Friday, September 19, 2014

The End of Summer

Difficult to believe it's the last weekend of summer though the cool night temperatures is proving the calendar correct. The days are flying by. I felt like a I did a lot of work this week but then yesterday I decided my WIP was missing the mark somewhere. My characters need some work if I want readers to care about them. So I'm starting OVER. And I feel like I'm doing the right thing. Some scenes will remain mostly intact but most of them are hitting the trash.

A fall fact from my trusty Old Farmer's Almanac planner. The average person eats about 19 pounds of apples each year. Seems like a lot to me but I do almost always have some in the house.

And a Chinese proverb. Teachers open the door, but you must enter yourself.

And in case you think you're not getting paid enough for your writing here's a fact. Pennsylvania General Assembly clerk Jacob Shallus was paid $30 to pen the Constitution.  This past Wednesday was Constitution Day in case you missed that.

Today's quote about writing. Apologies to my California readers but this is a little bit funny.

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.
- Terry Pratchett

Are you eating your share of apples? What would you have charged to write the Constitution? Do you believe in writer's block? Ready for fall?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In a Land Faraway

Technology had made the world smaller but virtual travel will never replace actually being in a location. I mentioned my daughter is studying in Morocco. Though an open society compared to many countries in that part of the world, it's a way different world from the one most of us live in. To share her experience, my daughter has started a blog. Her topics are quite varied and wildly interesting. Especially to me. The Open Roof is Kelley's blog. I hope you'll take the time to hop over there and leave her a comment as she perfects her Arabic and studies the culture of Morocco.

I'd also like to thank Lori L. MacLaughlin. She gifted me with The Versatile Blogger Award. I'm supposed to share 7 things about myself and then pass it on to 15 bloggers.
1. Despite having knew replacement surgery 10 years ago, I still jog 3-5 miles most days.
2. I grew up on a dairy farm but never drink milk, then or now.
3. I have an inherited blonde streak that runs down the back of my head. It will never turn gray. Looks a little like a skunk.
4. I grew up in a two hundred year old farmhouse with a b&w TV that got one channel.
5. I didn't learn to swim until I went to college.
6. My fraternal grandfather was a bit infamous during prohibition. Can't say anymore than that.
7. I donate blood six or seven times per year.

I'm not going to pass this on to anyone in particular but I challenge anyone to share seven interesting tidbits about yourself.

I hope you've prepared your contribution to The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. If you're still undecided, the book has received lots of writing articles. If you have an idea about publishing or promotion, that would balance the numbers out a bit.

Have you sent in your IWSG post yet? What do you think of Kelley's blog? Have any infamous ancestors like I do? Are you a blood donor?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tweet That

Social media and promotion are not my favorite thing but I've accepted it as part of the business of writing. If you want people to know about your books you must get the word out. One of those ways is on Twitter. You'll find lots of advice out there, some good and some not so good. As with most promotion, you need to find your comfort zone in how you use the tweet verse. And remember what works for someone else might not work for you. Take all advice including mine with a grain of salt.

At one of my local writing groups we had a speaker who shared some expert advice on using twitter. She strongly suggested that you don't connect your twitter account to your Facebook account. People on Facebook don't like the short, sometimes confusing 140 character tweets. It also makes you look lazy.

This same speaker also said you should do at least four tweets per day to promote a product. But not all tweets should be about your product (book). Share funny things or interesting links. Be careful to not get involved in political debates.

Plan your tweets ahead of time. I spent a little time each weekend writing down some tweets about my books. Then it only takes me a few minutes each day to tweet about my books. Every time you write a new blog post, tweet about it. Read an interesting blog or news article, tweet about it with a link. One of your friends tweet about their blog or a book? Retweet for them. Someday they may retweet for you.

Follow people who have the same interests as you. Hopefully, they follow you back. Perhaps your publisher makes it easy to tweet an announcement about your book. Use the easy link they provide. Be careful not to get sucked into spending hours on twitter. There are so many interesting links posted there you can end up exploring all day long.

Don't forget to get your post ready for the IWSG book. And visit the IWSG blog for another great post. Maybe even tweet about it.

Follow me on Twitter if you're not already. Do you tweet? Do you plan ahead of time? Any advice for using the twitter verse for promotion?

Friday, September 12, 2014

There's No Place Like Home on a Friday

I'm back from my trip to visit Colorado. Enjoyed that beautiful country and spending time with my son. I've learned that I don't mind actually flying in an airplane but airports are the pits. I don't care for crowds of any kind but the thing that bothers me the most is the inefficiency I encountered in many areas of the whole business. I have endless patience with someone trying to do their job but absolutely none with people standing around when they should be working. Enough complaints.

I found this interesting article about writers who struggled with mental illness. Lots of us joke about writers being a little bit on the crazy side but there is a side of that we should find so funny. Go here to read about 10 Great Novelists Who Were Mentally Disturbed.

Some words of wisdom from The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Brides: For a happy marriage, wear a coin in your shoe on your wedding day.

Expect good news if your right knee itches.

To reduce anxiety, sniff lavender oil.

A busy weekend ahead getting some blog posts ready ahead of time and working on my contribution to the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. I'm also going to order some ink this weekend. Despite all the things I do digitally and writing on my computer, I still seem to print out a lot of things. Ink is so expensive I hate doing it.

Did you know about any of those famous authors' mental health issues? Any itches in your right knee? Like the smell of lavender? Do you use a lot of ink?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Out of Touch, Kind Of

It's been a wonderful holiday so far. Today we rode the cog railroad up Pike's Peak. It was quite cold, 33 degrees with 17 degrees with the wind chill factor. But it was clear and you could see for miles and miles. Very beautiful. We saw almost no wildlife which was a disappointment. Later though we saw a golden eagle flying parallel to us as we drove and then a bighorn sheep standing right beside the road. Didn't get a picture because there was too much traffic. Then we found a wonderful bar in a pizza restaurant to hang out and laugh about our day's adventures.
Stream on our hike.

Cactus on our hike

My son, James, in the batting cages

It's frustrating to try and keep up with emails and my blog while staying in a hotel. The internet is very slow relative to my Verizon at home and twice now it's just been so overloaded that I couldn't get online at all for the few hours I have in the evenings to check up.
My husband, Ron, and son, James, waiting for train up to Pike's Peak

Looking down on the cog railroad from on top of Pike's Peak

Seeing for over a hundred miles from on top of Pike's Peak

My husband and son with miles of sky behind them.

My son and I laughing at my husband trying to use the camera.

But I'm going to share some pictures I took over the last few days. Some were while I was hiking and a few from Pike's Peak. Colorado is a beautiful state. Their marijuana laws really provide lots of opportunity for jokes. Every time you get bad service at a restaurant or bar? Every time someone is driving in a clueless manner? All those strange conversations you hear while shopping? We had fun with it.

The bloghop in remembrance of Tina Downey touched me in so many ways. I smiled and cried at times. Even though I didn't know Tina well, the loss of such a wonderful person really made an impact on my sense of community, friendship and belonging of the blogging community. Life is so good because of the wonderful people I've met through blogging.

Have you even suffered the frustration of poor internet connection while away from home? Ever been to Colorado and Pike's Peak? Do you enjoy hiking and where is your favorite place to take a long walk? Ever have a wildlife encounter while out for a jog, run or hike?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunflowers for Tina

I'm saddened and blessed to part of this bloghop honoring Tina Downey. Tina blogged at Life is Good and you can leave a comment there for her family. Most of us met Tina through her work with the A to Z Challenge of which she was an integral part. You can find a list of hop participants on that site..

I think sometimes what makes us feel old isn't the years ticking by but rather the accumulation of sadness and loss. I never met Tina in person and still the world is dimmed by her absence. If you've kept up with Tina's post, though they weren't frequent as she dealt with health issues lately, you had to admire her attitude. Tina spent her time living. She made me smile many times.

May we all honor her memory by facing difficulties with good spirits and hope. May we be as generous to our fellows, even the near strangers we network with online. May we all remember that life is good and even better when we make it good for others.
My Daughter's Sunflowers

I'm in Colorado this week, visiting my son, so I'm not sure of my internet connection. I'll be visiting as many of you as I can.

It's difficult to comment on a bloghop like this when you're reading post after post that are very similar. So if you chose to comment, just give a short example of how your life is good. Make us all smile like the bright face of a sunflower.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Week Flies By

Even with taking Labor Day Monday off from blogging, the week remained busy with IWSG on Wednesday. I'm still visiting the participants who celebrated the three year anniversary of the blogging group. I hope you're thinking about being part of the upcoming book.

As usual on Friday, I'll share some wisdom from my Old Farmer's Almanac Planner.
"A truth that's told with bad intent,
Beats all the lies you can invent."
William Blake, English poet (1757-1827)

Sunday is grandparents' day so keep this Swedish proverb in mind:
The young should be taught; the old should be honored.

And a quote from JRR Tolkien to inspire everyone to keep working for their goals.
"A single dream is worth more than a thousand realities."

So I'll be out of town for a few days visiting my son in Colorado but I'll be checking in on blogs and working on my WIP when I can. It will be great to get away for a little bit with no responsibilities except having fun and spending some time with family.

Have a good weekend. Hug a grandparent on Sunday or if you are one, get a hug. What did you think of the Old Farmer's wisdom today? Are you working for your dream? Did you vacation this year or have one in the plans?