Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

SketchTreeWithBubbleFramesAndChild

We all have those relationships in our lives that one day are absolutely fabulous, and the next day we wonder why we even bother. Well, I’m having one of “those” types of relationships with social media. I didn’t grow up with it, don’t have a natural affinity for it, and just about the time I think I understand it, it changes on me.

I know that in today’s world, social media is important, especially for a writer and new author. It’s one of the best ways that we can let a wide variety of people know who we are, what we write, and why they just might want to check us and our book(s) out. But, as simple as that sounds, it sometimes isn’t that simple for me.

My biggest challenge is allocating the time away from my writing and my day job to keep up with social media. I know that every serious writer needs to spend at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour or better, on social media each day, but it’s a mindset that I’m having a hard time developing. During that allocated time, my mind keeps wandering to my overloaded “to do” list, the beauty of the outdoors outside my window entices me, I think of a myriad of other things I would rather do, or I’m just tired of sitting at the computer—period. Plus, social media “conversations” come in small bites, and I’m having to train my mind to think in small chunks while at the same time making those small chunks interesting, thought provoking, informative, or a combination of all three. Days like that are my “bad relationship days” with social media, and they do pop up.

Then, there are those days when the interactions come easy, I’ve connected with someone really interesting, my social media friends encourage me, or I read a quote or tidbit of information that is just what I needed at that moment in time, and I really get it. On those days, I’m thankful for the amazing minds that created these formats of connection and communication that allow us to reach out across cities, states, and even countries to discover and relate to a wide variety of people with varying thoughts, cultures, and ideas. It is on those days that I love social media and the whole virtual kind of existence that we now have available to us.

Then on other days I find out that Facebook is changing its format, I get behind on my tweets, or I’ve got a looming deadline for a blog, and my mind gets fuzzy from trying to make sense of all the data and requirements that are being tossed at me. On those days, I think my daughter and grandchildren wonder what planet I came from because social media comes easily to them and is a strong part of their daily existence.

On the good days, I relish discovering new ways of connecting and new people to connect with, and I’m excited about being a writer and author in this fabulous time when the entire world can absolutely be our oyster. I love that I have the ability to chat with writers and readers from all over the US and in countries like England, Australia, India, Italy. . . and the list goes on. My world is expanded and my mind is stretched, and new concepts and stories are forged into my imagination. I love those good days between me and social media. They are the reason that I continue this relationship through the not so good times.

Today, social media and I are on very good terms and I’m glad I’m in this relationship.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I feel like I need a drum roll, or a curtain being raised as I wait in excitement and anticipation to see what the audience will think. After all, the cover for my debut novel which will release in October, is a big deal to me.

It always amazes me how things can be happening all around us, all the time, and we don’t notice any significance until we step into those shoes. I’ve been surrounded by book covers ever since I was a young child and began to love and be fascinated by books; and I still have that fascination to this day. But, until I started working with my publisher on my own book cover, I had no idea of the love,¬† patience, creativity, thought, and work that goes into creating a good cover for a book. Nor did I really understand the extreme importance of a strong cover that will draw the audience to the book and then to open the pages and want to take the book (or eBook) home.

When we first started creating a book cover for Family Inheritance, I had an idea and concept in mind. Yet, as the publishing team and I worked together, new concepts started to emerge, and the characters from the book began to make themselves known in regards to the cover. (I know . . . for those of you who are not fiction writers, I’m beginning to sound a bit nutty.) Then one day, it just fit. The book, the cover, and the characters all seemed to belong together in one solid unit. Now, I can’t imagine the cover being any different than it is.

So, this phase is done. The book is in its finishing stages of being polished and honed, my marketing plan is coming together, and stage fright is starting to set in. Ahhhhh, the joys of being of author. But, I’m loving every moment of it.

Imagine a drum roll as the curtain slowly opens. Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to present . . .

Family Inheritance Cover Art Smaller Family

Read Full Post »

A week before Thanksgiving I was on my way to a poetry reading at our local Barnes & Noble where I intended to read from my book For a Grieving Heart. Before the event, a friend and I stopped for dinner at a local restaurant and starting chatting with some people we know. I mentioned that I was nervous about the poetry reading and one of the guys said something to the effect of “You do stuff like this all the time. Why are you nervous?”

My mind filled with responses like “Dah! What do my abilities have to do with my feelings?” but Mom and life have taught me to seldom speak words that quickly rush to my tongue without going through my mind to ensure they are appropriate. So, I bit my tongue, smiled, and explained that because the poetry was written during my time of grief after my son died, it was harder to read.

But the whole conversation got me thinking. What do abilities have to do with feelings? Not a thing! Just because we’re good at something doesn’t mean we know that we are, or that we don’t feel scared, intimidated, less than, overwhelmed, etc. In fact, very often, the things we are good at from the world’s perspective are the things that we feel the most frightened by. But if we can identify our fear, take steps to minimize it to the best of our abilities, and then move forward anyway, some of our greatest experiences and most pleasant moments might just be waiting for us.

I knew that reading my poetry in public was intimidating for me because I’ve never studied poetry, don’t know all of the “requirements” for a good poem, these poems are especially emotional for me, etc. and I had some fear about really making a fool of myself. So, I enlisted my good friend Betsy to come with me to ensure I wouldn’t chicken out, and to give me the assurance that at least one person there would like the stuff.

When we got to the reading I discovered that the event leader that particular night was a retired professor who had taught poetry at Radford University and the knot in my stomach enlarged to the point that it was also pushing against my throat. As panic was pulling me toward the door, Betsy’s chatter and encouragement kept me heading toward the chair.

I made it through, read my poetry, and met some delightful people. My poetry was received well. The professor from Radford encouraged me to keep writing and to even study poetry because I apparently have a natural talent for it. Who knew!

Once again, I was reminded that our fears are seldom attached to reality, but that doesn’t mean they don’t often show up in our lives, grab us by the throat, and tempt us to run and hide instead of moving forward to continually discover more about ourselves and life in general.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday, my husband and I were headed into a very busy post office when we were met by a toddler charging¬† full speed toward the door with a harried mother close behind. I stepped into the little guy’s path, slowing him down enough that Mom was able to scoop him up and head back to the counter to try to finish her business.

The toddler wasn’t going to make it easy. He squirmed so much that Mom had to place him down on the floor again just so she could pay for her outgoing packages. With the determination of a toddler, he once again focused on the front door. I quickly moved around the counter and into his path and began talking with him. His curiosity about me deterred him long enough that Mom was able to finish her business, gather her young son in her arms, and go on her way. But not before giving me a huge smile and thank you.

As we were leaving the post office my husband scurried ahead a bit to open the door for an older woman who seemed to be struggling with the heavy door, and that’s when I began thinking about the spirit of giving and the importance of just being there to help in a myriad of situations. Gifting doesn’t always involve money, although financially helping others in need is a wonderful way to express the spirit of giving, and it certainly isn’t limited to the Christmas season. My thoughts went to the many times throughout the year that I received gifts from wonderful random people:

  • The homemade Christmas card that was in my mailbox from the young couple across the street.
  • The man in the Starbucks drive-up line who had apparently handed the cashier a sum of money and told her to pay for as many people behind him as the money would allow. I was one of those delightfully surprised people.
  • The many times someone will open a door for me.
  • The woman at the grocery store who stopped her shopping and moved out of the crowded aisle to let my daughter who had just had back surgery, maneuver the “drive yourself” cart through the crowd.
  • The kindness of my fellow authors who donated books to a library in my mother’s name when she passed away this year.
  • Text messages in the middle of a busy day from people who just want to let me know they’re thinking about me.

And the list goes on. Each week, my life is made better by the thoughtfulness of the people around me. And that spirit of giving exists all year long, but we often don’t stop to think about it or even recognize it. Thanks to the busy little toddler and his mom, offering a spirit of giving every day and appreciating all the ways that I receive are now tops on my list of “to do’s” this Christmas season and every day thereafter.

 

 

Read Full Post »

While reviews are an essential part of being an author and building the fan base we need to sell and promote our books, reviews can also be swords that cut right into our hearts and leave us bleeding and gasping for breath. For me, the balancing act of being a published author is reading each review with respect for the person who wrote it and being open to constructive criticism that will help me become a better writer without taking the bad reviews so seriously that I want to crawl into a hole, never emerge, and certainly never write again.

I was recently reading the reviews of another author with whom I work closely. The majority of her reviews are great with people enthusiastically enjoying her characters and stories. Yet there in the pile of all those glowing reviews are those prickly, pointy ones that not only slice her characters and story apart, but blast her editors as well.

I’m a realistic person. I understand that not everyone will like everything that an author has written — no matter who the author is or how famous he or she may become. And, I realize that from a marketing perspective, there is no bad review because anytime someone has taken the time to read and review a book, attention is given to that book and author. In fact, a bad review can often bring as much attention to a book as a good review because other readers want to see if they agree with the review.

For most authors, our brains know all of that, but our hearts have minds and emotions all of their own and whether or not we tell ourselves that we will take the bad reviews in stride, they stick in our minds like rubber cement, not wanting to let go.

Every author deals with reviews in their own way and perhaps the famous authors who have dozens of books in the marketplace hardly pay attention to the bad ones. But for those of us who are new to the marketplace and the spotlight of other peoples’ opinions, reviews can have us jumping around with glee or hovering in an emotional dark corner questioning not only our writing but our very existence.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: