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?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Nick Wilford, Black and White

Hi Susan. Thanks for offering to host me as part of my tour. Today I’d like to share some thoughts about the world I’ve created and engage your readers in a debate, if that’s not too heavy for a Monday!

How likely is it that we will end up living in a society like Harmonia?

I don’t often get political, but with Donald Trump in power, I don’t think we can really predict anything and we can’t rule anything out either. The world I’ve built might look very attractive to a lot of people. No dirt or disease, no need to worry about dying at an untimely age or – at a more everyday level – scrubbing your floor or keeping the dust under control.

On the surface, this is a utopia, the opposite of a dystopia. But that’s it – the surface is just about as far as things go. It’s the very definition of an insular society, cut off and without any contact with the outside world. Indeed, its near neighbour is painted by the government as a netherworld-type region populated by demons. In the current world, large swathes seem to be going backwards and becoming more distrustful of other cultures instead of more open. What if someone came along who promised to close the doors completely – the ultimate expression of looking after number one?

There are other ways in which Harmonia might be seen as an extension of the society we’ve got today. With the all-consuming rise of social media, families seem to spend less time just being together and we’ve got the problem of phones at the dinner table. In Harmonia, only one child is allowed per family and each member of the group basically operates as a self-contained unit. It’s a cold society in which people simply go through the motions. Apparently fair on the surface, with passes in school exams being guaranteed, the type of job you get after leaving school is determined by how many extra study hours you log. This is another thing that leaves children to spend long hours on their pads.

Divorce rates are very low, but at the same time there is very little affection between married couples. They are simply units that ensure the propagation of the species. The sex act itself has been genetically phased out – far too messy and too many diseases at play – but of course, this removes a level of closeness.

Where do you think we’re heading as a society? Is a world like Harmonia something that you could foresee in our future?

Title: Black & White

Author: Nick Wilford

Genre: YA dystopian
Series #: 1 of 3

Release date: 18th September 2017

Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing


What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

Add it on Goodreads

Meet the author:

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Help Out

RWA shared some links last week where you can go and help out the libraries that were victims of the recent hurricanes. Funding libraries is likely not the first thing people or the government will think of as they rebuilt and recover. Yet, I think a lot of people may depend on the library for internet access until they get their homes up and running again. People need help first, but if you love your local library as I do, maybe you can spare them a dime also. Here is the link for the Texas libraries. And you can go here to help the Florida libraries.

While you're in the helping mood, C. Lee McKenzie could use your help voting for her book in the Go here and give the book a boost.
Readers Choice Contest. Her MG novel, Double Negative, could use your vote.

Next Monday, I'm turning my blog over to Nick Wilford next Monday. He'll talk about his book that is being released today. Black and White is the first in a dystopian series. One of my favorite genres of speculative fiction.

I have lots of good books on my shelf and on my Kindle to read, after adding Nick's today, and that's a good thing. Because TV sucks right now. I'll probably watch Scorpion when the new season starts and Once Upon a Time, but I'm not that excited about them. Supernatural had a great season ending in May, so I'll have to give that a try. But I don't even know the dates they return. Blah.

I need to pick up my word count on my current WIP. Only wrote around 2K this week. I'm only halfway through and I'd hoped to have it done this month. Not looking good at all.

I'm taking my daughter to her first story time at the library this week. It's for 0-18 months old. She's not a fan of noisy places or loud things so we'll see how it goes. How do you keep a lot of infants interested in a story? We'll see.

The leaves are turning though it's pretty warm this week. Fall is upon us this Friday. I'll have to teach that granddaughter to rake leaves.

Have you donated to the victims of the recent hurricanes? Do you love your local library? Is dystopian a genre you enjoy? Do you enjoy fall and raking leaves?

Monday, September 11, 2017

What Weekend?

Life is busy enough without getting sick for two days. The worst cold ever took me out of action from Friday evening through Saturday. All those big plans to get some outside work done and some promotional work went the way of a full box of tissues. Sinus headache, chills, well you get the picture. I haven't had a cold like that since I retired from teaching. Teachers have the luck to catch everything going around when their students give it to them. Stay home when you're sick, please.

Another 9/11 has rolled around. Even after 16 years, the day remains vivid in my memory. The week following was very tense in our little piece of the country. Three Mile Island, infamous nuclear plant, is in my home school district. There were dozens of false alarms from perceived threats. I woke a few nights to jets screaming over the house on their way from Fort Indiantown Gap to provide security coverage at the power plant. It was truly the international incident of my lifetime. Let's hope our politicians don't draw us into something worse that that horrible day.

Came across this interesting article at Publisher's Weekly. Amazon is making an attempt to stop those cheaters using KDP and stealing money from authors and readers with their practices. I'm sure those being sued by Amazon are only a few of the many jerks conning the system, but it's a start.

Prayers to those suffering all kinds of hardships and losses because of Harvey and Irma. I have a niece in Florida.  I'm waiting to hear how she and her home are doing.

I feel the need to talk about something fun. Cleaned up my flowerbeds a little bit for fall. Can't believe I'll be raking leaves soon. My granddaughter turned six months and has been sitting up and crawling for a full month and last week decided she could stand up too when the right opportunity presents itself. Obviously, a superior genetic background. And our weather has been lovely. Warm but not humid during the day and cool nights.

This past weekend was big for the Penn State football fans at our house. Two of my sons earned their degrees there, and I received my Masters from PSU. The school really is a good academic school and has lots of outstanding athletic programs. It's too bad it's reputation has been darkened by the Sandusky scandal. Those poor children who suffered are still suffering as adults because so many resent the black mark on Joe Paterno's legacy. Priorities are messed up for some people.

Can't say how much I miss having a new GoT episode the last two Sundays. Salvation has gotten better and better each week. I hope it gets renewed for next year. I'm thinking of doing a re-watch of Luther, a BBC cop show, which means it's more cerebral with less shooting to solve crimes. It's good if you're looking for something to watch. It's on Netflix.

Are the hurricanes impacting your part of the world? Do you remember vivid details of 9/11? Have you put your books on KDP? Have your earnings taken a hit like so many authors complain because of the cheaters? Do you watch any BBC shows?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: September Already

Summer flew by and not it's the first Wednesday of the month and time for Insecure Writer's Support Group. This amazing group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers to help each with advice, sharing good news and bad, but mostly for helping each other even if just to listen. You can find the complete list here.

I'm skipping the suggested question today to share my Labor Day experience. I've heard this suggest by other writers but never tried it completely. So on Monday, I unplugged. No checking email, no Twitter, no writing or even thinking about it. I read for hours. Took a walk. Did some cooking. Watched some TV with my husband and sons. Drank coffee all day long. I didn't even go in my writing office. And I woke up Tuesday refreshed and ready to dive back in. I highly recommend it. So my IWSG post is to suggest everyone try it for at least a day. Next month, I'm going to do if for an entire weekend. For me.

Random going on stuff
New computer is working pretty good. I'm still not use to the keyboard but I'm getting better. My house is really clean because I have to keep it so for my granddaughter who is crawling around like a new puppy and chewing on everything like one too. One of my sons quit his job with AT&T and I'm glad. They are not good to their employees. He starts his new job next Monday and is supplementing his income by being an Uber driving. Lots of good story material there.

I'm seeing lots of TV ads for new fall TV shows and nothing is rousing my curiosity. There's not even any show I'm really looking forward to returning. Sad. Killjoys ended on an intriguing note and I like that we know it has two more seasons to go. Looking forward the Salvation tonight.

Have you ever unplugged completely? Ever ride with Uber? Are you looking forward to any new fall TV.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Old is New Again

So, I got my new computer and finally set it all up. I'm still getting used the keyboard and I hate the different style of mouse thingy. I'll get used to it. It's worth it to have a battery that lasts forever (in comparison) and no interruptions in internet from a wonky something or other. Yes, I'm a computer expert and know all the terms. The switch over gave me an opportunity to clear some things off my computer. Why did I have all those things sitting around on my desktop?

Hope you all got to see the eclipse last week. With your safety glasses, of course. It was really cool though I would put it in the same category of cool as Aurora borealis. I've only seen those once and it was unforgettable.

Without even a chance to get over the Game of Thrones finale, I have a dentist appointment this morning. So, I'll be getting around to blogs later today to return visits. I stop in on many blogs who have excellent content about writing, new releases, recipes, and sometimes are just amusing. I want to share them on Twitter or Facebook, but there are no share buttons to make it easy. If you have a blog, I  hope you'll make sure you have that simple add-on so your visitors can spread the word of your existence.

Watching my daughter full time has put me back on the writing schedule I used while I was still teaching. And I like it. I'm doing my writing at night again after having the entire day for my mind to figure out the next scene. I'm feeling younger and more efficient again and not only because I'm chasing an infant around who has learned to crawl before she's even 6 months old.

Also helping my writing is the complete lack of interesting TV. Thrones is over for the season and my other summer fun, Salvation, is almost done. I think the next thing I'm looking forward to is the second season of Stranger Things. The Defenders on Netflix was okay even though I'm not a fan of Iron Fist, the series or the actor. I am looking forward to The Punisher later this year.

I will not be posting next Monday on Labor Day. We'll probably be doing the family cookout and games thing.

Are you making plans for Labor Day weekend? See the eclipse? Did you watch The Defenders? Do you have share buttons on your blog?

Monday, August 21, 2017

This Day

I'm not going to link to any of the zillion articles about the solar eclipse since they are everywhere and have been for a while now. I hope you're protecting your eyes if you in the shadow of the moon today. It's a very cool thing to have happen. We'll only get to see a partial eclipse where I live, but it will still be neat.

I'm spending more and more time watching my granddaughter as the school year approaches and her parents get back to work. She's a bit of sunshine every day. She inherited her father's unfortunate cowlick on the very front and center of her head, but she also inherited his disposition. Meaning she is endlessly pleasant and smiling.

Being out and about with that dear child reminds me how easy it is to be kind. So many strangers smile and often speak to her. She adores all of them. When do we learn to not think the best of others? She doesn't care about their race, their religion, or their sexual preferences. Old, young or in between. Thin, beautiful, or not. Elliana Hope doesn't care. She loves people, and so should we all. I find myself with more patience with others just by being in the sunshiny presence of hers.

We've had so much rain, it's terrible. The wet area of my lawn is officially a swamp at a time of year when it is usually completely dry. I conceded defeat to the weeds among my flowers last week. Our area is about 10 inches above average rainfall this year.

I'm over a third of the way done with my next book. Would love to finish the first draft by the end of September. I bought a new computer, but I'm still using the old one until I get everything set up. I liked my old computer but the battery was shot. I was lucky if it lasted 20 minutes, and they no longer make the batteries for it though I could try a used one. And wow, computer batteries are really expensive.

The further along Game of Thrones goes this season, the more disappointed I am in the number of episodes. The writers claimed there wasn't enough story to make ten episodes like other seasons, but they're rushing through story so fast, I find it hard to believe they couldn't have found lots of juicy details to fill the time. I'm really enjoying the summer show, Salvation, more and more as it goes. I hope it gets a second season though I guess they could fail to stop the asteroid and all die this season.

Preseason football is underway. I seldom watch sports on TV, but I do enjoy football. And I love watching my son coach high school football. I will also get a lot of writing done while my husband commandeers the TV to watch hours and hours of the game. Don't just him, but my husband is a Raiders fan. And Penn State, of course.

Is your part of the word getting a rainy overload? Are you wishing for a little human kindness among the world's people? Have you ever priced a computer battery? Looking forward to football season? Who is your favorite team? Are you going to watch the eclipse?

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Normal

Our local chapter had an interesting meeting this past Saturday. As I mentioned before, my group, CPRW, won an award for being the top small chapter of RWA for 2017. After the business portion of the meeting, the handful of members who attended RWA's yearly conference gave a recap of the insights into the industry they gathered at the massive gathering of writers, editors, and agents. One of the interesting thing they shared was how smoothly our chapter runs compared to so many others. Each of our members had tales from other groups of how their chapters suffered from infighting and drama. Some groups are considering disbanding because of the dysfunction of their chapter. There is not one hint of that in our group. We won the 'less than 50 members' group award. And we all support and cheer for each other. There's no jealousy or ego-driven rifts in our little family. I would never have imagined other groups weren't like ours.

Tomorrow I'm taking my granddaughter to library for the first time. We're getting her library card and in three weeks we can sign her up for her first reading group. She'll be six months old so it's time. Not that we haven't already bought her dozens of books. Mostly, she wants to eat them at this time, but I'm sure she'd get over that.

"To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter."  P.T. Barnum

My publisher put together a Best of  Susan Kelley album for me. I mean an anthology of three of the first books in my space opera romance series. I'm excited to see how this does as it's something new for both of us. I'm really excited that I have enough series to make an anthology with only my work in. Though since this contains 3 full length novels, it's more like an omnibus.

Went with my daughter yesterday to use a great coupon we had for The Gap. Way too many people. Have I mentioned how glad I am that I don't have to do back-to-school shopping. I do miss searching for some cool office supplies. But I really don't need them. I buy a planner once per year and occasionally need more pens or pencils.

I've heard about Game of Thrones being the most pirated show in history but how about the leaks and hacking they have to battle all the time? I watched Les Miserables so I understand stealing because you're starving, but what is with the thieves in this world. I don't understand the mindset that it's okay to take something that belongs to someone else.

I'm looking for a new home for my other fantasy series that I received my rights back for after the small press closed. They had published the first book out of three but only for a few months. So I've narrowed down a few publishers who will look at a book that's been published before. There aren't many of them. Suggestions are appreciated if you know of any.

Are you doing any back-to-school shopping or only bemoaning the crowds like I am? Are you a fan of anthologies? Have you ever been part of a writing group that didn't get along? How old were you the first time you visited a library?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: August 2017 Style

The last Wednesday of the summer is upon us. Time for IWSG monthly posting. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, this dedicated groups blogs once a month to help each and share our woes and successes. Find all the participating blogs here.

This optional question this month:
What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

There are certainly more than one. When reading it's difficult to take off my writerly/editing glasses. It really bothers me when I find so many of the things we're told to not do as writers. Adverbs everywhere. Info dumps. Starting with dream sequences. And yet, these authors have big traditional publishing contracts.

In the support side of this blog hop, I've had some frustrating days in the past few months. But I talked with some people like fellow writers, my publisher, and read a few articles. The hard truth is that all writers struggle at times. Even very successful writers struggle. Part of growing as a writer is learning to push through the struggles and keep on writing. Also knowing when to take a break and let your muse call you back to it when you're recharged. I also look at my writing as a job, and sometimes the job doesn't go as smoothly as you'd like but you still go to work. So I'm hard at work on the third book in my current series.

Game of Thrones really wowed us this last episode. Lots happened and the last scene was one of the best of the show. I'm liking Salvation so far though I don't know if it's getting good reviews. Killjoys is okay this year as their story expands into the greater universe. Zoo is one crazy thing after another with some weird things going on though the entire show is pretty weird.

Getting lots of cucumbers and tomatoes from my plants. My refrigerator is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. It's a lot easier to eat healthy in the summer.

Do some pet peeves jump out at you? What summer shows are you really enjoying? Has summer sped by for you like it has for me? Do you grow your own veggies or otherwise enjoy them this time of year?

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Week of Opportunity

Where to begin? This Thursday is #IWSGPit. I hope you've polished and perfected that pitch.
There's an amazing list of participants, agents and editors.

Also, this is the last week to send your submission for the next Insecure Writer's Support Group nonfiction anthology Guide to Writing for Profit. Can't wait to get my hands on that.

C. Lee McKenzie is offering Sliding on the Edge for free:
 Scarred. Scared. Alone. Can sixteen-year-old Shawna Stone overcome her inner suffering and transcend the past? 

Shawna has spent the first sixteen years of her life in Las Vegas and learned to handle anything from a Las Vegas hustle to skipping out on the rent. Damaged inside and out, she's survived with a tough, hardened attitude. When her mother abandons her, with only a bus ticket and the name and number of stranger to call, this troubled , desperate teen finds herself on a California horse ranch with Kay Stone, the steely, youngish grandmother she's never known. 

Kay overwhelms Shawna with rules and daily barn chores, and Shawna baffles Kay with her foul-mouthed anger and shrugging indifference to everything--except the maltreated horse on the ranch next door. But it's worse than even Kay suspects: Shawna's driven to cut herself by Monster, that strange voice inside her head. Kay struggles to keep the ranch going and fears that unless she helps this girl, she could lose her last living family member.

As this unlikely pair struggles to co-exist, will they overcome their suffering and transcend the past?

Find it on Amazon,   Smashwords,   Kobo,   Barnes and Noble

Michael J. Sullivan, once a guest on IWSG, has a new book release tomorrow. Age of Swords in the second book in his newest series. He's one of my favorite fantasy writers and a nice guy on top of that. If you're looking for a good epic fantasy series to indulge in, try this author.

Tomorrow is also the day my latest, Hunter's Exiled Lady, is available on Amazon. After a frustrating week finding the time to write, I'll be excited to see how this book sells. Sometimes when I get my royalty checks I want to weep.

Wow, does the trailer for the second season of Stranger Things promise another great season. I hope the show avoids a sophomore slump. Salvation, the short season summer show on CBS, is pretty good. Lots of science and intrigue along with interesting, imperfect characters. Zoo gets a little crazier every season, but it's summer so I'll take it.

Do you have your Twitter pitch ready? Know something about promotion you can share with IWSG members? Ready to pick up a free book from C. Lee McKenzie? Did you see the trailer to Stranger Things?

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Game Returns

I suspect a lot of you were glued to your TVs last night to watch the return of Game of Thrones for it's seventh season. It didn't disappoint. Loved the opening scene. Loved Jon and Sansa acting like brother and sister even though they're only cousins. I liked seeing everything coming together and the characters finally being all on the same continent. Things I'm still looking forward to is the meeting of characters like Jon and Daenerys and when can all the Starks please get together. And can Littlefinger finally get what he has coming? And isn't Jon being a wise king so far. And how about Jamie's opinion of the Greyjoy's? Don't we all agree?
"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select the more enjoyable." Lousia May Alcott
Check out this interesting article about authors bullying other authors. I've seen it happen but never knew anyone personally involved. We need to support each other. Anne R. Allen speaks from experience about this. We need to support each other. In light of that, here's a new book from my CPRW friend:
Into the Fire by Vicki Smith
In Olivia Sanders' world, people like her don't survive very long. Special abilities are a threat to the corrupt government and those loyal. Olivia and those with similar abilities struggle to keep their secrets as new laws threaten them daily. Though hiding isn't enough for Olivia. A healer and firestarter, she works with the resistance to ensure the safety of the people of her sector, toiling in an unforgiving world without freedom or hope with the goal that someday they will find both.
Poisoned by someone she should never have trusted, betrayed by her godfather, the former governor, who is using disturbing methods to control the population and grow his army, Olivia is forced to seek help from Luke Jamison, the leader of the resistance. They join forces with his brother, Matt, and Jillian Derrick, a hard-as-nails woman leading a band of "undesirables" to safety.
As conditions in the sector deteriorate and the death toll climbs ever higher, Olivia and Luke, Jillian and Matt, cling to the miracle of found love while facing the horror of a future without each other.

Victoria Smith lives in Central PA with her high school sweetheart and way too many animals. She writes paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian—all with romance, because who doesn’t love a happy ending? She publishes with Liquid Silver Books and Soul Mate Publishing. Visit her at

 Twitter - @smith_victoria

"There is no friend as loyal as a book." Earnest Hemingway

Did five hours of cleaning out and packing things for Goodwill. At least two dozen coffee mugs, a dozen wine glasses, and thirty vases. When you have six children, you get a lot of 'best mom' style mugs as they're growing up. Every child bought me a coffee mug or wine glass when they were in college. So yes, I have Penn State, Gettysburg College, Boston University, and University of Pittsburgh. Now they're bringing stuff from work. LOL

Did you enjoy the first episode of Game of Thrones? Have you supported some of your author friends lately? Known anyone to get attacked by author bullies? Do gifts collect in your house? Need a coffee mug? Hardly used.