New Year’s Resolutions 2016

HeadSo my 4-year old daughter has been playing mind games with me.

She found this old stuffed dog toy and decided to name it after a beloved pet I had ten years ago. Really, I’m not sure where she heard the name “Cratchit” before (and, yes, if you are taking note I had a dog named after Bob Cratchit from A Christmas Carol)…. Deep breath, Southard… My daughter, for some reason I can’t explain, stole the moniker and christened this toy with it.

Now here it where it gets a little creepy… like from a psychological thriller creepy. She keeps asking me questions with it like:

  • “Why have you forgotten about Cratchit? He didn’t forget about you.”
  • “Don’t you care about Cratchit anymore?”
  • “Do you want to hug and kiss the dog, daddy?”
  • “Tell Cratchit how you missed him. Here…”

It is totally messing with my head! Cratchit was a great dog! That cocker spaniel lived an amazing 15 years and was a good friend. He is gone. It’s just a stuffed toy… just a stuffed toy. No, I don’t want to hug the toy… Okay, maybe I do…

Where was I?

This website began as a New Year’s Resolution and I’m enjoying keeping it going. (I hope to still be doing two or so posts a week, but things might get busy with the note I mention below). So that is an easy resolution to keep.  Here are some others.

Be more present.

This one is a little more difficult for me. I’m one of those kind of people who are always in their head. Sure, I can have a conversation with you, but there is a good chance I am working through something with my writing or thinking about the new Star Wars film (which was awesome, by the way), etc. I’ve always been that way. And it’s probably not something that others will notice, because I am not “away” or staring off into the distance.  I’m just a person with multiple thoughts at the same time, all the time.  Well, with my kids growing up so fast around me, I want to change this about myself. I want to learn to be more present. Here. Now. If I am playing with them, I want to try and be fully in the moment. Honestly, this might not be something I can change about me, but it is something I want to try doing.

Finish the new book.

So last year I completed a draft of my new novel. For the last month I’ve been working with an agent and we are fine-tuning it. I am really proud of the book, but this will take some time. I truly think it will pay off for the readers. It is a very unique read and I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Seriously, it is very, very good and I think you will like it.

Have less crutches.

What I mean about that is I go to a lot of comfort things in my life. Certain foods for when I am writing (pretzels or Red Vines), soda for the morning, favorite lunches for bad days, favorite dinner for good days, etc. Comfort things are fine but sometimes it feels like we can go overboard with it. So what does that mean? I want less comfort?… Hmmm… maybe there might be a better way to describe it. The fact is I feel like it helps push me, forces me to seize the day more, accept more the things around me (good and bad). Yeah, I guess I want to seize this year.  So 2016 will be mine. (You can have the next one.)

Honestly… Happy New Year! 

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Twitter-Free: My 24 Hours Without Twitter

The Fail WhaleI have over 30,000 Twitter followers. When I began this post I had tweeted exactly 10,400 times. No more, no less. Tweet #10,401 will be the first notice that I have written this post.

I am an author on Twitter and, honestly, I don’t think Twitter has led to many book sales really from the traffic. It does generate blog views, but never more than a third of what I get on a daily basis. The rest comes from subscribers and those who just seem to check me out from time to time. So what is this hold Twitter has on me that I keep returning and why do so many follow me?

For me, personally, Twitter is an ego trip. I admit that. Beyond the amount of followers, I get a huge kick out of sharing, retweets, and likes around my articles and books. And I especially love it when someone writes to me about my books usually to say they are reading one of them or enjoy it.

The fact is though I can’t imagine having a real friendship or relationship over Twitter. There almost needs to be a new word for the relationships built on this social network; somewhere below “acquaintance” but above “name recognition.” Yeah, it’s not like Facebook where a majority of my “friends” I have actually spoken to at one point. This is more like epic literary crowdsurfing for a writer. Like I am thrown to the sea of Twitter, riding my book like a boat. And there are thousands and thousands of other writers and readers like me on the rough sea in similar boats… and now and then we will see a Fail Whale. Making us at that moment the internet equivalent of Ahab.

Well, not this day.  For on this day, for the first time in two years, I have decided to take a break and document my withdraw… Continue reading

For the Love of a Dog

This weekend, my daughter, who is about to turn one, said clearly her first word. It even came with a point of the finger for emphasis. “Dog.”

Dog…

I wouldn’t be so bitter about it, if it wasn’t for the fact that this is the second of my children to give this honor to our dog. Bronte (Yes, I am a writer with a dog named Bronte) is a border collie mix and does not have what I would consider the Hollywood-dog relationship with my kids. She is not running alongside them as they play throughout the day, with a waiting tennis ball in the mouth.

No, she is a herder and my children are her sheep. And Bronte’s day is spent laying in some corner of the room, watching the kids play out of the corner of her eye, ready to bark at any questionable passerby outside (or as she probably sees them- wolves). Continue reading