Saturday, December 31, 2011

The final page

Happy New Year!

The calendar turns it's final page on 2011 and a whole new year is laid out ahead of us all. What will 2012 bring? The mystery and the wonder waits for us all just like writing a book. What will each turn of the page bring? We can only go along for the ride to discover it.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, may 2012 bring with it good fortune and a bright future!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Around the corner...2012

With a whole new year stretching out ahead of everyone, it seems like this is the perfect time to start setting new goals, make a to-do list and plot out the next twelve months. As a writer, I know how well things go when you start plotting -- at least for me. My characters never stay within my plots. They often show me much better ideas as the story unfolds. Therefore, I don't know that goal setting, list making or outlining would be wise as I head into 2012.

If I my life was a story, I'd just write things down as they happen and find out all the surprises along the way. I know that at the start of 2011, I had no clue that by the end of the year my book would be out there to share. So, I don't know what 2012 will bring. It's exciting and scary facing the unknown.

Of course, I'm not just throwing caution to the wind and hoping and praying or anything like that. I do have plans for 2012. Book two of my The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir series is in the works. I'm hoping to have it ready for readers sometime in the spring of 2012. Writing will be a focus, but just like as I write, I don't know all the twists and turns waiting for me.

One thing I am looking forward to -- the Twilight Zone New Year's Marathon! I'm so glad Syfy does this every year. I can't get enough of TZ. I watch it every year, catching old favorites and I swear finding out new episodes as well. You'd think that would be impossible, but it's not. There is always an episode that is not familiar to me. It makes watching even more exciting. There is nothing quite like the old classics.

My goals for 2012 will remain simple for now:
Keep writing -- never know what will happen in the lives of my characters.
Watch the Twilight Zone -- the classics are a classic for a reason.
Keep reading -- what better way to expand your horizons, but by exploring other worlds.
Be happy -- it's a whole new year and the possibilities are endless!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Christmas Gift

Here it is Christmas again. Each year it seems to get here quicker and quicker. When I was a kid, it seemed to take forever. Now it seems we just finish one and here comes another. With all the effort and time it takes, you'd think it would be the opposite. As a kid, we can handle Christmas after Christmas coming so soon; while as an adult, I'm halfway through the day and ready for a nap.

I'd like to take the time to say that this Christmas stands out as an extra happy one as my gift, beyond family and friends, is that I accomplished my long-time goal of becoming a published author. Self-published counts, The Path of Light, is out there for others to read. It's not been out to long, only since the end of October but so far the response as been great. My family has been supportive, my friends passed the word along and according to the number of sales so far -- even strangers are finding my book and reading it.

This year has been a wild roller coaster of a ride. I don't know what 2012 has in store, but I'm looking forward to heading into it with more stories to tell, new stories to discover and old favorites to cherish.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Twitter Adventures

I've probably been spending way more time on Twitter lately than I should, but when you are meeting a lot of fun people and having enjoyable conversations it is hard to stop. It's doubly addicting because when anyone asks, I get to say I'm on Twitter "working." I get one of those, "yeah, right" looks, but I can say that I am. I'm networking, I'm letting people get to know me and see that I'm a writer so they'll be interested in what I write.

The other day, I had a great exchange with a couple of new friends from Twitter, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, but they know who they are! The whole conversation started over some chips & salsa.

You might wonder how can a whole conversation start with chips & salsa, but it's quite easy really. It was that hungry time of the day after lunch, before dinner and Twitter was full of people sharing what they were going to be eating. I suggested that someone share the Mexican food they were planning and was offered chips & salsa. I fell for the ruse and the conversation was off and running.

From sharing chips & salsa, or rather attempting to keep the chips & salsa from one another, the three of us stumbled upon some fun Twitter rules to writing I thought I'd share.

First, do not eat a big meal and then try to write action scenes in your work. When you're all stuffed and happy, imagine running, chasing or sword fighting just seems like too much effort.

That leads to the second rule, wait at least one hour after eating to write action scenes. It's very similar to the waiting to swim after you eat rule, and therefore seemed to make good sense while we were exchanging tweets.

The third rule I learned was that if someone offers you chips & salsa -- it's a ruse! They will then go off and eat enchiladas, tacos, burritos and rice and beans leaving you distracted with the chips & salsa.

Rule four was that writing chips & salsa into a sword fight can lead to some interesting descriptions such as: Lunging forward with a chip, she dipped into the salsa spinning away to crunch the chip while blocking her opponent's advance to the salsa.

A final rule, or rule five, was that if you are going to steal all the chips & salsa be sure to clean up all the crumbs from your keyboard or someone will send a security cat over to investigate.

Okay, so the true rule I learned from all this was very simple, Do not tweet when you're hungry.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Write and learn

It's been a whirlwind of fun and excitement since releasing my book, The Path of Light. I didn't think past the getting it written part to how am I going to share it part. The promotion part of actually writing a book has been a surprise.

I'd avoided social media, because well, I'm not always so social. I like to curl up with a book or sit down and scribble out a story that's running through my mind. As social as I used to get was watching a baseball game or a basketball game and yelling at the TV screen.

The need to get the word about my book led me to learning the social media ropes, and I've been thrilled to meet so many other writers, people that love to read as much as I do, and even people that are as sports crazy as I am. All win/win for me these days.

Another surprise I've discovered since putting those finishing touches to my book, is all the feedback. It's becoming a nearly daily occurrence for my mom to offer me suggestions of what I should put into book two. She's never been much of a fantasy fan, but she did read my book and now she's got all these ideas. I said why doesn't she write her own book with all her ideas, she responds that her book wouldn't make sense. Well, with all the suggestions she's had I can understand why.

First she thought a talking animal would be just the thing. How about a talking fox, a skunk, a hawk, a ferret, a badger, or a rabbit? I said no, no, no and well, no. If a talking animal wasn't going to make the list, she had a new idea. How about a magic box that talks? Um, no. A magic hat? A magic sword? Each time I see her she's got a new suggestion.

I can only imagine the type of story all these magic and talking items would be. Uh oh! That's how it all starts, now I'm thinking. What would happen if a talking ferret with a magic sword met a hawk who found a magic box?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twitter confession

Alright, I will admit it.
I'm hooked on Twitter. I didn't think it would be all that interesting. I mean what can you say in 140 characters that would keep me hanging on the edge of my seat? Well as it turns out, tons! It is shocking how much information can be packed into 140 characters. Even more shocking, how entertained I am by those little nuggets of information.

To be honest, I'd scoffed at Twitter since the beginning. I'd avoided it. I didn't bother to ever even go to the website to check it out. When I saw Twitter feeds on other sites, I turned up my nose. I snubbed it. I didn't need it. I wouldn't ever have a use for it. What could you possibly be doing that you'd need to "tweet" to the masses?

Now, I have to take it all back. There are some very cool things happening in those little "tweets." I recently got into social media to help promote my book, but since I joined Twitter I've found myself losing track of time tweeting, retweeting, following and don't even get me started on the hashtags. It is addictive. I hate to click away, what will I miss while I'm gone?

I now understand what all the excitement was all about. I now know what drives people to see what is trending. It's a rush. It's a challenge. It's a treasure hunt. It's just good fun. I never thought I'd ever be a Twitter critter. Oh no, 28 new tweets since I've been writing this blog post. I'm missing everything!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keeping focused

Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in writing, you can forget what it is you are trying to accomplish. I just want to share my story, and yet at times I get so hung up on every little word, I lose my focus on the story. I have to remind myself its only a first draft, I can find better word choices later. The important thing is to get the story on the page.

It's such a joy when the story does flow. I'm so happy that my word total continues to climb, even if they aren't always just the right words yet. I'm even more nervous working on this second book than I was the first. With the first book, I never even knew if anyone else besides me would ever get to read it. Now, with the first book out there being read, hopefully being enjoyed, there's all that pressure to keep the story moving. I feel like a rookie that just had a great year and now faces the possibility of the dreaded sophomore slump.

So, to renew my confidence, I go socialize on the social media for a while. Letting the story rest and seeing how my fellow authors are getting along. Falling into a great discussion on Facebook helped to take my mind off my writing worries. Of course, any conversation that brings up chocolate is sure to be a hit, but from someone's first bad review to chocolate and then sparkly vampires it was a wild ride.

The end results, I'm ready to dive back into my own writing. Coming back with a fresh perspective and knowing that just because more people might be reading my story. It's still my characters telling it to me. I'm just writing it all down for them. Their story deserves to be finished and I'm just glad I get to share in the experience.

Writing is always fun. I learn something new nearly ever time I delve into the tale. I never know where it will take my day, but I know that the journey will be fun no matter what the obstacles that I have to overcome along the way.

Friday, December 9, 2011

And the writing goes on

Trying to get more focused on writing book two has been a challenge and yet refreshing. After the influx of new plot ideas from the zombie thinking, writing has been going well. The characters are falling into line and I'm excited to see where each chapter goes next.

I was really worried about balancing writing time with marketing time, but so far things are settling into a happy balance. I still find myself with great ideas that I want to write about in the middle of doing other things, but I'm used to sitting down at the computer with ideas scribbled onto random pieces of paper that I have to weave into a story. Thankfully, I'm used to my odd writing style and it doesn't slow me down. I only run into issues when trying to decipher my hurried writings at times.

Besides the writing, venturing into the world of social networking has been a whole new experience. I avoided it before, but since getting involved in so many terrific groups and communities, I've learned so much. The support of other authors and suggestions of readers makes the writing experience even better. I'm looking forward to meeting more writers and new readers. There is a big, old world out there to explore.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Zombies are everywhere!

Watching TV recently with my family, a commercial came on and my mom turns to me and says, "You should write a story about a zombie. They're popular right now." I sort of rolled my eyes and said, "Yeah, right." But she was right in a way. Zombies are pretty popular right now. Sure, no one is inviting them over for the holidays, but looking over the TV shows, movies and especially writing, zombies do seem to be a popular topic.

Needless to day, I wondered if using zombies might help increase book sales. I wasn't going to use a zombie to promote my book or anything, but I did start thinking of how I might work in a little zombie-like activity into my second book. Surprisingly, the idea of a zombie-type character can work even in my fantasy work. The beauty of creating your own world, you can tweak things to make sense even if they didn't start out that way.

The best part of it all was while brainstorming over how zombies might be worked into the plot, I made major headway in plotting out book two. I love how inspiration can strike from the oddest places. Rest assured, there is no zombie apocalypse in the future of The Vlandamyuir Chronicles, but thanks to crazy plotting I have a couple new story lines worked into book two. Who knew that zombie inspiration could be so helpful?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Legend: A short story

I'm so glad to have my first short story finished. Keeping things simple and short have always been my greatest challenge. This story was something I'd played with years ago and stuffed into one of my many notebooks full of story ideas.

Getting it out and dusting it off was fun, and I'm excited to be able to share more of my writing. With that project finished, I'm back on writing book two for The Chronicles of Vlandamyuir. I know where things are going for about half the book. Now I just have to see where the rest of the story takes me from there.

I hope everyone can check out Legend. It's available here: