Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Brief Respite

Next week I will be off on a 2 week vacation. I'm headed back to Europe. While I'm gone, I won't be blogging.

I plan to play the tourist to the hilt. I will be relaxing with friends and floating down the Danube river. Once we get to Hungary, I will be doing some family tree work in addition to relaxing and soaking in the biggest hot lake in Europe.

This vacation was built into my timeline, so there won't be any delays in the publication of my next book.

Happy summer to you all!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Busy Life of Housecats

The day often starts with a nap in the sunroom.

A little music later on.

Supervising the work (and of course any lunch that might involve fish)

Maybe a little filing.

A workout on the trampoline.

Followed by a rest.

Some time for the neighborhood watch.

Before it's time for another nap

Thursday, June 16, 2016


A Changed World 

Book 3 - the first draft is done and off to the first reader. I am still thinking about the title.

I already know that there needs to be some changes. Apparently if you write a story when you have allergy brain fog it tends to be plodding and dull. I was worried about that but pushed through because the first draft will get changed around anyway.

So I need more conflict and tension, all things I just can't bare to think about when I'm not feeling well. Funny how that works.


Book 2 is being outlined. Since I already wrote a major portion of this series - albeit badly - it's a little easier to get going. I know the through line and what needs to be accomplished in this book. But I have a feeling it's going to be a lot longer than the first one. We'll see.

The characters and setting are a bit different from the first incarnation. I need to take that into consideration while I'm sketching out the broad strokes for this one.

Working and working and working

I've managed to keep to my usual schedule of writing every weekday. I think, with practice, I've gotten a little faster. And I think my prose is a little cleaner. That's all a good thing.

I hope to keep the distractions to a minimum and keep up the word count!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

First Draft Done!

The first draft of book 3 of A Changed World has just gone off to my first reader. Yay!

I am still on schedule for a fall release.

I have a working title of Speculations, but now that the draft is complete, that isn't working for me. I'll be toying with different titles while it is being read.

While it is off with the reader, it's time for me to start working on book 2 for the Transmutation series.

A writer's work is never done!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Garden Victories

I have a steep incline in my backyard. I think I mowed it once before I decided it needed to be all flowers.

First I put in hundreds of tulips that disappeared over the winter due to well-fed voles.

Then I haphazardly bought a few perennials whenever they caught my eye and planted them willy-nilly.

Then we had 3 years of drought. I felt guilty enough watering the vegetable garden, the flowers didn't get any.

Then we had the summer of rain. It felt like it rained every day and all my plants were wilted piles of moldy bits.

The next time I looked, the hill was a disaster of vine-tangled briars taller than me. Ugh. It was overwhelming. So I ignored it for another year...

Finally I got up the energy, courage and initiative to finally tackle it all. I ripped out the briars, weeds and small trees, weed-whacked down to dirt and mulch the heck out of it. While I was working on that - a couple feet at a time - I started digging up volunteers and starting seeds. By the time the bed was ready, I had a good collection of plants to put in.

And this summer, I get to enjoy the blooms!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Smell of Hot Grass

On my morning walk, I was hit with the smell of hot grass. Since I am just coming out of allergy season, smelling anything is a delight. But this scent brought a strong memory with it. It wasn't fresh-cut grass, or a lawn after rain. It was specifically a summer smell of sun-heated grass.

I had a flashback of lying on the lawn at the house where I grew up, staring at the sky through the big leaves of a horse chestnut tree. It's a wonderful feeling of freedom and safety. A hot afternoon in summer with no responsibilities or deadlines. Before puberty, before I stopped running through the yard pretending that I was a horse or exploring the darkest jungle of my neighbor's hedges.

It's just a snapshot of an instant in time. I couldn't tell you what came before or after that moment. But the smell of sun-heated grass sent me back to that lovely memory.

Smells can be a very strong trigger for memories. Sometimes the trigger is just for a feeling, not even an image. Or sometimes a person. Certain aftershaves will always remind me of specific men. The smell of french fries and ketchup can send me back to the boardwalk on a New Jersey beach.

A reader once told me that she was surprised by the many smells in my book. She didn't think she'd read another book that mentioned them. I guess I am a scent-oriented person. Maybe that's why I have allergies because my sense of smell is very acute.

And now I'm off to make sure that my current work-in-progress has enough smells.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Just Keep Writing

There's so much advice out there about a writer's platform and social media connections that you could drown in it.

None of it worked for me.

I do believe that you should have some sort of social media footprint. People need to be able to find you on the web. If you enjoy connecting to people that way, have at it! It may build you a good fan base, but don't bank on it.

Some people say to put your head down and write. That social media doesn't result in direct sales. Only a pile of books under your name will give you credibility.

I believe in that one more than others. At least I think it's a method that I can work with. But I have to add - advertise wisely. And there are as many thoughts on that as there are successful authors.

I've been going through forums and articles reading advice from all quarters. It seems like many of the successful authors are writing their pants off! They have put out 10 - 20 books and are making thousands of dollars per month. Whew.

They also spend thousands on advertising. Some monthly, some quarterly, but all of them put a lot of money into advertising to maintain a constant flow of sales.

All of them said that releasing a new book gave them a good bump in sales for the month.

I planned to write two books this year. In comparison, I look like a slow poke. Some of those successful authors put out a book every 1 - 5 months. Wow. I suppose as a full-time writer you could rack up sufficient word count to do that. As a part-time writer, I will try to push towards three books a year. Just writing those words made me anxious. Maybe I'd better make that a goal for 2017.

And now, back to writing...