Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG: April 2018

It's already that time when the amazing group, Insecure Writer's Support Group, do our once per month blog hop where we share our victories, woes, and give hope and support to each other. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the group and all the hard-working administrators who keep it running. If you'd like to join our posse, check out the entire list here.

I'm skipping the optional question this month and I don't have any really big insecurities hampering me at the moment. This is mostly a report today.

I did get the cover art for my upcoming release, Exile's Savage Lady, Book #3 in The Survivors of the Apocalypse series. My publisher didn't get me the exact release date yet. Hoping it will do as well as the second book, Horse Tamer's Fiery Lady.

In personal news, I'm scheduled to speak at a panel at my local library next Sunday. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not someone who has any problem speaking in front of people, probably thanks to over thirty years teaching high school students. Audiences don't get tougher than that age group. I also know two of the other authors who will be on the panel so looking forward to spending time with them. Here's an article on how to snag some public appearances to build your audience.

On Saturday, we're sitting down together and doing our taxes. Since my husband and I are both self-employed, we always have to pay in some. Sometimes a lot when my husband has a good year. I'll let you know on Monday if I need you all to buy at least one hundred of my books apiece to pay the tax-man. Wish me luck.

Easter was pretty great with all the children home and having fun together. My granddaughter was the center of attention, of course, and loved every minute of it. Not to brag about the little genius who is only a month past one year old, but I have to spell words around her now. Mostly words like OUT because she wants to go there and the weather has been miserable. Also have to spell LIBRARY because she goes to the door as soon as she hears it and then is upset if we don't get in the car.

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
—Philip Roth

I'm still on target writing 1,000 words per day on my WIP for more than six straight weeks now. Still don't have a name for it though. Been getting about 40 minutes of exercise in 4 or 5 times per week since the new year. I'd rather be outside but ... weather. (Trying really hard not to complain about the snow that won't fricking stop!)

“I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story.”
—Tom Clancy, WD

Has spring arrived in your area? Did you file your taxes yet? Are you feeling insecure today?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring, Please Arrive

Winter has seemed so long this year. Though we didn't get a lot of snow, there were a few long stretches of frigid weather and recently, the most relentless wind imaginable. Tomorrow is D-day for spring's arrival on the Vernal Equinox. I believe we're expecting spring to magically start at 12:15 PM EDT. I'm ready. If you want to know more about the Equinox, my go-to source of information is The Old Farmer's Almanac. Check out this quick easy read.

Then came the lovely spring with a rush of blossoms and music.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In other important news, my new printer was easy to connect and set up. I'm pleased with it for now. And still average 1000 words per day on my next WIP.

Combing spring and writing news, spring is a favored time for writing conferences. IWSG had this great post about organizing so you get the most of any conference you attend. Pennwriters, a state-wide and beyond the borders of PA writing group, has one large annual conference and also puts together two smaller mini-conferences.

The first mini-conference called Writers Project Runway is happening in Leesburg, VA on April 7th. They still have room if you're near there and interested.

The large annual conference is being held in Lancaster, PA this year and filled with great workshops, speakers, as well as agent and editor pitch appointments. Gayle Lynds, a very successful thriller author, is this year's keynote speaker among many other opportunities to advance your career and network.

Anne R. Allen posted about word count by genre. It's always good to keep those in mind. I've read a few thrillers lately that were good books, but I wanted them to be longer. Even with writing a thousand words per day and watching my granddaughter for eight hours, I can read a 70K book in 2 or 3 days.

I also read this interesting post by Eli Landes that says there are only two types of stories. We've all heard before that there are a limited number of plots in stories. Her theory is that there are only two types of protagonists in stories. Very interesting and I couldn't argue with her ideas.

Are there any conference plans in your future? Do you like reading long books? Are you excited about spring arriving?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG: March 2018

I missed a few weeks blogging in February, but no way was I going to miss the IWSG blog hop held on the first Wednesday of every month. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the group and all the administrators who do so much work to keep it running and growing. Join us and share your woes, successes, and ask questions. There's lot of talent here to help. Check out all the participants on this complete list.

The optional question this month: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal or finish a piece of work?

I BUY BOOKS, OF COURSE! Not just buy them, but go meander around a bookstore for hours. And books plural, not just one.

Speaking of bookstores, here's an interesting article where comparing the buyer experience at an Amazon physical store and a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I know lots of us are bracing ourselves for the coming doom of Barnes and Noble. At my most recent writers' meeting, more than one author referred to Amazon as the evil empire.

I ordered a new printer. I had my last one for probably six years. I don't know if that's a good lifespan for a printer or not. It's arriving today so next Monday's post could be full of curse words in reference to how difficult it was to get it all figured out and WiFi active.

I'm almost 20K into my next WIP. Starting a new series that I don't have a title for yet, but I'm back in space for a little space opera romance. I'm writing a bit more than one thousand words per day but I'd like to up that to two thousand. I do use some of the techniques described in this article on how to write fast.

A member of my local writing group, Hope Stephan, gave a presentation on procrastination at our writers meeting. It was extremely interesting. There's an entire industry of books, podcast, and every other form of self-help stuff aimed at procrastinators. Hope shared this quote:

"Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly." Alain de Botton

Also,last Saturday, my granddaughter turned one year old. That year went so fast. She's walking though only when she wants to. She loves being outside though the weather isn't always cooperative. She's my little joy. We all need some joy.

My youngest son has a birthday tomorrow, so we're all in on a week of celebration. Not good when it's snowing again and I can't get outside to walk.

I'm looking forward to the return of Timeless this coming Sunday. I re-watched the first season last week. And my favorite summer show, Salvation, did get a second season. March Madness is almost upon us. I played basketball in high school and all my children played the game at some point in their athletic careers. But I'll be so sick of it in a few weeks, I won't be able to enjoy it. Way too many hours of it on TV.

Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead this weekend for Daylight Savings Time. And remember this:
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana." Groucho Marx

How do you celebrate reaching a goal? Are you a procrastinator? How long should a printer last? Are you dreading springing ahead?

Monday, February 12, 2018

By The Numbers

I haven't started writing a new book yet, but I've been working on a lot of different things. Some of my work last week and this week is preparation for a board meeting of one of my writing groups. We only meet three time per year so there's a lot to cover. But there are other writing things I'm getting done before diving into a new WIP and looking back and forward to things happening and that have happened in my career.

By the numbers:

2 books I have a rough outlines and some plot completed.

3 online classes I've signed up to take over the next five months. Two have to do with marketing.

1 new contract for my most recent completed novel.

1 of my older titles available on KU for the first and limited time. The Marine's Queen was my first bestseller romance.

2,000 books on my TBR list. That's an estimate.

3 publishers who have closed their doors when they held my books under contract. Sigh.....

10.5 years since my very first book, The Greater Good was published. And it still earns some royalties every quarter.

23 books that I've written that have been published by various small presses. Still not rich or famous.

10 weeks until one of my favorite shows, The 100, returns to TV.

4 times I've re-watched season 7 of Game of Thrones. I embarrass myself.

This week I'm going to so some more plotting and next Sunday I'm going to start writing my next book.

Today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday. I remember when we used to have this day off of school and government offices would close. Then they made up that President's Day thing and robbed us of a day off.

Wednesday is Valentine's Day. Hope you have someone to share it with or at least, some great memories to warm the day.
"A good heart's worth gold." William Shakespeare

Do you have a good number to share this week? Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Have you ever used KU? Good results for selling or reading?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG: February 2018

Here we are again, joining together as writers to help each other through shared tears, woes, and victory cheers with our monthly IWSG posting. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this group and all the administrators who help make it such an amazing group. Find the entire list of participants here.

The optional question of the day is:
What do you love most about the genre you write the most often in?

I write romance and fantasy. Though I've published more books as a romance writer, my true love is writing fantasy. The thing I love most about writing and reading fantasy is the wide-open scope of where the story can go. World-building is fun as a writer and fascinating as a reader. There are endless ideas on creating a magic system. Villains can be anything. The possibilities are endless.

This past weekend we had an awesome writers' meeting. Lots of good things happened. A few promotional opportunities were presented. A presentation from a local group that presents workshops gave us a mini-lesson on story premise. The group of instructors have put together a series of lessons that will take a novice writer from story idea to a completed novel. They call their workshop A Novel Idea. It's pretty great with all highly successful authors doing the teaching.

I also signed up for a three online classes my group is sponsoring over the next six months. I'm really excited to take advantage of what I might learn.

My publisher is trying a few twists to get some of my older titles more attention. I'll tell you more about that later, especially if it works.

I also created a profile on Library Thing. Not sure if I have any idea what I'm doing there. I can't keep Goodreads up-to-date so of course, I added something else to keep track of. Anyway, be my friend on Library Thing if you're there.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Third Drafts and The Business

I took last week off from blogging and finally got through the third draft of my WIP. Which is no longer a WIP but is now complete and with my publisher. In the third draft, I found a good-sized plot hole. I don't know how I missed it when I was doing the second draft. Glad I found it and fixed it.

I put my tax stuff together a week ago also. It's ready to go for whenever we decide to torture ourselves and do it. If you're a numbers person and want to see if any writers were making money last year, here is an earnings report. It's complicated, but it does point out something that is often overlooked. If you look at print sales in general, the earnings are skewed by the sale of academic books. Textbooks costs are outrageous as any college student knows. If you look at fiction book sales, you notice that eBooks command a great percentage of earnings.

In good book news, I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday, and it was as packed as ever. I wish my are had independent stores that sell new books. All our independents sell mostly used books and only have new books when they have an author signing.

The outlining and world-building for my next fantasy series has started. Already have about twenty pages in a spiral notebook. It's going well.

I'm reading a lot and spent some time updating my Goodreads. I've really let it fall behind and that is not a good thing. Did some work for one of my writing groups. I also scheduled two appearances at local libraries. One in February and one in April.

"The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library." Albert Einstein

Speaking of the library, my granddaughter broke her first heart last week. A very cute and sweet little boy named Liam invaded her personal space. She pushed him away. Actually, she knocked him down and made him cry. Her dad, her grandfather, and four uncles were all very proud of her for standing up for herself.

I heard the rumor that Game of Thrones will return in April of 2019. Torture. But here are some funny Twitter moments from last season to make you smile while we agonize. Haven't heard any speculation on when Stranger Things might return in 2019.

Wednesday is a Blue Moon. A Blue moon is when a month has two full moons occur. There are actually two this year. This month and in March. Also, this Friday is Groundhog Day. If you don't know what that is, you're not missing a thing. It's really silly.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein

I won't be posting next Monday but will be back next Wednesday for IWSG day. Do you keep your Goodreads account updated? Do you know what Groundhog day is? Do you think my granddaughter is being a bully at 10 months old?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Plugging Away

I didn't accomplish a lot of writing related things this past week, but I did get some things out of the way that I don't like to do. Such as:
Adding up my expenses and income from writing in preparation for taxes.
Polishing up a blurb and synopsis for one of my books.
Rearranging some things in my office do everything looks more organized. (Now I can't find some things.)
Cleaned out some cupboards with my granddaughter's help. Lots of noise. At least, she had fun.

Then there were things I did like that I worked on this past week. Such as:
Started the plotting and character descriptions for my next fantasy series.
Sketched out a marketing plan.
Organized some things for my writing group responsibilities.
Extended my workout time from 40 minutes to 50-60 minutes. Adding some intervals this week.

Adding up my income from 2017 was a dismal task. My sales numbers were really down last year. My publisher assures me this is true across the board for a lot of small presses and indie authors. I figure I have to try harder to make sure readers find me. Working on that though it's another thing that takes time away from actual writing.

"Do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of." Benjamin Franklin

Winter has mental issues. It's not sure what it wants to be. After ten straight days of sub-freezing weather, and some sub-sub-sub-freezing, it was in the 60's last Friday. Now, a few more days of cold, a little snow, and in the 50's next weekend. Make up your mind, winter, you s#&*!

Anne R. Allen had an interesting post about how the start of your book can kill your sales. I've heard most of them before, but from the manuscripts I've been asked to read by beginning writers, these suggestions aren't as well known as you might think.

Don't forget IWSG Twitter pitch party on Thursday. Wish I had something ready to pitch. Use the #IWSGPit tag and go find an agent of publisher.

I read somewhere this past weekend that people are so busy clicking on and reading about the political drama and the sexual assault and harassment news that they're not looking at or reading fiction as much. Seems to me that we need more escapism from the reality than ever. Everyday in the news, it's like 'What or Who said or did something stupid, arrogant, or dishonorable.' Crazy times.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are actually rearranging their prejudices." William James

Are you ready for #IWSGPit? Is winter being a little crazy in your neck of the woods? Does all the insane political and celebrity news distract you online?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Confidence in 2018

I read lots of plans and goals from my fellow writers last week. I'm cheering for all of you to reach them and maybe even accomplish more. Writers work in isolation, and that allows lots of doubts to creep in and join us at our keyboards.

When we're all alone, we tend to compare ourselves to the big industry success stories. We see those same authors with their big hardback releases month after month. Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, and many others. And we don't see all the hard work that is behind their success because they're working in isolation also.

Even when we have success, a bestseller or a short story published, another rejection will sooner rather than later will appear in our inbox. Sharing those setbacks with other writers who all have similar experiences, helps us keep going.

Sometimes we get so down on ourselves that we can't even accept praise or good reviews. All that self-doubt gets in the way of our work. The discouragement slows us down. So accept that you know something about writing and the business connected to it. And don't be afraid to ask and share with other writers.

And that's all I have to say about getting your butt in gear and 2018 and set that keyboard on fire.

Bad news about 2018. Officially no new Stranger Things or Game of Thrones. My other most favorite show, The 100, isn't coming back on until April. The Good Doctor is back on tonight, but though I like that show,  I don't mind if I miss it. Nothing to get excited on TV for months to come.

Shut the door not that it lets in the cold but that it lets out the coziness. Mark Twain

Other good news. the vicious cold weather has finally given us a slight break. Anything that gets out of the single digits is good. Also, this Wednesday, library reading group for my granddaughter starts up again.

"One kind word can warm three winter months." — Japanese proverb

My most recent dystopian romance is now for sale on Amazon. The Horse Tamer's Fiery Lady, Book #2 in Survivors of the Apocalypse, is now available on Amazon. Sometimes you write a book and just know it's one of your best. This is that book.

What is keeping you motivated this year? Ever feel like everyone else is having success and you're getting nothing but rejections? Have you been stuck in this deep freeze? Does TV  offerings stink right now.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: 2018 #1

Can you believe it? I guess so since we're all here. It's the first Wednesday of the month and of the new year. That means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group posting time. Share your victories, rejections, hopes, and plans with this wonderful group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Find the entire list of participants here.

Don't forget the IWSG Twitter Pitch fest coming on the 18th of this month. It's bigger and better than ever. Wish I had something ready to pitch. Maybe by the time the next one comes around.

As usual, each year I make plans for what I hope to accomplish in the coming year in regards to my writing. I'm working on a new epic fantasy series. I'm just in the plotting stage but hope to get working on it soon. I finished the first draft on my latest romance novel and need to do the second draft with some major rewrites as the first order of business in 2018. After that, I already have the general world building for my next romance series figured out. I'm also looking for home for my fantasy series that lost its home with its publisher closed after publishing the first book of three. Those are my plans.

"Of a good beginning cometh a good end." John Heywood

On the personal front, I was disappointed (hugely) when my old knees said no more jogging last summer. Walking doesn't give me the same workout without putting hills into the mix. But those of you with bad knees know that going down hills is the worst. So I bought myself a mini-machine that is a combination of a stepper and elliptical. It takes up almost no space and I can move it easily. Love it so far though my calves complain every day.

Looking forward to more time with my grandchild this year. Also looking forward to the latest Avengers movie coming out in May.

I saw Amazon has come out with a water proof Kindle so we can all read while in the pool. Sounds good. On the less great front, I saw a statistic that claims that 17% of all eBooks have been illegally downloaded. That's depressing.

And happy days, after an entire year of missing it, in 2018 I'm using the Old Farmer's Almanac as my desk planner again. So get ready for some great factoids. Did you know that today at 12:35 am EST, the Earth reached perihelion, the point in its orbit when it's closest to the sun. Doesn't feel very close here in the frozen lands of Pennsylvania. Did you know that one quarter of your brain is used to control vision? And a group of frogs is called an army?

Wishing you all a happy and productive 2018. Have you made plans for the year? Would you like to have a waterproof tablet? Every heard of the perihelion? Ever seen one of those frog armies?