Sodaro's Stories

May 10, 2017

Less…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:17 pm
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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 budget. It is more important to me to have the rest of the year to write (and work 2nd job) than it is to have yet another Chipolte bowl.

**Beating myself up for wasted time — Relationships that didn’t go anywhere, time I could have been writing, exercising, cleaning, etc. , things I should have/could have done, friendships I never thought would have ended which ended all the same, etc. etc. etc. Time to let go and move on.

**Double work. I need to streamline some processes, consolidate some parts of the way I do things. Find what works and what can be improved.

**Mindless snacking — actually, not having any grading to do should alleviate this on its own. When I am writing (since there are very few things I can do/eat left-handed) I tend to forget to eat.

**Hiding from the world. No more un-faced fears. No more letting fear win.

March 7, 2017

Letting go…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:32 pm
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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 go.

So what happens when I try to force plot points or formats…or try to line the ducks up at a given time to get done by my self-imposed deadline…is NOTHING. Not like…haha, nothing happens and life continues as it should…I mean NOTHING happens. Like Nada. ZILCH. Zero things happening. Which then causes me stress as I stare at the calendar and maybe, if I just stare hard enough, I can go back a few weeks and not stress and then not be staring and fretting. (Side note, where did February go????)

I trust the process. I do. It has successfully brought me to finishing and publishing 6 novels and I am about to publish #7…the process works…but it works on its own time and in its own way…and me staring at the calendar…and swearing…and pleading with the process…and putting more and more pressure on things…yeah, that is not how the process works. Who could work under those conditions.

So I let go. I stopped swearing at my calendar. I stopped frowning at my to-do lists…and I just focused on other things…and then a duck showed up…and another and another…and now, my ducks are as much in a row as they ever are…and I will finish #7 and all will be right with the world once more

January 20, 2017

End of a road…

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 6:04 pm
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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 20 years in the field have put me through every emotion possible…every emotion except numb. I have never been numb…and to feel it at one of the greatest days of the year in the education world…I knew there was a problem.

The world of education is changing. It has changed over my 2 decades in the field, of course, but the changes I see now are not ones I can bend toward, as I have done for countless other changes.

12/31/17 will be my last day as Ms. Sodaro, my last day as a “teacher,” my last day in this role I have played for twenty years of my life.

Last month I self-published my 6th novel. I am going to self-publish 4 more this year. Clearing projects off my plate. Making room for new ones.

I don’t know yet how I will pay my bills in 2018…I know I will have a job. I know that it will be 40hours a week. Clock in. Do my job. Clock out. Go home and work on what makes me feel alive. One day I will pay my bills with my books…and until then I will do whatever I have to do.

November 14, 2016

Grateful for: Trying New Things

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:05 pm
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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.

  1. 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 for me to try it.
  2. Sushi — So take texture issues and add in “unknown” foods and those who know me probably understand why I have avoid this food for 41 years. Words like “raw” and “seaweed” have never been sales pitches for food for me…so, again, sushi never really had a chance with me.
  3. Typing my first draft — So…every paper, short story, poem, essay, novel, etc. I have ever written, I have handwritten my first draft. I love the feel of pen on paper, watching my thoughts appear in ink as my hand moves across the paper. It has been as natural to me as breathing. It also takes one extra step because then I have to type what I have written (or get typed by others, when I can) and this can take time.

The first one I tried because a friend had spent all morning making this beautiful salsa…so colorful and fresh…and it had Jalapenos in it, so I couldn’t eat it. SO when he made guacamole and said, this will be fine because it has no Jalapenos, how could I be that rude and NOT try it. So, I did…and it was amazing!!!!! The texture and the color still bother me…but so much deliciousness.

The second one…well, there are three people in this world who can get me to agree to just about anything…one of them used her powers to get me to go to Chucky Cheese…TWICE…and one of them used his powers to get me to try a Vegas Roll (which was cooked salmon and no seaweed that I could see…and I didn’t ask questions about what was in it…I just grabbed my chopsticks and shoved it in my face.

The third one…a fellow writer challenged me to do NaNo this year…on the computer first. No writing out my whole rough draft. He made the point that I’ve completed NaNo 3 of my 4 years and that it wasn’t really a challenge for me to write a novel since I have 5 of them self-published and like 6 more that have first drafts done. I couldn’t make a counter argument, so I am trying it. I will say it is nice to have the word count done for me, but I haven’t gotten in as good of a writing zone as I do with pen and paper. Also I edit…something I don’t do while I am writing by hand…so we’ll see. I won’t let go of my notebooks…but maybe for other non-fiction projects, this will be an option. I do love options..

 

October 24, 2016

Balance

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:29 pm
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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 ended. And that’s fine. It’s been my whole existence for the last 19 years, my identity, my calling.

I am in a transition phase of my life, where the teacher me is not the be-all, end-all of my existence and the author me is coming in to the light. This has been and is an amazing journey where I am rediscovering Michelle (as opposed to Ms. Sodaro) and I am learning how to do both…which is where the balance comes in and where I have failed the last couple of months. I have tried to cram in a full-time author life into my weekends and have caused myself to not have any down time and to feel horribly guilty if I spend time with friends or binge watching on Netflix during the weekend. This is not healthy.

So, I am going to try (again) to have author time every evening, thus lessening the pressure on my weekends and allowing me to hang out and chill like “normal” people do…and one of these days, maybe I will even try dating again…but one step at a time, folks.

September 1, 2016

Book Signing

stack

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 then compared to what I know now and I am amazed at how much personal growth can occur in a 5-year time span.

These books have changed my life. The writing of them…the editing of them…the publishing of them. Every time I see my name on the beautiful covers, I smile. They are the starting gate to my future…and by the end of next year, my stack of books will be doubled. (First Down will be out in October 2016, Stealing Second in December 2016, Hat Trick in March 2017 and then Driven West in June of 2017 and Dear Teaching: I want a Divorce in December 2017).

Please come out to my book signing if you can make it. I would love to see you there.

*Cash or debit/credit cards accepted*

 

August 25, 2016

Revisiting: Broken Trust

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:11 pm
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Broken Trust Final

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 art to deal with all that has happened in her. This introduces her to Ben, an architect who is so focused on his future plans, he almost misses out on an amazing opportunity to have more than he’s every dreamed of. And Ali…Ali (Ben’s sister) owns a music store and wants to avoid love for as long as she possibly can. The three of them, in each other, find friendships and love that improve all of their lives and make them all stronger.

 

August 23, 2016

Project Quilt

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:07 pm
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project quilt

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 😀 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 this. There was no real order to the projects. I didn’t do alphabetical or color coded…See…I am making progress on controlling my OCD…but not to the point that I obsess about it (see what I did there 😉 haha)

45…there are 45 of them on my wall. In order to be seen as “current” they have to have at least an outline or at least 3 chapters written. Yes, I know this is too many toys to have out of the toy box at one time. I’m working on having more focus and actually finishing things. Turns out I really get a kick out of holding the finished products all shiny in their covers. SO I am working on finishing more things…which will then of course leave room on my wall for new posters and new ideas that have not yet met the self-imposed “current” criteria.

 

August 18, 2016

Revisiting: Arianna’s Destiny

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:13 pm
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Continuing my Throwback Thursday bit…my third book (first sequel). Sodaro_AriannaDestiny_EBOOKsizeReq (1)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, a 2014, and a 2015…so far I have one 2016…but will have two more before year’s end, so maybe then the gap won’t matter to me as much).

Arianna’s sequel was hard to write. I wanted to do her justice. She was this amazing epitome of strength. She was loyal to a fault; if you are among her friends and family, there is nothing she won’t do to protect you, usually without regard to her personal health. She is a fighter and she spends a lot of time in an emotional state that is not my comfort zone. But she draws strength from her anger, so I channeled it for her. I understand anger, I just don’t live there for the damage it does. But for Ari…I will channel it.

There have been inklings for a third one…I have started hearing my muse plotting…but not for a bit yet. Ari needs to rest and heal and the other books have been patient long enough. But soon…I will revisit my girl, Ari.

August 11, 2016

Revisiting Arianna’s Honor

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:11 pm
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So, doing a Throw Back Thursday again, with my second book, Arianna’s Honor.

Ari 1

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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