Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG: December Edition

Welcome to the last IWSG blog hop of 2016. This online writing group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Members post the first Wednesday of the month and share their concerns, victories and ask questions of each other. There is not a more supportive group anywhere. Also, for the past few months, IWSG has posed a question that members can answer or not. This month, inquiring minds want to know:
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?

This is something I do think about. Like most writers, I want a big, big publishing contract that will allow me to hire a publicist, and to have movie people bidding on the rights to my novel. But on a more realistic level, I want to continue to write my romances for the small publishing house I work with, but I also want to finally have one of my fantasy series picked up by one of the big publishers like TOR or Orbit.

Writer's Digest put out their annual yearbook magazine. I always like reading their headline roundup. One item of great interest is the sales numbers for audiobooks. Digital audio accounted for the biggest growth area for traditional publishers in 2014. That trend continued in 2015 with a sales increase of audiobooks around 21% from the previous year. If you're looking to take advantage of that trend, there's a giveaway going on over at IWSG blog, where you can try to win a free book telling you how to make an audiobook. Michael Burnette's The Independent Author's Guide to AudioBook Production could be yours for free.

With the holiday season upon us, TV has lots of reruns on. What will I be rewatching to get through this dry spell? Probably a little Daredevil, Game of Thrones, The 100, and I don't know what else. New shows I've enjoyed this year are Pitch, This is Us, and Timeless. I also hope to get my next romance series outlined before January first. So lots to keep my busy beside Christmas happenings.

Have you thought about a 5 year plan? Or longer? Do you have experience with audiobooks as a writer or reader? What are you enjoying on TV these days?

Monday, December 5, 2016

QotM and Winter is Here

The first Monday of the month is the Question of the Month blog hop started by Michael G. D'Agostino over at A Life Examined. Answer the question and then visit the other bloggers pondering this month's query.

"What does retirement look like for you?"

As most of you know, I'm a full time writer and don't expect to ever completely retire from that. But I also taught high school for 34 years before this and have since retired from that career. Thank goodness or I would be starving without that pension. So I write almost every day now, take care of our huge house and property and sometimes help my husband with his painting business. The only thing I'd like to change about my current situation that would make if feel like retirement is to down-size. That would give me more writing time and the financial savings would allow more money to do some traveling.

Like many people today, we're pretty careful of our money. I know so many older people who can't afford to retire and are working well into their seventies. Likewise, I know many young people who are struggling from paycheck to paycheck and can't even dream of retirement and save toward it.

Speaking of questions, don't forget this Wednesday is IWSG posting day. The question this month;
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?

And in some Ninja news, Alex J. Cavanaugh has a prequel to his terrific space opera series coming out tomorrow. CassaDawn is set before the events in the other Cassa novels. You can pre-order today or get it on Tuesday.

Had a great writer's Christmas party on Saturday. It's such fun to spend time getting to know everyone a little better and the food was good too. I haven't really done much shopping but I do have some ideas of what I need to get for everyone.

On the other hand, winter is determined to arrive. We had flurries and some sleet a few weeks ago and last night, we had some more. The only comfort in that is that I get to quote Game of Thrones. I can't count how many times I watched the last episode of season 6.

I have two different ideas I'm working on for my next series. As soon as I finish the edits I'm currently working on, I'll have to make a decision about it.
"Indecision may or may not be my problem." Jimmy Buffet

Are you preparing for retirement yet? Have any holiday parties in the future? Aren't you glad our winters only last a few months and not for years like on Game of Thrones? And we don't have white walkers.

Monday, November 28, 2016


It's always so tempting for me to be lazy with my writing at this time of year. There is so much going on from right before Thanksgiving until after the new year. Hosting Thanksgiving is so much work and also involves more than one shopping trip for me.

Now December will bring various social gatherings, more shopping and the time to decorate. Baking, cleaning, and other various chores can overtake my life and the writing business gets pushed aside. It's during this time of year that I most often have to remind myself that this is my job, not a hobby to be picked up when I have nothing else to do. I have to put writing first just like I was going out of the house for a day job.

So I'm doing my shopping online. I ordered something for my daughter from this list of gifts for writers. Not saying which one in case she stops into my blog today. I'm hitting up Amazon for another small gift for each of the kids. I marked a few things at AC Moore craft store for family gifts and already have Christmas cards though I send out a small fraction of what I used to. My daughter is home to help with the decorating so that speeds things up. I also have the Christmas menu planned for this year, a plan to make it less work for me.

What I'm trying to do, is remove all the reasons I give into the temptation to cheat my writing time.
"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." Benjamin Franklin

Next Wednesday is the first one of December so get your IWSG post ready. This month's suggested but not required question is:
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?
There's what to get you thinking.

Don't know about your house, but there was SO MUCH football on at our house over the past holiday. Many of you know I'm from PA, so there was a lot of Penn State fan culture happening. Fun times.

Did you watch some football last weekend? What percentage of your Christmas shopping have you completed and how much did you do online? Does your writing time suffer at this time of year?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving a few days early. This is a very busy week when you're the one hosting Thursday's feast. It's also a week when a lot of people are traveling. At least this year, I don't have to pick someone up from college. I feel for all of you that have to fight traffic.

Holiday menu at our house. Lots and lots of turkey, baked corn, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, monkey bread, fresh fruit(so we feel like we're eating something healthy), pumpkin pie, apple pie and ... that's enough. Then rolls and sliced cheese for cold turkey sandwiches later in the day. Unlike many families, we have our Thanksgiving meal at 11:30 am. It was a tradition started years ago so my stepsons could have dinner at our house and their mother's house. We kept it up as they married so we could all be together.

Though I do a lot of work for that one meal, for the rest of that day and the entire next one, I do no cooking. It's leftovers for everyone.  It gives me a break from the kitchen and all the cleaning I do before Thanksgiving. I deep clean so I can decorate for Christmas the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Yes, it's that time of year.

On Friday, I'm sure my daughter and I will watch The Gilmore Girls on Netflix together. I'm excited for that. I haven't done any Black Friday shopping since I can't remember. Never really had much success on that day anyway. There are a few places I might visit on Small Business Saturday, mostly because I want to support them more than I want to find special deals.

I'm getting some guests lined up for the new year. I'm making plans. Still working on my edits for the last Outlaw book. I hope to have it done in another week. Not sure what I'm working on next which is unusual for me.

Still doing the 50/50 writing challenge with my local writing group. My numbers are lower as I work mostly on edits, but I'm writing every day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, be you American or not. I have so much to thank God for, I wish I could spread the joy to everyone.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you going to dare the Black Friday crowds?  Are you a Gilmore Girls fan? Do you have to do any traveling this week?

Monday, November 14, 2016


All kind of great things from the past week. This past Saturday was my birthday. Five of six children filled the house for a little celebration. Food and then more food. Thoughtful gifts and joyful company. The missing son and his wife visited on Sunday with more of the same. I'm so lucky. My youngest son took me to the movies as a gift. We saw Dr. Strange, which was great. But how could anyone watch that in 3D? Wow. I got a little dizzy on a regular screen.

"The best smell is bread; the best savor is salt; the best love, that of children." George Herbert

I hope you have a chance to see the Supermoon. The Full Beaver moon is going to be bright and close by. If you don't know what a supermoon is, read about it here

 This is the closest and brightest a full moon will be since 1948 and it won't occur again until 2034.

As part of my birthday celebration, my husband and I are going out of town for a few days. Both of us can't wait to spend time doing nothing but whatever we want.

Another book signing next Sunday, the last of 2016. So far this year, I've had pretty good success at signings but it's like writing itself. Don't count on a great hourly rate.

Though the election is finally over, the country seems more divided than ever. I think we need to think of people as individuals. Treat people with kindness and stop judging people with such broad strokes. If you voted for Trump, it doesn't mean you're a bigot, racist or sexist idiot. If you voted for Clinton, it doesn't mean you're a liar or person looking for freebie government handouts. Because the government and media say we are a country divided, it doesn't mean we have to agree or act in such a way. Reach out and bring America together again.

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." Seneca

Next week, it will be all about thinking about Thanksgiving. Can't believe it's almost that time. Now I have to go pack.

What do you think you're hourly rate is as a writer? Are you going to check out that Supermoon? Does 3-D movies mess with your head?

Monday, November 7, 2016

QotM and What I Learned

Questions posed by others really help with the blog content. On last week's IWSG monthly hop, the question was "What is your favorite aspect of being a writer." I had my answers and they were all things I liked about being a writer, but then I read Michelle Wallace's answer and it made me realize that she had said what I should have said. Please read her post here.

All my life, I've always loved learning new things. I love learning about all things. I want to know everything. I want to master things. And writers are always striving to improve. There is no mastering this career. You may write some masterful prose, but that doesn't mean the next thing you write will be as good or better. There's always something to learn. I hope I keep wanting to learn new things and grow as a person until my last day. Thanks, Michelle, for reminding me to look a little deeper for the answer to that question.

Michael G. D'Agostino of A Life Examined, runs the Question of the Month blog hop where all the participants answer the question Michael has posed for the month. So today Michael asks:
When was your first kiss?

LOL. I'm pretty sure it was the neighbor boy when we were around ten. His farm was next to ours. Our fathers were friends and helped each other out with certain harvests. Raymond was the same age as me but was held back in first grade so we weren't in the same classes at school. He was very nice and we called each other boyfriend and girlfriend at a time when neither of us cared about such things. I might have been in fifth grade when he kissed me on the cheek. Our lives diverged in high school and then I went to college and moved away. I don't think I've spoken to him since but I've heard he is a successful business man with a nice family. As I write this, my husband is reminding me that his kisses made me forget all the rest.

I'm very grateful for my family this week for lots of reasons. I often hear of families where the children don't get along. My children, two stepsons and four of my own, love each other. They know each others faults and tolerate them. They chose to do things together. They love family gatherings and there has never been an argument at one. I know the upcoming holidays are very stressful for some families and I'm feeling very thankful for what I have.

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." Aesop

Still in the middle of my writing group's 50/50 challenge. Next year we're considering all doing NaNo together. Could be interesting. Good luck to all those doing the November challenge.

Hope all of you in the USA are going out to vote tomorrow. What a terrible election cycle. The best thing about tomorrow is that all the ads will be over. How the next four years go may make these past months feel like a fun time. Remember, no complaining if you don't vote. Have courage, America, no matter how the vote goes.

"We will either find a way or make a way." Hannibal

Have you tried to learn something new lately? Does your family get along during the holidays? Do you remember your first kiss? Are you going to vote tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG: November Edition

November already! And time for the monthly posting for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This supportive group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, offers advice, shares our woes and cheer for each others' successes. You can join this wonderful group by signing up here.  And even if you're not already a member, you can visit other bloggers today.

A few months ago, we started posing a monthly question to our members. Members don't have to answer it, but if they don't know quite what to post that day, they can use it.

This month's question:
What is your favorite aspect of being a writing?

I love being self-employed. I love working at home. The coffee is good at home, but I can also have a glass of wine while I'm at work. Reading is part of my job. I have a great office. I guess I just can't pick one aspect. I love being a writer. Oh, and I've met some great friends.

Other news. The IWSG anthology contest has a large number of great entries. Way to go, you wonderful writers. And I love that so many have submitted even though not everyone will be in the anthology, people will keep writing. This business is about never giving up.

More news! Crystal Collier has a new release. Timeless, the third book in her Maiden of Time series, is now available on Amazon. And to celebrate, the first book, Moonless, is now available for free but only for a few days.

Don't forget that Daylight Savings Time Ends this weekend. The dark will be coming early which doesn't bother me at all when it's cold out. I always get more writing done in the winter.

Recently in a shocking revelation, my husband and I discovered my daughter didn't know who Yogi Berra was. What is the world coming to?
"The future ain't what it used to be?" Yogi Berra

Do you like when the time changes? What do you like about being a writer? Are you grabbing up Crystal's free book?