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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

IWSG: My Escape

It's IWSG time!!!!

What is that?

In the words of the founder, Alex J Cavanaugh, the IWSG is there 'To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!'

The first Wednesday of every month is the time we post our woes, hopes, dreams, concerns, ideas, chit-chats, or whatever else moves us. 

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts: 



I'm going to be boring this month because I, honestly, don't have much to report. Life is calm, moving along, I've done some writing (could always do more) and all is good. I hope that many of you can say the same. 

So, let's just go right to this month's question, shall we?


Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?


Most of my reading is influenced by the reviews I do for Bookworm for Kids. Obviously. And I honestly try to keep this list fairly broad, since I'm also trying to provide a wide-ranged reading source for audiences ages 18 and under.

That said...

My secret reading desires...yep, I call them secret (shhhh)...do tend to lean in the fantasy and science fiction directions. And with that I mean lighter reads, which buzz along with the pure intention to hit adventures and take me to other worlds. No strong messages, please. Just sheer entertainment. But I also grab up books, which dive into science facts or historical fiction or historical facts or cozy mysteries or thrillers or graphic novels or almost anything.

Except drama. Please, not sheer drama.  And I'm definitely not a fan of contemporary or literary fiction. It's simply too serious. 

Reading is, in most cases, an escape for me, and a chance to let my imagination free. Real life is serious enough, and the people I deal with often have more than enough 'deep thought' discussions about everything from philosophy to culture to science to medicine to politics to religion and beyond. So, I steer clear of that in my hours of relaxation (aka reading). But sometimes the most entertaining reads have more depth than anyone might expect...just delivered in a different way.

And what about you? What do you like to read most?

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

IWSG - Blogging, friends and the universe

It's IWSG time!!!!

Even if I'm a little late today.

In the words of the founder, Alex J Cavanaugh, the IWSG is there 'To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!'

The first Wednesday of every month is the time we post our woes, hopes, dreams, concerns, ideas, chit-chats, or whatever else moves us. 

Special thanks goes to the co-hosts this month:  Louise - Fundy Blue , Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!
 


Actually, I've been thinking all the last days... "Wednesday is IWSG! This month, I'm going to get that post ready more than a few minutes beforehand. I even know what I want to say!"  And then, this morning hit and.... 

Yep, I'd forgotten to do it.

But at least, I know what I want to say! 


First:

Bookworm for Kids has its own domain! You can now type www.bookwormforkids.com and be taken right to the site. Awesome? I think so.


Second:

This month's question:

Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Gosh, yes. I can't even begin to count the amount of super, amazing people I've met because of blogging. Honestly, it's changed my world on that end, and I count every single one of them as a blessing. There are tons and tons of great people out there, and blogging has given me a way to meet some of them. Each one is really dear to me... even if I have time issues and don't reach out to all of them nearly often enough. And some have even fallen by the way-side, which makes me feel so terrible...but I can't keep up with all of them even if I wished I could. Is there any way just to reach out and give all of you a huge hug?

Not being able to keep up with everyone is probably one of my biggest regrets in life. All of you are really that wonderful.


Third: (and this one does have to do with some of those amazing friends I've made on through blogging)

I'm just going to quickly mention this now because I'm actually saving the announcement for a later date, but I received an email Sunday which offered to have Music Boxes included in a time capsule that's being sent to the moon through Writers on the Moon. (Super cool, right?) This also involved writing a small note to future 'readers'.  I hate these things because I never have any idea what I should say. 

Well, a few hours after I received that email, my brother called to tell me about a package my parents received from the cousin of my grandfather (who lived to be a week short of 99 and passed away about 10 years ago). She was cleaning out her house and found a box of old papers from my great, great, great grandfather. Not only does it include perfectly preserved love letters and postcards from the 1890s, but there was a manuscript, which was published in 1956 by my great, great, great grandfather. 

Turns out that he was a writer and a poet. He was commissioned to write the town's history of where he lived...oh, it's not a gripping read and really only done for someone who knows the area well. Which I do not. But the poem was neat and actually, fit the moon idea very, very well. Or at least, the last half of his poem did.

Now, some of his poem is heading to the moon, and I can't help but wonder what he might have thought of that if he had known.  

So, I'll just leave you with the last bit of his poem, too.


"Then let us pause a spell to write

that future youth may know,

Those valiant men who strove with might

to lay the forest low.”



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

IWSG - Writer What-haves and What-nots

 
Welcome to 2021 and another year of IWSG! 

In the words of the founder, Alex J Cavanaugh, the IWSG is there 'To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!'

The first Wednesday of every month is the time we post our woes, hopes, dreams, concerns, ideas, chit-chats, or whatever else moves us. 

Special thanks goes to the co-hosts this month: Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!


 I'm going to forgo this month's question and head into writer what-haves and what-nots.

The last 8 months or so, I slipped away from my connection to the blog-o-sphere and even struggled to halfway keep up with IWSG. The reason—life simply got busy. And my preferred browser doesn't let me post comments on Blogger, which doesn't make things any easier (Evil computer). But I'm determined to get all of that back underway, stop by and say 'hi' to all of you...I have missed you...and force myself to make time for writing, too. (Seriously, isn't cloning possible, yet?)

Writing has suffered, but with all of the COVID shut-downs, I don't feel so guilty on that front. I'm impressed with those authors, who have had releases the last year and are forced to deal with the much tighter marketing front (as if being a writer isn't hard enough). So, I see this as time for me to get my story ideas tightened up and refined. No time pressure...more because I haven't had the time....but that's neither her nor there. Right?

I have thought about closing myself in my little writing office and ignoring the world to finally let those words flow, but the kids and my husband weren't huge fans of that idea (go figure)...and my cows and chickens might complain, too (yeah, they want to eat).

Oh, and I might have spent a little too much time binging shows on Netflix and Youtube. I consider that research for my writing brain...which it might not be, but I'm not convinced of that, yet.

Add over 300 reviews I did on Bookworm for Kids (*aehm* is that too much?), and yep, writing has fallen by the wayside.

But that's going to get better now. Right?

(A magic wand might be better than cloning, but I haven't found that one yet, either.)


And what about all of you? Are you filled with writer what-haves, what-nots, or what-evers?
Or have you been indulging in 'writer research' as well?


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thursday, November 5, 2020

IWSG - Better Late Than Never

 

Hello! And welcome to another round of IWSG! For those of you who don't know, this group meets every month on the first Wednesday of the month to share frustrations, inspiration, tips, kind words, problems, or anything else that hits a writer's world. Being a writer is not always a path non-writers understand. Plus, this is simply a fun, amazing group.

This blog-hop was started by the very amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and has since grown into quite the community with anthology contests, lots of advice on the website, a Facebook group, pitch opportunities and so much more!

A special thanks to this month's co-hosts: Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!


I'm late!!! But here...the story of my life this year.


Anyway, Happy November, everyone. Can you believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner? I have seen turkeys running around in the pastures and fields. If I were them, I'd run, too.


This Month's Question

I'll start with today's question:  Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

My reason for writing isn't that deep. I write because I enjoy it. I write because it's something I've done since I learned my ABC's. If I don't write for publishing purposes, I'll still write stories for myself. It's simply something I enjoy doing. Some people like to cook, others like to rebuild cars, others like to run... it's a part of who I am. Sometimes, my writing reflects my concerns; sometimes, it's to share experiences or thoughts; sometimes, it's to release anger or frustration; sometimes, it's to explore ideas and broaden horizons; sometimes, it's to try something new; and sometimes, it's simply to have fun and hope others are simply entertained.

Now...

...if I could find time to write. This year, the farm has been keeping me on my toes much more than usual. I've been a bit stressed with ridiculous projects like finishing painting the house before the cold temperatures settle in, digging and trying to figure out how to renovate our many-year-neglected sewer system, replacing skylights on the barns, treating cows for pink-eye, switching to home schooling with my daughter, driving my son's truck to him to Virginia (an 18 hour run)... pfffffffff...

Yep, writing hasn't only taken a back seat, I've shoved it into the trunk, at the moment. My blogging and social media arenas aren't far behind. That's why I haven't been haunting any of you nearly as much as I'd like to and hope you can forgive me for being a little silent lately.

But I haven't forgotten anyone and can't wait to jump into the writing chair again.  

And now, off to easier and more organizational thoughts...


My publisher is running a holiday special:


Buy 1 print book, get 1 print book free
Buy 1 eBook, get 1 eBook free
Buy 1 audio book, get 1 audio book free

Print & eBooks – must be purchased directly from Dancing Lemur Press’ website; free book must be same price or lower; when paying, note your desired free book in the comments section; free swag provided with print orders

Audio books – purchase from Audible, iTunes, or Amazon and send us your receipt stating your desired free audio book and we will send you a code for a free audio book; free audio book must be same price or lower
Inquiries AT dancinglemurpressllc DOTcom

Offer good through December 10, 2020

Visit Dancing Lemur Press 



A Literary Benefit Reading Series!!!

I'm taking part in this fund raiser for authors around the world, who've especially been hard hit by COVID-19. I'll be joining two other children books authors, reading an excerpt from Music Boxes, and answering questions in a live meeting on November 16th at 5:00pm EST.   This was actually scheduled to be on November 2nd, but at the last minute, was changed. 

Tickets are on a 'what-you-want-to-donate' basis, and you can find more information here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/share-words-share-love-a-literary-benefit-reading-series-tickets-118383860313



Looking for ways to get reviews???

I ran across a wonderful author and her even more amazing idea several months ago, and really wanted to share this with you because getting reviews can be a really battle sometimes. I've tried this one out in so far that I've already read a few and reviewed them, and I know more than a couple authors who have been collecting reviews. It's free, easy and works.


One simply signs up, has three possibilities to join in on the book reviews, and tadah! That's it. This is simply a bunch of authors...created by an author...who need reviews and are willing to review.  https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2015/02/submission-guidelines.html

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Why...hello there, IWSG!


Hello! And welcome to another round of IWSG! For those of you who don't know, this group meets every month on the first Wednesday of the month to share frustrations, inspiration, tips, kind words, problems, or anything else that hits a writer's world. Being a writer is not always a path non-writers understand. Plus, this is simply a fun, amazing group.

This blog-hop was started by the very amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and has since grown into quite the community with anthology contests, lots of advice on the website, a Facebook group, pitch opportunities and so much more!

This month's co-hosts are: PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Louise - Fundy Blue!  Stop by and say hi to these wonderful bloggers because I know they are a great bunch!


Good morning, everyone! (Or noon or evening or night.)

I'm skipping over this month's question because I actually have quite a bit bumbling through my head right now.



On the writing front: 

Things are finally beginning to flow again. I've started my WIP and have the first 1000 words down (which is a mammoth amount compared to the big, fat zero I've been getting for months and months).  I'm struggling a bit in trying to figure out how to pace the first chapter: what to reveal, how much background to add, how to slip enough world building... that kind of stuff. But I'll get it figured out.

The funny thing is that the writing started to flow as life jerked into gear.



On the life front:

My oldest son suddenly and finally got word from the army that they're accepting his move from the National Guard into active duty (it took them 5 months to get back to him but that's the army). So in two weeks, he's shipping off for training as a helicopter mechanic (isn't that cool?), and then will be stationed who knows where.

So, what does he do with his new found news?  He decides to get married! Within one week.

Yep, my oldest got married yesterday!!! We're having a reception this coming Saturday because he decided to have it done in Colorado (it's all very confusing and hectic and no worries, I totally understand why he did it this way. And we're all very fine with it).

Oh, and school started...which is always a change of pace again.



On the blogging/marketing/whatnot front: 

I was going to shut Bookworm for Kids down as of the end of October for several reasons. It's outgrown my small blogger platform, and I feel like it's stagnated. And I wasn't sure it was worth my time anymore. It eats up SO many hours to do a review every single day, post, write emails, do scheduling! I just wasn't sure I should do it anymore.

Just as I made my decision to shut down and started spreading the news, I received an invitation to join a blogger panel as the children book blogger at the AWP this coming March. Bookworm for Kids might be small, but it has gotten quite a bit of attention over the years. And free marketing? Can't say no to that!

So after more thinking and consideration, Bookworm for Kids is going to be getting a new look, platform and purpose. I'm going to expand and offer several new aspects... interviews, children book publishing news, and who knows what. I'm going to let it grow as it wants. After all, there aren't many blogs which feature kidlit...and kids do need to read. Since time is always an issue, I'm hoping to get several other reviewers involved to help lighten the load, but we'll see what happens and where it all leads. Right now, I'm aiming for January 2nd as the 'opening' day, but there's a lot to do until then. And I have no clue what I'm doing. Absolutely, not a single clue.


So, that's it for me!

What's up on your front? Tons of writing to do? Is life keeping you hopping or bogging you down? Does this entire blogging thing make your head want to explode sometimes, too?


What's up in your world?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

IWSG



Welcome to another round of IWSG! For those of you who don't know, this group meets every month on the first Wednesday of the month to share frustrations, inspiration, tips, kind words, problems, or anything else that hits a writer's world. Being a writer is not always a path non-writers understand. Plus, this is simply a fun, amazing group.

This blog-hop was started by the very amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and has since grown into quite the community with anthology contests, lots of advice on the website, a Facebook group, pitch opportunities and so much more!

This month's co-hosts are: Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey!


Question:

Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?


Yep. I have. I know the general genre in advance, but that's about it. And my stories can slide genres a little (small shifts). While I try to know my story fairly well before writing, the characters tend to do what they will, which can have all sorts of impact on the plot.

But isn't that the fun of writing?



Hope everyone's doing well! I'm keeping this month very short due to craziness on my end of things. BUT I should have some big announcements come September...

if everything runs as it seems it will. But how often does that happen????


Until then, have a great August!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IWSG - Searching for Calm


Welcome to another round of IWSG! For those of you who don't know, this group meets every month on the first Wednesday of the month to share frustrations, inspiration, tips, kind words, problems, or anything else that hits a writer's world. Being a writer is not always a path non-writers understand. Plus, this is simply a fun, amazing group.

This blog-hop was started by the very amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and has since grown into quite the community with anthology contests, lots of advice on the website, a Facebook group, pitch opportunities and so much more!

This month's co-hosts are: Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!


I made it!!!! Although I was hoping to have this post up earlier today, I did hit my goal of getting it up and saying 'hi' to everyone! Ever since the COVID-19 shut-downs started, and also Spring hit, life has shifted into high-gear and seems to only be getting more and more hectic.

So, writing....ummm....what's that?

Actually, I have been working on the co-authored project as the chapters come back from him. And I've dibbled a few words here and there on my own project. But it's so hard to concentrate with so many other things going on!

Since this is IWSG and that means I have a chance to moan and groan...
Yep, I'm going to pour my heart out! Because I desperately want to write and am simply not finding the time.

Ready?


Not only do I have more than several dozen things to get done on the farm now that warm weather...without rain...has hit, but there are all of the house repairs, too—deck painting, house painting, several floors need to be re-done. (We'll just ignore the usual laundry, mowing, cooking, weeding, mopping and such right now). Then, my older kids have been popping in and out (Awesome! And I love every minute, but it does strip hours from the day). My 2nd son and biggest helper broke his tibia bone without us realizing it, and now, is on crutches for quite awhile (and will be). My oldest son graduated with his B.A., and we were going to celebrate this weekend, but he's National Guard and was just activated and sent to a more unsettled protest area. (Prayers appreciated.)  AND to help keep my daughter's youngest passion alive (she loves gymnastics), I'm volunteering every day over at the local gym-studio, since the COVID hit them hard, and they can't afford to hire back all of their help yet. So, I'm doing what I can to help keep their doors open.
Add that the transmission in my pick-up went out and the brake drums in my 2nd vehicle died at the same time (because yeah, everything happens at once) and....WHEW! Is it time for winter yet??????

And one more thing, I messed up something on my browser, so I'm having a ton of trouble leaving comments on other blogs. I'm hoping to finally get that figured out this morning, but please, bear with me if I don't hear from me right away.

Pfffff.

Things aren't really bad. I'll admit that, in general, all is wonderful, and we're very blessed.
If only things would slow down just a tiny bit.


What about you? How's life and the writing end of things treating you lately?



Anthology Contest now open!!!

Guidelines and rules:
Word count: 4500-6000
Genre: Science Fiction
Theme: Dark Matter
Submissions accepted: May 6 - September 2, 2020
How to enter: Send your polished, formatted (double-spaced, no footers or headers), previously unpublished story to admin @ insecurewriterssupportgroup.com before the deadline passes. Please include your full contact details, your social links, and if you are part of the Blogging, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter IWSG group.
Judging: The IWSG admins will create a shortlist of the best stories. The shortlist will then be sent to our official judges.
Our judges: Dan Koboldt, Lynda R. Young, Colleen Oefelein, Damien Larkin, Ion Newcombe, Julie Gwinn, and David Powers King

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Celebrating World Book Day, Promo Tips and Webinars


It's World Book Day!!! 


And nope, we're not going to let the COVID-19 get us down.  For authors...especially those who need to actively promote right now (don't we always need to promote?)... this means difficult times. PR by the Book's Author to Influencer Accelerator reached out to me with 5-Tips they have for authors during this time.

So, I thought I'd help them spread the word and share.


5 Tips for Authors to Promote during COVID-19 

  1. Pitch to media strategically
Despite the total saturation of the media, there are still ways that you can break through the noise with your pitches. People are looking for distractions from the scary hard news and many will spend extra time at home reading books, getting caught up on their wishlist of titles, so play to this need.
  1. Engage with your fans on social media
People are spending much more time on social media. This creates an opportunity for social media promotions with lots of “lives” since people at home will be scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 
  1. Audit content that you have put out in the past
Most people have never heard of a social media audit. But, how can you know what content to post if you don’t know how your content is performing? Most social media platforms make it easy to look at metrics, so you shouldn’t have to spend too much time tracking down numbers. 
Once you know which types of content are performing the best, then you can tailor your future content and post more of what resonates with your audience. 
  1. Take time to develop new content
When you have extra time on your hands – like now, one of the best things you can do is create content that you can release in the future. Consider breaking down your book’s major points into bite size pieces. You shouldn’t give away all your book’s secrets, but you can share important bits of information to entice readers into wanting more and positioning yourself as an authority in those areas.
  1. Build out a content calendar
Once you have content ready to go, it’s best to organize it by using a content calendar. If you plan out what you are posting in advance, releasing content on a daily basis won’t be nearly as overwhelming.


 Are you in Texas? Ah, neither am I... BUT if you are...
You can join in celebrating Texas Writers Month this May. Texas Writer’s Month began in 1994 as an effort to get Texas bookstores and media outlets to feature their local authors more prominently and a way for the community at large to celebrate the craft of writing and the work that goes into publishing books. 


They've also launched the Author to Influencer Accelerator, a DIY membership community for authors who don’t have the budget to hire a professional to take them from preparation through promotion on their book journey. The Author to Influencer Accelerator offers an ideal way for authors to tap into what they need to do during this time of quarantine. These tips are based on lessons that our members are learning in the accelerator to promote their books. 

About the Author to Influencer Accelerator:  
Doing their part to promote a digital learning platform and community during this time of sheltering-in-place, PR by the Book has launched a DIY membership community for authors who don’t have the budget to hire a professional to take them from preparation through promotion on their book journey. Due to folks being at home, able to spend more time online, learning and applying those skills, PR by the Book cut the price in half for the month of April.  

********

AND THERE'S MORE...

My publisher, Dancing Lemur Press LLC's own Diane L. Wolfe, is offering a How To Publish Your Book Now Webinar!


You can find out more information about this one here!


So, how's this entire 'stay-at-home' period treating you and your writing? I hope you're getting more done that I am (I've written an entire 500 words in 3 weeks.) Are you trying to promote right now? Have you heard any great tips lately or had a few ideas yourself?


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG - Always Positive!


The first Wednesday of every month is when this group of awesome writers comes together to offer support, advice, encouragement or simply to let  frustrations and woes flow. Writing is a tough journey, and we don't have to go it alone.

Thanks goes to the brain behind this group, Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you want to join in or find out more (because there is so much more to this group), then head on over here.

Twitter is @TheIWSG and hashtag #IWSG. They can also be found on Facebook or on the IWSG blog.


Special thanks to this month's co-hosts:



How is everyone hanging in there???

That's just happens to run along the theme of today's question too.




How are things in your world?

As many of you know, we live in our own little valley, with no other houses in sight. The tiny dirt road leading to our house is pretty rough...to put it lightly. So, we're isolated year around. (Well, if you count my chickens and cows, we do have quite the party going on here)

 The kids are home from school, but then, they had so many snow days this year, it felt like they were home most of the time anyway. And we're very blessed in so far that my husband's job is essential even when many others should still fall away or close their doors. 

Of course, when the virus hits our area, it will be harsh. The population hangs toward the older end, and medical facilities aren't exactly huge or plentiful. 

But then, the small town near us is suffering already. Unlike 'city folk', office jobs that can be done from home are far and few between in small towns. Most people live pay check to pay check, and few earn over minimum wage. (Even bank tellers earn only around $10-$12 an hour here.) So, the closures have hit super hard, and I'm not sure how many will survive holding out for another entire month. Luckily, people wear quite a tough skin and tend to keep a positive attitude. This isn't the first hard time they've weathered.



SALE!!!

On a happy note, my publisher informed me yesterday that Music Boxes is going on sale on Amazon!

The Kindle version is now available for....

*drum roll*

$2.99 !!!!

Here - Amazon!

Add the fact that Amazon's been keeping the paperback at a low price around $6 too (I just peeked in to make sure), and it's a great time to pick up a copy!  It's been getting lots of wonderful reviews and still is. So, if you know of some kids stuck at home, this might make a lovely treat.

Oh, and the audio book version is also available...nice and cheap when purchased along with the paperback. (So, I'm told)

There's a lovely, new image too! (Tons going on!)




Stay safe and healthy!!!