. I also planned to publish articles about education or writing. Of that list, I made a lot of progress on all of those things, but only Broken Trust made it out into the world...not blaming or making excuses but sometimes plans change because the universe is putting new things in play and we just have to ride the wave and see where we end up when the storm settles....
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The Little Things

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 25, 2016
(So the other day, I blogged about the baby author steps I have taken and how one of those steps was to open a checking account for my books and help grow that account paycheck by paycheck) A happy surprise came from the bank I had opened the account. I got a hand-written card from the woman who had opened my account, welcoming me to the bank, which was nice enough and rare in this digital world. What really gave me the much-needed kick in the author pants was the final part of the note, where she said, "good luck with your book." Just a little thing that made a huge difference. The second little thing that made a huge difference was...
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Sunshine

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 24, 2016
So one of the many survey, "what is your theme song" quizzes I took told me that "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves was my theme song, and while the lyrics don't really apply to me as I am not currently needing to know if someone loves me as I am taking a hiatus from dating until I get some of my mess cleaned up (personal, financial, spiritual), the beat of this song has always got me dancing in my car or cubicle or where ever else I happen to be when the song comes on. Even more than the beat, I like the metaphorical idea of walking on sunshine (not literal -- don't be silly). I love sunshine....
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Baby steps to big girl author pants

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 19, 2016
One of the goals I have made for myself is to more fully embrace my author life and more proactively go after what I want for that life, while still enjoying and participating fully in my teacher life -- having more balance between the two so that I do better in both as they do feed off of and sustain each other (ah...the life of a Gemini).

So one of the baby steps I have taken is to direct my focus on finishing one project (Redeeming Trust) before staring to edit another project (Lucky Charms series, more specifically First Down). As of this blog, and thanks in large part to having yesterday off (thank you Dr. King) I have typed approximately 70%...
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Michelle Denise Sodaro

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 13, 2016
So that's the joke, right?  You know you're in trouble or something serious is going on when that middle name comes out. Like, "Better pay attention, because shit just got real" When I am journalling or talking to myself or just want to reign in the self-diagnosed ADD (Why do shiny things have to be so dang pretty??) I will either whip out the middle name and Michelle Denise Sodaro better get it in gear or I will just call myself by my last name. There will be a "Get things done, Sodaro" and this seems to work quite effectively to get me refocused and back into the present moment. (I have to do a "Pay attention, Sodaro" or "Michelle Denise...
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Apples

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 10, 2016
So I used to really wonder why on my jar of peanuts it said: MAY contain peanuts, because I thought, well I certainly hope it contains at least a few...I never understood why this note was necessary -- and then I developed an allergy to apples. I love apples. I love the smell of them, the crunch of them, the smooth texture of the peels contrasting with the slightly rough texture of the meat of the apple -- I miss them raw, cut up with peanut butter, in a pie, in applesauce, and evidently (as I have started to have to read labels for ingredients) in almost every fruit juice or snack. Finally I understand why my peanuts had the...
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Epiphany

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 06, 2016
My calendar has Epiphany written on today's date, so I figured I might as well write about author epiphanies. Sometimes it happens with a character's name or a title (so grateful when these epiphanies happen, by the way -- it can be pretty frustrating before they do, let me tell you). I like it better when it happens in first draft...but sometimes it is not until final draft and I am grateful for Find and Replace!!! Sometimes it is a chapter beginning, which is always a bit of a 'oh thank God the magic is not gone, my muse has not abandoned me, and all is still right with the world' feeling. I usually need these epiphanies between chapters 12-20 which are...
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Books of 2015

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 03, 2016
So my book goal for 2015 was 40 books and I only got to 24 (or I got all the way to 24, if you want to do the glass is slightly more than half full idea). Here are the books I read in 2015: 2015 books 1. Public Displays of Affection by Sarah Donovan (fiction) -- Good love story. I felt the bad guys were in the story too late in the game 2. Killing Floor by Lee Child (fiction) It took a little getting used to the short choppy sentences, but Jack Reacher is worth it to get to know. Want to read more in this series. 3. Joyland by Stephen King (fiction) A different kind of novel from my Idol. Excellent story and characters...
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Looking Forward to 2016

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 01, 2016
This is going to be my BEST YEAR YET!! (Just like last year, and if not this year, then 2017 is just going to be mind-blowing). We hear this enough for it to be a bit comical, but the truth is life responds to us: our attitude...our output...so if we go into a year's start thinking it's going to be our Best Year Ever, then work toward making that come true -- then 2016 will be pretty amazing indeed. (the trick is to maintain that positive energy to keep it amazing). For me - I want to be peaceful, productive, and positive. These three things (in addition to having a nice alliteration) encompass all of my 2016 Resolutions. Peaceful: Some of...
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Looking Back on 2015

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 31, 2015
And this makes my 500th Blog. (It took some planning and replanning to get to THIS blog on THIS day, but here it is and cross one more Resolution off the list.) Another resolution was to write, reflect, and read every day -- hmm, well I got one of the three every day, 2 of the three most of the days, and the trifecta a few times as well. Publish Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust -- got the first one out and the second one is completely edited and now has about 20 chapters left where I need to type what was edited. So getting closer to that one (Had some roadblocks for about 5 months that put m ridiculously behind and...
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The more "me" ME

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 29, 2015
"Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. And they're always glad you came." Cheers theme song Sometimes it is so comforting to go where everyone knows you. They have already accepted your quirks and seem to like you anyway. There is a level of coziness with people and places you have known your whole life. And what you sometimes don't realize is that with that comfort, it is hard to grow into what you could become. When you are around people who have known you for years, every time you are around them, it is like a time portal swoops you back to who you were when you met them. Everyone says this "it was like nothing had changed."...
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Poetry

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 27, 2015
It always seems to me -- the best poems and songs come from the deepest possible emotions one can feel and sometimes (most of the time, actually) the deepest emotions are the painful ones more so than the joyful ones. Maybe this is just because we analyze and think about the painful ones whereas the joyful ones we just enjoy and ride the wave. Recent events have caused me to get thoughts for poems again. It's been a while since I have felt anything deeply enough to put into a poem and every single time that well runs dry, I worry I have written my last poem. And then something happens...or an entire series of events happen...and the first inkling...
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Reading

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 26, 2015
I read an interview with an author who said she didn't have time to read. I haven't read another book by her since then. Stephen King says he tries to read at least 80 books a year, and my respect for my idol grew. I make a goal to read 40 books a year. I am currently at 24, so it is unlikely I will get 16 books read between now and midnight, 31 December. This year has been an odd one to be sure, but I will keep my goal at 40 for 2016 because I know it is achievable even with my full-time teaching job and emerging author life. It averages out to 3.33333 books a month, and...
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Pure Magic

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 24, 2015
No matter how old I get...no matter what is going on in my life, good or bad...no matter what...I will always be fascinated by the magic of Christmas Eve.

The logical part of my brain tells me that Santa is impossible. The idea that he could get to every house in one night is scientifically impossible (yes, yes flying reindeer are also rather improbable). Emotional brain says, but it's MAGIC...and tells logical brain to shut up and go figure out something.

Growing up, Mom had this cardboard fireplace for the apartments we had that didn't have a fireplace...and every Christmas, no matter how hard things were, we always had presents from Santa. So if he could deliver presents to a cardboard fireplace,...
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Happy Holidays

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 22, 2015
I don't get upset when people say "Happy Holidays." I don't get upset when people say "Merry Christmas" either. I don't get upset when people wish me "Season's Greetings" any more than I would be upset if they said "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy Kwanzaa." Why does it matter what I celebrate? If people want to wish me good tidings, you better believe I am going to take those good tidings and the happiness that goes along with them. I know people get offended by this. I don't. I am simply happy that someone is wishing me happiness.

It's a strange world we live in right now. Words have always been powerful (I am an author, and I know how powerful words...
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My Christmas Shoes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 21, 2015
No, this is not about that song that makes us all cry...



I got these shoes in high school. Misty (then Botts, now Killip) bought me this pair and I love them. They are still in almost perfect condition (I only wear them a week or two each year, so...) with the exception of the bells that used to be on the edge. (My cat, Chase de-belled them...much to the delight of my father who didn't care for the bells).

There hasn't been a Christmas I haven't worn them (though I must say it is much nicer to wear them when there is no snow, as they are the canvas Converse is famous for).

I get excited every year when I take them...
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Dear Santa,

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 18, 2015
So I have been listening to Christmas music this past couple of days (it keeps getting closer and closer to to the holiday for me to actually be in the mood for Holiday music), but I heard "My Grown-Up Christmas list" and "Santa, Baby" (which is one of my favorites) and I thought I would write a letter to my old friend, St. Nick...

Dear Santa, it's been a while since I have written, so I thought I would drop you a note for Christmas, 2015.

I would like peace for people's hearts and minds. There is so much anger and ick in the world right now. Please spread joy and love as you travel delivering gifts.

I would like everyone to have...
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Comfort Zones

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 16, 2015
The thing about staying where you are comfortable, is that you will never get anywhere new...Pretty profound, I know.

If you have ever hung out with me, you know it is usually very difficult to get me to try a new place, or even to try something new at an old place...part of that is my reluctance to try anything "weird" and my very full list of what qualifies as "weird"

As 2015 comes to a close, I am realizing I need to branch out from what is comfortable. I need to continue writing and finishing my novels, of course...let's not get silly...but I also need to publish some poetry, some essays, some non-fiction bits, maybe even some risque material...I need to...
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Feeling good...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 15, 2015
So last week, my muse was feeling very overwhelmed. I know this is true because one of my horoscopes said, and I quote, "your muse is feeling very overwhelmed right now" and who can argue with that...okay probably a lot of people, but regardless of your thoughts of horoscopes and/or muses, both were extremely true for me last week...they are slightly less true for me now.

So last week, my muse and I were hanging out at the corner of Overwhelmed and Lack of Patience and we were doing our very best to smile through our non-creative tasks and the small talk and time spent away from projects. I never mean to be rude, but I do have things on my...
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12 Days of Christmas -- Author version

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 14, 2015
Oh true love...wherever you are, I have my wish list ready...Sing it with me:

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

12 Pentel Pens

11 new Notebooks

10 cups of coffee

9 hours writing

8 projects waiting

7 more to edit

6 hours sleeping

5 more chapters...

4 books to read

3 tasty snacks

2 snuggling kittens

And a Publishing contract for me!!!!!

Merry Christmas.
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Bird by Bird

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 08, 2015
Chances are, if you have talked to me about writing or have read my blog for a bit, you have heard me sing the praises of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Hands down one of the best books I have read about writing, and one that can be applied to anything we want to accomplish. Take things Step by step, bit by bit, day by day, and yes, of course, bird by bird. My author life is forthcoming. I KNOW this as certainly as I know my full-time teaching career is in its final years. People ask me how I can say I KNOW this (it's hard for people to see because it's not tangible yet...it's okay. It will be. Just watch,...
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Duplicity

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 06, 2015
Some times I feel like two separate people. No, don't worry...I don't lose time (well, sometimes I have stared at my laptop screen for an hour with  no comprehension of what I am grading). I am not saying I have multiple personalities (well I do hear voices, but they are my muse and characters) Hmm...I don't think that I am pleading my case well -- let me try again. All I want to do is write and work on my novels. The ONLY exception of this is when I am teaching (erm...let me clarify -- when I am interacting with students who truly want to learn and who are in school for the right reasons -- not getting on a...
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Multi-tasking

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 05, 2015
I read an article once (and I apologize to any of my previous students, I cannot cite my source right now) that said we never truly multi-task and that it is not actually possible for us to do so because our minds cannot focus on more than one thing at a time and that the tasks we think we are doing simultaneously we were just going back and forth on and not really giving anything our full concentration. I disagree with this article, which may be why I never kept it to be able to refer back to it. Right now, I am typing my blog, listening to Pandora, and thinking about the last two chapters  of Redeeming Trust. I...
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Creative hangover

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 03, 2015
So over Thanksgiving break, I wrote for 8 hours a day for 4 days in a row. Yes I did that math...that's quite a bit of writing. I went into work on Monday and a friend remarked how amazing I looked. I was positively glowing and looked so relaxed and refreshed. It's pretty easy to look refreshed and relaxed when you spent the last 4 days doing what you love.

The hard part, is coming down off of that natural, creative high. (I have heard people can also experience this with running, but I suspect it's just a rumor). The hard part is focusing on the details of reality when you have been bouncing back and forth between fictional worlds (most...
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December Goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 01, 2015
First of all...it has to be said...how on Earth is it already December. I swear it was just...well, NOT December...ah well. The calendar says it is the start of the last month of 2015, so who am I to argue with a piece of paper...

I look at my 2015 Resolutions and I think, perhaps my first 2016 Resolutions should be to make more attainable resolutions...because wow I had some lofty goals for this year.

My first priority this month (sorry, as it has been the last couple of months) is Redeeming Trust. I understand your hesitancy, but it will have a publication date of 2015, and since this is the last month that can happen...there you go...I have the last two chapters...
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My thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2015

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 30, 2015
So as my 4th National Novel Writing Month comes to a close, I think back on the things I have learned since I started this.

The first year, I told myself for the month of November, I was only going to work on my NaNoWriMo novel and that was it...no side projects, no distractions, not even any writing prompts for other novels. I got blocked in chapter 12 (which is usually my nemesis)

The second year, to not have a repeat of year one, I had multiple projects going in addition to my NaNoWriMo project...and yes, I went from feast to famine, from drought to flood, from desert to ocean...I think you get the point.

Last year, I had my NaNoWriMo novel, but...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Color Notes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 30, 2015
*This was going to be my blog from yesterday, so I will post this one in the morning and my final 30 days blog this evening*

So chances are, if you have read many of my blogs or know me personally and have talked to me about writing at all, you know how much I love and depend upon my ColorNotes application on my phone. (It is free on Android and costs money on ithings, so yet another reason I will never go to the dark side and will stay Android.

So Color Notes is an amazing thing that lets you make little post-its, and it color-codes your post-its so that you can keep things organized. For example, on mine, the colors...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: My time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 28, 2015
Sometimes I get stressed out about how far behind I am on things. My NaNoWriMo word count, my Redeeming Trust edit, my non-fiction projects, my other novels, my weight loss goals, my grading, my bills....so many things to be behind on and it can cause so much anxiety, which is one of the best ways to make sure nothing gets done at all. Hey, you know what would really halt all progress and productivity???? Let's have an anxiety attack caused by our own worries about not getting things done...that sounds helpful.

Every so often I have to remind myself, that as much as I am looking forward to my full-time author life...to my second career where I get to write and work...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Gratitude

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 26, 2015
So I figured today, of all days, I should state how grateful I am to be full of gratitude. I make mistakes in life...some that I would take back if I could...some that I have come to terms with...some that ended up leading to even better things. But through this entire journey...through the transition from teacher life to author life...from this path of discovering more of what makes me...well, ME...I have been grateful.

Bing Crosby in White Christmas (one of my favorite holiday movies, because of course it has Danny Kaye) told us that when we're worried and we can't sleep...we should count our blessings instead of sheep.

I used to get myself to fall asleep by thinking up alphabetic lists. Books that...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Pandora music

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 25, 2015
There are days when the monthly subscription to Pandora is the best money I have spent all month.

Pandora helps me as an author...I plug in and all of the thoughts and questions and plot lines for other stories and character chatter in my head...all settle down and listen to the music so I can focus on the story I am currently working on.

Pandora helps me as a teacher because I can dance in my chair as I grade and just get into a good zone where nothing else matters but getting through my assignment pile. (Please don't interrupt the dancing...especially to ask me what I am dancing to...I may never get that grading zone back).

Pandora also helps me as an...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Driving Time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 24, 2015
Some of my best thoughts happen when I am driving in my Jeep. I would say that it's a Jeep thing, but I also had success in every other car I have had, so this one is not a Jeep thing, but a Sodaro thing.

A lot of time when I am driving, I go through the things I am grateful for, which completely changes my mood and is usually my morning drive, helping me to get to work in a good mood and full of positive energy.

I work out plot points in my head...talk it out so I can hear what I am saying. I will either pull over and write them down, or use speak-to-text for Color Notes. Working...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Characters

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 23, 2015
Kind of along the same lines as my gratitude for readers blog, I suppose a novelist could have a book without characters...I am just not sure how that would work...

So I love my characters. I love to see what shenanigans they are going to get into in this chapter. Love to see what predicament they are going to solve. Love that they come visit me at odd and sometimes awkward times. Try having a conversation about your job performance and have a character come whisper in your mind some bit of dialogue which would be PERFECT for their next scene. And you don't want to forget that bit of chat...but you also want to give your full, undivided attention to...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Future Plans

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 20, 2015
"The future's so bright...I gotta wear shades" (Timbuk3)

Sorry if this gets in anyone's head...and I am not even sure if the artist meant it as positive as most people take it, but when I think about my future plans, this is the phrase that pops in my head.

I have had and continue to have an AMAZING teaching career. I keep meeting students and coworkers that my life would be incomplete without getting to know. I also know that I am not going to teach full time forever...and adding to that, I know I will never be able to completely walk away from teaching either.

My future is my books. I know this...maybe you didn't hear me. I KNOW THIS. There are...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: My Support Staff

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 19, 2015
Being an author is a full-time job, like a full-time, more than 40 hour a week job -- between the promoting and networking and selling and editing and finishing and publishing sometimes it is hard to find time to do the actual writing (not to mention doing all of this around the demands of another more than 40 hour a week full-time teaching job).

I hand write all my drafts (yes, I know this can seem archaic, but it is the system that currently works for me.) There is a therapy in the words filling up with ink, the pen is an extension of my hand and my thoughts, my characters acting and flowing from my mind to my arm through...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Notebooks

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 18, 2015
So with my pen obsession (if you've seen my collection, you know this is an accurate term...if you haven't seen it...trust me, it fits) it seems natural to also be grateful for the paper in the beautiful pen-to-paper combo that makes up as much of my present as possible and all of my future.

I can say one of the most exciting bits of the new idea process is picking out the notebook for that project. There is just an innate knowledge of what notebook will work for a project and when you see it, you'll just know. (Did I just make an analogy between notebooks and pornography?? hmm...)

Once you find THE notebook, there is a moment of "ahhhh" when you...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Pens

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 17, 2015
So, I love pens. I mean, like, I LOVE PENS. It's definitely an occupational hazard as an author, especially one who writes everything out by hand...and when I find a pen I like, I buy it in multiples because heaven forbid my pen runs out mid-chapter (this happened once, when I was out writing in public and my black pen ran out of ink and I only had a blue one with me...I still think about that black and blue chapter to this day and shudder.)

It always makes me nervous when people buy me pens, or I see people with pens, or a waitress brings me a pen and expects it back...because I want to test out the pen...Is this...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: My Readers

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 16, 2015
Where would any author be without readers? I know I would still writer -- I love my stories and characters and have loved them long before anyone else gets to...but it would be a bit like teaching to an empty classroom...so much to say and no one to listen. So on this day, and every day, I am grateful for my readers.

(It is amazing even to say I have readers...)

I am grateful to those who read Whatever you Make of It  and asked for a sequel (or a series) ...who loved Jac and Jyn and wanted more. I promise I am exploring the idea and considering if Jac and Jyn have another story to tell --a legitimate new story to tell...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: 1/2 way through NaNoWriMo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 15, 2015
so this whole NaNoWriMo challenge is one I thoroughly enjoy (otherwise why would anyone sign on for this??) I have learned so much in the years I have done this and one of the best lessons I have learned is that it works best for me to have another project or "two" to work on in case I get a little stalled on where to go with my NaNoWriMo novel. That is not the problem I am having with NaNo, 2015.

The project for this year's National Novel Writing Month came to me in its entirety when I visited my d1 ad and step-mom in Florida this past February. So for 9 months, it has been percolating and floating around in...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Books to Read

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 14, 2015
Reading is such an inherent part of writing and I lost all respect for an author who said in an interview she didn't have time to read because it it is by reading that we find out what works and what doesn't...we increase our play with words...and we get to meet the characters who existed only in other people's heads...and since, as an author, I spend an awful lot of time with characters that exist in my head, it is nice to branch out and spend time with other people's creations from time to time.

I love it when my writer friends either recommend a book to me. I get a glimpse at how well they know me that this is...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Non-fiction ideas

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 13, 2015
So this year has been amazing for me expanding the world of my author life and I have been embracing some nonfiction ideas to work on, in addition to my novels, short stories, and poems...I have wanted to incorporate my experiences in education and writing and life in general. As with everything else, when I start thinking about a new thing, all of a sudden the flood gates open and suddenly I see ideas everywhere, which let me tell you, is a lot less creepy and more exciting than seeing dead people.

Education -- I really feel I have learned a thing or two about teaching and adult learners with my Bachelor's, Master's, and (almost) my PhD in education, not to...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Story/poem ideas

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 12, 2015
Sometimes I wonder about non-writer-people and how they go about their day. For example this picture...I saw this single flower in a parking spot and in my mind, a rush of ideas fought for my attention. Was it dropped by accident? Was it thrown down in anger? Did the suitor arrive late and their love was driving off, so the flower fell as arms dropped in devastation? Did they flower miss its flower friends? What was it thinking as it fell? Did it run away? All of this and more popped into my mind as I saw this flower. What do non-writer types see as they walk by this scene? Do they even see the flower? Do they wonder about...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Military

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 11, 2015
This is written out of Author gratitude, teacher gratitude, American gratitude, just basic human gratitude...and is something that cannot be expressed enough.

My whole life I have been grateful for and enamored with the military -- our country's truest and more tireless heroes. I am in awe of what they do on a daily basis to protect our perfectly imperfect country. We don't do enough for them while they serve and we certainly don't do enough for them when they return home.

Part of the blessing in teaching adult learners is that many of them are current or former military, and so I feel as though, I am, in some small way, giving back to those who give so much.

I am grateful...
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30 Days of Gratitude: Teaching Jobs

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 10, 2015
In the 19 years I have taught, I have had jobs at 8 different schools, and I have taught anything and everything that had any kind of writing, any sort of analyzing, critical thinking, research (pretty much the gamut of General Education courses that weren't math or science).

At every teaching job I have ever had, I have met students and fellow teachers, principals/deans, etc. that have changed my life and more importantly (at least for the purpose of today's blog), inspired either a plot line or a character for a novel...or were the inspiration for a nonfiction project.

Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust were part of a dream I had one night and might have stayed a dream if not for a conversation...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Writer Friends

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 09, 2015
So I love being a teacher and talking to teacher friends (or friends/colleagues in the education world in general) because they TRULY understand why this one email or meeting or conversation with a student can single-handedly make or break an entire day. They understand in ways that people outside of that world world, through no fault of their own, might fail to see what the big deal was.

I have, in the last 5 years, also come to appreciate writer friends for the exact same reason. They TRULY understand the highs and lows of this occupation. They know the power of the writing zone and that I don't know for a fact that I can "just write later and it'll be...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Cheerleaders

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 08, 2015
(As much as I love football, I am not actually writing about the short skirt-wearing, pom-pom waving kind of cheerleaders -- though they do add an element to football games -- so I guess I am glad they exist in the world in general?)

The kind of cheerleaders the author me is grateful for is the kind that cheers me on in my writing (or cheers others on for working on their goals) and it doesn't matter to me whether they are cheering me on because they have read my books and can't wait for the next one (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this question, by the way, and yes, I am working on getting Redeeming Trust  finished up) or if they haven't read...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Pets

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 07, 2015
There are days when I prefer animals to people...but that usually passes and I like people just fine the next day. But I absolutely love animals. In the past two months I have added 5 dogs and 2 cats to my list of "friends" and, of course, have my two cats who are brothers that I have had since they were both small enough to fit in one hand. There is something calming about watching the kits sleep in sunshine as I am writing and while sometimes it makes me want to quit writing and take a nap with them, mostly it just makes me smile and keep plugging away at the novels that will one day buy their food...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: MY Jeep

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 06, 2015
Today I drove around for 2 hours, looking at the pretty multi-colored leaves on the trees and enjoying the fact that I could have my windows down in November with only a slight chill (yes, I had my heat on a bit as well).

So yesterday, I was grateful for technology and yet today, I am writing about a vehicle which doesn't have technology more advanced than cruise control and power windows. One of my favorite parts of my Jeep Patriot is its lack of technology. (I wish that was my only contradiction, but turns out...I've met me.

I have wanted a Jeep since I was a kid. I can't remember every wanting another specific vehicle as much as I wanted a...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Technology

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 05, 2015
Okay, so those of you who know me, maybe either laughing or just outright confused by this one...because I am grateful for technology and yet still consider the fax machine to be a bit of wizardry...not to mention that one time I REALLY believed the cables were faster because they were green. *Ahem*

I am grateful for Google Maps. I can get lost in a parking lot (and have too often) so it is nice that my phone will reroute as often as I need it to, in order to get me from point A to point B. It's also a special kind of magic that lets me know how long the drive would be from KC, MO to Utah for Driven...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Students

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 04, 2015
Okay, so technically this one is more about the teacher side of me than the author side of me, but my students are some of my strongest supporters, so it still fits...and it's my blog, so I do what I want.

I have taught for 19 years. I have taught 6th grade (yes, I know...it was frightening for me too) to college. I have gone to countless graduations and too many funerals (even one would be too many).

I remember when I still taught for Winnetonka and Mom and I were at Metro North Mall (yes, it was THAT long ago) and a student, Amy Holman, came running up to me. Mom was so amazed that my students would acknowledge me IN...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Friends and Family

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 03, 2015
(So to balance out the blog from yesterday, because I would not be who I am without my friends and family...)

I think every author has to express loudly and often just absolute gratitude for friends and family. In general, it has to be, if not awkward, at least less than ideal sometimes to be friends with or be related to an author.

For every time we were talking and I got out a notebook or my phone to make a note of something for one of my projects...Thank you. From the bottom of my distracted heart; I am so grateful that you understand (or pretend to) that ideas don't keep and they need to be recorded.

For every time we had plans...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude: Myself

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 02, 2015
No, I am not quite as narcissistic as this blog title might suggest, but I am grateful for me and the person/author/teacher I have become.

It has taken me 4 full decades to get to be the person I am, and she's pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. Everything I have been through, every person I have met along the way, all have shaped me into this person I am today. I am grateful for every lesson and blessing and who I have grown to be.

The person I have grown to be knows what it takes to get a novel from an idea to a draft, to a final tangible paperback version of a dream. I know what it...
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30 Days of Author Gratitude

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 01, 2015
So this month as I get Don't Let Go  written for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrioMo) and make myself walk every day that my right knee will allow me to do so...my blog is going to be 30 Days of Author Gratitude. I have definitely learned the benefit of expressing more gratitude for various aspects of my life. Since my blog is primarily about my thoughts as a writer, it seemed only logical to have the gratitude as it related to my author live. Heaven knows I have tons to be grateful for, so it was not difficult to think of things to write about for each day of the month.

So to start my month of author gratitude off to a...
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Forcing a Fit (thoughts about a book's ending)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 26, 2015
I once went on a first (and last) date with a guy who told me I would be the perfect fit for him if he could just shave off some of my rough edges. While he was a horrible date, he did give me a good lesson (as most things do) for my novels.

If you are trying to force a book to flow a certain way, or especially END a certain way...you are doing what Mr. Creepy wanted to do to me (metaphorically). He wanted to take off the parts of me that didn't fit with his preconceived idea of a mold for the perfect girlfriend instead of letting things develop to see if it could be better than the...
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Still all day to Play

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 21, 2015
It happens every year about this time...it starts getting darker sooner, hoodies replace t-shirts (but it's the Kansas City area, so you might need that t-shirt tomorrow)...but in my mind it's like a sign goes up that says "Closed until Spring -- come back later."

I am in the process of making a lot of changes in my life and those changes include my mentality of shutting down for the winter. I have things I need to get done this year and I am not allowed to take the winter off. I am making strides toward having a stronger author life (while still embracing my teacher life) and just as I teach year-round, I need to write and edit and publish...
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Born to Fly

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 20, 2015
"How do you keep your feet on the ground when you know you were born to fly?" Sara Evans "Born to Fly"

One of my best friends sang this song for me on a compilation CD she made for her friends and family. I loved that she chose that song for me, but until recently, I didn't fully realize how perfect a song it was for me...and how fully I needed to embrace the freedom the song talked about. I thought I had embraced it fully -- choosing to be an author (Did I choose this or did it choose me?) but I still flew, or thought I was flying...but I was really flying with one foot firmly on the ground....
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Getting ready for NaNo 2015

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 16, 2015
It is already the middle of October...my email and Facebook are filling up with "Are you ready for NaNo?" (For those of you who are blissfully unaware, NaNo, or National Novel Writing Month, is where people such as myself write 50,000 words in 30 Days to have a pretty solid first draft when November is done). I can definitively say YES!!!! I am ready.

How do I know I am ready, you ask? Well...well let me tell you. Writing/accountability partner -- CHECK Now some of you may be wondering why I put this first instead of, say #3, and I will smile and pat your head (metaphorically). Yes, of course, having a story idea is necessary, but I have tons of those...what makes...
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Time well Spent

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 13, 2015
I thought about this on Saturday when I looked outside at the beautiful sunshine-y day and continued to write inside. There was a part of me that felt like I should be outside, knowing the MidWest's propensity for taking away a consistent Fall and going from Summer to Winter without too much in-between. Maybe I should go outside and enjoy the sun because all too soon, I will not be able  to go outside without 14 layers of clothing. (I have lost all of my Chicago-area thick skin and am now cold). Maybe I should...

Then I remembered my to-do list for my writing projects, not to mention my being allergic to Ragweed (which is off the charts right now)...so I...
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Early to Rise

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 10, 2015
The problem with getting up at 6AM on a Saturday is that there are very few people up to talk to...of course, since I usually do some of my best writing at this time, I also can list this as a benefit to getting up at 6AM on a Saturday...

People call me crazy for getting up this early when I don't have to...well, people call me crazy for a LOT of reasons, but let's stay on point here, shall we? I have always been an early riser...when the sun's up, I'm up...time's a wasting...up and at 'em

There is a calm at this time in the morning that doesn't exist when the world is awake, and I enjoy that calm...I find...
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Plot Twist

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 09, 2015
As a writer, I have learned the importance of chapter breaks, (and like so many things, things that apply to writing apply to real life as well). Sometimes where you end a chapter changes everything. At the very least, it will determine whether or not a reader will be content to stop there (hopefully not stopping for good) or will push on to read one more chapter. That need to know what happens next stronger than the need to sleep or clean or socialize...or whatever it is people do when they are not reading.

Plot twists are good ways to do chapter breaks (they are also REALLY effective in real life situations when it seems you are in an impossible position--...
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My Author to-do list

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 08, 2015
It is rather easy to get overwhelmed by all of the things I need to do as an author, especially since I am still loving and doing the full-time teacher gig (actually full-time plus since I've picked up a class at my old stomping grounds, but I know I need to do these things: 1. Webpage-- I need one. I even have a domain (I think) it's michelledsodaro.com I need to face my techno fears and just get this done. 2. POBox -- there will come a day when it's not okay for my fans to have my home address. 3. Goodreads-- I am a Goodreads author now, so that is a good start, but I need to do more with this...
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The best is coming

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 07, 2015
"The best is yet to come, and babe, won't that be fine?" Frank Sinatra

Everything in my life is telling me what Ole' Blue Eyes sang about....the best is yet to come. How can that not bring a smile?

I am coming through a particularly intense storm. I made mistakes, paid the price, and am now looking at the most brilliant blue sky I have ever seen. The best is yet to come. Absolutely. Without a doubt.

I have gotten lost in what other people expected of me or needed from me and through this, I lost some pieces of my true self -- but now I'm back and I feel free to be my truest self again. My truest teacher self. My...
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Ahhh...October

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 01, 2015
So I am now allergic to all apples and I don't like pumpkin-flavored anything...so in some ways fall is wasted on me where food is concerned.

Even though it is now the 10th month of the year, and I've not yet completed enough of the plans I had made for 2015, I'm very grateful that September is over and done with as it was rather busy, and not the kind of busy that I prefer. I didn't write enough, edit enough, make enough progress on any of my projects...but I have learned to let that go and not beat myself up for what I didn't do yesterday, but to make today as productive as it can be.

So for this 10th month...
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September -- looking back...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 30, 2015
"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different." CS Lewis

This month has been the end of a change that started a while back and so many things changed in my life this past 30 days...it has made my head spin a bit and made it hard to keep my head above water all the time, but I did it...and am now gaining some footing and am able to look around and I am amazed at how much has changed...the final picture coming into view after the domino design of this chapter has finally fallen into place.

I am in a transition phase...redefining myself as a teacher, a profession I still am in...
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Redeeming Trust update

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 28, 2015
Sigh...so I must finally allow the calendar to claim defeat over my goals. Redeeming Trust  will not be finished within the next two days...there has just been too much real world to deal with and I haven't even gotten the draft to my reader yet.

When I was getting Arianna's Destiny ready for publication, I kept thinking she was ready and wanting her to be ready and thinking she was ready, etc.etc.etc. And then I met someone who helped me to understand the true meaning of a reluctant hero and I knew I had to add that to my Ari...who is every bit of a reluctant hero as the one I became friends with. Had I published her when I was first ready...
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Growing Pains

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 18, 2015
So last week I spoke to a group of about a thousand 1st graders (really about 100) and a class of about 20 5th graders. Talked about writing...and where I get my ideas...and why I love writing. Showed them my pretty books and let them pass around my books. It was amazing! Tremendous! Fantastic! Exciting! And more than a little terrifying. I have wanted to grow as a writer...and grow I did!

So some of you, those who have met me, know that I have taught every where from 6th grade to adults, with high school and college being where I have spent 18 of my 19 years teaching...and then here I was, standing in front of a bigger group of...
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Getting more

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 16, 2015
"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten" Tony Robbins

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what I want in this next chapter of my life...what I envision as the start of the first year of my 4th decade on this planet...what changes I need to make...what factors I want to maintain...just basically what I want my life to be.

This quote by Tony Robbins resonates with what I want in my life and also keeps in mind the definition of insanity which is 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'

I have some areas of my life I want to change...I want to do more with my author life especially,...
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My heart

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 10, 2015
"A big heart is both a clunky and a delicate thing; it doesn't protect itself and it doesn't hide." Anne Lamott Bird by Bird.

I have always thought my kind heart has made me a better teacher and a better author...and I stand by this thought. It has helped me to have empathy for my students and to cry after 19 years of graduation. My heart in my classroom allows me to celebrate every one of my students' victories and feel the pain of every one of their sorrows.

Having a big heart also helps me write more believable and three-dimensional characters. I can feel their joys and their hopes as if they were really in front of me instead of inside my...
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School supplies

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 07, 2015
My name is Michelle Sodaro and I have a problem.

I simply cannot walk through a store that sells school supplies and not walk up and down each of the aisles, looking very longingly at every thing on both sides.

I tell myself I have enough pens and notebooks waiting for me. (Of course if anyone else were to say this to me, there would be a fight, and it would get ugly).

I tell myself to keep my hands in my pockets. Look with your eyes, not your hands, Sodaro. You can do this.

Behave Sodaro.

Just go and look at the pretty things. Do not put anything in your cart. No. Don't you do it...ok well, maybe just ONE pen...okay and one notebook....
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September Goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 01, 2015
Well, obviously, my first and most important goal for September, 2015, is to publish the sequel to Broken Trust. Redeeming Trust will have a publication date of September 2015.

Connected to that, there will be a short story that gives an alternate version to the 1st meeting of Sam and Ali. (I will also include this short story in the beginning of Redeeming Trust). The story is called "Chance Meeting" and has Ali and Sam running into each other at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival where Sam is drawing characteriture portraits.

I will also be taking care of my physical health. Knee problems and some slight blood pressure issues caused me to wake up and stop being passive about my health.

I will be working on...
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August Refelction

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 31, 2015
And the 8th month of this year comes to a close. I am making progress on multiple projects, have (mostly) eliminated the drama in my life, and have started to come up with a game plan to rebuild my life. I am asking for help and am re-forming relationships I have taken for granted for too long.

I am back on a writing schedule and am getting better at ignoring my phone when it is my designated writing time. (It helps that my phone case covers the front of my phone and when the phone is on silent, it doesn't let me know about any notifications -- fewer distractions = more focused project time.

I am focusing more on finishing projects --...
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Accountabilty

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 26, 2015
In the 40 years I have been on this planet, I have learned a thing or two about myself and one of the most definitive lessons I have learned is that I need to be held accountable and not by just me. (When I am the only one holding me accountable, I will swindle a deal, change my mind, make a bargain, change the terms of my agreement, and flat out lie to me). Deadlines get altered...habits go unbroken.. "one more time won't do any harm" gets believed. I am incredibly talented at presenting an argument to myself that will make me think it is in my best interests to go along with this new, better, *ahem* more convenient plan.

Since I...
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Redeeming Trust

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 24, 2015
So when I published Broken Trust in May of this year, I included the first chapter of Redeeming Trust as a teaser and included a note about how the sequel would be out in September of 2015.

On 22 May 2015, this seemed like an absolutely BRILLIANT idea. The first draft of Redeeming Trust was typed and printed and all ready for me to jump in and start the editing process. Seems, perfect, right? I thought so too...on 22 May.

Now I am sitting here 3 months and 2 days later and September is peeking around the corner and I keep checking and rechecking not only my calendar but also other, random calendars as well, because I am sure there is no way that it...
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Friday Mornings at a coffee shop

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 21, 2015
Mornings are the best time for me to write. Monday through Wednesday this is not possible as I am expected in Lenexa for my teaching gig, so I write in the evenings. Thursday I work from home and always try to do some writing before I log in. (To my students, I would like to say 'you're welcome' as writing keeps me balanced)...Friday mornings I also do some writing. More than I did on Thursday, usually not as much as I will do on a Saturday and/or Sunday.

Friday mornings, I try to have only a few hours of work left to catch up on. I try to stay focused long enough on Thursday to make Friday an easy breezy 'catch...
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Writing Schedule

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 20, 2015
So my summer was not like a lot of my fellow teachers. My school goes year-round and has starts for classes almost every week, so there is no "summer vacation" other than what time off each of us takes here and there. On one hand this is nice because I always know what to expect every single week...on the other hand, I really wouldn't cry about having solid weeks of time for writing.

I started this year with a set writing schedule and was productive and getting things done. This summer, I relaxed my schedule a bit. I was still writing every day, let's not get crazy...but it was just "write something" and there were no real times listed or expectations...
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Fight Song

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 17, 2015
"This is my fight song -- Take back my life song

Prove I'm alright song. My power's turned on.

Starting right now -- I'll be strong

I'll play my fight song.

And I don't really care if nobody else believes,

Cuz' I've still got a lot of fight left in me." "Fight Song" Rachel Platten

Okay -- disregard my pet peeve of when words are rhymed with themselves. It's annoying and yet catchy enough in this song to not bother.

Lately, I have been struggling..finances, feeling alone, teaching at a job I love but still struggling to get enough writing done to make progress on projects, letting go of some parts of me and holding tight to other parts, wanting to be more active, limited by pain...just...
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Volition

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 11, 2015
Volition: the act of willing, choosing, or resolving (Dictionary.com)

Lately this word has popped up in two completely unconnected places and the second one was really just to make sure I heard it...and was paying attention.

This past weekend, I attended a graduation for the school I am grateful to teach at and the speaker talked about the power of choice...he talked about what a powerful thing it is to have volition in our lives.

The second source was a book called Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. I have just barely started chapter one, and low and behold, on same day as graduation, there was that word again...Volition. The power of choice.

I choose my life. I choose my teaching life and I choose my author...
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Tax-free school supplies!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 07, 2015
So I don't know if your calendar is marked like mine is, but in bold purple letters, I have scrawled over this weekend TAX FREE SCHOOL SUPPLIES!!!!!! It's written bigger than anything else I have going on this month.

For people like me, this is better than Christmas.

I love to go to the pen aisle.

"Have it."

"Have it."

"Ugh. Hate it."

"Ooooh Need it."

"Have it."

"Have it."

"Well this says NEW on it -- need that...maybe in blue AND black, just to be thorough."

"Have this, but may run out mid-page; better grab some more of those."

"Ugh. Hate that ENTIRE brand."

Then it's over to the notebooks. I like to look at my different options and lean in to hear if they have a story idea already (yes,...
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Flying

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 04, 2015
"Now her heart's a mess -- praying she'll find a way to make it.

So keep on climbing, though the ground might shake

Just keep on reaching though the limb might break.

We've come this far, don't you be scared now.

Cause you can learn to fly on the way down."  "Fly" by Maddie and Tae

I came upon this song accidentally on Pandora who had connected it to something I liked (or however the magic works). After hearing it, I was so moved by the lyrics, I had to listen to it again. It brought to mind the quite by Kurt Vonnegut (other authors have their own variation of it as well) "We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings...
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August Goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 01, 2015
My biggest goal for August, is of course, to get the 2nd draft of Redeeming Trust done. I have some chapters to add and some details to flush out. Need to give it an ending worthy of Ali and the others. And since this set definitely only has the 2 books (Broken Trust and Redeeming Trust) the ending really has to stick the landing (and that completes the entirety of my gymnastics knowledge). So getting this sequel to a solid 2nd draft is goal number one.

My second goal is to get Stealing Second (of the Lucky Charms series) to Chapter 25. (I have just barely started Chapter 20, as a point of reference).

I am going to start water aerobics and go back to...
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July Reflection

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 31, 2015
July was a strange month and really more stress than 31 days should hold. There has been money stress and people stress and right-knee stress...all wrapped up between my full-time job, writing as much and as often as I can, and editing Redeeming Trust. I am a little "behind" where I wanted to be at the end of this month. I did originally plan to be done with the 2nd draft today,  but I can still get it to where I need to by September...I just need to buckle down and have fewer distractions. (I am not crazy enough to state I can ever be completely distraction free -- hi, have we met?) This month brought closure to 2 novels that...
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One, Two, Three...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 29, 2015
A one...A two...A one, two, three...

One of the best parts about embracing my author life more fully is that I get to talk to more writers more of the time, and as anyone who has ever talked to me about writing can attest to, I absolutely LOVE to "talk shop."

Recently a friend and fellow writer (and ex-student) asked me about the number of drafts I put into my novels.

My first novel, Whatever you Make of It, went through about 10 drafts before I was ready to let it go, but since then I've significantly streamlined the process. Now it is down to three drafts.

First Draft is me writing/typing the novel. There are days when it is as if my characters are...
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Peaceful easy feeling

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 27, 2015
"Cause I've got a peaceful, easy feeling, And I know you won't let me down..." Eagles, "Peaceful, Easy Feeling"

It never ceases to amaze me -- no matter how much chaos is in my life -- no matter how swirly I get (and those of you who know me -- know I can get full-on tornado) after five minutes of writing, I am peaceful and calm and absolutely easy breezy. It is magical and fascinating and works 100% of the time. There is nothing else I have found that works with absolute certainty with that perfect of a track record. (Not even my friend, Jack. Mr. Daniels is good to me, but not as good as writing and I can't visit...
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Love love love

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 21, 2015
"Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing...the rest will follow." Jane Yolen

Yes. Absolutely. the good days when the words dance across my page and flow out of my pen or pencil on to the page, like magic. the bad days where writing feels as slow as etching words into stone with a rock. (I have never actually done this, but I think the analogy still works.) The days in between where there is a start and stop to the word flow as if someone keeps pushing pause on the weirdest remote control ever. Love. Love. Love.

Love the writing.

Love the process.

Love the end result.

Love. Love. Love.

There is so much in life. People and relationships and responsibilities and hopes and...
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Real-Life Struggles

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 14, 2015
It is an amazing feeling when the pen or pencil hits the paper and I can just feel the tension leave my body.

I release a breath I didn't even know I was holding and I feel free and stable and absolutely right with the world again.

Joys are more fully recognized, sorrows more clearly expressed.

I feel more and I have more awareness of my feelings.

My world is right side up again and everything just makes sense to me once more.

I think sometimes I struggle in actual face-to-face conversations because there is not time to pause, let me do some freewriting to figure out my true feelings before I answer you.

Let me write for a minute so I know what I am...
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Master's Thesis Proven

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 12, 2015
"If I can write it, I can cope. And I've been writing many books, but in every book, I try to explore something in my own sould that I need to solve, I need to understand." Isabel Allende

In 2001, I wrote my Master's thesis on the idea that writing could help people work through any thing they happen to be going through. I took the idea of free association (credited to Sigmund Freud) which is the idea that we know the answers to our life problems, if we just talk through them to get past the things that are not the core problem. I took this idea to paper...where there are no interruptions or other people's opinions, there is just...
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Three times the fun...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 08, 2015
So a couple days ago, I wrote about sequels and I thought it only fitting today to write about the unique challenge of a 3-part series. Currently (in addition to editing Redeeming Trust) I am writing on Stealing Second, which will be the 2nd book in the Lucky Charms series.

The entire series started at a hockey game and I wrote Hat Trick (which is 3 goals in one game scored by one player -- thus the third book in my series).

Yes, I wrote the 3rd book first, then I wrote the 1st book second, and now I am writing the 2nd book third. (If this is something you can't believe I would do, I have to ask if you really know me at all...
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Sequels, anyone?

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 05, 2015
So I know I touched on this when Arianna's Destiny was my primary project, but I thought I would touch on it again now that I am 6 chapters in to editing Broken Trust's sequel.

The nice thing about a sequel is the characters are already created and developed...the difficult thing about a sequel...is the characters are already created and developed.  hahaha

With Arianna's Honor to Arianna's Destiny, I discovered I didn't like the name of Nicholas's best friend, but Arianna's Honor was already out, so the name remained for the sequel. People who had died, had to stay dead (although a zombie twist would have been interesting). and the unresolved issues that made Arianna so unique needed to either stay unresolved or have made...
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Ninja Months

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 03, 2015
So...like " a minute" ago, it was April and then on Monday, I was emailing students about class that startes on 1 July and I was thinking "WOW, I am giving them a lot of time to get ready for class to start." (wait a minute.  **frantically looks at calendar** Holy Crap. July is NOW!!) So in the last 2 months, I published my 4th novel, started my 4th decade on this planet, and went to my sister's wedding. Other than those 3 things, the last two months are a complete blur to me. I seem to have eaten and slept and bathed...I still have a job, so that is a good thing. I have donw some writing every day, but...
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Story ideas

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 02, 2015
The entire Lucky Charms series (which will be out in 2016) came to me at a hockey game one New Year's Eve. I went with some amazing friends and was as captivated by the game as I was by a "Super Fan" who went throughout the crowd getting people excited and involved in the game. He became JD and that one guy sparked an entire 3-books series.

Don't let Go (My NaNoWriMo for this coming November) started from two young friends holding hands to jump in a pool.

Arianna started from the suggestion where Nicky suggested an alternative to marriage that Arianna found offensive (trying so hard to not give any spoilers here). That scene was a dream and I was instantly enamored with this...
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Absolute Avoidance

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 29, 2015
"Avoid the ones who expect you to fail." Monica Wood

As with the lesson that I should be in my own fan club (see blog from 20 June), it also took me entirely too long to realize that not only COULD I avoid those who expected me to fail, but I also SHOULD avoid them.

(This is tricky sometimes because some people cheer you on to your face but secretly want you to fail, for whatever reason...jealousy...to feel better about their lives, who knows why someone would do this).

The problem with being around people who expect you to fail is that failure starts to make sense. (I have this chat with some of my adult learners whose family, friends, significant other, doesn't...
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Truth

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 28, 2015
"Whatever satisfies the soul is truth." Walt Whitman

You know that moment where you have made a decision and everything inside you is smiling and you feel absolute peace of mind, heart, and soul...this is truth.

Sometimes it is beginning of something. Sometimes, unfortunately, it is the ending of something...but there is always that overwhelming all-encompassing feeling that just fills you all the way to your toes and everything makes sense and you just feel completely at peace. This is truth. You know you made the right choice and somehow it will all work out.

I have always loved writing. Have always felt the peace at the feel of a pen in my hand, flowing across the paper. I have always known the...
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Fresh Ideas

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 27, 2015
"Ideas won't keep -- something must be done about them." Alfred North Whitehead

I think every creative person learns this...sometimes we learn the hard way, when we have lost an idea and it is seemingly gone forever. The worst thing you can think about an idea is "I don't need to write that down. It's too fantastic an idea to forget." (at best you will remember you had an idea...but that will be the only smoke that remains.) That idea is long gone. (Color Notes on my phone has saved many an idea from this fate and it is absolutely the favorite application I have on my phone. Hands down).

The same truth also happens even after you have captured an idea and...
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Delusions

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 26, 2015
"Delusions of Grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself." Jane Wagner

Where would we be without our delusions...where would we be when someone said, "It's not you; it's me." What would we have to face if not for the comfort of our delusions?

Similar to yesterday's post, I think authors need their delusions. We all want to believe that our story is unique enough to be worth telling, that our characters are unlike any other characters that currently exist in the multitude of fictional worlds that have been published. Ahhhhh sweet delusions.

The reality is there are no original stories...just little twists and turns and minutiae detail that makes this story or that one stand out.

Characters are archetypes. The reluctant hero...the...
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Realism

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 25, 2015
"Realism can break a writer's heart." Salman Rushdie

I much prefer the worlds of the books I create or read to reality. News, social media, conversations; so much negative energy and so much time spent on hurting each other, bringing each other down, lying, cheating, stealing...ugh...no thank you. I will sit over here with my pens and notebooks and just take a bit of a break from reality, thank you. I definitely see this as one way this quote appeals to me.

My goal is to own an island. I want to make a living as an author -- want my books to pay my bills. This is my goal -- an honest to God goal...and also portrays the second way I...
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Books I want to Read

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 24, 2015
"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Toni Morrison

As an author I have always thought that I write stories I want to read with characters I want to meet. There are so many books I want to read that don't exist yet. Lucky for me, I have already started writing them.

I used to think I needed to finish reading every book I had started. Then in an interview I read with Stephen King, he gave all his readers permission to not finish every book they started because there are far too many books out there to waste time on ones we don't enjoy.

When I published Whatever you...
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Marks on my path

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 23, 2015
"No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever." Mauria Francois

It always amazes me how the tapestries of our lives are woven and how you can meet a person and your whole life is instantly changed forever and you can't imagine not having met this person. Your life is forever changed.

We all splash colors or patterns on the canvasses of those we meet. It is as intricate as it is fascinating.

As an author, I am always aware of the moment I meet someone who will add depth to this character or that story. (That probably sounds odd, but I do notice their impact on my personal life as well, though those...
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I'm a real writer (said in Pinocchio's voice)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 22, 2015
"Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day." Norman Mailer

I wrote to this a bit with King's quote as well, but to me, this is just the heart of it. No matter what noun you put in place of "writer." This is the truth. Think about it.

You're a parent.

You're in a relationship.

You are working out. Etc.

You're having a bad day. Do you stop being a parent? No. You still take care of your kids. Do you walk away from your relationship because of a bad day? Hope not. Good relationships are hard to find. Do you quit working out because you are having a bad day? If you are like most people I...
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Sound

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 21, 2015
"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." Elmore Leonard

One of the best tests of my novel writing process is when I get to the final read through.

The novel has been written and edited and put aside to percolate. It has been revised, and polished and by this time, I am better acquainted with my characters than I am with most of my friends and family.

When I get to he final read through -- it is all about how the novel SOUNDS. it is now the work for my ears (well, ear, as my right one just keeps my glasses on). I listen for three specific things:

1. Does this sound like an English teacher wrote it? (Even though I don't...
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My own fan club

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 20, 2015
"You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your side." Anne Lamott

I am ashamed at how long it took me to realize this fact...that I have to trust myself and stand up for myself and go to bat for myself. Seems rather obvious in hindsight, but then almost everything does.

I have a really amazing support system of friends, family, readers, ex-students, etc. I say this not as a brag (humble or otherwise), but to make a point. I have these people who believe in me and support me...who cheer me on and cheer me up...who celebrate my victories and help me to push myself even farther. They are amazing and I absolutely couldn't do...
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Get to work

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 19, 2015
"Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work." Stephen King

If I only wrote when I felt inspired to do so, I would never get anything done...and I am inspired to write quite a bit...there are still a lot of days when I am just not feeling it...where it feels like work...where I would rather do anything else, or nothing else...I know without a doubt, that the days when I want to write the least, are the days when I NEED to write the most...and though it might start out slow going, eventually the words start to trickle out. Maybe it stays a trickle...some days it does. Most days that trickle of...
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SUNSHINE

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 18, 2015
"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow." Helen Keller

AHHhhhhhhh sunshine. Is here any better way to get through a stressful day than going outside and lifting your face to feel the sunshine? I joke with people that I am solar-powered, but the truth of it is I can feel my metaphoric batteries recharging.

Just like watching my cell phone recharge, that little battery getting full one pulse at a time. Sunshine does this for me. I life my face and feel the warmth and just feel the sadness leave my body, the negativity replaced with joy and the fear replaced with hope.

Winter time is tough for me. This year May was tough for me (too many...
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Actions over words

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 17, 2015
"You are what you do, not what you say you'll do." Carl Jung

In everything we do, regardless of whether it is good or bad, productive or destructive, healthy or unhealthy...our actions indicate what kind of person we are.

Any one can make plans. Anyone can talk -- say what they are going to do. You can recognize these people  because their most often repeated phrase is "I'm going to..." (or, "I'm gonna" if you prefer, and can ignore the twitch it causes me.)

As an author, I hear this one a lot (as a teacher, I hear it a lot as well..."I'm going to get caught up"), but as an author, I hear...

"I'm going to start writing after I ____________."

"I'm going to...
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Start living

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 16, 2015
"It's time to start living the life you've imagined." Henry James

Yes. Absolutely. I've been picturing it and dreaming about it and hoping for it...my AUTHOR life (Did you see the clouds open up and the resounding choir of AHHHHHHHH!!!)

The problem that has existed for me was the false assumption that I would have to completely let go of my teacher life in order to be able to embrace my author life...and I wasn't quite ready to do that. Financially, not ready, of course...but also emotionally not ready...and it finally occurred to me that I don't have to let go of one to fully embrace the other. I can have both...for now or forever, however it works out.

I have an amazing...
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SURPRISE

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 15, 2015
"My characters surprise me constantly. My characters are like my friends. I can give them advice, but they don't have to take it. If your characters are real, then they surprise you, just like real people." Laurel K. Hamilton

My characters amaze me and scare me and worry me and delight me. They are full of surprises, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Take Nicholas from Arianna's Honor and Arianna's Destiny. For most of the writing of Honor, I wanted to delete him or go old school Wile E. Coyote and drop an anvil on his head...and then Jake brought out the first of many of Prince Nicholas' redeeming qualities. So I didn't delete him...not that Arianna would have let me...
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Getting it all the way done

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 14, 2015
"Here's the secret to finishing that first book. Don't rewrite as you go." Lauren K. Hamilton Absolutely. Hands down. Some of the best advice I have ever learned. There are people who write a chapter, then edit, then write a chapter, then edit, etc. I could never make any actual progress with this start-stop, traffic jam approach to writing? It works for others and I think that is great for them. But knowing me...I would write chapter one and then edit chapter one and then edit chapter one and then edit chapter one and never actually get to chapter two. So I really take Laurel K. Hamilton's advice to heart and I just keep plowing through--knowing my rough draft is going...
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Critics...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 13, 2015
"If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you." Natalie Goldberg I do believe I have battled and defeated this particular demon. I know my stories will not appeal to everyone and critics can tell me something doesn't work at all and I can learn from this advice and become stronger as a writer. Of course external critics are (even at their worst) far kinder than my internal critics, which are absolutely brutal. I used to never want to finish things because that would mean I could, and would, be judged and the critics I knew most intimately (those inside my head) were absolutely terrifying. Then I realized that they weren't so...
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Writing Time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 12, 2015
"When writing a novel, that is pretty much entirely what life turns into. House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day." Neil Gaiman

Ah truer words...is there anything better than a writing zone where you are aware of exactly nothing around you. Earthquakes could happen and as long as it didn't make me spill my coffee on my draft, I would probably not notice at all. (I say this living in the Mid-West where earthquakes are not our natural disaster typically).

I have been in good writing zones where for days I don't shower, I barely sleep, I eat only what can be devoured with my with my left...
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FINISH!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 11, 2015
"Write. Finish what you write. Keep writing." Neil Gaiman

It really changed everything for me when I published Whatever You Make of It as a finished, published book. I not only knew I wanted to make a living as an author, but also, I realized the power of finishing things. On top of that, I learned the importance of keeping the cycle going so I always had writing on my plate.

I have heard of authors who only work on one project at a time, which I look at with mixed feelings. On one hand, wow...what is it like to have that kind of focus? To have only one plot line -- one cast of characters...in your head at one time. No potential...
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Positive conspiracy

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 10, 2015
"Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." Ralph Waldo Emerson

This has proven itself true over and over again in my life. It amazes me every time...and every time it happens, I am extremely grateful.

I read a book by Henriette Klauser called Write it Down; Make it Happen. It talked about how the universe wants us to have the positive things we want, wants us to accomplish our goals that promote happiness and positive energy. The universe wants to help us, but we need to be specific in our requests, because the universe is rather literal.

I have decided I want to be a full-time author and the universe has made sure I have a teaching job...
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Never too old (30 days of Blogging 2015)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 09, 2015
"You are never too old to be what you might have been." George Eliot

I love teaching. For almost 19 years I have loved teaching (or at least I have loved it far more days than I have not loved it...which is about the best you can hope for, for any career).

I love being an author. I love talking to people about my characters and my novels. Love when people who existed only in my head suddenly exist for other people as well.

This quote by George Eliot brings me comfort. I didn't miss the party. I'm not too late to improve my health or my finances. I'm not too late too pursue a relationship. I'm not too late to pursue a...
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I have a plan (30 days of blogging 2015)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 08, 2015
"A goal without a plan is just a wish." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When people tell me they have always wanted to write a book, I tell them "THAT IS GREAT!!! What's your game plan to get this done?" Then I get that blank stare like I asked them how to get to Sesame Street.

Before I finished Whatever you Make of It, I was completely all over the place with my writing. I didn't have a game plan at all. (Think Pheobe on Friends, "I don't even have a pl---"). I just wrote whatever I felt like and claimed that was my free spirit and no one could tame my spirit. I just wanted to write -- arms flying in the air, spinning around...
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No excuses

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 07, 2015
"Begin while others make excuses. Keep going while others are quitting." Billy Cox

People ask me how I can teach full time (which I love) and write every day and I shrug and say "I just do."

People make time for what is important to them and things that aren't important, get excuses for why they aren't getting done. (It seems this is also true for people who are or are not important to another person, but that's for a different forum).

I know people who work a full time job and run miles every day. Or work full time and go to school. Or work full time and are single parents who still go to their kids games...or whatever it is that...
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What works...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 06, 2015
"Trust that still small voice that says 'this might work.'" Diane Marie Child

I have learned to trust that still small voice. My learning of that lesson has come from me being SURE I knew what to write next, which resulted in a lot of scratch outs and crumpled pieces of paper until I finally put the novel aside and worked on something else -- something that feels more natural -- walking through waves that hit my ankles instead of what I was trying before which was walking through waves that were taller than me.

Every time that still small voice has said 'this might work,' the idea has ABSOLUTELY worked and has been EXACTLY what was needed to move the story along...
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Let Go (30 Days of Blogging 2015)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 05, 2015
"Learn to Let Go. That is the key to happiness." Buddha

Of all the lessons I have learned, this one is perhaps the greatest one I have ever learned, forgotten, was reminded of, relearned, forgot again, was reminded of again, and now remember on an almost daily basis (I'm a work in progress, what can I say.)

Let go.

Breathe.

Focus on the those things I can actually control, which is far far fewer things than I was obsessing over.

Let them go.

I can't control other people's actions or feelings or issues.

Let it go.

You can't control when things happen.

Let them go.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Let go.

Let go of what did or did not get done yesterday or two days ago, a decade ago.

Make today count.

Let go of...
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Intuition (30 days of blogging 2015)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 04, 2015
"Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way." Ray Bradbury

I waste a lot of time trying to force things to happen before it's time for them to work out naturally. I am so sure I know what's best, that I end up stuck, metaphorically spinning my wheels. I want to start Chapter 21 like THIS and then I stare at the blank page and frown and draw my doodles (the full range of my drawing ability -- fat cats, boxes, uneven stick people, and daisy-like flowers).

Later on, (sometimes later that day, sometimes later that week...sometimes a painful month later -- usually somewhere in between) I will get the perfect idea for Chapter 21 and the pen...
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No way to fail...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 03, 2015
"You fail only if you stop writing." Ray Bradbury

In general, I don't take well to failing in any aspect of my life...it's just not in my comfort zone...and with writing??? Forget about it...I keep writing. I write through my sorrow and my joy. I write when I'm happy, sad, frustrated, confused, peaceful, chaotic. The times when I am not actually writing, you can bet I'm thinking about writing, eavesdropping on conversations for dialogue. I am watching how people interact, making mental (or actual) notes about their positive and negative nonverbal communication.

I have over 30 fiction novels and nonfiction projects started...they are either 5 chapters deep (for the novels) or are outlined in depth (for the nonfiction). These are the ones...
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Ambition (30 days of blogging 2015)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 02, 2015
Edgar Bergen "Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy."

I often find myself wondering what non-authors do on Sundays. What do people do who aren't writing every free minute of their lives? Who aren't working a full-time job they love and then putting in another 30 hours into a part-time "job" they also love, when that 2nd job doesn't currently pay the bills, but is hopefully paving the way for a future as an author.

I have had to teach myself that it's okay to have a lazy day once in a while -- that it is healthy and actually helps with productivity to take a few hours, an entire day, or even an entire weekend...
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Writing about other people (30 days of Blogging, 2015)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 01, 2015
(So for this year's 30 days of blogging, I will be responding to a quote every day...mostly ones about writing...since that is what I find myself talking about and thinking about more than anything these days).

"Unless something has gone disastrously wrong, other people aren't that interesting to write about." Margaret Atwood

If I had a nickel for every person who, upon learning I'm an author, tells me "you should write MY life story...talk about INSTANT bestseller," I would have a sock full of nickels. I smile and tell them if they should write their story as I am sure I could not do it justice. Cut out the middle man, you know? And while I am not sure what I would do...
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40 years of Fabulous

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 31, 2015
Yesterday was my 40th birthday and from beginning of day until day's end, I had an amazing day. I started my day with writing and ended it with drinking with friends. So Happy 4th decade to me!!

I am so excited about this new chapter of my life. I have learned so much about so many things in the time I have spent teaching, writing, living...and I am POSITIVE the lessons of all my yesterdays will continue to shape and play a role in my present and future.

I am not who I was 10 years ago...I'm not who I was 5 years ago...not even one year ago. I have a clearer view of what I want in my life as well...
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And back at it...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 29, 2015
Wherever my "laurels" are, you won't catch me resting on them for long. I could get too used to weekends of video games and movies far too easily (I miss World of Warcraft so much...LAN parties and crap food and all my guys in one place...sigh) Yeah, I could go back to that world too easily. But as odd as it sounds, there is no future for me in video games (trust me, I have checked this a LOT to make sure it's true)...there IS however, a future for me in my novels, so it's back to "work" (I have to put it in quotes...I enjoy every painful and fun part of it too much to really think of it...
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Ahhhhh....

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 28, 2015
There's always a breath of relaxation after I have clicked send. After the novel is released into the world and I know, finally, I can't change another damn thing or find ONE more excuse.

BOOM -- Broken Trust is getting printed and bound and eformatted and all of it is blissfully, beautifully, ABSOLUTELY out of my hands. (It's interesting...one of the rare moments my control issues are quiet is this one. This one perfect moment of peace)

Broken Trust is done. I can take this one off of my "to be published" pile and per her on my (significantly smaller) DONE pile...I can't add a scene or delete a scene or fix an error. I can't change her beginning for a 7th time...any...
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"Birth" announcement

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 27, 2015
Name: Broken Trust

Date: 22 May 2015

Page length: 382

Word count: 104,040

I would like to announce the publication of my 4th novel, Broken Trust. This novel joins its siblings, Whatever you Make of It (2011), Arianna's Honor (2012), and Arianna's Destiny (2014).

Broken Trust  will be available in paperback or ebook formats and can be purchased from me or from amazon.com (ebooks will be available on all ebook formats). I will update as they become printed and e-formatted.

Please join me in welcoming her to my other published novels.  
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Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo 2015

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 19, 2015
Yes, I know it's May, and I also know that NaNoWriMo isn't until November, but my calendar seems to be in fast forward mode. This year my NaNo project will be called Don't Let Go and was inspired by the simple image of two young girls holding hands and jumping into a pool (this was when I went to visit my parents in Florida this past February).

Last year three things contributed to my first successful NaNo:

One was having multiple scheduled writing times with Lisa Mandina, where we kept each other accountable.

Two was having an "outline"for Driven West so I knew at least the general direction of where I was going.

Three was the random prompts I had written before hand for Driven West. (Monica...
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In my Head...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 14, 2015
So it is officially 8 days until I click SEND on Broken Trust, and give the world the chance to meet Sam, my beautiful mess of an artist, Ben, my detail-oriented architect, and Ali, my eclectic music store owner (who gets even more attention in the sequel, Redeeming Trust, due out this fall).

My head right now reminds me of a high school student right before the musical or play was about to be performed. Like I am going through my work day and getting my to-do list tasks done, but mentally I am going over the things I need to do before it's curtain time.

My characters are all over the place in my head. There is, of course the nervous energy of...
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Timing is everything

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 10, 2015
It always AMAZES me how things happen right when they are supposed to. I was thinking about this with multiple aspects of my life, but for the sake of consistency, I will stick to my writing for my examples.

I started writing Crusin for Love over a decade ago. My beautiful and insightful Brenda who has a dating service on a cruise ship. She has an intuition about people what they are truly looking for in love, but is too focused on everyone else to recognize when Nick (whose name is now Gavin, I believe) walks into her life as EXACTLY what she is looking for in love.

But I have put this novel on the back burner for quite some time now,...
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Letting Go when the novel is DONE

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 07, 2015
Before I clicked send on my first novel, Whatever you Make of It, I held onto it, probably for an extra month or two, fretting and changing a word here and a sentence there - I was so scared to let go. And then a dear friend of mine (who keeps pushing me to make it a series) told me "She's ready. It's time." And her words sunk  in, and in a sense, gave me permission to send my first novel out into the world.

The process hasn't gotten all that much easier and I still get myself into quite  a frenzy when it gets close to time to send a novel off, which in all honesty, is ALL that I want...
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Making him proud...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 02, 2015
So today marks the 5th year he's been gone...one of my best friends, who I loved enough to say "maybe" when he mentioned is having kids. (those of you who know me, understand how huge that is). He was the one who made me take action on the claim I have made for as long as I can remember. "I want to be an author." And he said, "So do it." And it was EXACTLY the green light of  permission I needed. So many people have said the same thing to me...but maybe 5 years ago, it was the right time to hear it or maybe it was the exact tone of voice, HIS voice...Whatever it was, it finally clicked....
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May Goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 01, 2015
1. Click send on Broken Trust

2. Change around my place to make to make it feel more like home.

3. Go for a walk every day it is possible.

4. Begin work on 2nd draft of Redeeming Trust, the sequel to Broken Trust.

5. Continue to make progress on Lucky Charms series.

6. Continue to work on becoming healthier in all aspects of my life.

7. Make progress on nonfiction projects.

8. Continue to work on being a better teacher.

9. Read more books.

And because I had to have 10, Hit 40 years old with a smile on my face (and a drink in my hand).
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Thinking about April

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 30, 2015
Holy Blogging Batman! I actually completed a blogging challenge. (I evidently did it according to my own rules, but that is pretty par for the course for me.)

I enjoyed the challenge. I obviously enjoyed the Alphabetical aspect of the challenge. I also enjoyed sharing what I have learned about the writing process as I have grown as a writer these past 5 years. I have written my whole life, but it wasn't until 5 years ago that I began to seriously consider finishing and publishing my writing.

In addition to completing the A-Z blog challenge, I worked on getting Broken Trust closer to clicking send. (I ran into a plot challenge and then some emotional not mention sinus blocks).

I tried to get...
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zzzzz's -- why sleep is an important part of the process (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 29, 2015
Sleep is an important part of the writing process for a few reasons.

**As with every problem in our lives, our subconscious is there to give us an assist. Our sleep allows our minds to rest and our dreams (whether we remember them or not) helps us to figure things out.

There have been so man times I have been stuck on how to start a chapter, so I put it down and worked on something else, so I am still making progress. When I am deep into my sleeping time, I will get a whisper of a "how about we start chapter 27 like this" NOTE -- these revelations usually happen around 2 in the morning. WRITE IT DOWN. Trust me...
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Yesterday-- how to stop beating yourself up for what you didn't do (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 28, 2015
I used to do this all the time until I realized "But that was yesterday...and yesterday's gone" (Chad and Jeremy, "Yesterday's Gone").

Nothing productive comes from bemoaning what did or did not get done yesterday...all you are doing is eating away today and at the end of this you will have two days with no progress made and that is indeed a slippery slope in the worst possible direction. (This is true with anything -- eating healthy, moving on from something unhealthy, working out, etc). "Well I didn't _________ yesterday, might as well call this week, month, year a total wash."

I make a word count goal for each month. It's 30,000, which for April (easy math) is a nice 1,000 words...
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Xciting -- the best part of the writing process (A-Z Blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 27, 2015
I apologize for the cheat...but it's hard to find a legitimate X word for the writing process.

The exciting part of the writing process is the writing zone where you aren't aware at all of the world around you or the chaos inside you. Where all you know is words on page, words on page, words on page -- where your pen flies across the paper (or your fingers fly on the keyboard) and you aren't even aware of how much time has passed until you stretch and your body creaks in protest and you realize you really need to use the restroom and more than likely eat something and what day is it and how is it 6pm.

It's a really...
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Writing -- How to make yourself Just DO IT (A-Z Blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 25, 2015
I have a cold. I have a messy house. I need to study. I need to wash my hair, the dog, my goat. I need to sleep. There is a new episode of Chopped on TV. I have kids to take care of. I need to hem these pants. I have a job. I need to go to the gym.

I am right there with you -- our lives are busy. We all have things we need to do, want to do, have to make ourselves want to do...and it can be overwhelming.

If writing is important to you, you need to find a way to get it on your to-do list. We make time for things that are important to us....
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Voice - how to find it; how to own it (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 24, 2015
One of the best compliments I heard about Whatever you Make of It was that it sounded like me. Alternately, one of the comments I would write most often on my student's papers was "this doesn't sound like you. I need more YOU in this paper." In my experience, as an author and a teacher, we only find our voice by writing. Writing a LOT. Writing more.  Writing a LOT more. Then doing some writing. Read it. Write some more. We develop our voice by putting words down on paper. By developing a relationship with those words and by having a lot of practice. "Is this something this character would say" is just as important as "does this come naturally for...
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Ugly Personalities -- why are they needed; what to avoid (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 23, 2015
Some characters are not bad guys per se, but they are incredibly unlikable. (They exist in real life too) People who are not evil, but their personalities are just not attractive at all.

I struggled with this concept in my current project, Broken Trust. There are a few characters, who in my mind, have no "good" qualities. They don't grow. They don't see the error of their ways...they don't learn their lessons and promise to be better people. Their hearts don't grow three sizes -- they stay the same as they were in the beginning and I am 84.3% (made up statistic) sure these people will be the exact same in the sequel as well. I hesitated a bit when deciding this.

I am...
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Talking about your work -- when to do it; when to stop (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 22, 2015
I was thinking about this when a friend was showing me pictures  of their nes baby, because in some ways it is a lot like having a new book or project. Some people are really excited about what you are sharing and some people are just being polite...pay attention to nonverbals, as with everything. Your book is exciting! Amazing! Fascinating! Awesome! Impressive! Intoxicating! Unbelievable! A REALLYA BIG DEAL! And all of these things are true...to you. Just keep in mind that not everyone is as excited about your novel as you are. I have been pretty open about the fact that I am an author and a teacher...so people tend to ask me about both, which is always nice. I...
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Setting --What to include; what to leave out (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 21, 2015
This is a point of disagreement among writers and readers and as with everything I have written about the writing process, take what you can use and put aside the rest.

Some readers and writers LOVE setting description (same with character description). I tried to get through a book that had spent 4 pages describing a tree. Not a magic tree, not even an all that spectacular of a tree (I don't really remember...it was 4 pages...about a tree). I know what trees are...I have one right outside.

Some people like this much detail. They like to check facts and pull out an atlas or google and trace the route the hero has taken and I LOVE those detail-oriented people and the...
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Revising - how it is different than editing (A-Z Blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 20, 2015
So I talked about editing-- with the colorful pens and critics invited in and all of us going through the draft with a fine-toothed comb, looking at grammar and consistency and does this need to be taken out or added to. Revising is another beast entirely. By this time in the process, I have written the first draft, it has been typed and marked through and all changes have been typed. The draft is printed and now is the time to look at the beginning, the middle, and the ending. Is the beginning of the story strong enough... **I personally give a book I am reading 3 chapters (this is also what a lot of agents look for with a query)....
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Quicksand - how to get out of it (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 19, 2015
(this was originally going to be Quirks, but yesterday's blog had me changing my mind.) So it has happened with every novel I have gotten past chapter 10...you are writing along and all of a sudden you notice your words and thoughts appear to be moving more and more slowly until you are literally. forcing. one. word. after. another. across. the. page. It is agony to keep going but you are afraid if you stop completely, you won't ever get started again. I hate to say it, friend, but your novel is in quicksand (or the Doldrums if you are in Norman Jester's Phantom Tollbooth). Now, usually my novels find the quicksand anywhere from Chapter 12 to about Chapter 20. It's...
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Pancakes, etc. -how to fuel the process(A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 18, 2015
Being a writer when the inspiration is there is the best that it gets. You are living in a Disney movie, the gods are shining down on you, life had never been more beautiful as the words dance across the page. These are the best days...and they are as exhilarating add they are exhausting. What (in my mind) separates the writers from the wannabees (sorry) are all the other days. The days where you would rather regrout your shower then write a single word...where you question your existence as a writer and feel your true calling is a snail salesman. These are the days to call in the reinforcements. You have to find whatever it takes to get you writing. You...
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Outlines -how they help; how they could hinder (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 17, 2015
Okay, I feel I need to once again apologize to my English teacher friends, but I avoided outlining my novels because of the official outline rules...the Roman numerals and the precise spacing -- the concrete rule that you can't have a 1 without a 2 or an A without a B. For me, trying to put a creative novel inthat rigid of a structure...well it's like telling a creative person to try to "act normal and fit in" Sorry but that sounds absolutely dreadful. This past October,to get readyfor NaNoWriMo, my writing and accountability partner and I both did outlines to keep is motivated...and I fell in love with the idea of the outline...but MY outline. My outline still allows...
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Names of characters -- how to pick 'em, when to change 'em (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 16, 2015
Naming my characters is one of the more difficult parts of the writing process. Some characters just walk up to me and introduce themselves. Arianna from Arianna's Honor and Arianna's Destiny introduced herself before the novel even started. "I'm Arianna Collins. You can call me Ari -- those closest to me do." The prince she was supposed to rescue changed his name 4 times throughout the first novel before he settled on Nicholas...he was a bit of spoiled piece of royalty at the beginning of things. It's really nice when the characters introduce themselves during roll call.

When I have to pick the name for them, I grab my well-used Baby name book and I start the process. (There is also an app...
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Messy parts of the process (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 15, 2015
Ernest Hemingway said, "the first draft of anything is shit." He was absolutely right. My first drafts are (as they should be) messy and all over the place. They are all beautiful disasters and that is at the best of all writing times, when the words just pour out of me ..where my editor and critics are all out drink Jack Daniels and my characters are acting out the scenes and the pen I am using better be smooth or they will be thrown away. It's just words across a page and keep the hell up to get everything written down. Don't think, don't edit, and for the love of all the chocolate in the world, don't break the flow. Wrong...
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Love scenes -- what to keep in mind, what to keep out (A-Z Blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 14, 2015
the most important thing I can say about writing love scenes is to get that person out of your head. You know the person I mean...the one you would be mortified to discuss sex with...you know...you mom, your dad, your grandmother, your pastor/priest, etc. Get them out of your head if you are going to write about your characters having sex. Give your characters the privacy and respect they deserve (this will allow your readers to be voyeurs later on).

The problem with keeping in your head people you are embarrassed to talk about sex around is that it's even harder to write about it, because there it is in black and white -- you writing about something you can't even...
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Killing off Characters --when it's needed, when it's not (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 13, 2015
Different authors have different feelings about this and as with everything I have said and will say about the writing process, you have to find what works for you. Think about books you have read where characters have been killed off...did you feel cheated? Was the author doing it just to do it, or was there a reason for that character's death?

I have talked about the necessity of bad guys in novels and oftentimes, they are behind the killing off of the characters. When you're writing, when things are in your control, ask yourself...is the bad guy killing of this character to move the plot forward? Do the actions of the antagonist or nature or whatever did the killing, have...
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Jac and Jyn (my first fictional characters) (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 12, 2015
**I missed yesterday...too much going on...but I am lucky there are more days in April than there are letters in the alphabet.**

We all remember our first love, first real heart break, first time we fell down, first time we...well, I think we get the picture.

Jac and Jyn were my first fictional characters to send out into the world. They were in Whatever you Make of It and no matter what, they will always get the honor of being my first published "children."

Before I clicked SEND on my first novel, before I introduced Jac and Jyn to the world, I worried and fretted and was just so very nervous. What happened if I clicked SEND and people thought Jac was a jerk...
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Ideas --How to find 'em and make 'em grow (A-Z) blog

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 10, 2015
Orson Scott Card said, "Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any." People tell me all the time how they want to write, but they don't know what to write about (Having taught every kind of writing for almost 19 ears, I can't even tell you how many people are SURE they have nothing to write about). If I lived to be 1000 years old, I could never write about every idea I have and that is only considering the ideas I have in my head right now.

I see ideas everywhere. I overhear a snippet of conversation and put it in ColorNotes,...
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Hero/Heroine -- What they need (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 09, 2015
So I touched on this a bit when I wrote about bad guys, but I wanted to give our protagonists their due. They are, after all, why we read as many novels as we do. We want the protagonist to win. Want him/her/them to conquer their demons (literal or metaphorical, depending on your genre and story). We want the hero to save the day, rescue a love, save the children, rescue the puppies...whatever it is we need our heroes to do.

As important as it is for you to have writing goals, it is equally as important for your protagonist to have goals. What do they want out of life? What is preventing them from getting it? What can they do...
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Goals -- How to make em and keep em (A-Z blogs)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 08, 2015
For me, what really separated my writing from being a hobby to being a calling and career (it gets closer with every book I finish), were the goals I began making for myself. Other people may have other distinctions, but for me, it was all about the goals.

For example:

Hobby I should do some writing this weekend.

Career: I will write a chapter on Driven West this weekend.

Hobby: Let's see, do I want to so some writing or would I rather play some Final Fantasy.

Career: As a reward for finishing editing chapters 1-5 of Redeeming Trust, I will play Final Fantasy for an hour.

(I think you get the point).

Different people set different types of goals for themselves and it's a trial and error process to see...
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Favoritism -- it's impossible to avoid (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 07, 2015
Arianna Collins from my novels Arianna's Honor and Arianna's Destiny will always be my favorite character (shhhh...don't tell my other characters).

Okay, I know...we aren't really supposed to admit we have favorites. Parents are supposed to love all of the children the same amount and teachers are supposed to be completely unbiased and totally objective about all of their students. (I am not a parent, but trust me after 18 1/2 years of teaching, I definitely have some favorite and not-so-favorite students).

So Arianna is my favorite character. Those of you who have read her, might understand why. Then again, you might not.

One of the best parts of the writing process is I get to write characters who do things I could never do...they...
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Editing -- Break out those colorful pens (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 06, 2015
Ah editing...the cruelest part of the writing process...necessary evil...so very necessary and so very evil.

When I am writing, the critics in my head go out to do whatever it is that critics do -- they get a bad rap, but I like to think they are at a spa or retreat or something and not out kicking puppies or throwing rocks at baby birds. All I know for sure, is when I am writing the first draft, the critics are blissfully quiet or not present at all.

I don't edit until I finish a draft. (I do not believe in the edit-as-you-go philosophy as I have never really gotten anywhere in stop-and-go traffic and the same applies for writing.) I like...
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Dialogue --Keep it Real (A-Z Blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 05, 2015
If you have ever had a conversation with me or around me, you may have noticed that some of the time (most of the time if I am being honest) I get this far-away look on my face and I'm reaching for my phone (I have found that using ColorNotes is far less rude than taking out my pen and paper). I promise I am giving our conversation as much concentration as I can. But I am also always sorting out dialogue for a current or future novel.

Dialogue has to sound like people actually sound when they talk. The only way to keep your reader enthralled in your book and forgetting about the real world is to help them forget...
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Characterization -- Make them Real (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 03, 2015
One of the best compliments I have heard about my characters recently was that they seem so real, my reader wished she could invite them out to lunch. I just smiled and said "thank you. They would love to go to lunch with you."

The best thing about publishing my novels (Whatever you Make of It, Arianna's Honor,  and  Arianna's Destiny...soon to be joined by Broken Trust at the end of this month) is that characters that have been real in my head for years are now allowed to be real for other people as well. The best thing to hear is that I have been successful at taking them out of my head and putting them down on paper in ways that...
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Bad Guys -- How to write them (A-Z blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 03, 2015
In some of the 'how to write" books I have read there is usually some advice about what to keep in mind about your book's antagonist...so here are my thoughts based on fiction I have read and written.

1. Some people in fiction (and in real life) are just evil.

While it's nice to think that everyone has some redeeming qualities and if you just polish them up some, they will reveal their inner gem. Some times this is true...sometimes, no matter how much work you put in, they are still just the same ole rock (I feel as if I am giving some relationship advice as well here). To make your characters real -- sometimes bad guys are just rotten to...
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Addiction to Writing -- Just Embrace It (A-Z Blog)

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 02, 2015
Hi, my name is Michelle, and it's been three minutes since I have written, talked about writing, or thought about writing (at any given moment one or more of those is always true). "HI Michelle"

Now, of course, I know that an addiction to writing is not the same as what most people think of when they hear the word addiction, and I mean no disrespect to anyone who has worked through or is working through any harmful addiction. In all honesty, my need to write has helped me to have more understanding for other addiction (an understanding I have truly needed to be able to heal from past hurts). As soon as I started writing every day, I understood needing a...
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A to Z Blogs

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 01, 2015
So April is the month for A-Z blogs and they are supposed to be thematic...the theme I have picked is the Writing Process. Other people have other things that work for them, and I learn from them and try new things all the time. (which is always the best part) This is the process that works for me. I hope you enjoy my month of blogging, and I hope you find my process to be helpful. As a sneak peak, and to keep me on track, here is how I broke down the alphabet: Writing Process... Addiction to writing (just embrace it) Bad guys (how to write them) Characterization (make them real) Dialogue (keeping it real) Editing (get out that colorful pen) Favoritism (it's impossible to avoid) Goals...
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March reflection

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 31, 2015
So for those of you paying attention, I have a word count goal and a miles walked goal for each month (30,000 words and 50 miles respectively). This month I got to 21596 words and 34 miles. So still making progress and still have progress to be made. I am also proud to report, in the month of February, I had one pop and in the month of March, I had one pop. (For those of you who know me, you know this is kind of a big deal as I am absolutely a Coca-Cola addict).

Also this month, I have made progress on different projects, got my house a bit organized, and am reassessing my finances to make everything I...
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My Roots are Showing

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 29, 2015
Don't worry...my hair is fine. I still make sure to keep it blonde.

Recently, one of my closest friends, who is as amazing a writer as she is a person, recently, she followed her heart and moved to Texas. I couldn't be happier for her finally embracing her true geographic destiny. She is living FEARLESS and I couldn't be more excited or more proud of her.

Her move got me thinking about my geographic "home" and I was actually surprised at what I realized. I have always called Chicago home and have always just thought that Kansas City was just a place I was passing through. I have moved around the Kansas City area more times than I can count...those of you...
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The Trouble with Time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 27, 2015
As I write this, I have seven drafts of novels that are "done" enough for me to move them from the "to be written" pile to the "To Be Revised" pile (and of course, makes room for more novel ideas to be put in the "To Be Written" pile, but before I do that -- keep in mind friends, I have over 25 novels that are just in the "started" phase -- just a chapter or two on each of them) so before I take an idea and give it some chapters to go into the "To Be Written" pile, I need to take some of those seven drafts and take them from the "To Be Revised" pile to the...
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Holcruxes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 24, 2015
Okay -- I'm going to Harry Potter-geek out for a minute, but after watching the set of movies again this past weekend (let's not concern ourselves with how many times I have watched the series).

So Voldemort (look at me, so bravely saying his name) discovered he could stretch his soul and put parts of his soul in various objects with the idea that he could then never be killed. (Spoiler alert -- he was wrong.)

Now He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named (let's not tempt fate) had to kill people to stretch his soul. I have never killed anyone (well...fictionally I have, but that is an occupational hazard), but I still feel that I have holcruxes...I feel that every novel I have published, every draft I...
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Ah...Spring...fickle fickle girl

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 23, 2015
So Friday was the first day of Spring for 2015 and I have to say, it was the perfect example of what the first day of Spring should always be...the kind of day I would put in any novel that had its setting during Spring. It was in the 50s, sunny, windy, and just all-around yummy.

It should be a rule that the first day of Spring is not only a National holiday, but also has to be sunny and spring-like. think about how great that would be -- we all had a day to just pause from our busy lives and just enjoy the sunshine. More than likely, I would fill my day off with writing just as others would,...
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small victories...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 15, 2015
Sometimes I get so anxious I can hardly take a full, deep breath. Writing always helps me with this. Some people also help...they bring out a calm that I want to just bottle it up (which seems a better alternative than kidnapping them). Today and yesterday, I have had so much productivity and each day I have written over 2500 words each day...I have gotten up early and stayed up late, organizing and writing, planning and reading and it has been amazing.

Today's anxiety was from getting over stimulated with all of my projects. It's usually pretty chaotic in my mind, but there is normally some organization in my chaos. This weekend with all of the progress I made all over...
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Cautiously Optimistic

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 12, 2015
Sometimes things make sense and you have a good overall feeling about them. Maybe it's sending a novel to my reader and my editor...and maybe it's having a beer with a friend...maybe it's having a job that you appreciate that reciprocates that appreciation...maybe it's deciding you're not afraid to take that next step and knowing that you are headed in the right direction because it all makes sense.

I turn 40 in a couple of months and in my time on this planet I have learned that some times things are going in the right direction and you have to just ride it out and trust in things and people. It's hard to do...sometimes it's hard to do with the fictional...
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Taking a breather

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 10, 2015
So...I sent Broken Trust to my reader and to my editor this afternoon and I was so excited to send it off...on one hand it means the novels gets one step closer to being out into the world. On the other hand...I get a breather for a few days. I have been so focused on editing this novel and getting Ben to be stronger as a character and the plot overall to be stronger. I have written a tiny bit on future projects, but it had been minimal to get Broken Trust ready to go. I won't give myself much down time...too many other projects to rest for long. I can't afford to lose any momentum. But tonight...I will sit back...
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doing something right...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 09, 2015
Robert Frost said, "No tears in the author; no tears in the reader. No surprise in the author; no surprise in the reader."

I think this is absolutely true...I have always said that I write novels I would l like to read with characters I would like to meet. And so far...I have.

It's always a mystery to me...the process that I go through...there are times when I am writing the first draft and I am not even aware of the words I am putting on the page. My characters act out the scene in my mind and I just work to keep up...These are the scenes that I very seldom have to change much on in the revising/editing phase...and I love these...
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Broken Trust Update

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 08, 2015
So I have been working hard to type the edits of Broken Trust that I made. The changes I made were to have a stronger male character...Ben. I liked Ben as I like all of my characters, but he left me wondering if he was good enough for Sam. She was strong and really deserved a love that would inspire her art. He wasn't there...he wasn't strong enough, he wasn't brave enough...he just wasn't "enough" for her. Sam was strong. Ali is so strong she barely stays on the page, and I can't wait to take her story on in Redeeming Trust, which is my next revision project, after I get Broken Trust out into the world.

I have typed through chapter...
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Unfinished Business

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 07, 2015
So right now, I am plagued with unfinished business. I have so many projects in various states of "not done" and while this is a pretty common state of existence for me, sometimes it bothers me more than others. Sometimes I am content with the idea that I am making continual progress, that I am getting things closer to completion, and that I am doing the best I can each day. I thrive on the chaos because I never get bored. Believe me...I am not a good person to have bored...not that I allow it to happen much, if at all.

Right now I have 97 books that I haven't read on my Kindle...this is not to mention the books I...
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March! March! March!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 01, 2015
I was really hoping if I said it three times, it would be like Beetlejuice, and the spring would just appear. But I still see snow outside, so evidently it didn't work.

This month, my number one goal is publishing Broken Trust. It is rewritten...it is revised. I am this much closer to clicking SEND on novel number four. I have to type my changes, give my book to my two readers (one for content, one for grammar), tweak my cover to what is needed for BookBaby. After all the changes are made, I click SEND and presto chango...Broken Trust is out for the world to get to know Ben, the architect and Sam, the paint-splattered artist. We also get to...
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35 miles, 18,185 words...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 28, 2015
My title sounds a bit like a country song. "I've walked 35 miles, written 18,000 words, and I'm still not over you." (I know a typical country song might have 'ain't over you,' but I can only do so much. So this year I made myself a resolution to walk a minimum of 50 miles a month and to write at least 30,000 words. This is to ensure constant progress is made. February is always simultaneously the longest and shortest month and this February has been no exception. Added to normal February issues, this "winter" has been ridiculous with its extreme weather changes and temperature ranges. My sinuses have not been happy. I am not making excuses...I am quite happy with...
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K.I.S.S

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 25, 2015
No...I'm not becoming a Gene Simmons fan, nor am I offering to kiss everyone, sorry, I know that is disappointing. Keep It Simple, Stupid is an acronym that to me, completely helps explain Occam's Razor (the simplest solution is usually the right one...I'm paraphrasing, but you get the gist).

I am working on simplifying my life. I am keeping a balance between my two professions (both of which I love and need at the moment)...my teaching life is strong and my students keep telling me they like what I'm doing. My author life is also strong and Broken Trust  will be out sometime next month. But I need to simplify. I need to look at things (and people) in my life and...
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Continued Progress

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 09, 2015
"I am a slow walker, but I never walk back." Abraham Lincoln

So, as of today I am still pop free...3 weeks and counting. I did smell a friend's pop the other day, but didn't take a drink. I have started walking, slowly but surely, making progress. My goal is 50 miles a month...so far this month, I have about 6...but it's a start.

And I am now through chapter 27 of Broken Trust and I have to say...it's a much stronger story now than it was before. I have learned a lot in the 3 novels I have published and with each novel I complete, the process becomes easier, the progress becomes more steady and consistent, and I know more of what...
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Domino effect

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 02, 2015
So the editing phase of Broken Trust has begun and as I have known for awhile now, it needed a stronger beginning. One that would really grab hold of my readers and not let go...and I also know that one of my male main characters needed to be stronger. Ben...whom I of course still loved, was a little flat. I needed people to understand why he would choose the things he chose and to understand his motivation and I don't think that was clear how the story first existed. The interesting thing about changing the beginning of a novel...is the domino effect. When you change something in chapter one, it changes an action in chapter two, a conversation in chapter...
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Making Changes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 26, 2015
So last week I gave up pop and started online dating (again). I am making some changes in my life because it's time to do so. Every time I write the year, 2015, it pops into my head that I was born in 1975, and while I am not a math person, even I can do that math. I have taught for 18 years now and while I have found a school I love teaching for, I also made a rather large change in my life in 2011, when I published Whatever you Make of It, and then again in 2012 when I published Arianna's Honor, and yup, you guessed it, last year when I published Ari's sequel, Arianna's Destiny. My life is...
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Keeping it Real

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 25, 2015
So today, on page 3 of Chapter 28 of Driven West, I dropped the F-Bomb. Those of you who know me, should realize how huge this is...for those of you who don't know me, it's kind of a big deal...big enough to mention it here at least...it's the first time I have put it in a novel, and while it is not the last time I will use it, to be sure, as I have so many more novels left to write, but the first time for each new thing is definitely noteworthy.

One thing I have learned as an author is that I have to be true to my character and my stories. If that means writing a sex scene, then...
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Living Alone

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 20, 2015
Last night a sinus migraine knocked me down and I was in bed by 8 p.m. (It's a painful, but small price to pay for 60 degree weather in January -- and I'm not at all complaining about the warmth or the sunshine -- Please Mr. Sunshine, don't leave us!!!) My migraine medicine finally erased all of the misery and I woke up at 4:00 ready to write a bit before logging in for my workday. As I went downstairs to make the pop-tart and coffee for my writing time, I realized that A) I have a tendency to turn on lights as I go, and B) it's a really good thing that I currently live alone as lights tend...
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So much to do...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 12, 2015
"Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out You got so much to do and only So many hours in a day"

"Vienna" by Billy Joel

I love having multiple projects. I love that it keeps my mind alert and sharp. I can be thinking about one project and have ideas for another project that pop into my mind and keep me busy. I constantly have ideas bouncing around in my head like a bunch of ping pong balls, which is a delightful image. Or, if you prefer, think of a Bingo ball picker...all those ideas going round and round and round...which one is going to fall into the slot??? I rub my hands together in...
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"Done"

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 05, 2015
So, recently I finished the first draft of First Down (and the crowd inside my head went wild). My goal was to have the novel written before the end of 2014 and I got it done with three days to spare and it was an amazing feeling, as it has been with the completion of my other first drafts. Now comes the editing, polishing, and publishing. (The goal currently is the end of February/beginning of March).

A friend of mine, while congratulating me on the completion of my draft, said "it must feel good to be done writing," and I just looked at him for a minute. Now I consider myself to have a pretty good vocabulary, but this word "done" that...
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Looking forward

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 01, 2015
There is something amazing about a new year...a sense of excitement and promise. Getting to put that new calendar up and open up that new journal...resolutions are new..and TODAY is a gift of that undeniable hope that THIS year is going to be the best one yet. I am very excited about 2015...my 40th year on this planet...and the goals I have for this year are going to put me more solidly on the path to being a full-time author. I live the direction I am headed. I am solid on my footing and my path is not clear of obstacles, but it is indeed clear. I know where I am heading. Lucky Charms will greet the world this year...my...
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Looking back

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 31, 2014
2014 has been an amazing year as an author, a teacher, and a woman. It has been all about finding more about who I am and who I want to be. I have loved the progress and growth I have experienced throughout the course of 2014.

As an author, I published my third novel, Arianna's Destiny and have absolutely loved the response I have gotten from my third "child" out into the  world. It has been a matter of streamlining the process and loving every minute of being an author. It is a beautiful process from start to finish and I have finished the first draft of First Down which will be my next novel. I have made progress on Driven West which is...
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Starting out Behind

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 03, 2014
I love the beginnings of months. It always feels a bit like a fresh start...little mini blank slates (the ultimate blank slate of the calendar of course being in...oh look at that, just a few weeks now). And I always have so many plans for each month, things I hope to get accomplished and make progress on. Among that list is the novels I am writing, exercising more, getting my budget under control, etc. etc. etc. Some months I make more progress than others...and usually, I make the most consistent progress on my novels, figuring I can always exercise and get my spending under control next month, but I need to write RIGHT NOW!!!!

Right now I am feeling very behind....
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Reflecting on my 1st successful NaNoWriMo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 01, 2014
I did it! I put 50,000 words in order for chapters 1-24 on ONE novel...I did it!! I worked (mostly) on only one project for the entire month of November. This was my 3rd year participating and 1st year that I made it! I did it!!! As with other years, my novel can't be verified because I write out all of my novels longhand and count up my words to know where I am and where I need to be...but I know I made it...and that is enough for me. (I have the pages and pages of word-filled notebook pages if anyone doubts me :D). I got Driven West through chapter 24 and while it will probably end up with 16...
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NaNoWriMo update Day 5

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 05, 2014
So far this has been my most successful NaNoWriMo to date. Okay, I have only had two previous years, but still...this one is rocking and rolling. I am currently halfway through Chapter 4. I have achieved my daily word count each day so far and have a strong idea where my story is headed. It's also rather nice that I love my characters and where they are headed.

I started this one with a stronger game plan. I had an outline (well, what passes for an outline for me, which is rather loosy goosy as far as outlines go). I have prompts written in case the story stalls...the biggest part that has helped me is having a writing buddy. We have...
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Kicking off NaNoWriMo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 01, 2014
So excited to work on Driven West. It's going to be a ghost story, mystery sort, which is a new genre forbme to try, so that's exciting. I have loved writing the romances, they have really helped me to believe in love, as any good love story should. And of course, there will be an element of love in Driven West, as it exists in most stories. Add in a bit of Native American spirit and a generations old feud....nothing says good story like an Us. Vs. them mentality. I have my novel outlined and plotted a bit. I have my writing buddy. I have my word count plan for the month (it really helps to have Veteran's Day and...
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Thinking about NaNoWriMo

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 28, 2014
Just as the process of getting a book from written to edited to revised to published has gotten more efficient (and will, with each future book, become more seamless) so does my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, or what some people refer to as November) experience become more productive with each year.

My first year (2012) I, as I have mentioned before, forgot to respect my process. I dove in head first and worked ONLY on my NaNoWriMo project of Redeeming Trust. I didn't edit anything or write anything else, not a poem, not a journal entry, not even a freewrite. I was going to stay focused if it killed me and of course it didn't kill me, but it did kill...
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Character Birthdays

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 27, 2014
So, I don't know if you know or not, but I'm a Gemini...ha ha, yup an emotional twin and a logical twin who never seem to agree on anything -- they never like the same job or same boy which is why teaching and writing work well to appease both twins...and as far as both twins not liking the same boy, well there's a reason I haven't gotten married yet...but I digress.

So I was reading about writing (I know, shocker) and they were talking about how their characters had not only birthdays but personalities affected by their sign of the zodiac...and I have to admit was intrigued...and I think it is definitely something I need to contemplate for the characters...
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Broken Trust...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 26, 2014
"Something in you has taken some kind of hold on me. I don't know why I keep coming back to you."

"Keep Coming Back" by Richard Marx

It was with true joy that I blog about Broken Trust again since it has been a while...a frustrating and heartbreaking while. It is like not getting to visit friends that you love and you can't forget about them, but you can't quite get there. It is so infuriating to have these amazing characters and you really want the world to meet...Benjamin, the architect; Sam, the artist; Ali, the music store owner; and Vincent, the cop. You have these amazing characters and you have their story to tell and it's...well, there's something missing.

I have gone back...
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People Watching

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 25, 2014
"It always feels like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy." "Somebody's Watching Me" Rockwell

Chances are, if I have seen you, I have watched you...studied you.

One of my favorite ways to research characters is to people watch, which sounds so much better than that "stalker" nonsense...although evidently both have a tendency to make people nervous if you "research" them by staring at them and writing in a notebook...so you have to learn to be a bit on the subtle side of things to get it right...but when you manage it -- It. Is. Glorious.

the best way how to learn how to distinguish your characters and make them stand out not only from the other characters in your novel, but...
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Ideas: Time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 23, 2014
Okay, I think I have set up the concept of ideas and time as a ratio...if I am mistaken, please correct me. I have no problem admitting it's been a while since I had to put anything in terms of a ratio...but my idea is this...I have an overabundance of ideas to write about and an underabundance of time (that's not a word...but I write poetry, so...poetic licence).

I know some of you are saying, "oh you poor poor author, waah, you have too many ideas," and your mocking would be justified, without a doubt. I don't say this for pity though (I'm not that far gone for reality) but I actually say it just stating a fact (there is a...
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Lost...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 22, 2014
So as many of you know, my sense of direction is a little, well creative...I could go for a drive and end up in Kentucky. (Thanks to Google Maps, I end up where I mean to be much more frequently and I have even come to terms with this "Big Brother" necessity).

I have realized in recent days, that I approach my author life much like I approach my car trips and while, yes, I do eventually get where I need to go, I think I rack up extra miles unnecessarily. As with everything, it is a process and in writing as in driving, I always make sure I have extra gas in the tank.

I am proud of and happy with...
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My own insane asylum

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 09, 2014
"Being an author is like being in charge of your own insane asylum." Graycie Harmon

A friend, who has recently discovered the love and addiction of writing, asked me how I could handle having so many ideas in my head at the same time. At current, I have Lucky Charms (a 3-part series), Cupid (a 6-part series, which I promise will get better title), Trust (a 2-part series), Back on Track (a 5-part series), Shades of Blue (a book of poetry), and Driven West (which will be the novel I work on for NaNoWriMo this year). I also have anywhere from 1-15 singles that keep popping up to see if it is their turn yet. (I also have thoughts on turning Whatever you Make of It into...
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No more fear

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 10, 2014
This morning I woke up and I felt like I could breathe again...felt like I could write again. What an amazing feeling to know not only what the problem is, but also what the solution is as well. I have lived too much of my life in fear, I have lived too much of my life telling myself what I do and do not deserve...I have lived too much of my life hiding. I never wanted to disappoint anyone -- or let them down in anyway. I should really learn to include myself in that group. I should learn not to disappoint or let down myself as well. Fear has kept me from truly living my life...well there is no more...
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Who I Am

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 10, 2014
"I wish you could see me now I wish I could show you how I'm not who I was... I write about love and such Maybe cuz I want it so much... I was thinking maybe I, I should let you know I am not the same, But I never did forget your name." "I'm not who I was" Brandon Heath.

Recently a good friend told me I was "probably one of the least broken women I've ever met" and I had to stare at the message for a minute until I realized that it was an absolutely true statement and I also realized that once again, I had proven my Master's Thesis right. My research was about using writing as therapy...using the idea of "free association"...
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Pens and notebooks

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 03, 2014
I write this blog today because not only is it school supply season (which is kind of my Christmas) but also because it is tax-free weekend in Missouri, so all those beautiful pens and notebooks are tax free :D (Yes, I have taken advantage in multiple stores!!!!) I have had people (mostly EX-boyfriends) tell me such nonsense as "you have too many pens and notebooks." This is ridiculous. First of all, it's not as if there is a set number of notebooks and pens one person should have and since no such number exists, it is impossible to have more than that number (math people, just let me have this one in case there is such a way to figure this...
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Happy Anniversary to me!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 28, 2014
So WordPress let me know that today is my 4-year anniversary with my little blog here. That's awesome...I, of course, had NO idea and forgot to get a gift... I do think that it is fantastic, that today, on my 4-year anniversary, it is also the day I get the paperback copies of Arianna's Destiny in the mail...so evidently I did get a gift after all :D (And those of you who know me, or are authors yourselves, or mothers...you understand that I ACHE to hold my 3rd book, just as much as I did my 1st and 2nd...why do people make you wait for these things?) Since it is my anniversary. I thought I would reflect a bit...I have grown a...
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reflection...year three of 30 days of Blogging

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 30, 2014
Well here ends my 3rd year participating in "30 Days of Blogging." I didn't make it every single day, but I did make it more days than I didn't, so I am going to go ahead and count this as a success. 23/30 days...which is a 76% so definitely room for improvement...and I will definitely be back in 2015. I enjoy the challenge, just like I will do the National Novel Writing Month for the 3rd time this November. Next year I will add April's A-Z of Blogging to the challenges I participate in as well. This challenge definitely got me back to my neglected blog, but every day is sometimes unfeasible -- not because I have nothing to say...
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Come on...we have work to do

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 29, 2014
A little over four years ago, a friend I loved dearly, got me to embrace the idea that if I truly wanted to be an author, then I should do exactly that. Then he lost a battle to his inner demons and after he died, I didn't know how I could possibly be the author WE had made plans for me to be. How could I possibly do this all by myself? My beautiful muse has been in my life forever, but I never saw her clearly and I never knew her name until that day I hurt so much I thought I would never stop hurting. She let me cry for a bit, as good friends do. I felt her...
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And Baby makes three...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 27, 2014
I now have 3 books published...it's a pretty amazing feeling...I have to tell you. There are, of course a million things I need to do...to promote and get the word out...I need to get the paperback cover formatted...and my website...and just a million other things...but one of the most important things for me to do is to not lose any momentum. I have to get some writing in for my Lucky Charms series. I need to keep the wheels moving because there are many more novels to write and edit and add to my collection :D There is no time to slow down. Plus, there is the fear that if I slow down, I will find I like the slower...
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Reality...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 26, 2014
I missed two blogs in a row this week...I had been doing so well...and then reality came and just hit me upside the head...and I used to get so bent out of shape when that would happen. I used to look down at my list of things to do and shake my fist and scowl when I didn't accomplish all of my tasks...then I realized sometimes you just have to let reality win. I love teaching...I have done for 17 years and still love it more days than I don't (a lot of that has to do with where I currently teach...it really shifted the points back to the "love it" category)I also love being an author...love it all day...
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Not Crazy...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 22, 2014
"She's not crazy, just a little misunderstood." "Misunderstood" Better than Ezra Not to mix my cultural references, but I know I'm not crazy even though my mother never had me tested. At any time I have about 20 characters in my head and they all like to discuss their present and current scenes. I have a muse who is directing the entire universe that exists in my head. I have thoughts bouncing around my head about dreams that I have had that may become stories. I have a million things that I need to do now that Arianna is about to launch her sequel. None of this makes me crazy. A lot of this makes me misunderstood. With this many conversations...
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No words...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 21, 2014
I didn't get my blog in yesterday, though I have been trying for this 30 days of blogging...but yesterday there were no words...just no words. Those of you who know me, will know how rare it is that I actually have nothing to say, as usually the problem is quite the opposite. Yesterday, I sent Arianna's Destinyoff to BookBaby for eBook publishing. It has to be formatted for the different eBook options and then it will be sent to the different eBook companies and will be available for purchase!!!! It is so exciting to know that before the end of the month, I will have my 3rd book published. Despite obstacles and life events postponing and pushing things back, despite...
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Magic time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 19, 2014
This quote by Meg Cabot is so true. There have been things I have written that I wrote in huge letters CHANGE THIS!!!!! because I knew it didn't work,  but I didn't want to stop the writing flow to figure it out right then. There have been scenes I hated  writing that I just had to get through.  And in doing all of this, the magic does indeed happen....and it makes it all worthwhile.  I try my hardest to write every single day. Some times when I'm writing,  it is magic time and it's all I can do to keep up with the words as they appear in my head (which is one reason I have a pen obsession). It...
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And...SHIFT!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 18, 2014
So there is an excitement in my head right now...well 99% of the time it's pretty crazy inside my head...but it's especially crazy right now with Arianna's Destiny DONE and waiting for Friday so I can send it off to the next step (the step where my "work" on her is done and it shifts to promoting and selling), there has been a very distinct and specific SHIFT in my thinking. All of the characters that get to hang out with Arianna on a daily basis (and yes...she would be FANTASTIC to hang out with, trust me if you don't know for yourself), but all of her crew have shifted off to the side to allow the next project to...
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Feeling groovy...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 17, 2014
So one of the best feelings in the world...something that feels very groovy is that feeling when you KNOW a novel is ready to go. When you have edited her to the point that she is as close to perfect as she can get and any other changes would be superfluous and ridiculous and redundant and pointless and any other negative sounding adjective you would like to use. Arianna's Destiny is DONE!!!!! She is DONE. DONE. DONE. DONE. Oh, and she's done. :D I have edited her, carefully polished her, and read her until I knew her inside and out, backwards and forward. She is ready!! Her cover is ready. Her story is ready. She is solid and good to...
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Creating Soundtracks...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 16, 2014
So I love music...all the way from classical (Tchaikovsky is a personal favorite) to musicals (Les Miserables and Rocky Horror Picture Show are my two favorites) to country to rock to oldies to rap to pop...I love music and as such I have Pandora playing in my ears every chance I get (Pink is singing to me right now, Staind was just on...:D) and as it happens, there will come on a song where I clap (sometimes out loud, forgetting other people can hear me even if I can't hear them with my ear buds in...I also tend to forget they can see me when I'm dancing along) but I clap because this would be the PERFECT song for THIS...
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Roadblocks

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 15, 2014
Yesterday, my sinuses were having a party and made it impossible for me to work on my novels, go to support a friend's band gig, or continue my 30 Days of Blog...it didn't allow for me to do much of anything...and it was a valuable lesson all the same. Life is all about working past the roadblocks...big or small they are just roadblocks...bits of stuff in our path that can throw us off our game, or they can strengthen our resolve to accomplish our goals no matter what. I always see roadblocks as tests. Do I want this badly enough to fight past this? The answer for my novels is always yes. Knowing that answer makes the roadblocks smaller and...
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Chapter 14 blues...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 13, 2014
I figured this was an appropriate blog to do since it is about approaching the middle of the novel...and we are (already) approaching the middle of the month. I am going to write about beginnings later in the month and I have written about endings and will write about them again as they are their own special level of hell, but right now I want to chat about the very strange world of the chapter 14 blues... So, you have your beginning where you are introducing your characters and your ending where you are wrapping everything up...you have your climax where all the craziest of action happens and your resolution and all of those things we learned in school...and they are...
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Time alone

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 12, 2014
Writing is an amazing world...I take these beautiful shiny pens and I combine them with blank paper and magic happens. And when I finish the magic, I want to share my magic with the WHOLE WORLD!!! I want to talk about my books, my characters, my muse. I want to sing my book's praises from the tops of all rooftops, if I actually found myself on rooftops, which would be rather tricky. SO the after part, is ALL about people...talking to people and sharing with people...and I LOVE IT!!!! If you are ever talking to me and I've gotten irritated or have lost focus, just ask me about my novels and we will be good to go!!! :D So the...
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Letting Go...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 11, 2014
"Letting Go" by Jessica Harp came on Pandora this afternoon...and while it's literal meaning is very powerful that the past is the past...what I needed to hear was that it's okay to let go. Those of you who have been right along with me through this journey, have experienced this part of being an author twice now...and I can honestly tell you that it hasn't gotten easier yet, and I think it is one of those things that never will get easier. I need to let go of Arianna's Destiny. (yes, I can hear those of you who are screaming at me that it is well past time). I need to click send and put her out into the world...sword...
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Faith...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 10, 2014
John Hiatt sang for people to "have a little faith in me" and this song plays in my head quite often. Any time I start to question my path, I hear that song like a whisper in my head and I am back where I am supposed to be. I have been told that I will accomplish everything I set my mind to...and I have been told this by multiple people, who did not always mean it as a compliment, but I took it as one, just the same. I am going to accomplish everything I set my mind to...because I don't give myself another option. I set out to be a great teacher. I have studied and gotten degrees...
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Out in Public

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 09, 2014
Sometimes I have to remind myself how nice it is to be out in public. Not my usual "out in public" where I go to Perkins with my notebook...or the library with my notebook...or Starbucks with my notebook...or the park, yeah, you guessed it...with my notebook. Sometimes I like to "cheat" and call this being out in public, but I would probably be more honest by calling this "research" since I am rather inclined to eavesdrop on conversations and I watch people every single chance I get...I like dialogue and interactions... So sometimes I need to remember that it's good to go out in public and interact with people and have my own dialogue. I love friends. I love talking about...
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Learning as I Write

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 07, 2014
As I approach the publication of my 3rd novel, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on 3 things I have learned as I write. :D 1. Always have a back-up plan My 1st published novel, Whatever you Make of It, was "done" many years before it was published (and I know this based on who I was dating at the time -- an odd calendar, I know). When I pulled up my "finished" novel, the entire second half of it (or Rebecca's story, for those of you who have read it) was, and forgive me for my technical speak, but the entire second half of my novel was "gobbledeegook" completely and totally unfixable...and for whatever reason, the draft I had...
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Doing what Works...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 06, 2014
So, I get made fun of for this quite often, but I hand write everything before I type it...I write out my novels long hand, I write out my papers, I even write out my blogs, usually :D There is just something about holding a pen in my hand that works for me...and if it works, then I am willing to do it forever. I love technology...I really do...it's like magic to me. It's amazing and I am fascinated by people who make computers do magic. And just like the movies with their computer graphics and special effects, I don't want to see the man behind the curtain...I like the magic. When my novel is getting ready for me to...
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Holding Auditions

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 05, 2014
So ever since I wrote the words "The End" on Arianna's Destiny it has been a very busy place inside my head, which is not at all unusual given the number of characters and stories that are up there...but this was a different kind of chaos and so far it has happened 3 times...when Whatever You Make of It went off to the publisher, when Arianna's Honor became my 2nd published book and now that my third book is done on the creative side of things. Imagine, if you will...a family reunion in a park where all of the different characters are different family members, but instead of fighting, they are all each other's biggest fans. Can you picture that?...
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Re-cog-nize

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 04, 2014
For my Big Bang Theory fans, I hear this word in Howard Wolowitz's voice. I have taught for 17 years now and it is always so fantastic when one of my students from any of the schools at which I have worked, recognizes me. It is such a rush to hear "Hey! Ms. Sodaro" and it brings me a lot of joy to know that I made a positive impression on them and that they still say my name with affection :D I teach completely online now, so the likelihood of my getting recognized by my current students is less than in previous places of employment, but it still happens from students I have had in previous years. I have...
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Distractions

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 03, 2014
So, anyone who has tried to hold a conversation with me knows that I am rather easily distracted...shiny things are a nemesis of mine and by "shiny things" it could be anything from a new pen, a pretty color, anything that moves, anything that doesn't move, and actual SHINY things...in fact as I typed that sentence, I was distracted by my cup, my phone, and the fan...so it's a pretty common occurrence for me to be distracted. I imagine it's also fun for people who have tried to keep my interest...and I say fun for them because I would hate to think that it wasn't fun. :D There are some things in life that are good distractions. Chats with friends...
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Apples

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 02, 2014
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but with me…and most true writers, getting some writing in every day keeps the straight-jackets away. This has been an interesting aspect of my life as my Author Life has become on the front burner beside my Teacher Life rather than remaining content to be on the back burner as something I dabble in from time to time. The day I held Whatever You Make of It for the first time, changed everything...this was no longer a hobby...this was a future career. It used to be I would be "fine" (those of you who know me best know how liberal I am being with that word) as long as I wrote...
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Year three of 30 Days of Blogging

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 01, 2014
So there are a couple of traditions that I especially enjoy since I have been focusing on my author life (while still doing my teacher life full-time)...one of them is the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November and the second one (which happens to come first chronologically) is the 30 Days of Blogging in June. I almost did the A-Z Blogs in April, but had too many plates in the air to be able to fully focus. So I will add that to my repertoire next year when I have a better handle on things. I like the challenge these traditions present...and since I have been seriously slacking on my poor blog, this will be just what I need...
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Wednesday blogging...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 24, 2014
No, I am not looking at the date wrong again...and no, I don't think I have lost my last marble...I know it's not Wednesday...but thank you kindly for checking :D It is always my goal to blog on Wednesday and Sundays. I like the mid-week and the end of the week idea...and it has worked well for me for a while now, this past 6 months not withstanding. It has been my intention to blog every Wednesday and Sunday, but as you can tell, my intentions have not come to fruition. The problem is that I will have all written out what I want to blog about on Wednesday, but then the job I have now, which has made me...
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Taking a step back, to go forward

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 13, 2014
So I want to start off by saying thank you for everyone who has been waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for the release of Arianna's Destiny. Trust me when I say I am very excited about her story and can't wait to share her with you all. That being said, I am taking a step back from her for about a week. She is the majority of what I have thought about, dreamed of, prayed about, and stressed over for the past few months...and I think she is absolutely fantastic. I also think I need a few days break from her before I click send...because once you click send, you can't "unclick" it (if anyone has ever sent an...
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Getting Unstuck

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 02, 2014
I don't get writer's block. A couple of years ago, I would NEVER have typed that...I would have knocked on every piece of wood in a 20 mile radius for even thinking about it. But it is a true statement. I don't get writer's block...I feel confident in saying this, but I will add this caveat to that statement. I don't get writer's block, but sometimes I do get stuck. Not Winnie-the-Pooh in the honey hole kind of stuck, but more of a where am I going to take this chapter kind of stuck. It's more of a stuck-lite, if you will. And there are things I do that have consistently helped me to get unstuck. 1. Freewrite -- I...
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The Trouble with Valentine's Day

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 16, 2014
As those of you, who have ever talked to me about Valentine's Day know, I hate Hallmark/media-hyped holidays where people feel pressured to buy gifts to express emotions. No, this has nothing to do with my current, past, or future relationship status. I would always much prefer a "hey, I was out and saw this and thought of you" gift rather than a "hey, it's February 14th, so here's some flowers, some jewelry, a pony, a space shuttle...etc" gift. Anyway, I think you get my point. That particular rant is not actually where I want to go to on today's blog... The trouble with Valentine's Day, or rather, the trouble with being an author on Valentine's Day, is that while there...
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Next on the Slide...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 02, 2014
Is there any better feeling then being "next" on the slide, at the coffee shop, in line for cake or ice cream...you get the idea. There is a feeling of nervous excitement when you know you're next. You watch the person in front of you and you wonder if the ride is going to be as fun, the coffee as satisfying, the cake or ice cream as sweet as you've imagined? The person in front of you seems to be taking forever and in your mind you're bouncing with the energy of "I'm next." "I'm next!" "I'M NEXT!!!!!" This is currently the picture in my head. My characters in my novels are all standing on the steps leading to the slide...
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Projects for the next two years

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 22, 2014
1. Arianna’s Destiny – Sequel to Arianna’s Honor Projected publication date: February 2014 Arianna returns to help Nicholas defend his kingdom against the war that was hinted at in the first book. Her destiny is that of a protector and she must help to defend the land and the people that live here. Her trusty blades are ready and her skills are honed to keep the people she loves safe from harm.

2. Breaking Trust Projected publication date: May 2014 Ben is an architect and has worked his entire life to make his dream of opening a home for runaways into a reality. His practical life is as detailed as his blueprints and he has no time for love in his life, or so he thinks...
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Writing Advice

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 12, 2014
"Here's the secret to finishing that first book. Don't rewrite as you go." Laurell K. Hamilton This vampire author has excellent advice. I would never get any books done if I was doing the stop-start-stop-start of editing-writing the first draft. First drafts are magical with my muse as the director and my characters acting out scene after scene with me frantically trying to write it all down and just keep the hell up. When it works like this, I am not even paying attention to the words as they flow across the page. I am simply writing out hte scenes as they are acted out. We'd (my muse, my characters, and I) would never get anything done at all if I...
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Refresher Course

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 05, 2014
So I was at Perkins on Friday morning, giving my muse her pancakes and coffee, and enjoying some quiet, much needed pen-to-paper time. As I looked around, I saw a guy reading one of my two favorite books about writing. He was reading On Writing, by my idol himself, Stephen King. (My other favorite is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.) And I realized, I needed a refresher course by these two masters. Chances are, if you have talked to me about writing, I have recommended one or (more likely) both of these books. They have been invaluable to me and it is completely on my yet-to-be-written bucket list to meet these two authors. My copies of these two...
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Looking Forward 2014

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 01, 2014
This is going to be my best year yet!!! (It's okay that I say that almost every year-It's a self-fulfilling prophecy if I've ever heard one. This year, I'm getting back to the things that make me a better ME: **I'm going to write EVERY day. I have novels inside my mind and daily pen-to-paper time gets them out of my head to make room for more. **I'm going to edit EVERY day.  I have a pile of first drafts just waiting to be edited and shared with the world. **I'm going to start journaling and exercising on a more consistent basis so that it doesn't take so much out of me when I do either activity. **I'm going to smile...
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2013 in review

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 31, 2013
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here's an excerpt: A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people. Click here to see the complete report.
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Arianna's Destiny update

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 15, 2013
So in my last blog, which I am ashamed to say was a month ago, I promised an update on Arianna's Destiny and the reason I haven't blogged for a month was because I didn't want to write about anything other than an update as that was what I had promised I would do. The other side of that Catch-22 was that I was feeling all over the place with Arianna and unsure of what the update would say. I have mentioned before that I wanted a publication date of 2013 because I had a 2011 and a 2012 and wouldn't that be a nice pattern to follow...but the reminder that she would get published when she was completely finished...
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NaNoWriMo Update

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 20, 2013
My 2nd attempt at the National Novel Writing Month has been pretty successful, especially considering the extraneous chaos in my November as well as the fact that I am also editing Arianna's Destiny concurrently. This system has worked quite efficiently and will be used again to make progress on my numerous novels that need to be written and my numerous firsts drafts which need to be edited. I write First Down in the morning with coffee (except on mornings such as this one where I left the pen at work that I started Chapter 16 with...and if any of you know anything about me, you know I can't switch pens all willy-nilly mid-chapter. Talk about chaos). So I write in the...
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11, 12, 13

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 03, 2013
No, I'm not counting. No worries, my friends. My respect for numbers is just as strong as my avoidance of them. So no, no one has to worry that I have decided to have a new founded relationship with numbers. I will stay loyal to my love of words, thank you very much. It has worked well for me so far in my life, and my novels are created with words quite well. I published Whatever You Make of It in 2011. I published Arianna's Honor in 2012. I will publish Arianna's Destiny in 2013. Yes, I am aware of the change in tense on that last one. Yes, I am also aware of how little of 2013 is...
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NaNoWrMo 2nd attempt

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 27, 2013
well, my calendar says it's November again at the end of the week, and you know what that means...National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short). Last year, my first attempt at the challenge, I worked on Redeeming Trust, my sequel to Breaking Trust (whose name I have tweaked because a Broken Trust novel already exists and also changed because I really like Parallelism). I made steady progress on Redeeming Trust and then, because I was more focused on the goal than on my system...I hit a wall. I should always trust my system. It NEVER fails me. My system is to have a primary project, but I also have a back-up (or two or three or as many as needed)...
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Game Plan

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 20, 2013
So those of you who have "known" me for a minute or two, know that one of my favorite things is to have a game plan, most often taking the form of a list or twelve. I love making lists...I love completing tasks on my lists, and I love love love to mark things off the list. Sometimes I will add something to my to-do list just so I can mark it off. Being a visual person, it calms me to have a game plan...to have a list...to know what my goals are and to know the steps I need to take to accomplish that goal. I published Whatever you Make of It in 2011 and holding my first book...
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Finishing frame of mind

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 13, 2013
So it always happens this time of year...when there is less of the year left, when leaves start to change color and fall off the trees, when there is far too little daylight for my liking (I fervently believe I  am solar powered)...that I start thinking about the new year. This year is no different, although I must say I am looking at a much more positive end of 2013 that 2012 (since this time last year I was licking my wounds from being fired for the first time in my life) and this year I have a job I love. I find myself in a finishing frame of mind. I want to finish Arianna's Destiny, most definitely. It will be...
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Inspiring Insight

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 02, 2013
The number of people who swear that they know me well always baffles me a bit because I know that there are really only a small number of people who actually do...and I'm perfectly okay with that. About a month or so ago, an inspired insight came to me from an ex-coworker that I had always wished I had gotten to know better but hadn't had the chance because life does what it always does, it shifted and we were no longer coworkers. He said that he could tell I would continue to publish my novels whether I should 10 copies or 10,000. While I would much prefer the latter, I have to admit he is right. As he said,...
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Switching Gears

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 30, 2013
So, I recently went on a writing retreat and it was amazing. All the reasons I love being a writer plus room service. On this weekend away from the world, I started to edit Arianna's Destiny. I love this story more and more, but then how could I not...it is Arianna after all. I have 6 first drafts done...two that go together, two that start a series, one that ends a series, and Air. That is a lot of first drafts!!! And I really need to make those into novels. Especially since the two that go together have covers designed already. I decided that the rest of 2013 is going to be devoted to editing. I will still write, of course,...
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Underground

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 22, 2013
This is, of course, not literal as I hate dirt, have some claustrophobia, love sunlight, and really don't like bugs or worms. I am very close to finishing Arianna's Destiny, sequel to Arianna's Honor, and it is completely my goal to have it published in November so that it is available for Christmas, 2014. That is my goal... In order to reach that goal...I need to hide away a bit. I teach full time, and am loving every minute of my new job. I absolutely love it. I need to finish the last few chapters and give Ari a solid ending that is worthy of her story and won't result in her attacking me with her sword. I need to edit...
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Ribbons and bows

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 11, 2013
Ha! Some of you are thinking right now...what could I possibly have to say about ribbons and bows, and you would be accurate in your question. I am not, by nature, a ribbons and bows kind of gal. Especially when it comes to books, more specifically, the endings of books. I feel cheated when a book, which I have loved all along (for I learned a while ago that there are too many books I want to read to waste time finishing a bad book) and I get best the end. As a reader, there is (hopefully) a bit if surprise, a bittersweet sense of the end of a story with characters I have come to love. There it is...the...
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Ribbons and bows

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 11, 2013
Ha! Some of you are thinking right now...what could I possibly have to say about ribbons and bows, and you would be accurate in your question. I am not, by nature, a ribbons and bows kind of gal. Especially when it comes to books, more specifically, the endings of books. I feel cheated when a book, which I have loved all along (for I learned a while ago that there are too many books I want to read to waste time finishing a bad book) and I get best the end. As a reader, there is (hopefully) a bit if surprise, a bittersweet sense of the end of a story with characters I have come to love. There it is...the...
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Finding balance

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 09, 2013
So I recently made a shift in employment. I am teaching full-time now at a new school and loving every minute of it. The shift has been going from barely employed to full-time employed. The shift, of course, occurring with the amount of free time I have to write, to read, and to research. I made a promise to my muse, as I drove to my interview...I promised her that we wouldn't lose momentum on Arianna's Destiny or Broken Trust or Redeeming Trust or any of our other projects. I had to promise that what happened w the last two full-time jobs would not happen again. To be honest, I was not entirely sure I could keep that promise, but...
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And another...and another...and another

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 01, 2013
"You know what I did after I wrote my first novel? I shut up and wrote twenty-three more." Michael Collins As I get closer to finishing the first draft of Arianna's Destiny, I am starting to think of what my next primary project will be. I would love to say what my next project would be, focusing on just one at a time, but I know quite well how poorly I do when I only have one project going at a time. I have learned that is a guaranteed invitation for writer's block if I am only working on one novel at any given time. (Remember what happened when I did NANOWRMO this past November and I got stuck on Chapter...
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Going backwards to go forward

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 25, 2013
So picture a car that is stuck in a little bit of a rut. You keep trying to gain the momentum needed to go forward and know that if you could just get just another inch forward, you would be free to go on your way. You put the car in reverse, back it up ever so slightly, and then shift in to drive, quickly putting the rut behind into your rearview mirror. This metaphor came to mind as I was writing yesterday. Some of you may know that I write everything out long hand. Every poem, every novel, every paper, every lesson plan, even every blog. Written out in either print or script, usually in a combination thereof. This...
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Goodbye Friend

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 23, 2013
"Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend." William Feather I am not sure if Mr. Feather was referring to finishing reading a good book or writing one, but the same concept applies, regardless. Arianna's Destiny is almost written. Her first draft is almost ready for editing. Those of you who have known me for a bit know I get a little melancholy when the creating part of a novel process comes to a close. I am there with Arianna now and it's different then when I got to this point in Arianna's Honor. I knew full well I wasn't really leaving her -- I knew there would be a sequel. I knew I wasn't actually saying goodbye to...
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Focusing on Arianna

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 18, 2013
Okay, I know I am usually not good at working on just one project at a time, but I am really going to have to try to focus this time. I am going to have to have Arianna be my primary focus because I am planning on having her sequel published in early November. Now in order to get that task accomplished,  I will need to get her typed and edited and fixed and read through and edited and read through again. Of course first, I need to write her ending. I will keep focused because I want this. Arianna needs to be finished, I need to get my second book filled in on my tattoo, and I need to finish...
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Where I need to be

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 09, 2013
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” ― Douglas Adams I love my life. I love the fact that I have more novels started on paper than I will probably be able to finish. I love that I am a teacher and that education is as much a part of me as writing. I love that I am a student...and that I will officially get to be one again very soon. I think about this from time to time, where I was a year ago...where I thought I would be a year from then. Some things I got right...I am almost ready to publish my third...
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What to publish next

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 08, 2013
I know...what a problem to have, right? Oh dear, I have too many first drafts done and done know what to publish next. Yeah, it's a rough life. Haha, but all joking aside, here are the contenders for being my 3rd published book: Broken Trust A story of a hyper-rational architect, Ben who has always dreamt of building a home for runaways. He is on the fast track to this goal with the help of a trust fund from his grandfather,  but in order to get the trust fund, he has to marry someone he doesn't love...but it's the rational thing to do. Then he meets Sam, a painter, and she makes him question whether it truly is best to choose...
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Following Arianna

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 06, 2013
"Find out what what your hero or heroine wants, and when he or she wakes up in the morning,  just follow him or her all day." Ray Bradbury Every time I get stuck on Arianna's Destiny, I think about Ray Bradbury's advice, I pick up my pen, and I get to work. One thing nice about having a heroine as strong as Arianna, is that she doesn't sit still well. She will watch the scenes of the other novels being acted out, but more often than not, she will be working on her sword and daggers while she watches. She is well aware that the success of her novel depends on her ability to stay sharp. So when it is time...
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Stone Soup

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 02, 2013
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou Remember the magic of the story, Stone Soup? Where the more soup they ate, the more they had...yeah, this is what it's like with creativity. Maya Angelou put it perfectly...of course. I have had people ask me if I was afraid I would run out of creativity...if like an empty Coca-Cola can, I would run out of that which helped to bring my novels and teaching to life. Nah...I'm good. I may run out of patience occasionally, I may run out of ink in a pen (a moment of pride each and every time it happens), I may run out of hours in the day...but...
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What I Want

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 22, 2013
"At the heart of your being lies your answers. You know who you are and what you want." Laozi (I am trying so hard to keep the Spice Girl's song out of your head and mine...I apologize if it snuck in there anyway.) I want to write and I want to teach. These two professions embody the essence of me, all of me. I have tried, unsuccessfully, at different points in my life to leave one or both of these parts of me behind...to the detriment of myself as a whole. Teaching and writing are the yin and yang of me and I need to find a way to do both and have balance between the two sides of myself. Maybe it's...
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Not Hot

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 21, 2013
I read an article recently that was "15 ways to tell if you are not hot" and I wasn't really surprised to find out, nope...I'm not even close. I stopped counting, but I know I didn't have at least 10 of the items on the list. I don't say this for accolades or compliments. I am well-aware of both my limitations and my strengths.  I used to think it didn't matter. I told myself if I was a good enough teacher and a strong enough writer that the extra pounds I carried around with me like a security blanket didn't matter. People would love me for my ability to teach and tell stories. And people do...and I love them for...
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WRITE ME

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 14, 2013
"A book comes along and says, "Write me!" Madeline L'Engle This is so true. And usually, that book comes along and says WRITE ME as you are in the middle of writing other things. At least this is how it works for me. Other people who are both blessed and cursed with not having ADD may be perfectly capable of writing one novel to its completion and then starting another one. I wonder what these people do during times of writer's block? My solution to writer's block???? Pick up another story and play with it a bit. One of two things will happen, you will either break your block and be able to go back to your original story, or you...
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Shiny sequels

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 10, 2013
I am really enjoying writing the sequel to Arianna's Honor. It is like going to visit an old friend and just as it happens with real-life friends, you pick up right where you left off as if no time has passed. Arianna has had a life that may be tougher than most have had to deal with, but I completely admire her because she never plays the victim role. She deals with life and gets things done. She is one of the most dependable people I have ever "met" and it is an honor to get to share her with the world. There are some new dynamics in the sequel. ..some new characters in the mix  which is also an...
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Balancing

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 08, 2013
So, last quarter I worked too much and wrote too little. This quarter I am working very little, and writing to my heart's content. (I couldn't even type that I wrote too much...that doesn't exist as a concept for me). I love that I am writing every day. I love that I am making progress every day on my novels. I love this!!!! One thing that is hard as an author, is to spend equal amounts of time in the creating phase, editing phase, publishing phase, marketing phase,  promoting phase. There are (I'm told) only 24 hours in the day...and to add more to any one phase, the other phases need to be sacrificed a bit. This is where I have...
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Needing to Finish

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 04, 2013
You know the frustration of getting to a certain point of an activity and not being able to finish??? Yeah, I'm there. I currently have 5 first drafts completely written. 5 drafts which are needing to be edited and polished and then published.  5 drafts which need me to not start a new project until I finish some or all of those. 5 drafts that are begging me to follow through and actually be able to put them into the "done" pile instead of keeping them in the limbo of the "to be finished" pile. Yes. I need to feel the satisfaction of finishing a project again. I felt it with Whatever you Make of It and I felt it with Arianna's...
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Reflecting Reflection

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 30, 2013
I was thinking about this month as I woke up this morning...it's had a lot of writing packed in 30 little days. I am on chapter 17 of Arianna's Destiny and that is moving along quite nicely. It has a strong edit/rewrite of Broken Trust which has been a long time coming. It has had notes made on existing projects as well as notes started on projects that do not yet exist. As per a friend's invite to the 30 Days of Blog, it has had (almost) daily blogging (I think I missed 3 days throughout the course of the month) which has been a fantastic way to find new friends and writers to talk with. I have enjoyed working...
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Coming Alive

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 28, 2013
"Don't give up on me -I'm about to come alive." "About to come Alive" Train My muse has been through every job that put writing on the back burner, every relationship that became a distraction, she has been with me through every thing...and she has never ceased to believe in my novels, my writing, my characters...or me. Now I stand on the edge of my future. I feel more alive than I ever have before. I am writing and planning and making progress on a life I always wanted to live, and now I am about to come alive. I am standing on the edge of everything I have ever wanted...and my muse just dances and dances and dances. People tell me I...
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FOCUS

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 26, 2013
"Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is." Ernest Hemingway It is so easy to focus on what you do not have. You don't have enough money, you don't have a relationship. You don't have the physical health you want. You don't have this. You don't have that. Before you know it, your mind has spiraled out of control and you forget why you even got out of bed this morning. Then, that small voice whispers to you..."wait." And you picture in your head the future you have dreamt of...you picture the steps that will lead you to that future. You picture yourself working every day, building...
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My Day Job

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 25, 2013
Right now, I have an amazing day job. I enjoy the job I work in the evenings as well, I enjoy teaching. I would also enjoy working with students in a more advisory role, which is something I am looking into. But right now, I am writing from 6 to 10 hours a day, making progress on my novels and projects. I am writing and researching and reading and it is amazing. I have wanted this for a day job for some time now, have dreamed of it, have prayed for it, have wanted it with everything in me. I have wanted to be a full-time author and I plan to have this full-time job for as long as I...
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Switching Channels

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 24, 2013
Right now I am editing Broken Trust and I am writing Arianna's Destiny and even though the editing of the former has turned into a rewrite/blend, I am unwilling to lose any momentum with Ari's sequel (unwilling...afraid...whatever...Ari is VERY talented with a blade). Making daily progress on both of these novels is a very unique experience as they are COMPLETELY different from setting to characters (though they are best of friends in my head). IT really feels like I am watching two TV programs and keep switching back and forth between the two because I love them equally (it's hard to imagine this happening with two TV programs that currently exist). I have a strong chapter one to Broken Trust...
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Squares into Circles

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 23, 2013
"If I'm not blind why can't I see That a circle can't fit where a square should be." "Hole Hearted" Extreme This song lyric could be used to describe a relationship that seems forced or a job that doesn't quite fit a person's character naturally (both aspects would be true enough in my life at one time or another). I started Broken Trust when I was still teaching high school. This was when I was still playing at being an author. I made safer choices. I looked before I leaped. I kept words like "someday" and "if" and "maybe" when I discussed publishing my novels. I also remember wondering if Broken Trust had enough of a story to tell...the answer is no,...
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The trouble with time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 22, 2013
So, the trouble with time is that it changes things. I have 5 first drafts done and sitting in a crate. Recent conversations with friends has reminded me that those novels sitting in crates need to be finished.... One of the novels, Broken Trust, was started about 10 years ago, and is going to be the next one I publish. The trouble is that in the decade since I started this novel,  some things have changed. I have learned more about its characters,  Ben, Sam, and Ali. I have learned more about writing and am free to be more courageous with my writing. I am more mature (in some areas, sort of...once in a while). My life has changed and with every experience,  my...
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The hard part

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 21, 2013
Writing is the easy part...when the words just dance across the page and there is very little thinking involved. I always feel like my characters act out the scenes in front of me and it is my job to just get the actions and the dialogue down on the paper. This is not the hard part...even on bad writing days, this is the easy part. The hard part is the editing. When you have to make sure that the novel on the pages in front of you is as shiny as it exists in your head. When you put the characters under the microscope. Are they described well enough? Are their character traits specific? Do they appear as real in...
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Now

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 20, 2013
"There is no perfect time to write. There is only now." Barbara Kingsolver I think this would pertain to just about everything in life...some people waste opportunities by waiting for the perfect time for it to occur. On the other hand, things happen right when they are meant to and not a moment before. Right now, I have the closest thing possible to the perfect time for writing. I am making the most of it every single day,  and for the most part, I am doing well on makong progress. I still need to kick it up a notch though and make better use of  my blessing of time. After all, I never know when I will happen to have less...
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WHEN...not if

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 19, 2013
Amazing things would be accomplished with a tiny vocabulary switch. "When" I graduate, not "if" I graduate. "When I buy an emu, not "if" I buy an emu. "When" I eat 145 Butterfingers, not "if" I eat them (not recommended)... I used to say "if I become a best-selling author"...but why, would I, as my most enthusiastic and devoted promoter, leave room for doubt in one of the most important statements about my goals??? Why would I, as a person who both loves and respects the power of words, allow for there to be an "if" in the equation at all??? "If means maybe, which also then by association,  means maybe not. I now say "when I become a best-selling author" and doesn't that have a...
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I approve

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 18, 2013
"A man cannot be comfortable without his approval." Mark Twain For the most part, I have tried very hard to do exactly this. I have tried to be a person who is true to herself, and a few relationships and job attempts notwithstanding, I have succeeded at approving of the person whom I have become. The jobs and relationships I have tried which were based on someone else's approval have been short-lived. I felt like a kid playing dress-up, in clothes and shoes which were never going to fit. With each year that passes, I find it easier and easier to worry only about living a life which meets MY approval, and I have been far more peaceful because of it....
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Getting brave

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 16, 2013
My friend, Misty, got me a card that said "dandelions are my favorite because they refuse to give up" and my Christmas present to myself was a permanent reminder to never give up on my writing. For the majority of my life, I have played it safe...I have been ever aware of where the line in the sand was, and have stayed safely on the side where there would be approval and where nothing I did would show up on a background check (as an educator,  this is very important). I have hidden myself away, have kept extra weight on, have pursued relationships I knew wouldn't last, because again...it was safe. My tattoo was my first step at being brave....
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Bird by Bird...again

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 15, 2013
I don't know how many times Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott has helped me in my writing...heck, I don't know how many times I have recommended the book or written about the book or blogged about the book...but it has completely changed my life and come to my rescue. I would recommend it to every writer, every person rebuilding a car, every person falling in love, finishing a degree...basically anyone who is doing something which could overwhelm them and cause them to give up...so everyone. The premise of the book is to not think "Today I am going to write an entire novel...rebuild a car bumper to bumper...entirely open my heart...start and finish my degree, etc." That's too much...
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Writing what I want

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 14, 2013
"I just write what I wanted to rite. I write what amuses me. It is totally for myself." JK Rowling I love this. It is absolutely the core of how I write. I write stories I would want to read, filled with characters I would want to know. I think this, honestly, should be the motivation of most authors...after all if I don't enjoy my plot and/or my characters when they are bouncing around in my head, why should my readers care about them. There are far too many other books they could be reading, filled with characters they do like... So far, people have, for the most part, enjoyed the characters I have introduced them to, and though I still worry...
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Menacing Mistakes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 13, 2013
Some days, I can forget I have one or two perfectionistic tendencies. I can just write and the words flow across the page with no concern for wrong words (I just circle them on the page for future pondering) or missing details (indicated with brackets and a phrase such as "Battle," "dinner," or simply "FIX THIS"). Some days, when the writing is especially fluid, I can even tolerate scratch outs and spelling mishaps. Those are the days where the writing doesn't stop, where the only thing that matters is keeping up with the characters as they act out the scene. The sound of the pen moving across the paper is magical. Today is not such a day. Today, the...
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Lyrical Story

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 12, 2013
"He loved her, but he wasn't too sure IF he could return the love she showed. When she said, 'my love extends Beyond the realm of being friends.' He kissed her head And quietly he said, 'It's not that you're not beautiful, you're just not beautiful to me.' She said, 'how beautiful do I have to be. When I look in the mirror you're the only thing I see And I have loved you beautifully." "Beautifully" Jay Brannan I really am a sucker for strong lyrics. I love the songs where you can understand and actually feel what's going on -- you get a sense of the characters and the plot. You pull for the hero/heroine, or you hope for Karma to hurry up and balance the scales. I don't...
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Making Word Counts

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 11, 2013
It took me a couple tries to get my title what I wanted to say...I kept wanting to type "Making Words Count" which sounds more up my alley than "Making Word Counts" (say it out loud slowly; it will make my struggle make more sense). Stephen King has a word count goal of 2000 words a day. Of course, he's Stephen King and has mastered the ability to shut out the world (as much as anyone truly can). It also can't hurt that he has had time to train his friends and family what the phrase "writing time" actually means. For most of us, that training is a rather arduous process, especially since writing is not yet how we earn...
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Compulsion

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 10, 2013
"Writing is more than anything a compulsion, like some people wash their hands 30 times a day for fear of awful consequences if they do not." Julie Burchill A friend asked me once if I did my OCD-eccentricities because of a fear of the consequences if I did not, for instance, start on my right foot to go down the stairs, have any random marks on my board before starting class, had a hanger facing the other way, ate my M&M's in random order, or didn't finish a pattern. Of course not...most likely...maybe...but better safe than sorry, perhaps. What if I ate my M&M's out of color order and Hugh Jackman never took his shirt off in another movie? How could...
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Creatively Wealthy

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 09, 2013
"Whatever your talent, use it in every way possible...spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke." Brendan Francis I am a creative person. Forgive me for the obvious statement, but it does have a rather nice sound to it, doesn't it? I am a creative person. Now let's not get all philosophical about not being able to singularly define a person...I know this, of course, but I would also have to say it is one of the predominant ways I have of defining what makes me...ME. I do best at activities which allow for some creativity to be expressed. The experiences I have had where I have not been able to be creative in some fashion...didn't last long. Relationships,...
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Fictional Friends

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 07, 2013
"I live with the people I create and it has always made my essential loneliness less keen." Carson McCullers I think it is a fair statement that I like most real people just fine, most of the time. Some of the exceptional ones -- I like quite a bit -- all of the time. People I know (or don't know) bring an amazing array of colors to my life and it truly is a blessing that I get to observe and interact with people and can almost always pull it off for a minute before my awkward kicks in...which it almost always does. Having been a teacher for 17 years and on this planet for 38 years, I have learned to...
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New page...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 06, 2013
"Regard every new page as a small triumph." Roddy Doyle There is indeed a triumph when the writing takes you to a new, blank page. When you reach the bottom line of the back of a page (or the cursor blinks in the bottom right-hand corner for those who prefer keyboard over pen-to-paper...people of whom I both envy and pity, but that is another talk for another day). When you get to the bottom, there is a pause, however minute, where I wonder if I have exhausted this chapter or bit of dialogue or research. This tiny pause where I wonder (fear) if I have said all I need to say about th..and then there is a sigh of relief when,...
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Falling into place

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 05, 2013
"When I am trusting and being myself...everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously." Shakti Gawain This concept, amazing in its simplicity -- is exactly what has been happening in my life right now... For a while now, I have realized that my truest passion, my truest ME is being an author. Don't get me wrong, I still love teaching and I still give it my all. When I am in the classroom, I am as eccentric and energetic as I ever have been. My love of discussing and learning still drive me as my role as a teacher, but now, I leave teaching and the things that go with it (grading, lesson planning, obsessing) at my...
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Discovering Distractions

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 04, 2013
"I write four books a year. I'm very fortunate that I write quickly; around 3,500 words a day. Being strict about delineating my writing time and personal life, as well as keeping distractions at bay, is the only way I accomplish this." Alexander McCall Smith Okay...when I first found this quote about distractions, I will admit it...there was a bit of a distraction as I saw the "I write four books a year" part and had to bring back the drool a bit...because I kept picturing my future island and, I'm not a math person, but 4 books a year would bring that into reality that much faster...but I need to keep my distractions at bay as Mr. Smith indicated. Distractions...
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Throwing paint

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 03, 2013
"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can." Danny Kaye I love Danny Kaye. He was amazingly talented and acted in a time when you had to have skill because the technology didn't exist yet to be able to fake it. I think this quote is especially appropriate for my life right now, because I have some time on my hands...and I plan on throwing as much metaphorical paint on my canvas as I can (not literal paint as I have no artistic talent whatsoever (as many of my students and any of my friends on Draw Something can surely attest to). But the metaphoric paint I am throwing on my canvas...
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Tell me about the Rabbits

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 02, 2013
"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." John Steinbeck There is a truth to this statement that I would not have fully appreciated before holding the first copy of Whatever You Make of It. Suddenly novel ideas which had been patient for years, laughing and playing in the depths of my mind, became aware of all that they could be...that one day they could be the complete book that I was holding. This handling of ideas...this publishing of books has been the impetus that was needed to get my ideas coming out strong and coming out fast. Suddenly every project wanted to be next...and when they saw...
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Hey there June!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 01, 2013
So a friend asked me to participate in his 30 days of blogging throughout the month of June...I participated last year, but didn't get every single day blogged. This month I will get it done! I have a list...and as we all know about me, I like to mark things off of lists...plus, I have been waiting for this particular June for roughly my entire life, so I have things to say. This June, I plan on being a full-time author and a part-time teacher. I have projects aplenty and I want to work on all of them...and bring as many to the point of completion (or as near to completion as I can get this summer). I plan on...
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Halfway to Hermit

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 29, 2013
So, it always happens when finals come around and grades and projects are due...that I look around at my students and fellow teachers, where I collect final exams and final papers, and I fully embrace...everything about hermit-hood (poetic license). Yes, of course I love teaching. Yes, I love the bright and shining faces of my adult learners as they mathematically figure out what they need on the final exam...and the deluge of late papers and current papers is a breath of fresh air...YES, this is why I teach...er....well...perhaps I should move on to the point of my blog today. It always happens around this time in the quarter, where I want to take a bit of a break from the...
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Segues of a Sequel

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 15, 2013
Okay...so I did think a bit for this post title as I enjoy alliteration and segue is my favorite word...but it is also apropos (yes, another favorite) to what I am currently working on...so perhaps you'll forgive me. When a friend and fellow writer finished Arianna's Honor and told me I needed to get working on her sequel because I left everything with one hell of a cliffhanger, I agreed with him wholeheartedly. My muse clapped and danced because more people loved Arianna. I wanted to work on Ari -- of course -- I mean I have known and loved her for many years longer than anyone else possibly could have, but I wanted to finish the first draft of...
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a bit...hermit

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 13, 2013
For the past couple of years, when it gets to this part of my teaching quarter and the make-up work begins to rush in, I always find myself wanting, more than a little, to be a hermit...I want a bit to hide away from the world and everyone in it, and just write. Knowing that the next quarter (at least, maybe longer) my work responsibilities are lessened, knowing that I will get so so so much time to write and work on projects, my desire to hide away from the world is even stronger...because it is so close and it is going to be so amazing...and I am not the most patient on my best day (and goodness knows the...
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SHINY

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 08, 2013
I had lunch with an amazing friend who reminded me that since she has known me, my adjective of choice, has been "shiny"...so I thought I would take a moment to recognize how very shiny certain aspects of my life are, at current. **I am writing every day. This is my present and will most certainly be my future...and I can think of nothing shinier than when it is my "Job" to get up and write every day. I can handle that 40+ hours a week without any problem what-so-ever **I have two novels published and 5 first drafts waiting to be edited, covered, and published. **I have someone who is crazy talented working on 2 of the aforementioned covers. **I...
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Puzzle Pieces

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 05, 2013
It is always an amazing feeling when the puzzles pieces start to go from a pile of random, unrelated, bits of an image to a collective, beautiful picture, where even if you can't see how every single piece is going to fit...you at least get enough of the image to know that you are on the right track and the picture you are creating will be worth the work you are putting in to building it. I have made mention before of the landmarks which have solidified my goal of being an author. Holding my first copy of Whatever you Make of It was epic in that I knew there would be no more back burner for my books. The...
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Getting what I Wanted all Along

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 02, 2013
So I have been wanting to focus more on writing...I have wanted to really embrace life as an author and just write. I have wanted to finish more projects, publish more novels, just BE an author. I have taught for 16 years now, and I still love it, mostly, but writing has finally become my true passion, and that which I want to pursue more than anything else. I have been praying for, wishing for, hoping for...more time to pursue my author life. I am getting what I wanted all along. For the June quarter, I will only be teaching 2 classes. I won't (as of now) be working anywhere else, though I will still be applying for other jobs...
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Not far off...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 30, 2013
It is always nice when you find out you are not too far off from where you need to be doing...that you are doing almost all that you are supposed to be doing...that even though you may feel as if you are barely staying afloat...that the next big wave could be the one to drag you under water, that you are actually better at treading water than you worried...that maybe, just maybe there is nothing to worry about at all. I started reading a book called Creating your Writing Platform and I am only a little ways in, but so far...I am starting things out correctly for my second career. I have Facebook, I have Twitter (though I don't really...
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NEXT!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 25, 2013
As I approach the final chapters of the first draft of Redeeming Trust, which is the sequel to Broken Trust, there exists in my head a cacophony of excitement. Now, those of you who know me, could attest to the fact that this chaos is rather common as it is not at all unusual as at any given time there are multiple conversations between my characters, my muse, and myself. That is a true enough fact...the inner workings of my mind are magnificient. What always happens, as a novel moves from the "In Progress" pile to the "Draft Done" pile, is the whisperings of random characters get more pronounced...every character begins to express his or her plot points and special...
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Weaving tapestries

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 21, 2013
It amazes me, the complexity of life's tapestries. The frantic weaving of the universe to make sure that these two lives cross paths at the exact moment they are most needed. Sometimes it is a love that needs to happen at that right time because, unbeknownst to both parties, the time left in one of the lover's hourglass is running low. The meeting happened and was as intense as it needed to be to accomplish its purpose. Sometimes it is that friend that you meet by a seemingly random coincidence, that has you both working at the same place at the exact right time, and you meet right before something HUGE happens in one or both lives and the friendship...
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My One Thing

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 17, 2013
"If I traded it all If I gave it all away for one thing Just for one thing. If I sorted it out If I knew all about this one thing Wouldn't that be something." "One Thing" Finger Eleven I have written about this song before, I know...but the lyrics haunt me in the best possible ways. Since my book signing a month ago...this song has been even more true. He talks about being "restless tonight because I wasted the light" and I think of any day that passes without my putting pen to paper is wasted. I write every day. I try to. Some days it's half an hour; some days it's half the day. Some days it's an outline, a freewrite, a journal,...
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Solar Powered

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 14, 2013
I am solar powered...without a doubt. My energy level is definitely affected by how much sunshine I have seen and so spring is always tricky for me as is winter. This last few days has been gray and rainy...add that to my work level at current, and the three-year anniversary of the death of someone very dear to me and let's just say it's been a struggle. I've still been writing every day, trying to recharge my batteries as best I can. The magic of pen to paper still works...it always does. The magic of pen-to-paper keeps me going and plugging along at my novel...helping me get one page and one page and one more page closer to my goal...
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A bit random

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 10, 2013
Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising how often this is a response to something I have said or texted...some people get used to my randomness and some thrive on it, adding to multiple conversations without losing the thread of any of the respective conversations. Some people find my randomness annoying, and I usually find out who these people are rather quickly and make a mental note (which I try really hard to remember) to not contact them with random. They prefer minimal or at least linear conversations...I try to keep that in mind. The reason behind the random thoughts from me...and I absolutely refuse to think of my random thoughts as a problem...but the reason behind them is simply...my head is...
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Love it, love it, love it

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 07, 2013
I love being an author. I love everything about it. I love the writing, I love the creative process, I love the editing and polishing of a draft. I love the beginning of a story where I am getting to meet my characters for the first time. I love the process where I learn their stories and get to watch them act out the scenes...when the writing is so smooth and free flowing that it really is just up to me to keep up and get things down as the characters act them out on the screen in my head. I love the middles of the story where there are plot twists and parts of it come out as pictured...
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Endings

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 03, 2013
"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop" Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll Endings are peculiar things, which makes it no wonder this quote from the fantastically peculiar Alice in Wonderland,  came to mind as I was pondering the ending to Redeeming Trust. Those of you who have been with me a while, know that, as a general rule, endings vex me. There is an almost paralyzing fear of endings because they are the epitome of a bad taste left in the mouth. Endings can mean the difference between a reader recommending a current book, or not...and a reader picking up another book by me, or not... The ending to my first two, came to...
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Kicking the OCD up a notch

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 01, 2013
As it usually happens, when one aspect of life gets busier, other aspects follow suit, and it is just up to you to dig in your heels and hang on the best you can. What I find is that when my plate gets full, I kick my OCD into high gear and just get it done. There are no other options as far as I am concerned. So my book signing was amazing...and it really just reaffirmed what I had figured out the instant I held my first copy of Whatever you Make of It and again what I knew as I held the first copy of Arianna's Honor. This author gig is EXACTLY what I want my life to...
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Sweet Agony

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 28, 2013
"There is not greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou It is indeed the sweetest agony in the world to have a story inside you that needs to be put on paper, needs to be told, needs to be shared with the world. To have it inside your heart, your mind, your soul and to finally be able to share it in whatever medium works. Some people share their stories through painting or fashion, ceramics or graffiti...some share it through poetry, short stories, novels, music, dance...it doesn't matter the medium...all that matters is that you take the story that exists in your soul and you release it. Share it in a journal or share it with the...
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Moving right along

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 25, 2013
At my book signing last week, one of my closest friends, and fellow writers, asked me how many projects I work on at any given time. The answer I gave was 4, because that is currently how many novels I am playing with on a regular basis. There is Redeeming Trust, Breaking Point, Crusin for Love, and First Down. And it really does work well for me to have those four as my primary. Any other thoughts that occur to me on my 20+ other novels that have been started, are lovingly written down and kept with their respective novels. Can't have those ideas bouncing around my head like random ping-pong balls...they might escape and then where would I be?...
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Break my Stride

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 20, 2013
"Ain't nothing gonna break my stride Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh no I've got to keep on moving. Ain't nothing gonna break my stride I'm running and I won't touch ground, Oh no, I've got to keep on moving." "Break my Stride" by Matthew Wilder Strangely I feel the need to apologize for the double negatives and for the use of the word "ain't" in my shiny blog...but the message of the chorus of this 80's hit has been running through my mind since my book signing, so I thought perhaps if I put the song in my blog, it might leave my subconscious...on the other hand, I don't really mind the chorus as it makes my muse dance and is exactly how...
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That settles it

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 17, 2013
I had my very first book signing over the weekend and all I can say is WOW!!!! It was nerve-wracking and amazing and so much fun!!! That settles it. I want the author's life. I want to write my books and publish them and have signings so I can talk to people about them. Yup. That's the life I want. Not that there was a lot of question before Saturday...but now, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I want to write and publish and be an author, with everything that comes with it. It was truly an amazing feeling to have people holding Whatever you Make of It and Arianna's Honor either that they brought with them...
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Booksigning Benchmark

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 06, 2013
In 2011, I had a benchmark as an author. I held my first book in book format...more beautiful than it ever existed in my head. In 2012, I had a second benchmark as I held my second book and realized that it was amazing to hold them both side by side. 2013 I am having my first book signing. If you are in the Kansas City area on March 16, you should join me at Southwood Church of Christ from 2-4. Parts of this journey are very surreal. Every time someone talks to me about my characters that used to exist only in my mind and now exist in the minds of my readers as well, I smile and just...
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It works for me.

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 25, 2013
Many people have made comment on the ways I do things...and yes, perhaps there are other ways that things could be done...but any athlete who doesn't wash a pair of socks or shave or get a haircut for an entire season would understand perfectly. Maybe it's a bunch of superstitious hogwash, maybe my writing would be the same regardless, but maybe, just maybe, the system works...and it should be respected and not messed with...at the end of the day, it doesn't matter to me if it is the system or my faith in the system...all I know is that for me, it works. I hand write every single thing. I hand write my 90-page papers for my PhD. I handwrite...
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this is my life

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 18, 2013
"This is my life...it's not what it was before, All these feelings I've shared. These are my dreams -- that I've never lived before Some one shake me because I must be dreaming. I'm not ashamed to be the person I am today." So far Away -- Staind It's always a good day when I wake up with a Staind song in my head (and Aaron Lewis is COMPLETELY on my list of people I'd like to meet...along with Brian Urlacher and Stephen King, of course). The universe has made it that I get to write full-time. I still teach part time...that hasn't changed, and won't for the foreseeable future. I have found my niche in the classroom and am teaching at a place...
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2012 in review

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 13, 2013
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here's an excerpt: The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people. Click here to see the complete report.
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Party in my head

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 13, 2013
Recently my stress level has taken a much-needed and mostly permanent vacation. This happened with a simple move that probably should have happened long ago but, as with everything else, happened right when it was most beneficial to all involved. The result of this move has been a party in my head. All of my characters are celebrating the fact that this move guarantees that I have more time to write for the foreseeable future, and what better reason to celebrate than to be able to continue to teach at a place that still feels like home, and to be able to write in a place that most definitely feels like home. At any given time, I have a multitude...
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The Name Game

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 10, 2013
Those of you who know me or who have read my blog for a while, know that I struggle with names. I struggle in the real world and in the fictional worlds that I create. Part of it is I have taught for 16 years, so doing some very simple math (as if there was another kind of math I could do) let's say I have 100 students a year...that alone is 1600 names to keep straight...not to mention co-workers, bosses, family, and the like. You add in the fact that I have about 25 novels that I have started and let's again (for the sake of my math skills) say there are only 4 characters per novel (not possible...
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Book Signing!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 05, 2013
On March 16, 2013 from 2-4, I am having my first book signing. To say I am excited, would be a bit of an understatement. I am ordering my books and preparing for snacks and just getting everything ready. And it is surreal, but amazing all at the same time. I know there will come a day where this is a yearly (or more) event...that I will have people who have met and fallen in love with my characters and are excited to meet my next set of characters. It is amazing and humbling to me that this already happens. When people talk to me about Jac and Jyn (or Rebecca and Johnathon) from Whatever you Make of It or...
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Out of Sorts

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 31, 2013
I am all out of sorts...and we all know why...it happens every time I don't get enough pen to paper time. I need to get back to my routines...I need to have my daily dose of therapy...because too much of life is trying to distract me from my course, and I refuse to allow that to happen. Not now. Not again. I took a job at a retail store for some extra money over the holidays...I know what you're thinking...Michelle around the public, during the holidays???? It was a good experience and I am glad that I had the opportunity. It showed me I could still be around people and not have the anxiety win...and no, I can't explain why...
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Okay then...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 14, 2013
"You are what you think about all day long." Dr. Robert Schuller Well...it's official then...I am an author. I think about writing ALL the time. I think about my characters and I think about my chapters. I think about how I am going to get my plot from point A, where it currently exists, to point B, where I know I want it to get to. I think about what my characters would like to eat when I am at a restaurant. I think about what my female characters would wear when I am trapped in the fine jewelry cage pacing for hours...hours better spent doing what I am thinking about. I think about personality quirks of my characters...sometimes I think...
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Ideas

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 09, 2013
One of my favorite questions is when people ask me where do I get my ideas....because in a writer's world...anything is fair game. Little snippets of conversation, a comment made or look given, a dream, a scene on a television show that I could do better, a picture in a magazine, a line from a song, a fight, a drama-filled chat...I think you get the picture. Everything is fair game. For example, Whatever you Make of It came from a book I read where I wanted to talk to one of the characters who was not behaving the way I thought he should. I tried talking to him, but he ignored me and continued on with his plot. So I...
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AM

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 06, 2013
I AM an author. Not "I want to be an author." Not "I will be an author." I AM an author. There is a power in those two little letters squished together to form that verb. A power that takes something out of the hypothetical, future tense and in to the actual, present tense. Two little letters...change everything. Think about it for a moment. Instead of saying "I will be loved, desired, successful, famous, an astronaut, a circus clown, whatever" say "I AM loved, desired, successful, famous, an astronaut, a circus clown, whatever." Feel the change? AM makes it now. Whatever you were before may have shaped your AM just as your AM will shape all of your future AMs....
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200th Blog

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 04, 2013
So I wanted my 200th blog to be my first posting of 2013 because I feel like both deserve a little bit of celebrating! 200 is a nice OCD-friendly number and I have really good feelings about 2013...things are going to happen this for me...and I am ready. I am using the ideas of positive energy to bring positive things and self-fulling prophecy to keep that energy going. I am not going to live afraid anymore. Afraid of success, afraid of change, afraid to step outside my comfort zones, afraid to truly put myself out there to love and be loved, afraid of disappointing and/or embarrassing others. Those fears stop now. I am going to be successful. This premise is...
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Dear 2012,

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 26, 2012
Reflecting back on this year, I have learned a lot...as I usually do... I have learned that while I will always love certain people, the best thing I can do for them and for me is to let go. I have learned that hiding from feelings does not actually protect me from pain; it just makes the pain more confusing. And trying to not feel affects my writing, so that's done. I have learned that the people I am supposed to meet will be met in the oddest of places, but knowing them, I learn they were the reason I was at that place at that exact time. I have learned to be more trusting of that that quiet, little voice that...
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Earth to Michelle

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 19, 2012
So a few friends have brought it to my attention that I have been a little more out of touch or distant than usual. (I almost put "than normal" but who are we kidding...) and as I look back on the last few weeks, they are most correct. The week of Thanksgiving I acquainted myself with working retail for the first time in a long time. Then after Thanksgiving retail I was attacked by aliens disguised as food poisoning or a stomach flu. I had no energy for a week after that...then it was finals week where I teach...enough said. Then it was start week for the new quarter. Again...enough said. So what all of this has added up to...
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Being a Gemini

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 12, 2012
So one of the absolutely best parts of being a Gemini is that I can (and do) flip back and forth between serious and fun projects. I can plan a lesson and then be quite happy writing on whichever project strikes my fancy at any given time. As long as I divide my time between the logical and emotional twins, it is all fabulous in the inner workings of my world. It's when I spend too much solitary time with the logical twin that the emotional twin gets rather pouty and surly and starts making rhymes whenever and where ever I might be...oh yes, this has happened in the grocery store. I need to by tissue cuz my nose has...
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These are a few of my favorite...pens

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 09, 2012
So, it's not news to anyone (hopefully) that I have an addiction to pens. If you have ever had a conversation with me and you are holding a pen, my mind is trying to focus on what you are saying, but really, I want to "borrow" your pen...my first action with said borrowed pen will be to sign my name. It is always good to see if it would be a necessity for my book tours. And sometimes when I "borrow" your pen, I will immediately hand it back to you...you see this as me returning borrowed goods. I have just informed you, ever so quietly, that your pen is not up to my standards. It's still a fine pen...but...
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Xmas ideas for readers

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 02, 2012
If I may be so bold...might I suggest, for your reading enjoyment, or for the reading enjoyment of anyone on your list that enjoys a book or two... My first book, Whatever you Make of It, is a book about a couple of characters, Johnathon and Rebecca, who read a book. This s not your ordinary book though...the book that this couple reads allows them to talk to the main characters, Jac and Jyn. Though the book people are the same for both Johnathon and Rebecca, the two plots that they read are each very different. Fall in love with Jac and Jyn...and think about how amazing it would be if you actually could converse with the characters in your favorite...
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Reflection on my first NaNoWriMo...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 29, 2012
So I tried it...and I will definintely be back next November to try it again. National Novel Writing Month was a fantastic challenge, and as with every first attempts, I learned a few things. I only got to about 22000 words out of the 50000 goal...and I have figured out why this happened. I know where I fell short and why I fell short and what I will do to not fall short on my next attempt. I write every day. It may be crap or it may be fabulous or, as usual, it may fall somewhere between the two, but every single day, I put shiny pen to blank paper. The pressure of getting to 50,000 words though, had...
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Addiction

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 26, 2012
Hi, my name is Michelle and I haven't written in 8 days...8 excruciating days of not putting pen-to-paper, 8 days of having no release, no freedom, no connection with the truest part of me. I could give you a thousand excuses...I have had rough drafts to edit as it is the end of the teaching quarter. I could tell you that it is difficult to switch back and forth between the editor and the creator. I could tell you that the weather change hit my sinuses so hard that I couldn't remember what my actual voice sounded like. I could tell you that picking up a sort-of job cut into my time and messed up my schedule. I could tell...
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My first time...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 18, 2012
I want to talk for a minute about my first time...because next week it is going to happen again, and while it will be amazing and breathtaking and will probably alternately make me scream and leave me speechless, it will never surpass the first time. Last July, I opened the cardboard box from iUniverse and held my first book, Whatever you Make of It for the first time. Have you ever held a tangible form of your dream? A degree? Something you created? A significant other? A child? Yes, then you understand. I just stared at the green cover at first, memorizing every detail, much like I would do with a lover, wanting to savor every memory. I knew, upon...
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Staying in Focus

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 15, 2012
Okay, first of all I want to say that I am truly enjoying the challenge of National Novel Writing Month. It is an exhilarating experience to watch a novel grow daily, and even though I am behind on my word count, I am thoroughly enjoying the process. One difficulty I am having, to stay in focus, is my morning routine, which also happens to be my routine for when I get stuck at a chapter break, or stuck mid-chapter, or stuck, period. My tried-and-true way to break the block and un-stick the stuck, is to freewrite, which is fine and absolutely always gets the pen moving across the page again. The problem is that, as is the nature of the...
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if 1 is good, then 5 is better...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 07, 2012
So I am really enjoying getting to be a part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I have wanted to do this for the past few years, but as it tends to...life has gotten in the way. But this year...it is going strong. An idea occurred to me...that if I can write a first draft in the month of November and that is good...then I could continue that pace and knock out some more rough drafts...say 4 more (that is my timeframe for unemployment benefits). Imagine that...I would have first drafts of Redeeming Trust done, I would have First Down done, I would have Stealing Second done, I would have Breaking Point done, and I would have Playing it...
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the ups and downs of being a writer...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 04, 2012
"Every writer I know has had trouble writing." Joseph Heller Some days writing comes easy-breezy. The pen is a natural extension of the hand and my characters act out the scene in front of me and all I have to do is keep up. This was day one and day two of the NaNoWriMo challenge. I got my word counts to where they needed to be, I felt on top of the world. I was euphoric. Yesterday, and this is always a sign that I've come down from the high, I was more concerened with my handwriting than I was with my words. It was painful to get to 1000 words, but I wouldn't let myself get up until I had...
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Arianna's Honor

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 02, 2012
Arianna's Honor (my 2nd novel) is now in the design phase!!!! After some editing suggestions from them and some editing suggestions from Jessica Toll, and an ending I can smile about...I sent her off as a final draft...then, as things happen, there were some miscommunications, but yesterday I received the email that she has made it to the design phase!!!! And there was much rejoicing. What does this mean, you ask...well...having done this all with Whatever you Make of It last year...I can fully say. I don't remember, but I know it is forward progression. Most of the process with Jac and Jyn went by in a blur ...a highly euphoric, holy rusted metal, Batman kind of a blur. What...
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National Novel Writing Month...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 01, 2012
I am really excited about participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge this year. This morning I started off my sequel to Broken Trust and had so much fun. I want to pencil in a kind of outline to have some sort of game plan. The words had a great flow from the pen (a pen that supports breast cancer awareness) and I enjoyed my stay at Perkins (despite the woman who was wearing entirely too much perfume). My waitress remembered me (and my notebooks)from IHOP and took down my name and book title so she could check out my book. She remembered that I would always come in with my notebooks. It was nice being remembered. It was...
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Stay Home...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 28, 2012
"I'm a freak without provision Seems I've made the right decision Try to turn back now it might be too late..." "I wanna stay home today Don't wanna go out. If anyone comes to play, gonna get thrown out." Self -- "Stay Home" So grateful for this song from the Shrek soundtrack...and it's exactly how I feel today. Today and tomorrow I have no places I have to be, no time schedules I need to keep, no hours I have to pay attention to...which is beautiful music to my ears. That's not to say I won't venture out to Starbucks to write or go to my apt complex gym to get healthy...it's just to say I don't have to go anywhere and certainly not at any particular...
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All "Fired" Up

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 25, 2012
So for the first time in my life, I was fired 3 weeks ago from my day job. And since then, I have been on fire...if you'll excuse the pun. Last night, as a prime example, I wrote 8 pages over pancakes and coffee...then I worked out, took a shower, and wrote 3 more pages. It was like I couldn't stop writing...which, as an author...is just about the best feeling in the world. It makes up for those days where cleaning the grout in the tub would be more productive than starting at the shiny pen in my hand for one more minute. But last night (and I have a good feeling today) it was magic. It was like my...
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Off my Plate...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 18, 2012
So those of you who know me, know that I tend to keep my plate pretty full at most times. Blame it on the OCD...the ADD...hell, blame it on the PhD, but I always tend to have multiple projects going on at the same time. Arianna's Honor is officially off my plate. I finished her edit, taking into account the advice of iUniverse and Jessica Toll (who has become invaluable as a reader and critique and friend) and adding an ending that finally allowed me to go "yes, NOW she is ready to be seen in public" and click send. I sent her back to iUniverse where they will now pretty her up, make her shine, and send her back...
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Living outside the lines

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 14, 2012
"You'll never enjoy your life, living inside the box. You're so afraid of taking chances, how you gonna reach the top? Rules and regulations, force you to play it safe. Get rid of all the hesitation, It's time for you to seize the day." "Waiting outside the lines" by Greyson Chance I would like to apologize if I get this song stuck in anyone else's head...it plays in mine quite regularly, but then I have a muse who has been saying for years (more loudly in the past year) that is in fact time to SEIZE THE DAY. It is time to say, LET'S DO THIS! Embrace your gift of words...stop saying someday, and just do it. Recent events have caused me to reevaluate some...
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Re-Roll...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 10, 2012
I feel like I have been given the gift of a re-roll...as if everything I thought about jobs and education and relationships and life...that I get a chance to pick up the dice and re-roll. Tabula Rasa...a blank slate...an empty canvas. And it is beyond exciting...it's exhilerating to live in my head right now...well, it's crowded as well, but that is something every author gets accustomed to... I have taken jobs because I thought I should. I have taken jobs because I had the experience and education to do them, and do them well. I have taken jobs and done them to the best of my ability and poured myself into them and given everything I had as often as I...
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Bouncing

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 07, 2012
One of the reasons I collect Tigger is his ability to bounce. One of my closest friends got me a specially designed Tigger mug that she had written on "I will always bounce" and this has always and will always be true of how I live my life. One of my strongest beliefs has always been that everything happens for a reason. I was recently fired from my day job...a job where I had met amazing people who I have absolutely no doubt...I was supposed to meet and love. The objectives for that job had been met. I had become friends with those I was meant to befriend, I had helped motivate those I was supposed to help, and it...
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Breaking Point

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 23, 2012
So, for the past two weeks, I have been auditioning my stories to see which one would be next to be my primary focus. I have been writing random scenes using Judy Reeves's Book of Days for inspiration (she has 2 editions out and a writing prompt for every day of the year in each edition...so 730 ideas...can you say DROOL!!!!) So, I have been trying to see what my next project would be...and I have run into some issues... Logically, I should write First Down which is the first in the series that ends with Hat Trick whose first draft is finished. That is the logical choice and if writing were in any way logical...then that would be what I wrote...but...
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Checking for Numbness

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 20, 2012
"I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel, I focus on the pain, the only thing that's real." "Hurt," Johnny Cash I know Johnny Cash covered this song, but I actually prefer his version, which almost never happens because too many covers are only cheap imitations of the real thing...like Pleather...but I digress. The opening lines of this song made me think about my novels and the writing I have been doing lately. For the past 2 1/2 years, I have had to keep checking for numbness. His birthday is next week and while I feel his presence with every word I write, I would give just about anything to talk to my friend again. I haven't wanted to...
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Peaceful, Easy Feeling

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 16, 2012
"And I get a peaceful, easy feeling, and I know you won't let me down. Cuz I'm already standing on the ground." Eagles, Peaceful Easy Feeling I am home. I am finally home. And some of you may wonder...well where the heck have you been this whole time, if not home. And the answer...I've been restless. I've been searching for the epitome of perfection...a place that had everything I needed and I was absolutely certain that that place was not Kansas City. I have joked that I have moved so many times in my 23 years in Missouri (not to mention the number of moves in the first 14 years as well), but I have joked that I moved to stay...
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Clicking Send...a Second Time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 09, 2012
Last year, I sent off my first novel to be self-published and I equated it to a first-time parent sending a child off on a bus for the very first time. Even though I have no children, parents that I talked to...the experience was very similar. Were they ready? Would they remember to be nice to others? Did they have everything they needed in their backpacks? Did they have their lunch? Here I am on the brink of clicking Send on Arianna's Honor and I find myself as nervous as I was with the first book. Will they understand why she is the way she is? Will they think, as I do, that the prince is annoying in the beginning, but...
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Work in Progress

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 26, 2012
"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser." John Christian Anyone who has ever witnessed my attempts at drawing may find it interesting for me to use a quote that gives an art metaphor to explain life, but I think it works quite efficiently. Each of us, each of our lives, is indeed a work in progress. Every experience we have, good or bad, leaves its permanent mark on our canvases. Our lives are not white boards where we can meticulously erase every random speck and have our canvas be shiny and clean (and those of you who have been with me in a room with a white board know the significance of this). Just like my classrooms, sometimes I...
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Feeling like a taffy pull...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 22, 2012
Okay, so continuing the circus theme from my last blog...if you have ever seen a taffy pull, it is pretty impressive to watch. The taffy, in order to get to the smooth tasty treat we enjoy, has to be pulled this way and that, seemingly pulled in all directions at one time. And lately this is how I have felt...not fun...and what makes it even more "not fun" (forgive the grammar) is that no one put me in this taffy pull...I did it all by myself and just kept adding more and more to keep the multi-directional pulling thing to keep happening. Now God knows, as most people who have met me quickly learn, that I am not the best...
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The circus inside my head

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 19, 2012
Okay...so on any given day, there is a plethora of chaos in my head. Anyone who has had tried to carry a conversation with me knows this...and part of the chaos is the joy of being a writer. On my wall, you may have seen the picture, are 20 or so stories with their own characters and plot lines and they are in a constant state of intermingling in my head. It is like a perpetual family reunion, except this is a family where I love everyone and there is not a random weird relative that everyone worries about. So, as it happens when projects come to an ending of a stage, the chaos becomes, well...chaotic. Everyone wants to be...
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Still Counting

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 12, 2012
"Look deep into yourself before you blame all others for betrayal" Still Counting -- Volbeat A friend whom I have come to value more and more, in a conversation that started because of a song that got stuck in her head, challenged me to write about this song by Volbeat so that she wouldn't mind as much if the song got stuck in her head. Challenge accepted, my friend. Many of the words in the song are actually very fitting in my life right now, but in an effort to keep some modicum of privacy in this very public forum, I will write about this line in particular. I lie to myself and betray myself all the time (otherwise the people...
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Right Here, Right Now

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 11, 2012
"Right here, right now, there is no other place I'd rather be." Right here, right now -- Jesus Jones

Okay, so that song lyric is not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God...but it's a goal, and I think it's a relatively good one to have. I spend a lot of time looking forward. It is, on one hand, the way I get and keep my momentum to accomplish my aspirations. On the other hand, it can (and has been) be argued that I spend so much time in the "then" that I completely disregard the "now." I picture myself on a beach, writing 8-10 hours a day, loving the knowledge that my novels are...
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64 much needed kicks in the ass

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 04, 2012
So, my life has been under a fair amount of stress lately...and it is safe to say that the stress has been winning...and then a question last night caused me to look into something I had been avoiding...A student asked how many books I had sold. How many copies of Whatever you Make of It had been sold. Well, I told him 40 because I suddenly found it very, very odd that I didn't know...hadn't been paying attention...had honestly been a little scared to look. This morning...I looked. And the numbers are only current through March so far, but as of March, there are 64 copies of my book in this world. How shiny is that!!!! 64 people (or more, if...
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Finding out how far I can go...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 29, 2012
"Only those that risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." T.S. EliotI have had this quote as the signature on my email for years now and have always felt it not only nailed my personality, but also was the perfect description of a fully-lived life.Last week I went to my 3rd Residency (only one left!!!!) for my PhD and subtmitted the very, very, very, very rough draft of the prospectus (outline) for my Dissertation. I as bombarded for 4 days with the steps I have left for completion of my Phd in Adult Education. There were no real surprises on the steps remaining, but still, I had a fair pounding of my poor brain...I...
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My lists have failed me today

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 17, 2012
So, many of you know that I am a chronic list-maker...I make lists about my lists...and then cross that off the list. Lists calm me when things get swirly and help me focus when my overly full plate starts to spin and make a mess (which almost never happens...or almost always happens...I forget which). I have a list of things I need to get done today...a list of tasks that need to occupy my time until I can pretend to sleep tonight and hit the road tomorrow for four days away from work and life where I get totally PhD immersion and four nights of hotel comfort, writing and RELAXING. While this isn't a vacation, per se...it is AWAY...and that...
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An update on Arianna's Honor

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 15, 2012
While no one has said this to me, I wanted to clarify in case it seemed to anyone (like, me...for instance) that I dropped the ball on Arianna's Honor since she is still not in the hands of iUniverse. It has been a series of little things that, unfortunately, happened one right after another, each one pushing Arianna's public outing back a bit. But I am going to make amends this next week. As most of you are aware, I am nearing the end of my course/paper/residency requirement for my PhD and will soon be in full-dissertation mode. This is exciting to me for more reasons than I could possibly express...especially since this post is to be about Arianna and...
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Good morning!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 08, 2012
"I don't need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me" Ray Bradbury It is the best feeling in the world, waking up with a character or my Muse whispering (okay sometimes shouting) in my ear..."hey, how about we try..." or "you know, if we did this...." and though my bed is comfy and my sheets are perfectly cozy, I get up and get to work. It doesn't happen as often as it has before or will again, given the chaos of my life lately, but when it does happen...it is amazing. So this morning, I was awakened by such an occurrence...something that I wrote yesterday (got halfway done with Chapter 20 of hockey...I'm back baby!!!!) was the impetus for getting me...
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Hello my friends...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 05, 2012
So last weekend, I de-cluttered my life a bit...I realized that part of the reason for my funk of late was because of the clutter in my life and in my mind and heart. So I threw stuff out both literally and figuratively and Monday morning I sat at my desk before coming in to work and had the most beautiful welcome from my characters whom I have neglected these past few months...they said, "hey...remember us?" I sat down, pen in hand, and instantly the magic began to flow. Suddenly it was like no time at all had passed and it was just as if I had merely pushed pause, and now had pushed play. There are many reasons why...
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The best of me...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 01, 2012
Foo Fighters, in their song "Best of you" posed the question, "Is someone getting the best of you" and this song is, by far, my favorite by this band. It haunts me and causes me to face the simple truth that the someone who truly gets the best of me, is my Muse. No lover; no friend, no family member, no student,no job has ever gotten the best of what it is to be me. My novels, my poems, my projects get the best (and to be fair, the worst) of me. My creativity is what I give my whole soul to...is what I show every scar to...is what I believe in more than anything. It is the one thing...
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Exorcizing demons

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 27, 2012
"The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress." Philip RothI had never honestly put much stock in the whole "Devil made me do it" idea, as it always seemed to me that it was an excuse and a way to not take responsibility for one's own choices and actions.It has been my goal to have my PhD since I finished my Masters. I am now one paper, one course, two residencies, and a dissertation away from that goal. Go me.It has been my goal to be an author since I first held a crayon and found that it felt like a natural extension to my hand. I have my first shiny book and am working on the teaser sequel chapter...
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Finding a feather...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 24, 2012
Emily Dickinson, in one of her poems, stated, "Hope is a thing with feathers." Well, my friends, I believe I have found a feather...not a whole bird yet...nothing that will completely help me fly out of the tiny bits of minor darkness I have found myself in...but a feather...a tiny bit of hope that this, too shall pass. And you say, of course it will pass...this is just what it is right now...this chaos and swirly and depression (which is almost entirely rotated around and caused by money, blech) time will pass and I will find all kinds of metaphoric feathers (finding real ones would cause an allergic reaction and that is never a goal). The feather I found was...
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Hold steady...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 21, 2012
I hate it when things are all chaotic and swirly...because it is so easy to lose focus and get caught up in the drama and the chaos...and then when I am chaotic and swirly, I don't function well and even more, I don't write...which causes me to function even less well (I know...painful to read, and I apologize...poetic license and all that). My friends are amazing...they help talk me out of my swirl and even when I don't want to hear what they have to say, their words still penetrate my thick skull and their meaning gets through loud and clear. People have been asking me A LOT lately...what I want to do...this is due in large part to my...
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My way...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 20, 2012
Okay, so the fact that I prefer to do things my way should not really be a surprise to anyone out there...what you may call control issues, I merely call wanting things done correctly. (See...it's all in the phrasing)...I like to teach my way...I like to work on my PhD my way...I like to write my way...my way makes sense to me, and since (to be fair) they are my classes, my papers, and my novels...so, even though logic is not always my closest friend, it seems logical to me that if I teach and work on my PhD and write and I do these things well...then I should be good to go as far as doing them to my...
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Perfection...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 17, 2012
Okay, I know...I don't actually believe in perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect guy or girl, there is no such thing as a perfect draft or a perfect movie (and with all the repetition and weird combos coming out in movies...blech)...I could go on and on, but the point is perfection is a ridiculous goal...the ultimate optical illusion and mirage all in one frustrating package... But this morning...the sun is shining, I have a coffee cup full of beautiful deliciousness, I have a pen that is smooth and glob-free, I have a notebook that is begging me to fill its pages, I have a muse who is flitting beside me, I have good music filling my ears (my...
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Productivity Please

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 13, 2012
So I have been praying for more productive "free time" (I put it in quotes because the "free" time I have is fill almost to bursting with creative and academic tasks)...and last night I went to bed at 9:30...which is sad because I got home at 8:30. And yes, sometimes a person needs sleep, and that is acceptable, but what is not acceptable is that Monday, I had an entire day off and I did nothing to further any of my projects. I sat and watched Bones all day... I have been talking to many friends about this and I was saying I don't have any energy...I am so uninspired by certain aspects of my current life (aspects I can't change,...
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Lying on a Beach...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 11, 2012
Okay, so no, I'm not actually lying on a beach as I type this...sand is bad for a computer and even with as many techno-friends as this girl has, I'm pretty sure even they couldn't get the sand out of the doodads were I actually to take my pretty pink computer to the sandy shores.But I am picturing a beach...literally, it's posted on the wall at eye level at my desk. And it serves a reminder...the stress and chaos that currently exist in my life...the very separate HAVE to-do list and WANT to-do list which barely even get to coincide on the same paper...all of the things that HAVE to get done which makes me stall on what I WANT...
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FINISH HIM!!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 10, 2012
Anyone who has ever played Mortal Kombat (any of them or all of them) will be familiar with the deep voice yelling at  you to completely decimate the opponent who is wobbling and barely standing. Now is the time to do the fancy finishing move that will most assuredly defeat your enemy and leave you standing as the victor. I think it says a lot about me, but I always felt bad at that point in the game...I mean you have already destroyed your opponent...he's barely standing...he's humiliated. All of his friends and family are devastated and here you go with your special move...to make sure that he is dead...only with this move, he is defenseless...and you come off looking...
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Knowing names

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 06, 2012
As many of you know, sometimes my attention gets a little diverted by different things. Like for example when there is something shiny in eye sight...or something with pretty colors...or a leaf blowing by. I was looking for a name for a character of one of my random projects that are helping me continue to keep writing without needing the concentration and continuity of my current novel...and yes, I did find that name...I also started a list of names I can never use in a novel (mostly ex-boyfriends and such) and a list of names I want to eventually use in a novel...and I might have found names for 5 or 6 other characters in other projects. It was a fascinating...
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Getting out of my own way

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 04, 2012
I love it when advice I give to others comes back to bite me in my butt. Over the 15 years I have been teaching, I have told students countless times to get out of their own way...to not let their fears of being a success cause a self-fulfilling prophecy...to not let their questions and doubts keep them from all they have dreamt of and planned for...and it is really good advice...until I had to tell myself the same thing.I have been hesitating on finishing Arianna's Honor. I have been dragging my feet and procrastinating the editing of a novel I absolutely adore...with characters that I love and know my readers will love as well. I know my story is...
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Too many pies...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 03, 2012
(Note...I did not say too MUCH pie...because unfortunately, in my world, there is no such thing.) Ahem... So, May was beyond chaotic and swirly...and since I couldn't concetrate on Hockey which is the draft I want to finish this year and which has, sadly, been in the middle of Chapter 19 for a month now...not good for Ty and Mac as they are not in the happiest point of the novel at the moment and have been freeze-framed in that part for far too long...but with all of the chaos and rollercoaster riding (pretty sure the roller coaster is broken), I have been unable to focus on longer projects such as getting Ty and Mac back to a happier part or...
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So...I was thinking...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 01, 2012
"A dangerous pasttime...I know" and yes, I was careful while I was thinking (geez, it's not like I said I was doing math again...haha). But I was thinking I wanted to write more songs and if some of you didn't know I had written any songs, I apologize for my oversight. I'll sing for you sometime. As I was driving into work today, I was trying to remember one particular song that was written about a previous place of employment that was full of silly requests and constant changes (why that song would come to mind is indeed puzzling). The problem is that I couldn't remember the words to my own song. This is disturbing...I mean it's not like I...
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Permission to chill...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 27, 2012
So, my already busy schedule is going to be made busier starting next week. Picking up more hours to pay for the last two quarters of my doctorate has created a definite shift in my "free time." I haven't yet told the kittens about the schedule shift as they will hate it as much as my Muse...of course the Muse I can appease by sneaking in writing on the breaks in my day...and the kittens can be mollified by cookies.I had all kinds of things on my to do list this weekend...I was going to accomplish gobs of things and mark them off the list with my bright yellow highlighter...and I do have to get certain things done, but I...
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And the weird thing is...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 20, 2012
I did this all to myself...Oh, sorry...I'll back up as I started mid-chat. In "My Own Way" by the Rembrandts, there is a line that says "Wonder how many piles of things it takes, to bury me alive." I love that song because it really epitomizes how I live my life. I do things my way regardless of other's approval or agreement on how I should live my life. Lately I have been getting a lot of slack from people because I don't want to have kids. It's not really anyone's business, but I am seen as a freak because of my conscious choice...I am first to claim that I am a bit of a freak, but I don't think...
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Scylla and Charbdis...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 16, 2012
So when I taught The Odyssey I would demonstrate my artistic skill by giving a visual representation of Scylla and Charbdis...and my students were kind to me in that they were truthful but now cruel in their understanding that unless it deals with words, I have no artistic skill...but I was thinking about those two aspects this morning because I really do feel as if I am being pulled between a multi-headed beast and a whirlpool...and trust me I hear the Sirens up ahead trying to distract me from my path. Unlike Odysseus, I praise the powers that have got me here. I absolutely know that the light on my path is there to help me, and I express constant...
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Okay...break's over...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 14, 2012
So some of you might not have realized that I was actually on a break from my Doctorate since December...and I realize your confusion. While I was on my "break" I finished paper #5 and have all of the research done for paper #6. I also completed my research (as far as I know...to this point...until something changes) for the majority of the Literature Review for my Dissertation. I have also edited and gotten ready for self-publication, my second novel (details on that in my next blog...I'm trying to stay on one topic for a minute, which is a challenge for me as you know). So, my Leave of Absence from Walden University is over in the next week or...
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A little flip

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 10, 2012
In the movie, The Cutting Edge, the beautiful and talented Miora Kelly and the absolutely gorgeous D.B. Sweeney are chatting and she makes the analogy of magnets where you try to push things together, but it doesn't work and you get frustrated, when all you needed was "a little flip" and suddenly everything fits together. Now, before I get side tracked with thinking about fitting together with the likes of D.B. Sweeney (Drool), let me stay on point. I have been trying so hard to figure out the Universe's plan to find a way to afford my FINAL two quarters before my PhD Dissertation. It has affected my sleep; it has affected my health, and it has affected my writing...
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Separate Voices in my Head

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 06, 2012
So, people look at me really funny when I tell them that I hear my characters' voices in my head...but I don't know why they think that is odd...I hear other voices in my head too and no one seems to mind, though they do often take away my scissors. I have to hear the voices of my characters...I have to see them at the picnic in my head (one day, I want that as a mural...each story at its own picnic table, my beautiful muse flitting from table to table)...that is how I make them real, and more than that, that is how I make them unique from each other. I have read stories by authors that basically the...
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Dance, Muse, Dance

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 29, 2012
There is a book called Writer's Book of Days which actually has 2 editions out...and it is such a fantastic tool. It has a writing prompt for every one of the 365 days...since I have read both additions, I actually have 2 separate writing prompts for each day of the year. And this is why Judy Reeves is a hero of mine. Her books make my Muse dance and dance and dance. Sometimes, I use the prompt to write about my current project...but far more often, I use it to keep my Muse dancing on other projects while I continue to work on my primary project. I have to do this because, well, she is as fickle as she is...
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Silly Superstitions...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 27, 2012
I write this to try to dispel some concerns that are brewing in my brain... I am a superstitious sort...part of my OCD, I suppose...but I believe that certain things help with the process of creating my stories. For example, I like coffee when I write. I like to make a pot of coffee and have my creamer and sugar with my pot of coffee...I am sure I could write without the tasty beverage, but why risk it...same with pancakes. There is something about those fluffy pieces of dream cake that make my muse dance...or so I tell myself. I am almost positive she would dance with carrots and celery...hmmm...maybe not. Another part of the ritual...is my purple flannel shirt. I...
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Blue Plates

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 22, 2012
Yesterday I finished up 3 pens I had started using at various times. It is always a thrill for me to know I used up everything they had to offer...the fact that I am a little odd, should not be news to any of you. I also finished the first draft of doctorate paper #4 (JUST ONE LEFT...and then that dissertation thing to write). I finished reading the 2nd (out of 6) book for the FINAL doctorate paper. I also finished up the carton of ice cream, which I am not quite as proud of... So as I completed these two tasks, I got to see tiny bits of my plate -- a plate that is usually packed so full and...
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Stop that Rhyming now I mean it...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 20, 2012
So looking back over the last month and a half, I am a bit disconcerted that I have written exactly one poem since March 11th (the date is not significant past it was the last day I wrote a poem). I was averaging around 6 poems a month for the past few months, so perhaps you can see why my lone poem in that time frame would be a cause for concern. It's not that I haven't been writing..."Hockey" is going strong with 120 pages so far of rough draft, next-to-last doc paper is within its final pages, notes and outlines for other papers and stories...so the writing (both creative and academic) is flowing -- it's just not flowing into...
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Speed Bumps...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 15, 2012
"I don't know...but I've been told; you never slow down, you never grow old." Tom Petty -- Last Dance with Mary Jane So last week I helped two students with math, not my forte as I am strictly an English person, but I helped...pulling the information from the farthest reaches of my mental closet. A bit of science came to the surface -- stuck, I believe, to the math with the cobwebs that come from lack of use. There is some law of motion that states something along the lines of an object in motion tends to stay in motion...maybe this was the inspiration for that line in Tom Petty's song...maybe (probably) I'm just making things up...I'm an author; it's what...
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Future me...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 09, 2012
So I was eating my Chipolte (or what I like to call heaven in a bowl...with a side of chips) and I was working on the final 5 pages of my current Doc paper. I was munching happily away when the four people at the table next to me caught my ear...(they were seated to my left...lol). They were talking quite animatedly about mowing their grass and the things they needed to do around the house and lawn. I searched into the deepest bits of me and found...I didn't care; not one iota of concern can be found in me about such things as home and lawn care. I thought to a conversation I had with a good friend, about...
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One thing...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 06, 2012
"If I traded it all, if I gave it all away for one thing...just for one thing." "One Thing" Finger Eleven This song has struck a chord in me (pun intended) since I first heard it...and while they never say what "one thing" they refer to...to me, this adds to its appeal, because then it can be whatever it needs to be for each person...that one thing for which you would forsake all other things...the one thing that matters more than anything else. For me, the one thing is my writing. Nonfiction or fiction; it doesn't matter...the pen-to-paper to create my stories or my papers, my poems or my reflections. To me, this is the one thing. I would and have...
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Why I shouldn't sail...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 04, 2012
"Holding the mind to a subject is like holding a ship to its course; it implies constant change of place combined with unity of direction." Taking notes for my FINAL KAM (paper...yes, i do like the look of that word final in front of the letters K-A-M...marking things off the list one-by-one), one of the books I am reading is How we Think by John Dewey. This quote struck me both as information for my paper, but also on a personal level...which makes sense as part of the reason my ship is currently trying to go in about 912 directions at one time is the personal and academic to-do lists that keep wrestling and grabbing the wheel and adjusting the...
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April Fool's Day

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 01, 2012
I wondered what to blog about today -- wondered if any of you would believe what I said as it is the day reserved for pranks and false information. The day where anyone can say anything and have instant takebacks by adding an "April Fool" "I'm buying a goat farm. APRIL FOOL" "We won a lifetime supply of refrigerator magnets. APRIL FOOL" "You're going to grow an extra head out of your armpit that only speaks in Irish limericks. APRIL FOOL" "We're not really your parents. We are aliens from planet 42 ZYX. Give us all your Reece's Peanut Butter cups. APRIL FOOL" Okay, I should stop before my examples get really out there; once the muse gets to dancing, she really goes all out...those...
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Why I hate Brussel Sprouts

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 28, 2012
So...sometimes I fill my plate too full, and by "sometimes" I mean pretty much all the time, as those of you who know me, already have ascertained. My plate right now, is full to the point of breaking...Part of this is necessity as I need both of my jobs in order to exist and I just renewed my apt lease for another year so perhaps I should stay employed. Most of my plate is full by choice. I, for example, choose to pursue my PhD in Education AND to pursue my life as an author. I love both of these choices and honestly am going to feel a little lost when the PhD is complete. Some may question the logic...
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So...I realize

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 25, 2012
I realize I am not always the best company...yesterday was a perfect example...I was out with 3 of my friends and we were trying on Bridesmaid dresses for the upcoming wedding. I found myself wandering around, looking for the types of dresses my characters would wear...thinking about what they would like; what their weddings would be like; who their bridesmaids would be; where their ceremonies would be...etc. After shopping for the dresses, my friends and I went to Joe's Crab Shack and I tried really hard to stay active in the conversation...but as it often happens, I failed at this attempt to be a normal friend. There were patrons nearby that were not the best parents, which upset me and...
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Bear with me...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 21, 2012
In a recent conversation with someone I completely admire and respect, I learned that the middle of March is 8 1/2 months from the end of the year. Now...stop laughing at me to let me explain why this less than phenomenal realization made it into my blog. I have been saying for a while now that I would have all of my coursework, residencies, and papers done by the end of 2012. This would put me at ABD (All But Dissertation). This is a very exciting place to be indeed because I then can apply to Universities (with the agreement of completion of said Dissertation in a timely manner...) and don't fret...I still love teaching where I currently play, shhhhh...it's...
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That's a big 10-4, Universe

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 18, 2012
Dear Universe, I wanted to say thank you, first and foremost, and that I received your message loud and clear...thanks for making it obvious enough that even the likes of me could get the message. Yesterday, I put a twenty in a slot machine and told myself whatever I got for it would go into my writing bank account and go toward the publication of Arianna's Honor. The Universe responded with $500 which will cover the publication in its entirety. If I needed another sign that I am headed in the right direction with this whole author's gig...my friend, Sarah Lockwood, sent me the cover that is almost perfect!!! So, it's on like Donkey Kong, ladies and gentlemen...I'm about to...
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Learning as I go...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 17, 2012
Two transcendentalists that I didn't appreciate as much when I was younger and had to study them, but do more fully appreciate at this phase in my life...each had something to say that really hit a chord with where I am in my life right now. "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Henry David Thoreau I think anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with me would attest to the fact that not only do I hear a different drummer, but usually that drummer is accompanied by an entire band that only...
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Begone anxiety

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 14, 2012
So on Sunday, while I was enjoying the last day of my self-created Writer's Retreat, I picked up Arianna's Honor, to begin the arduous task of editing what will be my second published novel. For any of you who have had the "experience" of my editing your papers let me tell you now...I am kind to all of you -- I don't use red, I make sure to point out the good parts -- I take your feelings and hopes and dreams into account (whether or not you realize this -- I actually do...). With my writing, the gloves come off. I don't hold back. I edit in RED. I tear my words to pieces. I analyze my characters' thoughts,...
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Recharged

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 13, 2012
Dear "Apartment Resort:" First let me say what a wonderful and relaxing weekend it was. So much positive and productive energy!! Thank you for providing everything needed for my Muse and I to get down to business. I especially appreciated the basket of pens and pencils at my fingertips...and the fresh strawberries were also a nice touch. The kittens were adorable, but if there was a way to install a snooze button in them to allow for sleeping in past 6:30 in the morning, that would greatly appreciated. Oh, and speaking of time, I seem to have lost an hour somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday morning; if you could adjust my bill accordingly, that too, would be appreciated. I accomplished...
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Packing my Bags...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 07, 2012
Don't worry, my sweet friends...I'm not actually going anywhere. KC is my home until I get my island...although I may need an apartment that is between my two jobs and cheaper if I actually want to survive while I finish the PhD...but that is not what I want to talk about. I mentioned my upcoming writer's retreat...planned for my own apartment. Well, to make the illusion complete (I am a visual person after all, incase that was unknown to you...) I am packing my bags -- with my creative writing and doctorate writing -- packing clothes to stay in my own apartment is a bit too much, even for me. I will put my bags in my car on Friday...
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Come play with me

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 04, 2012
So...I want to be in/start a writer's group...but I don't know how that would work. I mean everyone's schedules (mine included) are so crazy and I'm not sure anyone's plate (again, mine included) can be shifted to include another weekly/bi-weekly/monthly scheduled event...but I know it would be beneficial... I teach at technical colleges...and MOST days I love it (and any teacher that can still love it MOST days after 15 years is either a true educator or a whack-job...perhaps a combo-deal) but it does cause my Muse fits when every single day I have class I have at least one student who says how much he or she hates writing...hates that which I love the most...so the writer's group would help...
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Writer's Retreat

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 29, 2012
So, I need some time away from the real world...I can't afford to get away like I would like to...so I am going to make my apartment into a little mini-writer's retreat!!! I am going to "pack my bags" and fill them with my doctoral and creative projects, and I am going to "check in" to my apartment as if it were a resort somewhere...but even better than a resort, because it has my favorite food already stocked, my kind of coffee at the ready, my own bed, and literally, all the comforts of home, including two cats who will much prefer me to do this at home than to leave their spoiled furry faces for a few days. How...
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Good thing you're cute...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 26, 2012
Dear Beautiful Muse, We agreeed...no new story ideas until I clean some off of the story wall. It was at 20 -- it is now at 40...because each series-part now has its own poster, but we agreed...no new ideas. And yes, sweet muse, I hear your justification that technically, they are not new ideas, they are merely new additions to existing series, that is a sneaky loophole...and I can hear you whistling in my head, feigning innocence, but your halo has slipped, dear muse. Stop pouting...the ideas are good ones, of course they are...but you've taken a 3-part series and doubled it (really should have seen that coming as the series is called Mystical Muses...your ego knows no bounds, seriously...and...
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Torn in Two...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 22, 2012
I am a good teacher. I don't say this to be vain; I say it because it is the truth. For 15 years, I have taught and I have perfected my teaching style so that it works...it gets the job done for those students that show up to learn and get their degrees. I know I'm good at it. I am also a good writer. I have characters that are believable and plots that are entertaining. I write books that I would want to read...and being an avid reader, I make books that others would want to read as well...characters that others would want to know. The problem is...it's nearly impossible to give all that I have to both careers...and both...
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Stepping sideways to go forward

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 17, 2012
So I have reached a point in my hockey story where all of the characters in the series of three books are all together sitting around the aforementioned Thanksgiving day table...and I'm a bit stuck. Turns out, it's tough describing a 12-person dinner party, which would be true under the best of conditions...this is made even more difficult because six of the characters don't exist firmly in my mind enough and they are reading...well...they are reading like I don't really know them -- like they are strangers to me, which of course they are. The problem is that the hockey story, staring Ty and Mackenzie, is actually going to be the final book in the series (you didn't actually expect...
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A nod to the White Rabbit..

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 15, 2012
"I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye. I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" White Rabbit from Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland

Some people lately have been expressing concern...interest...whatever...about the amount of time I spend writing as opposed to the amount of time I spend doing things that others might consider normal or fun. They have expressed their concern that I am not dating or starting a family or whatever else it is that other people do when they get home from work. And I appreciate their concern, mostly...though I don't understand it at all. I currently have very little interest in dating, have never wanted to start a family, and am quite content...
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Lofty goals

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 13, 2012
(No, I am not going to write about my goal to live in a loft...though I do think the one from the movie Alex and Emma may be absolute perfection...add a swimming pool and an ocean view and I would have irrefutable proof of heaven). What I actually want to ruminate on this morning was the lofty goal that entered my brain on Friday. I added up my CURRENT project list -- well to be more specific -- my current fiction project list, and with the novels I have started, plus any respective sequels and/or series additions, I have 38 novels to finish or start. I did the math, not really...I drew a time line, (no worries -- no numbers...
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A lesson I learned

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 08, 2012
So recent circumstances have taught me a very valuable lesson indeed. I learned that the perfect opportunity may not, in fact, be the perfect opportunity as life currently exists. I learned that everything can line up, all the arrows can point in the same direction, and you can still discover that this was not what the universe had planned for you. And since the universe trumps all best intentions and thoughts of what I think is best for me, I am grateful for this opportunity. I am grateful for the knowledge that I can leave the Kansas City area, when it is the right time to do so...I am also grateful that I get to stay around KC a while...
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The Name Game

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 06, 2012
So one of the things I struggle with, as an author, is the name game. Names of characters, and even more so, names of the books or series that hold the characters, are tricky to me. I want names that are distinct, so as to not confuse the reader -- I once read a book that had so many M-named characters that I was completely and utterly lost... I also like my characters' names to mean something about their personality whenever possible... Sometimes I let the characters name themselves, but then I run into the Zachary/William/Timothy/Nicholas confusion with the prince... Then sometimes the name comes from someone I know or knew in real life...someone who acts like or reminds me of how my...
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Good morning to me!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 30, 2012
So yesterday, I was awakened at 5:30 by the gentle 'ahem' of my characters, Ty and Mackenzie, who told me that now that I knew the back story of the other two books in the series, that I had a Thanksgiving dinner to plan. I thanked them for the reminder and snuggled deeper into my covers. That lasted about long enough for my eyes to close before they (along with my Muse) began to talk about all that went into having a Thanksgiving with 12 people present, which as they intended, got me out of bed. Now before all of you worry that I really have lost my last marble, that no one is worrying about planning a Thanksgiving meal...
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Looking over my Shoulder

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 23, 2012
Recently I was describing to a friend of mine that when writing is at its absolute best, it feels quite honestly as if I am watching my characters act out a scene and doing my very best to record the scene as I watched it and that after the characters act it out, they come and stand over my shoulders, watching to make sure I have gotten it written down correctly and adequately. Now, of course, in real life, if people were standing over my shoulders and critiquing my every move, I would get a bit irritated for I enjoy working independently and effectively, but my fictional people don't bother me at all (except of course, when they refuse to...
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Unbelievably blessed...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 17, 2012
So today, in the midst of all of the other chaos and upcoming potentially positive life-changing events, I hit a new low in my strides to be an independent grown-up...I won't bore you all with the details, but suffice it to say, I learned a valuable lesson or two today that I will not soon forget. I learned to ask for help. I ask for help from God...the universe...my guardian angels...but asking for help from humans is something I struggle with, though I don't know exactly why this is true. I dislike admitting I can't handle everything all by myself. A true fault to be sure, and one that caused me unnecessary panic and self-doubt. I know I am on...
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Just jump!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 15, 2012
Every so often in life, doors open on their own -- without you knocking on them, pounding on them, trying to beat them down, or even just wiggling the doorknob to see if they're unlocked. Sometimes, you just have to fully open your heart and mind to allow for new possibilities to happen. This happens in relationships...A single mom afraid of trying again...a man brave enough to try...A door to possibilities opens up -- sounds like a recipe for those happy-ever-after stories that we all enjoy so much...will they make it? That remains to be seen, of course, and is, naturally, the ultimate hope. But the point is that they jumped through that door, which gives hope to us all....
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Serenity Prayer

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 11, 2012
"grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." I have this in multiple locations of my apartment. I have it at eye level at each of those locations so that I am constantly reminded to let go of that which is not in my control -- to change what is in my control to do so -- and to know one from the other. As much as I would like to, I cannot change the lives, feelings, or situations of others to better suit what I think is best. I can take every step to change my own situation, to be open...
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Tabula Rasa-- blank slate

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 09, 2012
The year begins, full of promise and hope There is so much potential in that fresh, new calendar year The mistakes you made last Year are behind you The path ahead, for the moment, is clear. Brand new opportunities await you No one knows what the universe has in store Around this corner is full of surprises There is always that promise of something more.

Maybe this year is the one where your dreams come true Or maybe you get closer to your true road Maybe you will find that perfect job Maybe you find love instead of kissing yet another toad Maybe this year is the best one yet And reality surpasses all of your dreams Maybe this year you win whatever lottery you believe in Or you get to be a...
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On being a Gemini

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 08, 2012
"Be really whole. And all things will come to you." Lao-Tzu Sometimes I wonder if I had been born under a different astrological sign, if my life would be calmer. I was asked recently, whether I wanted to continue working in education or if I wanted to further pursue my life as an author. I adamantly said, yes. I want to do both. My logical twin is the one who revels in the education/administration world. She eats up creating lesson plans and to-do lists and meetings and discussions about curriculum and the world of teaching...she also drools at those "this is why I do this" discussions teachers get to have with students some days. Logical twin loves the clean, organized, supported...
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Dear Voices in my Head...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 04, 2012
I can hardly sit still for all of the bouncing in my head. I love how much energy is up there right now. I love how much excitement is just filling my mind...it is beautiful and so amazing and I want to be right up there with you bouncing and jumping around. The disco ball and loud dance music at all hours is especially exciting. You guys throw one hell of a party and I would love love love to be up all hours of the day and night working on getting each and every one of you closer to being as beautiful as Whatever you Make of It. I absolutely promise that is my ultimate goal...to see each of...
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PICK ME!!!! PICK ME!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 04, 2012
Okay, at the risk of sounding really crazy right now, and any of you who have ever talked to me face-to-face about my books, or more specifically, about my characters, will be more accustomed to the content of this post. Those of you who have never had the aforementioned experience, buckle up and hold on -- we're going for a ride in my subconscious. So, for the last month, my focus has been primarily on finishing the first draft of Arianna. I finished it and will edit and actually have the conclusion in the coming weeks. My muse likes to play with the ending. She dances around and around with it until she gets the perfect last line. Then, she,...
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Looking forward, looking back

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 01, 2012
In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of beginnings and endings, the god of transitions. He was depicted by 2 faces -- one looking forward; the other looking backward. So appropriate for our beginning of a new calendar year. We get to turn that page, still blank with ample space for amazing, wonderful, terrifying, awe-inspiring adventures. I love the promise of that blank calendar page almost as much as I love the promise of a brand-new notebook. It's magical to me, wondering what will come next. 2011 was a ground-breaking year for me...and 2012 holds the promise of so much more of everything I have ever wanted. So, in honor of the god of beginnings and endings, I am doing...
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Thoughts of 2011

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 28, 2011
A fellow writer, Dennis Earl, did a reflection of the year and it made me realize three things; 1) A reflection seems like a pretty good idea, 2) I want to start a second blog called "Michelle's Musings" about life in general...writers are very observant...and what you call staring, I call gathering details, and 3) I really need to pay more attention to the real world as I had no clue about most of the events that made Dennis' list. So here's my Top Ten of 2011: 1. Publishing Whatever you Make of It -- the rest of the list is not in order of importance, but since this has been a goal of mine since I could hold a...
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Good things in tiny packages

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 25, 2011
Yesterday, three of my favorite people handed me three little bags. I was told by the nine-year old to not cry...and I didn't...but it came close. What my sister had picked out for her three amazing children to hand me simultaneously, were three simple silver bands, each with one word inscribed on it. "Live," "Dream," and "Laugh" perfect in their simplicity...and getting to the heart of what we should all strive to do in this life. She told me there was another one that said "Love" but I'm glad she chose the three she did...as love is rarely simple, though it probably should be. Live. Dream. Laugh. That is all I want to do in my lifetime. I want to...
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Broken Pause button

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 18, 2011
I keep pushing the pause button on my remote...must be bad batteries or something because nothing is pausing, if anything it's going in fast forward. Fast forwarding to 2012 and I can honestly say, I'm not ready...I like the new year...new fresh page on the calendar just full of promise, like the promise of a shiny new notebook. I am so excited to see what the new year brings, as I always am. But...well, I really want to have a functioning pause button, because I am not quite ready to be done with 2011. Financially, well, all I can say is pffft...between student loans and such things, I am not where I would like to be this close to a...
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This one's on me...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 15, 2011
"No one ever told me to become a writer; I blame myself." Tom Grimes Everyone is so supportive...it amazes me every single day...and I am grateful every single day as well...that being said, I must concur with Mr. Grimes. No one told me to be a writer...no one said, "you know what you should do, Michelle...you should become neurotic and frenzied when you are under the influence of inspiration; you should think about your characters and your plot every waking moment and most sleeping moments; you should have imaginary friends that talk and sing and tell you stories so that you can write them down. That would be a great, stable career choice for you." People have told me often that...
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No need to fear...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 11, 2011
People always tell me they don't know what to write about...that they have absolutely no ideas. The blank stare they get is genuine. What is that like? I wonder, horrified, that one day I will know -- that one day the well will have run dry and I will be 'GASP' done as a writer. I honestly can't think of anything more terrifying as an author than having no ideas...I mean, what would I do? How would I keep my balance? How would I stay just slightly on this side of sanity? Writing is my lifeline, my anchor (and ironically, my wings), and above all my salvation. I honestly think I have no need to fear though, because between the...
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Avoiding Envy

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 07, 2011
All of the writing books I have read, talk about not allowing envy or jealousy of other writers' success deter you from your own goals-- these authors are not your competition...and I have read this in enough books and quotes about writing, that I wonder if perhaps, there is not something wrong with me (and, yes, I know how loaded that statement is). The truth of it is, that I have never been jealous of another author's success, have never bemoaned that it is unfair they have published books, or my books are better than theirs, or any other aspects that would be a comparison between myself and them. I am envious of: people who can eat whatever they want...
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Productivity Ponderments

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 04, 2011
Okay...I know I posted that I was going to coast for the rest of the year...and I am not completely letting go of that vision...I see myself in a nice (clean) river, floating along toward whichever goal the wind and current happen to be travelling...and that is still my goal..but I thought I might, on occasion, dip my hand in the nice clean, fish-free water and steer just the tiniest bit...once in a while...while still relaxing (as much as I ever really relax). I started reading a book called Art of War for Writers and James Scott Bell takes the principles of Sun Tzu and applies them to writers. I'm only on page 38, but so far, have gleaned the...
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Coasting in Circles

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 02, 2011
So...somehow it is already the last month of the year...not sure how that happened...I'd ask for a recount...but all of the calendars I see say the same thing. I have had a fairly productive year; I would have to say...have made great strides on the doctorate and have broken the seal on the publishing world...my personal life is still a mess...but one of these days I am thinking that will make more sense too... I think I am going to let myself coast a bit...I have some excellent plans for 2012...and am looking forward to making more PhD progess, more publication progress, more job contentment, more progress on my personal life (who am I kidding, that will stay a mess more...
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So hard to be faithful...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 27, 2011
Relax...I'm not in a secret relationship...it's just funny that something that is just done (not saying it's easy or difficult) in real life...when I am in a relationship, I am faithful for the duration of the relationship...but in my writing...it is SO hard to keep myself to the same standards. And the ridiculous part is that things are going REALLY well with Arianna's Honor the scene I have always wanted to write came through beautifully...the novel is right in the exciting part where it is almost manic in the attempt to get the words down. I dream of the novel, I think of it in the day time...there are probably 7 chapters to its completion (which is more the OCD...
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Searching...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 25, 2011
"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." Joseph Campbell I've been a teacher for 15 years. I have known I was going into teaching even longer than that. I have been a writer since I first put crayon to paper. I will continue to be a writer...and I may continue to be a teacher...the jury is still out on that...mostly though, I am just so restless, I am about to burst out of my skin. I wanted to get healthier...went to the gym for 7 straight days in order to get healthier...then I had a pajama day and haven't gone back since. I will get healthier,...
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And that makes 100

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 20, 2011
Wordpress tells me that this is my 100th blog...goodness I'm wordy...but then I have a lot to say, so...it makes sense I'm an author. I thought with this being a milestone (and coincidently, with Thanksgiving being next week) that I would take a moment to once again express my gratitude to some of the many blessings in my life: --to my mom, who sacificed so much so that we never knew anything or anyone was missing as we grew up; --to my Ducky (and her beautiful famil)y, who supports me and loves me and makes the pond that separates us seem not so far away after all; --to Gary (and my guys), who love their Mich without limit and always listen to...
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Dream Dream Dream...when I feel blue...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 17, 2011
So I know I haven't been writing enough lately...because as it always happens, my dreams get really really wonky when I haven't had any play time...and with all of the things in my life causing me to spin almost completely out of orbit....I have not had the time or ability to create any new chapters for my fictional friends. I also have not been up for swimming even though I know that swimming would help to calm me and center me and would therefore make it easier to have ability to write, which would then take less time...and the spinning begins again. What I really need to do, is have some down time...some time to just breathe in and breathe...
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And again I am reminded...and humbled

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 10, 2011
So once again, I get a sign even I, in my ever-so-constant personal bubble, cannot help but notice. A sign that I am in fact, not only on the right path, but am also surrounded by support and kindness and love, the likes of which I have never questioned but am amazed by on a daily basis. I was spinning out of control...not knowing about my immediate future...my employment questions have been answered...and my living space question has added some interesting possibilities into my mind. Added to that the overemphasis on finishing my doctorate in the next two quarters (damn limitations to how much graduate debt one can incur...), and I could not be more aware of the fact that...
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OKAY!!!! I'm listening...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 06, 2011
So it is a pretty well-known fact that sometimes, you have to say my name a few times before I tune in that you are talking yo me...the universe knows this about me as well. So I was freaking out (as I do) about the upcoming months (ITT may not have any classes for me, my other job pays my bills but that stretches it as far as that can go, my apt lease is up in March, I don't know where I want to apply to in June once I get to apply to universities, if I don't get ITT classes I may have to find another part-time job or give up the dream of being part-time and join...
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Goodbye to me!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 30, 2011
So this is what I have realized...I have been so afraid to let the world see certain parts of me...I have been afraid to let myself feel...well much of anything really, if I am being honest...which I truly try to be here...I have been so afraid of being rejected that I gave people superficial reasons to reject me which would prevent them from getting to know the real me, lest they reject me for real. Those of you who know me best, know this is true. My fears include my physical appearance. Now I know that those of you who love me will say that I am beautiful...and I will thank you for it...but if we are being honest with...
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Bite by bite...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 28, 2011
The two best books I have read about writing are In Writing by my hero, Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. And while my complete adoration of Stephen King and all of his goodness, today, I am thinking about the basis for Anne Lamott's book. The premise, without spoiling the book for any of you writers that want to read it...which I highly recommend, is that her brother was overwhelmed by a report about birds and their father offered the absolute wisdom of tackling the paper bird by bird. Since I am constantly over-filling my personal plate...I am altering the wisdom and am going to tackle the items I have put on the plate (I think that...
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Get to work, lady!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 16, 2011
So it happens this time each year...I look at my calendar and am freaked out by how few pages are left in this year's calendar...it is ALMOST November, after all...and we all sit around and wonder where the year went...well...I can tell you where mine went. My year so far has been trying to get as much Doctorate work done, publishing my beautiful first born, Whatever You Make of It, working on my multiple personalities...I mean multiple story ideas...ahem. The problem with my calendar view is quite simply this...I told myself when I stepped down from my beyond--full-time job, that I had 2011 to play part-time teacher in order to have full-time doctorate and novel time. I told myself I...
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Go Go Go!!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 02, 2011
So I have been bitten by a bug...and this bug is more poisonous than any other known to man. It's not an actual bug, have no fear...I don't have to go to the doctor and get a shot or anything scary....this bug is the publishing bug and the poison is finishing projects and getting my novels and characters out in the world. All I want to do is write and work and write and work and then do some more writing. I don't want to teach...I don't want to hang out...I don't want to play my video games...I don't want to be around people. I want to write. And play with my pretty pretty novels and my pretty pretty projects....
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So I had this idea...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 30, 2011
I read about some writers that say they struggle with knowing what to write about and I mentally stare off into space for a minute to wonder what that is like. What is it like to not have a single ping-pong ball bouncing around in your mind? What is it like to actually have to go looking for an idea? To have to wonder if you have written your last idea and you're done? What does that feel like? And does it feel as much like death as I'm picturing? I have the opposite problem. I have too many ping-pong balls bouncing around in my mind. It is a constant barrage (isn't that a fun word!!!!) of ideas bouncing around...
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She's baaaaaack!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 25, 2011
All it took was a little shift here, and a little change there and my writer's block was broken. I shifted my hours for my main job, am going in longer on Friday and not at all on Monday, thus giving me 3 mornings of writing and 4 mornings of teaching and with this shift...my muse came out to play in full force yesterday. Seriously...I could not write fast enough or long enough or enough...enough. I wrote 11 pages (one chapter) of a novel that is only (now) 2 chapters long, though I have a rough outline for it in my head. I no longer really write down outlines because I have learned that my characters very seldom like the...
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Just Right!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 22, 2011
I don't mean to sound like Goldilocks here, but... My schedule last quarter was great -- mornings free to write, evenings to teach -- but I didn't make enough money and I don't like driving at night... This quarter, I make enough money, but I teach in the mornings, which is not conducive to my ideal writing... What would be the perfect schedule for me? What would get my inner Goldilocks to say "this is just right," you ask? I would wake each morning with the sun...have my coffee and French Vanilla creamer... I would write on my Doctorate and my novels and my poems for 5 glorious hours (and if the kittens could be napping at that time...that would be magical). JUST RIGHT!!! I...
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Everyone loves a game

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 18, 2011
So...my writing has been sporadic at best and non-existent at worst. I have all of these lofty goals and amazing projects that would be fantastic to finish and get out into the world. I can see the beautiful results of getting my works done and out into the hands of my readers...all of this is going to be just amazing...if only I could write...for without putting pen to paper, then these projects and goals and dreams remain cobwebs in my head. While I was driving to work the other day, or should I say, sitting in the parking lot that is highway 470...I had an idea for a non-fiction book...a book about writing...like the many I have read and taken...
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Rather Random...even for me

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 11, 2011
"Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish." Ovid I don't like fish...well at least I don't like the actual act of fishing...and those of you that know me know that touching cold, slimy, germy things is right up there with getting random hugs from strangers in a crowded bus to nowhere... I was talking with a colleague who has unwittingly become a friend, and I told her that what I really wanted was to meet and get to talk to more writers...that I really felt disconnected in that regard and while my friends and support group are amazing and beyond all that I could hope for...it...
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Energy shift

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 05, 2011
"A man must drive his energy, not be driven by it." William Fredrick Book Okay, I will probably never get married...but if I were to get married, it would completely be to Mr. Book. How amazing would that be, to have BOOK as a last name... but looking at his quote, it reminds me that I have control over my energy. Looking at my calendar and my resolutions, it appears I have slipped again. Looking at my site stats, I have once again neglected my pretty pretty blog, and for that, my friends, I do apologize. Consider me back on track...again For my novels...I got so excited by having Whatever you make of it published, that I have neglected my other novels...consider that...
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Let it be...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 21, 2011
"Let it be...let it be...there will be an answer; let it be" I have been desperately trying to finish my third doctorate paper. I have begged with my beautiful muse, have pleaded with her, have offered her everything that had made her smile at any time in the past...I have offered uninhibited hours of play time for whatever project she wanted to work on...I have dangled every shiny thing I could think of, to no avail. She didn't budge...my fault again...there is a transition phase between jobs that causes the plate to be crazy full and while I am staying at the previous job, little bits of hanging on, the other job will take the place of official way to pay...
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Reminders from Pandora...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 14, 2011
We get the most peculiar reminders from the most peculiar places, don't we? If we happen to pay attention, that is. Well, this morning I was paying attention. I was asking for paitence...to see all things travel along their natural paths...to not be in such a hurry to get "there" that I miss the journey in its entirety. And yes, to those of you who know me best, this is an almost daily affirmation. I struggle with a level of impatience that is phenomenal, especially given the careers that have been chosen for me. Teaching and writing both require copious amounts of that precious commoditiy...and to have someone who is impatient neck deep in both jobs...well the results can be...
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Things to do...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 12, 2011
So...Whatever you Make of it is out in the world. So far, the reaction has been positive. I have had a few people ask for a sequel, which the book is certainly left open for...but I am not certain if Jac and Jyn have another magic book tale to tell...which is hard for me to say, because of all my characters, they are my favorites...Other people have asked for just another book...which is also nice. I have 3 drafts that are complete in their story...but need to be edited and looked over so as to start the process with them. There are things to do now, that I didn't quite imagine...it's amazing and wonderful...and completely learn as you go...but it...
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People I would like you to meet...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 07, 2011
It is so amazing to me, that characters I have known for years are now getting introduced to people in the "real world." Jac and Jyn and Johnathon and Rebecca have been real to me for a few years now...and I am somewhat sad it took me this long to get them out into the world...but everything happened as it was supposed to and the timing for my writer's life is perfect. People ask me how long it took for Whatever you Make of It from start to publication and the answer that is truthful is not the answer that is actual. In actuality it took me about a year to write it...then life happened, as it does, and 5...
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Wahoooooo!!!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 05, 2011
There is a line from the movie IQ that my mom, my best friend, and I love...it's "When the last time you went wahoo" followed by the response, "well I'm sure I don't know." I would just like to say WAHOOOOOOOOOO. There...it's been about a nanosecond (look at me using science terms...wonder if that is a real unit of time??) and it has been pretty much a constant wahoo since my book came in the mail on Tuesday. I have not stopped petting it (until yesterday, when the newest member of my team of people that support me unconditionally took it with him on a trip so he could read it...and he likes it so far). It is more beautiful...
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Dreams do come true...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 29, 2011
A year ago, I started this blog, and I was wondering what I would write about for my year-anniversary...and then Tuesday happened...and this was not just any other Tuesday...no, my friends...this was the Tuesday that showed me that dreams really do come true. On Tuesday, I received an email from iUniverse that my book, my first-born, my Whatever you Make of It was live and that my copy, my very own-hold-it-for-the-first-time, isn't-it-the-most-beautiful-thing-you-have-ever-seen copy was in the mail. There are no words to express all that went through my mind...and attempting to teach class that night was interesting...I probably owe an apology to my students, because I am pretty sure that I was mostly worthless as all I kept thinking was...
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Clicking send

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 17, 2011
So, they fixed my book...she's perfect...out of "surgery" and looking just more beautiful than I have ever seen her look. I got through the editing process fairly well, I think...only one breakdown and that was because evidently the software used had complications with the amount of bold used in the book...so lesson learned and I will not format future books in that manner. Today, I will click on the approved button for the interior of my book...the cover has "general fiction" written twice on it, which I could of course live with except it would bug me when my book was an actual book...which will happen in the next few weeks! This has been an exciting and informative journey, and...
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I am NOT going to cry...I am NOT going to cry...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 14, 2011
So...on Saturday I received my proofs of my cover and my pages of my book...my first-born is so close to being ready to meet the world...and the cover was so beautiful that I almost cried and laughed and threw up all at the same time. It is going to be amazing. The cover is exactly what I wanted and more than I ever expected and I want to hold that book so badly that I can barely breathe sometimes...can hardly focus on my doctorate or my teaching. I want to hold it so badly that I can hardly focus on my friendships or my family...all I want is to hold my first book. When I looked at the pages of...
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The most beautiful thing I have ever seen...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 10, 2011
So yesterday I got an email that stated that my proofs for my cover and my BOOK were ready for review. REVIEW...can you imagine...that is one step away from PUBLISHED...and that is my dream in one word...but I get ahead of myself... I looked at the proof of the cover...and it stole my breath and helped me to breathe for the first time in my whole life. How is it possible that I have lived 36 years on this planet and not seen this beautiful, perfect cover? It is the most amazing, most beautiful, most unbelievable cover that has ever existed...and it has my name on it...it has the title of MY book...it has MY picture (that one of my best...
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Vying for attention

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 06, 2011
So I have reorganized my writing world!!!! I have made use of a filing cabinet that was given to me by one of my closest friends. Each story now has a hanging folder, a folder inside for notes, and a folder inside for what needs to be typed. My poems are now in a folder...waitin to be typed...my poem ideas are now in a folder, as are my story ideas. NO more searching for the right notebook...no more crate full of random things...this is far more concise and accessible. While I was lovingly putting each story in his/her own folder, I was reminded of how much I liked that story...how much I enjoyed meeting those characters...and...well... They are all dancing in...
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Needing a change

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 01, 2011
"To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth." Pearl S. Buck When I started where I teach now, I thought I had come home. I remember calling my best friend and saying "this is it...the place that I will stay forever"...but I am not a forever-type of girl...I get bored; I get restless; and when I get bored and/or restless, it affects all parts of my life. My normal solution to this has been to move...but I happen to like my little nest and think it will do quite nicely until I get my island... I like Pearl S. Buck's quote and most times I think about it in terms of writing...for if any of you have seen...
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4 corners

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 27, 2011
No...have no fear; I'm not talking about math...or geometry or even geography...I am talking about 4 people who are the corners of my support system. These four people...keep me grounded and focused...and help me from floating off too high...or too low. It is self-acknowledged that I am a difficult person to care about...I am self-absorbed when it comes to my writing, I am not always observant of things that are going on around me, I am demanding and sometimes rather needy, and I am constantly amazed that people care for me in as many numbers and in the depth that they do. Somehow, despite my faults, these four people, my corners, are able to block the paths of self-destruction, fill...
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All will be well...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 22, 2011
This was the start to a conversation between my best friend and me...and it never ceases to do the job. Whenever one or both of us gets out of whack for one thing or another, this banter is started...it came from a book whose title escapes me at the moment... Yesterday I was speaking with another friend and it worried both her and me that I didn't even crack a smile when discussing my upcoming book...I'm having some issues at my job...and seperate from that, am having some insecurities caused by a careless and thoughtless remark made about my goals...it was made by a person that probably had no idea (at least I want to believe it was unknown...unintentional) the impact...
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Poetry pet peeve

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 20, 2011
As I was listening to Pandora this morning...which seriously is a blessing for anyone with any attention problem who can't decide what they want to listen to...anyway, as I was listening a song came on that reminded me of a poetry pet peeve...so I thought I would blog about it...and it's always nice to start the morning with a bit of alliteration. And typing the words instead of saying them means I won't spit when I talk (try saying poetry pet peeve...). I hate when writer rhyme words with themselves. That is cheating. You can't rhyme heart with heart...with the millions upon millions of millions that exist in this world...why would you cheat like this?? Serioulsy...I have the alphabet written out...
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Clone me, pretty please

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 15, 2011
I know...scary thought, right? The absolute last thing this world needs is another me...I wonder sometimes if the world is ready for the one me that already exists. But ready for me or not, I'm here and making as much progress on as many things as is possible...thus my request for a clone...or, to be more specific...a separation of my inner twins. Let me take full advantage of being a Gemini and have a completely separate, fully functional logical side and an equally separate, equally functional creative side. That would be perfect. Logical me could take care of the teaching, the newsletter I want to start sending out, the website I need to create, the business side of promoting my...
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Friends trump fear

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 12, 2011
Henry David Thoreau said, "Friends cherish each other's hopes. They are kind to each other's dreams." I like Thoreau (and Emerson) so much more now than when I studied the Transcendalists (Dickinson has always appealed to me...Whitman I can take in small doses). I have this fear of my dreams coming true...a fear that all but paralyzes me. I almost dropped my Masters a month before I graduated because of this fear...as the fear's strength is directly parallel (a perfect negative relationship) to the level of exhaustion, I have no doubt that as my Doctorate comes closer to completion that the thought of running away will again raise its disturbing head. The more that I want something, the higher the...
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Details...details...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 08, 2011
So today I read through Whatever you Make of It for the last time (well last time until it is in book form...I will revisit Jac and Jyn many times) before I send it back to iUniverse to go into production. (Just typing that gives me goosebumps) I have my cover designed..thank you Matt Nolan. I have my cover picture...thank you Julia Viles. And this is very close to getting off the ground. I was making a list (I know...me, making a list??? That's crazy talk) of the things I needed to work on ...webpage, newsletter, contact list for aforementioned newsletter, planning my book signing, etc. etc. etc. and I realized that I need an assistant...have one in mind and...
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A muse, two kittens, and a notebook

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 06, 2011
So a muse, two kittens, and a notebook walk into a bar...no, no, no...that's not what I want to write about... My sweet kittens have come to learn that if they wake me before the sun comes up, what they get is a rather grumpy human...so they generally try to refrain from making their demands until Mother Nature's alarm clock has shown itself in all its beautiful glory. This provides for a more harmonious household. My muse, who has been sitting quietly (almost too quietly, given my constant paranoia that she is going to leave for good every time we go for periods where real life has to take precedence yet again), whispered a story idea into my ear this morning...and...
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Mid-year reflection

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jun 01, 2011
Somehow it is already June...so I thought I would take a moment to see what, if any, progress I was making on my New Year's Resolutions, and what I needed to kick up a notch. Financial...hmmm...I am 0 for 5 on those...but I knew this year was going to be a tough one financially...perhaps my goals were a bit too lofty on this front...perhaps I should have merely stated that I would keep my head (be it ever so barely) above water...that is a Resolution I can get behind....sigh, next... Doctorate...well, I was making really good progress with this one...everything in line and ready to proceed...until the class I am in hit a roadblock I don't know if I can ignore....
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This writer's life...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 25, 2011
In a book I picked up called The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen, there was a quote on page 9 that hooked me and had me buying the book...which of course I will read...after all, I must be productive...and I think that I do okay in that regard given the other things that I need to take care of right now, but there is always room for improvement. On page nine, Ms. Cohen asked the simple question, "What do you want your writing life to look like?" I closed my eyes in the book store (I'm used to strange looks...especially when I go to where my name will go alphabetically and scoot books over just so...that way even with all...
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Cleared section of my plate

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 23, 2011
Well, I turned in my final paper for my class...have a couple small assignments left for that class, but soon that section of my plate will be cleared off. Have almost completed my 3rd set of papers which would clear another section of the plate as well, except that I have already started researching the next set of papers, so really that section of the plate stays the same...have also almost finished the quarter of teaching where next quarter will have less classes and thus less plate space... It is so exciting to see bits of clean plate. I don't have the same reaction as the kittens...when they see any bit of the bottom of their bowl they are convinced that...
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poor neglected blog

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 19, 2011
Dear Blog.... I am sorry that I haven't been as diligent about posting to you two times a week, which was what I put for my New Year's Resoluton...and for a while there I was keeping up with it...religiously I would sit here on Wednesdays and Sundays and would update you about my life...and then...well, I overfilled my plate again...with creative and academic pursuits...and with teaching 5 writing-intensive (and therefore grading-intensive) classes...sorry. I would tell you that it wouldn't happen again, that would be more in control of my pursuits...but I don't believe in those kinds of lies...I do know that my plate gets significantly less full in about 2 weeks...when my doctorate quarter is over. I can also tell you...
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"Won't you stay...just a little bit longer..."

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 15, 2011
So, in two weeks my doctorate quarter ends, and in a week after that, my teaching quarter ends, and right now it is all I can do to keep up with the demands of both of those...it is so hard for me to not pick up my beautiful beautiful novel and get it ready for the final stage...PRODUCTION...iUniverse has evaluated it...some of their suggestions I agree with and will change...some of them I don't and will keep...which is of course the beauty of self-publishing...at the end of the day, what I want for the novel is what ends up happening. I keep being reminded by my wonderful friends...that it is better for me to wait until my HAVE TO's are...
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Author? Writer?

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 11, 2011
I was reading a book recently that asked the question of what and author was compared to what a writer was...my understanding is this... The author side...is the public side. This is the person that talks about the stories, that will approach strangers and discuss the books. There is a sales-mentality here. Myself as an author...I give free license to talk to strangers (my first experience at this was the waitress I had at Outback one day...we started talking about books and the next thing I knew I was telling her about my book...felt really weird...but really good). This is the author part of me. She likes people and she wants to tell every single person about my books. She talks...
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Had to laugh...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 06, 2011
I am reading a fantastic book called Take Joy: A Writer's guide to loving the craft, by Jane Yolen and she has some amazing insights into writing and how much fun it can be while at the same time being challenging and different than any other occupation. And I am enjoying reading about someone else that truly loves writing and would write even if she didn't get paid for it...but isn't it nice that she does as that is a goal of mine as well. But it is nice to hear from another writer that writes because she would feel like something was missing in her life if she didn't sit down to write every day. There was a part...
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Back on Track...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on May 01, 2011
Ironically...the name of the series for which book 1 and book 2 practically wrote themselves is Back on Track...and with this being the beginning of a new month, I felt an overwhelming urge to get things in my writing life back on track as well as my doctorate life and my actual life. All of the these things tend to fall by the wayside as other things take priority or as emotionally I fall down once again. One year ago this weekend, I watched one of the best people I have ever known pass on to the other side of life...and I know he is watching over me. I feel his presence in every thing that I do. He is...
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What's a girl to play with???

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 21, 2011
So Monday...I finished the final chapter and epilogue of novel number 4 (which is in the same series as novel number 3, for those of you keeping score at home). I told myself that I would have Arianna as my next project to finish (and there was much rejoicing) and that I would start that up in May to give myself some serious doctorate paper time...(I also came up with a schedule to completion of paper #3...I do love my lists). I also know that if I am going to do that much academic writing, I will need to play with something creatively so that my muse doesn't get bored... This presents a bit of a quandary for me...what do I...
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While you're waiting...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 17, 2011
So I have read this advice from both academic and creative sources, and have practiced it enough times to know that it is the truth. As we all know, I am not the world's most patient person. I am not good at waiting, and all too often will lose interest if I am forced to wait for anything for too long. My attention will be diverted to something more shiny and immediate. It is probably one of the many reasons why I have not married...but I digress. The advice is this...while you are waiting for the next stage of something, begin working on something else. Case in point, while I was waiting for the approval and submission of each of...
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Planning my pages

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 11, 2011
So more from the information from the webinar...I need to create my bio for my webpage...so much I want to include, as well as many things that I cannot include. It is exciting to be planning this. I have looked at a variety of author's websites to get an idea of what I want and what I don't want. I also have to take care to not let this new "toy" distract me too much. Yes, I want my website started and up and running. I also want my grading of my classes to be current, my doctorate paper to be completed, my newest novel to be finished (first draft), and my 'first-born' to be edited and polished. I learned...
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MichelleSodaro.com

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 07, 2011
I attended a webinar from Writer's Digest that was about having a successful writer website. She talked about the importance of blogging (yeah!!! I love it when I get it right without knowing it) and using WordPress for the blog (and I'm 2 for 2!!!), She talked about using Facebook and Twitter (okay, here I was 1 for 2...but have since created a Twitter account). And she talked about claiming your domain. Her suggestion was to use GoDaddy.com as it was reasonably priced and user-friendly. So I am now the proud owner of michellesodaro.com I haven't done much with it...have the home page started but not published...but it has a place holder...if you go and visit it, you can see that...
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Ready...Set...WAIT...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 06, 2011
Those of you that know me, know that without a doubt the worst four-letter word you could throw at me is the W-bomb..."Wait" is a word that despite my strong vernacular, is not in my vocabulary at all. I don't do it well...I don't like it...I don't want to learn how to do this....I would rather...not wait. I would rather have my answers now, my next step now, my next thing...well, now. I like now. If I have things now, then I know what I need to do next...but when WAIT is the word people and life keep tossing at me I am unsure of what to do. And of course I have things I NEED to do...I have classes to...
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A walk in the park

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Apr 03, 2011
So, it's amazing how something so simple as a walk in the park can make things clear...can resharpen the focus...can bring the soul peace...a simple walk in the park with a good friend...her two beautiful children laughing...can bring back a sense of innocence and peace to a soul that is sometimes jaded by the events of the world. I was so wrapped up in my own world...so wrapped up in my to do list, that I almost didn't take the invitation of my friend to join her and her girls in celebrating one of the first nice days we have had this year...but I went...one thing I have learned about my friend is that she sometimes knows me better than...
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Busy busy me...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 30, 2011
So I talked to my doctorate advisor yesterday and we came up with a game plan that will get me done with everything except my dissertation by the end of 2011. It's do-able...but it is a really good thing that I am single, have no children (other than the kittens), and have no plans of having much of a social life between now and then. This quarter I am working on a class and a set of papers...next quarter I will have a set of papers and a residency (where I write the prospectus for my dissertation!!!! )...September quarter I will have my last class and will start my last set of papers...December quarter final residency and finish up papers....
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Whatever you Make of it...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 29, 2011
So enough people have asked me...what is your book about, that I thought it would be good to blog about... Picture Johnathon, a young lawyer wanting to make partner at the expense of everything and everyone in his life. He doesn't have time for life lessons or family...or even his girlfriend, Rebecca. In fact he thinks most things that are not job-related are, in general, a waste of time. He is given a book by his late grandmother who tells him this is all he needs to fix his life. He starts to read the book and he expresses all of his thoughts out loud. The characters in the book, the fabulous Jac and Jyn, hear his spoken thoughts and respond...
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So close...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 28, 2011
"Have you heard the news? I'm doing what I said I would. So now you say... I always knew you could" "You did your best to keep me down Tried to make my soul give in But now I'm here to make a big, big sound It's your turn to lose and it's my time to win" Richard Marx, "Nothing you can do about it" I always like quotes, as you know...and I was listening to my mp3 player this morning and this song came on and it made me realize that I am so close now to what I always said I was going to do...am so close to my dreams coming true...and it made me think of the people that have waited for me to...
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And so it begins!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 24, 2011
I called iUniverse today and talked to people who are very much in love with books...and they were excited to have me join them...and they were excited about my book...and they were excited and caring and warm and friendly and I just knew I had made the perfect decision for my books...that this would be a place where they would be safe and loved!!!! The person who started me out was kind and fun and wanted to make sure I understood the different options for my book. I put down a small payment (OH MY GODDDDDD!!!! I am doing this...I am really doing this...no more "somedays" and "maybes" and "I'm going to's") to hold the sale price of 50% off...
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Did she just say goats???

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 23, 2011
So recently, I was in a room full of my colleagues...fellow teachers that know me in a wide variety of levels...some of them know me in passing...they talk to me at school but might not recognize me in public...all the way to people that I consider as closest and dearest to me in my life. We had had to pair up and then share about what the other person did to keep students interested...I went on and on about how my friend was enthusiastic and made Comp seem like something amazing...she simply uttered one sentence to describe me: She talks about goats. Did she say goats? Why would Michelle Sodaro talk about goats? What? Goats? Really? Taken out of context...it...
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Ready or not...here I come.

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 20, 2011
For several days after my first book was published, I carried it about in my pocket, and took surreptitious peeks at it to make sure the ink had not faded.” James Barrie I am certain that after I receive the first finished copy of Whatever you Make of It, I will do exactly what James Barrie spoke of in this quote. How could I not? I have dreamt of this and talked about this and hoped for this and planned for this...I have wanted this more than I have wanted anyone or anything...and once I hold that book in my hands for the first time...not as a draft...not as pages printed off my computer...or the flash drive that I carry with...
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And I am in awe of the universe...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 16, 2011
Sometimes it all comes together...sometimes, you just let go and the universe breathes a sigh of relief and says "finally...you're going to let me drive" and it takes all of your plans and all of your things, and it puts things in the right places. And things come together in more beautiful and wonderful ways than you could ever have imagined. I decided to publish Whatever you make of It at the end of this month...will be calling iUniverse tomorrow to know what I need to do next, how long it will take from my clicking send to them saying "here is your book," How much my books will cost on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., and such things that...
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Hmm...a book signing...how fancy!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 14, 2011
When I told the director at the school where I teach about my upcoming publishing plans for Whatever you Make of It, his initial and immediate response was "you should have the book signing here" and I laughed. A book signing...how fancy...that's something that Stephen King or Nora Roberts or someone that is already completely "there"...someone who has "made it"...someone where people already know what he/she does and doesn't ask..."a writer, hey? So what do you do for work?" That isn't for the likes of me...is it? Or is it? I mean....why not. Have a book signing for my first book here in Kansas City...where I have lived and loved for the past 2 decades...I've made friends...I have a fan...
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Oh my....

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 09, 2011
So I am reading this book called Mortification by Robin Robertson and it is a collection of authors sharing times in their careers where they were, as the title might indicate, mortified. As I read through the stories, I A) can't wait to be among their number, B) am learning some vital tidbits (don't get drunk before a reading, for example), and C) am now aware that book tours are horrible, horrible events. Yes, yes they are necessary and I will count my lucky stars when I get to go on one...but seriously...Murphey's Law has a special kind of fun with authors and that fun is called a book tour...weird storms that keeps everyone in their homes and away from...
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Feeling at home

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 07, 2011
This weekend I moved again. (I have to stay one step ahead of the stalkers...) and I watched the kittens wander around and explore this new place...checking out the rooms and the windows...it is very important to know where you will be napping in life. As the kittens went from room to room, I could feel my muse do the same. My muse has been hiding here for the past couple of weeks...with the ending of the Doc quarter and things at school getting hectic...plus I was restless as were the kittens in my old place with boxes all about...I wasn't worried she was gone for good this time though...I could tell she was there, peeking in from time to...
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Close your eyes....and JUMP

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Mar 02, 2011
There comes a time, in everyone's life...that defining moment of "okay, here it is...you've said you're going to do it...so do it..." where there are no more excuses, no more justifications, no more second guesses...where no reason you could think of sounds viable anymore...and even the kittens are telling you to poop or get out of the litter box. So here it goes...at the end of this month, I will be sending Whatever you Make of It off to iUniverse to self-publish. EEEEEEEK....WOW...deep breath...OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD...WHAT AM I DOING...followed quickly by a WHAT HAVE I DONE!!!!! This of course will be followed by a loud thud as I slam the door to the world...
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Fantastic compliment

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 28, 2011
So recently I handed over Whatever you make of It to a dear and trusted friend who was looking for something to read. Handing over my 308-page "first born" was not at all nerve-wracking and scary when I saw the look on my friend's face. She knew what she held and what it meant to me. She was not at all like the highly competent, yet fairly callous Post Office worker who, when I handed her the first three chapters and query letter to send off to the cruel cruel world, unknowingly tossed my "first born" into a bin full of bills and other bits of letters and such, causing my heart to break and my breath to catch in...
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The trouble with hats...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 24, 2011
So people keep asking that ever-so-logical question of when am I going to get these books I keep talking about -- in print. A fantastic and valid question, to be sure. And I really need to...I have 3 done now -- am on Chapter 20 of the 4th one, with many, many others sitting quietly until it is their turn to be finished...or started...or thought of...poems, novels, other creative projects. The trouble is, quite simply, hats...you see right now -- the writer/creator hat is comfortably on my head -- with all its flair and color and creativity. I sit down with my notebook and writing instrument, which is usually a smooth-flowing pen, or like today, a pencil -- and I...
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Being me...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 21, 2011
"Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one." Eleanor Roosevelt. Lately, I have become more and more appreciative of the people that know the inner core of me...know the me that I hide away from the rest of the world, protect with everything in me, and love beyond all other aspects of myself. There are many people that have met me and think that I am eccentric. The teacher part of me could be an actress on any given day; she comes complete with voices and more enthusiasm about thesis statements than anyone should have. The student part of me is a perfectionist beyond measure and nothing can...
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Sit quietly while the grown up works please

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 16, 2011
So the wonderful thing about freeing up my muse to have more time to play with the novels that we have put on the back burner for far too long, is that she gets to frolic and flit about like the beautiful spirit that she is. She gets to laugh and dance and giggle and just play and play and play. This is where my fictional worlds get created, where my characters become real, where my stories go from being figments of an imagination to something tangible. And I have truly enjoyed this play time. Sometimes, I have to ask my beautiful muse to sit quietly while I write on my doctorate or work on my research. There is no...
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I think I've created a monster...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 13, 2011
So I wrote about my merry-go-round which had let on two new passengers...welcomed them aboard so that the 2 in the series became 4. Well...those 4 may have just become 7. For it seems, that there were three more people that were waiting just outside of sight that said, 'hey, this sounds like the place for us' and while I know even less about them than I knew about the two that joined last week. Just little snippets of ideas that seem to want to be connected. And here is the quandary. (First, as a sidenote...I love that word...love, love, love it!!!! And it makes me happy to be in a quandary, so that I can use the word quandary!!!!)....
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And then there were four!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 09, 2011
So a story I started a few years ago decided to connect to the novel I finished the first draft of in December of 2010. Those characters and story lines held hands and played on the merry-go-round in my head and a series was formed with the very strong union of the two. As Cassidy and Stephen and Melanie frolicked with Jo and Eddie, other as-of-yet undefined characters watched from the periphery and sighed...I could tell they wanted to be part of the fun...who wouldn't, but wasn't sure if they were going to become characters in the existing stories, or if they had stories to tell of their own. As I was driving through yet another snow fall (will this...
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"Wasted Time"

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 07, 2011
"And maybe someday she would find...that it wasn't really wasted time" (Eagles, 1994, "Wasted Time"). I have never really had a problem with my age...have never worried about getting one year older or getting one year closer to the next decade marker. I have always appreciated the lessons and growth that have occurred with each passing year. I also know that my writing is stronger now, more mature now, and more ready to be read now, than it would have been had I gotten serious about my craft sooner. So, mostly I am okay with my age and where I am in the world... But sometimes, I wonder if perhaps I waited too long...wasted too much time on this or that...gave...
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Snow day...Snow day...oops missed opportunity

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Feb 02, 2011
So one would think that a snow day would give the muse free reign to play and play and play. Can't go to that job I love so much. Can't go to the store and spend money I should save. Can't go...well anywhere. Nothing to do but watch the snow fall and fall and fall. Should be the perfect day. A nice pot of coffee, food, all day to write and write and write. But I did nothing all day. I watched TV, I played video games, I spent too much time on Facebook, and I talked to friends. I snacked. I took naps. I watched the kittens run from window to window to see if it was still snowing....
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I write to music

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 30, 2011
Some people write to silence, and I am completely in awe of those people that can drown out the inner voices and be absorbed by the silence. Silence is too loud for me...it gives too much volume to the inner thoughts and story ideas and questions that are constantly bouncing around in my head like too many ping-pong balls. So I listen to music to keep the random sounds in line and be able to focus on the page in front of me. What I listen to depends on my muse's mood and what project we are playing with today. Somedays it is only the hard, angry music that gets the blood pumping and the pen moving across the page....
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But I promised...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 26, 2011
So recently a possibility for a job opened up and while every one around me was urging me to take it, there was a small voice inside my head that said, "no...you promised..." and at first it was hard to hear that small voice because of the cacophony of other voices...people that needed me to wanted me to take care of things...people that knew that whatever job I am in I will give 100% of myself to...and I would have, I don't know how to do it any other way. And I would have had to put my doctorate on hold and I would have had to put my novels on hold, because despite my intentions for doing so, there...
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Better than pancakes

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 23, 2011
So my fickle muse has found a new play thing...and she likes this one much better than pancakes. Last month with my regular intake of pancakes from the nearby pancake haven, I was averaging about one chapter a month for my current novel and about 3 pages a week in my doctoral studies. This weekend alone, I have written four chapters and 10 pages respectively. All thanks to my muse's new "pancake." It has been amazing and absolutely all that I could ever dream of, and since this particular pancake is only in my dreams, there is no harm, no foul in my day-to-day life. These dreams of this man, my new "pancake" has far fewer calories than previous monthly inspirations....
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“I tell a story the way some people eat an Oreo cookie.” B.E. Zalman

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 19, 2011
Last night I was watching French Kiss with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan...and the last kiss of the movie did the same thing to me it did every single time...that kiss, that have to have you, right here, right now kind of kiss that the audience can actually feel. I have gotten into fights with boyfriends about that kiss. I have dreamt of that kiss. I have wanted that kiss. Last night as I was watching that kiss, I had another thought...this from the writer side of my brain, and not necessarily the female side of my brain. I want to be able to write that kiss. I want to be able to write that much passion, that much feeling....
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Most private of all thoughts...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 16, 2011
So I am reading a book called Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick and I'm only about a third of the way through, but so far it has been reflective of all the reasons that I have kept a journal since I was about 13 years old. In it I can be myself, I can say the things that I don't have the courage to actually say; I can ask the questions I don't have it in me to verbalize; I can express the deepest, innermost dreams and parts of me without fear of ridicule or chastisement. I don't have to worry about who might be offended or hurt; I don't have to worry about what might be misconstrued or...
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Well, this is NEW!!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 12, 2011
So, I had a new idea for a story on Saturday...and hurried home to find the perfect notebook for it. I held tightly to the idea so that the quest in my notebook tub didn't lead me astray. And I found the perfect notebook and wonder of wonders...I got a few pages written down for my new story...so yeah on that as all too often the "I won't forget this" is quickly forgotten...but that usually happens at 2:00 in the morning when my beautiful muse tells me about this great story idea and I don't write it down, sure that I could never forget something so amazing...only to awaken the next morning remembering only that I had something to remember...until...
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One story at a time

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 09, 2011
Sigh...so it happened again...I swear, I really try to be faithful to one story at a time. I really try. I mean, I owe it to my characters to be able to finish stories and I can't do that if I am bouncing all over from one plot to another like some hussy....I need to be monogamous as much as any writer is able to...to just really be able to stay with one project from start to finish without my usual side dabbling of other stories and other projects. Just once I would like to say to my current project, "I am faithful to you. I am completely here. This is what I want. Here and now. One hundred percent...
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Hear my cry!!

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jan 05, 2011
So it is too easy, far far too easy, to let the voice of doubt or the voice of "others" sway me from my writing. I have done it for years...instead of listening to my inner voice, the voice of my truest heart, I listen to the voice of the world...it is the voice of the world, surely it knows what it is talking about, right? But the voice of the world is about job stability and making money and it doesn't matter if you love what you do as long as you get it done and don't waste your time on silly pipe dreams that may or may not get you where you want to be. Live in the...
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Reflections on 2010

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 31, 2010
As 2010 comes to a close, I am doing what so many like-minded folks are doing...I'm reflecting on the year that was and planning for the year that will be. This year started with a job that I did well but was not my passion. I had a friend that helped me to get back to my writer's soul, and lost that friend to a battle he could no longer fight. His inspiration filled me with the hope I needed to embrace my writer's true life. I stepped away from my job after I lost him and I became the writer, teacher, and student that brought my spirit peace. I so wish he could have seen the ME that I...
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What's in a name...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 28, 2010
No offense to the Bard, here, but there is quite a bit involved in a name. The characters' names have to be just right...have to fit their personalities...have to roll off the tongues of other characters...have to be the RIGHT name. I was 100 pages into Arianna's story before I realized that the Prince's name was William, and not in fact Zachary...so names are tricky...but the knowledge that Arianna gets to call William 'Billy' and the further knowledge of what that does to the prince...makes it all worth it...and of course the "find and replace" option in Word makes it less trouble. What puzzles me right now is the name of the book I am almost done with...have only 4 chapters...
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If You Build it...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 18, 2010
What is amazing to me is this past month, I have been surrounded by creative energy. I have been introduced to people that have projects and books they want to work on with me. I have people that have been wanting to work on things for a while now...and I'm helping inspire them to do that...I'm full of creative energy for my own projects, have someone helping me with pictures and may have someone helping me with cover art for my "children"...can't very well have them go out into the world without clothing, now can I. It really feels a bit like Field of Dreams right now. I feel that I have built the ball park and that people are...
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Closer than I've ever been...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 14, 2010
So, sometimes everything comes together. The universe has laid a path out for you and the sun is shining and even the bad doesn't seem so bad. You know it won't last...you know there are gray skies lurking about...it is, after all, what they do. But some days nothing else matters. Some days the world is so shiny. I am about 20 pages from having my 2nd (out of 5) set of doctoral papers done. I am about 5 chapters away from the first draft of book number 3. I have ideas for the other three sets of papers...I have research ready and notes taken for #3. I know where 2 more of my novels are going. I tell ya...2011...
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Want to hide away from the world

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Dec 04, 2010
Right now, I am full of inspiration and love for the written word. My muse is happily chattering in my ear, my pens are shiny in their box, and my notebooks sit at attention and cry "ooh ooh pick me!!" And tonight and tomorrow...there is very little that I HAVE to do so that I can play with what I WANT to do. For today, the quarter where I am teaching closes to start a new quarter filled with promises and excitement on Monday. My doctorate quarter closed last week and starts anew on Monday as well. But tonight and tomorrow...are all mine. I don't have an assignment to grade or do, I don't have a place to see or...
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Quiet whisperings

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 30, 2010
So I have mentioned that my beautiful muse turns and runs when there is too much chaos in my mind, and it doesn't matter if the chaos is self-induced or just a natural by-product of living a life with other people. My current chaos is mostly self-induced...I took on too much without giving myself a break between when my life was too busy and when my life relaxed; I wanted to make up for lost time so I piled it all on my own plate...and my sweet muse was tolerant for a bit...though I knew she was laughing and shaking her head at me. So when it got to be the closing time for my doctorate quarter which always perfectly...
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Beautiful, fickle muse

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 23, 2010
I was reading the new edition of Writer's book of Days by Judy Reeves (this book has a writing prompt for every day of the year and is fantastic for filler days when writing projects are not flowing!!!!) and she said this about the muse..."Though she has the patience of a saint, the Muse doesn't like to be ignored. If you don't pay attention, she may stop paying calls" (2010, p. 109). Truer words were never spoken. I went through too many weeks, months, yes...I'm ashamed to admit, years where I kept telling her to hold on one second...just one more second and I'd get back with her. And she went away as would anyone that has been ignored for...
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Game Plan

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 15, 2010
The nice thing about having actual readers is that they can help me with the tricky parts of writing. They can get me through the tough parts that are hard to write and require ice cream. They can let me know if my characters are acting out of character...and they knows this because the figments of my imagination have become real to them as well. My readers let me know if my plot is moving too fast or too slowly -- if dialogue sounds the way that people actually speak or my English-geek side has reared its head with too many words that only fellow word lovers would know. My readers also keep me focused. At any given time, I...
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Time Change...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 08, 2010
So the increasingly unnecessary time change affects us all; for most of us we look forward to the fall back more so than the spring ahead...that extra hour is immediately filled with more sleep, more partying, more...life. Unfortunately, children and pets have the same time schedule...just as they have no snooze button, they have no concept of "it's not 6:30...it's actually 5:30." So yesterday and today, my kittens were adamant about my being up at my normal time, which is 6:30...unfortunately every clock in my house, including my body clock agreed with the sun that it was only 5:30...but if you can explain that to two cats, then please...tell me your secrets. So I was up at 5:30 which yesterday...
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Ah sweet habits

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Nov 04, 2010
It is amazing how quickly a behavior can become a habit...and how quickly that habit can be the basis of your mental state. Less than two months ago I was busy with a job that I was really good at, but that was not my passion. Since then, in that short of time, I have reawakened my passion for writing and have become a better teacher. My muse has gotten accustomed to having time to play every week, and has responded in kind with words that literally dance through my mind and out of my pen so that all I have to do is keep up. It has been amazing and therapeutic and healing and all that I had hoped...
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Pondering about poetry

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 31, 2010
I am a fan of poetry, although, if I am being honest (which while I am the writer of this, why would I be anything but honest, to a certain extent anyway) many many poems escape my comprehension. I have been told that I am not a deep enough thinker and that is why I didn't understand the poems...I think, as with all forms of art that more frequently than not, the beauty and the brilliance is in the eye of the beholder. I have written over 400 poems. I will be publishing 3 books of poetry in the upcoming months, either through self-publishing or by a bit of magic, through an agent (I am hoping when I send off...
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And my Masters pays for itself again...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 22, 2010
Some times, I get it right. It's amazing when it works. It is beautiful and magical and fantastic...when it works. So, my Master's thesis was about the using of writing to help people work through things. It took bibliotherapy and kicked it up a notch. Instead of reading a particular book that dealt with a specific issue, my thesis focused on the healing power of writing, be it poetry, creative writing, or my favorite; freewriting. I remember a student a thousand years back that had anger issues; he fought with his family all the time and it kept getting worse. He took my class where we would journal and freewrite. The letter he wrote to me will always remind me...
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Putting the puzzle pieces together

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 18, 2010
Sometimes you can sit and stare at a puzzle for hours, days, months, years and no matter how you turn the pieces, how you rearrange them, how you put them in groups, no matter how sure you are that this piece goes in this particular place...none of that can matter...and then suddenly, there is a change which could seem so minor and unrelated at the time, but it changes EVERYTHING. And suddenly the pieces seem to put themselves together and the picture becomes crystal clear and more beautiful than you could ever imagine...certainly better than anything you could have planned on your own. Everything happens for a reason. People say this to the point that it loses its meaning, but...
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Too many cooks...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 10, 2010
It is always an awkward time when someone asks if they can read my unpublished books. I know that their request comes from a good place. I know that they see it as being supportive and are sure that I would welcome any advice they would give or opinions they would have. I truly appreciate their interest in my projects, I really do. It warms my writer's heart and truly makes my muse giggle with delight... My hesitation in handing over my rough texts who have not yet been polished, not yet been sent out into the world is complicated. There is of course the thought that if I hand it over to everyone that asks to read it, there will...
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Sometimes it's hard to be around real people

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Oct 06, 2010
All I want to do right now is play with my pretty novels...invite my characters over for some popcorn and Coca-Cola and just do what we do when we all get together. Today I don't really want to be around actual people at all; for actual people disappoint and confuse and in general are not as dependable as fictional people are. Anytime I am feeling down, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockinbird can bring me right back to thinking there are people who are worth it after all. There are real people who make me think this too, of course...but today, I don't want to play with real people...I want to play with the people I have created for...
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The future indeed looks bright

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 25, 2010
The past few days I have been bombarded with images from the past. It has been an amazing journey that has brought me to this also some of those point in my life. I am so blessed to have so many positive, supportive people in my life. There are, of course, also those people that were not truly supportive, were and are jealous, those that have attempted to control me or shape me into what they thought I should be. But I am just me...writer/teacher/student. I am not the one to be controlled or tamed or shaped. I am my own "Captain my Captain." I am in the profession where I can excel, I am making progress on my Doctorate, I...
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The flood gates have opened...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 20, 2010
As I hoped would happen, as I got little glimpses of when I was close to being done with my previous job, the flood gates to my writing have started to open. I worried...I thought perhaps this time I had gone too long without reprieve, had put my muse off too often, had piled too much on the back burner and left too many of my ideas unattended for far too long...I feared that my muse had taken her toys and gone to play in another sandbox and I would merely be left with nothing to play with except the memory of stories that were meant to be written...distant memories of stories I wanted to tell, characters I wanted to...
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The strangest places

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 10, 2010
"It does not look particularly 'homeostatic' when a business man follows his restless activities in spite of the ulcers he is developing" (von Bertalanffy, 1969, p. 193). So who would have thought that I would get personal inspiration from a nugget in one of my resources for my doctorate, but then it has always been the strangest places where I have found the greatest pieces of wisdom. I have been reflective as of late, of my choice to step away from the security and benefits (and stress and workload) of my last job and concentrate on my passions -- teaching, writing, and doctoring (poetic license called into play for the sake of parallelism). There are many who have called me brave...
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And so it begins...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Sep 05, 2010
So I have officially stepped down from my job and am getting to focus on teaching, writing, and my doctorate. There is a sense of freedom like none I have ever known and I am at peace with my universe. It is amazing how the simple act of turning in a set of keys can allow you to feel like you can breathe again, make you feel alive for the first time in years. I don't know that I have ever felt this good; I know I haven't for a while and that makes me alternately sad and mad that I allowed this much of my life to pass me by before I put my feet down and said, "wait....
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A note to whomever reads this...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 23, 2010
So yesterday, the words were flowing on to the page like water down a waterfall...and it was beautiful...euphoric...cathartic...healing...inspiring...amazing...and really really neato. I was quite content in the task of keeping the pen dancing across the page, happy at the "stress" of keeping up with the ideas; my handwriting becoming a blur -- a mixture only I could decipher with abbreviations and awkward spellings. But the point is, I was writing. One of those really good writing zones where the whole world had decided to go out for its proverbial coffee and leave this lone recorder of words happy with her task of capturing her character's next moves and next thoughts. It was one of those days where my greatest wish...
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Love it when it works...

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 17, 2010
So this morning while I was writing (yes, at IHOP...darn that muse and her love of breakfast foods) I had such an amazing "in the zone" writing time, that I almost called in to work to just be able to make the most of that writing session. It was intense. I could not move my pen across the page fast enough and the ideas flowed out of me in a rush I haven't experienced in quite a while. My muse knows that play time is forthcoming...she is ready. And I will feed her breakfast foods every day if I have to...maybe I'll dedicate this novel to IHOP...they all know me there and know the two options I have when I...
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Loving my muse

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 08, 2010
So yesterday while I was in WalMart I do as I usually do and mentally go elsewhere (who wouldn't...) and when I have mentally checked out, my muse likes to come and play. I remembered a slot machine I had played recently called Queen Isabella. The pictures as they spun by were of the lovely queen; a ruffian-looking man who seemed like he would know about women; an aristocratic-sort all stuffy and proper who seemed like he would know nothing about the fairer sex; and an older, wiser gentleman that seems like there is more than meet the eye. POOF!! instant story...just add plot. That is what I love about my muse. She finds new toys to play with and all it...
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“Only those that risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Aug 04, 2010
So this has been the quote on my signature for a few years now. I am about to put your words to the test, Mr. Eliot. I have recently discovered how easy a simple web page can be and I will be playing with that as well as this experiment to get me (and others) more stoked about my writing projects. Those who have read my works in progress have shown amazing patience and support and it is about time I risk going too far.

It is time for me to let Jac and Jyn into the world with Whatever you Make of It, let my teenagers express their angst and issues in Ten by Ten, let Broken Trust and Crusin...
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“Finally one has to shut up, sit down, and write.” Natalie Goldberg

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 31, 2010
Every so often, you come across a quote that just says it all. This one says it all for me. I have a collection of quotes that kind of gently nudge me or downright kick me in the ass (depending on what is needed on any given day). This one by Ms. Goldberg pretty much sums up what I want to do...which of course contradicts what she is saying. Very similar to Yoda's "there is no try, do or do not" and the ever-popular, "shit or get off the pot"...it all boils down to doing what you say you are going to do. Live the life you claim to be living. Do the things you need to get done. But...
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Beginning to Finish

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 26, 2010
One of the biggest faults I have when it comes to my writing is my ability/desire to finish projects. My muse, beautiful though she may be, is incredibly fickle and when a project gets to the slower part, or nears the end, she has already gotten bored and wants to play with shinier, newer toys. She wants to start something new, which is fine...except that I have so many new projects, and I am not finishing any of them. There is a strange thing about getting published...evidently, it helps to finish something before you can send it out into the world. A friend told me once that I have more back burners than front ones...and I think he was right....
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Waiting just a little bit longer

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 24, 2010
So, I have never been a patient soul...have never waited well. Those that know me know the best way to torture me is to make me wait for something. Hell, sometimes, microwave popcorn with its 3-minute suggested cooking time is too long for me to wait. And when it is something I want far more than popcorn...forget about it...the waiting is excruciating.

I want to play in my office. I want to play with my stories and reintroduce myself to characters I have never stopped thinking about...never stopped developing in my mind. I want to develop them and go back to older stories to add the wisdom and experience both in writing and in life, that I have learned. I want...
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"Waiting for my Real Life...to Begin"

by Michelle Denise Sodaro on Jul 22, 2010
So a friend of mine introduced me to a song by Colin Hay that had lyrics that stated "Don't you understand? I already have a plan. I'm waiting for my real life to begin. When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened. But in my dreams I slew the dragon. And down this beaten path, And up this cobbled lane, I'm walking in my own footsteps once again. And you say,"Just be here now, Forget about the past. Your mask is wearing thin" I think I finally understand that song. I thought I understood it when he danced with me in my living room, but I didn't fully comprehend it then. I do now.

So much of my life has been spent wearing...
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