Elizabeth Isaacs https://elizabethisaacs.com Bringing Fantasy Into Reality One Story at a Time Tue, 31 Dec 2019 19:58:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://elizabethisaacs.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-Untitled-design-37-32x32.png Elizabeth Isaacs https://elizabethisaacs.com 32 32 31619703 Claim post for bloglovin’ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/claim-post-for-bloglovin/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/claim-post-for-bloglovin/#respond Tue, 31 Dec 2019 19:58:41 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1882 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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2020-The Year of Prosperity https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/2020-the-year-of-prosperity/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/2020-the-year-of-prosperity/#comments Thu, 26 Dec 2019 16:51:29 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1854 Read More]]> If you’ve been following me, you know I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I focus on one aspect of life I’d like to nurture and grow. I choose a catchphrase that embodies the concept. It becomes a mantra of sorts, creating a common theme that runs throughout the twelve months and shapes my experiences. This past year was the year of grit and determination. 2018 felt as if I were moving through molasses. Impatience set in because projects weren’t going fast enough. Worse, procrastination’s knobby little fingers had gotten a grip on me, and I found myself putting things off for another day. I thought that by naming 2019 as the year of “grit” I’d be declaring to the world that I was determined to get stuff done. I’d power through. The universe could either get on board or get out of my way.

Big mistake.

I hadn’t anticipated that world-weary-teeth-gritting-nose-to-the-grindstone feeling every time I sat down to type. It was like a switch had gone off in my head, changing the mindset from a relaxed flow state to “sit down, shut up, and just get it done.”

Not a conducive environment for creativity, is it?

I’ve heard others say that we go through seasons in life. If that’s true, 2019 was the creative equivalent of a blizzard in the dead of winter. I struggled to just keep the imaginative flame flickering while waiting out the storm. Writing in any form turned into something to endure instead of something to cherish.

Long about June, I realized my mistake. Grit isn’t about loving something enough to see it through– it implies doing something you may not want to do but you’re determined to finish it anyway.

No one is holding a gun to my head. I don’t have to finish that novel, I want to finish that novel. As for social media, I’m no longer “determined” to post something every day, spewing out endless content on the off chance the algorithm gods will allow someone to see what I’ve said.

I’ll post when I can, but I’m going back to the old ways where I began and ended each day with writing sessions. Back to not checking Facebook every day or getting mired down with others’ problems. My goal for 2020 is to earn my  “er” again as a writer. (If you haven’t read Chris Brecheen’s no-holes-barred post about writers actually writing, here it is).

And so, I’ve taken a lot of time thinking about this year’s name. It needs to be special, strong, and saturated with positivity and hope. I needed a word that would make me smile every time I said it. A word that would help give a creative boost in the new stories ahead. One that would serve as a reminder that writing is a privilege, not one more box to check off an innocuous list.

And so, I have decided to name 2020 the year of prosperity.

I love the word for many reasons. It feels round and wonderful when you say it, and it means good fortune. Just hearing it makes me happy.  Most people correlate prosperity with wealth, and yeah, who wouldn’t want more money.  But the word goes deeper for me than that. My intent is to make 2020 a year of abundant writing, meaningful relationships, and experiences.

Honestly, I can’t wait for the new year to begin.

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Reflecting on Years Past https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/reflecting-on-years-past/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/reflecting-on-years-past/#respond Wed, 25 Dec 2019 15:02:37 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1857 Read More]]> I started naming years in college, but I never shared them with anyone until  I published ten years ago. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution but rather a way to focus on one aspect of your life that you’d like to change.

It’s served me well over the years, and I find it fascinating to see how one year affects the next. By the way, this post is more as a synopsis of years past than an informative or thought-provoking article, but feel free to read on if you want. 🙂

2010 The Year of Courage. I took a deep breath and published my first book. This was the year I learned that life should be lived outside of your comfort zone.

2011 The Year of Authenticity. I realized that readers wanted to know the real me, not what I thought a “writer” should be. I made a ton of new friends in 2011. 🙂

2012 The Year of Balance. Trying to write while working two other jobs and raising two teens meant I either had to find balance or lose my sanity. I learned that organizing time was critical to writing success.

2013 The Year of Change. With royalty checks coming in, I opened my heart to the possibility of leaving education, and I started working for publishing houses as an editor and author liaison.

2014 The Year of Kindness. As most of 2013 was spent on endless conference calls and working with a myriad of people around the world, I learned that compassion was a critical factor in productive communication. I also learned that, even though I could now afford to leave education, I didn’t want to stop teaching. I make a difference, and that’s too important to let go.

2015 The Year of Simplification. Most of 2014 was spent working 16-20 hours a day, and I realized I couldn’t keep up that pace. I said goodbye to a lucrative marketing job, stopped taking on added responsibilities such as new editing projects and acquisitions consulting and scaled back on inconsequentials.

2016 The Year of Self-worth. I spent the entire year focused on trying to see myself without looking through the critical lens of self-deprecation. I started making self-care a priority by getting more sleep and eating healthier. I said no to projects I didn’t want to do, and I stopped working for free. 2016 was the year I learned that the more I value myself, the more others value me.

2017 The Year of Success. This was the year I discovered that success comes in many forms. I lost weight, expanded my developmental editing skills, geared up for the new series’ release, and celebrated as my children obtained their personal goals educationally and professionally.

2018 The Year of Control.   The past few years had seen America’s political realm plummet into a sess pool of amoral and unethical practices the likes of which our country has never seen. The emotional effect took its toll on me, and so in 2018, I focused on staying positive and controlling the things I could change instead of feeling helpless about the things I couldn’t.

2019 The Year of  Tenacity and Grit. 2019 was a jaw-clenching-nose-to-the-grindstone-come-hell-or-high-water-get-it-done weary journey that taught me never to use struggle words when naming a year. That’s all I have to say about that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Heart of the Holidays https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/heart-of-the-holidays/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/heart-of-the-holidays/#comments Wed, 25 Dec 2019 12:59:22 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1848 Read More]]> I love this time of year.  Writing, social media, and all things internet are put on the back burner. Great food is served with a heaping side of memories and camaraderie. We are a diverse bunch from various social classes and political views, but there’s a tacit agreement among everyone to leave polarization and politics at the door. We simply refuse to allow the ridiculousness of the world to interfere with our precious time together.

And for those that couldn’t make it home, we take time to text, phone, send pictures or short videos, so they are included in the familial mayhem.

Present are opened. Thoughtfullness shared. Games played.

Laughter.

Love.

Family.

That is the heart of the holidays.

 

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We’re now on Bloglovin https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/were-now-on-bloglovin/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/12/were-now-on-bloglovin/#comments Tue, 24 Dec 2019 12:17:38 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1839 Read More]]> Follow my blog with Bloglovin
I’m trying to check off all the things on my writer’s to-do list before we start the new decade. It’s a long list, full of things that should have been taken care of months (*cough* years) ago. But hey, let’s celebrate that I’m giving it the old college try.

At any rate, one box that’s now checked off it that this blog has officially been put on Bloglovin’. If you aren’t familiar with the site, Bloglovin’s platform allows users to discover and organize their favorite blogs and can be used on either mobile or desktop devices. You can check it out here. 

I love the site because it acts like social media, but it doesn’t use algorithms to control what we see. You follow a blog, you see their content.

Novel concept, isn’t it? 🙂

If you’re on the platform, please throw your link in the comments below and I’ll be sure to follow you.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

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Taking Back Our Democracy https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/11/taking-back-our-democracy/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/11/taking-back-our-democracy/#comments Sun, 03 Nov 2019 20:19:17 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1772 Read More]]> This Tuesday is election day in Kentucky, and the governor’s race is like something out of a scripted reality show. You know, that high-drama trope that has the evil incumbent with tons of corrupt money backing his oh-my-god-ridiculously-negative-ad campaign squaring off with the good-guy-grassroots-man who is fighting to change things for the better.

The problem is, this isn’t a cheesy film trope for some B movie. This is our life, where the heart of our education system is on the line, where coal miners might not get the diagnosis for the medical care they need, where hundreds of thousands of needy children won’t have access to healthcare. In the past four years, the population of our state has declined, and 28,000 teachers have left the classroom. We are now 45th in the nation for wages, and our illustrious governor refuses to look toward new avenues regarding innovative ways to bring up-and-coming industries into our region.

There is so much work to be done, so many things that need to be fixed. So much untapped revenue this beautiful state has yet to explore.

This election is one of the most important elections in Kentucky’s history. Now, more than ever, it is critical people step up to the plate and participate in the democratic process.

And yet, officials are projecting a 30% turn out on Tuesday. It’s astonishing to think that with so much at stake, seven out of ten people won’t even bother to go to the polls.

Both Uber and Lyft are giving free rides on Tuesday. By law, employers have to give their workers four hours to vote. The Democratic and Republican parties have stated they will find ways to get people to the polls, should someone call their hotline and ask. Mass transit systems in Lexington and Louisville are giving free rides, as well.

Everyone who values democracy is bending over backward to allow people to participate in the process, and yet Kentuckians still refuse to vote.

Why?

I believe there are a few reasons. First, the marginalized in our society (minorities, the poverty-stricken, the working poor) have been told they don’t matter, which, over time, has turned into an intrinsic belief that they can’t make a difference, so they no longer try.

Second, the largest generation in the nation (18-32-year-olds) have been disenfranchised by corruption, misinformation, and targeted campaigns to keep them out of the polls.

I wish they understood that if they voted en masse, they would rule the land. They don’t realize they have the keys to the kingdom. United, they could completely flip the government on their ear with fresh, young candidates that could demand reform and change.

The powers-that-be know it, though. And they wield that knowledge like a well-honed scythe.

Third, many people in the “mainstream” demographic are sick of the negativity. The tactic worked so well in the last presidential election, political action committees have doubled-down on the strategy, spewing slanderous campaigns that leave voters disgusted by the entire process. One party’s ads are solely aimed at federal women’s rights policy, which has nothing to do with gubernatorial control. That doesn’t matter though; just mentioning the subject spawns vitriol, passion, and an extreme emotional response that demands justice. One-issue voters are easy to manipulate. If they don’t like the candidate that agrees with their issue, they’ll write in a vote for someone who has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, or they won’t vote at all. 

Either way, the results are the same.  

Yes, we have systemic corruption in America. No one is disputing that. But that corruption has been allowed to fester and grow because We the People stopped actively participating in the system a few decades ago. And it’s getting worse. 

The only way change is going to happen is if we stand up and take action–starting at the state and local level. And it’s going to take everyone–Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Independent, those who have never registered to vote. This is our country. If we don’t participate in the process, then we are the reason democracy falls. 

Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten that freedom isn’t free. It takes dedication, sweat equity, and due diligence to make sure those that are serving in our stead are doing their job. And when they aren’t, it takes a collective voice to get them out of office and bring about change.

I’m not sure what the future holds for the state of Kentucky, or even if I’ll be able to stay here much longer. But whatever happens, one thing is clear. We have to get corruption out of government and take our democracy back. One group, Represent Us, is trying to do just that. 

If you’d like to learn more, please watch this video from Jennifer Lawrence.

We have a lot of work to do. If you’re in Kentucky, you can start by voting this Tuesday. Everyone else, I encourage you to join Represent Us and actively participate in your areas to help us bring about change.

 

 

 

 

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Through the Eyes of an Editor https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/10/through-the-eyes-of-an-editor/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/10/through-the-eyes-of-an-editor/#respond Sun, 13 Oct 2019 21:08:26 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1742 Read More]]> Before manuscripts morph into books, they go through several stages of development, which involves three or four different edits, depending on the work. If you’re new to the publishing world or you’ve never understood the editing process, I highly recommend watching this introductory video by the incredible Joanna Penn.

The first, and, for me, the most important, is developmental editing, which hones in on character development, scene structures, tone, mood, plot pacing, believability, and overall quality of the work.  Traditional houses have vetted editors for specific genres they use to polish the work like a newly minted coin. But indie authors are left to their own devices, sifting through editing websites, hoping to find some way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I believe this is why so many indie authors have little to no experience with developmental editing. Having a professional go through each scene, looking for ways to strengthen the storyline is expensive. Most indies end up going to a less experienced editor that isn’t as costly as a seasoned veteran. Either way, most self-pubbed writers often haven’t seen what a good content edit looks like, and so they can’t gauge if the feedback is worth the price they paid.

As the self-pub/indie crowd gets bigger, so does the problem of finding quality editors. Yes, there are great editors out there. But there are also people who say they’re excellent at story development with little to no education, training, or experience to support their claims. These typically aren’t shysters out to take an author’s money. They love books and stories, and they genuinely want to help, but they don’t know enough to know what they don’t know. In psychology, this cognitive bias is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect (click here if you’d like to know more).

Regardless, understanding what a good content edit looks like is critical to making a story as strong and engaging as it can be. And so I was so excited to run across editor Cate Hogan’s new video series, “Running the Gauntlet.” The program features the first draft of a manuscript, and Hogan gives us a glimpse of looking at the work through an editor’s eyes. In this video, the genre she critiques is a first-person distant narrative comedy sci-fi. Although this isn’t usually the type of book I’d pick off the shelf, I still enjoyed watching Cate’s thought process as she sifted through the opening scenes. Enjoy!

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A Writer’s Guide to Self-Care https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/10/a-writers-guide-to-self-care/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/10/a-writers-guide-to-self-care/#comments Sun, 06 Oct 2019 00:28:22 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1723 Read More]]> It’s no secret that creatives are more at risk for depression, but for writers, it can be especially tough. Our craft is a solitary endeavor, spending hours in front of a keyboard. For those prone to feelings of loneliness, the isolation, the lack of sunlight and human interaction that writing often brings, can plunge them into the dark waters of despair.

Let’s face it, the age-old adage of “suffering for your art” is a crock. Depression doesn’t make for a better story. Neither does alcohol or recreational drug use. Creativity is a part of us, which means that when we make self-care a priority, our imagination flourishes.

I’ve been working on self-care for a few years now. It hasn’t always been easy, but here are the five things I’ve found to be most helpful.

#5. Schedule writing time and stick to it

This one is the toughest for me, but scheduling writing time helps suppress the negative self-talk I slip into when I’m not productive. I started writing first thing in the morning and then again in the evening, and I’m guarding that time as if it is sacred. No phone calls or social media. Just writing. Social media posts are created and scheduled for the next week on Sunday. I’ve found that producing work first thing in the morning allows my mind to mull over the story throughout the day, and then I produce more at night as well. The time spent in front of the keyboard may have shortened a bit, but the creative output has increased tremendously.

#4. Healthy eating and limiting alcohol are vital.

I didn’t realize how important this one was until I stopped eating sugar and processed carbs a few years ago. My mind is sharper, my emotions more stable because my glycemic index isn’t constantly spiking and crashing throughout the day. As for alcohol, for me, writing and wine go together like peas and carrots. I do love a glass of cabernet while sitting in front of the keyboard, but honestly, it’s empty calories. And that one glass can turn into three super-easy. Too, wine is not only a natural depressant; it makes me sleepy, which is counterproductive when I’m creating a scene.

#3. Excercise.

I have a love/hate relationship with exercise, but it’s necessary. During long writing sessions, I’ve started scheduling dance breaks, which I’m so glad no one else is around to witness. 🙂 But you know what? It’s made me more productive. There’s science behind it, but getting your blood pumping and your heart thumping is a good thing. Go for a walk, take a yoga class, or jazzercise with some friends. Writing is a sedentary activity, which, over time, will take its toll. Take care of that body. It’s the only one you’ve got, and you can’t write if you’re dead.

#2. Sleep.

When I wrote The Light of Asteria, I was getting three to five hours of sleep a night. Most people think that’s insane, but honestly, I’ve never been a big sleeper. But I’ve realized to consistently create my mind needs time to process the events of the day, to repair any damage, go in, sweep out the cobwebs, and do whatever maintenance that needs to be done. All of that happens during sleep. Too, there’s overwhelming evidence of severe long term effects of sleep deprivation. If you have a problem sleeping, make sure to filter out blue light from the computer screen, especially at night. No television or caffeine after dinner. And try to go to sleep at the same time every night. Sleep patterns can improve over time. I’ve been working on this one for a few years now, and I’m proud to say that I’m averaging six to seven hours of sleep a night. It might not seem like a lot to some, but it’s double what it was three years ago. 🙂 Also, increasing your sleep time has been shown to help people lose weight. #win/win

#1. Make sure time with family and friends exceeds the time you’ve scheduled to write.

This one is so important.  Writers are humans, too, which means we need interaction and socialization. We need sunshine, laughter, friendships, and experiences. Making sure you are spending meaningful time with family and friends will ensure that you don’t resent spending time in front of the keyboard.

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Wanna Win a Hundred Bucks? https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/09/wanna-win-a-hundred-bucks/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/09/wanna-win-a-hundred-bucks/#comments Mon, 30 Sep 2019 14:00:27 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1703 Read More]]> I’m so honored to be participating in an incredible giveaway that features fantasy/paranormal authors. If you’d like to expand you TBR, just click on the link and like the BookBub author pages. What’s great about this is BookBub only emails you when the authors you follow get ready to release a new book or make a book suggestion. It’s a win/win for everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Polarization of America https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/09/the-polarization-of-america/ https://elizabethisaacs.com/2019/09/the-polarization-of-america/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2019 19:55:06 +0000 https://elizabethisaacs.com/?p=1597 Read More]]> Polarization is the latest buzz word; it seems. The word originated in the scientific realm and was predominantly used for wave oscillations. Much like sound waves on a guitar string, the action of plucking the string creates a reaction that streams to both ends simultaneously, causing symmetrical vibrations which then turns into sound.

 

It’s an oversimplification, I know, but the process is so symbolic of our political climate, whoever came up with the term political polarization was a freaking genius.

If we use the video above as an analogy, the fingers plucking the strings are the hot button issues. The right side of the string is one political affiliation, the left, the other. When an issue sound, both parties stream to their side until they hit either the headstock or the bridge.

Congress has worked this way for years, waiting for an issue to strike and immediately streaming to their side of the string. But what they never seem to understand is the string must continue vibrating, even in glorious dissonance, to work correctly.

The image is fitting, isn’t it?

And while our congressional leaders were willing to smother the vibrations of democracy, the American people weren’t.  That is, until recently. This instrument, our democracy, the resounding music of freedom and prosperity, has been stifled with arrogance, ignorance, and hatred.

Why is that? Why now? Why can’t we seem to remember we are all on the same freaking string?

I started doing a bit of research on the subject and ran across this explanation. Most of you know I’m a true believer in exploring the dark annals of history. Not only it is fascinating writing fodder, but I happen to believe that we are creatures of habit. If we made the mistake once, and we didn’t learn from it, we certainly can do it again.

“Our time most closely resembles the period after the late 15th century … nothing has happened like the impact of the personal computer and the internet since the advent of the printing press … We live in a time of massive technological disruption of the public sphere. And most of us underestimate it, especially those of us who cling to old ways of getting information.”  

Naill goes on to parallel the reformation period with that of today’s society.

I’ll be honest–that scared me a little.

Martin Luther believed the printing press would fulfill the church’s promise to bring the masses to Christ. And while it did bring about significant changes in religion, no one even came close to predicting the upheaval having printing capabilities would bring.

Mass propaganda was used to divide religious sects. Pamphlets meant to insight anger, and violence seeped into the mainstream. Downright heretical books were printed, which sent many on literal witch hunts. There was now a way for informational and revolutionary ideas to be heard throughout the land. And because the middle class had access to written words, the stranglehold of ignorance the upper class had held for centuries was forcibly loosened. Secular books in science became popular, transitioning the world which, of course, spawned an unholy reaction from the church. And the fact that religious monks were no longer solely responsible for book copying made it impossible for the church to control what was being shared.

All of this eventually led to societies across the globe being pulled apart from their fragile seams.

There is still time to veer from the destructive path polarization is leading us down. But to do that, we must allow the issues to resonate within us, to to affect us. And we must listen to those that are affected too, not with the superior arrogance of wanting to be”right,” but with humility and compassion needed to understand. We must keep listening until the sounds wane, wash away, meld into the sweet silence of understanding.

And then we must move onto the next chord–together.

 

 

 

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