Friday, October 31, 2014

Fast Friday

Fast as in, how is it the end of October already? I always liked November as a teacher because there are lots of vacation days mixed in there. Now that I'm retired, it means the end to Daylight Savings Time. Early dark will inspire me to spend more hours writing. I hope. Don't forget to turn your clocks back tomorrow night. And some people change their smoke detector batteries when the time changes so don't forget that. We always do that in December.

In time for Halloween, here's a link about a puppy-sized spider. Not many things scare me but there is something really creepy about spiders. Knowing one of these proportions really exists is nightmare material. And two inch long fangs! Check out this scary creature. It must be an alien.

Tomorrow is my local writers' meeting. I love those and I even made my writing goal for this month after two months in a row of missing it. Starting next week, our writers group is having an online class on SEO. That is such an ever changing project that I'm looking forward to learning some things. Whatever those things are.

From the Old Farmer's Almanac:
The remedy for bad times is to be patient with them. Arabian proverb

Five Moon phases in one month (like this one) foretell a cold winter and a cool summer.

According to Greek tradition, a cactus placed by the front door will guard a home against evil.

Put your Halloween pumpkins out in the woods or fields for wildlife to snack on.

And this little graph of what is going on at my house. Now that my son from Colorado is back in the house for the winter, things are a little noisier. Lots of children, grown children, filling the silence and disrupting the peace in the most fun sense of the word.
Questions the kids ask mom vs dad.

Do you change your smoke detector batteries at this time? Love or hate Daylight Savings Time? Do you have a cactus by the front door? What do you do with your pumpkins after Halloween? Care to meet a spider the size of a small dog?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Glad I'm Not....

As I make my rounds of blog friends, Twitter and Facebook, I see tons of posts and tweets about NaNoWriMo. November is almost here for those participating. Writers are offering advice, requesting advice or sharing their exciting plans. They're getting their plots ready, making outlines and setting other things aside for a marathon of writing. And I'm glad I'm not participating.

I have so many things going on now, both with my own writing and some self-imposed deadlines and with other obligations I've been asked to take or have volunteered for. I feel a little left out of the NaNo excitement but I know my limits. I have too many other things to work on and prepare during that month of November. With Thanksgiving thrown into the month, I see no way I could commit to writing that much. I do expect to write 30K during November but it is to complete a book I've already started. My contribution to the spirit of NaNo will be to cheer on and encourage those participating.

My husband and my sons are going south for a golf holiday in November. I could go along and do come beach time but I'm glad I'm not. I'll have the entire house to myself for writing, reading, sleeping in and eating lunch and dinner in front of the TV. I'll do some Thanksgiving preparations but mostly it will be a stay-cation all by myself.

Most of you know I retired from teaching a little more than a year ago. Recently I ran into some of my former students at a football game. They were so happy to see me and assured me that they missed me. A few hugs later and I felt a little melancholy but I'm glad I'm not teaching anymore. The job gets tougher every year though those teenagers are still wonderful. Most parents wouldn't say this, but the teenage years were my favorite for raising kids.

Please visit IWSG blog today and meet a special guest. And here is a link to a cool calendar to keep track of your NaNo progress.

What are you glad you're not doing at the moment or anywhere in the near future? Do you feel about teenagers like I do? Do you enjoy being home alone? Is NaNo your November goal or do you have an alternative one like I do?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Leap of Faith

Almost five months ago, I spend many an hour thinking about my writing career. I had dabbled in self-publishing my epic fantasy series that I'd required the rights back from Medallion Press. My heart wasn't in the commitment needed to be successful as an independent publisher of my own books. A chance comment overheard at my local writers' meeting led me to Musa Publishing. After some investigation and contacting an author I knew personally who had a book reissued through them, I submitted the first book on The Futhark Chronicles. Shortly thereafter, an editor asked me to send her the complete series before they made a decision. A contract for each book in the series followed. The professionalism and organization of Musa impresses me every step of the way. The first book will be reissued in February of next year and the others shortly thereafter.

I also had one romance novel with an excellent publisher while all my other romance books, including two in that same series, were with New Concepts Publishing. That single book with the other publisher had earned very small royalties from the very start to my disappointment. Though NCP doesn't normally do reprints, I contacted them and asked them to take on this book and reissue it. To my great delight, they not only took it on, but also decided to reissue the other two books in the series with new covers.

New cover for reissue

In today's publishing landscape, it is important to take charge of your career. In my first example, I evaluated my strengths and comfort and realized I would be happier if my books were with a small publisher even if I didn't earn the high percentage royalties as I would if self-published. When my book wasn't doing well at one publisher, I made the decision to take back my rights and then trust the book to another small press. In the second example, I retrieved my work from a place where it languished with virtually no sales and put it with a publisher where my books have had moderate to bestselling success.

The amount of relief I felt after taking that leap of faith to pull my books from one venue and entrust it to another can't be described. My books were being given a second chance at life and success. There are so many options for writers right now, it is important to keep searching until we find the best place for our books' success. I could have allowed my books and all the work I put into them to wither and be forgotten while I continued to work on new novels, but the effort to find them new homes was more than worth it.

Have you ever had a book reissued? Do you work with more than one publisher? I only have three now and that's enough for me. Have you ever taken your rights back from a publisher and for what reason?

Don't forget to visit IWSG blog today.

Friday, October 24, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

Thanks for all your well-wished during my recent road trip. Just a head's up to anyone traveling, I think half of the routes I traveled on had road construction. It had hours to our trip but we made it home safely. First two nights we had decent wifi but the last night left much to be desired. Actually, it left everything to be desired so I'm still playing catch up. The good news was that I wrote over 1000 words while I waited at the airport for my son to pick me up and then another 500 later that night at the hotel.

I love visiting Colorado and could enjoy living there but it is lovely to be home. My own coffee pot, favorite coffee cup, familiar pillows and reliable, fast Internet. I do love my house but I could do without PA taxes, corrupt government and the weather which is already chilly. My son loves Colorado more than I do but he's glad to be home. A few things he mentioned were a full food cupboard, our well water, and not having to be at work at 4:30 each morning to prepare for a golf tournament.

My daughter studying and working in Morocco this semester is missing home too. Not just her family but things like American food, TV, Starbucks, and the library with books written in English. Both of us love our local library and now she's gained an enhanced appreciation of it.

Some wisdom from The Old Farmer's Alamanac:
Wear mismatched socks to bring good luck.
Square or rectangular doodles indicate an organized and efficient mind.
"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." Mark Twain

I love the Serling quote above. That just about covers how I feel about the two genres I love to write and read. And there are Twilight Zone episodes that gave me nightmares as a child. He was a brilliant artist and the Twilight Zone may have been the least of it.

Doing some writing and enjoying being home this weekend. What are you up to? Isn't being home after a vacation or work trip just the best? Do you always match your socks? My daughter almost never does. Are your doodles saying something about your mind? Yes, mine are square and rectangular. Don't know what that means for me as a writer. What do you think of Serling's quote?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Not In Kansas Anymore

By the time this post goes live, I hope I'm almost done driving through Kansas. After flying to Colorado on Tuesday, I helped my son pack up his apartment and stuff it all into his little car. His golf job is still seasonal this year so he's moving home to PA for a few months until the snow melts. Hopefully, he'll get a promotion and be year round next year.

Many people complain about the sameness of driving through Kansas, but I love the wide open road. I hope it's not raining like it was when we drove west last spring. My point in sharing this is that I'll be late visiting blogs. Hopefully, our hotel on the east side of St. Louis will have good Wifi.

My current WIP is the second book in my Warriors of Gaviron series. I've had to spend some time away from it because of other commitments but I'm really excited about my characters as I enter the midway point in the novel. The first book in the series, The Warrior and the Biologist, has been sitting in the top 100 in a couple of science fiction categories on Amazon for a few weeks now. Wish I could write a little faster.

One of the commitments I've been distracted by is IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. I can only say, Wow! The book is going to be super. By being an 'assistant' editor ( I made that position up) I cheated and jotted down all kinds of interesting ideas during the most recent read-through. Of course, if you visited around to the different blogs on the first Wednesday of October you already garnered all that information. And visit the IWSG blog today for a special guest.

I hope to read some of the books I have on my Kindle on my road trip. More than three hours of flight and a two hour layover should give me some time to read and even do some reviews.

I'm getting very excited about the movie, Interstellar. Once I move James back home, I'll have someone to go see it with. My husband doesn't care for science fiction movies and my lovely sons like going to the movies with me. (Probably because I always pay though I'd like to think it's more than that.)

A forwarded letter to my daughter from Boston arrived on Monday, addressed to her last semester's residence. It was a demand that she appear for jury duty in December. Apparently, Massachusetts is so desperate for jurors that they make college students miss class to serve even though the kids are from out of state. Now you know my daughter is currently in Morocco and won't be back in the states until after the date she's supposed to serve. It was a crazy 'out of the blue' kind of thing and accompanied by two pages of threats if she didn't comply to their demands to serve. How can a city the size of Boston not be able to fill a jury pool and need to take advantage of the kids attending college there?

Did you find some writing goodies during the last IWSG Wednesday? Looking forward to Interstellar? Do you take your eReader when you travel or physical books? Ever been called to serve jury duty out of state?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Survive and Thrive BlogFest

The blogfest is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.
The topics are wide open. You can post about a particular cause you support. Or you can share a personal or family experience that is near to your heart. What’s great about this Blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives.
Hosted by
Stephen Tremp

I waited in the car at the middle school for my 7th grade son, James, to finish basketball practice. He walked out of the school rubbing his the middle of his chest. I questioned him about it and he confessed to having chest pains at times during practice and had experienced them months before when playing football.  After a visit to the family doctor who did and EKG and offered no answers, we ended up at the cardiologist. The doctor shook my son's hand, looked him up and down and said he knew what was wrong with my son. After an ultra-sound, his diagnosis of a form of Marfan syndrome was confirmed. People with Marfan syndrome often die early from heart conditions that result from this connective tissue disorder. If I hadn't noticed my son rubbing his chest, he might never have been diagnosed until the worst happened.

Though it doesn't happen often, the sudden death of a young athlete usually makes headline news. Almost all those deaths are a result of some type of cardiac failure. The majority of those cardiac incidences are hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is a condition where the heart muscle thickens. Many of these deaths could be prevented by EKG screenings done before play is permitted such as is required in some other countries like Italy and Israel.  An abnormality on an EKG would then require further testing. On the other hand some physicians group claim there are too many false positives that would prevent healthy athletes from participation.  No one argues with the cost of these screenings, only the necessity. 

Young Hearts for Life is an example of a program that promotes and performs cardiac screening for your athletes. According to their website, sudden cardiac death claims 60 young people per week. These victims are most often male and participants in football or basketball.  I know many of my fellow bloggers had children who are or will someday participate in sports. Does their school and recreation organization require cardiac screenings? Read what other parents think about it.

James at the Broadmoor
The loss of a loved one hurts more than can be said. When it's a young person, perhaps a physically fit athlete, it is especially heart wrenching and so often preventable. As for my son, James, he has some life-long restrictions but he's a very healthy person. He has participated in track and field, baseball and cross-country since his diagnosis. He runs nearly every day, 10-15 miles, and lifts weights though he's not to ever lift more than half his body weight. He recently graduated from Penn State as a golf professional and is employed at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, the number one golf resort in the country for 2014. Every year he has an ultrasound on his heart and aorta and as long as his blood pressure stays down he's med-free. Not all parents have been as lucky as me. Is this a cause you could get behind?

We often think about health screenings as we age but there are tests we should insist on for our young people.  This blog hop was a super idea. Please read the other blogs and find some great causes to support and perhaps some health advice you should listen to.

Have you ever had an EKG? Do you know a young person with a heart problem? What health screenings to you believe are essential?

Friday, October 17, 2014

This Too Shall Pass

In central Pennsylvania, we've seen the sun for about two hours this week. It didn't rain EVERY minute. Sometimes it was only a constant mist or dark gloom.. And the wind! The sun is supposed to make an appearance today. I might actually be happy to mow the grass as that will mean it has finally dried up a bit. Sorry, I'm complaining about the weather. You know you'll have to put up with my whining about the cold all winter. Anything but sunshine isn't my thing.

This quote seemed appropriate for the day though I usually pick something from JRR Tolkien that has to do with writing.
Darkness must pass,
A new day will come,
And when the sun shines,
It will shine out the clearer.

And from the Old Farmer's Almanac:
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. Audrey Hepburn
He who goes to bed hungry, dreams of pancakes. Maltese proverb

Weekend plans are to catch up on some outside yard work and do some actual writing. I've had to many other things going on lately that limited my time on my WIP. And if time permits I'm writing an article for my local writers' group newsletter.

Musa Publishing is celebrating their 3 year anniversary tonight from 7 PM to 9 PM EST. Take a chance to win lots of eBooks and a Kindle Paper White. All you have to do is visit their Facebook page. Musa is the publisher who had contracted my epic fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles. So far I've been very, very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency of Musa. I'm excited about working with them. Drop by their celebration tonight and meet some of their authors.

Did that massive storm system hit your abode this week? Ever dream of pancakes? What are you working on this weekend or are you just enjoying some sunshine?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monthly Special

Busy as a bee doesn't quite describe it here in the northeast. After all, those buzzing wonders don't work all winter long. As I've started into the second year of my career as a full time writer, I find there is no 'normal' month of work. There's always something going on in the writing side of writing or on the business side of writing. Or the real life issues side of writing.

Blog hops are every where. I enjoy them and find myself involved in at least one but usually more every month. Next Monday is the Survive and Thrive Bloghop. And of course the first Wednesday of every month is IWSG blog.

A big special over the course of the last six weeks has been the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond project. I'm so proud to be part of that still ongoing construction. Can't wait for December!

Besides posting on my personal blog here, I take turns posting on the IWSG blog and today I'm at the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I also belong to a lesser know blog group at The Susquehanna Writers Blog. And I'm already preparing for the A to Z Challenge for next April.

Keeping up my author page on Facebook and trying to grow that has taken some time. I've become more active on Twitter and find I'm enjoying that more. Still haven't figured out LinkedIn but I'm there. I've also been asked to take on the job of secretary for Pennwriters, a state-wide writing organization. Don't even know how much that work will be yet.

On the writing side of writing, my most recent release was at the beginning of September. My romance publisher is doing a re-release of three of my titles with new covers, one at the end of each of the next three months. Musa Publishing has taken on my Futhark Chronicles and will be releasing them during four separate months next year starting in February. Some editing to do on those. And I just signed a contract for the follow up book to First Dragon

On the life side of writing, I'm still stressing about my daughter studying in Morocco. My hair falls out when I stress. LOL. It's getting very thin. And I'll be helping my son move back east from Colorado next week. A long day in the airport flying out there and two long days of driving back. Still, it will be nice to have one of the chicks safely back in the nest.

This isn't a whine post though I'm having some while I write it. What I've learned in my short time of being a full time writer is that you can be as busy as you want to be. There are so many things out there to get involved in. While I worked the day job, I would never have had time to do all these things. By getting involved in them, I'm making lots of friends, learning so much about the industry and giving back a little to the people who have helped me along in my career.

Do you volunteer your time somewhere in the writing community? What part of the writing business beside the actual writing keeps you the busiest? What events are you looking forward to in the next few months?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Finding the Zen

Today is my turn at IWSG. I hope you'll stop over for a visit. I'm discussing some ways to keep your word count up. You can add your own thoughts on how you do it.

As I look over my schedule for the next six months I feel a little, maybe a lot, overwhelmed. Lots of things going on. I would bore you with the list but it seems to get longer every day. On one hand I'm thrilled by all the good things happening. Flip side is concern that I won't be able to keep up. So I'm giving myself a pep talk.

As I work on my current WIP, I'm worried it's not of the quality I expect. I keep telling myself that self-doubt is only my inner editor at work. I need to that person to quiet down.

I've been getting a little anxious about one project that I haven't heard back on from one of my publishers. Patience, I remind myself. When I first started writing, all submissions to publishers went by snail mail. Multiple trips to the post office and lots of money involved in getting a double-spaced manuscript to an editor. So I only had to send an email and try to quell my impatience.

I've been working slowly on building my following on my author's page on Facebook. Facebook can really be a time suck and a place where you see some really irritating posts. Some people use social media to rant on and on about their political views and give the impression that if you don't agree with them you must be an idiot. I calmly un-follow them. Little bit of zen-ish behavior for me.

I'm happy to announce my latest science fiction romance, The Warrior and The Biologist is now available at all major digital book stores. As usual my publisher keeps new releases exclusive to their site for the first month. A good idea that earns more money for them and for me. In the book's first weekend out in the wide world its sales surprised me in a pleasant, zen way.

I also had the pleasure of attending a unique book signing yesterday at a local independent book store for my friend, Heather Heyford. A Taste of Chardonnay is the first book in her Napa Wine series from Kensington. Heather had an ice sculpture of a bottle of chardonnay, real wine, cheese and fruit. It was lovely.

Any thing interfering with your zen this week? What are your reasons for un-following someone on social media? Do you remember having to send submissions to editors and agents by snail mail? Have you attended a unique book signing? Do you have some wisdom on word count to share on IWSG?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Exciting Fall

I always enjoy the colors of fall and since I retired from teaching I enjoy the weather also though sweltering summer is my favorite season. Right before I wrote this post, one of my sons quietly called me to join him outside. A white-tailed doe stood in our driveway, not thirty feet away from us. After staring at us for a moment, she bounded across the road and out of sight. Then her two fawns, both with only a few spots remaining, walked past us, almost within touching distance. Our yard has provided refuge for a bounty of wildlife this year. Besides the four deer families we've seen with regularity, we have a resident skunk who usually keeps his smell to himself. A large hawk lives somewhere nearby and often sits on our pool fence. We've spotted bald eagles high overhead, blue jays every day, and numerous other colorful birds. We've also seen plenty of turkeys in the fields nearby. I LOVE living in the country.

For the writing business this week, I'm finally caught up on a whole lot of things that were not working on my current WIP. I intend to tackle that piece of work this weekend.

From the Old Farmer's Almanac this week: Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
Faults are thick where love is thin. An English proverb.

If you didn't visit IWSG for Anne R. Allen's post about the difference between dreams and goals, you really should. You might recognize yourself somewhere in her descriptions. I did.

Happy leaf raking, soon. Do you enjoy fall? See any wildlife around your abode? Has experience helped you recognizing your mistakes? Did you visit Anne at IWSG?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Many Paths

When I first started writing I dreamed of getting 'the call' and being offered a significant advance by one of the big traditional publishers. I did get a call from a medium-sized publisher once. It was very exciting as was receiving that first advance check. But the publisher world is constantly changing and evolving. Now there are many more paths to being a successful writer than one like my original dream.

That traditional route is still there and some find it and the advance. Many more writers are finding success with small presses. From previous posts you know I'm a big fan of those and work with three different small presses.

More and more writers are finding their niche by self-publishing. It takes a willingness to work and learn a few new things but there's a lot of advice and how-to information available if you want to take that route.

But the evolving publishing world has opened opportunities that just weren't there in the old traditional model. Novellas were virtually unheard of before the eBook. Some were included in anthologies but those weren't near as popular as they are now in the digital age. Now publishers and self-publishers can offer those 15-20K stories digitally at a price readers think is fair.

Collaborative writing is so much easier in this day and age. I've seem lots more of it than ever before. Serial writing is another form of story-telling that benefits from the digital age. Writers can offer their book in segments.

Another thing that has changed with the emergence of successful small publishers and self-publishing is that reissuing of older titles. In my case, that medium publisher who gave me my first advance changed the focus of their company and threw me and most of their authors of genre fiction under the bus. But I recently found a small publisher willing to take on that fantasy series and reissue it. In another example a romance novel I had with a small publisher had a really poor sales record. I took back my rights and convinced my other romance publisher to reissue it. In the old days that would never have happened.

Finding a publisher for poetry has always been a challenge but again the digital age has created a massive array of opportunities for poets to get their work to readers. So though we often complain a bit about how quickly the industry is changing, most of it is for the good of writers.

What did I miss in my roundup of pathways to success? Would you ever do collaborative writing or a publish your novel as a serial? Have you ever had a book reissued?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gwen Gardner and Ghostly Gallows

I'm ever surprised at the unique ways writers weave magic in their stories. When the term paranormal is used to describe a book or genre, that covers a lot of different plot lines. Magical ideas are limited only by the author's imagination. Today Gwen Gardner visits and explains how the protagonist's  magical gifts in her latest book work.  

Double-Edged Spark 
Thanks for hosting me today, Susan!

Susan writes both science fiction and fantasy romance, so I thought I’d share a bit about paranormal romance. Besides the romance part, the different romance genres have something else in common. Such as, what can go wrong and in how many different ways?

I write two series’ with the same protagonist. Indigo Eady is a teenage ghost-whispering, psychometry-reading psychic whose father was murdered. Not only is that a mouthful, but that is a LOT of baggage. What happens when you combine all of that with romance? Chaos, of course! It’s enough to scare any guy away.

One of Indigo’s ‘gifts’ is psychometry. If you haven’t heard of it, the short version is that it’s reading energy through touch. You may have seen on television where a psychic holds an object, such as a watch, and from that receives a vision of what may have happened to its owner.

Indigo’s psychometric ability takes it one step further, which causes all kinds of problems for her. Since she’s dealing with helping ghosts to solve their murders, violence is generally involved. That violence is passed on to Indigo through the objects she touches. When that happens, blisters erupt on her palms and they pop and fester. Her hands are often red, raw and wrapped.

Since Indigo is so often running from the current threat, whether living or dead, she tends to be a bit clumsy. Yeah, she denies it, but it’s true. Her mishaps affect other people. Like Badger, her love interest.
 Only to herself does Indigo admit the spark of the attraction between her and Badger. And that spark causes her abilities to short-circuit or backfire in some seriously inconvenient ways.

For instance, one time Indigo purposely wrapped her palm around a pint of beer belonging to a suspect to see what kind of information she could get. She learned that he wasn’t exactly telling the truth--at a cost to her. Because just touching the glass got her rip-roaring drunk. Then she proceeded to blow chunks all over Badger’s boots while wallowing on the floor and informing him through drunken eyes how cute he was--all four of him.

Then there was the time she was chasing a ghost through the house, bursting into the kitchen in pajamas and bunny slippers with six inch floppy ears. Unable to stop, she slid over the table into Badger and was left lying across the table with her bunny slippers waving in the air. But he did find her am-I-interrupting? quip quite amusing.

Through their investigations, Indigo and Badger have fallen through crumbling buildings, been trapped underground beneath a cemetery, been pinched and poked by malevolent spirits in a dilapidated prison, shot at by a killer, kidnapped by a demon and chased by all manner of beings intent on doing them harm.
 You really gotta like someone to put up with it all. A few shared kisses in between all the chaos helps.
 Luckily, there’s that spark I mentioned. Yeah, a double-edged spark.

Blurb: Ghostly Gallows:

The case of missing paranormals is far from solved.
Hundreds of Sabrina Shores’ spirits are still missing.

In Second Death, Indigo and her friends escape an eternity underground in evil clutches. Back aboveground with a few missing ghosties happily in tow, one truth is painfully clear: the size of their problem is bigger than the village cemetery itself.

Now in Ghostly Gallows, new information leads Indigo and her fellow investigators to the ruins of Gallowsgate Prison, long abandoned by everyone and everything except malevolent spirits. It’s not called Gallowsgate for nothing when the noose swings a little too close to home.

Indigo Eady:

Much to her chagrin, Indigo Eady is a celebrity among spirits. She’s the girl who can see and speak with them. She has a proven track record in helping spirits find their murderers, so it’s no surprise when she’s drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. Who better to help them than the experienced teenage ghost whisperer- investigator and her friends?

Connect With Gwen Here:

Buy Ghostly Gallows Here:

About the Author:

Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter.

Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series and Afterlife series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face - but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate - not necessarily in that order.

What is the strangest magic you've read about or written? Do you find yourself more attracted to ghostly or horror stories near Halloween? Do you believe in psychic abilities? Are you familiar with Gwen and her books?

Friday, October 3, 2014

First Friday

My mother always used to say the weather for a new month would follow whatever Mother Nature graced us with on the first Friday of the month. Sunny and mild here today with a few clouds later. I can live with that for October. I love the days when I don't need AC or heat on in the house. Windows open and fresh air throughout the abode.

Wisdom from The Old Farmer's Almanac related to the above. October breezy, November wheezy, December freezy. And another. To sleep well, kept the bedroom temperature no higher than 68 degrees.

The posts presented on Wednesday for the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond were incredible. The members of our group have so much wisdom to share and they did. The book is going to be awesome.

After a stressful eight days when my daughter was out of touch as she toured Morocco we made contact on Monday. She had a fun adventure and shared some of it on her blog, The Open Roof.

Other excitement for me this week was the strange surge in sales of my Recon Marine Series. All three books climbed back up the Amazon rankings for some reason, even spending some time in the top 100 of multiple science fiction categories. Once again convincing me I know little about promotion but I'm grateful that more readers have found the series.

I'm excited about the meeting of my local writers' group, CPRW. It's election time for new officers and we have some wonderful people willing to take on the responsibilities. Then I have some writing to catch up on for my WIP. I've neglected it for most of the week.

Has your October been breezy? Do you keep your bedroom cool? Did you submit an article for the IWSG book? Ever ride a camel in the desert?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Guide to Publishing and Beyond

It's finally October and in celebration of the third anniversary of IWSG we're putting together a free ebook titled, IWSG: A Guide to Publishing and Beyond. Today on our usual first Wednesday posting of the month, the group is sharing the post we've submitted to the book. You should know by now that the entire IWSG universe is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can find the entire list of participants here and if you haven't joined by now, what are you waiting for? 

Are You Ready to Submit?

The time has come for you to send your creation out into the world of publishing. Before you submit a query or pitch to an editor or agent at a conference you need to be prepared with your sales pitch. In the world of publishing, there are four general pitches you should prepare ahead of time.

The Logline.
This one sentence pitch should include five key factors. The who, the what, the when/where, the how and the why. Use this example sentence and fill it in with your unique information and then work with it to make it more sensible and interesting.
In a (setting/when/where) a (protagonist/who) has a (difficulty caused by an antagonist/the what) and (faces the conflict/how) as the tries to (achieve the goal/why.)
In a face to face meeting, this simple line could lead to a lengthier interview or request for a longer description.

The Elevator Pitch
This is the nickname for a five to six line pitch such as you might use at a conference if you luck out and run into an editor in the elevator or at the bar. The easiest way to do this is expand on your logline. A sentence with the setting, one about the protagonist, another about the difficulty or challenge, the fourth about facing the conflict and the last should be why facing it is important or the protagonist’s goal.
The elevator pitch also comes in handy as a guide to the short paragraph usually requested in a query letter to briefly describe your story. Make each sentence count.

Short Synopsis
Often times an agent or publisher will ask for a one page summary of your novel. Include the five elements mentioned above for the shorter pitches and give each a bit more attention. This is a chance to add all those unique elements of your setting, your characters and the difficulties facing them. Even though a page might seem very long compared to the elevator pitch, make each sentence count. You’ll also be judged on your writing. Are you using active verbs and avoiding those adverbs? Include anything that makes your characters different and compelling. Don’t forget to include the ending or conclusion of the story. Editors expect to find out how the conflict is resolved when reading a synopsis.

Longer Synopsis or Outline
Sometimes an editor will put a page count on this request. It might be five to six pages or even as long as twelve. Or they might not specify on the length. The easiest way to do it is make each chapter a short paragraph. If the paragraph for a certain chapter seems frivolous or uninteresting that may give you a clue that you should cut some scenes from your book. Even in a long synopsis you don’t have to include everything or mention every secondary character. Again remember your writing style and voice are being judged at the same time as the content of your story is. Don’t make your outline a dry dissertation of facts. Remember when you were in school and had to give those dreaded book reports. Report with all the enthusiasm of sharing the most favorite book you’ve ever read.

Be prepared with all four types of pitches before trying to sell your book. Chances are you’re going to need them sooner or later. The logline and the elevator pitch will come in handy at book signings when readers stop by and ask what your book is about. Once you’re prepared your pitches, impose on your critique partners to evaluate them and make it as perfect as you can.

Are you experienced writing pitches? Do you find them difficult? Have you submitted your article to the book?