Sunday, December 31, 2006

Back to Civilization!

Well, my hands are still a little shaky, but my eye twitching is only slightly perceptible now... I think the symptoms of withdrawal are finally slowing down. *g*

Although it was wonderful to see my brother and meet his new fiancee (who is an absolutely lovely person inside and out) and also fun to see my critique gang after all these months, it's so good to be home and so good to be online again! :)

Thanks to Tempest and Edie for the welcome back. :o)

Here's wishing all of my online & offline friends a wonderful, safe & happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Holidays

Since I'll be leaving town soon and will be without Internet access for a week (gasp--oh the pain, the pain!), I want to wish all my web friends a safe, happy holiday season full of love and magic.

As a small gift, I'm also leaving you with a free holiday short story (age 18 and over only, please.) I hope you enjoy it. :)

A Christmas Tail

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Thanks to the lovely Michelle Diener, I've been tagged to fill out the following...

Four jobs I've had:
Homemaker :)
Credit Analyst
Office Manager
Tech writer/editor/web content manager (all part of the same job)

Four favorite foods:
Chicken mole
Quonset pizza (restaurant 20 miles away - I drive there just for the pizza)
Pad Thai

Four movies I can watch over and over:
Love Actually
Truly Madly Deeply
Harry Potter (all of them)
Pride and Prejudice

TV Shows I enjoy:
Mystery (PBS - pretty much all of their mystery series)


Four places I've traveled:
After reading about all the great places other people have been, I'm embarrassed to say I've never been out of the states!

Nevertheless, I've seen quite a bit of my own country, so to pick just four favorites: Tennessee, Arizona, Virginia, Minnesota

Four websites I visit daily:
I visit Magical Musings and MySpace every day, but there are many websites and blogs that I visit several times a week to see if there's anything new, such as (in no particular order):

Edie Ramer
Michelle Diener
Liz Kreger
Lynne Simpson
The Gab Wagon
Karin Tabke
Amy Knupp
Delightful Chaos
Writ 72
(Whom I would have tagged, but I'll excuse her because she's been ill lately) :)
HH Self
Sabrina Luna
Kayleigh Jamison
Candice Gilmore
HS Kinn
The Midnight Hour

And many more . . .

Four people I'm tagging to do this (and I do hope they'll forgive me!) :)
Chaos Delight
Sabrina Luna
Vincent (HH Self)

Hmm... I'm starting to see why I never get anything done - too much darned time on the Internet! :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I'm a Real Boy!

Well, maybe not. :)

But I'm finally starting to feel like a "real" writer. The editor/webmistress of Aphrodite's Apples sent out a request to their newest authors (Yolanda Sfetsos, Tyree Kimber and yours truly) to send in their bios and photos for their website. It's finally starting to sink in.

Now, when I actually see it in "print" - I'll really crow. :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Guerilla Marketing

I thought I'd share some techniques that people are using to market their books in cheap, easy and unexpected ways. One website I found ( had some interesting posts Market Chat: Guerilla Marketing for Writers. I recommend reading it - I found some ideas other than the usual "get a website" and "join readers groups" (both of which are still good ideas!)

I liked the idea of having flyers about your book if you're doing a signing (ok, I'm so not there yet, but I still thought it was a good idea. :)) There are also people who slip their bookmarks and business cards in with the checks when they pay their bills - an idea I plan to use. In the website above, there are a couple of interesting posts on getting in good with your local librarian. I've also heard to ask the library if you can leave a stack of your bookmarks on their counter and that most of them are amenable to this idea. They are also usually excited if you offer to teach a workshop about writing. I'm probably too introverted to pull something like that off, but the more gregarious among you may be able to. :)

Taking the library idea a little further, I plan on leaving bookmarks in books that are similar to mine in the library, as if they were accidentally left behind. :) I think I'll slip in a few business cards or markers on key shelves at bookstores, too, if I can get away with it. :)

I also saw a business card for a photographer stuck in the control panel of an elevator once - it got my attention. I took it down in case I needed it for my jacket cover photo. (Always wishful thinking ahead!) :) I decided to leave my cards on elevators also, as well as on bulletin boards at the grocery store where anyone can advertise anything (a good place for flyers too); and in the "lunch drawing" bowls that some restaurants have where businessmen can leave their cards behind to enter into a drawing for a free lunch. (Hey, free advertisement and a free lunch - what's not to love?)

I remember reading about a writer who left a little stack of bookmarks beside her on the table whenever she went out to eat and would offer them to the wait staff. She said they usually loved them and were grateful. Whenever she didn't do that, she'd leave her card or a bookmark with the tip.

Pretty much anywhere people gather is a marketing opportunity - whether on the internet, at a restaurant, library, bookstore or even the doctor's office as Liz Kreger recently discovered. You can read about her experience here.

So let's put on our thinking helmets and night vision goggles and get out there. :) What methods are using or planning on trying to market your books?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

An Attitude of Gratitude

I took another suggestion from the book "Write it Down, Make it Happen" and wrote "Thanks!" on the memo line of bills I paid today. Surprisingly, it did make parting with that money a little easier. :)

For example, when writing a rather large check to pay my electric heating bill, I thought about how hard the people work to make sure my place is warm - the electric company men & women who come out in all weather & all hours doing the best they can when the electricity goes out due to storms; the people entering the data from my check so that my bill gets paid on time and my electricity stays on - for you, I'm grateful. :) I'm also grateful I for the fact that I had the money to pay it with in the first place, and for the people working at the bank who process the checks too. So when I wrote "thanks" on the memo line next to my account number, I meant it. I still had to pay the bill, but at least it wasn't quite as painful. :)

I hope I can remember to be grateful more often.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sick of Snark

After my long ramble earlier, I thought I would click on one of the scrolling links of random blogs that shows up when I login. I thought it might be fun to read some new blogs, see what other people were writing about.

Boy, was I sorry.

I've noticed over the past several years that "nastiness" seems to equal "cleverness" for a lot of people. Since when did criticizing everyone and everything in the most negative manner possible become a sign of intelligence? Yet is seems that is what a lot of people think. I was so discouraged after reading just a random sampling of blogs. It appears Snarkiness is In. Stronger than ever.

Which isn't to say I haven't been sarcastic from time to time. In fact, I'm sarcastic more often than even *I* would like. But it's just so prevalent now... so... so mean.

I hate that it's so common for television, movies, books and yes, blogs, to portray those who are rude and inconsiderate as "cool and clever." Downgrading others to make ourselves look better doesn't really work; the truth is that the opposite happens. We only look bitter and foolish - even if the media might try to make us believe otherwise.

So why not take the high road? Practice compassion, kindness and discretion. I saw this anonymous quote and printed it to hang over my desk at work. I look at it whenever I feel like strangling somebody. :) And since I've just sat here and put down several snarky people, I hope they'll think of it whenever they think of me. :)

"Resolve to be gentle with the weak, kind to the young, patient with the old, compassionate towards the poor, understanding of the wrong--at some point in your life, you will have been all these things."

I'm having a bit of trouble lately... I can't seem to work on anything with any real dedication since I've not yet been able to get the contract with Aphrodite's Apples squared away. It's weird. This has been going on since I first found out my story was accepted, which was a few months ago. I thought it would finally be over when I got the new contract yesterday, only to find I still had one more question. Ack!

I know this is not good -- I can't put my writing life on hold waiting for each little thing to be worked out. The very nature of this business means there will be long periods of waiting between projects while things are settled: submit, wait; rejected, try again; accepted, contract negotiations, revisions, etc. All of this takes time - weeks, months, even years! If I stop writing while I'm waiting, I may never have another thing published!

I've been reading "Write it Down, Make it Happen" by Henriette Anne Klauser (a book Edie Ramer recommended) and Klauser brought up how resistance always means something. We just need to get to the bottom of why we're resisting. (In my case, the resistance is manifesting in writer's block.) Even as I type now, a few thoughts came to mind.

One, I'm afraid that somehow something will go wrong with the contract and I won't be published and I'll feel like I've wasted all this time and effort and will feel very foolish.

Two, I'm afraid that I'm really a poor writer and everyone will know it once they read my stuff - there are so many good writers out there, some of whom are much better writers than I am and have yet to be published, who will all be wondering why did *she* get a lucky break?

Three, I'm a neurotic perfectionist who knows her work isn't perfection and gets a little queasy at the thought of other people knowing it too. Actually, three is part of two.

Hmm... You know, that book is onto something. She said just start writing about your resistance without thinking it through too much, and I just did that in the previous paragraphs/sentences. (Thank you for sitting through my stream of consciousness prattle if you've read this far.) I think I see a theme: I'm terrified of looking like a fool. Which brings to mind an interesting coincidence (or would it be a "Go! Incident"?) - the blog at Magical Musings today was about learning from our mistakes.

I'd better go read it again, and remind myself that "failure" is only "feedback." Even if I still don't like it. :-)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sales and Promotions

I've been a little under the weather lately (figuratively and literally - sick and snowed in), so I haven't been online much. However, I read a couple of interesting blogs - two at The Gab Wagon (11/30 and 12/4) on e- vs. print publishing, which was enlightening, encouraging and depressing all at the same time! Cheyenne McCray's blog at The Midnight Hour on self-promotion was also very good. (She's one who went from being e-pubbed to a USA Today Bestselling author, so I trust her judgment.) :)