Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting On With It

I'm done whining about my injuries. Time to get busy with all the work I'm behind on. Warm sunny weather if finally here so I'm off to finally get those flowerbeds in shape. It will probably be another week or two before I can to the heavy lifting but I can chop off the bulb greenery for now.

I can also sit back at my desk and get busy writing and putting together those blog posts I've gathered from the conference. Some will be on my blog but others will be on the IWSG blog. I know I mentioned it before, but I hope you're following the IWSG Twitter account also. Hopefully, you're already following us on Facebook.

I also am digging into that stack of books I want to read now that it's warm enough to sit on my front porch. A cup of coffee, my rocking chair and lots of birds to keep my company.

Here's a sample of the great links we've been sharing over on Twitter. From the Better Novel Project: 5 Times Katniss Nailed Deep Point of View.

From Flavorwire: Big Publishing is Not as Big Anymore.  The numbers don't lie but they can be confusing. I discussed this a number of times at the writers' conference last weekend.

And a good one from Writer's Digest: 10 Questions Writers Must Ask Before Quitting Their Day Job. I know that is the dream of many writers. A new one for me on this list but one that makes sense. Do you know where you'll get your healthcare if you quit the day job?

Some wisdom shared by The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Give your children too much freedom and you lose your own.  Russian proverb
The total weight of all the ants on Earth is close to that of all humans.

Today is my daughter's birthday. Just one long celebration month for her. She requested crockpot mac-n-cheese, a family favorite.

Did you find the stats about big publishing as interesting as I did? Thinking about quitting that day job? Are you worried all those ants will get hungry?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Back in the Groove

What a great conference I attended this past weekend. I'll be telling you more about it in the coming weeks as I highlight some of the great workshops I experienced. I also have a few great guests lined up. Can't wait to tell you about them, but not today.

Weather is such a cliche conversation topic but if it doesn't stop raining every day in May, I'm going to ... I don't know what. Grow moldy, maybe.

Ankle is recovering. Ribs going a bit slower. Injuries sure healed quicker when I was younger.

A bad thing about writing conferences, I always come home with more books for my TBR pile. One of them was even free. I purchased the other two and got them signed. Both those writers on also on the future guests list. I surprised myself but getting quite a bit of writing done on my WIP at night after workshops and socializing was over. It helps when you can't sleep because of fricking broken ribs.

On the entertainment front, two of my favorite shows are done for the season. Once Upon a Time and The 100 both ended with terrific two part finales. One is a feel good fantasy about fairy tales come to life and the other is grim science fiction set in a post-apocalypse Earth. This summer, I looking forward the last season of Hell on Wheels and The Musketeers. Come on, BBC America, when are your bringing back those swaggering swordsmen with their cool hats?
The 100

The daughter is working from home for about four weeks until she leaves for Morocco for the rest of the summer. It's fun to have her around, especially when it comes to mowing the grass. If it ever stops raining.

Have you joined the IWSG twitter yet? Please stop by and give a shout out.

"Women with clean houses do not have finished books."  Joy Held

So is your house clean this week or are you reading and writing a lot? Any thing entertaining on TV for you this summer? Get yourself over to Twitter and join us.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Michelle Howard Talks Kindle Worlds

My daughter and her friends at BU graduation
I've been away for a while. Last week and weekend were really busy as my husband and I traveled to Boston to witness my daughter's graduation. A little motherly bragging here. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with two degrees and received a special honors award. It was a terrific weekend right up until the moment I stepped in a hole in the sidewalk. I ended up in the emergency room with a serious ankle sprain and a few fractured ribs. Fun times but worth it to share my daughter's success. And lucky for me, I have a guest to take care of the work here today while I ice and try to take a deep, painful breath.

I'm always happy to have Michelle Howard guest on my blog. Michelle is a very accomplished and successful indie-author. She's daring and energetic in pursuing every possible avenue to success.

I want to start with a huge thank you to Susan, who is always gracious enough to invite me to share. Writing guest posts is as nerve wrecking as the blurb process for me. I’m never sure which words will catch someone’s interest using such a short format. Then it hit me. So much has changed in the publishing landscape since I ventured into self-publishing two years ago. The changes have had an impact on small press, the Big 5 and indie authors for sure. Sometimes the changes occur at a rate that’s hard to keep track of, let alone adjust to the swing. Because of that, I thought it would be nice to briefly touch on a little bit of the things I’ve tried or done along the way during my very newbie status to increase visibility.

I’m always eager to try something new or to stick a toe in the water of a trend to see if it’s a good fit for me. I’ve been surprised at the results and a few times not so much. I went full in on making all of my ebooks available in print and last year I started on audiobooks. I even experimented with KU (Kindle Unlimited). Print and audio have been surprisingly fun and readers have expressed their pleasure at having the other formats. In terms of ROI, I think that’s genre and author dependant. I’m also sure there are long-term effects that I’ve yet to see but I don’t regret trying these two. KU was not successful for me, though I know many authors who love it and it certainly feeds the demands of voracious readers while saving them from an out of control book budget. I’m not sure I’ll do it again unless I come up with a means of making it more beneficial.

My latest try as an author is Kindle Worlds. For those who’ve never heard the term, the easiest way to explain KW is fanfiction. Simple. LOL. Authors of series have made their universes available for other writers to dabble in. Of course, there are rules and guidelines to follow but for the most part it’s pretty easy. The books are exclusive to Amazon and the prices are tier based on the length of the book you submit. SE Smith invited me a few months ago to participate in the new launch of her Magic, New Mexico-KW, which is based off of her Magic, New Mexico series that involves paranormal and sci-fi romance. Along with 8 other authors I jumped at the chance to play in the sandbox with others in my genre. We were given a due date and a series bible with details of SE Smith’s series, character sheets, background and everything we needed to know to set our stories in her world. I’m not sure if everyone does it the same but it was a pretty smooth process. The books went live last week, scheduled on the same day and at the same price.

I’m not sure what the results of this will be but I’m glad I tried it. I discovered authors I’ve never interacted with and renewed social connections with authors I’ve only met once. The ladies were amazing and none more so than SE Smith. Readers’ feedback has been positive for the most part and if this introduces my books to new eyes, I’ll count it a win.

If given the chance, I highly recommend the experience. You don’t have to wait to be invited as Amazon has a KW page with a list of participating series listed by author names. There’s a vetting and approval process but it certainly doesn’t hurt to take a peek. Below is my Kindle World paranormal romance release, Taste of Magic, which features my warlock hero and his ordinary human heroine.

Thanks again to Susan for having me back and thanks for letting me share a little. 

Michelle's latest is getting excellent reviews. Check out the reasons for her success! She writes a great story!

Next weekend, I'll be attending the annual Pennwriters Conference. I'll be back on Monday with a lot of great information I gather up and hopefully rope in some guests.

Did Michelle's wisdom clear up any of the confusion of any of the Kindle programs? Have you tried KU or Kindle Worlds? What was your experience?




Monday, May 9, 2016

A to Z Reflections

After a week to recover, it's time to think about how we all survived April.  You can find more reflections post and add your own at the A to Z site. Make sure to link directly to your reflection post and not your blog in general.

The Good
I made it through. I had all my posts done ahead of time and I enjoyed writing them.
I had lots of visitors each day.
I visited some really terrific blogs nearly every day such as:
Burggraf's Blog
Messymimi's Meanderings

The Not So Good
I didn't visit as many people as I wanted to during the challenge.
I neglected some of the blogs I regularly visit.
I didn't write near as much as I planned during the month. And when I did, it was in shorts spurts that is leaving holes in my plot lines and character development. Another words, a lot of it was crap.

The Verdict
Will I do the A to Z again next year? Probably. It's not for sure though I'm leaning toward doing it. It might have a lot to do with selling my house next spring and where I'm at with that. Moving means interrupted internet so we'll see.

Onto some more social media news. If you're a writer, you should belong to the IWSG. Follow the blog and post every month. It's so easy. Join the Facebook group. And today, follow us on Twitter @TheIWSG. I promise, we'll follow you back. The IWSG management will be using another social media avenue to share news, insights and the professional and emotional support to our wonderful group.

I enjoyed Mother's Day with my sons. They weren't all here at the same time because of work issues and my daughter wasn't home at all. She called twice. I'm so proud of the adults they've become. They're not perfect but they didn't have a perfect mother. And I'm blessed with two step-sons I couldn't love more. Hope you had a chance to spend time with your mother or your children visited you.

"A mom's hug lasts long after she lets go." Unknown
"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." Robert Browning

Have you followed IWSG on Twitter? Did you reflect on A to Z? Have you found some interesting blogs lately?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG and Parallels: Felix Was Here

First Wednesday means IWSG. This terrific support group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and has grown and flourished with his guidance. The group has its own website and Facebook group. On the first Wednesday of every month, each member posts about their writing journey, the good, the bad and the calls for help. We're all here to encourage, empathize and share. Find the entire list at the IWSG page.

I'm a co-host this month along with the terrific bloggers:
Stephen Tremp
Stephanis Faris
Bish Denham
Fundy Blue
M.J. Fifield
Loni Townsend

The first order of business is to announce the release of IWSG first fiction anthology. Parallels: Felix Was Here, showcases the talents of our group.

 What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

Order it today at Amazon    Barnes and Noble   or iBooks

It's already garnering great reviews. Check it out.

I've been really busy and I find my writing progress falling by the wayside. It's happened before and some days, when I get those minute paychecks, I wonder why I keep doing this. I know it will pass, but I'm having some of those moments. A fellow writer shared this with our group because others were feeling the same way as me.

It’s you against you. — Creed (2015 boxing movie with Sylvester Stallone)

90% of being a successful artist isn’t talent. It’s physical fatigue, mental energy and emotional maturity. — Keith Urban

So, I'm going to be mature and get over myself. Never stop fighting for that dream.

Have you picked up the anthology yet? What is interfering with your writing progress this month? Ever feel like your greatest opponent is you?

Monday, May 2, 2016

QotM and May It Pass

May is here and with the first Wednesday of the month, we have the Question of the Month Blog Hop run by Michael D'Agostino. You can find him at A Life Examined. This month's question:

“If a friend came to you looking for advice on starting a blog, what three pieces of advice would you give them?”

This is rather good timing for this question after a month when so many bloggers have just completed The A to Z Blogging Challenge. Mostly today, I just wanted to not turn my computer on after such a hectic month, but I'll give this a go.

1. Don't start until you know what you want to blog about. If you're just keeping a journal of helping your child with their homework, you might not find many people interested in reading that. But if you don't care if you grow an audience of readers, it doesn't matter what you write.

2. Read a lot of blogs before you start yours to get ideas and help you decide which platform you like best.

3. Know going in that blogging does take time. Are you sure you want to commit to it?

May is very busy for me. I have my local writer's meeting this Saturday. The entire second weekend in the month will be spent in Boston at my daughter's graduation. The third weekend is the annual writer's conference that I help run. And then it's Memorial Day. And in between times I have so much lawn work to do, the pool to open and some other household fix-ups. Oh, and I have to do some writing too. I'm not in a hurry to get through any of those things but I will be busy.

And a last piece of blogging advice, join an active supportive group like the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Don't forget, this week is our monthly first Wednesday posting. There is a lot of good stuff coming your way during the upcoming months for IWSG. If you're not a member, why not?

What advice do you have for a wanna-be blogger? Do you have plans for May?