Archive for the ‘The Writing Life’ Category

A New Year – A New Word(s) of Intention

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions. The surest way for me not to attain a resolution is to set it in stone. I don’t know, the rebel in me just balks. So for the past couple of years, I have chosen a Word of Intention for the year. 2016 was Gratitude. Each day, I strove (strived? stroved? egad) to feel grateful for some aspect of my life, no matter how small. My mood is affected by not only the ups and downs of daily life, the losses that naturally increase as we and our loved ones age, but also by the weather. And in my part of the world, in the winters we get our fair share of white-shrouded skies, in the spring comes the gray clouds and sometimes torrential rains (our region suffered severe flooding in 2017), and the summers, while usually nice, lately we are experiencing drought and forest fires up the whazoo, which makes for more clouds–with smoke–obscuring the skies. Something about a blue sky just lifts my spirits. The weight of clouds weighs me down. So my annual Word of Intention helps me get through those rainy or fire-smoky days,

For 2017, I chose Positivity as my Word of Intention. In retrospect, this was a fantastic choice. My dear doggie left this world in November, and I spent most of last year as her caregiver. Reminding myself to find the positive in a day–no matter how small–helped me focus on the positivity animals, and especially dogs, radiate. Once Allie died, I got very ill with a host of viruses that seemed to swoop in and take advantage of my total lack of defenses. Only wrapping myself in the feeling of positivity Allie gave me helped me through some of those days.

So along came the time to choose my word for 2018. I chose Joy, as an extension of Gratitude and Positivity. Here we are less than 10 days into the new year, though, and Joy alone isn’t quite working. As I gazed at the white sky while on a solo walk without my beloved pooch, I wondered why. And I decided Joy wasn’t…verby enough. It’s a fine plan to try and embrace a spark of joy in daily life as we proceed through the year, but I needed something more active to spur me along. Joy is my goal, but being Proactive every day, in my writing and in my life, I believe will help set me on the path to Joy.

And you know what? It’s working. The days I can’t find joy, I remind myself to just be proactive, to take a step toward a writing or personal goal. And once I’m in the midst of doing that, well, there comes my joy.

Some days, joy is elusive. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s hard to find joy when someone passes away or another sort of tragedy befalls a loved one. But by being proactive, I am confident that step by step, I will find my way back to joy every time.

What about you? Do you set Resolutions? Or do you have a Word of Intention for the year? The season? This month? That’s sort of the approach I’m taking with 2018. If February requires a word other than Proactive to pave the path to Joy, so be it. Don’t fence me in! My year is wide open.

Q and A at Publishing Spark!

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

I have a Q and A at Publishing Spark today. Hop on over and check it out.

What is Publishing Spark, you ask? It’s an email/newsletter list provider. If you’re an author, it’s a super easy version of MailChimp. Right now I have email lists on MailChimp, Mailer Lite and Publishing Spark, and I’m testing each out for various lists. I started over on MailChimp, and I really like them, but as my subscriber base grows I’m just in a place right now where I really want the automation features but my writing income, um, still needs work and MC is a tad on the high end for my needs. Enter Mailer Lite and Publishing Spark, both of which offer automation on their lowest tier or free trials. I’m trying out both over the next twelve months.

At the Publishing Spark blog today, I’m talking about my new book, PICTURE IMPERFECT, how I use my mailing lists, and basically offering some writerly advice. I hope to see you there!

Travel Bug

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

It’s been a week since my husband and I returned from a month-long trip to Australia. We had a marvelous time! Caught up with family members in Melbourne, met family we haven’t met before, stayed with friends in Perth who we met on our trip to the Galapagos two years ago, and did tons of exploring on our own. Even met up with an author pal from California who just happened to be in Sydney during the same time.

I am exhausted.

Traveling is a blast, but work piles up while you’re gone. So I’ve been slowly tackling the paper pile on my desk while trying my best to combat spring fever (it’s sunny out – I want outside!). The jet lag this year is killing us, possibly because, on top of losing a day on the trip there and then gaining a day on the trip back, we switched time zones within Australia itself four times. So that was six time/day changes in total in four weeks. Almost immediately upon our return, we needed to go out of town overnight, this time to somewhere fairly local, just as beautiful and intoxicating as Australia but different. Lakes instead of oceans. Trees instead of red rock and desert.

I fully intend to blog about this trip. I intended to blog about our trip to China last year to see our son, however, time and family events got away on me. So I might blog about Australia and then blog about China. We’ll see. First, I need to upload my pictures and sort through them. Well, before that, must continue clearing off my desk and then return to the writing project I last looked at in late February/early March. It’s been a long time since I had a new release. A new book is coming, the release date of which is dependant on editing schedules, and then I’ll return to writing the Love & Other Calamities short story series. Before all that, indeed very, very soon, is a little treat. If you haven’t yet read my books, stay tuned!

The Life of an Indie Writer

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

I originally tried writing this post on my iPad several days ago, when I was deep in polishing and proofing BORROWING ALEX for re-issue. But the iPad kept putting the entire post in as the title, so I wound up whining on Facebook instead.

I actually came here today to write about something else, when I saw this post still in draft. Clever moi, on my desktop I was able to cut and paste the post from the title to the body of the post. So I figured I might as well post it and you can come back tomorrow for Close Encounters of the Bambi Kind, the post I sat down to actually write!

The Life of an Indie Writer

It’s not all glamor and quaffing chocolate!

You know when you run your manuscript through a program that’s supposed to help you spot errors and then the next time you open the manuscript in your word processor all your italics have switched to a different font, and, by the way, so has some random text? And no matter what you do to update the styles, the irritating font that you don’t want keeps springing up seemingly at random? And then the font keeps backtracking and eating your italics? So you have to save your file to Notepad and do a “nuclear purge”? Which necessitates earmarking all the italics in the manuscript through some stupid method you dreamed up? Then you have to open a new document in your word processor, cut and paste the nuclear purge into it, and reapply all your styles meanwhile continually making and remaking a dumb mistake until you finally recognize your non-brilliance?

And THEN you have to painstakingly re-do all the italics before re-reading the manuscript, emailing it to your Kindle to read again, before you can hope to listen to said manu on audio software, because listening on audio catches mistakes your eye can’t see? And all through this process, you become addicted to question marks?

THAT.

~~~~~

That was where I was several days ago in the process of re-issuing BORROWING ALEX, my romantic comedy that was originally published by Amber Quill Press in 2007. I have now moved through that process and read and re-read the manuscript countless times. Despite that the book was professionally proofread by Amber Quill Press and that the only couple of errors that crept into the published version were caught while proofing the audio edition by AudioLark in 2011, I had done a lot of heavy editing plus written two new scenes, and, in doing so, had introduced new errors. I thought some of you might find my proofing methods helpful, especially if you’re a writer yourself. But that’s a post for another day. For now I’m getting this one out there and on to writing Close Encounters of the Bambi Kind.

P.S. I am at the cover design and formatting stage for the BORROWING ALEX re-issue! Woot!

An Awkward Thing Happened on the Way into the Bookstore

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

First, I love my new Gunnars! Thanks to the weird yellow lenses cutting the blue glare of my desktop screen, I can finally get productive again! Which is very good. Because I’m behind in many things, including updating both my websites.

Second, writers are introverts. Most writers are, anyway. And I’m no exception. We spend the majority of our time tucked away in our offices, spinning stories from our imaginations. Before the Internet, we rarely interacted with the public (unless we were famous, which most of us weren’t—and aren’t). Along comes the Internet, and it’s easier to interact with our readers because we’re still sitting in our offices while doing the interacting. Most writers, if asked by a publisher, to go into a local bookstore and sign copies of a recent release, will be hesitant to do it. In fact, most of us have to force ourselves to do this sort of thing. There’s something weird or a bit off about trumpeting one’s own writing. Other artistic endeavors, like singing, dancing and acting, the idea is to be in front of an audience. Writers like to hide inside our books.

Now, most people who know me in “real life” would never believe that I’m an introvert. That I was a shy child. That I had to force myself to learn to come out of my shell. And that shell is a very comfortable place. It just so happens that I have developed the knack of being a social introvert.

So…a couple of weeks ago, Penny (nickname for my “pen” name, check the blog legend in the right sidebar if you’re confused), had a new release, an excerpt of a single title erotic romance included in a multi-author anthology with several other Canadian erotic romance authors. Until now, all of Penny’s publishers—and all of mine as Cindy—have been based in the United States. And because I live in a smaller town not near any large urban centers, I’ve never seen my—nor Penny’s—books in a bookstore except for the one time I briefly had, as Cindy, copies of the second edition of HEAD OVER HEELS available on commission in a local independent. Then that independent went belly-up, and it took me several years (I know, the horror) to try and arrange another bookstore consignment for my Cindy books. I am in the process of attempting to get that done now.

But Penny, that little devil, likes to jump ahead of me in such matters. So, with the release of the multi-author erotic romance anthology in mid-February, Penny found her way into a local independent bookstore (different from the one that went belly-up). The publisher of the anthology asked me a few times if I had plans to pop into the bookstore and sign copies of the anthology or—agh!!!!—arrange a public booksigning. He was quite persistent, so I agreed that if the “sales team” let the independent in question know what was going on, that I would appear this week or next to sign the copies on the shelves, or in the warehouse if desired. Anything to get out of a public signing and being asked directions to the Dr. Seuss aisle.

Being the brilliant sort that I am, I decided that if I had to torture my introverted self by waltzing into the bookstore and asking to sign copies of the anthology, I might as well get all the pain over with at once and bring along trade copies of HEAD OVER HEELS and WHERE SHE BELONGS for the possible consignment sales. But first, the signing of the anthology needed to be accomplished.

As it so happened, the manager of the bookstore, a lovely young woman, approached me when I entered the store. I thought, “Better make sure they have copies first.” So asked, “Do you have copies of ANTHOLOGY TITLE?” (If you follow that link, you’ll miraculously learn it). She said yes and took me toward them. I was happy to see that they had about ten copies on the shelves. But! At this point I should have been jumping up and down, ecstatic to finally, after all these years, see one of my books on local bookstore shelves that I hadn’t placed there on consignment (even if my name wasn’t on the cover, as there are about twelve contributing authors so only the editor’s name is on the cover). That moment was totally lost to me. I didn’t take a picture. I didn’t kiss the books. Instead, I had to tell the manager, “This might sound a little weird, but I’m one of the contributing authors in this book and my publisher asked me to come down and sign copies. Do you want me to sign the copies?” (Because, well, maybe she didn’t). I think the manager was as surprised by the question as I was by my need to be there so I could tell the publisher that I had followed through with his dastardly plan to extricate me from my office. I took along a copy of another book WITH Penny’s name on the cover, to sort of prove that I was who I said I was, but it turned out she believed me because apparently no one in my town has ever waltzed into the bookstore claiming to be an author in a particular book when in fact they weren’t. I guess that’s not something Canadians like to lie about.

At any rate, we took the books into the back office, and I signed them away from the unknowing crowds, and then she placed them back on the bookshelf. It was a little embarrassing, because the publisher had said something along the lines of how the sales people had informed local bookstores that authors in the area (being me for my area) might be stopping in to sign the copies. But the manager in my independent didn’t know a blessed thing. I don’t know who told who, but no one told her, not even me, because I could not bring myself to call before going down first. No, I just had to buck up and fill the car with recycling and shopping lists, and pop in.

I was home and removing the groceries from the trunk before I realized that I hadn’t fully relished seeing ONE OF MY BOOKS ON BOOKSTORE SHELVES. For the first time ever without having placed them on consignment. Because of my nerves, because of my natural inclination to rather sit home and write, I totally missed on that once-in-a-lifetime experience. So now I’m hoping I’ll run across the anthology in another Canadian bookstore. Then I’ll have my giggle and chuckle. After all this time, I’m on Canadian bookstore shelves (on behalf of Penny)! That feels really great.

Newsletter Issue Fixed. Phew.

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Thank you very much to my Gmail guinea pig! It turns out that, yes, Gmail users CAN join my newsletter. Something wonky was going on with a specific reader, but that reader has now successfully signed on, too.

Remember, the way Yahoogroups works, you enter your email address in the sign-up box on a website (like mine in the sidebar of this blog) or by clicking a link that opens your email program. Do not put anything in the subject line. Just send off the email.

You will receive a confirmation email that you need to hit reply on, or Yahoo won’t subscribe you to the newsletter. Keep a look-out for this confirmation email, because it might go into your spam box, depending on your ISP’s settings.

Over and out!