Resolve 2013: Priority organization

Note from Jessa: Today we have Paty Jager telling me how to GET ORGANIZED. Paty is an author of Western and paranormal romances AND she is a rancher in real life. So I figure she probably has some good words of wisdom on staying on top of things.

art-resolve2013GET ORGANIZED advice from:
Paty Jager
Author of Secrets of a Mayan Moon

Paty Jager portraitI have my own system of organization.  I’m not someone that has to have a pristine desk or sparkling house around me to be able to function. But I do need order. There may be three piles of items on my desk but those are piles that pertain to what I’m doing. One pile has research for the current book, another pile has marketing and promotion things I need to tend to, and one is my list of to do’s and calendar/date book.  Sometimes they get mixed together,  but that’s because I may be working on all of it at the same time, like now. ;0) Writing my latest work in progress, promoting the last book, formatting the next book, and keeping up with the places I’m blogging.

My house is the same. My closet holds the clean clothes, and the top of the trunk at the end of my bed may have a good pair of jeans draped over the top and my “town” sweatshirt.  My pjs are at the foot of the bed. Books I read in bed or when taking a bath are on my night stand.  My room doesn’t have to be immaculate …it needs to be functional. I don’t live in clutter, but I do leave things out that are used frequently. I like my house to be comfortable and have a lived in look.

I have a system that works for me. I believe that as long as you know where things are, what you need is within reach, and the rest is tucked away, life is good and stress free!

Places where you can connect with me:
Website  |  Blog  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

Another Jessa note: This is such great, practical, no-nonsense advice, just as I’d expect from a lady rancher! Now, if I could just get Paty to train a herding dog to keep me in line on my organizing… Today I’m posting with Maggie Jaimeson on her resolution to take a vacation. This is one resolution I can totally support!

Stops on the “Resolve 2013” tour: January 1-9, 2013

Maggie Jaimeson – Take a Vacation
Jessa Slade – Get Organized
Paty Jager – Volunteerism
Linda Mercury – Creating a Literary (or Creative) Life
Jenna Bayley-Burke – Eat Healthier
Cassiel Knight – No More Procrastination
Cathryn Cade – Take Time for those OTHER Creative Passions
Su Lute – Reduce Stress: Find and Follow Your Bliss
Jamie Brazil – Shrink My Closet

Resolve 2013: Embrace My Organizational Style

A note from Jessa: Today author Maggie Jaimeson dives into the mess of my GET ORGANIZED resolution for 2013 and offers her insights. Let’s see how she does… Wait, in the first sentence, she is laughing at me!

art-resolve2013GET ORGANIZED advice from:
Maggie Jaimeson

Maggie JaimesonOrganizing the Office 

I have to tell you that I laughed uproariously at the idea of writing a post about getting organized.  Let me give you a description of how I work in my office (much to my husband’s chagrin).

One of the effects of being creative is that I tend to have a lot of ideas and interests. These often blossom into piles of books, papers and projects that build up around my office. Fortunately, they don’t escape from my office too often, because my husband is Mr. Uber-organized and a work-on-one-thing-at-a-time-until-it-is-finished processor. When my stuff occasionally escapes from the office to the dining room table I hear about it, and it is soon back in my office. To make matters worse, because all these ideas have multiple facets and various articles of research associated them, each one becomes it’s own “organized” (read pile) project. Of course, I have to leave everything out where it’s easily accessible because, if I put it away, I may forget about it and that would be horrendous.

When anyone asks how I can work like this, my response is: “This may appear like clutter, but really it is organized chaos. I know where everything is.” Okay you can stop laughing now. Really. The statement is true, at least in the beginning.

So, I admit that while I could never be my husband, at least once or twice a year I notice that my organized chaos has become a black hole and it begins sucking my attention and energy. That’s when I know I really do need to do something about it.  That’s when I take an entire day and go through everything, and put it into folders (usually I scan sticky notes, printed web pages, and hand-writte notes into my computer and then put them into folders). Whatever doesn’t get scanned ends up in the recycling bin. For at least a week following the aversion of black hole doom, everything thinks I’m Ms. Uber-organized. Honestly, that is the extent of my office organizing skills. I’ve learned to simply embrace my organizational style. J

Tracking Book Elements

Because I truly do have a problem with memory, and I’m a write-int-the-mist (panther) kind of writer, it is critical that I have an organized way to track everything I’ve created in a particular novel or series. I do this using a software product called Super Note Card.  I keep a deck of cards containing all my characters. Each card is a character and I record various things about them as I write them: physical characteristics, family and educational/career background, phrasing, GMC, love interest, etc. Another card deck is book chapters, and I include separate cards for 1st Turning Point, 2nd Turning Point, Black Moment. If I’m world building there are usually several decks including Geography, Mythology, Magic, whatever I need. The cool thing about this ver inexpensive software is that you can add or remove decks and cards at any time. You can also rearrange them. So, when I decide that Chapter 6 really needs to be Chapter 2 I simply drag and drop it to the right location.

Super Notecard has really helped with my continuity and, if I have to come up with a Synopsis, I can easily pull together the primary elements from the descriptions on these cards.  Previous to this software, I would take notes and save them in a folder with the book name. The problem is, because my thoughts are random, those files would end up being named note, note2, note3, etc.  And not easy to track or find things.  For me it works perfectly. Your mileage my vary.

Meeting and Event Scheduling/Organizing

Now one thing I am VERY organized about is time. That is because I have virtually no memory. I frequently forget even what day it is. Let’s not even talk about what time it is.  Thank the technology gods for smart phones and electronic calendars or I would be perpetually late or absent. I was an early adopter of the PDA and that has now morphed into the smart phone.

I put EVERY event, deadline, schedule, blog tour, trip, meeting, phone call, birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc. on to a Google calendar that is linked to my phone.  I do it immediately when I commit to whatever the date/time/deadline is.  Depending on the event, I put in various alerts—usually at least two deep. For example, for a meeting that takes me half an hour to drive there, I put an alert two hours before and another one 45 minutes before. The two hours is to make sure I’m awake. The 45 minutes is to make sure I’m actually getting in the car.  Electronic calendaring is an amazing invention and I can count on my cell phone always being wherever I am.  Now, if I could only find a way to remind me I need to charge it before I’m somewhere without an outlet. Hmm…I’m sure I can set up a daily alert for that.

Contact MaggieWebsite | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Another Jessa note: Clearly, getting advice from writers on organizing is going to be like getting advice on dieting from chocoholics. Codependence, anyone? Still, I like the idea of making technology work FOR me for a change. I should make better use of my Google Calendar. Hey, I could start with scheduling this tour! Today (according to my Google Calendar) I’m posting with Paty Jager regarding her resolution on volunteering.

Stops on the “Resolve 2013” tour: January 1-9, 2013

Maggie Jaimeson – Take a Vacation
Jessa Slade – Get Organized
Paty Jager – Volunteerism
Linda Mercury – Creating a Literary (or Creative) Life
Jenna Bayley-Burke – Eat Healthier
Cassiel Knight – No More Procrastination
Cathryn Cade – Take Time for those OTHER Creative Passions
Su Lute – Reduce Stress: Find and Follow Your Bliss
Jamie Brazil – Shrink My Closet

Amok on Mondays: Guest author Maggie Jaimeson

amok monday guest authors

I know soooo many interesting writers now that I have to share them with you. Today we have Maggie Jaimeson. I know Maggie from my local Romance Writers of America chapter, the Rose City Romance Writers. Maggie is one of my favorite kinds of writers: not just romantic at heart but smart and savvy too.

Read all the way to the bottom and click on the Rafflecopter icon to a chance to win 1 of 2 copies of Maggie’s ETERNITY.

Which is your favorite myth, legend, urban legend, Aesop fable, fairy tale, or superhero, and why?

I must admit I’m a Wonder Woman fan. It was the first time I saw girls/women taking charge and defeating evil.  Because I’m not a kick-ass heroine myself—way too violent—I really loved her lasso of truth as a primary weapon. It wasn’t violent, it simply forced people not to lie. Definitely more my style, though the slicing tiara and cuff links that could protect from bullets were cool.

Which Disney princess are you most like? Or least like? Personalities aside, whose hair would you want?

My personality is probably most like Cinderella, the pleaser.  Though as an adult my Cinderella personality is more like the character played by Drew Barrymore in Ever After.  I like the spunk, particularly when she picks up the prince, throws him over her shoulders, and carries him away from the bandits. Go Cinderella!

For hair, from Disney characters, I want the hair of the princess in Sleeping Beauty. It’s long and thick and stays perfect even if you sleep for 100 years.

Which romantic lead tropes do you find yourself returning to in your stories?

I’m definitely the wounded-hero-needs-to-find-a-good-woman-to-be-made whole gal.  It makes for more interesting characters and it tempers the alpha male characteristics that can sometimes run amok in romance stories.

When did you realize you were a writer? What was your inciting incident?

Definitely in 4th grade.  I came in second place in a national essay contest with a piece about patriotism.  Three things made me decide writing was pretty cool. 1) I got money! I think it was $5 for winning. 2) The school had an assembly where I read my essay and everyone clapped and cheered. 3) My parents bragged about it to all our relatives.  My Mom saved that original essay and I still have it tucked away in our safe with other important papers.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you do with all that free time?

LOL. I’d become the slug I really am, zoning out on TV shows like the Voice and Project Runway fantasizing about how I woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Not including the obvious (guns, knives, etc.) which object nearest you would make a suitable weapon in the event of a zombie-ninja-robot invasion?

My laptop. I’d bring up an app like Angry Birds and they would get so caught up in trying to play it they’d forget about the invasion.

What do you like best about your current work, published or not?

I like that it explores the human condition—how we choose to become our best selves.  I think that is a work in progress for all of us.  Whenever I think I’m finally there, I always find something that needs to be improved.

What one question would you want to ask another author, living or dead?

One of my favorite SF writers is Octavia Butler, who died in 2006.  The series that introduced her to me was the Xenogenesis series (now called Lilith’s Brood series): Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. The series concept is that the last survivors of mankind face a choice: extinction or evolution, the evolution is the birth of a new human race shaped by an alien vision. Later I went back and read some of her earlier works. She wrote about slavery in Kindred, invented a new religion in the Parable series, and even wrote a vampire novel in 2005. All of her novels dealt with race, sexuality, and what it means to be a member of a community.

In interviews, she’d often say she wrote the next book because she didn’t see anything like it already written. I believe her “outsider” status—a black woman writing in a primarily white male genre—gave her a perspective into the human condition that no one else had. The question I’d love to ask her is if the progression of her novels mirrored the progression of her experience of our countries evolution in tolerance and accepting people who are different from one another.

Maggie Jaimeson WordstockABOUT MAGGIE

I spent over 30 years in academia, moving from professor to Department Director and to Dean. There was an eight-year break to work for two software companies in the 1980’s, and I taught part-time at a local college. But I ended up returning to academia full-time where I felt I could make a difference. I ended my career as a Chief Technology Office for a large rural community college district with five campuses. My educational background is in psychology, counseling, computer science, and education. Somehow I found a way to satisfy both my left and right brain and fashioned a career that could do that. Over the last decade of my career my passion was assisting colleges and universities with technology, distance education, open source software, and open education resources. Now I consult on occasional jobs, when something interesting comes up. In the past year, most of those jobs have been overseas.

I am fortunate to now spend the majority of my time journeying into the world of my imagination and writing novels that reflect my passions and my belief that strong women can do anything, that the good guys win in the end, and that love will conquer all.

Contact Maggie:  website | blog | facebook | twitter |

Maggie Jaimeson Eternity-Cover--750hx469wMore about ETERNITY

Living 800 years is like the fountain of youth for some…and for others it’s worse than a death sentence.

Eternity, Inc. is the owner of a virus that allows humans to live up to 800 years–their physical bodies age only one year for every ten years of life. Miki Yokoyama leads a rebel organization known as the Agers. Her goal is to create a counter agent to reintroduce “natural” death, no matter the cost. When Eternity learns of the Ager plan, they send their best agents to infiltrate Miki’s organization and to sabotage any efforts to distribute a counter-virus.

Rohin Chawla and Miki were science partners and passionate lovers when they originally discovered the Eternity virus in Antarctica two hundred years ago. But they separated as enemies. When they meet again, Rohin realizes he must rally his resources to stop the Ager virus or risk the only viable future he sees.

But no one can foresee the extent human treachery will go when there are astronomical profits and world-wide political power at stake. Will Rohin and Miki combine forces against a greater evil, or fight each other over prolonged life or natural death? Their decision will determine who survives—and, ultimately, the outcome of humanity’s future.


I recommend Eternity for anyone who wants a well-written, character-driven science fiction, with a lot of heated romance throughout.” — S.J. Whist, Fantasy Cookie Reviews


Jan’s Paperbacks Print and ebooks| Barnes and Noble Nook | Amazon Kindle | Kobo ebook | Apple ibook | Buy Print

Click on the Rafflecopter icon below for a chance to win 1 of 2 copies of ETERNITY!

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Booksigning at Jan’s Paperbacks

4 Romance Author Book Signing

Saturday, November 17, 1-4 pm
18095 SW Tualatin Valley HwyBeaverton, Oregon
Jan’s Paperbacks will be hosting a book signing with four local romance authors including Jenna Bayley-Burke (Drive Me Crazy), Terri Reed (The Doctors Defender) and Maggie Jaimeson (Undertones), plus me, of course.
Refreshments will be available (Woot! I’m bringing brownies too!) as well as free gifts.  All are welcome.
Jan’s has new and used books and offers ebooks through Kobo, so whatever your reading pleasure you can indulge it at Jan’s!