Saturday, February 28, 2009
Sort of as a continuation of yesterday's post about cool writer stuff, here is a button. I think I've previously mentioned the one I bought at the RWA national conference in Dallas. It's very similar to this one.
I carry colorful fabric handbags most of the time, and whenever I change bags, the button moves. My bags have a cell phone pocket on one end, and on the other end I pin the button. So I advertise all the time without thinking about it, just by having my purse on my shoulder.
I guess it would fall under the heading of "shameless promotion" but it's also "painless promotion." This button, and several others, as well as other cool writer stuff, can be found at the Rose's Colored Glasses website. They also have lots of helpful articles, etc., for writers.
I had considered posting about yesterday's trip to the tax guy, but thought this might be more fun. Let me know if you would have preferred the other post, and I'll try to work it in next week.
Friday, February 27, 2009
1. Getting to know other writers. This is BIG. Not just getting to recognize other writers, but know them, and realize that--gasp--they remember you. (This can be a good thing or a not-so-good thing. Depends what they remember you for.) Although we're sort of competing for readers' time and money, most of the time it feels as if we're all working together. The camaraderie is wonderful.
2. Seeing your name in the newspaper, in a place other than the "recent arrests" column. Even better when accompanied by a non-mugshot type photo, as long as your face isn't huge. (I know. I'm picky.)
3. Booksignings. Sitting behind the table at booksignings. Talking to people at booksignings. Anticipating the next booksigning...
4. Your book. Holding it in your hand. Seeing it on the publisher's website, on Amazon, etc.
5. Working wherever you want to work, in whatever garb is comfortable. (Note: Very important not to be too comfortable if posing for one of the pictures mentioned above.)
6. Family support in its many forms. I've always been invisible, and enjoyed it. So having attention of any sort focused on me is a shock. But there are people who help temper it, like the cousin who told me at Christmas dinner that he hadn't visited my website in a while because he'd "just as soon be caught looking at porn at work as your website." It's good to have that kind of comment occasionally, so you don't get the big head.
7. Learning. Oy. So much to learn about writing! Not to mention promoting. And the tech stuff, which doesn't really come easily to me--it's all a learning curve that looks like the approach to the biggest scream of a roller coaster ride. If I had any sense at all, it would scare me to death. Inexplicably, I love this part too.
8. Other writers' books. I recently had the opportunity to read an advance reading copy of Sheryl Brennan's Celtic Sacrifice, which releases in March. What a beautiful story, and beautifully written! Yesterday I was happily surprised to win an ebook by commenting on Jennifer Johnson's blog. The novella Salvation Bride by Anna Kathryn Lanier has been added to the giant electronic TBR pile. Fun!
I'm going to stop now, and let some of you suggest other things. Otherwise I may sit here all day and list Cool Things About Being a Writer, and not write a word on the current manuscript.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Go here to watch the video.
Don't you love the cover for My Lord Raven? Jan wrote a very thoughtful post on SisterWriters about this book and my favorite of all Jan Scarbrough books, Tangled Memories. Read it here.
She has a new series releasing this year from Resplendence Publishing. To read more about Jan and her books, go to her website.
Thanks for your help today, Jan! (It's so good to have SisterWriters who will pitch in when you need them. Even when they're innocently at work, not knowing you've spread their names all over a blog.)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Guess what I'm up to today.
Did you guess "Listening to an old Julie Andrews Christmas CD while sniffing bayberry candle and catching a mini lighted Christmas tree in your peripheral vision?" Did you guess "Getting a headache from the bayberry candle?"
Wow. You must be psychic, cuz that's exactly what I'm doing! And you probably know why, too.
But since I'm here anyway, I'll tell you why. Because I'm trying to write my Christmas novella for this year's Legend anthology. The working title is Under the Mistletoe and it's the story of Charles and Dorothy McClain, the parents of my hero in Christmas Collision.
The parents, you say?!?!
Yep. This story is set in the early 1970s. I lived in a small town in the early 1970s, so maybe that will help inform my writing.
Along with the headachey candle, collection of Christmas music, lighted tree--and oh yes, the jingle bells on the door. Trying to appeal to the senses, you know, to immerse myself in Christmas. It was suggested to me and seems like a great idea.
Of course I'm craving sugar cookies right now. And maybe some egg nog.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
But since Blogger and clip art are not working well for me today, I'm not able to do the rebus story. So let's talk advertising. Have you ever rented a flying sign like the one above?
Monday, February 23, 2009
I thought I'd share a few recent moments of my itty bitty fame, generated by a huge--nay, giant--article about me and The Blank Book in the local paper. Um, and then there was the follow-up by another local paper with a picture of me and three readers. A huge, giant picture which makes me ponder, yet again, the option of having the beauty mark removed from my chin.
Yesterday before church began, someone teased me about being Alice in the book. I explained to him (yes, him) about the use of first person POV as a storytelling tool. He was just teasing me anyway, and looking for a reaction. My big reaction was, "You read the book? The whole book?" Cuz, did I mention this is a man? He obviously had read the whole book, because a little while later while we were having a meet-and-greet time, he made a comment about a small section in the middle of the story. It's one of Alice's many musings about Robert, the hero, and to me, it's kinda witty. But this guy's comment about it was hilarious! I just laughed out loud. Of course so did he--when I told him some people really, truly thought this was my life story. First person POV. If I ever use it again, remind me to make the heroine a tall blonde so it's not misleading to my friends and neighbors.
At lunch in a local restaurant yesterday, a lady came up and congratulated me, and then asked how I got published. How to find a publisher. What the submission process is like. Whether the publisher does all the promotion for you. I was glad to answer her questions, and (of course) gave her a BB postcard. I hope to hear how it goes for her and the mainstream novel she's written.
Then we were shopping, and the lady at the checkout asked me about the newspaper article. Turns out she is an artist (not a writer) so I handed her a BB postcard, and thanked her for her interest. But--uh oh--she has a very interesting life story which someone really should write. Well, see above, I don't do people's actual life stories. I think I'd be terrible at writing someone's life story. I told her she should try to write it herself. Really, that seems the best thing to me, and I've been approached more than once. (Hey, writers out there--what do you say to people who want you to do this? Maybe I'm handling it poorly.)
It was nice to get home and hide out in the sitting room. Sometimes fame--even itty bitty fame--can wear a person out.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Well, I want to invite you to the big Premiere! The video is one of several featured at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre of Romance Book Videos--Barbara Vey's Publisher's Weekly blog. Hey, it's a chance to take that slinky dress out of the closet, right? Go here to watch the videos. Comments are always encouraged.
Since we're having this big celebration, I wanted to serve refreshments. Kinda difficult to do since I'm here and you're--well, not here. Fortunately, Harlequin Mills & Boon author Barbara Hannay quite innocently solved my problem last night. She posted a recipe for a one or two-serving chocolate cake you cook in a coffee mug in your microwave. I tried it this morning. Anything for my readers, you know. It's not bad if you're into chocolate. I made it without the chocolate chips, trying to go low-cal. Next time I think I'll include them, though. I'm thinking dark chocolate chips. For the quick (five minutes total) and easy recipe, go here.
Thanks for making the premiere such an enjoyable event. Stuff like this is so much more fun with friends. And calories.
Which means this slinky dress is going right back into the closet.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
ME blah blah blah blah MY BOOK blah blah blah MY INSPIRATION blah blah blah
You get the picture. Horribly, embarrassingly narcissistic. Yes, even more narcissistic than usual.
So I took it down. The unfortunate thing is I don't know how to save the comments, so two really good comments from Devon Matthews are lost. Crud. And SORRY! Because, as I said, they were really good.
I think today I'll be quiet for a change. Try not to rejoice too loudly, okay?
Friday, February 20, 2009
Just throwing caution--and my list of twelve potential blog topics--to the wind this morning.
Because , it would seem, this is our first Random Friday. And just to keep it true to its name, we may never have another. Isn't that fun?
I'll give you some random stuff, and if you want, you can post some random stuff in the comments. By the end of the day, we may have a Big Box of Randomness. If we accumulate several Big Boxes of Randomness, we'll store them off-site, as shown above.
1. I finally, finally, FINALLY remembered to donate Ladies of Legend: Finding Home and A Legendary Christmas to my local library yesterday. They're ordering The Blank Book. Many thanks to my good friend who helped remind me to do this. Sometimes my brain is frighteningly sieve-like.
2. The book video in yesterday's post will be on Barbara Vey's Publisher's Weekly blog this Sunday, February 22. The blog is here, but by Sunday she'll have more posts, so you may have to do some scrolling. Each Sunday she posts book videos, and it's a quick and fun way to check out books. People whose videos are posted really appreciate commenters. Just saying.
3. We had a brief but heavy snow storm here yesterday. When I thought it was nearly over, I headed out for my two-mile walk. The storm began again. The blowing horizontally kind of snow. By the time I got home, the front of me was totally plastered white, my sunglasses/eyesnowshields had been fogged up half a dozen times, and I looked as if someone had turned a bowl of vanilla ice cream upside-down onto my head. It was great!
If that's not a random list, I don't know what is.
P.S. Friday is my day to post a blog at SisterWriters. I'll have something up there later today. I won't cheat and do the same thing I did here. Probably.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I’ve been wishing for a book video for a long time, but the Book Video Fairy must have lost my email. So I finally got my tech guru son by the ear last weekend, dragged him to the laptop, and showed him what a book video is. I related it to something he understands—movie trailers.
He may have rolled his eyes, but I didn’t catch him at it. Immediately he set to work downloading free software, giving me a quick tutoring session...and then went back to college.
Hm. So Sunday night I started working on it. Writing the script, which would tell the 220-page book in one minute. That was my goal—one minute. My son said some of the videos I showed him were too long, and this was one of the times I chose to pay attention to his opinion.
Then I went about finding images in the free stuff already on my computer—because my budget for Book Video is Zero. (Which is why I kept waiting for that Fairy to bring me one.)
I cropped and messed with the pictures… Quite enjoyable, really. Then the finishing touch—creating music. So cool, this software lets you choose from several options, so you sort of (okay, not really) create your own music.
Video for The Blank Book, one minute and seven seconds long with the credits. First thing when I uploaded it, I sent a link to my son for critique. He was nice about it.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Which was worse, the thing I was frustrated about, or the fact that I let it mess me up so much? Probably option B, huh?
An unkind person might say I was wallowing. Well, maybe not an unkind person. Maybe an honest person. Okay, yeah, I admit it. I was wallowing.
It still surprises me that people actually read the blog. It's surprising that you care about me, when most of you don't really know me... Or do you? Do I put enough of myself into this bit of daily writing that frequent readers know me very well? Hm.
Anyway, feeling more positive today. I worked til late last night on a video for The Blank Book, and unless I completely mess it up when adding the music, I think it will be decent. This morning I received an email from someone who had just read that book, and really enjoyed it. She's going to share it with her sisters and her granddaughters. I think it's wonderful that her granddaughters might like it. Maybe I'm cross-generational. Never even considered the possibility.
The thing that was frustrating me yesterday? It hasn't changed, and unless something drastic and unforeseen happens, it ain't gonna change. So I'm breathing deeply and setting it aside. I even changed the desktop of my computer to this yoga girl.
Every time I look at her, I take a deep breath.
Maybe I should have just posted something superficial and chatty yesterday instead of admitting I had my mad face on. But I'm not very good at pretending to be something I'm not. Thanks for being here with me then, and thanks for coming back today. The blog has become a bit of a tea party with friends, hasn't it?
So, today it's English Breakfast. One lump or two?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Not only has my celery crown wilted and begun to rot (see yesterday's post), some of the things I was excited about have fallen flat. Dangit--I hate when that happens.
The only silver linings to these particular clouds, as far as I can tell, are:
1. I'm not adding to the wrinkles around my mouth by smiling.
2. I was so wrought up during my morning walk, I did it in record time.
3. Maybe the current frustrations will make me reinvent myself more effectively, or more quickly, or both.
I dunno. But I think this clip art girl looks pretty classy with her mad face on. I'm just hoping not to scare small children when I head to the store later.
Monday, February 16, 2009
You probably have an idea why I chose this topic. Last week was very upbeat for me. I'd just had a booksigning on the 7th with Jan Scarbrough, and was looking forward to another one on the 13th. That event was wonderful, and already on Saturday the 14th I was getting email feedback on the books sold Friday. This gave me a writerly high.
Temporary, of course. And it doesn't write the next book. So even though I felt as if I'd won an Olympic race and was wearing a laurel crown, I knew better than to loll around in it too long. Hence my topic for today's blog.
And--I'm not making this up--in Sunday's sermon the minister told about the ancient Isthmian Games, which were held in Corinth every four years. Like the ancient Olympic Games, but different. One difference, he pointed out, was that winners received not a shiny dark green crown of laurel leaves, but a crown of celery leaves. Imagine how long that lasted.
So here's the thing. I got my crown last week, and yep, it's already wilted. Which means today I'm starting my story for the 2009 Legend Christmas anthology. The first stumbling steps toward--I hope--winning another crown.
So I'm not resting on my laurels, nor on my celery. Thought you might be interested to know that, since some of you have been telling me the last few days that I need to write faster.
Of course it helps free up some time when my minister co-writes the blog.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
My family, who not only put up with me, but actually encourage me.
My "normal" friends who aren't put off by the sharp turn my life took when I started writing fulltime.
My writer friends who have welcomed me into the fold.
My publisher, and Courtney, my long-suffering editor.
The lady who brought her granddaughters to the booksigning yesterday so the thirteen year old could have The Blank Book signed to her...and then grandma bought Ladies of Legend: Finding Home for herself on a whim.
The insurance agent who took time off work to catch the booksigning. My high school classmate, who told the boss "I have to be somewhere..."
The medical assistant who called the store and asked that a book be held for her...she'd try to get there in time...and of course she did.
Everyone who has attended a signing, and stopped to visit. It can get lonely on my side of the table, so I always appreciate a smiling face!
The blog readers who are here every single day.
The blog readers who check in once in a while to catch up on what I've been into...
Those who comment, and those who prefer to remain silent.
Those who email after reading the books they bought from Amazon or directly from Resplendence Publishing.
The newspaper people who are happy to write an article about a struggling author.
The newspaper people who show up at booksignings, and take pictures.
The newspaper people who don't answer emails from struggling authors. I haven't given up on you yet. Giving you a daisy just because.
All of my readers. Bless your hearts.
I hope you enjoy your flowers. Have a lovely day...
P.S. If you want to read a report from yesterday's booksigning, go here.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Bobby's mission is to ensure that everyone has a pleasant booksigning experience, and that traffic flows smoothly around the Salem Square in spite of the potential congestion of hundreds of additional vehicles from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm today.
Thought you'd want to know.
Well, okay, Bobby isn't real. I made all this up. I write fiction, remember? A girl can wish for the necessity of crowd control, can't she? Besides, I think Bobby is kinda cute.
To read more about preparation for today's event, go here.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Although a certain member of my family reminds me at times that we came from pioneer stock--that our forebears crossed the mountains in wagons, overcoming adversity, braving the unknown--well, I gotta tell ya, I wonder about that. As you may recall from this post, I'm not really sure I'm in the right family anyway. I can believe she came from pioneer stock. Me? Hmmm...maybe not.
Pioneer stock wouldn't have lost as much sleep as I did in last night's wind storms, would they? A couple of days ago I was on a whine about winter's cold, snow, and ice. I'd been looking forward to springtime. Then we got a taste of spring weather--complete with high winds.
Suddenly I was ready to leave the wagon alongside the trail and head for the hills. Ready to burrow into a little soddy, and wait for--I dunno. Not summer. Summer is HOT, and I don't do well in hot weather. Just something quiet for a while. Normal weather. A little cold, a little rain. Occasional sun maybe. Some breeziness. I can deal with those.
But since I can't change the weather, or dig a burrow, I guess I'll have to toughen up. Really, I've got it made. The house is old but solid, the trees in the lawn haven't fallen on it, the electricity flickered but did not entirely drop out. There's heat as long as I remember to put wood in the furnace, and when I turn on the faucet there's water that does not have to be boiled to be potable. It's all good, huh?
But I need someone to explain all this to the dog, because yesterday and most of last night, as we were deluged with potential tornadic activity, he was looking at me like, "Why don't you stop this craziness?" He seems to think I'm pretty powerful. I guess he must have bought into the pioneer stock theory.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Today I'll send out an email newsletter (if anyone wants to be added to the list, email me through the website, please). I'm preparing for Friday's booksigning by printing some stuff and making the gift basket.
I also have some writing to do. Fortunately I have lots of paper and some pens around here. A windstorm is bearing down on us, and I fully expect to lose power, at least for a while. It's been that kind of a season. If you read the blog I wrote on Romantic Gems about the most recent power outage, you'll be glad to know that the flashlight-radio-siren thingie is fully charged.
The big news, if you noticed it above, is that I'm doing a booksigning two days from now--Friday, February 13. I'll be in the window of Salem Apothecary, on the Square in Salem, Indiana. It's a beautiful little store, with lots of unique items for sale. They're serving Valentine refreshments during the signing. There's also a real soda fountain!
My theme for this event is Celebrate Valentine's Day with a new romance. I'll mainly sign copies of The Blank Book, but will also have a few Ladies of Legend: Finding Home and A Legendary Christmas. If you're in the area, come see us! Friday, 3pm to 5pm.
Okay, gotta go. These ducks are getting unruly...
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
What? You don't think I'm Cinderella? Well, okay if you want to think that. But I still feel that way. Today's local paper is on my side, too. My goodness--the cover of The Blank Book, and a teaser for an article, "Local Author's Novel Published," is at the top of the front page! The article, including the book blurb, the cover again, and my photo, are on the back page of the front section. So yeah, I definitely feel Cinderella-ish. Also a bit nauseous from the excitement.
Besides this (yikes!) several other things are adding to my excited state. Can't talk about them quite yet, but soon I will. For the moment, though, I think I'd better do something normal so I can calm down. Maybe go to the grocery. Think anyone would notice if I wore the tiara?
Monday, February 9, 2009
This is actually more blogkeeping, but I'm nearly certain that isn't a word. So I won't use it.
Just wanted to point out that I recently added a couple of links to the sidebar. UPCOMING TITLES has a "click here" that will take you to 2009 releases, listed on my website. The link under WHAT AND WHERE will take you to the Appearances page of the website.
This made sense to me--to have links here on the blog that will take you to the website, where I'll try to keep the information current. Why have two calendars when links exist? What did I ever do before there were links?
And speaking of links, I bought a sweater yesterday. A bright PINK sweater (rhymes with link). And it's pink with sparkles! COLOR in the midst of grey and gloppy brown, which is what the yard looks like, now that the snow and ice have melted.
How nice when your clip art lady matches your new sweater. I just know this is going to be a good week.
OH! Nearly forgot! If you want to read about this past Saturday's booksigning, go here.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
127 East Main Street, La Grange, KY.
Looky at the pretty basket of luxurious bath stuff Jan and I are giving away to some lucky person. Yeah, you know you want it. No purchase necessary, of course, but you do have to be there to fill out the entry slip for the drawing.
Karen's Book Barn, 1 pm to 3 pm. Should be fun!
Friday, February 6, 2009
I know I won't list all of them, but I want to tell you some things I learned from him. (Listed in no particular order.)
1. Drive a cool car.
2. Family is VERY important.
3. Exercise every day.
4. Eat healthfully, and take your vitamins.
5. Always use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
6. Remember the past, but don't live there.
7. Enjoy every day as if it's a gift. It is.
8. Don't get the big head.
9. Conserve water.
10. Look neat and tidy when you greet the world.
11. Always be pleasant to people, no matter how they treat you.
12. Work hard.
14. Encourage people, but don't give them the big head, either.
15. Possessions are okay, but they're just things. Don't get too attached.
16. Live a simple, honest life.
17. Listen to good music. If it's live, request your favorite song.
18. Be informed.
20. Live within your means.
21. Read. A lot.
22. Use good posture.
25. Enjoy your birthday.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
1. The picture at left looks like a fun outing.
2. All your conversations revolve around the weather.
3. All your conversations are whiney.
4. You can feel muscles begin to atrophy.
5. You talk to the dog, even when he's giving you the silent treatment.
6. You talk to the furnace, not always using nice words.
7. Walking two blocks to the store to buy dark chocolate on sale is too much of a challenge. (Did I mention two inches of misshapen ice is covered by a thin topping of fluffy snow? Did I mention it's hazardous to walk?!?!? Did I mention it's 13 degrees outside?)
8. You spend half an hour writing a blog about the importance of exercise, but are too lazy to complete it.
Ugh. Over the next couple of days we're supposed to have some thawing. Maybe my brain will thaw a bit, too. In the meantime, if you want to read an interesting article about the importance of stairs in your exercise regimen, click here.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Is this picture just the epitome of Americana? Does it make you want to go there? (Okay, ignore the flowers in the foreground and the leafy tree in the background. It's wintertime, even outside Karen's Book Barn.)
But inside--could be nice and toasty warm. Could be the niftiest little new-and-used bookstore you've ever visited. I'm going to find out this Saturday, February 7, because Jan Scarbrough and I are doing a booksigning there.
Sooooo... If you're available Saturday between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, head over to Karen's Book Barn, 127 East Main Street, in LaGrange, Kentucky. Should be fun!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
I’m not a numbers person. I don’t have a tendency to count things. But I knew my TBR pile had been growing over the past couple of years. So, with some hesitation, yesterday I counted the To Be Read books.
Electronic - 55 (maybe more, as they’re not well organized)
Paperback - 45
Currently on loan, unread - 6
I read—and loved—Janet Eaves’ novella, Sins of the Father, on Sunday afternoon, so that took the electronic down to 54.
But—oops—my cousin Sandy in
Which brought the electronic tally back up to 55, didn't it?
And, well, of course I’d been waiting for Susan Wiggs’ newest, Fireside, which was released February 1.
Electronic - 56
Paperback - 45
Currently on loan, unread (no hurry on giving these back, ladies!!!) - 6
What did I learn from this little exercise? I think I need to become more of a numbers person. And definitely need to read faster.