Monday, July 27, 2015

Sprint Journal and Vacation

You've heard me mention that I now use a sprint journal. Some of you have asked questions about what exactly a sprint journal is and how it helps raise your word count. Today over at the IWSG blog, Ramona DeFelice Long, an author, editor and writing instructor who introduced me to the sprint journal at a workshop during the conference I attended in May. She graciously agreed to do a guest post for us. You can also learn about her upcoming class on her blog.

I finished my edits on Sunday. I was surprised how many little things I found to change on a manuscript that has undergone so many rounds of editing. The first publisher who contracted Keepers of Sulbreth took it through five rounds of edits as did Musa Publishing before they closed. Now it is in the hands of my current publisher for a final read through before it's reissued next month. As I finished up yesterday, I tried to put a number on the drafts this book has seen or how many times I've read and made corrections. It has to be well above twenty from that first rough draft five years ago. At the aforementioned conference, the keynote speaker, Ridley Pearson, mentioned that he sometimes does more than fifteen drafts of a book. I begin to understand how that happens. But it's done now. Yippee.

A few fun facts as July winds down from The Old Farmer's Almanac.
July's birthstone, the ruby, was once thought to bring health to the wearer. 
Friday, July 31st, is the Full Thunder Moon and is also a Blue Moon. If you recall, the last full moon was July 1st so we have the rare second full moon in the same month.

On Wednesday I'm leaving for Myrtle Beach where all my children will gather for Friday. On Friday, my oldest natural son will marry his lovely fiance on the beach as they both have dreamed of doing. Hopefully, we'll have some good weather. So this will be my only post for this week but I'll be back a week from now for the first Monday in August. There will be pictures.

Are you ready to learn about sprint journals? After how many drafts and edits do you get tired of reading your own work? Own any rubies? I don't. Maybe that's why my knees hurt. Did you know July was a once in a blue moon kind of month?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mish Mash, I Have to Dash

I'm busy working on the final edits for the reissue  of Keepers of Sulbreth. I was worried they'd arrive in my inbox next week when I'm on vacation. So I'll be working on them diligently between now and Monday. I considered not blogging today, feeling I didn't have anything to share today. And
I don't have much but some of my friends do.

Ramona DeLong will be our guest next Monday on the IWSG blog but this well known writing professional is also teaching a class in August titled Necessary Parts. It's a two week online course directed at creating log lines, query paragraphs, short and long synopsis. I can personally vouch for Ramona's expertise.

Yesterday, the always clever Patricia Stoltey shared her take on the frenzied advances of technology and how she's putting her foot down. Visit her and share where you'll feel like you just can't keep up anymore. I have to agree with her about the people walking around with staring at their phones.

I stumbled on another entertaining post about technology by Alan Tucker on Emblazon. And in case you don't know what little boys are made of (snips and snails), Alan will answer that question.

Also, I took a picture to share with you what my daughter brought me back from Oman. I told her over and over again not to purchase gifts. College students need to watch their money. As you can see, she made wise choices. A Borders bag for nostalgia and a little camel magnet to keep me
company in my office. It's perfect.

And now some wisdom from the Old Farmer's Almanac.

To keep  jewelry from tarnishing, place a piece of chalk in the jewelry box.

"You grow up the day you have your first real laugh--at yourself." Ethel Barrymore

Did you find some agreement with Patricia? Did you know what a 'snip' is? Have you taken any online classes? Are you pretty confident about writing the 'Necessary Part' before you submit something?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Make Plans and Prime Fail

Last Wednesday was Prime Day to celebrate Amazon's 20th birthday. I've been a Prime member for a long time but I didn't buy anything. I checked a few time throughout the day and couldn't find any deals that appealed to me.  Buzzfeed collected some of the best, most sarcastic tweets about the disappointing day. I heard Amazon made a lot of money but they disappointed a lot of customers.

I've made some plans to be part of a big author event in October. The first annual York Book Expo
will take place on October 17th. It sounds exciting with more than 100 authors participating. I promise pictures and a report though you never know how those things will go especially in its first year.

You've heard me complaining about the rain but one of the good things to come out of that is the thriving foliage in my flowerbeds. I haven't watered anything since early May but you can see in these pictures how they're growing. The tomato plant looks like some kind of genetically enhanced food source. I don't even like tomatoes.
my pool

At least I have the pool to cool off in after I spend hours trying to keep up with the weeds and grass. Later today, I'm taking three large bags of books to the used store where I hope they find new homes. The store, 2nd and Charles, is part of the BAM empire and they give only pennies for books. I usually pick up a stack of new-to-me books when I visit, but I've been making an effort to clear off some of my shelves. Will I ever read those books I've collected again? Some I thought I would but have now decided I wouldn't. If we do downsize next year or the year after, I won't have the room I have now. I regret letting them go but hoarding is not my style.

This evening is all about working on that WIP that has already taken me an entire month longer than I expected. Bad me but I've been reading some good books this summer when I should be writing. I'm currently reading Anatomy of Evil by Will Thomas. It's a mystery/suspense series that takes place in Victorian London.

Did you buy anything on Prime Day? Are there any book events going on in your area you're attending or participating in during the next few months? How are your flowerbeds looking this year? I know those of you in the western part of the country have been short of rain. What do you do with books you no longer have room for? Are you reading something good right now?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

52 Likes by Medeia Sharif, Ouch for Self-Publishers

I came upon this article in Publishers Weekly about the class action lawsuit some authors have been involved in against the self-publishing giant Author Solutions. Didn't go so well for the authors as the judge basically said they had no real prove that Author Solutions was running their business to make their profit by fees charged to authors instead of actually helping the authors sell books. Read the details if your want a grimace to start the day.

In happier news, today is something called Prime Day. Amazon is celebrating its 20th birthday even though it seems the retailer has been around forever. On this day, the retail giant is offering special deals to its Prime members that are supposed to rival Black Friday. Is it a sweet deal or just a temptation to spend money on gadgets?

In other good news, Medeia has a book special going on this week. Only a few more days to make a great buy 

Medeia Sharif's 52 LIKES is 99 cents on Amazon for a limited time. This edgy, paranormal YA title has been receiving rave reviews. Important issues such as rape, bullying, and social media abuse are tackled in this novel. You can connect with Medeia through her blog, Twitter account, Goodreads page, and Instagram to learn more about this book and her other titles.

52 LIKES, Evernight Teen, 2015: After a brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie wants to get past feelings of victimhood from both the assault and her history of being bullied. She’s plagued by not knowing the identity of her rapist and by the nasty rumors in school about that night. Valerie follows clues from ghostly entities, past victims of the rapist-murderer, contacting her through a social media site—why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How Great Was That?

Wow, the past three days have been great. On Friday, I got Blog Blitzed! Blog Blitz 2.0 is the invention of DL Hammons. If you're not part of this group that every so often sends a whole lot of
commenting love to a fellow blogger, you don't know what you're missing. I was completely surprised and honored and touched and ... you know what I mean. Thank you to all the wonderful visitors, many of whom dropped in on Saturday or Sunday.

I also wanted to thank Tyrean Martinson. A short time ago, I won a first page evaluation for my WIP. She spotted one of my constant misspelled words right away and gave me some great suggestions to draw my reader into that important first scene. It's so great to get fresh new eyes on my writing. Thanks, Tyrean.

One of my local writer friends share this link where the typical Twitter user is described. It only takes a minute to look it over.  Except for the education and income part, I don't fit the typical profile. Too old, too white and too female. But I have my friends there so I think I fit in with them. I avoid the hate attacks that happen, two big ones over the last few weeks. Ouch. It gets really mean on there.

Another great thing this weekend was a bridal shower for my future daughter in law. A little more than two weeks until the wedding. And they're both ready to have kids so call me granny by this time next year, I hope. My son, the oldest of my natural children, is so like me and we've always been very close even during those teen years. I've missed him since he bought his own house. He still constantly raids my bookshelves and makes me resort to all kinds of threats to get my books back. I'm so happy he found a wonderful woman to love and share his life with.

"Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter." Melissa Marr

My daughter and I spend a few hours in the pool, not all at once, over the weekend and had lots of time to catch up. Then we went to the shower together and finished Sunday afternoon off with two hours at Barnes and Noble. We came up four books heavier but had fun and an overpriced drink.

As you can see, I had a very upbeat weekend with little writing to show for it. But I had family fun and online bonding with other bloggers and writers. Does it get any better than that?

"The best thing to hold onto in life is each other." Audrey Hepburn

Did anyone out there have a better few days than I did? Where do you fall in the typical Twitter user stats? Ever have your blogger friends humble you with kindness like the Blitz did to me?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Today's Excuses

The humidity is at about 1000% outside so you know I want to be out there. Actually, by the time you read this, I probably am. I have to mow the grass today. On the best of days it takes a little over two hours. Then I'll have to get in the pool to cool off. And catch up to all my blogging buddies and then....

Yes, there are endless excuses and procrastination activities to keep me away from my first draft. But I'm fighting through. Yesterday I weeded every part of the estate except for the flowerbeds around the pool and still I wrote 2500 words on that messy first draft.

Last night I paused long enough to watch the latest Ninja Turtle movie with my youngest son. It was silly and I felt dumber after watching it, but time with my son isn't wasted. And filled in about five hundred more words in the midst of the movie.

I'm reading a really suspenseful book now, The Bone Tree, sequel to Natchez Burning by Greg Iles. I want to sit with a big cup of coffee until I finish it, but I put it down at page #285 to finish a scene. Then a book I ordered from Amazon arrived in the mail and I've been waiting nearly a year for it to come out. But I didn't open it.

I needed a few things at the store but I made it in and out in record time. All the better to get back to writing.

This Friday, I'll be skipping my usual week-ending blog post to spend more time on that WIP. Tomorrow I'll be making homemade bread and salad for dinner, but that will only take me minutes. I'm streamlining the rest of the week so I get some work done.

Did you find some good excuses this week? How did you procrastinate and what were you avoiding? Is a good book calling your name? How long does it take you to mow your grass?

On a side note, my daughter's student group in Oman voted on superlatives for each other. She was unanimous choice as Most Likely to Quietly Take Over the World. That's my girl!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Question of the Month

Today I'm joining the Question of the Month. This blog hop idea started with Michael G. D'Agostino, a blogging friend from Australia. He runs a very entertaining blog, A Life Examined. The blog is entertaining because Michael shares his interesting adventures with humor and insight. My life seems so bland compared to what he gets up to. For the hop, Michael posts a question and you share your answers and explain them a bit. You can join the hop by signing onto the list here. This month's question:

"What are three things you would do tomorrow if fear wasn't stopping you?"

This is a difficult question for me. Money keeps me from doing things more than fear. At this point in my life, nearly all my fears involve worrying about my loved ones.

1. I would skydive. I'm not terrified of heights but they make me very uncomfortable. But the views and peace of falling through a clear sky sounds like something wonderful.

2. I would really like to do some cave diving though I'm not a great swimmer. I would likely be terrified to be in the deep dark, but how cool would it be to see things that few people ever have.

3. I would put myself 'out there' more as a writer. I don't pursue enough opportunities that might improve my marketing. It's a kind of fear, perhaps lack of confidence.

"Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace." Amelia Earhart

Thanks to all the well-wishes last weekend. My daughter did arrive safely though it took two hours from landing until she and her friends made it through customs. Not unexpected as they were flying in from the Middle East during the holiday weekend. Lots of family fun, food, games and a little bit of wine made the weekend speed by. Hope you all had a safe holiday.

Plans for the month are to finish the first draft of that WIP I've been working on a way too slow pace. I need to get it done because August is filled with lots of other things. More on that later this month. For this week on the home front, I would be happy if it would just not rain more than once.

Do you have some fears you wish you could overcome? Do you know Michael at A Life Examined? Did you do anything fun or exciting this past weekend? Do you have plans or goals for July?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Day

I try to never wish my life away but I've been longing for July 3rd for a while now. My regular readers know my daughter won a grant from the rulers of Oman to do a 6 week long intensive language study in Arabic. She's had a lovely time, greatly improved her language skills and had a close look at a truly peaceful Muslim culture. That doesn't mean I wasn't nervous about her being in the Middle East. But today she's flying into Washington DC.

I'm dreading the traffic issues around the nation's capitol this holiday weekend but it's worth it to have her home. We'll be combining a July 4th family gathering with a celebration of my daughter's return and her 21st birthday which actually occurred while she was in Oman. We may consume some wine.

Like many Americans, I spent a lot of the 4th being grateful for what we have in this country. It's not perfect in many, many ways but it's so much better than a lot of other places. I'm grateful for the people who work to keep the USA the place it is. I'm grateful that we don't have to all agree with each other and can have civil discourse about our differences. I love this country. I really enjoy watching the bald eagle that circles over our property some days.

"It has gone so far that we must now be a free, independent state or a conquered country." Abraham Clark, signer of the Declaration of Independence
I'm glad we went with the free, independent state idea.

Today, July 3rd, starts the Dog Days of summer. Lots of heat and humidity. My kind of weather though it's not for everyone. It has to improve over June when our local area had rain 23 out of 30 days. I actually had trouble with my pool's PH balance because we had so much acid rain.

Hope you have a safe and happy July 4th. If you're not in USA, be happy for us anyway. Do you have special plans for the holiday weekend? Does this holiday fill you with gratitude or is it all about the fireworks? Love or hate the Dog Days?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG: July Version

It's the first day of July and the first Wednesday of the month. That means IWSG bloghop posting. If you're a stranger to this bloghop. IWSG was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, writer of bestselling space opera and a leader in the blogging community. On the first Wednesday of every month, participants share their current insecurity or share how they're beating insecurity this month. You can sign up on the list at IWSG website and find a list of participants. It's fun and you'll meet a lot of knowledgeable writers.

I received my IWSG tee-shirt two days ago. It's really nice. Along with my A to Z Challenge tee-shirt, I can proudly show the world that I'm a writer and a blogger.

My insecurities this month are the usual for the summer months and July is worse than normal. When I was teaching school, summer was the time I had the chance to be a full-time mom. Then when I started writing full time, summer was the time my kids were home from college and I could spend time with them. I don't want to be inside or even on the porch or deck writing. I want to hang out with my children. I want to be outside in the sun. I want to float in the pool on a raft with my daughter and talk about everything and nothing. But I'm already behind on my WIP. I wanted to have the first draft done by the end of June. I'm about 3/5ths done. And there are FOUR family events going on this month, so that will be more time away from the computer.

Happy Canada Day to our friends to the north. I read this quote somewhere.
"Canada is a country that works better in practice than in theory." Stephanie Dion, Canadian politician

Keep a thing 7 years and you will find a use for it. Gaelic proverb

Did you share your insecurity today? Have you gotten your tee-shirt yet? If you're Canadian, can you explain that quote? Would you keep something for 7 years if you weren't using it?