Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Proclamation of 1764

 The Proclamation 
of 1764

Life in the 18th century was full of conflicts between the British and the Shawnee. During the French and Indian War, the Shawnee had fought alongside the French against the British. The Shawnee and French had been allies for a long time when the Seven Years War made it's way to the New World. The Native American tribes took different sides in the conflict supporting either the British or the French. After the French lost the war, the British took command of the French held territories and demanded all French citizens leave the colonies. Some of the French had married into Shawnee families. Unfortunately, this meant some of the Shawnee wives lost their husbands because they had married a Frenchman and could not come with their husband's to France.
The Shawnee had become so dependent upon European trade goods that they had no choice but to establish open trade with their enemies.  In 1763, King George III established the Proclamation of 1763. The Proclamation forbade colonists and governmental officials from crossing the Appalachian Divide. They could not enter into trade agreements with the native populations nor acquire land past the Treaty Line. Only traders who were certified by the government were allowed to trade with the native populations. 

While the idea of the Proclamation sounded good it actually caused many problems. The colonists, eager to expand the British empire westward, didn't fully support their king's proclamation. Some land speculators had portions of their land now identified as part of the Indian Reserve while some Native Americans were living east of the treaty line. Some settlers were already living west of the treaty line. 

Skirmishes between Native American groups and the colonists were inevitable. Pontiac's Rebellion (1763 - 1765) was a series of conflicts occurring between the two groups under the decisive leadership of the Ottawa Chief Pontiac. 

Pontiac's Rebellion officially ended when Chief Pontiac signed a peace treaty with the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Northern District, Sir William Johnson at Fort Ontario.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

#ToBeShawnee: The Nephilim and Ohio's Moundbuilding culture

                           To Be Shawnee: 
                          The White Giants

The traditional customs and beliefs of the Shawnee people had set them apart from the other Ohio tribes. The Shawnee were very conservative people. They believed in a supreme being known as Monitoo. This supreme being created the female deity, Our Grandmother, then charged her with the creation of the world. The Shawnee believed they were not the first tribe she created but are her favorites.

The landscape of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana was drastically different in the 16th though the 18th centuries. It was a wild frontier with lush forests, abundant wildlife and large manmade mounds. Today we know the creators of the mounds as the Moundbuilders.

The Shawnee have always believed another tribe had built the mounds but they were nothing like the people we have associated with the mounds. Oral traditions speak of a tribe known as the Nephilim who looked drastically different than the Native Americans. The members of the tribe were giants who had pale skin, dark eyes, brown or red hair, and have facial hair. They are said to have roamed Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.  The Shawnee claim the Nephilim warriors were fierce fighters. The tribe had been very skilled in the arts. In fact, the Shawnee aren't the only tribes to speak legends of these people. The Cherokee, Chippewa, Sandusky and other members of the Algonquin language groups spoke their own tales of these mighty people. All the tribes who spoke legends of these people agree that it was the Nephilim who had built the mounds from Ohio to Mississippi.

The Shawnee believed their ancestors had been in numerous bloody conflicts with the Nephilim who lived in Kentucky and West Virginia. The final confrontation between the Shawnee and Nephilim occurred at Sandy Island. Sandy Island is located within the Ohio River at the Falls of Ohio. The Shawnee warriors attached the Nephilim village there. The battle was bloody, fierce and long. In the end, the Shawnee eliminated the last remaining Nephilim tribe within North America. The spirits of the Nephilim were angry at the Shawnee for their destruction. Their ghosts roamed throughout Kentucky and West Virginia. If they came upon a Shawnee they would bring harm upon them as long as they camped in Kentucky and West Virginia. The fear of retaliation from their spirits was so great that the Shawnee refused to established their villages or camp in either Kentucky or West Virginia. In fact, the word Kentucky is Shawnee means "The River of Blood." They never wanted to forget that fateful day nor the tribe of giants who had been their most fiercest enemy. They had won. Their enemy had beeb defeated but at the cost of cursing the land with the ghosts of their enemy.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

#WhatsUpWith #AllisonBruning: Revisions and a Sneak Peak into Allison Bruning's Next Book!

Happy Sunday!

This week had been a week of revision for me as I prepare the manuscript of Lies and Deceit for editing. I've been making some adjustments to the story arc. I'm so excited about the new characters that I've added to the series. You can meet them before the book by reading the following posts. Just click on their names.

You can also learn more about the characters, locations and cultures on the Children of the Shawnee Pinterest board. 

(Children of the Shawnee: Book 2)!

Thick, rich blood cascaded down Little Owl’s swollen right arm. It burned as if someone had inserted a hot poker into his bicep from his elbow. He wanted to scream. Sweat poured down his face. How much longer could he contain the pain throbbing throughout his body? He didn’t know where he was. If he screamed surely his enemies would know of his location assuming they didn’t know already. The rich copper scent of blood mixed with own sweat hung in the area around him. He thought he smelled smoke from somewhere near him. But how could that be? The last moment he recalled had been dragging Blue Lark’s unconscious, severally beaten body towards their hunting camp hidden deep within the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. He didn’t have the strength to build a fire.
Was he even alive?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dear Diary: In the words of #Cherokee Chief Spring Frog

Dear Diary:
In the words of
Chief Spring Frog

Lies and Deceit 
(Children of the Shawnee: Book 2)

Dear Diary, 

Today is a great day mixed with bitter deceit. My youngest sister, Summer Rain, married the Shawnee warrior and younger brother of War Chief Little Owl. Her new husband's name is Blue Lark. It is not enough that we are Cherokee. If the problem of marrying one of our enemies were the mere problem the council would had no problem with denying the young man's request. But the situation is more complicated than a simple request. The Shawnee have never understood our ways. They believe men should have the final say in all manners. I am a chief but I only hold this position as long as the women support me. It is not the first time a Shawnee had married into our family. My eldest sister, Forest Water, married a Shawnee war chief when I was but a boy. Herein lies the problem. The brutal war chief demanded she change her name to Quiet Turkey and that her sons would never know she was Cherokee. She agreed. 

My brothers, sister and I have kept the secret of my nephews true identities a secret for the majority of their lives. Too many problems have arisen when Chief Kicking Horse's brother tries to rescue my sister and her children from him. There has been too much blood shed. I am only nine years older than the new Shawnee war chief, Chief Little Owl. I remember the day he was born. His father isn't Cheif Kicking Horse but the war chief's brother, Fox Fire. Yet, that is another secret I have had to kept.  I remember holding him during the naming ceremony. When he was a boy I taught him how to trap rabbits. We had always looked forward to seeing each other every winter. My sister has always been a good mother. I did not agree with her to keep the secret from Hawk Song, Little Owl and Blue Lark after the death of the Chief Kicking Horse. Yet, who am I to stand against a woman? 

When Blue Lark and Summer Rain married I kept my mouth shut. I only hope the creator doesn't allow a curse to befall against them because Summer Rain is his aunt. 

Chief Spring Frog

Friday, June 24, 2016

#CelebratetheSmallThings: School, @FlyLady, and #business

This has been a great week for my husband and I! It's been a week of revision, planning and moving forward towards the realization of our goals.

The first blessing was the ability to register my new company in Texas. In a previous blessings post, I told you that I am closing the publishing company that I own in Indiana and am opening a new company in Texas. This week I registered Big Bend Productions with the state of Texas. I also registered our four DBAs (Doing Business As) with Presidio County. I officially own - Marfa House (publishing), Castolon Studios (photography), Lost Mine Films (film) and Boquillas' Window (graphics). I'm not ready to launch my companies yet. I'm aiming to do so by this fall.

The other blessing I received this week was the Department of the Blind appointment my husband had. My husband is legally blind and has been having some issues with his eyesight. The Texas agency has agreed to not only pay for the medical services he may need but offer him some resources that will enhance his life. I'm so excited that we were able to start this journey.

Another blessing I received was that my husband started his motorcycle repair course at Penn Foster. He is also enrolled at Walden University pursuing a BBA in Small Business Administration. He wants to open a motorcycle repair shop in his hometown.

The last blessing I received this week was the opportunity to finally put together my routines and household journal. My life is so much more organized now. I have time to clean, write, work, etc. I've been using the Fly Lady technique for about five years now and absolutely love it.

It's been a very productive week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#ExpressYourself: #Summer Goals

Welcome back the the weekly Express Yourself blog hop. This week I was asked to write about something I am looking forward to this summer.

This summer is a summer of changes for my family. Last April, my husband and I moved back to Marfa, Texas. It was an unplanned but perfect move for us. I have returned to writing full time and absolutely love it! We are surrounded by family and friends.

I have decided to open a new business in Texas known as Big Bend Productions. It will have four companies underneath it: Marfa House (publishing), Castolon Studios (photography), Boquillas' Window (graphics) and Lost Mine Films (independent film company). I am really excited about our business venture. I am currently working on establishing Big Bend Productions in Marfa. My plan is to launch it sometimes this fall.

My husband has been dreaming of owning a business as well. He's currently enrolled at Walden University but has also started school at Penn Foster to become a motorcycle repair technician. He wants to own his own motorcycle repair shop. He's also talking about going to Ashworth College when he finishes his motorcycle repair technician schooling to gain a certification in computer repair. His goal is to own and operate a business that fixes computers and motorcycles.

This summer is all about dreaming and working towards achieving our goals.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dear Diary: In the words of Count Remy De Clare Arnes #character #author #hisfic #France

Portrait of an Unknown Man. By anonymous. 1775

Dear Diary
In the words of 
Count Remy de Clare Arnes

Lies and Deceit (Children of the Shawnee: Book 2)

Dear Diary, 

The waves toss and turn this vessel throughout day and night. My wife and I have been at sea towards the British colonies for almost a month and a half. My beloved Wild Rose and I have been sequestered in our cabin without our servants for nearly two days. A terrible sickness has overcome the crew and passengers. We have not been affected but unfortunately Thomas has brought word that the servants we brought with us are ill with fever. My father has been helping the captain with maintaining order. 

Thankfully, due to our royal blood, we were not given quarter with the underprivileged. The captain, immediately recognizing my wife as King Louis' favorite granddaughter when we had first approached him concerning passage to the New World, had insisted we take his private cabin as our quarters. It has been a blessing. I very much doubt Rose would be able to handle such primitive, cramped conditions below deck. She hasn't complained much about our situation, as we have been preoccupied with our royal obligations of producing a child. We have spent the majority of the voyage making love in our cabin when we do not share the room with my father and Thomas. The waves and the sheer delight of not having anyone around us while we do our martial business has been wonderful for our sexual encounters. I do suspect, perhaps out of hope, that these encounters will satisfy the king with Rose carrying my child. But only time will tell. 

I must end this entry as there is a commotion outside our door. I do hope it's not another storm. The last one tossed Rose and I around the cabin leaving bruises and cuts all over our bodies.

Count Remy de Clare Arnes

Friday, June 17, 2016

#CTST: Big #business dreams in #Texas

My husband and I moved to Marfa, Texas a few months ago. I am in the process of closing my publishing house in Indianapolis and starting a new company in Texas. My new company will be an LLC that houses four different companies underneath it. These four businesses will be publishing, photography, graphics and film. I'm so excited to plant our business in Marfa. Marfa is an artist community. Whenever people in the area here of what I am trying to do they get all excited.

This week I made a long to do list of things that need to be done before we open the company. I also started on our business plan. I'm so excited. I feel like I'm making tiny steps forward to achieving my dream. I learned a great deal about what to do and what not to do when you own a publishing house. My new house will be stronger and better than my last one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#ExpressYourself: Nature Girl!

Welcome back to the weekly Express Yourself blog meme. This week I was asked to answer "If you could try one occupation for a day, other than your current job, what would you chose?"
Taking a break from hiking along the Ohio River. 

I currently work as a historical romance novelist. I love my writing career. I am also a business
owner. I own Mountain Springs House, a publishing house based in Indianapolis, Indiana. My husband and I recently moved back to Texas. I am currently in the process of closing Mountain Springs House and opening a new company in Texas that will focus on publishing, film, graphics and photography. More information about that venture will becoming later this year.

If I could give it all up for a day I would be try my hand at being a zookeeper or a national park ranger. I've always been fascinated by nature. One time in my life I actually thought I would become either one of those careers. I love spending time with animals. I have an endless curiosity when it comes to the natural world. I'm a backpacker and camper. I love anything to do with nature. I especially love to teach kids about camping and anything to do with the outdoors. I'm so blessed to have a husband who loves the outdoors as much as I do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

To Be #Shawnee: Feasting with the Shawnee

Welcome to my cabin. I cannot tell you my name because anyone who knows my real name has power over me. You may call Christine, for that is how the white people know me.  I was born the daughter of the Peace Chief and married a French Fur Trader. You know my people as the Shawnee but we call ourselves the Shawano. Shawano means southerner in our language. Please sit and let me tell you about my people and the feast I have prepared for you. 

My people are part of the Eastern Woodland Tribes and shared many culinary traits with the other Woodland tribes.

 Our men are highly skilled hunters. They are highly skilled in imitating the calls of a wide variety of animals. One time a man in my village imitate a panther and not soon after the panther pounced on him. The man lived but he never tried to hunt down the panther ever again.

On your plate are a variety of meat that my husband and brothers hunted this morning that represent the kinds of animals we hunt in different seasons.  The raccoon is our principal meat during the winter season. Our men watch for when the frogs come out of their hiding places. When that happens we know the raccoons are not that far behind because the raccoons will hunt for them close to the ponds. Our men trap the raccoons by placing a long pole over one of the logs that the raccoons use to hunt.  The pole has stakes on the side of it so it won't move. On the end of the pole is a sinew noose. When the raccoon walks across the log it triggers the trap and the pole falls on top of the animal with the noose around it's neck. The other meat on your plate are deer, turkey, rabbit, and fish. Here is my recipe for the baked raccoon on your plate.

On the left side of your plate you will find Hominy. Hominy is one of our favorite dishes and we eat it
Indian Corn by Thomas Quine
on a daily basis. Hominy is made from flint corn. You know flint corn by another name, Indian Corn. Flint corn is just one of the varieties of corn that we grow in our community garden.

 We, like other Native American groups, plant our crops using the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters are corn, squash and beans. I have made you a wonderful Three Sisters Stew that you can find in the bowl beside your drink. Here is my recipe for that stew from the Oneida Nation. I'm keeping my recipe a secret.

We, Shawnee women, use digging sticks to plant corn kernels. We wait until the corn stalks are about a foot high then return to the garden and plant squash, beans and pumpkins between the stalks. The squash and pumpkin vines will attach themselves to dead trees and stumps. We hoe the corn stalks from time to time with blades made from shells, stone or elk shoulder blades. The bowl above your plate on the right is corn and bean stew. I have placed some pumpkin and squash slices beside your hominy. Beside that is Succotash. You can find my succotash recipe at 

On a separate plate, in the middle of the table, are two types of breads that are very common among my people. The one on the left is Sour Bread and the Blue Bread. Here are the recipe for the Sour Bread. I can't share with you the Blue Bread recipe because it's a Shawnee secret.

Sour Bread

1teaspoon baking soda
2 cups white cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups lukewarm water

Mix the ingredients together then let it sit for two or three days. Stir it thoroughly and add cup of flour. Stir again to make the dough. Pour the mixture into a well greased bread pan. Cook at 350 degrees until well browned.

Are you enjoying the meal so far?

Great!  Here let me pour you some bread water in your cup. What's bread water? It's a corn drink that we learned how to make from the Creeks.

Time for desert.
Not only do my people hunt and farm but we also gather berries and fruits. We usually eat these uncooked but sometimes we will dry them. I've made you one of my people's favorite dishes. Take a look at the dish I just laid before. These are wild grapes that I have slightly scalded. The thick, rich juice they lie in is from pressing the grapes. I heated the juice up and when it boiled I added dumplings and sugar.

Thank you for visiting my cabin today.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

#WhatsUpWithAllison: Writing Progress

Happy Sunday!

This week is a busy week for me. I'm writing, working on establishing our business in Texas, and working on my PhD studies. My favorite time to write during the day is in the early hours of morning. It's so peaceful. The desert is cool. The world is just coming alive. It's perfection.


I'm at 77, 466 words into Lies and Deceit (Children of the Shawnee: Book 2). My goal is to have the story completely finished by the end of June. Next month is Camp NaNoWriMo. I want to work on my next WIP - Hoppy's Grave. Hoppy's Grave is based on a legend I had heard while attending Camp Mowana in Ohio in the 80's.

If you can't wait for the second book to be released you can still get a glimpse of Calico, Little Owl and the rest of the characters on the Children of the Shawnee Pinterest board. There are some great new characters being added to the story. You can read about them and the other ones you already love over there.

Friday, June 10, 2016

#CelebratetheSmallThings: #Exercise in Marfa, Texas

Happy Friday! This week has been a wonderful week for me. My husband and I have been trying to lose weight. We've changed our diet. We've been taking Garcenia Cambogia before every meal. Well this week, we started our exercise routine. We started swimming laps on Tues. and Thurs. I'll be adding Yoga to the Weds. in the next couple of weeks. I went to the local gym yesterday instead of going swimming because I had an event I had to be at during the time the pool is open for laps.

 It's been a few years since I've been able to swim laps, do Yoga and/or work out in the gym. My forms are a bit off but that will improve with time. I am absolutely loving that I am able to get some exercise again. 

How about you? What was the best part of your week?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

@Schoenbrunn Village: Who were the Moravians?

Schoenbrunn Village:
The Moravians

A cabin at Schroenbrunn Village (Public Domain)
          Schoenbrunn Village was the first Christian settlement in Ohio. It was founded in 1772 by Moravian missionaries and Delaware Christian converts led by David Zeisberger. The area of land in which Schoenbrunn was founded had belonged to the Delaware. Their chief, Chief Netawatwes, had invited Zeisberger to the area and gave the land to the Moravians. David Zeisberger accepted the land offer under one condition - the Delaware could not interfere with the village. They Moravians and their Christian Indians wanted to be completely free of drunk Indians and hostilities by the Non-Christian Delaware. Chief Netawatwes agreed. By the end of 1772, Schroenbrunn Village housed 92 inhabitants. It would eventually peak with a total of 300 people. 

         Schroenbrunn Village was located in a placed of neutrality between the Ohio Indians and British settlers.  Yet, Schoenbrunn wasn't completely safe. Setters did't approve of the sanctuary for Christianized Delaware and Non-Christian Native Americans didn't appreciate Zeisberger's efforts to convert their neighbors. Just who were the Moravians?

The Moravians

         The Moravian Church was founded by Jan Hus, the first church reformer, during the 15th century in Bohemia. Bohemia is located in present day Austria - Hungry. Hus was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415 for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church. His followers, known as Hussites, continued to stand against the Catholic Church teachings and rebelled against Catholic rulers. By 1440, 90% of the people living in Czech lands were non-Catholics and followed Jan Hus' model of Christianity. 

         The name if the Moravian Church comes from the exiles who followed Hus' model of Christianity. These exiles fled to Saxony (located in modern day Germany) from Moravia (Modern dayCzech Republic) in order to escape from religious persecution. The Moravian Church is one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the modern world. It's founder, Jan Hus, is considered the first Church reformer because he lived before Martin Luther, John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli. The Catholic Church continued to persecute Hus' followers throughout the centuries and the communities were forced underground. 

         The dwindling fate of the Moravian Church changed for the better during the 18th century. In 1722, a remnant of a small group of Moravians living in northern Moravia approached Count Nikolaus Ludwig, Reichsgraf von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf with a request to settle on his lands. Ludwig was a devout Piet who followed a personal commitment to help the poor and needy. He agreed. The Moravians established Hernhut. Hernhut's population grew steady but it wasn't without problems. 
Hernhut (Public Domain)

       The people had major religious disagreements that threaten to tear apart the city with it's major divisions. Count Zinzendorf worked diligently with the population by establishing the Brotherly Agreement, a document that was meant to bring peace and unity. On August 13, 1727, the community experienced a revival often described as being similar to the one recorded in the Bible on the day of Pentecost. The inhabitants mysterious learned to get along and were visited by the Holy Spirit. Hernhut's population grew rapidly after the revival. 

        The Moravians were the first Protestant church to establish missionaries. In 1732, the Moravians sent their very first missionaries into the world. Their village population only had about 300 people at the time. They established their first missionary settlement in the West Indie. Three years later, the Moravians were became part of General Olgethorpe's venture into Georgia. They tried to establish a settlement close to Savannah but did not succeed. In 1741, the Moravians left Georgia and established a permanent settlement in Pennsylvania. They eventually established more settlements in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio. Worldwide, Missionaries were sent to the Caribbean, North and South America, the Arctic, Far East and Africa.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

#ExpressYourself: Allison Bruning's Reading List #IamReading

Welcome back to the weekly Express Yourself blog meme. This week I was asked to write about the books that are on my summer reading list. I have so many. A good author is one who not only writes in their preferred genre but reads in that genre as well.

I'm currently reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  I'm on the fifth book of the series, The Fiery Cross. I want to finish reading the entire series this summer. Her books are excellent! I've also been watching Outlander on STARZ! since it was first released last year. Honestly, that's when I started reading the books. I love what STARZ! has done with the story. They have tried to stay as close to the books as possible. The seasons are based on the stories. This season is the second book.  I was excited to learn STARZ! has given Outlander two more seasons. That's the third and fourth books. I hope they do all the books.

Once I've completed the Outlander series I want to start reading the Tudor Court series by Philippa Gregory. I have the entire series. I first learned about the series from The Other Boleyn Girl movie. I fell in love with the movie and now I want to read the series. 

I have two more series I have bought that have intrigued me as well. The first on is The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire. Everyone knows the first book - Wicked. The other series is the Mists of Avalon series by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I read Mist of Avalon never knowing it was part of series. I saw the movie but didn't like it as much as the book. 

So many books to read! I can't wait to be taken on all their literary journals. What books are you excited about reading this summer?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

#What'sUpWithAllison: Birds, Books, and Office Space

Happy Sunday! It's been a busy week for me. I had a yard sale yesterday and did some organizing around the house. My new office is coming along nicely. I love my writing area. I normally sit at the dining room table. I have a small desk next to me with all my office supplies. My husband and I have several plants in containers next to the window in the dining room. We've been playing around with aquaponics. We have one plant with roots in the fish water only. The rest of the plants are still in the soil.

I spotted a swallow nest yesterday on my porch. I'm not certain if there are babies or not in there. I've seen two of them coming in and out of the nest.


I've been busy working on Lies and Deceit. I'm at 59,066 words. My goal is to finish this book by the end of the month and hand it over to my editor. It's coming along nicely. I want to start my next WIP during CampNaNoWriMo next month.

Friday, June 3, 2016

#CelebratetheSmallThings: Movies, Marfa and More.

Happy Friday!

This week I've been busy writing and going back to school. I'm working on my PhD in Education. Last quarter, I had to medically withdraw from classes because I had a lung infection that left me with a 99.9 fever for a month and a half! It was a mixed blessing. I ended up moving back to Marfa, Texas so I could be in a restful place with family and my local doctor closer to me. I have since been healthier. I'm even joining the local gym.

I have been busy writing my fourth book. It's coming along nicely. My husband and I are getting ready to open a publishing house in Marfa. The editor is working on the first book already. I'm so excited. I can't wait for the opening of Big Bend Productions - publishing, photography and film. We're also going to open Academic Warriors, an educational consultation service for gifted, homeschool and roadschooling families.

I absolutely love working in Marfa. It's an artist community and is my husband's hometown. There have been plenty of movies made in Marfa. Kevin Bacon and Katheryn Haugn are currently filming a movie in town. He's been seen all over town. He even took all the teachers at Marfa ISD out to lunch at the Pizza Foundation. I haven't seen him yet.

I hope you have had a great week! Enjoy the first weekend in June.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

#ISWG: Writing Time? What's That? #IamWriting

One of the greatest threats to an inspiring writer is trying to find the time to get the words out of your head and onto the page. There's all kinds of distractions around us. Kids, job, errands, family, school, etc. You name it. It's probably there. Holidays and summer vacation are the worst times for most writers. You want to spend time with your family but you have that manuscript in your head. Your characters won't leave you alone. You think about the plot, the characters, the setting and you do so much of it people start complaining your not spending enough time in reality.

It's really hard for people who aren't writers to understand the drive we have to write an entire book. But it is possible to be a writer and still have a life. I started my writing career in 2008. I wrote 700 pages in two months. But it took a toll. I spend more time writing than I did with my husband. I felt like I just had to get the story out. While I ended up with a great novel and the beginnings of several sequels I had sacrificed time with my family. It didn't break my marriage.  I struggled with the time management thing early on in my writing career. In 2012, I discovered NaNoWriMo while working on my MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. It was a GODSEND!

NaNoWriMo taught me how to budget my writing time with my personal life. It helped me to establish a writing routine. My daily goal is to write a chapter or two per day on my current WIP. That roughly gives me 1300 words per day. I can easily complete a first draft within a couple of months. I aim for 50,000 words the first month and 50,000 words the following month. Sometimes, I'll go back into my previously written chapters and edit them. Once my first draft is completed I send forward to my editor and work on my next writing project while she's editing.

I constantly have writing projects. I have an organizer in my room that has my next writing projects listed in order of when I want to write them. The titles are written on erasable sentence strips. Once a writing project is completed I just remove the title, move the other up, erase the sentence strip and add another project to the bottom of the list.

If I have a story idea I just writing down in a notebook and keep it for later. Sometimes, I'll get spin off story ideas while I'm writing. I don't let my characters change my writing topic. I just keep moving forward after I write the idea down. That's how I came up with Bailey's Revenge. Bailey's Revenge is actually a spin off from my first book, Calico. It tells the story of Calico's grandmother in Ireland.

Organization is key to having a meaningful writing time. If you find a quiet place to write, establish and maintain a writing routine, plus keep organized you won't have a problem chasing after your writing dreams.

#ExpressYourself: Allison Bruning's Totem

 Welcome back to my blog. I hope my readers had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. It was a busy one for me. I'm glad to be back in my office, blogging, writing, reading and being a student.

This week is the last week I was asked "If you could have a Daemon (like in the Golden Compass) or a Spirit Animal, what animal would you chose?"

My answer: A bear

I have always been attracted to bears. Native Americans believed bears were protectors. They represented courage, strength, agility and quickness. Bears were revered as the keeper of dreams and is closely related to the dream realm. The bear was revered by Native Americans as one of the most powerful of all totems. There are many tales told around the world concerning the bear.