Monday, August 31, 2015

Down Time: What To Do?

As an author, like many of the other authors out there, there really isn't a day when I don't write. Even if I'm on vacation I'm still writing notes for scenes, or just writing the whole scene. So when I do take time off like this past weekend and the up coming weekend what am I doing? Well I'm people watching, making notes on areas I visit just in case I ever want to put them in a book. And if you follow me on FB you'll see I take lots of pictures. 

My hubby works a lot and we recently decided to stop putting off getting away. While we're not ready for any huge trips, Ireland and Scotland are both tops on that dream list, we're exploring our own area of the New England on the Northeast Coast and then we're going to branch out.

We've done Vermont and New Hampshire. Our next trip is Maine. This one is going to be fun and sad at the same time. Why?

Years back we bought a house and 24 acres up north on the Canadian border. We lived there for about four years. When we came back to Massachusetts we planned on going up to vacation and decompress. That hasn't happened. So next weekend we're going up the organize and close up the house. Yes it's sad, but we've decided it's time to sell the place and buy a house down here somewhere. (Connecticut is possible if we can find what we're looking for) 

But this trip is going to be one last bash! We're taking two of our nieces up with us. It's their first time so hubby is going to make sure they see it all. Hopefully we'll come across a moose (they've been seen walking down Main Street in Fort Kent) and maybe even a bear. He's planning on taking them fishing too.

So here's to making changes and hoping for the best. More picture to come on FaceBook and maybe I'll get some loaded here too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Release!

Faking It For A Friend 
Book 5 in the Heiresses In Aprons Series

Gina Foster was working damn hard to put her wild woman ways behind her. Getting involved with playboy business man Wes Moreland might look like a big slip backwards to everyone, but Gina doesn’t care. She’s willing to risk her reputation to keep her friend Michelle’s elopement a secret until she’s ready to tell everyone herself. She needed Wes to help her do that.

Wes was seriously on the spot thanks to his best friend JP Abbott asking him to be his best man. Now Wes has to do whatever he can to keep things under wraps until JP gets back from his honeymoon and breaks the news.  Pretending to be engaged to Gina is the best plan. Spending time with her would be a hardship, or hurt his image any. As long as she understood that it was over when Wes said it was. Even if that meant it never ended.

Get your copy at  AmazonBN, ARe, Smashwords 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

When To Announce A New Release

If your publisher gives you a date then it should be okay to shout it out to everyone. When it comes to putting out your own books this can be a little more difficult. You upload the books at retailers and wait for them to go live.

Amazon and NookPress have a 12-48 hour window.

Smashwords and D2D distribute to retailers for you. I haven't used D2D, so I don't really know how they work. With Smashwords you go live on their site right away, but it can take a few days for it to show at the other online retailers.

ARe goes live right away too.

My plan is to load at Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords at the same time. Once I get word that the book is live at Amazon and Barnes and Noble I'll upload to ARe.

I'm guessing if you do pre-orders the files would all be there and ready to go. I haven't tried pre-orders so maybe someday I'll figure that out.

Before I focus on pre-orders I'm going to spend my time deciding how I want to set up my first box set. I'm going to be doing the first three books in the Heiresses In Aprons Series. I'll post more about this experiment over the next week.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Never Say Never...When Goals and Plans Change

Plans change and goals shift. Sometimes for the better. Last night I was talking with another writer about some plans I made that I thought were solid. Ending a series and putting a few book into a box set had been one of my goals. After talking it out I realized it wasn't really what I wanted to do.

Just like reading you story saying stuff out loud, whether someone is listening or not, can help you decide if you're going in the right direction. I count typing it out here and on a forum I belong to as talking out loud. Basically seeing the words and hearing them can push away all the distractions and make you take stock in what your real goals are.

So in this case it has pushed me to make some changes. I've decided to add a novella to one of my series as a wrap it all up with a bow story. It's a slight change to the schedule I had planned, but it'll be better in the long run.

Along with changes I've made I was going to release the first book in a new series, but I decided to see if a certain publisher was interested in it first. I'm currently working on book 2 in the series so eventually it will be released, just not sure with who.

I've also started a project that sounds great, out loud and on paper. So plans for that sexy fun series are in the works. Hopefully it will start off with a dozy of a holiday story. 

All in all I'm going to be pretty busy over the next few months, which makes me happy. Hopefully it'll make readers happy too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Going Out With A Bang

Well with my new release next week
and my plans for the next few weekends my summer is going out with a bang.

I've been working on edits, and now finalizing formatting of Faking It For A Friend. This book wasn't planned when I started the series, but the characters wormed their way into getting their story written.

If I wasn't busy enough with getting everything ready for this release my hubby decided we need to get a way. So we're taking a trip up to Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with my two nieces. this little vacation is hopefully going to help us relax for what's in store the following weekend.

We haven't been up to the house in Maine in over a year. The kids have visited their friends up there and checked on the house. It's still standing, but some spiders have taken up residence. Well hubby and I talked and decided it's time to clean it up and get it sold.

This makes me sad, but at the same time I know it's the right thing to do. It's a waste to have the house and 24 acres not being used. Still I guess a pat of me always thought at some point we'd use it for a vacation retreat of sorts.

Anyway hubby, me, kids, and nieces are going up for Labor Day long weekend to clean and pack stuff up. I guess the good thing I wont be able to worry about sales stats for the new release. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Editing Process

Do I need edits? Yes. You know what you meant to write, but that doesn't mean you wrote it. A good editor will find your weak spots. For me that's commas. They'll also point out typos, flow issues and anything else they think you might want to  know. Like when your hero is being a jerk. ;)

So how does the editing process work?
This is something that is different for every writer. Sometimes it can be months between when you submit a book and when you actually start edits. That can make it a little difficult if you've moved on to a new story and you head is in a different place. But that is also a good thing. You'll be looking at the story from a new perspective. 

So here's a basic layout of how I handle things.

Step 1: Write and submit book, either to publisher or directly to editor if I'm putting the book out on my own.

Step 2: Work on something else until you get the edits back. For me this isn't a problem. I usually have 2 projects going at once. Still sometimes the waiting with have you checking you email a couple of times a day.

Step 3: Edits arrive. Do you just dive in? I read all the comments first the start at the beginning. Sometimes, if you're lucky, along with all the requested or advised changes you'll find little positive comments. 

Step 4: Okay you've done all the hard work and hopefully you story is better for it. Those red pen marks and comments are supposed to be there to do that. But what's next?

Step 5: You've just finished you edits and you're back to knowing what you wrote. You could just send it back if it with a publisher and be done. You could start getting that baby ready for release. I do neither. I put it aside for a day or two. This time I don't work on anything else. That doesn't mean I do nothing. I read. Not my own stuff. I choose a couple of books, I'm a very fast reader, and for the 24-48 hours I dive in. Reading will get your head out of your world and into someone else's.

Step 6: Final read through. I read my book straight through. Sure I stop to fix little things here and there, but hopefully there's no big glaring mistakes. Reading out loud helps with this. Now it's done!

Step 7: Now it's back to the publisher, or off to formatting. 

So there you have it. Like I said before every writer has there own way of doing it, but that's mine. Now I'm off to format so I can have this book out on time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Summer Bucket List

When thinking about a bucket list what comes to mind? For me it's a few things.

1st: Crazy impossible stuff I'd like to see happen.
2nd: Stuff I can actually make happen.
3rd: Stuff that needs to happen.

So here is the list I made at the end of May (~ means I've either done it or am doing it)

Summer Bucket List

Get 30 Celebrities to take their picture with my book. Who wants to be first?

I Can Do:
Take day trips. ~

Find a waterfall. ~
Join Instagram ~
Start a #. (I have one in mind, but need to start using it)
Submit to a big name publisher. ~

Needs To Happen:
Release book 5 in Heiresses In Aprons.
Clean and Organize my office. ~
Start using my planner to focus on what needs to be done. ~
Establish a new schedule for myself so people know when not to bother me.

See I don't have that much I wanted to do, but I only have like 16 days to finish it all!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Coming To An End

I had a lot of plans for this summer. Even started a bucket list of sorts. Some things I have accomplished...other not so much. We've taken a few trips. Gotten some culture and had some fun. Officially summer doesn't end until September 23rd here. That's roughly 17 days, so I can still get some stuff done.

I'm going to start today!!!!!!

So here's the thing, I am a writer. This is my job and I
 it. My days consist of sitting at my desk in front of my computer and thinking about what it would be like to be someone else, or how people would react in different situations. I also have admin type stuff to do. Figuring out promo and production schedules.

Along with this fabulous profession I also have a family that enjoys spending time with me, well most of the time. They understand that my mind wanders and don't make fun of me too much.

I've tried to find a way to make this blog work of me. By that I mean I've tried different types of schedules. Certain topics on certain days. Talking about my writing journey. Those things haven't really worked for me. In fact they kind of bogged down my thoughts. So as one of my Summer Bucket List items I had listed 'Find a way to enjoy using my blog'. 

Side note: I love making list. Sticking to them is like a personal challenge.

I think I have come up with a way to do that. In utter randomness like the way the rest of my mind works. I'm not going to schedule or focus on any one topic. What that means is I'm going to pop in and say whatever's on my mind. Yeah that's it. Okay so (WOW, I use the words so a lot) starting tomorrow I will post my Rest of Summer Bucket List. I may also play around with my blog layout a bit.

That's all for now. Hope everyone is having a great summer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Timeline & To Do List (me being a happy author)

Even though one of my resolutions for this years was to try and blog daily I quickly realized I wasn't having fun with it. I'm a big believer of enjoying what you do. In that frame of mind I have changed things around (this probably wont be the last time) again. My new schedule can be found over on the right. Here goes.

It's Tuesday. This is the day when I sit down and go over how things are going. This is broken down into 4 categories. Family, Writing, Admin, Me.

Family: (I'm the family secretary, yet unpaid and unappreciated at times) Who has appointments? Hubby has a few dentist appointments, son has one, and I have few more doctor appointments coming up. Car goes in for maintenance this weekend, daughters car is in now because her alternator in the Jeep she's only had since September has to be replaced. Stuff that needs to be done? Getting hubby ready for his golf tournament in April, which at the end will become a family vacation to visit family in Tennessee.

Writing: Have I kept to my schedule? Almost. I had a few things pop up and derail a few days. Did I make my daily word counts? Only 4 out of 7 days last week. But I did write everyday. How about weekly word counts? 2k short, but I'll make them up. Is my story headed where I want? Since I'm a hybrid pantser I'll never know for sure. Are you asking what the hell a hybrid pantser is?It's pretty simple to explain. I don't plot out my stories so that makes me a pantser. But I do make a list (as you can see I like list) of something that I want to happen in each chapter to move my story forward. So as long as I hit the points I want to happen I'm happy.  

Admin: Am I on track for releases? I'm actually 2 months behind. Cover art request made? Yup. How's it going? Image for 1 is bought, looking for the other. And I need to find a waterfall to use on the back of the books of new series. I hope to be able to a cover reveal soon. Talk about edits? Round one (content) is done. Working on line edits now. How are my sales? March has sucked so far! (I have to consider all these questions for my self-published and the titles I have out with publishers.) Is book ready to be formatted or is it done? Not at that point yet, but soon. Have I updated the back matter in my books to include my newsletter and other links? I really have to do this before I release the last book in the Heiresses In Aprons Series. Is my new letter ready to be sent out? I'm working on this. Surprises may be included.

Me: Am I keeping track of my food log? Yes. Wow I drink a lot of water. How are the sugars (I'm diabetic, so have to watch this)? Now that I'm back on meds and watching my diet (This means eating at as close to  the same time each day as I can.) Exercise? I haven't been doing well with this. Any new goals here?  Exercise for 30 minutes a day. Either on stationary bike, or go for a walk.

After I go through all of this I make a weekly to do list. I then break it down by day and hope to get it all done. I have to say this has gotten a bit easier to deal with thanks to the Passion Planner my daughter got me for Christmas.

Strangest thing on my list for this week is: Shave the cat! He's got some mats that have to come off.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 11: Getting Back To It.

I've come to realize today that skipping days is not a good writing process for me. I write romantic comedies and contemporary romances and normally have two projects going at once. This process allows me to work on one I'm having trouble with the other work in progress. Right now I'm solely working on one story. Okay I'm making dozens of notes for the new series, but I am not writing it.

Getting back into the flow of the story isn't hard, because the characters are driving the story. My problem is I keep think I already wrote parts of the story that I had meant to, or in my foggy brain dreamed I had. Anyway I had to go back and reread the last six pages to figure out how badly I screwed up. Tomorrow I will hopefully make some headway.

Sneak peak of Gina and Wes (unedited):
“I’m going to tell you something I don’t think anyone else ever has.” Gina doubted that.  “And I want you to listen to me.”
Whatever he was about to say she’d most likely heard in one or more of the many lectures she’d gotten from her father and sister. “What’s that?”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Gina just started at him until he laughed. “I told you. Gina, take it from someone who knows you better than you think, you've come a long way in a very short time. You’re going to make mistakes. We all do. And there’s nothing wrong with blowing off a little steam from time to time.”
“I was reckless.”
“Did you use protection?”
His question took her by surprise for just a second. “Of course.”
“Then you weren't reckless. A little impulsive, but hardly irresponsible.”

“But what if someone saw me sneaking out of there?” Oh how she hoped no one recognized her.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 10: Good Intentions VS The Flu (or whatever this bug is)

Okay goal for the blog this year was to post something everyday. Yes EVERYDAY! Whatever popped into my head or I felt like talking about. Unfortunately that plan has gone to poop. And yes that is how I feel. I've been sick since late Tuesday night, which make today day 5. By far yesterday was the worst and I was so bad I missed posting. I'm going to have to start scheduling post in advance when I can. Today I can breath through my nose. So even though my chest is still tight and my whole body aches I'm hoping I'm on the uptick. 

I really don't like being sick. What makes it worse is haven't even been able to take advantage of the down time and get some writing in. Usually I can push through a cold or whatever and keep writing, but this thing has kicked my ass and wiped my brain of all coherent thoughts. Seriously I think in the past four days I might have gotten 1000 words written, and none of those were from yesterday. 

What does this mean in the long run. I'm about 6000 words behind where I wanted to be in Wes and Gina's story. 

On the upside my family really pitched in to keep things running smoothly. Hubby kept fridge stocked with plenty of OJ, and my daughter cleaned and did the laundry.

I'm hoping to waking up tomorrow feeling a bright shiny new penny. Then I can dive back into the current mess Gina has gotten herself into. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 8: Important Decision To Make.

Well the decision has actually been made. What I need to do is tell the other person involved of said decision. I'm still sick and really don't feel up to dealing with the fallout today, but I know the sooner I do it the better for everyone involved. Yes I'm possibly going to be letting some people down, but I do think it's the right thing to do for me at this point.

I believe if you make a commitment you stick to it unless there is no other recourse. So I hope I will be forgiven.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 7: Wednesday Words Are Coming Hard

To my right is a bottle of water and box of tissues. To my left is a bowl of beef stew that I can barely taste. In front of me is my computer . I have my current work in progress open and the cursor is linking at me as a reminder that I am supposed to be writing. The words are slowly struggling to get out of the dense fog that has drifted in and settled around my mind. 

Who and what is to blame for this? The answer is plain as day, and one look around my house would show you the answer.

First my husband brought this crappy cold home. Luckily I didn't catch it completely just a stuffy head. So I blithely went on about my life thinking I was in the clear. WRONG! 

Why? Because my youngest (who will be 21 soon, yes I'm that old, and today I feel it!) came down with it only a few days later. Now my middle son got it even worse (he's about to be 25, but with this bug he's acting more like 15). If dealing with 2 sick men wasn't bad enough between the two of them they managed to make sure I got the damn thing. So hoping my oldest doesn't catch it. She's not a pretty sickie!

The youngest is starting to feel a bit better, the middle is managing with theraflu. As for me the dishes are done, I could really care less if the laundry gets done today, I'm eating, and trying to write.

I should probably give up and go to bed. I'll most likely just purge anything I do get written today. Then again who knows it may be some fabulous stuff that oozes out of the haze.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 6: Preparation Is Key

It doesn't matter what path you take to get where you want to go. Everyone's journey is going to be different. I know both of those facts are true. The thing is no matter what you want to do planning truly is key.

As a writer my plan is like a tree. It has a thick trunk with lots of goals inside. Little by little I get things done and the tree grows. Unlike what most people think the first step isn't writing the story. 

The first step is coming up with the idea for a story. For me that includes determining where the story fits. Is it part of a series, or a stand alone? If it's part of a series where does it go? That's why the base of my tree is so thick. As I answer the questions that's when it starts to thin. Then comes the actual writing. Branches now start to sprout. While doing writing I have to think about whether or not I'm going to put it out myself or submit it to a publisher. If I do it myself I have to start thinking about cover art, promotion, editing and all the other stuff that goes with it.

Sometimes you'll hear writers talking about being a pantser or a plotter. I'm a mix of both. I like to know the beginning, middle, and end of my stories. I don't like knowing too much more than that. I like having the freedom to let the story grow naturally. Now I do like to have a list of points for each chapter that I want to make sure I get in.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 5: Manic Monday

Real Life VS. Writing Life

There are just those days when you have a dozen or so things on your list that you have to put everything else aside and take care of.

Phone calls and tracking paper work down are a pain in the ass, especially when the people you are dealing with are states away. Seriously we were beginning to think we were going to have to drive to Maine and meet with the school to get things straightened out. Luckily everything was accomplished today with about four phone calls. It only took four and a half months!

Then there are errands. Normally I don't mind running them because we grab lunch or do something fun while we're out. But this does seriously interfere with my writing time.

When I started writing I was working a 3rd shift job and trained myself to write during those hours. I still write better between 11pm and 7am.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 4: Weekly Wrap Up

Okay so we're only 4 days into January, but I'm feeling pretty good about the goals I've set for myself.

Writing and Admin: I've gotten some words in. I've nailed down a production and release schedule. Right now I'm about 2 Weeks behind where I want to be. That means I really need to pick up my pace.

Health Wise: I'm sticking to my NO SODA rule. I'm doing pretty good too. It's been over a month. I've been tempted a lot since my family still drinks it. So go me!

I also got compression braces for both of my knees, which have been bothering me. they really help a lot. Now I can ride the exercise bike longer and faster, I hope!

Eating better is still something I'm striving for.

I've also made an appointment for a physical in June, but I'm going to see the doctor before that to get back on my meds.

Financial: Okay it may not be realistic to want to earn enough so my hubby never has to work again. But a girl can dream right? For now I just want to pay all the bills and just have enough for us to do fun stuff together.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Join Or Don't Join

That is my question of the day?
So what am I considering joining?

Here's my list:
      New England RWA Chapter
      Some other romance focused writing group

What do I already belong to?
As I mentioned before I'm a member of Romance Divas.

I'm a member of a local writer collaborative. It's multi-genres and so far I haven't found it to be super helpful. But I think maybe it's because I haven't discover a way use it to my advantage.

I did just join a sprinting group on FB, so we'll see how that goes.

Since I write mainly Contemporary Romance and Romantic Comedies I need to find a support system that is going to help me become a better writer (because we all want that) and helo me promote my genres better.

Still thinking. Will make a decision and post about it later.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 2: Project Management, A Positive Jump Toward Rainsing Productivity.

New Years Eve I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with another author and talk. This author also wears an editing hat. We talked about goals and what I want to accomplish this year, We both laughed at some things, but she totally got where I was going.

We discussed what is realistic goals and milestones. There are some really awesome things that I have already done and things that I wish I have done. Several of the issues we discussed were having a good support system, being organized, and what direction I wanted to take my writing in. So I'm going to break those down a little here. Remember this is just my take on how I have been performing and would like to this year.

Support System: My family comes 1st. They are the ones I depend on to honest and helpful.

I have writer friends, but sadly most of them don't live close enough to see often. Which is why I'm contemplating joining RWA again. MAYBE. I really didn't get much out of it the first time, other than reaching my PAN status. But now that my local chapter meetings are only an hour away, instead of four, it might help. There's also a chapter in NH I can get to easily. And I just found out about a group in RI I might check out.

I also lurk on a few forums. Romance Divas is very valuable. I've been a Diva since 2008 and have learned so much. I really need to stop lurking and talk more. But that falls back to me getting out there more.

Being Organized: I think this is super important for me. If I have everything, notes-research-ideas, where I think it belongs I don't waste time trying to  put stuff in order before I start writing. I can just go and if I need something I know right where to find it. I also write better when my desk isn't completely cluttered. Usually with other peoples stuff.

Direction: Okay this is where it gets super tricky. I would love to get a deal with a publisher that would get my books into bookstores and maybe Target And Walmart. This is not going to be a quick or easy thing to do. I need to put some serious research into finding the right publishers and then there's no guarantee that they'll have a spot for me in their stable. So right now though I think I'm going to stick to the path I've laid out in front of myself. I'm 90% sure focusing on my Kismet Falls series is the right thing to do.

So to wrap up this post I'm going to dive into my organization and start really thinking about getting a solid support system in place. What do you guys do?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

First Steps = Accountability, Productivity, Discover-abilty

Day 1: Accountability

This isn't my 1st attempt to find a way to keep track of my goals and make myself accountable for getting them accomplished. However I'm going to go harder, deeper, and longer. In fact this project is going to last a full year. I'm going to list my goals and hopefully get a lot done this year.

         : Productivity
I'm still working on Book 5 in ht Heiresses In Aprons series. This will be the final book. It's going to feature Gina Foster, Sophia's younger and wilder sister, and Wes Moreland. Right now it sits at almost 12,000 words. I hope to have it finished and out by the end of the month.

Also I'm starting a new Series called Kismet Falls. This series is going to be different from the series I normally write. Kismet Falls will actually be host town where a few series take place. Some will contemporary romances and some will be romantic comedies, so there will be full-lengths (50k words and up) and novellas(up to 35k words). I'm hoping that will allow me to get more stories finished and out for readers to enjoy.

         : Discover-ability
This is going to drive me crazy until I figure out what the hell I'm doing wrong. I may even be doing some stuff right and not knowing it. Don't consider this whining, because it's not. Really what I'm doing is learning and that shouldn't be confused with complaining. If I do complain its only going to be about me. I know I can't compare myself or my writing career (yes, I do consider it a career not just a hobby or job) to anyone else's, but I can hope to someday reach the status of some fabulous writers.