Monday, November 13, 2017

Older But Content

So yesterday was my birthday and it was wonderful with the entire family here. It was so much fun and in the middle of the chaos, I realized how content and happy I am. Thirty or forty (yes, I'm old) years ago, I might not have imagined where I would be today with a large family, a huge house, and a writing career. I wasn't even considering being a writer until after my daughter was born 23 years ago. But here I am, and it's great. The industry is a tough nut to crack and once you are published, it's even more difficult to keep on going. Low pay, hard work, and long hours add up to a sense of personal accomplishment. I hope I never get too old to give up the constant learning that my writing career demands.

 Of course, my dear family gave me all the things I love as gifts beyond their presence. Wine, a GoT wine glass, book gift cards, Yankee candles, and did I say wine. They're the best.

In the industry, my friends and I have discussed what it means to be a bestseller. There are so many lists. Do they mean anything anymore? Do readers care if a book is labeled a bestseller? How the heck does Amazon even come up with their numbers? Do the lists include eBooks? This PW article talks about all these things. All writers want to publish a 'bestseller' but does it mean anything in today's market?

As a writing of romance, I, like most of my colleagues, find myself often defending the genre. Yet, romance makes up 34% of the book market. It's important. So many people have the idea it's not on the same level of writing as other genres. Worse, because most of the readers are women, it's deemed not intelligent or not good stories. The attitude is so ridiculous when the genre is so successful. Many studies have shown the average romance reader is a college-educated female. There's nothing wrong with reading a book with a happy ending compared to reading a book full of the suffering and terrible things that are on the news everyday or perhaps in a person's own life.

On the good side, Supernatural has been great this season so far. Poldark has been satisfyingly dramatic. The Punisher is coming to Netflix on Friday. My once favorite show, Once Upon a Time, is okay this season. I always like seeing how they put new spins on old fairy tales. It gives me creative ideas.

I'm planning for Thanksgiving dinner and starting to gather the 'fixings' as the entire feast is at my house each year. The kids want everything to be exactly like the previous years, but I try at least one new thing each year.

That WIP that I wanted to have done in October? I'm hoping by the end of November now. Sigh.....

Have you ever had a bestseller? Does bestseller 'status' influence you to buy a book? Enjoying Supernatural or looking forward to The Punisher?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Getting Stuff Done

I'm excited to have finished up the final edits for my second book in my Survivors of the Apocalypse Series, Horse Tamer's Fiery Lady. This will be my 22nd published book, not counting the ones that
are no longer published because the publisher closed. I'm not sure of my release date yet, but I'm pretty pumped up about it.

If you in the mood to do something about your author newsletter, like maybe start it, one of my writers' groups, Pennwriters, is running a class that starts today about Getting Results from Your Author Newsletter by Jessie Clever. It's open to all.

It's amazing how fast this year is going. My days are so busy, but I'm getting stuff done. I'm rearranged my living room nearly every weekend as I try to 'Elliana-ize' it. My granddaughter keeps finding her way into things I don't want her in. On the flip side, I keep having to clean behind and under things I usually only move about twice per year.

I'm also falling back into the old habit of doing a lot of my writing at night like I did when I was teaching full time. It's working for me. Now that Daylight Savings Time has ended, the dark drives me to my writing office. I am dreading seeing snow outside my window. Not too soon, I hope.

"Inspiration exists, but it must find you working." Pablo Picasso

Because I had to do editing this weekend, I didn't get to see Thor, but I play to by the end of the week. Still enjoying Poldark and The Good Doctor. The Gifted is keeping me interested. I heard a rumor over the weekend that Amazon might be working on putting together a LoTR series like a TV show. I'd give it a try though I don't see how they could top the movies.

Hope you go out to vote tomorrow if you're in the USA. Not much for us to vote for here except Township Supervisors and a judge. I'm voting for the supervisor most likely to make sure the road in front of my house gets plowed sooner than twelve hours after it stops snowing. I have simple needs.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

Do you have any clue what Albert meant by that statement? Does the long dark days of winter inspire you to write or impede you? Do you see Thor? Hear about that LoTR rumor?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG November17 Edition

Can't be the first Wednesday again already! Yes, it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. This wonderful group was started by everyone's favorite ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can sign up and be part of it on this list.

This week's optional question is about NaNo. Since I've never participated in NaNo, I didn't go with the question this month.

My insecurity this month is about another punch in the purse that Amazon is slugging us with. Recently Amazon removed rankings from thousands of books, accusing those authors of gaming the system somehow. Most of the authors are innocent, including moi. Anne R. Allen wrote a great post about it here.  Here's another by David Gaughran. The only thing my publisher did differently was put some of my books together in a boxed set. The set was selling really well and maintaining a good ranking. Suddenly rankings for all my books disappeared.

Amazon will not respond to any questions or protests except with an automated response. Not having a ranking makes it almost impossible for anyone to find your book unless they're looking for it specifically. Once again, Amazon has made a sweeping attempt to clean up the cheaters like it did when it purged reviews a while back, but like then, they throw innocent authors under the bus. It's very discouraging to be so helpless against this retail giant we love as a consumer and hate as writers.

 It's tough to sit down and write each day with that black cloud hanging over my book sales. And since I'm not one to check my rankings everyday, I have no idea when those rankings disappeared.

Onto better things. Like wasn't Stranger Things, Season 2, good. It was really fun. Rest in peace, Barb, finally. Saying nothing more so I don't spoil if you haven't watched yet. A new show I'm finding okay so far this season is The Gifted which is in the X-Men universe. I don't set my clock by it, but I like it so far. The Good Doctor is a tearjerker every week. I don't know if it can keep that up but I'm still tuning in. Looking forward to the new Thor movie.

A new library story time is starting for my granddaughter today so I'll get to read your posts later today and tomorrow. The fun never ends.

Do you know any writers slapped by Amazon this time or the last time? Are you participating in NaNo? Did you watch Stranger Things 2?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Nearly Missed It

I'm going to get my Monday post up with three hours to spare. I have no excuses for not having it up earlier today. Tired? Lazy? Busy? Probably all three.

Being late does allow me to link to the IWSG post today. Bestselling author Mary Buckman talks about websites, hooks, and plotting. Lots of good advice from an expert.

The book event I attended on Saturday was fun and I made contact with many of my writer friends I hadn't seen for a while. You'll be meeting some of them as guests on my blog in the next few months. As for the book sales, blah. There was very little patron traffic except for family and friends. I only sold three books which probably paid for my gas and the snack I bought on the way home.

The leaves are turning and beautiful as they float to the ground. I'm enjoying the mild weather and the cool nights. It's the best of fall right now. Seeing lots of butterflies. They are very beautiful for cannibals.

"October, the extravagant sister, has ordered the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception." Autumn by Oliver Wendell Holmes

50/50 going slow but steady. I hope to finish the book I'm working on and move onto my next project by the start of December. Big plans.

I won't be posting next Monday but on Wednesday instead for IWSG. In the meantime, I'll be writing. When I'm not I'm re-watching Stranger Things. I'm sure lots of you will be tuning in next weekend for season 2. Can't wait. Can it possibly be as good as the first season? Lots of pressure on those writers.

Are you looking forward to Stranger Things? Do you love fall? Did you know those cute little butterflies were cannibals? Ready for some scary Halloween fun this coming weekend?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Upcoming Book Event

I know most of my blogger friends don't leave in Pennsylvania or Maryland, but if you are nearby, I hope you'll support the York Book Expo Event held at the Wisehaver Event Center in York, PA this coming Saturday. This is the third annual event featuring local authors and run by Demi Stevens who has been a guest on IWSG where she posted about organizing such a book event.

I'm excited to see some of my writer friends I haven't seen for a while and meet the hundreds of readers and book lovers who attend this every year. Last year I had the pleasure of speaking with a young couple who had returned just to see me again and purchase more books. It's great fun and if I sell some books (or a lot of books) it's even more fun.

Tomorrow I'm signing my granddaughter up for the next session of 'Born to Read.' Hard to believe how quickly the first session is going. My granddaughter has lost all her hesitation and last week plopped her butt right in front of the instructor and listened to her reading a story. She probably wanted to chew the book like she does the ones she has at home.

And in answer to all the emails I'm getting, Yes, Panera, I am enjoying my free month of bagels. I don't go everyday but I've been in three times this month and received my free bagel. I also purchased the special ribbon-shaped bagel they're selling to support breast cancer research. Also impressed the other day when the person taking orders told the soldier standing in line behind me that his meal was on the house to thank him for his service. No flash, no TV coverage, just a business doing a good thing. Good on you, Panera, and thank you for the free bagels.

50/50 writing challenge is going okay though I'm not off to the running start I was the last time we did it in the spring. After I get this booksigning out of the way, I'll have no other big events to take up my weekends for a while.

Yearly checkup today so I'll get to your blogs later today and find out how your fall is going. Wonder what those free bagels are doing to my numbers on the scale? Guess the doc will let me know. Ouch.

Are than book events in your area? Ever attended or been part of one? Are you a Panera fan? My daughter loves their soups.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Big Plans and an Anthology for Charity

I hope you'll take a look at the upcoming box release from my friend, Michelle Howard. Michelle is a very successful author of all types of exciting romantic adventures. And this set is not only a good bargain, but part of the proceeds go to a good cause.

Embrace the Romance:  Pets in Space 2 Anthology
Release Date: October 10, 2017

 The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of the first months profits go to Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

Buy Links:

On Thursday of this week, my local chapter of CPRW is starting the second of our writing motivation 50/50 projects. The idea is to write at least 50 new words for fifty straight days. Of course, most people write many more than that. Just making yourself sit down at the document and typing a few sentences almost always leads to writing more. We time this second 50/50 to overlap with NaNo for those members who are diving into that craziness. Wish me luck.

Please hope over the Insecure Writers' Support Group. They've been having some terrific guest posts and have another one up today.

If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock.  ~Arthur Goldberg

Hope you had work off for Columbus Day. If it's not raining, I'll be mowing and raking leaves. And Happy Thanksgiving Day to my Canadian friends. Hope you enjoy a feast today.

Poldark was good last week and a two hour premier special. My daughter and I have watched The Good Doctor together. Interesting so far. Hope the writers can keep it up. Inhumans isn't really catching my interest but I'll give it a few more episodes. Supernatural is back this week. About time.

Are you taking part in NaNo or have you ever? Did you get a long weekend for whichever holiday? Are you a fan of any of those shows I mentioned? Raking leaves yet? Need a good boxed set to read on a cool fall night?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG: October Already

It's time for the monthly bloghop started by the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh. Insecure Writer's Support Group posts on the first Wednesday of every month and we share our fears, successes as well as asking for and giving advice. Hope you'll join us by signing up here and visiting more members.

This month's co-hosts are Chemist Ken, Tamara Narayan, Olga Godim, and Jennifer Hawes. Thanks to them for volunteering to help.

IWSG is running a contest where you post of a picture of your IWSG swag. Alas, I didn't take any pictures despite having some pretty great swag hanging about my writing space. I will enjoy checking out all the pictures.

The optional question for this month: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your character either by accident of on purpose?

No, I haven't. Something that does often appear in my novels are siblings with special, supportive relationships. Not only do I have 6 siblings that are wonderful, but I have six children who love each other. I love brothers and sisters working together in books I read and on TV shows I watch. It's one of my favorite things.

“A brother is a friend given by Nature.” – Jean Baptiste Legouve

“Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.” – Susan Scarf Merrell

Making some progress on my WIP though slower than I want. I'm determined to finish it soon so I can start on my next project. More on that later.

On the entertainment front, I forgot all about Poldark coming back on this past Sunday. I really enjoy the show now going into its third season. Lots of drama, history and romance. It doesn't ignore the plight of the poor like some period pieces do.

My granddaughter continues to amaze. She turns seven months old today and is already walking around things and behind push toys. And at the weekly library group, she is the only one who will sit quietly and listen and watch the leader reading a story. The other kids distract her at times, but she turns her attention back to the reading. It's great fun to be with her doing things that I didn't get to do as a mother to my own children because I was working full time.

Did you show off some swag today? Do parts of you show up in your writing? Have any siblings you adore? Are you a Poldark fan?