Blog Stuff, Marketing, My Books, Promotion, Publish, Sunday Stew, Writing

No ebook giveaway, no new blog, but I do have rudeness!

I think this has to be the weirdest post I’ve ever published. I wrote this post a few days ago, but have had to edit it twice since then because two of the things it announced became invalid. For one, I had planned to announce an ebook giveaway this morning, but the site featuring the giveaway is having problems. The problem may—or may not—be resolved by the time you read this, so I’ll leave this announcement intact.The new blog thing? Well … read on.

The Brevity of Roses is now featured on Tony Eldridge’s blog as a Sunday Kindle Giveaway. The free eBook offer runs for one week, so if you’d like to win a copy, go leave a comment by August 27th. And while you’re there, take a look around the site.

Are self-publishers rude? I’ve read posts on a few blogs lately, as well as in recent comments on this blog, that some self-publishers act less than professional. I read an excellent post a couple days ago titled How Self-Publishers Can Mind Their Manners. I’d hate to see Amazon banish the Indies to the “kid’s table” as Catherine Ryan Howard puts it.

I spent all day Friday and Saturday trying to implement a brilliant idea I had. Well, not so brilliant as it turned out. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting another blog. Some days I have something I’d like to say that has nothing to do with being a writer. In the past, I’ve written such posts and then wrangled in some questionable link to writing. To avoid that, I’d decided to change this blog to a pseudo-website with a split personality.

I had already registered the blog, picked out a theme for it, wrote new posts for both blogs, and made graphics for the new “front page” of this blog. Then I did a lot of behind the blog stuff with new nested pages, featured images, constructed new widgets, etc. etc., etc. All of it gave me headache.

In the end, I decided to let things stay as they are! Maybe someday, I’ll shake things up, but for now, you might see more “Let’s just chat about life.” posts than usual here. Maybe I’ll even get serious once in awhile.

Author, Blog Stuff, Books, Contest, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Publish, Sunday Stew, Writing

Book covers, formatting, and a contest preview!

Yesterday was Saturday, but I thought it was Friday until after dinnertime. My life has been that way a lot lately. I had plans for Saturday. I was going to do some garden clean-up and then work on my cover painting. But, like I said, Saturday passed without my knowing.

I didn’t waste the day though … well, I didn’t accomplish anything concrete either. It was more eliminating what I didn’t want than choosing what I did. I’m designing the cover for my novel The Brevity of Roses. I’m an artist, so I feel confident I can paint what I want. The problem is deciding what that is.

The problem is, I’m not a graphic artist. Every idea I’ve come up with, would make a good painting, but not necessarily a good novel cover. I’ve spent days in Photoshop doing mockups. I’ve bugged a couple friends by emailing these to them and asking for opinions. I know only one thing—the cover image will have something to do with the beach.

When I’m not agonizing over cover images, I’m agonizing over formatting my manuscript for print. By that I mean I open my manuscript, pull up my instructions, guides, tips—and then I weep. Guess what? It seems no one does it exactly the same way. My head spins trying to sort it out. Now, I have a template, generously shared by a friend. We’ll see if I can do it that way.

Of course, next will be formatting for ebook. I’ve seen some simple instructions and I’ve also seen some that take 217 steps—and you need to be a contortionist. We’ll see if I can do it. What are the odds I’ll make it far more complicated than it needs to be?

You’ll want to set a reminder to come back to this blog next Saturday, February 5th for something exciting. I’ll have a very interesting interview with Cathryn Grant, author of The Demise of the Soccer Moms, and an announcement of her giveaway contest. The grand prize is grand indeed. You won’t want to miss the interview or the contest.

Well, that’s it for my news. It’s been quiet on a lot of your blogs lately. What are you all up to?


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Blog Stuff, Creativity Workshop, Social Media, Sunday Stew, Writing

Sunday Stew with a side of Workshop Update

Today I’m serving up one of my stew posts, a bit of this and that. Plus, it’s time to let you know about my brilliant, fabulous, stupendous progress toward my workshop goal. Grab a spoon and bowl; the line forms on the right—women first because this is a matriarchal blog.

BLOGS: Lately, I’ve visited several blogs that frustrated me. I wasn’t frustrated with the content of the blog, just the presentation and/or navigation. A lot of the popular blog themes use either small white fonts on dark backgrounds or small greyed-out fonts, which are hard to read at my usual screen resolution of 1680×1050. I’ve been grumbling for a while. Fortunately, I just learned that I can enlarge the fonts with the keyboard code Ctrl+plus. Still, I hate having to do that so often while I’m browsing, especially because I sometimes click through to another blog where the fonts are now HUGE and I have to use Ctrl+minus to get back to normal.

Another thing that bugs me is a blog with no search capability, or categories, or even archives—some way to get to previous posts. I always wonder if the blog author is ashamed of every post they’ve written except the current one. Sometimes I go back to a blog and want to reread a previous post and have to jump through hoops to find it—and sometimes I never do. Please, Bloggers, add a search box or at the very least use a category list or cloud because it’s unlikely a reader will take the time to go back through your archives looking for the post where you mentioned some particular person/place/thing especially if it wasn’t named in the post title.

Hmmm, I guess I should ask: do you find anything frustrating or annoying about my blog?

Twitter:No, this is not going to be another rant about Twitter. I’ve made my peace with it. I’ve learned to glean some useful information from it and use it to keep in touch with writer friends. I’ve also learned that I can live without logging on every day. I no longer worry about how many Followers I have (or Facebook Friends, for that matter) because unless you have thousands of them, it means nothing—and maybe not even then. An acquaintance recently explained how she amassed such a “following” so quickly (she’s not famous.) One of her methods is to use a lot of hashtags and buzz words in her tweets. She also accepts ALL followers. When I asked her how she could possible keep track of all those tweets and status updates she gave me a look that clearly questioned my sanity and told me she doesn’t. In her Twitter app, she creates a list of the dozen or so followers she really wants to follow and then only watches the tweets in that list. (She does the same in Facebook, only there you can just Hide the “friends” you don’t care about.) I didn’t dare ask which category I’m in. 😕

I like to Tweet and ReTweet good links for writers. Here’s a few recent ones:

  • Things I no longer believe (via Scott G. F. Bailey at The Literary Lab) http://bit.ly/dzBXD5 This is tongue-in-cheek, but speaks to the frustration at all these writing “rules.”
  • @LadyGlamis blogged about the need to back-off when reading a fellow writer’s work: http://bit.ly/9cpgXs
  • Another post from Scott at The Literary Lab | A Question of Genre: http://bit.ly/9suLqW
  • And one from Edittorrent: Does your POV make it hard to like your character? http://bit.ly/aKeWvB

Also on Twitter, @karenfrommentor reminded me the other day about the virtual parties we used to have here on my blog. They lasted all weekend and things got a little crazy. Ah … the good old days.

Creativity Workshop update, Week 4

I completed my weekly goal for Merrilee’s Creativity Workshop, so I will take another step up. This week’s poem continued the theme of personifying the seasons, and depicted Spring as an ingénue. (Yeah, yeah, cliché.) Here are the notes from my week:

  • Monday: Chose the triolet as my form for this week’s poem. Wrote my first two lines (A and B) and then filled in the fourth (A), seventh(A), and eighth(B) lines of the form. Jotted down some possible third lines.
  • Tuesday: Went to Rhyme.com to find possible rhymes for last words in lines A and B. Decided to change end word of line A because of difficulty in rhyming. Wrote some possible third, fifth, and sixth lines.
  • Wednesday: Changed one line and now have a completed poem, though I don’t much like it. I think I could have written a better poem about Spring without this rhyming structure, but then I suppose that’s the challenge. If I were truly a poet, I could write a good poem in any form. I’ll look at it again tomorrow.
  • Thursday: Changed several words in an effort to mature the poem.
  • Friday: Took another look and declared the poem awful. Revised it. It’s okay now, definitely not one of my favorites because the rhyming still assaults my ear. But after having now read numerous triolets by published poets, I recognize the fault is only in my amateur application of rhyme.

Next: My fourth, and last, poem for this section will be about Autumn—or Fall, depending on where I take it. 🙂 I have done no advance work on this one, so I’m hoping some of that Tuesday morning magic kicks in.

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Stone steps photo credit: Michael D. Perry – MikePerryMedia.com

Social Media, Sunday Stew, Writing

Grab a spoon and a hunk of bread!

Today I’m serving up another Sunday Stew, which I guess is a strange dish for Sunday … at least the way I was raised. We always had a nice big Sunday dinner. But today I’m just blogging about a few things I’ve been thinking about lately, a mixture of things, so stew it is.

If you’re a regular visitor here, you know I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. After my last post about it, I decided maybe I just wasn’t being aggressive enough. Soooo … I’ve spent the last three weeks doing my best to tweet, retweet, and respond to others tweets—including loads of people who don’t follow me—you know, being sociable. And yes, I have twelve new followers, but only a few of those actually followed me because of my experiment, and of those few “strangers” only two have any connection with writing. Seriously, one of my new followers tweets about surfing!? For me, what Twitter does best is waste a lot of my time.

In my ongoing quest to write publishable stories, I’ve been reading how-to books. So far, I haven’t found any secret to success. I’ve realized the rules for writing a story are basically the same as for writing a novel. Because of the differences in length, you just have to get to the point quicker, make every word count even more, and there’s less room for character development and description. Am I missing something? I submitted a flash and two horror stories to my critique group. The verdict: two good, one not so much. I’m learning.

I think I have a “platform” disadvantage. Or for fiction writers, I guess that’s called a readymade base … or something like that. In other words, I don’t already have a large group of people likely to buy my novel when it’s published. Some of you do. Either you write genre or you belong to a social, religious, or special interest group that supports its own. I write mainstream fiction, which usually is sold on name recognition. I don’t think tweeting is going to do it, people.

Finally, I think email sent in June must have traveled through a black hole or something. In the last couple weeks, I have twice received the same email sent by a friend in June, another email sent by my son in June, and three different blog posts from June! It would seem weirdness is afoot.

Dream, Fiction, Humor, Musings, Sunday Stew, Writing

Sunday Stew

stewToday’s post is a soup, a stew, a mélange, because I’m thinking in bits and pieces. I love soups and stews, by the way, with a good, crusty loaf of bread. Unless it’s my curried lentil stew or my lemon chicken orzo, which I serve with pita. Does anyone have a recipe for Jamaican pumpkin soup? Ah now, I’ve made myself hungry.

A new high score: If you’re a Bejeweled fan (2 or Blitz) you’ll have heard a monotone, semi-robotic voice narrate that. 😀  Yesterday, I wrote 2,251 words in one day, which is my new high score! And those are edited words, so most of them are solid.

Dreams: I had an unusually active night of dreaming. Characters from my novel showed up, along with Goren and Eames from Law & Order: SVU, and literary agent Coleen Lindsay. Unfortunately, I retained only flashes of these dreams, so there’s not much fiction fodder there.

Molting season: Every year about this time my hair sheds … everywhere. I can run my fingers through and come away with several strands any time of day. I always panic, fearing this time it will all fall out, but of course, it never does. Or hasn’t. Oh, my.

The pantry: Why does it seem that no matter how full my pantry cupboards are, I’m always missing one ingredient for any meal I try to make? Could it be that I’m too impatient to make a proper meal plan and grocery list? Hmmm.

Well, now we’ve come back around to food, so I guess it’s time to wrap this up. Feel free to add your thoughts to my stew. What’s on your mind today?