Monday, August 7, 2017

The Normal

Our local chapter had an interesting meeting this past Saturday. As I mentioned before, my group, CPRW, won an award for being the top small chapter of RWA for 2017. After the business portion of the meeting, the handful of members who attended RWA's yearly conference gave a recap of the insights into the industry they gathered at the massive gathering of writers, editors, and agents. One of the interesting thing they shared was how smoothly our chapter runs compared to so many others. Each of our members had tales from other groups of how their chapters suffered from infighting and drama. Some groups are considering disbanding because of the dysfunction of their chapter. There is not one hint of that in our group. We won the 'less than 50 members' group award. And we all support and cheer for each other. There's no jealousy or ego-driven rifts in our little family. I would never have imagined other groups weren't like ours.

Tomorrow I'm taking my granddaughter to library for the first time. We're getting her library card and in three weeks we can sign her up for her first reading group. She'll be six months old so it's time. Not that we haven't already bought her dozens of books. Mostly, she wants to eat them at this time, but I'm sure she'd get over that.

"To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter."  P.T. Barnum

My publisher put together a Best of  Susan Kelley album for me. I mean an anthology of three of the first books in my space opera romance series. I'm excited to see how this does as it's something new for both of us. I'm really excited that I have enough series to make an anthology with only my work in. Though since this contains 3 full length novels, it's more like an omnibus.

Went with my daughter yesterday to use a great coupon we had for The Gap. Way too many people. Have I mentioned how glad I am that I don't have to do back-to-school shopping. I do miss searching for some cool office supplies. But I really don't need them. I buy a planner once per year and occasionally need more pens or pencils.

I've heard about Game of Thrones being the most pirated show in history but how about the leaks and hacking they have to battle all the time? I watched Les Miserables so I understand stealing because you're starving, but what is with the thieves in this world. I don't understand the mindset that it's okay to take something that belongs to someone else.

I'm looking for a new home for my other fantasy series that I received my rights back for after the small press closed. They had published the first book out of three but only for a few months. So I've narrowed down a few publishers who will look at a book that's been published before. There aren't many of them. Suggestions are appreciated if you know of any.

Are you doing any back-to-school shopping or only bemoaning the crowds like I am? Are you a fan of anthologies? Have you ever been part of a writing group that didn't get along? How old were you the first time you visited a library?







Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: August 2017 Style

The last Wednesday of the summer is upon us. Time for IWSG monthly posting. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, this dedicated groups blogs once a month to help each and share our woes and successes. Find all the participating blogs here.

This optional question this month:
What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

There are certainly more than one. When reading it's difficult to take off my writerly/editing glasses. It really bothers me when I find so many of the things we're told to not do as writers. Adverbs everywhere. Info dumps. Starting with dream sequences. And yet, these authors have big traditional publishing contracts.

In the support side of this blog hop, I've had some frustrating days in the past few months. But I talked with some people like fellow writers, my publisher, and read a few articles. The hard truth is that all writers struggle at times. Even very successful writers struggle. Part of growing as a writer is learning to push through the struggles and keep on writing. Also knowing when to take a break and let your muse call you back to it when you're recharged. I also look at my writing as a job, and sometimes the job doesn't go as smoothly as you'd like but you still go to work. So I'm hard at work on the third book in my current series.

Game of Thrones really wowed us this last episode. Lots happened and the last scene was one of the best of the show. I'm liking Salvation so far though I don't know if it's getting good reviews. Killjoys is okay this year as their story expands into the greater universe. Zoo is one crazy thing after another with some weird things going on though the entire show is pretty weird.

Getting lots of cucumbers and tomatoes from my plants. My refrigerator is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. It's a lot easier to eat healthy in the summer.

Do some pet peeves jump out at you? What summer shows are you really enjoying? Has summer sped by for you like it has for me? Do you grow your own veggies or otherwise enjoy them this time of year?


Monday, July 24, 2017

A Week of Opportunity

Where to begin? This Thursday is #IWSGPit. I hope you've polished and perfected that pitch.
There's an amazing list of participants, agents and editors.

Also, this is the last week to send your submission for the next Insecure Writer's Support Group nonfiction anthology Guide to Writing for Profit. Can't wait to get my hands on that.

C. Lee McKenzie is offering Sliding on the Edge for free:
 Scarred. Scared. Alone. Can sixteen-year-old Shawna Stone overcome her inner suffering and transcend the past? 

Shawna has spent the first sixteen years of her life in Las Vegas and learned to handle anything from a Las Vegas hustle to skipping out on the rent. Damaged inside and out, she's survived with a tough, hardened attitude. When her mother abandons her, with only a bus ticket and the name and number of stranger to call, this troubled , desperate teen finds herself on a California horse ranch with Kay Stone, the steely, youngish grandmother she's never known. 

Kay overwhelms Shawna with rules and daily barn chores, and Shawna baffles Kay with her foul-mouthed anger and shrugging indifference to everything--except the maltreated horse on the ranch next door. But it's worse than even Kay suspects: Shawna's driven to cut herself by Monster, that strange voice inside her head. Kay struggles to keep the ranch going and fears that unless she helps this girl, she could lose her last living family member.

As this unlikely pair struggles to co-exist, will they overcome their suffering and transcend the past?

Find it on Amazon,   Smashwords,   Kobo,   Barnes and Noble

Michael J. Sullivan, once a guest on IWSG, has a new book release tomorrow. Age of Swords in the second book in his newest series. He's one of my favorite fantasy writers and a nice guy on top of that. If you're looking for a good epic fantasy series to indulge in, try this author.

Tomorrow is also the day my latest, Hunter's Exiled Lady, is available on Amazon. After a frustrating week finding the time to write, I'll be excited to see how this book sells. Sometimes when I get my royalty checks I want to weep.

Wow, does the trailer for the second season of Stranger Things promise another great season. I hope the show avoids a sophomore slump. Salvation, the short season summer show on CBS, is pretty good. Lots of science and intrigue along with interesting, imperfect characters. Zoo gets a little crazier every season, but it's summer so I'll take it.

Do you have your Twitter pitch ready? Know something about promotion you can share with IWSG members? Ready to pick up a free book from C. Lee McKenzie? Did you see the trailer to Stranger Things?








Monday, July 17, 2017

The Game Returns

I suspect a lot of you were glued to your TVs last night to watch the return of Game of Thrones for it's seventh season. It didn't disappoint. Loved the opening scene. Loved Jon and Sansa acting like brother and sister even though they're only cousins. I liked seeing everything coming together and the characters finally being all on the same continent. Things I'm still looking forward to is the meeting of characters like Jon and Daenerys and when can all the Starks please get together. And can Littlefinger finally get what he has coming? And isn't Jon being a wise king so far. And how about Jamie's opinion of the Greyjoy's? Don't we all agree?
"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select the more enjoyable." Lousia May Alcott
Check out this interesting article about authors bullying other authors. I've seen it happen but never knew anyone personally involved. We need to support each other. Anne R. Allen speaks from experience about this. We need to support each other. In light of that, here's a new book from my CPRW friend:
Into the Fire by Vicki Smith
In Olivia Sanders' world, people like her don't survive very long. Special abilities are a threat to the corrupt government and those loyal. Olivia and those with similar abilities struggle to keep their secrets as new laws threaten them daily. Though hiding isn't enough for Olivia. A healer and firestarter, she works with the resistance to ensure the safety of the people of her sector, toiling in an unforgiving world without freedom or hope with the goal that someday they will find both.
Poisoned by someone she should never have trusted, betrayed by her godfather, the former governor, who is using disturbing methods to control the population and grow his army, Olivia is forced to seek help from Luke Jamison, the leader of the resistance. They join forces with his brother, Matt, and Jillian Derrick, a hard-as-nails woman leading a band of "undesirables" to safety.
As conditions in the sector deteriorate and the death toll climbs ever higher, Olivia and Luke, Jillian and Matt, cling to the miracle of found love while facing the horror of a future without each other.


Victoria Smith lives in Central PA with her high school sweetheart and way too many animals. She writes paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian—all with romance, because who doesn’t love a happy ending? She publishes with Liquid Silver Books and Soul Mate Publishing. Visit her at http://vickismith.blogspot.com.


 Books: 
 Twitter - @smith_victoria

"There is no friend as loyal as a book." Earnest Hemingway

Did five hours of cleaning out and packing things for Goodwill. At least two dozen coffee mugs, a dozen wine glasses, and thirty vases. When you have six children, you get a lot of 'best mom' style mugs as they're growing up. Every child bought me a coffee mug or wine glass when they were in college. So yes, I have Penn State, Gettysburg College, Boston University, and University of Pittsburgh. Now they're bringing stuff from work. LOL

Did you enjoy the first episode of Game of Thrones? Have you supported some of your author friends lately? Known anyone to get attacked by author bullies? Do gifts collect in your house? Need a coffee mug? Hardly used.

Monday, July 10, 2017

When Everything is a Chore

So much work to do? It seems I have more chores piling up all the time. Am I busier than I used to be or am I older and just don't get as much done as I'd like to every hour of the day?

A partial list of things I had to do before writing this post: Register a copyright, send a cheery card to a sick friend, update CPRW membership list, do some Twitter and Facebook scheduling(Please follow me if you're not already), direct the boys in some trash removal, and renew my Pennwriters' membership.

Thing I have to do later this week: Have dinner with a friend I haven't seen for months, call and check on an ailing sibling, babysit my granddaughter on two occasions, make a date to have lunch with another friend, keep an eye on the guys doing some work on our pool, and DO SOME ACTUAL WRITING.


I didn't include all the housework things and outdoor chores. I think I'll take a nap now. Though in all serious, I almost never take a nap.

All these things will make the week go faster until next Sunday when Game of Thrones returns. Here's an interesting article about the world of Westeros and why they've never advanced as a society. If their history goes back 10,000 years, shouldn't they be a little more civilized? In the meantime, I have some GoT soundtrack playing in the background while writing this week.

I'm also going to check out two new shows starting this week. Will is a period piece about young William Shakespeare that is on Mondays on TNT. Salvation is a short running series on CBS about an asteroid heading for Earth and the people looking to stop the extinction of all life on Earth.

This article about copyrights came to my attention. I've never known any writers personally who had to go to court to protect their work, but all writers know about piracy. And we've heard stories about famous writers like JK Rowling facing questions.

Do you register your copyrights with the government? Is it money well spent? Are you ready for another disaster show about an asteroid? Why do you think Westeros is stuck in medieval times besides that it makes a good story? Do you take naps during the day?







Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: July 2017 Edition

Wow, we're more than halfway through the year. Where did the time go? And it's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time to share our insecurities and offer encouragement to each other. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh who started this wonderful group. You can join and receive all the wonderful benefits of being a member. Find other members of the group or sign up here.

What are those benefits? There are too many to name, but lots of people believe in IWSG as proven by IWSG being selected as one of The 101 Best Websites for Writers. Congrats to everyone who put in so much hard work for this to happen.

Don't forget about the #IWSGPit coming up at the end of July. Get your pitch ready.

Today's question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

It's tough to pick just one but I have learned over the years how generous writers are to each other. They help each other. They share advice and give of their time. We may write alone but it's not really a lonely job unless you want it to be.

My latest book is no available on Amazon. This if the first time I've stepped into dystopian territory. The Survivors of the Apocalypse Series is set 300 years after a plague wipes out 99% of humanity. A city of a few thousand is protected by a dome while outside in the wilderness, a small number or people live who were immune to the disease. Now the city people are running out of resources and desperation sets in. Who decides who lives and who dies? Can the outsiders be the secret to finding a Hunter's Exiled Lady opens the trilogy when two outsiders come upon a small group of people exiled from the city. Even if the exiles somehow survive the plague, they must adjust to the dangerous frontier life outside the city walls.
cure?

The little getaway for my husband and I last week was great fun. Until we got home and he discovered he'd been bitten by something, probably a spider. Doctor visits and some harsh antibiotics later and he's on the mend. July 4th was fun at the house. Burgers on the grill and the children playing games. By children I mean my grown children.

Yippee for Killjoys coming back on last week also. I also caught up on Zoo before season 3 started last week. It gets stranger and stranger. Gotta love that. And the countdown is on to the return of Game of Thrones. Yes, the science fiction and fantasy shows are my favorites.

Did you see any good fireworks for the 4th? Is your Twitter pitch ready? Do you enjoy Zoo or Killjoys? Ever have trouble with a bug bite?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hot Reads and Weather

I love the heat and hate winter. I don't enjoy the rain like some people do. But even I think we need some this week. So let it rain, a bit.

I've read some good books in between working on my outline for my next book and finishing up some line edits for the one coming out shortly. Lesser Evils by Joe Flanagan was a great read. The
main character is so human and interesting. The story is suspenseful and very dark, but the ending allows the light to shine through. I will read more by this author.

I have a stack of library books to read but that won't stop me from going to the bookstore today. In other good news, my local library has extended their hours for the summer. I guess that means that donations are up or the county powers-that-be found money in the budget to actually put toward a worthwhile thing.

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry. William Shakespeare

Father's Day was great at our house. Two of our boys took their father golfing which they all enjoyed despite the heat. I prepared some of my husband's favorite dishes, corn on the cob, pasta salad, meatball sandwiches, and the other children make time to spend at least part of the day here. My husband is an excellent father and deserves all the love that came his way.

The imprint of the father, remains forever on the life of the child. - Roy Lessin 

I'm polishing up the first page of First Dragon for a workshop we're doing at my next local writer's meeting. We're having three outside professionals come in and they'll evaluate first pages with the writers being anonymous. I also made a short list of fantasy publishers I intend to query that book too. My favorite is closed to submissions until the end of July so I'll probably wait until then.

Wonder Woman was great. Really glad I went to see it. We also rented The Batman Lego movie last week. It wasn't as good as the first Lego movie, but it was okay. My husband wants to rent the second John Wick movie next. I guess I can stand some endless violence and a main character I could care less about for an evening.

I won't be posting next week as my husband and I are going away for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. Finally. My next post will be for IWSG July version. The optional question for that post is: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Did you see both Lego movies? One better than the other? Summer getaway plans on your agenda? Ever attend a workshop where pages were critiqued in a group situation? Did you learn anything?



Monday, June 12, 2017

A Week of Celebration

This week in June is one of my favorite weeks all year. Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 35th anniversary. All the children joined us as usual, reminding us how full our lives are. We're going away for a few days later this month to celebrate alone.

"Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.Robert Browning

 This Wednesday, Flag Day, my one son turns 32. Now that he has his own child, I'm constantly reminded what a good baby he was and altogether a terrific child. Then next Sunday is Father's Day. That means another day with all the kids are at our house and goading my husband to play all day. Card, bean bag toss, and bocce ball. It will be fun.

Lots of my friends commented on the picture I posted on Instagram yesterday of the flowers my husband bought me. I so appreciated it, but it also reminded me of my determination to learn how to use and enjoy the app. I moved it up the list.

Another big thing on my list is finding a publisher for my second fantasy series. First Dragon, the book that led off that series, was published by a small press for about a year with almost no sales before the publisher closed its doors. The edits on the second book had been completed except for the final line edit. I need to find a publisher willing to take on a book that was out there already. The fact that the defunct publisher did so little with promotion and made no effort to help me leaves me with the hope that it wasn't because the book was bad that it didn't really sell.

Still have a lot of edits to do on that book. My publisher is used to me getting them back a little quicker than I did this time. I hope to get them done later today. After my daughter and I go see Wonder Woman.

I love reading hints and speculations about shows I'm looking forward to. Game of Thrones and Stranger Things are top on my list right now. GoT only has 7 episodes this season but I heard the last two are really long. I'm doing a re-watch from season one to the present. Currently moving closer to The Red Wedding lest I forget how terrible things have gone for the Starks in the past. Our family has a lot of fun speculating who will still be alive when the show ends. I'm also interested in the CBS show Salvation that is coming in July. A little like Armageddon.

Lots of chores to done around the homestead. I still have a few flowerbeds that need a lot of attention. My husband did some cleaning in the garage last week so I'm going to tackle the rest of it. I need to do my annual tree trimming to make mowing easier. Right now, I have two pine trees that try to know me off the mower. Inside the how, I have a stack of books for the second hand store and a box of things for Goodwill.
I always thought a yard was three feet, then I started mowing the lawn. ~C.E. Cowman

I read a good book last week. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is very different but don't be put off when you look inside. It's written as a report complied from various sources. It looks confusing but isn't at all and is a very fast read. There's very little narrative and is almost all dialogue. It's the first in a series. The characters are interesting and the setting is really cool if you love space opera. I can see this book being a movie someday.

Have you read anything interesting? Have any chores you're dreading? Do you like to read speculations about TV shows?







Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: I Love June

Welcome to the June edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly blog hop. This supportive group was the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. There is so much going on with this terrific group. Make sure you visit IWSG Home and see what project is coming next for members. It's exciting. It's great to see Pat Hatt and Nick Wilford moving into the administration part of the group.

The question for this month: Did you ever say "I quit?" If so, what happened to draw you back to writing?

I doubt many writers can honestly say they never thought about quitting. A little over a month ago, I considered it. And right after I signed a new contract for a book. Lots of things going on in my personal life. Things I had no control over. All the other responsibilities I had taken on nagged at me and drained my energy. So I trimmed my work load, set some priorities and kept with my writing. No magical epiphany. Sometimes writing is just forcing yourself to sit down at the keyboard and keep going.

So still here, working on some edits for that book I received the contract for. Admiring a little cover art for the first book in a dystopian romance series, Hunter's Exiled Lady. More about it later.

In other book news, in case you haven't already heard. Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStar is now available in audio book. Check it out on Amazon.

I hope you're still thinking about the #IWSGPit coming up in July. Today, if you write romance, you can practice by visiting #CarinaPitch.  Tomorrow, you can jump into Pitmad. Good luck. You have nothing to lose by jumping in.

I don't usually enjoy medical shows, but I'm looking for to The Night Shift coming back on for the summer season. Of course, Game of Thrones will be back in July. The new season of Sherlock is on Netflix already. It's really good if you haven't watched it yet.

A little science that sounds like fiction but isn't. If you haven't heard about the wasp that turns cockroaches into zombies, you can get all the facts here.

So what do you think about IWSG newest endeavor? Ready to do some Twitter pitches? Ever say 'I quit?'




Monday, May 22, 2017

What a Conference

I decided to post after all today. I made it back from the Pennwriters Conference Sunday afternoon. Like every conference, I came away with a pile of notes and lots of energy to dive back into writing and trying some new promotional ideas.

One of the speakers I enjoyed was Kathleen Shoop who shared pages and pages of information about self-publishing. I'm traditionally published by a small press, but indie-published authors know how to market. They have to if they're going to be successful. There's nothing quite so much fun as getting handouts at a conference.

On the flip side, as a board member who did a lot of work behind the scenes and some out in the open, the weekend was exhausting. And I love driving, but if you've ever driven through Pittsburgh, it's not much fun. The trip was four hours each way for me. Yawn!!! But I held strong and only bought one book while I was there.

Agent Mark Gottlieb presented a workshop on writing an elevator pitch. A way to tease your book in two or three sentences to an agent or editor. He shared some winning examples and I improved my short blurb for the dragon book I hope to find a new home for after the publisher closed.

Agent Eric Myers' workshop asked the question, 'How Far is Too Far in MG and YA?' I don't think he ever answered the question though the consensus did seem to be nothing is too far. I found it a bit disturbing.

One of the things I really enjoy about the conference is the mixture of writers. Nonfiction, short fiction, poets and novelists. Some are just starting their careers and many are multi-published. Everyone helps everyone and the mood is upbeat and supportive. One thing all the writers shared was their concern about how to use social media to promote and network. I could feel the stress of many of the writers as they searched for the answers to taming the monster of platform building.

My local writing group finished up our 50/50 yesterday also. I didn't complete my first draft like I wanted to because a lot of real life got in the way. But I'm almost done and I still had pretty good numbers for the 50 days.

On the entertainment front, I'm finally going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume II on Tuesday. My youngest son is taking me as my Mother's Day gift. I'm such a lucky mom. I'm looking forward to the season finale of The 100 on Wednesday. It's been an exciting season. Still about 2 months until Game of Thrones returns. Killjoys is returning this summer also. I really like that show with its mixture of action, suspense with some humor thrown in.

Have any summer TV shows coming on that you enjoy? Have you read any MG or YA that you think went too far? Does platform building concern you? Don't forget to check out the new post on IWSG.





Monday, May 15, 2017

Opportunities Galore

Lots of things going on that writers can take advantage of in the near future. Calling back to last weeks' fun with Reedsy and #IWriteBecause, Reedsy is offering a 25% discount to IWSG members. If you're looking for some help with editing, design, promotion and marketing, they're a place to start looking. You will have to be a new account to get the discount. Follow this link to sign up.

Savvy Authors are having a pitch fest from May 17th to May 19th. I didn't look at their agent list but most of the editors and publishers seem to be for romance and/or YA. They have clear rules and also a page of instructions with examples of how to write that pitch. Even if you aren't interested, you should check out their page and let it help you prepare for #IWSGPit.

On June 7th, Carina Press, a digital first line of Harlequin, is holding its fifth annual pitch fest on June 7th. So if you have a romance novel to pitch, use this #CarinaPitch. They have guidelines on their site for what they're looking for.

This coming weekend, I'm attending the 30th annual Pennwriters Conference which will be held in Pittsburgh. I'm looking forward to not only networking opportunities but also have a few workshops picked out that I hope will be of use to me in promotion. Since I'll be there all weekend, I probably not post here next Monday, but I'll have lots of good stuff to share in later posts. Remember you can always check out the IWSG Conference Page and find an opportunity for yourself.

I'd hope to finish my WIP before the conference, but I'm going to be just short on that first draft. Working on the dark moment right now.

“I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” 
― Mitch AlbomFor One More Day

Hope those of you who are mothers had a good day yesterday. My children and husband did a wonderful job making mine special. It was great after a couple of really, really busy weeks.

"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?" Milton Berle

I had some good news on the TV front when NBC canceled Timeless but then decided to bring it back in summer 2018. It was the only new show I started watching this past TV season. But three hours of TV shows per week is good for me.

Any good opportunities you're taking advantage of in the upcoming weeks? How did you spend Mother's Day? Did any of your favorite shows get canceled? Are you tired of rain where you live?







Monday, May 8, 2017

Plowing Onward

I hope I'll have a chance to watch lots of inspiring videos courtesy of Reedsy in their campaign to raise funds for a great cause. Share your short video of #IWriteBecause and they will donate $10 to the Room to Read organization. And here's another awesome thing for IWSG members, you can receive a $25 discount for Reedsy services. Read today's IWSG post to learn more.

I didn't post a video because ... life jumped up and bit me in the a** last week. Actually over the course of the past two weeks. It was difficult to keep up with my duties to all my different writing organizations and my own writing goals. There came a day last week when I was ready to quit everything. Every online group, every group I belong to and even quit writing the WIP I'm 60K into. Everything was too much. But I thought of my parents. I grew up on a dairy farm. For those of you who don't understand dairy cows, they need a schedule to ensure top production of milk. Every twelve hours, they expect the farmer to be there. No matter what happened, the cows get milked. No illness, family tragedy, or level of exhaustion or frustration can interfere with that schedule. And my parents always did. The cows got milked on time despite weddings, graduations, illness and grief.

So I kicked myself in the a** and here I still am. I apologize to my friends whose blogs I didn't have time to visit last week. I'll do better. I completed paperwork for my publisher related to my newest contract. I gathered all the paperwork together for my upcoming Pennwriters' board meeting and prepared my own reports and sent them. I prepared what I needed for my meeting of my local Chapter of RWA and attended that meeting on Saturday. I cooked meals for the family, mowed the dang grass, and got back to my WIP. Everything is not wonderful and good, but the cows are getting milked on time, to be metaphorical. For a few days, I felt like was letting everyone down. But my parents taught me that sometimes you just have to keep going until you come out the other side.

Onto another good thing. The Connective by Patrick Hatt is now available. I have this on my Kindle and it moved to the front of the TBR line though it sounds pretty spooky. As usual, Pat amazes me with his prolific writing. How do you do it, Pat?

I told you about my local RWA chapter being awarded the Chapter Excellence Award. They have this banner up at the RWA site. Pretty cool to be part of this dynamic group.

I didn't get to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, but I'm hoping my youngest son will take me for Mother's Day. He usually takes me to a movie I want to see that my husband doesn't for gifts. Counting on him.

Did you make a video about why you write? Had any dark days lately? Did you see Guardians? Are you getting your pitch ready for the #IWSGPit yet?












Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IWSG: May It Be Wonderful

It is May already and time to share our insecurities about our writing with the other members of our group. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this terrific group. If you're not already part of it, sign up to be a IWSG member here.

What to know what's going on with the group? Check out a few of the events and happenings on today's IWSG post.

Big, BIG news! Yesterday, IWSG released its newest anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. You can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM and Kobo. It's already getting lots of great reviews. You'll be hard-pressed to pick a favorite story.
What if Death himself wanted to die? Can deliverance be found on a bloody battlefield? Could the gift of silvering become a prison for those who possessed it? Will an ancient warrior be forever the caretaker of a house of mystery?

I hope you're practicing your Twitter Pitch. #IWSGPit You still have time to get it together. I'm working for a post on suggestions for closer to the July 27th, blastoff. Check out the rules at the IWSG website. Make sure you're following IWSG on Twitter.

If you're not already, you should be following IWSG on Facebook.  Lots happens in that very active group.

This month's question from IWSG: What is the weirdest or coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
Actually, the most enjoyable research I ever did was for some of my A to Z Challenge themes. I'm currently researching things about bone marrow and immunity deficiencies. I always put a little medical science in my science fiction. That is actually some clue to what my latest series is about. A future where most humans have compromised immune systems.

In a pretty cloudy week, I did receive a contract last week for the first book in that new series. That did slow down my word count as I dealt with cover art questions and a few other real life things.

Do you have a piece of work you're ready to pitch in July? Do you like doing research? Do you have a favorite between Twitter and Facebook?






Monday, April 24, 2017

Good Things are All Around Us

It's another few days of rain, but there's been lots of shining things lately. Before I get to that, let me remind you that next Wednesday is Insecure Writer's Support Group posting day. The question for that day is:
What is the weirdest/coolest thing you've ever had to research for a story?
Or just share your current insecurity.

Visit today at IWSG and check out why and how you need to get reviews for your books. Also, don't forget to get ready for the Twitter Pitch we have coming on July 27th. A good idea between now and then is to check out other pitching sessions and get ideas on how to write the perfect tweet. Here is a place to start with #pitmad. They have pitches scheduled for the upcoming months. Time to practice.

In the good things category of the past week.
One of our neighbors has sheep and the new lambs are out and cavorting.
My daughter and I saw a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree by the river when we were driving.
Did some babysitting for the granddaughter (7 weeks old now) and she's developing her own pleasant little personality and sleeping all night for her parents.
I stopped the car at an intersection for my daughter to hop out and rescue a small turtle. Why do they like roads?
My children and husband were super supportive this past weekend.
My writing pace is keeping up so far. 2,000 words per day.
Friday will be the second rendition of the WE ARE THE WORLD blog hop. Join for good news.

There's been some not so good news but I'll keep that all to myself. It was a pretty stressful week so I'm looking at the good things.

 "The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't always spoil the good things and make them unimportant." —Doctor Who
What good thing, no matter how small, cheered you up this past week? Are you working on that pitch for Twitter? Do you see Bald Eagles or turtles around where you live? Make me smile today.





Monday, April 17, 2017

New Thriller Release

Things are flying along on the writing challenge I'm doing this month. Only fifteen days into it and I'm already over 30,000 words. My characters coming along better than I hoped. I'm excited to sit down at the keyboard every day. It's so much easier to write when you love your characters.

My friend, Joylene Nowell Butler, has a new psychological thriller being release tomorrow.

To the Breaking Point...

When Brendell Meshango resigns from her university professor position and retreats to her isolated cabin to repair her psyche, she is confronted by a masked intruder. His racial comments lead her to believe she is the solitary victim of a hate crime.

However, is all as it appears? After two bizarre days, the intruder mysteriously disappears but continues to play mind games with her. Taught by her mother to distrust the mainstream-based power structures, and with her stalker possibly linked to a high level of government, Brendell conceals the incident from the police. But will her silence keep her safe?


Then her beloved daughter, Zoë, is threatened and Brendell takes matters into her own hands. To save Zoë, Brendell searches for the stalker and confronts not just a depraved madman but her own fears and prejudices.
Maski: Broken But Not Dead is available at:





Easter at our house was fun. Too much food but lots of companionship and thankfulness that so many of us could be together. Maybe next year the new wee one will be walking and ready for an egg hunt. Hope you enjoyed some family time and time off of work.

Mowing the grass went well last week. So good, I'm going to do it all over again this week.

What are you currently working on in your writing? Did you witness any Easter Egg hunts last week? Are you ready for a new thriller from Joylene Nowell Butler? What are the chances I'll keep that word count of averaging 2K a day going the rest of the month? 



Monday, April 10, 2017

Kudos, Newsletters and Grandchildren

You want to know what I'm doing right now if you're reading this on Monday. MOWING the grass. Already. The warm winter and all the recent rain have turned my lawn into a tropical forest. Taxes were as terrible an experience as we expected, financially. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

I read a lot of blogs and attend writers' meeting and conferences. I'm always looking for ways to promote and market. I haven't found the one I'm looking for. The one where I don't have to do anything. Readers just magically find my books and love them. One thing I hear over and over again, is that I should have an author's newsletter. I subscribe to some newsletters that are about writing and not promoting one author's books. Like the IWSG newsletter which is always informative. Anne R. Allen write a blog post comparing the pros and cons of newsletters versus blogging. She read my mind.

A big kudos to CPRW, the local chapter of RWA. I've been a long time member of this dynamic group and am currently serving as secretary. CPRW recently won RWA's Award of Excellence for a chapter of less than 50 members. It's pretty amazing to all of us, but when we list all the things we do, it's not so surprising. Like the current 50/50 that started a week ago. With the encouragement of group cheerleading and no excuses, I wrote over 14,000 words on my new WIP in only seven days.

I had my first chance to babysit the new granddaughter this past weekend. Those Mom muscles are a bit atrophied. My biceps were actually sore from all the use of carrying around a month-old eight pound baby. Next time you see a mother carrying a child in one arm and a few packages in her other, appreciate her strength a little bit.

Don't forget to stop by the IWSG today for another great post to kick off your week.

Who helps motivate you to write even when you'd rather be out mowing the grass? Do you receive a lot of newsletters in your inbox. Have you ever wondered how mothers manage to lug around those fragile but heavy offspring hour after hour?


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

IWSG: April Already

I hope you're joining me for the monthly IWSG blog hop, taking place the first Wednesday of ever month and created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Share your insecurities and also your successes with our ever-growing group. You can sign up on the list found here.

A few of the new things happening at IWSG recently that you should be part of. If you haven't joined our Goodreads group, please hop over there and join.

Don't forget the upcoming IWSG Twitter pitch happening this July. Very, very excited about it. And if you'd like some practice, check out #TKA20, a pitch session happening TODAY for The Knight Agency. Practice your pitch to agents.

Today's question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking and publicity for your writing? What were the results?

I participated every year except the first year and this year. My intentions were all about networking. I never marketed or promoted my own books during the challenge. I think I expanded my network more the first few years I participated than the last two years. The challenge took up too much of my writing time for me to continue to participate.

The new book I started writing on Sunday for the 50/50 challenge is going well. I like my characters and they're really hating on each other at the moment. Makes for good conflict.

Almost nothing I want to watch on TV this week so I'm getting lots of evening writing done and outside work during the day. My bulbs mostly survived the late snow and I have tons of daffodils blooming and the tulips are up. They might bloom right at Easter.

We're doing our taxes this weekend. We never hurry to do them because we always owe because my husband and I are self-employed. The amount varies greatly due to the ups and downs of his business more than mine. My income lingers in the pathetic range most years.

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.”– Mark Twain

“When it comes to taxes, there are two types of people. There are those that get it done early, also known as psychopaths, and then the rest of us.” – Jimmy Kimmel

Are you ready to try a Twitter pitch today for the Knight Agency? Are you doing A to Z this year? Ready for some fun with at Goodreads group? Did you do your taxes yet? 


Monday, April 3, 2017

What's Going On?

Let me start out by saying best of luck to the A to Z Participants. I'm not in on the madness this year, but I know I'll enjoy reading a lot of great posts. And that bring me to the upcoming IWSG monthly posting which will be Wednesday, April 5th. The question is always optional.

Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking and publicity for your writing? What were the results?

So, you can answer that and still share your current insecurity.

Had a great writers' meeting on Saturday. We honored a few of our members. Andrew Grey was honored with a Centennial Award for having 100 books published. He has an amazing work ethic and still manages to be generous with his time to help other writers.

The founding member of our RWA local group, Karen Rose Smith, received all our best wishes in her latest triumph. One of Karen's book's is in production to be a TV movie. We're all so excited for her. We might have a watch party.

Continuing with wonderful things happening at the meeting, we started our first 50/50 challenge of 2017. The way it works is that we all commit to writing at least 50 words for 50 days straight. And of course, most everyone who sits down to write 50 words ends up writing a lot more than that. We report our numbers to the member keeping track every few days. We're permitted to miss a day or two, but most of us try not to miss any. It's perfect timing for me because I'm starting a new novel. I outlined last week and started it yesterday. Wish me luck.

“You can only write by putting words on a paper one at a time.” 
― Sandra Brown


“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King, WD

You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page. Jodi Picoult

I'm getting some outside work done. Every year I think I'll get a jump on it. All the rain is making it difficult. Not only does it keep me inside, but it really makes the weeds grow.

I watched the series finale of Grimm last Friday. I wasn't expecting the HEA after the last two seasons have been so dark, but overall, I enjoyed the show. It was never a 'can't miss' for me, but I often caught up to it while I was on the treadmill or the exercise bike.

Do you know any writer friends who have written more books than Andrew? Do you know anyone who has had a book made into a movie? Are you doing the A to Z challenge? Are you an every day writer?




Friday, March 31, 2017

We Are the World

Today is the first ever post for the We Are the World Blogfest. A group of bloggers will share links to stories telling the positive tales of human behavior that are so often ignored or overlooked. It's easy to hear lots of bad news and wonder how our species has managed to survive. Today is a feel-good day.

If you're been a frequent visitor to my blog, you know I am a long time supporter of Penn State Thon. This 46 hour dance-a-thon is the largest Student-Run Philanthropy in the world. They not only raise money on Thon weekend every year, but all year long. Dozens of local high school have joined them and have their own Thon fundraisers that run for 12 hours.

What does Thon do with the money they raise? They work in cooperation with Hershey Medical Center's pediatric cancer center. Thon guarantees that parents will incur no expenses while their child is receiving medical treatment at the Hershey Medical Center. They pay for any medicine, hospital stay, and any medical expense until treatment is concluded. We all know someone who has fought cancer. The price of care is staggering. Thon makes sure the one thing parents and their sick child do not have to worry about is the cost of medicine.

The students do everything for Thon. They put so much heart into this event and this fundraiser. Ask a Penn State alumni about Thon, and you will get a taste of how it has touched their lives. And they've been doing this for 40 years.

Lots of people have heard of Penn State's recent infamy because of the child abuse scandal connected to football coaches. But Thon is what people should think of when they think of Penn State. In 2017, they raised $10,045,478.44 to pay for cancer treatments. Go, Nittany Lions.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Picking a Title and Guesting

I hope you'll join me today over at Kathleen Watson's blog where I'm talking about space opera science fiction and why it's so popular. I accidentally linked to it last week but I was seven days too early. Please stop by.

I finished my WIP and am still working on a title. I'm not enthusiastic about the one I came up with. My publisher has helped me in the past when I can't settle on something. There is a lot of advice out there for picking a title for your book. Over at Writer's Digest, Chuck Sambuchino has these five bits of advice.  Anne R. Allen has ten tips for choosing a title. Maybe I can figure out a good one.

My daughter and I had a recent discussion about books, movies and TV shows that have made us cry. We had no trouble agreeing on a book. My daughter convinced me to read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Hein a while ago. Most heartbreaking fiction book EVER. I will never re-read it. On TV, we both agreed that the GoT episode, Hodor, led to loud, ugly sobbing. I'm bracing myself for the last episode of Grimm this Friday. I've been a steady if not always enthusiastic fan of the show from the start and it all ends this week. I'm not expecting happiness.

I went to the cafe at the local BAM a few days ago so I could concentrate on some rewrites since our house was rather noisy with March Madness cheers and groans. To my disappointment, the cafe was loud and very distracting. Now I don't expect a bookstore to be a library, but it's usually pretty calm. To make matters worse, the people being loud and distracting were the workers. Irritation happened but I did get something done.

This Friday is the last of the month and the start of a new monthly blog hop. We Are the World members will blog the last Friday of every month and share positive stories and thoughts with the world. Every little bit helps.

I went with my daughter last week to see Beauty and the Beast. It was very nice and we had a good time. It closely followed the original animated version but I didn't mind. Great special effects for the talking household items and on the Beast.

Are you a fan of space opera? What book, movie or show has made you cry recently? Do you have trouble picking titles for your work? Do you like your bookstores quiet?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring for Real and DR Grady

I hope you'll hop over the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog where I'm talking about attending a conference. Please feel free to add your own advice and experiences in the comments. I'm very excited to be attending the 30th annual Pennwriter's Conference in May.

D.R. Grady is a fellow member of my local RWA chapter and a prolific author. Her latest release, The Trouble with Nerds, is now available on Amazon.

Odd things keep happening to Dr. Sara Newton. She’s a soon-to-be-unemployed pediatrician with an alleged stalker, a hot cop on her heels breathing dire warnings, and way too much student debt.

It doesn’t help that the hot cop is Clay Morrison, her best friend’s older brother. The man has made her heart pound and her palms sweaty since puberty. The trouble is, he only interacts with her when he’s expounding on new security measures. He sees threats everywhere.

Clay Morrison is frustrated. He hates his new job, misses his Army Ranger days, loves his well-meaning, pushy family—and when did sweet Sara Newton grow up? She won't admit she has a stalker, and she won't keep out of his thoughts. He can only protect someone in denial for so long. No matter how attractive she is...


Clay and Sara are circling each other, trying to meet in the middle. Then a brand new threat sends them in a completely different direction.

Find D.R. Grady at her Website, Facebook and Twitter.
You can also find all her books on her Amazon Author page.

Despite the 15 inches of snow we had last week, spring is determined to show up today. The snow is melting really fast and hopefully all my spring flowers have survived beneath it. The thing I like best about spring is that it's that much closer to summer. Bring the heat, Mother Nature.

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” 
― Pablo Neruda

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. -Proverb

Happy Spring, to the Northern Hemisphere. I've been waiting for you.

Are you ready for spring? Do you know DR Grady of Kathleen Watson? Did you get that big snow storm last week?