Friday, September 30, 2016

Team CANADA FTW!!!!!!!!!!

Congrats to Team Canada on their win last night against Team Europe in Game 2 of the Finals of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Brad Marchand celebrates his game winning goal!

Several teammates rush Brad to celebrate his goal.

Sidney Crosby, captain of Team Canada,
gets the first skate with the WCH 2016 trophy.
Sidney was also voted WCH 2016 MVP. 

Team Europe played a hell of a series and definitely gave
 Canada a run for their money.
Mega kudos to them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Best Wishes, Vin Scully!!

To me, the voice of baseball has always been Vin Scully. Mr. Scully has been the voice of Dodgers baseball since they were the Brooklyn Dodgers. He started his illustrious career in 1950, and sixty-seven years later, he's retiring to spend some time with his family including sixteen grandchildren.

Maybe I don't enjoy baseball as much anymore because that familiar voice is not the one that calls the games I watch. He's only heard on local L.A. radio and a Dodger owned cable station. No Vin Scully on nationally broadcast games.

Best wishes and God Bless, Mr. Scully!!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Take Monday by Storm!

Have a great week!!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Target sighted, full speed ahead...

My Scrivener class has been outlined and scheduled. The online meeting venue has been researched,  and it looks as though it's going to work. I suppose I ought to test it again at home (rather than at the office) just to make sure. The first class is going to have three (maybe four) students.

I do think, though, that I have a lot more class material than an hour's worth, so if I do decide to give this class on a regular basis, I'm going to have to break it up into smaller chunks once a week for three or four weeks in a row.

And if I do a basics class, then at some point, I ought to work on a class for more advanced users. I'll have to see how it goes.

In the mean time, it's Friday. Hope you have a super weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Batting a Thousand...

Yeah, even though it was on my list of things to do yesterday...I forgot again. I got sidetracked by creating a lesson plan. Heh...

We had a guy come talk about Scrivener at my last writers group meeting. It was disappointing for me as I was up to speed on all the things he shared, except one. And at the moment, I have no use for that new tidbit. Unfortunately several members couldn't make it and Scrivener is a very complicated application. I'm not sure the things the speaker taught nor the way he explained them were helpful to anyone just trying to get started.

So I offered to teach one to anyone in my group who was interested.

Which meant I had to decide what to cover generally and then go into specifics in my lesson plan.

So, yeah, that's what I spent several hours on yesterday. And I'm not done. At this point, I'm not sure how long the class is going to last. Yikes. I'm shooting for a couple of hours. Yeah, forty-five minutes to an hour (our usual speaker time frame) wasn't going to be enough, though he did well staying within his time-budget.

And I had an epiphany...I might could do it online. WOO! Our business utilizes remote software and there's a meeting function. One of my techs is going to help me play with that a little today. Online would be soooo much better for everyone I think. No travel across the metroplex!

Okay, so this has got me a little excited cuz I could offer this for money if it works out!!

Well, time to get to other things.

Have a happy hump day. See you Friday.

And just for something pretty to look at, how about Captain Canada, Sidney Crosby. Team Canada kicked Team USA's butts last night in the World Cup of Hockey, so enjoy...

Monday, September 19, 2016


Um, yeah, forgot about a post for today, so have an interesting tidbit about hockey:

And have a little hockey eye candy while you're at it...

Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars.

Friday, September 16, 2016

To Website or Not to Website

I mean, I have this blog. I can add pages to it to list books and share excerpts. I have nine years of blog posting history and that's nothing to sneeze at.

I have a website for the book series, but should I, as a (soon to be) published author, have an actual website?

As a reader, I don't go to other author's websites. I don't check out author's Facebook pages either. I don't follow authors on Twitter. I don't sign up for their newsletters.

Many of the authors I know have websites, Facebook pages, a Twitter account they use, newsletters, and several other types of social media platforms. There's a lot of hype in my author circles about networking and supporting one another. And I get that. I really do. But it's so much work juggling all that, and I dunno, but isn't another good book a better selling tool than just about anything? Plus, this is a fun adventure, and anything that makes it not fun isn't happening. :)

But all those platforms are generally for reaching out to readers. I understand that writers are generally big readers, and if a writer wants to follow a favorite author then by all means he or she should. But sometimes I feel...bad, maybe? about not being part of this huge chain of authors. The reason I'm not is simple...

My writer friends are not my target audience.

Now they may enjoy the genre I write and like my books too, but they are under no obligation to follow me on Twitter or Facebook or anything.

I'm not doing a newsletter either. Too many of my author friends gripe about that chore. I blog three times a week, it'll do for getting out whatever upcoming news I might have. I'll set up a notification list, though. Submit your email address and get a quick email about the latest release when the time comes. That's it.

But back to the question of a website... I was recently turned onto which is what it sounds like--a platform for author websites, no domain names necessary. It has themes and many cool features, and I think between the blog here and that there, I'm good. Both are free, too. So bonus.

If you're a huge reader, do you actually visit author websites?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How Do I measure Up?

Last weekend as well as Monday, I downloaded some books from Amazon that were comparable to what I'm planning to publish. I wanted to know if I was hitting the mark or falling short. Most of them were short, thank goodness, and I'm a fast reader, I'm making decent progress.

I think I'm going to give myself A-/B+. I'm still falling short in a certain area, but that would be the case no matter what I'm writing because I know it's a weakness of mine that working towards shoring up.

Things I don't dumps at the beginning of a book. That's one thing being mentored by RWA and Harlequin teaches you: info dumps in any part of a book are generally not good. Now, I don't subscribe to every "rule" that's been thrown at me by both of these illustrious organizations, but that's a good one to remember.

Another "practice" of the romance genre--well maybe all genres, now that I think of it--is the idea of a big black moment or the point at which all seems lost. You know what I mean. That big scene at the end of a book or film when you wonder how the protagonist is going to get out of the predicament he or she finds him- or herself in. I read recently, "The reader wants to worry." It doesn't haven't to be worry on an apocalyptic scale, but that worry is one of the things that generally keeps readers turning the pages. Will the secret come to light? Will she get the job? Will she get the boy? Will they live happily ever after? That I do...which leads into the next point.

A couple of the books I read had basically no or little conflict. I was mostly bored. A good lesson to learn (or remember) because sometimes I hate making my own characters squirm. But a check of all my books so far shows escalating conflict. Nothing earth-shattering because I don't write that, but hopefully enough for readers to want to know what comes next.

The last little trick I came across that I will never pull is leaving the reader on a cliffhanger and dangling the resolution as bait for a newsletter signup or some-such. Whether my tale is long or short, free or for money, I would never not give the reader the whole story.

I will admit that I've been toying with idea of writing the story of a secondary character from book one in serial format. But it will be clear that's what's going on and it will be available to anyone who wants to read it without having to pay for it with an e-mail address.

I think I measure up okay. Only time and publication will tell. :)

Monday, September 12, 2016

I Tried, I Really Really Tried...

This past Saturday morning a storm front blew through while I was on my way to the gym at the ass-crack of dawn. When I got home, the power was out. I worked on the laptop for a little while as it was fully charged, but after a couple of hours the power still wasn't on and I decided to sneak a little nap.

My early Saturday morning work space.

Normally, our power is restored within an hour or two. Once we passed the two hour mark, I had no idea when I'd get it back.

So I thought it would be good to take the forced break from electronics and anything writing related. Give the writing part of my brain a break and focus on something fun or not-writing related.

I did cross stitch for a little while, so that was good because I needed / wanted to make progress on my current project. I couldn't do laundry though, because--no power. :( I couldn't watch soccer, either, because--no power. :( I decided to read, but everything I read is online and with no power there was no wifi for the iPad... I didn't want to do too much on my phone and burn my battery life.

But book three wouldn't leave me alone. It's the one not started that needs to get started soon, but that I'm still brainstorming. So I got out real paper and a pen (WHOA!) and jotted down notes, trying to get a handle on a couple of plot points. Which I finally did. I think.

I finally got desperate enough to get on my laptop that I went to the auto parts and bought a converter thing so I could run the car and charge my laptop and phone back up. :) Which I did.

Then I powered up the laptop and worked on book four, which is this ][ close to being done. It's a short book, but it's a fun one and it's been a blast to write.

The power did come on as my laptop battery began to wane again, so I didn't have to spend anymore time in the car.

I really tried to rest and relax and feed the muse rather than make him work, but he had other ideas. :)

Friday, September 9, 2016

I Do Have an Office...And I'm (Not) Afraid to Use It

Yes, I do, although I'm usually working from the kitchen table, my bed, or the home office (on the days I work from home and need to be near the phone). Remember this room...?

Over the weekend, DH asked why I didn't work from my office because at least then he'd know I was working, and with the door closed, I wouldn't be so easily interrupted by him or distracted by everyone else moving around the house.

Of course, I had no good answer other than liking the comfort of my bed, and the kitchen table offers good seat-to-work-surface ratios for my short self.

As I was making the big push to complete book two this weekend--which I did!!!!--I realized that working in my office would be a good thing for another reason.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm working to publish books in a series. And of course you want characters, places, and events to crossover two or three books at least, but keeping track of all that information on top of keeping track of the current books and its plot and characters can be difficult. Especially if you work more than one book at a time, which I'm trying to do.


I'm thinking that in my office, I can put up a bulletin board or a white board (hey, I think I have some in the garage!!!) that I can just make lists of those things on, and they can be in plain view as I write to both remind me of what's available and to actually include it.

I got book one back from the editor a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't look at the document at the time, because I wanted to get book two done (in the sense that the story is complete, but there's still tweaking and word-smithing to do) before I went back to it.

Tuesday morning I spent an hour or so making the small corrections, spelling/punctuation/grammar stuff to book one, but I also noted the places where I could add mentions of upcoming characters or town establishments we'll visit in the future. I hadn't thought of those things way back in February when I first wrote this book, but a lot, A LOT, has changed since then, both externally to the series and internally, so, yeah.

Over the course of the next week or two, I'll be tidying up the office in preparation for working in there like a real professional writer.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Finding Life's Balance

So I've got a lot of work adventuring ahead of me, but I don't want to become: "All writing and no play, makes Jen a dull/stressed/unhappy/cranky girl."

I've met too many authors like that and I never wanted to be one of them.

Since this "I'm going to indie publish my damn books" bug hit me about a month and a half ago, I've been going at various tasks pretty steadily.

I stopped listening to music in the car, because I was using the time to work out plot puzzles or character arcs in those ten/fifteen minutes between home and work.

I haven't gone in search of any other TV shows because I didn't want to get sucked in and get lured into a binge-watching frenzy.

I have re-read the same fan fics over and over because I know what happens and I won't be tempted into the reading rabbit hole.

But not partaking of the things I enjoy for the next nine months/two years in the name of writing books isn't feasible. Nor is it healthy. Living life informs an authors writing.

I've been a pretty happy and healthy person over the last couple of months and I'd like to stay that way. Which means another item on the grand to do list is to start enjoying the other things in life:
  • going outside, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine (to be fair, I'm pretty good about this)
  • walking the dog--I finally got a no-pull harness for my sweet Rayna, so now we can both get some exercize (more exercise more me, just any exercise at all for her)
  • reading stuff I haven't already read
  • working on my cross stitch again
  • coloring--remember I got coloring books and markers for my anniversary :)
  • adding another TV show (or two) to my repertoire--the new TV season is ramping up, so I can pick one of those shows I started last year, which only air one ep per week and start re-watching one of my other faves (I've seen that show three times already, I know what's going to happen) any binging tendencies are negated

Granted, this isn't world-travel/new-experiences kind of living life, but it's a start.

Small steps!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Temptation thy name is... (among other things) FALL!

Remember I talked about the temptations I'd be facing by having to shop at the big Walmart since my Neighborhood Market closed?

Well, one of those temptations showed up in the form of autumn decorations and housewares. I gave in, because there really wasn't any question that I would. :) So this is what I've purchased so far:

  I love decorative holiday plates and cups.

 Already stuck to the kitchen window and front storm door.

 Hanging on the oven door handle.

Blue runner hung back in the closet, placement on the table as a centerpiece.

There's no telling what might end up in the cart next week. Although I'm thinking maybe one more hand towel. You always gotta have a pair, right??

How about you? What's the one thing you can't resist??

Friday, September 2, 2016

Talking Myself Off the (very wide) Ledge

In the aftermath of the discussion of whether to publish my books as they're ready or to save them up and dump into the great sea of books lashed together as a discoverability raft, I got to thinking about deadlines and when book three needs to be completed by, when it needs to get to the content/copy editor, etc...

It's the only book that has no progress to it. It's still a glimmer in my eye, with nothing but ideas and a few plot points and character details jotted down. There are absolutely no words save an idea for the first paragraph written down.

One thing I learned early on was that deadlines imposed by others scared the pants off me. I couldn't write fast enough. I see a handful of my writer friends chained to their computers slaving away to make deadline after deadline after deadline. And I never wanted that. Writing is something I enjoy doing and I didn't want the life sucked out of my pleasure.

So I got to thinking about when book three had to be done and to the copy editor, when book four had to be done, book five... and oh my goodness can I even sustain that kind of cycle? Can I make deadlines? Can I complete books in a timely fashion? Because successful at money making from being an author requires a certain regularity of new product.

And I started freaking out! Writing a lot of coherent words in a shortish amount of time has never been a strong point of mine. Of course, it's never had to be.

One of the PROs of being an indie author, however, is that I get to decide those deadlines. It's a CON too, I know. But nothing tragic is going to happen if I miss a deadline. If I publish a book a month alter than I intended.

Can I up my productivity? I think I can, and I think I already have. Can I up it more? Possibly. Do I want to? I'm not sure. I still have a life and things outside of writing that I want to enjoy, and this journey is meant to be fun and with as few pressures to it as possible.

The writing of books one and two have given me a bit of a barometer as to how long it takes me to write, but that's hindsight and faulty memory. When it comes time to write book three, I'll pay more attention to milestones and try to get a better handle on timelines. I want to track how long it takes. Gauge how many books I might be able to get out into the world a year....

Another adventure within an adventure begins.