Sunday, February 23, 2014

Feeding my Writer’s Soul

You ever have one of those months when you’re looking forward to something and it just takes forever to get here? 

It’s definitely been one of those months for me.

The month of February is almost over and while this month has been a satisfying one for my writer’s soul, this next week is one I’ve eagerly been waiting for.  It’s already been a busy month, and very productive too as I continue to work on my third mystery book and after I published my latest short story 1313 Psycho Path and entered Best Kept Secrets into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.  I’ve also continued with daily readings to learn more about the craft and about branding but this next week will add a real boost to what I’ve been learning and it should also lend a hand towards the inspiration I’m always on the lookout for.

So what’s in store for me this week?

First, I’m looking forward to an online conference that occurs from Tuesday through Thursday.  Last year the speakers had an amazing amount of content they covered and it was all very useful information, full of motivation, as well as many tips about the trade of writing, publishing and marketing.  I look forward to another great conference dedicated to indie publishing and all the information other established authors are willing to share.

Second, I’m planning to attend a book signing of New York Times bestselling author, J.A. Jance.  Our state is one of the few on her Moving Target tour and I’m happy for the opportunity to finally take part in such an event with someone who has done so well with their writing career.  I’m also pleased Jance did not limit her appearances to only one major metropolis in our state, making it easier for me to find a date and time that works with my own schedule. 

And last, but certainly not least, there’s the AWP Bookfair in Seattle.  I’ve never attended such an event but from what I’ve read about it so far, I have to be prepared for the fact that it will be overwhelming.  Regardless of how much my head will be spinning during and after the event, I look forward to taking part in this experience, especially since the event moves around from state to state every year and this may be my only chance to see what’s it’s all about. 

So I’m gearing up for an eventful and fulfilling week, full of new experiences, while I gain knowledge from those in the know and soak up all sorts of motivation to feed my writer’s soul.   I’ll be back next weekend with my thoughts about the events. 

Have a great week! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Looking for a quick read before bed?

I'm posting on a Monday, only a day after I already posted this week.  You know something's up.

I just wanted to make it official…I’ve published my third book.  Not the third book in my mystery series but a third book, nonetheless.  The title is 1313 Psycho Path but before you ask, it’s not a horror story; it’s just a ghost story.  While it’s a short story versus a complete novel, it’s a story I wanted to share.  And for
anyone who likes a good ghost story or haunted house tale, I’m hopeful you’ll enjoy this one as well.

So how and where is the story available?

Right now, it’s available as an eBook on Amazon and also in paperback on Amazon or through my eStore.  Here are the links for whatever you’d prefer:

eBook for Kindle on Amazon for the U.S.

eBook is also available on the Amazon sites for IN, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, JP, BR, CA, MX and AU

Paperback via my eStore

Paperbackvia Amazon 

The eBook is 99 cents (in the U.S., anyway…I’m not sure how it translates after the conversion in other countries) and the paperback is available for $5.50, or a little less depending on whether you buy it through my eStore or from Amazon.  The eBook is probably the best value for your buck, as it’s only a 12,000 word, 80 page novel, but if you enjoy reading paperbacks, the $5 price is the best I could offer based on pricing guidelines.

If you do read the book, I’d enjoy hearing from you if you have any comments regarding the story and of course, if you’d like to post a review on Amazon, I always enjoy receiving them.

I’m branching out a bit and working with a different genre so I’m excited to share this new sort of story with you.  Happy reading and have a good evening.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Checking the tasks off the list

We’re just over half way through the month and I’ve been doing pretty well at staying on top of the Game Plan I let everyone in on the end of January.  My list of to-do’s included writing often, joining a writer’s association, editing and publishing a short story, continuous studying of the craft, entering a contest and attending a book fair.  Overall, I have to say I’m very pleased with my progress.

My writing schedule isn’t fixed but I write as often as I’m able and I’m really excited about how the third book in the Jorja Matthews series is working out.  I love, love, love how my characters tend to surprise me and I’m having so much fun with the book as I also anxiously wait to see what’s going to happen next.  Sounds odd coming from the writer but I’ve said this before about how I write…I share the story as the story unfolds, or as it’s told to me by the characters.    
Available soon on Amazon

I’m also really excited about the short ghost story I wrote over the holidays.  I wasn’t really sure what I’d be doing with the story because I originally wrote it at the request of my boys, who wanted either a ghost story, suspense or horror, but I’m happy to be able to make additional work available to those who are waiting for my third book in the Jorja Matthews mystery series.  I finished the final edit of what is titled “1313 Psycho Path” and once I receive word that the interior and book cover meet with submission guidelines, I’ll be able to hit the publish button and make it available to anyone who might be interested, both as an eBook and in a small paperback.  I’ll keep the eBook at 99 cents since it is a short story and while I’d have preferred to sell the paperback for less (it’s a 5x8 soft cover, around 12,000 words and 80 pages long), it’ll be priced at $5.50 in order to meet Amazon’s minimum pricing requirements for that size of book.  I’ll definitely post here when the book is actually available on Amazon.

I haven’t joined a writer’s association yet…I’m debating on two and haven’t quite decided which association might be the better fit for what I need.  However, I have been studying daily the craft of writing, the necessity of branding and the give and take behind marketing.  My main study book right now is The Writer’s Workout, which includes 366 tips, tasks and techniques, by Christina Katz.  I like how it’s broken up into different relevant sections and it really is full of tips, tasks, techniques and also inspirational quotes and ideas.

I’m very much looking forward to the book fair in Seattle at the end of the month, as well an on-line study course the last week of this month.  The weeks until these events take place have really appeared to pass by s-l-o-w-l-y.  That’s how much I’m looking forward to both events.

And I did enter Best Kept Secrets in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest this morning.  I’ll do my best to Stay Calm and Keep Writing as I wait for the monthly results…but it will undoubtedly be difficult.  With these sorts of contests you can only hope for the best but not expect too much so that you’re not disappointed if you don’t get very far.  With No Mother of Mine I made it as a quarter-finalist, or the top 100 out of 10,000 entries.  I’m hoping Best Kept Secrets makes it as far but no matter what, I’ll post here as the results are provided.

So the month has been pretty productive and there’s still more to look forward to – that makes me a happy camper, or happy writer anyway.  How about you?  Is your February working out to be a productive month?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

With snow comes an adventure

What to blog about today?  I have to admit, it’s one of those days when I could get a lot done, or very little depending on my attention span.  We got snow last night, as many in the Pacific Northwest did, and it’s the kind of snow I like…flakey, fluffy and fun.  There’s a lot of snow but it’s not so heavy to cause branches or trees to take out the power and the brightness in our house from the reflection off the snow never fails to energize me.  

But the snow can also be very distracting.  It’s bright and beautiful and clean.  The sounds outside are muffled or almost completely silent except for the noise heard when snow falls off the trees onto the ground.  I love to go out and take photos and while I did take the opportunity, I wasn’t able to head to my computer afterwards to write.  Instead, we began to worry about the hill we live on and whether our boys would be able to get up the hill to get home. 

So we decided to venture out, tackle the hill ourselves and take a risk on whether we’d be able to get back home.  If we could get back up the hill, then our boys could too.  We had a truck with 4-wheel drive until early last year and while I’ve missed it for various reasons since we got rid of it, today I missed it for the obvious reason…not worrying about getting stuck in the snow. 

We were able to get down our long driveway okay, after getting stuck once only because I asked my husband to stop so I could get a shot of the valley.  Oops…my bad.  But he was able to put the car into reverse and get us unstuck easily enough.

Then we made it to the county road and immediately we knew the county had not yet bothered to plow or sand.  I felt some optimism though because the snow is fluffy and the car took to the road just fine.  But then we got to the top of the hill and looking down, I would have preferred to turn around and head straight back home.  I remember when I was kid that sometimes the road would get so bad we’d have to park at the bottom and walk home.  It’s quite the walk, especially in the snow when you’re cold and having to carry whatever you don’t want to leave in your car.  My preference would have been to wait a few more hours and just tell the boys not to bother coming home yet; but my husband had other ideas.

We slowly made our way down the hill, driving down the center as I crossed my fingers that no one would bother coming up the hill as we headed down.  I had to laugh when one of the neighborhood boys (probably in his early 20’s) drove up the hill riding a very small motorcycle that looked like it was built for someone under ten years old.  He flew right past us and the motorcycle, with its very small tires, seemed to have no problem getting traction up the hill.  I think that little motorcycle gave my husband the idea that if it could make it up the hill, so could we.

It was not a good assumption.

We made it down the hill, only to discover there were already four vehicles parked at the bottom because they weren’t able to make it up.  One of the neighbors came down in his jeep and was actually trying to put chains on his wife’s car so she could get home.  We told him we were going to turn around to try our way back up the hill and he said to honk twice if (I think he was thinking ‘when’) we got stuck and he’d bring his jeep up to help us. 

With fingers crossed yet again, we began the slow climb up the hill and all seemed to be going well until we got about half way up.  The car slowed down, even with the accelerator pressed down hard, and we lost traction and the tires began to spin, moving the car towards the ditch on my side.  It doesn’t take much for me to sputter back-seat driving instructions (it’s a bad habit, I know), but when I felt the car began to move towards the ditch, my mind was spinning as fast as the tires.  My husband is much calmer in this sort of circumstance and he was easily able to manage the car so that we didn’t get stuck in the ditch.  Once we stopped sliding, he put the car in reverse and we moved backwards down the hill back to the bottom.

Oh what fun that was.

We ended up borrowing a vehicle with 4-wheel drive from a family member and with our car and our oldest son’s car parked at our family’s house for the time being, we all headed home.  We’re going to wait it out and try again in a few more hours. 

In the meantime, I’m going to try my best to get some writing done beyond this blog.  I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday and if you’re like most and have snow to deal with, I hope you’re enjoying it from the safety of your own home.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Let’s always try to astound ourselves

Game day is here, aka the Super Bowl, and pretty much everyone I know is gearing up for some kind of Super Bowl party, big or small.  If for no other reason, the Super Bowl is a good reason to make plans for a party, eat all kinds of junk food and hang out with family or friends.

For me, the Super Bowl is a grand ordeal this year only because our Seahawks are in it and will hopefully take on the title of Super Bowl champs, therefore clamping shut the traps of all the nay-sayers who just can’t imagine the Seahawks as Super Bowl champions.  This is a dream the Seahawks and every Seahawk fan has had for quite some time…and now the day is finally here when they are about to take part in that dream.

That’s the thing with dreams…you have to focus, believe in yourself and continue to work hard for what you believe you can achieve.  You do this regardless of what others say about you or what they believe you can or cannot accomplish.  You have to give your dreams wings and let them fly because if you listen to the nay-sayers, those wings will never form and you will never experience the possibilities available to you.

“In response to those who say to stop dreaming and face reality, I say keep dreaming and make reality.”  ~Kristian Kan~

Will the Seahawks win the Super Bowl?  I certainly hope so.  It sucks to lose, especially on such a grand scale with millions of people watching.  But if they don’t, they will have experienced what every other single team had hoped to achieve…the chance to be the best, prove they earned their spot at the head of the line and show everyone else what they’re made of. 

The dream to achieve something spectacular can completely change your life, whether it’s during the journey to get there and even after your dream comes true.  Even if you don’t achieve the full dream right away or the first time, the hard work it takes to get where you are will help you as you continue on your journey to fulfill your dreams.  If you want it bad enough, you will listen to what your heart desires rather than to what others say you’re capable of.  You just have to continue to believe in yourself and remain stubborn as you focus on your dreams to prove them wrong.

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”  
~Thomas Alva Edison~

So no matter the dream, whether it’s big or small, give it the attention, focus and dedication it deserves based on what you believe you can achieve.  Never let the nay-sayers take your focus away from the possibilities and always remember this: 

“Don't live down to expectations.  Go out there and do something remarkable.”  
~Wendy Wasserstein~