Tag Archives: book

Hopefully I Managed To Take My Cover Photo Today

27 Sep

I have been planning to get over to my parents’ house to take some photos in their second bathroom for my poetry collection My Ignored Hamper and other Bathroom Poetry. Lonnie and I got there yesterday and figured out what I was going to need, where we could find it, and because our well pump is still being fixed, I took a shower.

Today I got back over there with a bag of clothes from my youngest sister, a couple toys from my husband’s tool shed, and a can-do attitude.

The first step was to set the scene. That wasn’t hard. I found one of their hampers, a couple dirty towels, by chance coming across a brilliant pair of yellow ducky pajama pants, then took some time artfully making the little scene look artless.

I must have take over two dozen photos, and I am happy with most of them. I have yet to really scrutinize them, but from what I have seen in my two reviews, this could end up being a tough choice. That’s a good thing, I suppose. To be honest, I was hoping that one of them would just leap off the screen and scream “I’m the perfect one! Use me!!!” Nope.

This means I will have to go through them all, eliminating the ones that are not exactly perfect in the hopes of whittling down my candidates. It most likely won’t happen in the next couple of days, though. My weekend seems to have filled up. (When did I get a social life?)

Anyway, I thought you guys would like a sample of my photography session.

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From the September 27th photo shoot Sample 1.

From the September 27th photo shoot Sample 2.

From the September 27th photo shoot Sample 3.

Ahhh. They exist now. It’s a nice feeling.

One step closer to actually publishing my little book of poems. 🙂

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What do you think?

Do you have a favorite photo, or angle?

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Today, I Got Yelled At About My Writing (and it wasn’t a bad thing)

26 Sep

My sister just younger than me called this afternoon. She was in the process of making a double batch of double chocolate cookies (that’s just how our family does things), and wanted to talk about one of the projects we are working on. After the first half of the cookies went into the oven she read her latest short story to me. I loved it.

But before that, we had a short, but noisy discussion about my novel-in-the-making, I Killed Them, Mama. Boy, was she loud.

Title  I Killed Them Mama in yellow on purple - cropped

You see, I have this terrible habit of getting a good way into writing a novel, then dropping it for something newer and shinier. That is, in a way, what happened with me and I Killed Them, Mama. The going got tough, and the tough got distractable.

After a few weeks of trying not to think about that partial draft just sitting alone, in the dark, in a computer file, my brain started to work on it again. It started to mull over the plot I have laid out. Somehow in the process I became convinced that i needed to rearrange a couple of the larger happenings to make it move smoother. This did not endear me further to this beautiful, exciting piece of hard work. I began just playing with the what-ifs of the book, instead of actually getting down and writing any of it.

Not good.

Back to the phone conversation with my sister. After discussing a good many other things, we eventually landed on the subject of this novel I’m supposed to by working on. I told her the changes I was thinking of making.

Do you know what she said to me?

“The plot works the way you have it laid out. Stick with your original plan and get the dratted thing written!”

I love my sister.

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On a similar note, I have discovered that Write or Die has a web version. This may be used in the near future to see if it will spur some more 2,000 word days. It’s worth a try, right?

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Also, my cover photo for My Ignored Hamper and other Bathroom Poetry did not get taken today. In my defense, I have obtained shirts and pants from my youngest sister to use as props, and I’ve gotten a better idea of what all I will have to move around in the bathroom to make this work. Hopefully.

Dang it! I forgot to borrow some bath toys.

Oh, well. Tomorrow.

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Besides that, I wrote a mutant story yesterday. I’ve laid the groundwork for another one, and in planning this second story I stumbled across an idea for a third. This anthology of mutant short stories and flash fiction may get put together a little faster than we had originally thought. *sigh* Maybe.

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How often do you have trouble sticking through the middle part of a long project?

What tactics do you use to help keep you focused?

And / Or

Who do you use as a sounding board?

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My Friday Night Exercise

21 Sep

*Pant, pant, gasp*

We just got home from the Senior Center dance.

Where’s my water bottle?

My feet hurt, my right calf is about half a step away from cramping, and I couldn’t be happier.

Tonight was the drummer’s birthday. His birthday request was that the cover charge be waived. So tonight’s outing was free. There was the usual pot-luck fare at the 8:30 intermission, plus a big, chocolate birthday cake. (I was a good girl and only stole one bite from Lonnie’s piece.)

The treasurer has just had a minor foot surgery so she couldn’t really get out and dance much (although she did manage a subdued twist). She asked a few of the ladies to take her place and keep her husband on the dance floor. I’d only danced with him a couple of times before. I think he does a country version of a waltz, which I’m not used to, but he leads so well I had no problem following.

So not only am I learning the two-step, but now I am fascinated with this new kind of waltz.

Next week is a western night. They have a special fiddle player coming in from a couple towns over.

This should be interesting, since I don’t own any cowboy boots, or a fluffy, puffy skirt. Although a sister did give me a shirt a few weeks ago which should work. And my black knee high boots should substitute…sort of. I have a denim skirt, but it’s a little too narrow for wearing to a dance.

I do have a pair of jeans that make my butt look awesome, sooo… yeah.  🙂

*Gasp!* And I have a big belt buckle with roses on it!

Yay! Thanks for listening, y’all. I’ve figured out what I’m going to wear.  😀

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Something interesting happened this evening. I answered honestly when a couple people asked me what I had been doing recently. I straight up told them that I have been working on getting a book of bathroom poetry published on Amazon. Seriously, I thought it was just going to be glossed over with a “oh, how nice for you”. Nope. As far as I can tell I’m going to have to take a box of books to autograph for several people at the Senior Center as soon as I can get things worked around to getting that thing on the print-on-demand option. I was also told that they wouldn’t want them as gifts. They want to pay for their copies!

Mind Blown

So that was an ego boost.  🙂

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Alright. I’ve had time for the muscles in my legs to quit twitching from the torture. It’s time to take these tired tootsies to bed.

I hope you guys all have amazing weekends! I’m sure as heck am going to figure out a way to have some more fun.  😀

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Video

A Writer’s What-Ifs: The Positive Side

12 Sep

Today I am following up on an idea I had about yesterday’s post.

Here’s the bit that got me thinking.

Then there are the what-ifs.

What if it doesn’t sell well?

What if it isn’t good enough?

What if I’m not good enough?

What if all that time and effort was for nothing?

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This list of what-ifs left me feeling…unhappy.

So I have come up with a list of positive what-ifs.

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My list of positive what-ifs for writers:

What if some of this fear goes away after my first book is published?

What if that first book is a hit?

What if the next book is the start of a great series?

What if I can quit my job by the end of next year?

What if I become an Amazon best seller?

What if I make it onto the New York Times Best Seller List?

What if someone wants to turn one of my books into a movie?

What if I’m the next J. K. Rowling?!

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Hmmm, if I’m not careful I’m going to set off another attack of the day dreams and not get anything done today.

A little dreaming is fun. A lot of dreaming can get in the way of being productive.

So have fun with your happy what-if list, but don’t forget to get your tush in that chair and add more words to the book.

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Now, to practice what I preach.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gifkCgoJ7SY

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On The Long Game – A Guest Post By Laura Oliva

6 Sep
Here's a photo of her saucy self.

Here’s a photo of her saucy self.

You remember the cover reveal we did here a little while ago? Here’s the author.

I have to admit that my first thought after seeing that her second book was already done was “I hate her.” But on reflection I kind of started to wonder how she does this whole writing thing so dang fast (especially with a toddler at home!).

So after a few days of wondering, I invited her to write a guest post.

Here’s what she has to say about staying creative as a writer:

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“There is no rule on how to write.  Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” -Ernest Hemingway

It’s that time again.

Fall is in the air.  The sun is shining.  The leaves are changing.  And I am sitting down to start another book.

I crack my knuckles, position my coffee cup within reach, and set my hands to the keyboard.  The unique pleasure of creation crackles through me.  I hunch over the table.  And then…

Nothing.

I look around.  The table is filthy.  The floor hasn’t been mopped in ages.  My chair has no lumbar support; I can feel my spine begin to telescope the longer I sit.  Rattled, I take a sip of coffee.  It tastes terrible.  And as if that’s not bad enough, it’s getting cold.  The panic every writer knows all too well starts to build.

What if I can’t do this again?

The Muse is a fickle mistress, as any writer, artist, or musician will tell you.  Jungian analyst and writer Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls it Rio Abajo Rio, the River Beneath the River.  It’s an apt metaphor.  One minute we can be swimming along, basking in our creative groove, and the next…

Nothing.  The water disappears underground, and we’re left gasping on a dry riverbank.

So what do you do?  You could sit and wait for your river to surface again.  Lots of writers do.  But when might that happen?  Sometimes, waiting is just not an option.  What if you have goals?  Deadlines?  Diapers to change?  You need every second of writing time you can get.

Every writer I know has their own little bag of tricks: tried-and-true ways to get The Muse back on the chain gang when she’d rather stay home and do her nails.  Many of us utilize the same tools; music, visuals, voodoo, et cetera.  Here, for your reading pleasure, is my personal survival kit:

A Picture Is Worth… Well, You Know.  I’ve always been a very visual person.  When I was younger, oil painting was my creative outlet of choice.  Now I write more than I paint, but I remain compelled by the power of a good picture. 

Most recently, I have become an unabashed Pinterest addict.  The ability to curate pictures that inspire my writing is truly priceless.  On days when I feel my creativity dwindling, you can usually find me on Pinterest, scrolling through old pictures and finding new ones.  This alone is usually enough to snap me out of a slump.

The Right Note.  Music is a daily routine for me.  I have a playlist for each book I write, and I’m constantly on the hunt for songs that capture the tone of my projects.

Ironically, I rarely listen to them while I’m actually writing.  Rather, I play them all the rest of the time: running errands, cooking dinner, or just driving around.  I’m convinced this helps them seep into my subconscious to emerge later, when I do sit down to write.

What Do You Want?  You’ve probably heard this from every teacher, life coach, and college professor you’ve ever met, but you need goals.  This is true of life in general, but it’s especially so in writing.

Embarking on a writing career is a long game.  It’s not easy, and it’s not quick.  If you don’t have something on the horizon to keep your eye on, it gets very difficult to stay motivated enough to continue.  So what do you want?  Be as specific as possible.

Then take a deep breath, and dive in.

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Thanks, Laura!  (lol, Voodoo.)

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Want more?

Laura’s Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/lauraoliva

Her website: www.lauraolivabooks.com

And on Twitter: @writermama

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Video

Marveling at Descriptions in a Sherlock Holmes Book

4 Sep

…Holmes and I walked slowly across the moor. The sun was beginning to sink behind the stables of Mapleton, and the long, sloping plain in front of us was tinged with gold, deepening into rich, ruddy browns where the faded ferns and brambles caught the evening light. But all the glories of the landscape were all wasted upon my companion, who was sunk in the deepest thought.

Very rarely have I found an author who can so succinctly describe a scene. Three sentences and you are there, walking across the moor, watching the sun set.

The above excerpt also explains where I got my prolific use of commas, and a love of longer sentences.

Then there’s this one:

An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was non the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantlepiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs.

Talk about bachelor habits!

Again, within this paragraph we get a sketch of the person who was Sherlock Holmes. We learn that he was mentally sharp and thorough, he wasn’t a flashy dresser, but he was a messy room-mate (a not uncommon trait in geniuses). The examples of his habits are clear and easy to picture.

You also learn about the narrator. He is the friend and room-mate of Sherlock. He had been in Afghanistan because of a job. He is a doctor. He has a sense of humor. (after reading this book with the U.K. spellings of things, it was very difficult to leave out the second U in humor. lol)

I love the way Arthur Conan Doyle wrote. He had a comfortable way of getting to his point. The reader is led without being hurried. At the same time the plot is always moving, never stagnant. Everything moves you forward. Even the parts that seem trivial.

This, in my opinion, is an ideal in writing, and a goal toward which I am striving.

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Yeah, my mom’s right. You can always tell what we have been reading from listening to the way we talk…and write.  😀

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Now for the fun part. In my personal opinion, I feel that Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law are to date the most correct interpretations of this duo (although I don’t see any evidence of an ongoing childish argument between the two, and no animosity toward Watson’s wife by Holmes in the stories). So without further ado, here’s one of my favorite parts of the first movie.

Sherlock Holmes scene “Meat or Potatoes” – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjBcZwectv0

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Excerpt one is from Adventure 1 in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Excerpt two is from Adventure 5 in the same book.

The Cover Reveal For Laura Oliva’s What The Body Needs!

26 Aug

Hi All!

So here is the second post which I warned you about.

This one is all about my drinking, swearing, fun on the outside, tough on the inside friend Laura Oliva.

Here’s how she describes her writing:

I write tender love stories about tough people. You won’t find any candy-coating here. The men are men, the women are badass, the dirt is dirty, the whiskey is strong. Things aren’t always roses and sunshine.

But sometimes life’s more fun that way.

I quoted this from her blog Writing In The Night.

She has finished writing her second novel, and received the cover art for it a couple days ago.

Laura is super excited about it, and couldn’t wait another week to get it out there for all her fans to see.

Here it is!

What The Body Needs By Laura Oliva

What The Body Needs
By Laura Oliva

And the blurb! Don’t forget to read the blurb:

Jak O’Mara is a survivor.

 

She’s survived in her father’s construction company.  She’s survived in the boxing ring.  And she survived the brutal attack that left her permanently scarred.

 

For the last five years, she’s tried to convince everyone -including herself- she’s no victim.  But with the apparent return of her unknown assailant, the life she’s rebuilt crumbles overnight.

 

Ex-cop Marcus Cutter has his own scars, they just don’t show.  Following the violent death of his younger sister, he fled his old life in disgrace.  After almost six years, “rock-bottom” feels a lot like home.

 

As Jak’s new bodyguard, Marcus is forced to return to the city -and the memories- he’s tried to forget.  All he wants is to do his job, but Jak isn’t what he expects.  When he’s with her, he finally feels something besides pain.

 

When the danger escalates, Jak decides it’s time to take matters into her own hands.  She’s going to find who’s after her, no matter the cost.  Marcus knows he has to protect the woman who’s made his life mean something again.  But how do you protect someone who’s convinced they have nothing left to lose?

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Laura is all over the internet.

You can find her on Twitter: @writermama

You can also visit her book page on her site here.

Her Facebook is here.

And you can get her first book here. It’s currently available for $1.99 in e-book form only. So far, anyway.  🙂

I think she’s also on pintrest and something else, but my poor old computer is telling me it’s had enough of looking up social sites today so you’re on your own there.

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I enjoyed All That Glitters, and I can’t wait until What The Body Needs is also in my Kindle PC (and on my phone. Cause, really, you never know when that grocery check-out line will last more than two and a half minutes. lol).

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TPG reviews: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, by Neil Gaiman

23 Aug

OK, I read this book review when it came out. It really makes the book seem interesting. Has anyone else read The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, and would you recommend it to someone who is easily creeped out? (although I think some of the creep factor could be toned down if I read it aloud to my husband. Things aren’t as scary with him around.)

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P.S. We will be returning to our regularly scheduled programming on…Saturday.

Tomorrow is just too busy to try and get a blog post together.

Confession of a Book Snob #1

21 Aug

Wow! According to this I’m a book snob.

😀  Cool.

I see nothing wrong with that.

But now I’m curious.

Are you a book snob?

Video

Have You Fired The Sales Department Before Even Getting Started?

13 Aug

Here’s where I got the idea for today’s post:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5crBbDA6e1w

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I am referring of course to the first of the two short animations. (although the second is funny)

(I love Dilbert. lol!)

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This got me to wondering how many writers (or any other profession which involves selling of wares on the internet) think that sales and advertising is beneath them, or not worth their time.

Being really honest, if you had a couple books for sale, but no one knew they existed, how could you expect people to drive to the warehouse (i.e. Amazon, B&N, Smashwords) and beg for your product?

That is where your Author’s Platform comes in.

You’re looking at me with a blank stare…

All that an Author’s Platform consists of is what you have set up to help advertise, and in general, inform potential readers about what you have written.

That’s it. In a nutshell.

I’ll use myself as an example.

Last November I had finally reached my goal of enough bathroom poems written that I could now put them out to friends and family for second opinions.

So Excited!

Then I really started looking into what it would take to publish them…

(I’m gonna be honest here)

YIKES!!!

This is a steep learning curve. Especially for a girl who is borderline computer illiterate, and can’t seem to make either photo editing program on her darling husband’s computer work the way she wants. *pout*

I must say, though, that formatting the poems wasn’t nearly the chore I thought it was going to be.  🙂

But I digress.

Last November I decided that the procrastination was over. The blog needed to start. So in I dove. Head first, no prep, barely any research. Loved (almost) every moment of the process.

Next came the Facebook page and Twitter (if memory serves I created them almost the same day).

Twitter seems to be more my speed than Facebook. I really thought it would be the other way around. The discovery still baffles me. But what is even more confusing, is that I get more blog hits from Facebook than Twitter. Go figure.

For a recap: At this point I have a blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. All building friends and followers for when I eventually publish my little book of poetry (and of course all the other stuff I’m creating).

Then I found out about something called Goodreads. All I can say is that I have an account. It still is a little intimidating to me for some odd reason. When I get this book out I’ll have to pull on my big girl pants and figure out how to make an Author’s Page. *squeals and hides under the bed*

It was something of a stroke of luck when I temporarily learned how to make my blog posts automatically appear on my LinkedIn, erm, wall…I think it’s called? Yeah, another one that eludes my braincells.

That’s another point!

If you absolutely hate working with a certain social media site…

Don’t Worry About It!

Sure all those people say that you Must be on all the sites.

But really, I think just being consistent with a few will get you better results than just occasionally showing up at 12 different places.

That’s why I’m don’t sweat not being able to figure out LinkedIn and Goodreads. Facebook is doing…ok for me. Twitter, well being truthful, Twitter is borderline on an addiction for me. I just have to know what is happening!

Seriously, though, I love my Twitter writer friends. They are the best!

The biggest piece of advice I can give you?

Have Fun With It!

If you don’t keep it interesting for yourself a) You’re going to burn out real quick, and b) You’re probably boring your hard won friends and followers (and yourself, to tears).

So post those kitten photos. Tell the world how you broke the wide screen with your contact lens. Brag about your kid’s burping ability. They like to know that you’re a real human.

Writers have good days and bad days like everyone else. We just learn how to turn the experiences into words for others to read. (But that’s another post, I think.)

Just don’t be afraid to be the real you out there in cyber world. A fake you wouldn’t be the same.

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Want more on how to actually build and maintain an Author’s Platform?

Check out these other bloggers!:

Bad Redhead Media

Rachel has a wealth of information on her site for everything from setting up a Sales Platform to internet etiquette. The above link will take you to her list of 10 helpful tips for authors. If you are interested in more just click on the tab for her blog (located at the top of the page, toward the left).

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Catherine, Caffeinated

Catherine is a lot of fun (at least I find her to be). She writes about the entire process of self-publishing, from first edits to the empty feeling afterward when you learn it’s not a get rich quick scheme. She also has many people guest post to share their experience and knowledge.

She has a handy search box at the top right hand corner of her blog. If you don’t want to spend an hour wandering through her writings (I’ve done it…many times. lol) go ahead and type in a key word for something you’re curious about and see what it brings you.

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Savvy Writers & e-Books online

While I do not agree with everything this blog suggests, there is a lot of useful information here. There is a long list of subjects down the right side of the site. I have it cued up for you on Author Platform/Brand. If you want to explore something else go ahead and choose your topic, there are plenty of posts in each. Don’t worry, we’ll come looking if we don’t hear from you in a few days. 😉

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This is just a small example of the many helpful blogs and bloggers out there.

Most writers are very friendly, helpful people. It surprised me when I found this out, but most of us work on the Pay It Forward strategy. We all help each other, so in return, we all get help.

Now go put on your Researcher’s hat so you can eventually learn enough to reach for that Promoter’s hat. Don’t worry, you’ll get there soon enough.

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