Friday, June 30, 2017

Do you listen to the radio?

I don't very often and I've been reminded why-- And it's not the commercials!

Since we bought the new car and I have Bluetooth capability and can easily and automatically listen to my random playlists, I generally don't listen to the radio. I mean, why would I?

But I cleaned up my phone and was having difficulty getting my music on my phone via iTunes, so I left the issue for another day and selected the oldies station for my ride to work the other day.

And then I remembered why listening to the radio at least during the standard commute times is so frustrating...

Because there isn't that much music being played. There are morning shows and traffic reports and, of course, commercials.

I don't need traffic reports because I live ten minutes from the house and take back roads all the way.

The morning shows are filled with ridiculous prattle about TV shows I don't watch and inane chatter about things I don't care about.

Commercials...well, we all probably all feel similarly about them. 

Only the classical station really plays music all the time, with breaks for weather and traffic, of course, but it's not overwhelming, and I do like classical music.

Do you listen to the radio? What's your genre/station type of preference?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It's not a race, it's not a race, it's not a race...and yet it is.

Wait. What?

Getting published is not a race. There's plenty of room out there for books. There are plenty of readers out there who will enjoy my books. I'm not competing against anyone here.

My journey is not a race. I get to decide "where" I want to go, what I "see" on the way, and what "route" I take to get there.

Over the last ten years or so--since I've been a member of Romance Writers of America--I've heard and read and listened to most of what the organization and its members have shared about writing and publishing in the romance genre. Granted, most of it has probably been more osmosis than anything, but if you hear something enough times, it sticks even if you're not an active listener.

As the years have passed and I sort of drifted (okay, not drifted--I served my chapter every year but one) along in my local chapter, learning and watching as my fellow chapter mates followed their own paths and published one by one, some to big six publishers, some becoming indie authors...

There are few people in my chapter not published, and those that aren't have been part of the group for a much shorter period of time. At this point, I think there are only two people who've been a member longer than I. My journey, my timetable. But I digress.

...I gleaned from fellow authors' trials and tribulations, as well as their successes, what kind of journey I wanted to take. I've kept my expectations realistic.

I get to decide when and how this journey begins and mostly the path I take, but once I start the car and pull out of the driveway, what then? Then outside forces get a say in my journey. Weather, traffic, road construction...

In publishing, I've learned that momentum is everything. This is where the journey becomes a race. (to a degree.) A race against time and outside forces. I have a schedule now for getting the books published in terms of length of time between releases, but I have to make sure all the books in the series are written or can be written/edited/finalized by the time it's any given book's turn to be published.

And then I have to be ready with the second series at whatever interval I decide is appropriate and do-able. Sustainability is the key.

But the thing is...I haven't held down a full time job in a decade aside from wife and mother. I know that the writing muscle becomes leaner and stronger and more powerful as it's used, just like the muscles of our bodies. Writing is going to have to become at least a part time job at some point. More structured, more focused, more deliberate. Writing can no longer be done just when I feel like it and am in the mood.

One of the reasons I haven't started my publishing journey is because I got stuck, somewhere, somehow, on book six--think of me on a large roundabout, to continue the driving metaphor, going around in circles and not knowing where I am or what the correct exit is. I'm working on the book again now, trying to string ideas for scenes together that tell the story I had envisioned, but I lost a month and it was important to me that book six be as complete as possible before I started publishing.

I'd prefer if book seven was at least started as well, and I think it will be, because I've got characters and plot pretty well hashed out. Book eight has characters with backstory and the basis of a plot. Book nine (last one) is a shimmery notion, but that's okay. My brain can only process so much data. Or the gas tank can only hold a max amount of gas at one time and must be refilled periodically. (Am I maintaining my travel/journey metaphor still? Or have I run off the road???)

Once I finish this series, how much time do I need for the next one...? I have the series premise. I know how many characters/books there will be. I know the basics of a couple of plot lines.

So it's become a race to do this in a timely fashion to get the best start and the proper momentum to keep the income stream primed and flowing for months and years to come.

 I guess I need to keep training.

Have a great rest of the week.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Advice from a tree...

Saw this on Facebook and thought I'd share here... I think I only have one or two cross-overs. :0)

Here's to a great week.

Friday, June 23, 2017

And next season's hockey schedules are out!!

I've been waiting and waiting for the NHL to release the game schedules for the upcoming season and they're finally available!

The reason I am so excited to see the schedule is because I'm going to Denver in October and I wanted to catch a hockey game while I'm there and now I know I can.

If the conference had been a week earlier or I wanted the expense of staying two more days, I could have seen the Stars. I admit I was hoping for those "stars" to align, but it's not like I'm not going to have plenty of chances to see the Stars play this season.

The match-up will be the Colorado Avalanche (obviously) versus the St. Louis Blues.

Now to find some people to go with. My roomie's not interested in hockey, so to find some fellow conference attendees who are. *fingers crossed*

Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why the heck does it take so long for a package to arrive...?

On June 2, I ordered yet another Pittsburgh Penguins t-shirt. I received an email on June 10th that it had been shipped with an estimated arrival date of June 13th. I originally thought the 12th, but I might have mis-read the email hoping for a gift actually on my birthday. :0)

I finally received my t-shirt on Monday June 19th--seventeen days after I ordered it, six days after it was originally supposed to have arrived.

(I just got the shirt, not the mug.)


No reason that I can understand except I realize it's a low priority package. I get that. Had they charged me TWO more measly dollars, they could have put it in a priority mail envelope at a US post office and I could have gotten it in about three days. How happy of a camper would I have been???

Instead, the company I bought the t-shirt from is using some sort of combination of shipping--USPS and DHL--I imagine to get much cheaper rates. I've experienced that before on something else I bought, but packages then take a meandering route to where they're supposed to go.

If they'd correctly identified the day of delivery, I wouldn't be quite as upset, but when my package sits twenty miles down the road for three days for no apparent reason, I have a problem. It's seriously ridiculous that a package coming from Denver took nine days to be delivered.

I get making a profit on the item, but charge appropriate shipping and get a product into the hands of the consumer even if all the shipping funds are used up. I doubt I will ever order something from this company again.

Has anyone had similar frustrations?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Christmas in June...

My BIL & SIL gave me a really neat waterfall aquarium for Christmas last year... It's taken me a while to get it setup, but I finally did. No fish as of yet, but the bowl is setup and the filter is running. I'm gonna let it run for the week, let the water adjust to the house temperature, and probably get my new fishies next weekend.

Here's to a lovely week.

Friday, June 16, 2017


Yeah...I wanted to post something interesting and thoughtful, but it just wasn't happening, so have some eye candy...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


The Pittsburgh Penguins won back to back Stanley Cups. The Stanley Cup is probably the hardest trophy in sports to win. Doing it two years in a row is feat that hasn't happened in nineteen years for various reasons, but mostly because hockey is a very fast and very physical sport. Hockey hits are generally speaking, 17% harder than football hits. As a result of being hit, a player may end up in the boards (the sides of the rink) or hitting the ice. Whether that's factored into that "17% harder"I don't know, but regardless... And I digress.

This year the Penguins overcame injury after injury of player after player, bringing in guys from the lower leagues to fill in. They brought in rookies who showed up and played big games.

This morning I watched the Penguins parade through downtown Pittsburgh, and what an event!!

Can they go for three in a row? Why can't they? But we'll see, won't we?

Some screen grabs of the parade, because why not? I can!

The owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins--without these guys there would be no Penguins.
Ronald Burkle on the left, Mario Lemieux on the right.
Mario won back to back Cups for the Pens in '91 & '92
(before he was an owner).

Marc-Andre Fleury (left) and Matt Murray (right)--the goal-tending duo of the decade.
Fleury was drafted by the Pens back in 2003. Murray was also drafted by the Pens in 2012.

Some of then Pens on stage at the end of the presentation after the parade. Holding the Cup is the best forward duo in the NHL, #87 Sidney Crosby, considered by most to be the greatest player in the world, and #71 Evgeni Malkin.

I hope that someday soon, the Dallas Stars will win the Cup. I look forward to celebrating a little more up close at that point and in person and attending their parade. *fingers crossed*

And if the Stars don't make it next year, I'll be rooting for the Penguins for sure.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Happy Birthday to ME!!

What would I like for my birthday...?

Well, a visit with my son would top the list, but that's not feasible at the moment.

To be a successful self-supporting author. I'll do what I can do...learn my craft, learn my business, and put decent books out into the world. The rest is up to fate.

And maybe a nice dinner out with DH and DD. I think that, at least, can be arranged. :0)

One thing I did get...the Pittsburgh Penguins winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. What a treat to watch and learn about about this team this past couple of months.

Have a great week!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Anyone else watching Chicago Fire?

DH and I decided to give it a try. We're only a couple of episodes in, but so far, so good.

There's an interesting cast of characters, and few things are more compelling than real life heroes.

Anyone else watching? You like? Don't like?

Have a great weekend...!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A time for my first REAL vacation!!!

Royal Caribbean ship Liberty of the Seas 
(By Stephen & Katherine - Flickr: DSCF1152, CC BY 2.0

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas to me!! So, yeah...I'm going on my very first cruise with all of DH's family on a 7-day cruise to the Western Caribbean. Wow! Even DD has been on cruise. Sonshine's on a cruise on steroids right now. Not sure about my Brown-Eyed Girl.

Nope, I've never been on a cruise. I'm definitely excited, but I'm also a little nervous to be away from home for that long. House, dog, business... I know it'll be fine, but still.

Have you ever been on a cruise? Any suggestions, tips, advice?

Monday, June 5, 2017

To publish this year or not to publish this year....?

Benedict Cumberbatch doing the To be or not to be speech...

That's the big question...

I've been told that October/November/December is a good time to publish, but I'm no closer to a final decision at this point. I want to publish. I do. That lure of an income stream no matter how small is pretty strong, but I also know that if I can't stick with the schedule, I'll lose momentum, and it'd just be better if I can avoid that.

My options at this point are next June to coincide with and/or start off my 50th birthday/50th year with a bang, January of 2018, or Oct/Nov/Dec of this year if I can get my act together on the last three books.

The problem is Book Six is still a big muddled mess in my brain. But I am getting help with that, so fingers crossed. Also, I plotted out one of the remaining books--which may get bumped up to "six" status, depending on how it goes--so that's encouraging. I worked on one of the other books as well, but didn't make quite as much progress. Which is fine. I just gotta keep plugging away.

The other thing that was niggling at me was lack of ideas that really excite me for the next series. I have a few written down, but I've felt kind of meh about them. And then one came to me and I was instantly stoked about it and several ideas sparked right away. So that's the one. :0) The plan is another nine books. And, unlike my current series, it's gonna have some advance planning--way advance, since it won't start until the first series is complete. It'll take approximately seven months to publish a nine-book series on the schedule I've outlined, so yeah...

That gets me into 2019. I guess I don't have to worry about the next series for awhile.

Any words of advice?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Momma

Hope you have a super day!!!

In other news, saying so long...

Sonshine's ship left on deployment yesterday. He won't be just a plane-ride away for the next six to nine months.

So long, Sonshine--fair winds and following seas to you and the entire strike group.

(Ships of the Nimitz carrier strike group steam together during training in March, 2017.
Photo: US Navy)