Monday, May 22, 2017

What a Conference

I decided to post after all today. I made it back from the Pennwriters Conference Sunday afternoon. Like every conference, I came away with a pile of notes and lots of energy to dive back into writing and trying some new promotional ideas.

One of the speakers I enjoyed was Kathleen Shoop who shared pages and pages of information about self-publishing. I'm traditionally published by a small press, but indie-published authors know how to market. They have to if they're going to be successful. There's nothing quite so much fun as getting handouts at a conference.

On the flip side, as a board member who did a lot of work behind the scenes and some out in the open, the weekend was exhausting. And I love driving, but if you've ever driven through Pittsburgh, it's not much fun. The trip was four hours each way for me. Yawn!!! But I held strong and only bought one book while I was there.

Agent Mark Gottlieb presented a workshop on writing an elevator pitch. A way to tease your book in two or three sentences to an agent or editor. He shared some winning examples and I improved my short blurb for the dragon book I hope to find a new home for after the publisher closed.

Agent Eric Myers' workshop asked the question, 'How Far is Too Far in MG and YA?' I don't think he ever answered the question though the consensus did seem to be nothing is too far. I found it a bit disturbing.

One of the things I really enjoy about the conference is the mixture of writers. Nonfiction, short fiction, poets and novelists. Some are just starting their careers and many are multi-published. Everyone helps everyone and the mood is upbeat and supportive. One thing all the writers shared was their concern about how to use social media to promote and network. I could feel the stress of many of the writers as they searched for the answers to taming the monster of platform building.

My local writing group finished up our 50/50 yesterday also. I didn't complete my first draft like I wanted to because a lot of real life got in the way. But I'm almost done and I still had pretty good numbers for the 50 days.

On the entertainment front, I'm finally going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume II on Tuesday. My youngest son is taking me as my Mother's Day gift. I'm such a lucky mom. I'm looking forward to the season finale of The 100 on Wednesday. It's been an exciting season. Still about 2 months until Game of Thrones returns. Killjoys is returning this summer also. I really like that show with its mixture of action, suspense with some humor thrown in.

Have any summer TV shows coming on that you enjoy? Have you read any MG or YA that you think went too far? Does platform building concern you? Don't forget to check out the new post on IWSG.





Monday, May 15, 2017

Opportunities Galore

Lots of things going on that writers can take advantage of in the near future. Calling back to last weeks' fun with Reedsy and #IWriteBecause, Reedsy is offering a 25% discount to IWSG members. If you're looking for some help with editing, design, promotion and marketing, they're a place to start looking. You will have to be a new account to get the discount. Follow this link to sign up.

Savvy Authors are having a pitch fest from May 17th to May 19th. I didn't look at their agent list but most of the editors and publishers seem to be for romance and/or YA. They have clear rules and also a page of instructions with examples of how to write that pitch. Even if you aren't interested, you should check out their page and let it help you prepare for #IWSGPit.

On June 7th, Carina Press, a digital first line of Harlequin, is holding its fifth annual pitch fest on June 7th. So if you have a romance novel to pitch, use this #CarinaPitch. They have guidelines on their site for what they're looking for.

This coming weekend, I'm attending the 30th annual Pennwriters Conference which will be held in Pittsburgh. I'm looking forward to not only networking opportunities but also have a few workshops picked out that I hope will be of use to me in promotion. Since I'll be there all weekend, I probably not post here next Monday, but I'll have lots of good stuff to share in later posts. Remember you can always check out the IWSG Conference Page and find an opportunity for yourself.

I'd hope to finish my WIP before the conference, but I'm going to be just short on that first draft. Working on the dark moment right now.

“I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” 
― Mitch AlbomFor One More Day

Hope those of you who are mothers had a good day yesterday. My children and husband did a wonderful job making mine special. It was great after a couple of really, really busy weeks.

"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?" Milton Berle

I had some good news on the TV front when NBC canceled Timeless but then decided to bring it back in summer 2018. It was the only new show I started watching this past TV season. But three hours of TV shows per week is good for me.

Any good opportunities you're taking advantage of in the upcoming weeks? How did you spend Mother's Day? Did any of your favorite shows get canceled? Are you tired of rain where you live?







Monday, May 8, 2017

Plowing Onward

I hope I'll have a chance to watch lots of inspiring videos courtesy of Reedsy in their campaign to raise funds for a great cause. Share your short video of #IWriteBecause and they will donate $10 to the Room to Read organization. And here's another awesome thing for IWSG members, you can receive a $25 discount for Reedsy services. Read today's IWSG post to learn more.

I didn't post a video because ... life jumped up and bit me in the a** last week. Actually over the course of the past two weeks. It was difficult to keep up with my duties to all my different writing organizations and my own writing goals. There came a day last week when I was ready to quit everything. Every online group, every group I belong to and even quit writing the WIP I'm 60K into. Everything was too much. But I thought of my parents. I grew up on a dairy farm. For those of you who don't understand dairy cows, they need a schedule to ensure top production of milk. Every twelve hours, they expect the farmer to be there. No matter what happened, the cows get milked. No illness, family tragedy, or level of exhaustion or frustration can interfere with that schedule. And my parents always did. The cows got milked on time despite weddings, graduations, illness and grief.

So I kicked myself in the a** and here I still am. I apologize to my friends whose blogs I didn't have time to visit last week. I'll do better. I completed paperwork for my publisher related to my newest contract. I gathered all the paperwork together for my upcoming Pennwriters' board meeting and prepared my own reports and sent them. I prepared what I needed for my meeting of my local Chapter of RWA and attended that meeting on Saturday. I cooked meals for the family, mowed the dang grass, and got back to my WIP. Everything is not wonderful and good, but the cows are getting milked on time, to be metaphorical. For a few days, I felt like was letting everyone down. But my parents taught me that sometimes you just have to keep going until you come out the other side.

Onto another good thing. The Connective by Patrick Hatt is now available. I have this on my Kindle and it moved to the front of the TBR line though it sounds pretty spooky. As usual, Pat amazes me with his prolific writing. How do you do it, Pat?

I told you about my local RWA chapter being awarded the Chapter Excellence Award. They have this banner up at the RWA site. Pretty cool to be part of this dynamic group.

I didn't get to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, but I'm hoping my youngest son will take me for Mother's Day. He usually takes me to a movie I want to see that my husband doesn't for gifts. Counting on him.

Did you make a video about why you write? Had any dark days lately? Did you see Guardians? Are you getting your pitch ready for the #IWSGPit yet?












Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: May It Be Wonderful

It is May already and time to share our insecurities about our writing with the other members of our group. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this terrific group. If you're not already part of it, sign up to be a IWSG member here.

What to know what's going on with the group? Check out a few of the events and happenings on today's IWSG post.

Big, BIG news! Yesterday, IWSG released its newest anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. You can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM and Kobo. It's already getting lots of great reviews. You'll be hard-pressed to pick a favorite story.
What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

I hope you're practicing your Twitter Pitch. #IWSGPit You still have time to get it together. I'm working for a post on suggestions for closer to the July 27th, blastoff. Check out the rules at the IWSG website. Make sure you're following IWSG on Twitter.

If you're not already, you should be following IWSG on Facebook.  Lots happens in that very active group.

This month's question from IWSG: What is the weirdest or coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
Actually, the most enjoyable research I ever did was for some of my A to Z Challenge themes. I'm currently researching things about bone marrow and immunity deficiencies. I always put a little medical science in my science fiction. That is actually some clue to what my latest series is about. A future where most humans have compromised immune systems.

In a pretty cloudy week, I did receive a contract last week for the first book in that new series. That did slow down my word count as I dealt with cover art questions and a few other real life things.

Do you have a piece of work you're ready to pitch in July? Do you like doing research? Do you have a favorite between Twitter and Facebook?






Monday, April 24, 2017

Good Things are All Around Us

It's another few days of rain, but there's been lots of shining things lately. Before I get to that, let me remind you that next Wednesday is Insecure Writer's Support Group posting day. The question for that day is:
What is the weirdest/coolest thing you've ever had to research for a story?
Or just share your current insecurity.

Visit today at IWSG and check out why and how you need to get reviews for your books. Also, don't forget to get ready for the Twitter Pitch we have coming on July 27th. A good idea between now and then is to check out other pitching sessions and get ideas on how to write the perfect tweet. Here is a place to start with #pitmad. They have pitches scheduled for the upcoming months. Time to practice.

In the good things category of the past week.
One of our neighbors has sheep and the new lambs are out and cavorting.
My daughter and I saw a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree by the river when we were driving.
Did some babysitting for the granddaughter (7 weeks old now) and she's developing her own pleasant little personality and sleeping all night for her parents.
I stopped the car at an intersection for my daughter to hop out and rescue a small turtle. Why do they like roads?
My children and husband were super supportive this past weekend.
My writing pace is keeping up so far. 2,000 words per day.
Friday will be the second rendition of the WE ARE THE WORLD blog hop. Join for good news.

There's been some not so good news but I'll keep that all to myself. It was a pretty stressful week so I'm looking at the good things.

 "The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't always spoil the good things and make them unimportant." —Doctor Who
What good thing, no matter how small, cheered you up this past week? Are you working on that pitch for Twitter? Do you see Bald Eagles or turtles around where you live? Make me smile today.





Monday, April 17, 2017

New Thriller Release

Things are flying along on the writing challenge I'm doing this month. Only fifteen days into it and I'm already over 30,000 words. My characters coming along better than I hoped. I'm excited to sit down at the keyboard every day. It's so much easier to write when you love your characters.

My friend, Joylene Nowell Butler, has a new psychological thriller being release tomorrow.

To the Breaking Point...

When Brendell Meshango resigns from her university professor position and retreats to her isolated cabin to repair her psyche, she is confronted by a masked intruder. His racial comments lead her to believe she is the solitary victim of a hate crime.

However, is all as it appears? After two bizarre days, the intruder mysteriously disappears but continues to play mind games with her. Taught by her mother to distrust the mainstream-based power structures, and with her stalker possibly linked to a high level of government, Brendell conceals the incident from the police. But will her silence keep her safe?


Then her beloved daughter, Zoë, is threatened and Brendell takes matters into her own hands. To save Zoë, Brendell searches for the stalker and confronts not just a depraved madman but her own fears and prejudices.
Maski: Broken But Not Dead is available at:





Easter at our house was fun. Too much food but lots of companionship and thankfulness that so many of us could be together. Maybe next year the new wee one will be walking and ready for an egg hunt. Hope you enjoyed some family time and time off of work.

Mowing the grass went well last week. So good, I'm going to do it all over again this week.

What are you currently working on in your writing? Did you witness any Easter Egg hunts last week? Are you ready for a new thriller from Joylene Nowell Butler? What are the chances I'll keep that word count of averaging 2K a day going the rest of the month? 



Monday, April 10, 2017

Kudos, Newsletters and Grandchildren

You want to know what I'm doing right now if you're reading this on Monday. MOWING the grass. Already. The warm winter and all the recent rain have turned my lawn into a tropical forest. Taxes were as terrible an experience as we expected, financially. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

I read a lot of blogs and attend writers' meeting and conferences. I'm always looking for ways to promote and market. I haven't found the one I'm looking for. The one where I don't have to do anything. Readers just magically find my books and love them. One thing I hear over and over again, is that I should have an author's newsletter. I subscribe to some newsletters that are about writing and not promoting one author's books. Like the IWSG newsletter which is always informative. Anne R. Allen write a blog post comparing the pros and cons of newsletters versus blogging. She read my mind.

A big kudos to CPRW, the local chapter of RWA. I've been a long time member of this dynamic group and am currently serving as secretary. CPRW recently won RWA's Award of Excellence for a chapter of less than 50 members. It's pretty amazing to all of us, but when we list all the things we do, it's not so surprising. Like the current 50/50 that started a week ago. With the encouragement of group cheerleading and no excuses, I wrote over 14,000 words on my new WIP in only seven days.

I had my first chance to babysit the new granddaughter this past weekend. Those Mom muscles are a bit atrophied. My biceps were actually sore from all the use of carrying around a month-old eight pound baby. Next time you see a mother carrying a child in one arm and a few packages in her other, appreciate her strength a little bit.

Don't forget to stop by the IWSG today for another great post to kick off your week.

Who helps motivate you to write even when you'd rather be out mowing the grass? Do you receive a lot of newsletters in your inbox. Have you ever wondered how mothers manage to lug around those fragile but heavy offspring hour after hour?