Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Too Many Irons

Ever wonder where sayings come from? This phrase jumped to mind when rehashing my to-do list as well as write my IWSG blog post for May...Too Many Irons In The Fire. Are you juggling a ton of issues this spring? And many that are totally unrelated? Here's a sample of my list yesterday:

  • Outline $.99 book
  • Call Alex at auto body shop
  •  Submit promo to Bookbub
  • Look up Google keywords
  • Need brighter flowers on front door wreath
  • Change blurb book #2, Partly Sunny
  • - tutorials
  • Interview - The Author Show
  • Have wash dryer fixed
  • IWSG post
  • Need milk
  • Call Uverse

       This is roughly one-quarter of my list. I’m an all-over-the-place type of gal, as you can well see. My office is in my home, therefore my home is my office.
Spring has kept me hopping. During winter, if that’s what you call it in Houston, I found it much easier to sit for longer periods of time at the computer. But all the rains (floods) our area received lately has produced the greenest spring in a long time. Something about spring makes me want to get all sorts of things done. Hence, the all-over-the-place list.

I can only speak for myself, but I’m a bit overwhelmed.
“Stay focused,” I order.
“Focused on what?” My alter ego eagerly snarks back.

This post is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group led by none other than the great Alex Cavanaugh. If you would like to share your frustrations, dilemmas, or encouragements with other writers or those aspiring to be writers, please click here.

Final note: need to look up the origin of Spring Cleaning, which seems fairly obvious, but again, who comes up with these phrases? 

Yesterday I scratched off “need milk.” Anyone else have too many irons in the fire?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Narrating vs Reading A Story

Quandary, quandary, quandary and I need some input. I listen to a lot of books on Audible. It’s become increasingly clear that a narrator can make or break an audio book (to me). I’m listening to a book now by a well-known author (one of my favorites), whom I will not mention, and I find the narration boring. I heard something the other day that stuck. 

You don’t have to have perfect enunciation to be a narrator.

I have to say I agree. This current narrator is so precise with her words I see visions of Snow White sweetly talking to the animals in the forest. Too perfect.

And…it sounds as if she is reading the book. Maybe that’s what narrators do, but I want someone to be the POV, take on the personality traits, be able to switch tone levels for different characters.

In my mind I envision a good narrator approaching the microphone with the intent of being a good storyteller instead of merely reading the words on the page. 

Am I asking too much?

One thing I did learn after having Saving Gracie, my first book, put on Audible. As a newbie to this end of the industry, I had a narrow vision of what I sought in a narrator. Turned out she did a great job, except for the fact I’m from the south and she’s from the north. This may not sound like much of an issue, but not only did the timing turn out different in her delivery, but the tone of the POV came across way sharper than what I intended.

 Lesson learned...
Thoughts please...

This is April’s blog post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group created by Alex Cavanaugh. To join or learn more, click here.

 Till next month, over and out, and be safe, it's a jungle out there...

One last mention-my favorite narrator is Simon Vance who narrates The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. Now he's a story-teller.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Welcome to February’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, created by Alex Cavenaugh.

Intent. The online dictionary says the following on the subject.

Purpose; design; the state of a person's mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object; meaning or significance. 

I started writing later in life…mid-fifties. My intent at that time was to hold a book in my hand…my words, my name on the cover. That intent became a reality when Saving Gracie was published in 2012, the year I turned 60.

After my third book, Time Trials, was released the end of November 2015, I realized my intent had changed. From just having a published book, I now wanted to be recognized for my writing. Three quick signing parties at the worst time of the year, the sales died off a bit, and the calm of the New Year rolled in. Two years had passed since the release of Partly Sunny, my second novel, so I had to rethink my strategy as to how to promote Time Trials.

Some head-scratching took place before the ding-ding-ding sounded in my head. Oh yeah, I needed to submit for editorial reviews, enter contests...that sort of thing. After submitting Time Trials to Readers’ Favorite, I became ecstatic at the five (1-2-3-4-5…I counted) stars I received plus the glowing review. What a high…

Then I started googling items like “how to get a review from the New York Times” (answer: forget it) and then Publisher’s Weekly, a significantly high-profile reviewer. They’d even established a special section for self-published authors. That seemed doable. Still on the magic carpet ride high from my 5-star Readers’ Favorite review, I sent off Time Trials.

Before going to sleep Monday night I checked my emails. Big mistake. Huge. This is what I found in the subject line from Publishers’ Weekly/Booklife…

Your project has been declined for review…

Then some nonsense about hoping I wouldn’t be discouraged and please consider submitting any future projects. Really? Declined to even read the book? Not a way to drift off into la-la-land (which in my case is an oxymoron…my sleeping habits have never been la-la-land).
Tuesday morning. New day. Thank goodness. I started to think and remembered my intent of wanting to be recognized for my writing. But I took it a step further. What does that look like? Does it mean I want to see my books showcased in the window of Barnes & Noble? Do I need to reach the best-sellers NYT list? No, but let’s face it…it would be nice. Do I want to make a million dollars? Okay, stop laughing, JK Rowling did...

I’ll be 64 years old this month (seriously, is that right?). I realized my life is full, and I write because I enjoy the process. Developing characters, personality traits, and their own voice is one of my greatest pleasures of writing. I treasure people telling me how much they enjoy my characters. Just this past Monday I received this message: “Wanted you to know I’m having trouble wanting to finish Time Trials because I am not ready to let go of those people’s lives yet.” Another note: “I just love your books!”

Now, that makes me smile. That is what my intent looks like. That makes me happy.
I’m sure I’ll re-evaluate my intent in a couple of years.

So….intent. Yours?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Push Notifications

Hello people and welcome to 2016. The year where change and all things are possible. It’s also time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post, hosted by Alex Cavenaugh. Hello Alex!

This month’s post: ENCOURAGEMENT (not just for writers)

The words “push notifications” have been on my mind for a while. After publishing my third book, Time Trials, a little over a month ago, someone recently asked “when is the fourth coming out?” Legitimate question, of course. But at the time, I felt like an inflatable yard art snowman and someone had just pulled the plug on the blower.

My last post was “The Birth of a Book” which for me took 2 years (long story). So, I guess when I heard “when is the fourth coming out” it was like someone asking when was I going to give birth again as I was wheeled out of the delivery room.

I envy writers who sit down and punch out book after book. A recent Facebook post by a fellow author said his New Year’s resolution was to publish 3 books (and was already 20,000 words into one). Are you kidding me?


I have my little “to do” list all made out…let me see, I have it here somewhere. Oh well, I’ll find it eventually. I felt pretty good yesterday just getting my 2016 calendar up on my bulletin board and oh yeah, paying bills that were due on the 1st.

Push. Push. Push. My thesaurus refers to words like assault, attack, thrust, charge, forcing, nudge, prod, shove.

Notification. Notification. Notification: bulletin, warning, advertisement, advisory, notice...

By now, we’re all familiar with push notifications on our phones: AMBER Alerts, Weather Alerts, flight information, ESPN updates, breaking news, etc.

Then I realized my push notifications were internal...self-imposed.

What am I going to do next? Write another novel? Bring out the children’s book I wrote 7 yrs. ago? Try a $.99 book? Try, try, try to get BookBub to accept Partly Sunny for a promo? Get professional reviews on Time Trials? Sweep the floor? Change the air filter? Re-arrange the books on my bookshelf?
Oh the pressure, the pressure, the pressure.

I felt my knees about to buckle when finally, the voice of reason in my head (where the heck have you been???) yells “stop you big baby! TURN OFF YOUR PUSH NOTIFICATIONS!”

So…I did. There, much better. Once again, how many times have I had to repeat the words to myself, or rather listen to them from my inner (and much wiser) self? No one is pushing or chasing me for that matter. It’s not a race.

Who needs enemies, right?

Therefore, if you find you are your own notification pusher, put the hammer down. Deep breathe. It’ll get done. Or not. But the sun will still rise in the east and set in the west. Might as well enjoy the journey.

(Sigh) Okay, no push notifications for me. Now where’s that little “to do” list?

Cheers in 2016 to all...