#7QT Love All The Things

Anxiety, worry, stress, fear and PMS. That’s the cocktail I’m drinking this week. Sometimes I am gifted with the perfect storm and this week the present arrived with a tightly wound tied bow, in purple of course, my favorite color. Instead of laying on the couch with my face pressed into a cushion that makes my face look like it melted, I am going to share all the things that I am loving right now. Because what makes me happy, will undoubtedly make you happy? Be sure to read #6, I’ve given you a to-do. You’re welcome.

#7QT Love All The Things via @fillpraycloset


— 1 —

My sweet Kindle, how I love thee. It sits on my nightstand waiting for me every evening. I read for hours at night. you are filled with every genre imaginable for me to choose from, and there’s the TON of books I could download if there is something my heart fancies. The soft glow disturbs no one and as soon as my sweet husband passes out, I can turn off the TV and listen to – silence. Sweet silence. Ok, maybe some snoring, maybe lots of snoring. But I’m trying to keep this romantical, ok?

— 2 —

I recently received an email from K.M. Weiland over at Helping Writers Become Authors, because she just emails me (who am I kidding, I’m on a list people, it’s called a newsletter!). She shares what she recommends for authors to read. Can you hear it? The angels singing? This, I love. So I shared it, so others could love it, too. I appreciate the process and when authors share the process, so others can learn by way of books – #thatswhatsup (because, see #1, more books)


— 3 —

Online Community. Guys, I have to tell you, I’ve got this circle of bloggers/writers that I fall hard for. You know the usual suspects. And of course Tiffany, Rhonda, Emily, and now Katie and Colleen. Is this starting to feel like that bit on Romper Room with the Magic Mirror? At any given time, I can hit them up with a question, issue or dream (sorry Rhonda) and they humor my rabbit hole questions and respond, making me feel somewhat sane.

Please visit, subscribe, and follow. They are well worth the read and it will make me happy.

#7QT Love All The Things by @fillpraycloset


— 4 —

Speaking of authors, I love working with them! Yes, I work with them!

We all know about the illustrious Ericka Clay – I am the moderator for her FB group Tipsy Lit. We talk shop of the marketing kind and I get to pick her brain! When I had some conflict about memoir versus well, anything else, she was there with a very from the heart response. AND she writes like no one’s business. Here’s her latest titled, Writing, God and Vodka. Not only does she ask for people to submit their writing, she happily promotes them. How do I not love that?

I went to Crystal Cave last week to meet up with Erin McCole Cupp, author of a few thangs, specifically, the very recent release, Don’t You Forget About Me, which I gobbled like a Thanksgiving turkey. It took me everything I had not to go cuckoo for cocoa puffs and share reviews all over the place. Instead, Tiffany and I (calmly) reached out to her and asked if we could interview her and possibly get a book to giveaway. We loved it that much. Well, she offered a signed book AND an ebook as well. That’s coming next week friends and I can’t even stand it.

As we were getting our stalactites on, I told her she should have a street team. To which she looked at me all o_O after I explained it and how I would love to do it. You could just see Erin’s wheels turning. Then, then, then – she asked me to read a novella she is about to release and if I wouldn’t mind giving a blurb for the book. And we have been emailing back and forth about how to move ahead with promoting her as an author with this street team! Let me try to explain how this makes me feel.
funny gifs


Too much? Naaaaah.

I may be working with another author, let’s see! I made up some bloggy buttons for said author, but I will hold a bit until I get more details. See, I’m not always like that guy up there. I am about most things, who am I kidding? I don’t know what this means, I just love books, authors, writing, the process and marketing. What does that make me? A fan of marketing? Do I need to know? Which brings me to…

— 5 —

This post by someone I don’t even know virtually or IRL titled You can’t get respect until you know what you want to be respected for. This is written by Penelope Trunk. I subscribe to her blog and when I read it as I slurped my second cup tea, I was all:

#7QT Love All The Things by @fillpraycloset

While one of my favorite parts of the post is “But sometimes you have to shoot the messenger – we can’t be our best selves all the time”. She begs me to ask the question of myself. What do I want to be respected for? And you KNOW that’s has to be a post. So if you’re a blogger, I invite you to let that sink in over some Chardonnay and write it up.


— 6 —

I contribute to other sites, Real Housekeeping is one, and Catholic Lane is another. Today, my post for Catholic Lane is up. I have to take what Pope Francis discusses in his General Audience and write about it. I can’t just summarize, no – that can be found anywhere. I have to be creative, expand on it and include references from scripture, Church Doctors, books, etc. All by the Friday after his audience. That gives me maybe 18 hours? I have to wait for the FULL translation from Italian to English. I’m always against the clock it seems. But, the peeps over at CL (as I lovingly refer to them) are helpful beyond measure when I get stuck. Carlos, I’m looking right at you, jefe.

Today’s title is Front Row With Francis: Faith, Identity and Cultural Zeal. because I love the word Zeal. I would love it if you went over, checked it out and shared it. Why? because when you contribute something to another’s site, you always want it to do well. You never want to wonder if they’re all “Jeez, what a flop!” Don’t let me be a flop! (DirectTV commercial reference? Oh just look at the gif, don’t make me look like that, ok?)

#7qt Love All The Things by @fillpraycloset


— 7 —

Last but not least, I love when I get to work from home, because I get to see this unscripted moment. Not to mention eating all the tater tots I want for lunch, and nothing else (after a tirade about how I am the heaviest I’ve been – and need to do something about it because, health – Monday). I’ll start something Monday, for now, tater tots and babies on a couch.


#7QT Love all the things by @fillpraycloset

 For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Dreaming on Tuesdays

Lately, I have been into letter writing. I’ve been on a reading binge and read a few books, one of which is simply that, letter writing between friends. Since then, I have written Tiffany a hand written letter once, and meant to write another last Friday, but we know all about well laid plans. The blank card is sitting in my bag, silently traveling with me to and from work waiting for words.

I have also been emailing my other dearie, Rhonda. I mean we.are.emailing. She is a novelist, as her blog is so named, of the naptime variety, so naturally I reached out to her when I happened upon her site – and a friendship was born. What does this have to do with dreams? I will divulge. I’ve been anxious. So very anxious, dear reader, because of all the personal things I am shouldering. Also because I am pre-writing. We’ll get to it in a bit.

I was complaining whining sharing my feelings with Rhonda, because she had hoped my anxiety was better since last we corresponded. I told her that I wasn’t sure if it was better because I had the strangest dream the night before. When I woke this morning, I laughed it all off and thought “Well that was silly”. But as I wrote it out to her, the meaning of it, as it related to my novel, (if we can call it that now) began to take shape. Ready?

Dream #1

I am standing offstage watching J-Lo perform. What? I know. I’m so very sorry. I was standing there, in the wings, watching her. She was wearing the most beautiful nude, strapless dress, sauntering like she does across the stage. I could see myself, head cocked to one side, amazed by her on-stage antics, there was no sound. Suddenly, I notice that her boob is about to pop out of her dress. She is walking around the stage and it’s really about to come out. I thought “Oh dear, I hope someone in the audience motions to her that her boob is about to upstage her”. Next thing I know, it’s out. She continues to perform, and there’s still no sound. As she exits the stage, she comes right at me and yells “Why didn’t you tell me my boob was out??!” And I responded, “You need an assistant for that, and I ain’t it!” The audience never motioned to her, no one ever told her and I was getting the blame. That was it.

Before you click that little x at the top of your screen, because you’ve lost all faith in my tying this back to Rhonda, writing and anxiety, there is another dream I had prior, that I will share and then we’ll analyze both. Or you can turn your back on this whole endeavor, whatever you deem best. I know I am asking a lot here.

Dream #2

I was taking a shower. Everything was normal, nothing out of the ordinary. I was in my shower, I had my broken bits of rosemary mint soap in the dish from our vacation in the Adirondacks, face wash and shampoo bottles arranged on the floor according to size. All there. Suddenly, I poop cooked pasta. Yes, you read that right. Pooped the pasta. Stay with me. I panicked because I was worried I would lose all the food down the drain, I couldn’t get it all, and what if I clogged the drain? What if I didn’t catch it all? You ever try to keep just cooked pasta in your hands? And that was it. I woke up.

Now for my analysis for the dear readers who have courageously stayed with me. (I thank you.)

It’s important to note that Dream #2 happened last Tuesday evening while Dream #1 happened last night. So, here’s one part of the analysis done: I only dream on Tuesdays, it seems.

We will tackle this in the order it happened. So Dream #2 first.

The pasta is how I feel about my novel. It’s not concrete, not firm in any respect, I feel like it’s all over the place and I am so worried that the ideas *won’t* stop. How many ideas or character traits can fit in a novel? What works? What doesn’t? How do you know? I read somewhere that the only way to keep a novel fresh is to never.talk.about.it. Like Fight Club. I feel like Whitney Houston singing How Will I Know on repeat with the outfits and the hair. How can I not talk about it? I carry this around with me all the time, and it’s like a knot in my stomach, hence the aftermath that we won’t repeat.

Furthermore, I am pre-writing, as I stated earlier, in my black book, where I keep all of my everything, in my head. It is a paper and pen Pensieve of sorts. It’s not on a computer. There’s no drag and drop, cut and paste, search and find. It’s all old school. If writing books worked before computers, it should work now, right? Right. So I need to *not* worry, but – enter Whitney Houston again, this time, I should just Exhale.

On to Dream #1

I was in the wings watching JLo, such is my life to be waiting in the wings as I watch others get their dream on. Could this be considered a dream within a dream? I digress.  Maybe this means that what I put on a pedestal, (who knew it was JLo, but I could say she is a successful Puerto Rican, and I would be a successful Puerto Rican if I pulled this novel thing off) or let’s just substitute JLo with my image of success; is something that I can actually attain, because let’s face it, unexpected boob appearances can happen to anyone, given half the chance and an ill fitting outfit.
In real life, I am an assistant. Maybe this is me affirming subconsciously that that is not my whole life, you know, just because I play one on TV (as in 9-5 Monday through Friday). My subconscious self was telling my conscious self, through remembering it to retell it, that I just need to get on with my *own* show.
And I ended my email to poor, unsuspecting Rhonda as I will to you, my dear, unsuspecting reader:
I swear, look at the Pandora’s box I’ve opened. All because I want to write a novel.
Now, I wonder if I will dream again next Tuesday and we can just round out this crazy trilogy.

Book Review: Intimacy in Prayer: Wisdom from Bernard of Clairvaux


What does it mean when you Reblog yourself? Is it considered lazy? Phoning it in? Or is it simply re-celebrating a great Doctor of the Church – St. Bernard of Clairveaux who you remembered *on your way to the office, praying the Office* you wrote about sometime ago – and thought #forthewin.

Yes, just that. Happy feast!

Originally posted on Filling my Prayer Closet:

intimacy-prayer-wisdom-bernard-clairvaux-1033969Here are your stats!

Title: Intimacy in Prayer: Wisdom from Bernard of Clairvaux
Author: St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Page Count: 91
Current Price: $7.95 (for this GEM of a book?!)

This book is written in such a way that you can easily marinate in the two page breaks for a week at least. This means that it’s a classic for sure and I will be referring to it often. When looking for a book to read I thought for sure that this would be a beautiful journey within a journey to be closer to our Lord. While this book certainly achieved that initial goal, it brought about something else: Intimacy in my marriage as well. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I are very close, but the passages and reflections on the Songs of Songs within this book are quite powerful and easy to apply to those already close relationships…

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My Pre-Writing Writing Process

On Friday, I was tagged by Annabelle Hazard of Written by the Finger of God to share with you my writing process. Me. Cristina. My writing process. Let me process that for a second (can you hear me squealing with delight?) Then I thought, crap. What is my writing process? Thank goodness I had the weekend to think about this. So, I winged up some prayers to my writing partner, St. Francis de Sales and let my mind wander at the questions that needed to be answered in this post.

My Pre-Writing Writing Process via @fillpraycloset #writing #writingprocessblogtour

Since Canva is over capacity, this is what you get. A 4 year old picture of me browsing with a doggie at my feet and papers on my lap. Yes, I always have that furrowed brow look, even when I sleep. Just ask Mike. Thanks, Canva.

What are you working on?

I thought about this question all weekend, because, what am I working on, really? What can I call it? Walk with me, will you? I had a lot of cleaning to do this weekend. I know, all glamour, like my friend Tiffany always says. Living in a house of boys makes for very long bathroom cleaning sessions. How do I motivate myself? I listen to podcasts, and not just any old podcast. I listen to writing podcasts. This weekend, I was listening to Writing Excuses: Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart. Man I love that tagline. I listened to 10 of them as I cleaned. I should also add that the podcasts range from 17-22 minutes. So you do the math. I was CLEANING.

As I listened, the topic of Pre-Writing came up. What is pre-writing? According to Brandon on the show, because we’re now BFFs (shh he doesn’t know), pre-writing is “all the stuff you do before you write. That doesn’t mean… I’m not talking about having your breakfast. I’m talking about all the writing sort of things you do.” Every day, I am writing in my journal about this idea I have. I won’t use the N word (novel) because that’s scary. That’s like the “I’ve got it all together” word and we all know I don’t. I have some characters I think about and wonder about their past and future. I think of what their parents were like, their fears and hopes. I’m writing all of this down. I have loose snippets of story and am gathering, “oh that could be interesting” stuff. That’s what I’m working on. And for 90 minutes-2 hours most days. I say most, because, it doesn’t happen on the weekends. I’m cleaning, remember?

What makes your work different from others’ work in the same genre?

What is my genre? Wait, that’s not a question. I tend to answer questions with questions. So far? I think the pre-writing that I am doing can be considered Catholic Quasi-Dystopian Sci-Fi? Could that work? Or does that sound completely nuts? I had no idea that I would set out to write anything like that. I thought I was a memoir chick and that was going to be that. But, that’s hard. Not conventionally speaking, because my blog is quite memoir-ish (yes, that’s a word today), but because when writing, you have to pluck details that materialize in the readers’ minds eye. You want them to smell the blood in your memory that’s already dried with time. But as one who experienced all of it, the last thing you want to do is remember those little details like the low mumbling sound of a radio playing PM Dawn or something. You know? If I couch it, the memoir, within the context of a novel, I give myself a layer of protection, does that make sense? I can keep perfectly organized boxes of untouched-for-years memories, right where they are, and pull one down at a time as I need to, instead of having them all around me. That stuff sticks and I have a life to live, books to write and bathrooms to clean.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because it’s how my mind sings. I know, that’s all very romantic. I am a classically trained opera singer. It’s not easy, there’s a lot of mechanics to it, but, when you have that down, you can make music. You can crescendo or decrescendo marking words for the deepest impact on the audience. It’s quite the same with writing for me. I add a word, or take one away, but it’s all to make the “great art”. I thrive on wordplay, making the reader feel the blow or serenity that I am feeling as I put the words to the page.

How does your writing process work?

This is my first writing process for a longer-than-a-blog-post piece. (Avoiding that n-word like nobody’s business). Generally though, I tend to go for emotional shifts. What tugs? What are people…what am I passionate about? What will I stand for? What would I sit for? And I look at the world from that space. In that, comes what I write. I’m very self reflective. For me, reflection is like playing with a Rubik’s cube. I twist and turn all the scenarios from every point of view and when I hit on something interesting, it’s that that I write.

For blog posts, I write and edit as I go, but for this pre-writing thing, I just write, with pen and paper, in the margins, above the margins, and try not to edit myself too much, because it’s all usable, even if it doesn’t get into the story at the end.

I also write every day. That’s not true. I try to write every day. Realistically, there are days that I can’t. But when I get to write, whether it’s an email, blog post, or journal, I don’t begrudge that writing, my best turn of phrase for the moment, because it’s all practice, and I’ll take what I can get.

@fillpraycloset #catholic #writer

Tagging Colleen M. Duggan – because I *know* she’s a wealth of information and I’m just selfish and want in on that brain! For example, there’s a #7QT post she wrote on books. I saved the picture of the books she recommended and have each one in my cart to checkout on payday! Yep – she’s a girl/writer crush of mine.

I am also tagging Katie Cross. She.is.amazing. She recently shared why she indie published and it makes me think that would be my route too! The heart, spirit and writing of this chic is only eclipsed by her sense of humor and curly hair. And, again, I want in on that writer brain.

And just so you know who was tagged with me? None other than my other girl/writer crush, Rhonda from The Naptime Novelist. It’s not up yet, but when it is? All over that like white on rice.

If you’re interested in the podcast I mentioned in this post, here’s the transcript, but I highly recommend subscribing and listening to all of them, as you clean. They are very funny, and regardless of their intro, they are, quite smart.