Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sept. 30

GAH! I typed September 30- my goodness the months fly around here. A dear friend on Facebook wrote about buying all her Christmas presents. What?! I think she was visiting family soon and didn't want to ship them- okay- whew. Thinking of Christmas presents now is only good if you are hand crafting them-then yes, you need to get started. lol. Otherwise, let's leave the season for the season.
While she is thinking Christmas I am reading "The Perfect Murder" by David Lehman. It's an academic study of the "Best Mysteries Ever Written." Next semester I have to write a paper on where my thesis story fits in the genre. I'm a bit nervous about that paper as I'm so thick when it comes to figuring out things like theme and genre. But I'm learning. People can learn, right? lol. Cheers~

Oh- tomorrow's blog will be late as I have an appointment in the morning. N

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sept. 29

I have a confession to make. I am not the best promo person when it comes to promoting my books. I discovered today-a week too late- that the five heart review DREAM MAN got at The Romance Studio qualified it to be in the running for book of the week. Had I known this I would have asked you all to go vote-because readers vote on the website. And then, if it had won, I would have been featured on the front page for a week. Sigh. This is not the first time I missed something like this. When MR. CHARMING received a Top Pick award from The Long and The Short of It Reviewers- they also put it in the list to be voted on for book of the week. Again it got no votes because I didn't know and run out and tell all my readers to vote.
*slaps hand on forehead* duh!
Lol- Writer friends do you think these kinds of votes and promotions sell books? Or are the people voting the ones who have already bought books?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sept 28

The sun is shining. The sky is that clear honest blue of cold weather. The tree leaves are turning brown and yellow and red. It smells of burnt wood from a neighbor's fireplace and fallen leaves. Squash beetles are climbing in droves along the back of the house seeking out cracks to get through the winter. (I have to spray.) The geese are here. They came in on the first day of Fall, honking and whirring wings and splashes onto the lake at precisely 10 a.m. This is the fourth year in a row they have arrived. They come. The talk. They eat. They rest and within an hour they fly off. Until tomorrow when they come back at ten a.m.
Do you think they are the same geese returning every day or are we on the flight path and seeing new geese every day? Hmm, I wonder.
Hope your day is lovely! Cheers~

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sept 27

Today is this month's deadline day for my Master's program. I got things sent off- whew. I still have two books to read and write a report on before next month's deadline. Both books are sitting nearby. I read them when I have five minutes here and there. For some reason this time I am looking forward to the end of the semester. Perhaps it is because I will be 3/4 done with the program. I'm at that point in a marathon when you simply grow tired. The end is near but not near enough. It becomes a matter of mind over matter.
This happens with every novel I write as well. As much as I love it, by the time I'm on my 14th check for commas and hyphens, etc. I am done. LOL Writer friends, do you have the same problem? Cheers~

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sept. 24

I need to thank the lovely Marilyn Brant, author, with a book out next week~ Friday Mornings at Nine. She blogged about Blake Snyder and his "Save the Cat" series for screenwriters. I was intrigued and went to my handy dandy public library and reserved a copy of "Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies." It is the second book in the series. I opened it up began to read and thought- yes! This is good. This is great! I wish I had read this twenty years ago when I first started writing. Why? Because he talks about something I harp on a lot- Story. He says it's story that makes a great movie. When he first started out screenwriting he'd have a great idea and a couple of scenes in his head but couldn't sell them because he had no story. This is me. I usually get a character and a couple of scenes and launch into story as I go. This works most of the time for me but not always. Blake's book tells step by step how he takes an idea and creates a story around it. How those stories work in movie genres (which translate easily to book genres). He uses examples of well known movies such as Alien and Saving Private Ryan.
If you've never read this book, Go, get your hands on a copy. It just could change your life. Okay so that's a bit dramatic...but trust me it will serve you far better than "Self Editing for Writers." Why? Because you can always get help with commas but no one can fix a bad story.
Have you read it? Let me know what you think. Cheers~

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sept. 23

Yesterday was officially Fall. Also a full moon with Jupiter directly underneath. Someone said this wouldn't happen again for 50 years. I got to wondering if I'd be around in fifty years. What the world will be like and whether any of the troubles of today would matter then. Remember high school? All the troubles that happened then, the mistakes and humiliations, the successes. Does any of it matter now? (Unless you are still in high school, I certainly hope that none of it matters. If you are in high school keep in mind that it does end and things move on.) Its all part of living in the moment. This moment. Learning from it and doing our best to be happy.
Last night I got to see Jupiter directly underneath a full moon. That's something I have never seen before because it last happened before I was alive. How cool is that moment?
What cool moments have you had lately?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sept. 22

I logged on today to discover that my book "Dream Man" was reviewed by The Romance Studio and received a 5 heart review. The reviewer wrote, "The book grabbed my interest and held it to the very last page." I bet you can see my smile from there, can't you?
It's always wonderful to know that hard work and something I loved was appreciated by another. To read the whole review, click on the Romance Studio above.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sept. 21

I've been thinking about self sabotage. As writers we fear self sabotage as much as we fear the words you-will-never-be published. We get caught up in making decisions that our hearts don't really mean or aren't our true path because we fear that thought. The thought that if we had only done x,y,z, then we would be the next James Patterson or as successful as Nora Roberts. When we take on projects that aren't connected to our true path-our soul-then we become slave to our creativity. I knew a writer who sold four to six books a year. No, she never made the NYT list and she's not a household name. Yet, she would laugh and say she is a writing whore. She'd write anything for money. It's a business. We sit down. We write. We get paid. If that makes you happy, then go for it.
But if you find yourself miserable, chasing dreams that never come, beating yourself up constantly because you didn't use the right comma or had to many repetitive words. Then I recommend you take a step back. When other people's sales make you feel little inside and less. Take a step back. Because living miserable for years because you "should never quit or change if you want to be Nora" is a form of self sabotage. Isn't it?
Life is too short and too unpredictable to do something that makes you miserable for more than a year. So, go, today and do something that makes you happy. And know that if you are happy then you aren't sabotaging anything. Cheers~

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sept. 20

It's been rainy here and the leaves are starting to turn. It's the premiere of the Fall television season. I'm looking forward to viewing my favorite shows. The thing I don't understand is why they are all on at that same time- on the same night? I'm grateful I have a dvr which can record two shows at once while I watch a third. It's just plain silly- spread out the love people! I remember when I was a kid they would start the fall premieres with a sneak preview night of the coming Saturday morning cartoons. We'd wait up in anticipation in our jammies watching bits of what excitement was in store when the new Saturday shows started. Now with the Disney channel, Nickelodeon and the Cartoon network cartoons are on day and night. Saturday mornings are full of news shows. The anticipation is gone and perhaps a little bit of the fun of it all. What are your favorite shows and do they start this week?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sept. 17

I got my quarterly statement from my publisher yesterday. I am fascinated by the writers who say they make money hand over fist on their e-books. My last two books were offered in both electronic format and in print on demand. With the explosion in electronic book readers, the authors cry- this is where the market is. Why? Books are an impulse buy and electronic books are cheaper and instantaneous.
Now for the interesting part...I only sold one book in e-format last quarter. The majority of my books were bought in paperback. This has been true since I published in e-format. So, my data does not support claims of magic money in electronic books.
Why am I telling you this? I believe this is important information for new authors when making decisions on publishers. And yes, things are changing in the market every day, but this is the information I have right now. I thought I'd share.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sept. 16

I see that there is now a service where you can turn your blog into a book. With some cash and a few simple clicks my blog can become an e-book and be put up for sale. Oh...kay... um, why would anyone pay when they can read my blog for free? *scratches head* All The posts are here and on my craft site. Posts don't disappear you might have to search for them, but they don't disappear. So, why pay?
I was told my craft blog would sell like hotcakes-people are always looking for good write craft info. Um...but...they can read it for free.
Any other bloggers out there publishing their blog as a book? Are there actual sales involved in this? Does creating a book widen your audience? If so-how?

Inquiring minds want to know. Cheers~

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sept. 15

Having lunch today with fellow writer and debut author Joelle Charbonneau. Her fun and quirky mystery, Skating Around the Law, releases on Sept. 28th. Joelle is a singer and voice teacher and was surprised to discover she had a quirky mystery story in her. If you like small towns and roller skating rinks, you'll enjoy this mystery. (It has a hat-wearing camel in it.)
I'm looking forward to getting out of my cut off sweat pants and taking the drive down to lunch. I hope your day is just as fabulous.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sept. 14

I washed my second story windows with one of those products where you attach your hose, wet, spray and rinse. Now my window has suds marks. I swear I rinsed longer than the recommended time. Sigh. The office windows do not tilt in to be cleaned so I will have to get a ladder if I want to be rid of the suds. I think, though, that if I wait the angle of the sun will change and the suds won't be so apparent. (The lazy woman's way out.) The view from my window-once you look through the smear- is one of late Summer, early Fall. Shadows are long and the light hits the leaves in a way that makes them look like diamonds among the dark green. The only bird sounds are the crows and the doves. The migrating geese are not here yet. Perhaps in another week or two they will be landing on the lake for their ten o'clock coffee break. For the last two Falls I've been able to set my watch by their arrival and departure. It's a cool 51 degrees F and I have the windows open. The squirrels have been busy hiding food in my back yard. One of the neighbors is using their fireplace. The scent floats through the window. In the distance someone is mowing. In the suburbs someone is always mowing from the time the snow melts until it comes back.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sept. 13

Don't you think that Monday the 13th should be scarier than Friday the 13th? To me it has more logic to it- after all Friday is the start of the weekend while Monday is the start of the week. I find, though, that I have pretty good luck on a Friday the 13th, but then I'm not a Templar knight. (As I've mentioned before, they all died that day or were run off.)
I am thinking of superstitions. Writers are prone to them- just as athletes are. Why? Because no matter how good you are at your craft, how good your agent is, a lot of publishing is sheer timing and luck. Try as you might you cannot see reason or logic in our business. As a commenter on another blog said-"everyone knows if the Marketing Director is wearing a green tie, he'll say no to all... (books editors bring to the table.)"
I think this lack of logic can make you crazy. So, in my opinion, the best way to live this life is to think of yourself as water. It flows around the rock, finds the crevices and cracks and slowly shapes the world around it. More simply put- go with the flow and don't take anything too personal. And, if all else fails, be sure to wear your lucky socks. Cheers~

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sept. 10

As much as we love three day weekends I think that short weeks are confusing. It's Friday already and I still have to do my Thursday work. It makes me feel behind and scrambling to catch up. The thing about writing and working at home is that there are no boundaries. Work is always sitting right here waiting for you. There is no nine to five and no feeling of accomplishment. Kind of like housework... I think men do yard work because when you cut the grass and trim the bushes, they stay cut and trimmed for a couple of days. Job done! Let's go watch TV. While housework, dishes, cooking-never done. Thirty minutes after dinner people are looking for snacks. Someone walks in with muddy shoes and the floor is a mess. Magical dust bunnies never go away. So, there is something to be said for leaving home and going to work. At the end of the day you get to come home-job done at least for a few hours.
I wrote a blog for my Seton Hill University friend Irene Pynn on a day in the life of a published author. She said she would post it today sometime. Click on her name and see if it's up. Then you'll see what I mean. :) Have a great weekend everyone. Cheers~

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sept. 9

Oh, boy, I'm procrastinating-again. Well, at least it feels like it. I have two writing projects done and in, I have my on-going Master's thesis and I have friends bugging me to work on two, no make that three other projects I'm playing with. "Have you done it yet? Are you going to do it? How far are you?" they ask. Hmmm. I am "thinking" about it. lol Not even sure I want to do any of the projects. So am I procrastinating or have I decided to drop the projects? Just when I think I've decided to drop one a well meaning friend will tell me-"Are you sure you want to drop it? It's such a good idea..." And I'm back to wavering. Meanwhile, nothing else gets done. Maybe it's not procrastinating as much as simply a lack of commitment. "I can't commit to anything else at this time." LOL That will free me up from worrying about procrastination...wait-or is that procrastinating? I'm so lost. Does this happen to you? Any ideas how to move on? Cheers~

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sept 8

This weekend I got a 2009 movie from the library called, "A Serious Man," directed by the same guys who did "Fargo" and "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" Set in the 1967 suburbs, it is the story of a man searching for the answer to the question, "Why me, Lord?"
I laughed and laughed and cried and laughed. If you want to know what kind of dark and twisted sense of humor I have, watch this flick. For it is dark and twisted and yet absurdly real. The fact that it "feels" so real is what gives it humor and style.
To be honest, many of you may watch it and say, "I don't get it." That's okay, really. It just means your life is saner than mine. :)
I think the movie and my life are proof that God has a wonderful sense of humor. And it's a little ironic that I write this on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Shalome my friends.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sept 7

We have cool windy weather. The kind where the sky is winter blue and the sun is bright but the shadows are long. The curtains at my window are pushed out then violently pulled back against the screen in a rhythm that makes the house appear to be breathing in great gusty breathes. The wind chimes are dancing and swaying with joy. They sit silent all summer when it's so hot the AC is on and no breeze blows, and all winter when we are stuck inside with only furnace air. But in the Spring and Fall when the windows are open and the wind blows through joyously they dance and shimmer and play their own music. It makes me smile.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sept. 6

It is Labor Day. I hope your weekend was fun filled. I spent the weekend picking grapes, then washing and sorting and cooking them down to juice. I got twenty cups of juice from our one grape vine. Then I made two batches of grape jelly and froze the last ten cups of juice. Lucky for me it was cool enough this weekend to stand over boiling pots of sugar and juice and stir without melting completely away. I've made thirty jars of jam so far this year just from our little back yard bunch of strawberries and one grape vine.
When I was growing up we didn't waste good fruit. To this day I can't do it. So when bananas get old, I make banana bread. When the strawberries and grapes come in, I make jam. I like to think of it as a way to celebrate the abundance around me.
What did you do this weekend?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sept. 3

Here in the States this is the Friday of a holiday weekend-three days to celebrate those who labor, or three days to celebrate the end of summer. I think retailers see it as three days to get you to shop, shop, shop. You have to love consumerism-not-unless you want to buy my books. (Tongue in cheek-no really, they would be good to read over a three day weekend.)
I saw Halloween candy in the stores already. Oh, and they are stocking extra isles of toys for Christmas. It isn't even officially Fall until the 23rd-that's 20 days from now. Hmmm.
I'm off to go get dd from school and bring her and her laundry home for the long weekend.
Have a great day, everyone, and a super holiday! Cheers~

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sept 2

I can't help it. I am a clean freak. I like clean spaces with minimal clutter. So, why then is my office the only room in the house that is allowed to have piles of who knows what in it? It says a lot about me, I suppose that my working mind is cluttered when I won't let the rest of my life be cluttered. Seriously, I'm constantly picking at the rest of the house to the point where I think my family believes I'm OCD. But the office is another story. My desk has a pull out drawer for typing. My laptop sits in a space on that drawer and to my left is a pile of papers topped with a book I'm reading for class and an orange stick for cuticles. The top of the desk has an empty space where I put my computer when I want to stand up. Moving clockwise left to right there is an Oprah Magazine (a gift from a friend) covered by copies of a PowerPoint presentation on characters from school, covered by a dirty dust cloth. (I mean to dust my desk top. Right.) Next to that moving up is a small bottle of children's chewable vitamins. I checked-they have the same ingredients as Stresstabs-go figure. And a nearly empty bag of peanut m&m's lying half on top of an offer for a credit card. On the corner of the desk is a self help guidebook under a book of quotes called, "Quotationary," a trade paperback novel on magicians, two hard covers of JD Robb's In Death series and yesterday's junk mail. To the left is a glass candy dish full of different colored sticky notes, a quartz crystal, a magic knot made out of red ribbon and a tiny laughing Buddha. Beside the candy dish are three paperweights- all gifts from good friends- a silver crown, a red glass heart and a glass dome with a bird inside. Moving clockwise, we get a box of tissues and a friendship angel. Then there is the battery for the laptop which I yanked out when said laptop needed to be hard started more than once. Three framed photos of my kids and a porcelain plaque in a metal holder with a flower and a butterfly and the words "nurture yourself with kindness"-also a gift from a friend. Then there is my big blotter calendar that I write everything on, a picture postcard of my favorite sculpture- entitled "The things I have to do to maintain myself" by artist Roxanne Swentzell. On top of that is a piece of scrap paper with notes written on it and two pens. A giant super bright SAD light to combast my grief at the loss of light. Finally to my right is a second drawer half open and filled with pens, markers, papers, receipts to file, fingernail clippers , glass cleaner squares, CD's and business cards.
My desk is just the beginning of the chaos that is my office. drawers hang open, tops of furniture are filled with random stacks of stuff- mostly books and papers and gifts from friends. It all begs the question, if I so love a clean uncluttered house-why then is my office such a cozy mess? Perhaps because here is where I allow myself to be creative. And creativity of all kinds is messy by nature. Or maybe by the time I get to the office I no longer care about cleaning. :D What do you think?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sept. 1

It's dark today. Little dog thinks we should go for a walk but I look out my window and see rain. It's not torrential driving rain. It is simply water falling from the sky. We need it. It has been so dry that many of the trees are dropping leaves. The banks of the lake are covered with brown leaves. It should help with the parched ground.
Maybe I'll put on my raincoat and go for that walk anyway. I bet the walk will be peaceful and the dog will shake off the wet. Then its off to the library. Rainy days are great times to pick up books and movies and enjoy the moment. What is your favorite rainy day thing to do?