Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Cowboy & the Showgirl by Heidi Hormel

It's Wednesday Guest day and I'm thrilled to have multi-published author Heidi Hormel visiting today. Learn a little bit about her book, about her, and maybe some writer's wisdom. 

 Something for Readers

As a child, my family rented a Winnebago and drove from Pennsylvania to Maine and back. This was back in the day when seat belts were just a nuisance and not a safety feature, so my sister and I were able to roam around the RV. I remember that trip fondly (not sure about my siblings) and have always been fascinated by the economy of RVs -- how so much can be fit into such a small space. Maybe that’s why I wanted to force my hero and heroine into sharing an RV (the old-style kind), not those new fangled ones with the TVs, microwaves and the walls that expand. I also attribute my recent fascination with Tiny Homes (it’s all HGTV’s fault ) to the early Winnebago travel. I’ve even thought about moving from my current locale to one of these Hobbit-sized abodes (then I remember I have cats and litter boxes). Still, I do dream of living efficiently and clutter-free in a Tiny Home. What about you? Tiny? Or Windsor Castle? Which is your dream home?

Something for Writers

I recently read the late Alice Hoffman’s The Rules of Magic. (She’s also the author of Practical Magic.) In this book that delves deep into how love shapes our lives, I found this passage that made my little writerly heart sing:

“Writing itself was a magical act in which imagination altered reality and gave form to power.”

Although this next quote isn’t strictly about writing, it still made me shiver with authorial delight:

“‘Anything whole can be broken. … And anything broken can be put back together again. That is the meaning of Abracadabra. I create what I speak.’”

In the case of writers, we create what we write.

Blurb for The Cowboy & the Showgirl

Opposites attract when a bull-riding cowboy gets roped into helping a Vegas showgirl on the run from a marriage in name only.
Val Summers needs to get away from Vegas fast before her almost-bridegroom tracks her down and his missing money. She’s got everything handled until she realizes she’d stowed away in the wrong rodeo cowboy’s RV.
Cisco Santos is a bull rider trying to rebuild his career, not save a damsel in distress, but he’s certainly not going to let some goons take the money out of her hide. On the lam together, they end up stuck in a snowstorm. By the time the snowplows dig them out, they’re a lot more than traveling companions.


 About Heidi Hormel

A former innkeeper and radio talk show host, Heidi Hormel has always been a writer. She spent years as a small-town newspaper reporter and as a PR flunky before settling happily into penning romances with a wink and a wiggle.

While living in the Snack Food Capital of the World, Heidi has trotted around the globe from forays into Death Valley to stops at Loch Ness in Scotland.

She has published five books in the Angel Crossing, Arizona series with Harlequin Western Romance. To sign up for her newsletter or to read more about her books, visit
or follow on:
 Facebook  and Twitter.

Thanks, Heidi. Any RV people out there? Can you imagine being trapped in a snowstorm in one? Do you know where the Snack Food Capital of the World is located? 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Happening This Week

Where to start? First of all, I have a guest post at Paranormal Romantics. Thank you, Diane Burton for inviting me. If you've been following my mini-tour, you can guess that I'm talking about science again. Please stop by and share your opinions.

This coming Wednesday, Heidi Hormel will be on this blog as part of my Wednesday Author Spotlight plan. Are you into the RV life? Please stop back and read what Heidi has to say.

This Thursday is IWSG Twitter pitch party. Read the rules first and then use this #IWSGPit. You still have a few days to get your pitch ready.

This a a great article posted by Anne R. Allen back in June about some scams directed at desperate writers. Take a look.

Here's a quick little post from Penny Sansevieri on using blogging to promote your writing. She says some very sensible things.

I think Killjoys is returning this Friday night. I hope so. It really ended on a cliffhanger. The 100 and Salvation are not disappointing this season. Both are really tense and so many characters are stuck with no good decisions.

 "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." J.K. Rowling

Today is another day of brutal heat, but we had some rain yesterday so my grass has a chance to survive. Good day to stay inside and hit that elliptical and write. Still keeping up with my 1,000 words per day.

Are you giving the pitch party a try? Any one try to scam you lately? Getting any writing done?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Guest Posting

Please visit me today over at Chrys Fey's blog where I'm posting about how the end will come. Not zombies, though there is a weird section of the population that seems to waiting for that with anticipation.

My post is about how society will crumble if a pandemic strikes, a quick and deadly virus. Not need to comment here. Give me your thoughts over at Write With Fey. You might give me an idea for my next book.

Thanks to all of you who have been following along on my mini-blog tour for Exile's Savage Lady.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Rolling Onward, July Style

What a weekend and start to the week. The terrible heat has lifted for the short term, and the relief is so welcome. It's so nice to sleep with the windows open at night. I know it's only the beginning of July and it will return, but it feels like lovely June weather today and for a few more days to come.

Today I'm guest posting on Christine Rains' blog. I'll hope you'll stop by while I talk a little more about putting the science in science fiction. Much thanks to Christine for letting me take over her blog while she's suffering on the beach! LOL. I'm sure she's having a great time.

Spent a lot of time reading over the past week as well as writing. I dove into Justin Cronin's trilogy that started with The Passage. I had only read the first when it first came out in 2010. Not sure why I didn't finish it before but I'm glad I finally did. It is a horror-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it kind of series so a lot of people die. A lot of people step up and become heroes too. In case you haven't heard, one of the networks is making The Passage into a series. I think for this fall. Hopefully, this link will take you to the trailer. Right now, this is the fall show I'm most excited about.

Despite all the writing I'm getting done, I'm still spending some time working on my craft. My local writers' group had a writer of cozy mysteries give an hour workshop on putting mystery into your story. It was very interesting. Next weekend, I'm taking an online course on making your characters come to life.

Still keeping up with my 1,000 words per day though I missed three days in a row on the elliptical. Too many visitors to the homestead. Lots of deer in the backyard. The fawns are really growing fast. Sometimes they walk right by the porch when I'm sitting there reading.

Could you stop over at Christine's blog for me? Any new fall shows you're looking forward to? (The return of Football doesn't count.) Have you done anything lately to work on your writing craft? Has the infernal heat let up for you?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Hot July 2018

It is hot outside. This makes about a week straight with the heat index above 100. Whew. A good time to stay inside and visit a lot of blogs for this months IWSG blog hop. Hope you'll join this amazing group the first Wednesday (except Tuesday this month because of the 4th) of every month as we support each other in good times and bad. Find the entire list of participants here. And thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the brainchild behind this great idea.

Today's optional question:
What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

I think most of us start in this business thinking we're going to published by one of the big publishing houses someday, go on a signing tour, and see our books in every brick and mortar store in the world. It didn't take me long to be disabused of that notion. This business is difficult. I'm happy with my romance publishing career even if I'm with a small press. I still have the goal of getting one of my fantasy novels with a big publisher. I'm not giving up that dream.

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." Steve Jobs

I have a guest post up over at The Whole Shebang Site where I talk about the science part of science fiction as it relates to my latest series, Survivors of the Apocalypse. I'm promoting the publication of the last book in that series, Exile's Savage Lady. I hope you'll stop by and leave a comment. I really want those ladies to have me back again sometime.

Speaking of promotion, I'm opening up my blog for my fellow writers to promote their work. Every Wednesday except for the first one of the month, I'll have a guest. If you're interested, please email me and I'll send you the details. sgourleyauthor at gmail.  I have dates into January of next year.

Some fun facts from The Old Farmer's Almanac;

A group of eagles is called a convocation. 

At 12:47 EDT on Thursday, Earth reaches aphelion, which is the point in its orbit farthest from the sun.  (Why is it so hot if we're far away?)

First two episodes of Salvation have been great. Somehow they keep making the stakes higher. Except for my other current favorite, The 100, TV is really barren of entertainment right now. 

Still keeping up my average of 1,000 words per day on my new WIP. Also, still keeping up with the elliptical at least four days per week. I'm trying to do two days in a row and then one day of rest. I keep cranking up the resistance. My legs feel sore but strong. I'd still rather jog, but my knees scream if I do.

Happy Fourth to my friends in the US of A. Hope you get to spend it cooking out with family and friends. Those are my plans.

Is it hot where you are or can you tell the sun is far away? Are your writing dreams still alive? Did you visit The Whole Shebang?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Stumbling Along

The Writing Life

I feel like I'm getting a lot of work done, and the weekend rolls around and I have twenty things needing my attention. And that's just for the writing part of my life. I've settled into a really good routine of writing at least a thousand words per day in WIP. Twenty-four days into the month and I'm on schedule. I never thoughts I'd be one of those word-counting people, but this is really working for
me since I started it with my last WIP. The thing is, there are lots of other things I need to do for my writing than spewing out words. Like promotion, keeping in touch with my online friends, reading blogs, learning new things, and keeping up with the work I do for my writing groups.

The Business of Writing

I want to thank my friends over at The Whole Shebang Site for having me as guest. I'm talking about all the science I researched and used in my most recent series, Survivors of the Apocalypse. The series is set 300 years in the future when a virus has nearly wiped out mankind.

Also, for my writing groups, Pennwriters. I'm helping promote our upcoming online class, Nonfiction Places and Spaces. The instructor wrote a top ten list of how this class will help fiction writers. It's a quick read.

Personal Life

My daughter is thinking about applying to a MFA low-residency program. It had a good reputation. I'm watching my granddaughter in the mornings this week while her father is coaching at a baseball camp so I'll be late visiting everyone today. Little Elliana is 15 months old now and pretty amazing. She learns a few new words every day.

I purchased an elliptical a few months ago, and I'm staying true to it. Any where from 40-60 minutes per day and it doesn't bother my knees like jogging and walking does.


Yippee! Salvation comes back on tonight. I'm very excited for it. My other summer fun, Killjoys isn't coming back on until late July, I believe. The only other TV I'm watching this summer is The 100 which is having it's best most twisty, horrifying season ever.

What part of the writing business takes away from your writing time? What do you think of MFA programs for writers? Do you think scientists could accidentally wipe out mankind?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chrys Fey: Write With Fey


Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!

Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.

•        Spark One: Being a Writer
•        Spark Two: Story Essentials
•        Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
•        Spark Four: How To
•        Spark Five: Character ER
•        Spark Six: Editing
•        Spark Seven: Publishing
•        Spark Eight: Marketing
•        Spark Nine: Writing About
•        Spark Ten: Final Inspiration

With so much information, you’ll take notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your writing journey.



 Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Fey realized she wanted to write by watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes.
Chrys Fey’s Links:


Open to all from June 4th 2018 – July 6th 2018
Click here to enter or use the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: June 18 Version

June? How can it be? It's the first Wednesday so that means IWSG blog hop time. Please visit the IWSG site to hear about the 2018 anthology they're putting together. Also, check out the list of all the participants in this awesome group.

This month's optional question: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

I used to have no trouble coming up with titles for my books and series. Lately, I've had more difficulty. My publisher has even helped me with suggestions and we've worked together to find the best one. Character names have always been a challenge so no change there. Sigh...

I attended a hilarious but information workshop session at Pennwriters led my Timons Esaias. Timons teaches in a MFA program at Seton Hill University so he has lots of experience reading and grading his students writing samples. The title of his workshop was More Stuff Tim Is Tired Of and he had an hour's worth of cliches, common mistakes, and damnable habits. One of the things he talked about that writers should stop doing is using character names with weird spellings like substituting a 'y' for an 'i' or an 'e' so the name looks exotic. Or making up a name that is impossible to pronounce. He claims fantasy writers are especially guilty of this.

Some wisdom from the Old Farmer's Almanac.
Astronauts can become up to 2 inches taller in space because there is less gravity. 
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st through November 30th.

I do like summer heat but another great part of summer is fresh salads. I love fresh fruits and veggies. I'm not growing my own this summer but there are two produce stands close by. Our local snapping turtle resident has been making daily appearances around the homestead. And the new fawns are sneaking out into the back acres. Their barely the size of a tall cat. Adorable.

Is coming up with names or titles in your writing difficult for you? Do you agree with Timon's naming irritants? Is gravity on Earth making you shorter? Will hurricane season impact your neck of the woods? Are you having more wildlife sightings recently?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Boom! Summer

The Pennwriter's Conference was a huge success. Now that it's over, I'm planning on being more active on my blog. We'll see how it goes. I'll share some highlights on another post.

Finally saw Infinity War with two of my sons. The overall story was good, but what made the movie for me were all the character interactions. I can't even pick a favorite, but there were many laugh-out-loud moments. No smiles at the end though. Wow.

My boys went through some of the boxes we'd saved from the childhood. I winced to see all the money I'd spend on Power Rangers, GI Joe, and comic book characters. I don't mind the legos. They're timeless. We have two boxes sorted for Goodwill, and they each filled two large plastic tubs with their things. Still on the to-do list, baseball and football cards.

Love my granddaughter, but I'm looking forward to summer and not being a full-time babysitting-grandmother. If writing goes as planned, I'll have the second book in my new series finished  by summer and a new home for my Dragon fantasy series.

The third and last book in my Survivors series is available in all formats on my publisher's website. Exile's Savage Lady wraps up all the story lines with a story of love and self-sacrifice. It's not on Amazon yet, but as I've mentioned before, the writer and the publisher make more money when a purchase is made from the website and that hungry monster, Amazon, is cut out.

I hope you had a chance to spend the Memorial Day weekend with family and/or friends. Our house was full and a good time had by all. I might have to do some extra walking this week.

On the entertainment front, Timeless ended for the summer and maybe forever. Once Upon a Time wrapped up all their story lines as the series ended. I'll miss it, but the end was satisfying. My current TV favorite, The 100, is having its best season ever. Very tense and exciting. Other good news, Salvation, another end of the world plot, is returning for a summer season starting June 25th.

Some wisdom from The Old Farmer's Almanac: For long-lasting blooms, pick flowers in the late afternoon when the leaves and stems contain the most sugar.

Any interesting TV in your opinion? Have a cookout on Monday? Do you have any toys packed away from your childhood?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

IWSG: May, 2018

I'm fully into the summer feels as May rolls into town. Today is the first Wednesday of the month and that means, IWSG posting time. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, we all have this wonderful blogging group where we share our successes and insecurities. And the IWSG is more than that. Visit their website and check out all the resources, and while you're there, check out the entire list of blogging participants.

This month's optional question for the group:
It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

The nicer the weather, the less writing I get done. I exercise more, have hours of yard work to do each week, and love sitting on my porch or deck to read. My best writing season is winter and the cold rains of spring and fall, though I despise those times.

If I have an insecurity, it's that my marketing sucks, as in I hate doing it and have been ignoring it.  Other sorrowful news, I received two rejections from publishers as I search for a home for my previously published fantasy novel. The publisher closed and the 2nd and 3rd books weren't published before the closure.

We did have a cold wet spring so I completed the first draft of the first novel in my next space opera romance trilogy. I wrote about 78K in seventy days. And it's a little less rough than my usual first drafts. I also completed the last round of edits on the last book in the dystopian trilogy. I'll have a release date for Exile's Savage Lady soon.

I'm making some blogging plans for the summer. Every Wednesday except for the first one of the month, I'm going to host a writer friend for some fun and promotion. I'll let you know more about it later and offer some dates for my IWSG friends.

Some of the shows I've really been looking forward to are back for their short runs. The 100 is back, my favorite post-apocalypse show. Timeless is also back though not quite as fun as the first season was. Once Upon a Time has only a few episodes left in the series run. Will be sad to see it go, but I've loved it all. Supernatural has been enjoyable this season. New shows I've been checking out are Krypton (giving it an OK), Deception, and The Crossing. I like The Crossing a lot.

"Fill you life with experiences, not excuses." Wisdom from the Old Farmer's Almanac

I've been a bit absent in the blogging world, but I hope to catch up to everyone in the next week. Does the nice weather interfere with your writing? Any good shows entertaining you or some you're looking forward to their return?  

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?