Thursday, December 27, 2012

Send Out the Old and Bring In the New

Well, it's almost 2013, wow, where does the time go? You know when your parents told you that as you get older time goes faster, they were right. But as time marches on, we can look back to remember, and now turn our attention to hopes for the future. 

2012 was an unforgettable year for me. I lost my father in April and it has been tough to think back without tears. I am looking forward to getting past that and remembering the funny, loving, and intelligent man he was. He was my best friend as well as my father and it was painful to watch Dementia wither him away to a shell almost. What a terrible disease. I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy. I know he would want us to be happy and loved, so I will try to remember the good times and the laughter in this new year.

But, there were some good things that happened this year. My sister and I have become closer than ever in our lives. It has been so nice having her around and working on the book together. We did manage to accomplish our goal of finishing the book and getting it to the editor by the end of the year. It was a major feat, but well worth it. Now, on to the novella and the second book in the series.


Another good thing this year, my daughter Brandie, and Jon, got engaged and are now planning the wedding and a future together. We love Jon and are happy to have him join our family. He is just as nuts as us so he fits right in. He didn't join us for Christmas eve this year, but his parents, Debbie and Barry did, and we had a great time. Jon's family are wonderful people and are welcome in our crazy family any time. 

My son Travis kept the same job all year, and that is a great success for him! He had been laid off for a long time and was sinking, but now he can move forward and reach for the life he wants to create. 

So, for the most part it was a good year. It is definitely one for the history books in our family. There is good and bad in each year, but I try to remember the good, and learn from the bad.

Now, on to 2013. My wish is that it will be a prosperous year for us and our family. We have a lot to look forward to. Two engagements and weddings, (my niece Sonia and Paul got engaged on Solstice night) another book published, my grand son getting his tonsils out and fixing his hernia that he was born with. Hopefully he will feel good after that. And, I wish everyone in my family and my friends a healthy and happy new year.

I guess my New Years resolution is to get my book launched in May or June. Get the novella ready to publish in late fall and to save money. It's been a long time since I was able to do that. Of course the usual, try to lose weight and quit smoking, but I am sure it will all happen as it should.

What is your New Year resolution? Leave me a comment and let me know. Also, if there was something that happened in 2012 that you would like to share, please tell us about it. I would love to know. I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous 2013! I appreciate your support in me and my first book, which is now my sister and I's first book, and I do hope you know that if you need support, I'm hear for you, just let me know.

Thanks again for all you do!

Love, Lisa


PS. My next blog post will be Jan. 3rd. Have a safe and fun New Year's eve!





Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lots Going On

Well, here it is Thursday, and we still have one more chapter to go through, and I am waiting for 5 chapters from Michael with edits. I am hoping to get this to the editor on Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed for me, my nerves are in my stomach. 

It seems like the closer this gets to sending it out, the more I'm uptight. I am trying to relax, but this is something I have worked towards for so long. It has  a hold of me. I am hoping my husband rubs my shoulders tonight, I need it!

There is a positive note though. I wrote a poem to put in the front of my book about the Djen. I thought I would put it here on the blog and get your take on it. It won't hurt my feelings if you don't like it. I would rather have the truth than embarrass myself by publishing it if it sucks. If you like it, let me know too. I haven't written a poem for about 30 years, so it might need work.

The Djen
The cool night air blowing
Leaves danced in its breeze
A backdrop of moonlight
Peeked through the trees

                    A glimpse of a sentry
A watcher prone
The hint of a beacon
A familiar glow

The ancient protector
A calm in the night
Blue beam of comfort
A trick of light

A blink of an eye
A trail of smoke
The glow dissipates
A prophecy unfolds...


Well there you have it. I hope you drop me a line and give me your take on it. In the mean time, I have to still get ready for Christmas. My house still needs cleaned, ( I did manage one room so far) and I have to shop for presents and go to the grocery store too. I might manage to be ready when 17 people show up to my house on Christmas eve, we'll see. 

I hope that everyone has a Happy holiday season and I pray that we have a prosperous new year. Take care everyone and don't forget to drop me a line!

Love, Lisa


Monday, December 17, 2012

More Rewrites

Well, it was a long weekend, filled with rewrites that put me back a few days. I have a good friend, Michael, who is an author, and has been kind enough to help with the editing of my book. That is, before it goes to the professional editor.

I send him chapters after they are critiqued by my critique partners and my sister and I, and he and I talk on the phone after he has thoroughly, and I do mean, thoroughly gone through them, and marked where I need to change it. He is a wonderful editor, I have to say. But, man, this time there were complete scene changes that I was not prepared for. Whew!

My sister and I managed to get them done though, but it has set us back a few days. No worries, we will get this done, come hell or high water, at the end of this week, and sent to my editor. 

Will this ever end, the edits I mean? I said I want it close to perfect though, and I meant it. It just means extra work for Toni and I, but at least it will be done correctly. 

I am very proud of the work Toni and I have done. And, I am very proud at how wonderful the book has become. I know that we aren't finished yet, but it's been all worth it.

I have been reading a self-published fiction novel for the last few days, and after seeing all the mistakes, after reading a book that tells more than it shows, and after seeing POV shifts and finding myself scanning through, instead of reading, I know I don't want my book to be like that. 

It is hard for me to understand why people self-publish and don't want their book to be correct and written as well as possible. In other words, get a professional editor. There are affordable one's out there, you just have to look. I found mine on LinkedIn. In fact, Michael, the guy I said is helping me edit, he found the same editor that I am using for his book. 

Take the time to get a professional editor. Even if you have to save money for it. You might get some people to buy your book in the beginning, but if you want them to give you a good review, or to tell their friends about your book, you have to have it right. Not to mention, I don't want to look back at my first book and feel embarrassed. It will hurt you in the long run and it gives those of us who self-publish a bad reputation. I have actually read on other blogs, people who refuse to buy books that aren't traditionally published because of the 'bad' writing. 

So, think about this. I know it takes longer to get your book out to the public, but it is worth the time and money.

Until Thursday, I hope all of you have a great week. Hopefully I will have the news on the next blog, that my book is going to the editor that day or the next!

Love, Lisa







Thursday, December 13, 2012

It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas Time

December usually is a fun month for me, my birthday, and Christmas, and of course, lots of family time. But, for some reason, this year doesn't feel that jolly, no pun intended.

Living in Colorado, it's usually a picturesque Christmas, but with hardly any snow, very few Christmas lights around my house, and the mountains hidden by clouds so you can't see the peaks, kind of does me in.

I have been trying to put my finger on it and this morning I figured out what it was that's troubling me...my grand kids are living too far away and Christmas just isn't Christmas without little giggles and the pitter patter of little feet.

I miss seeing them, and I hope to get to have them one day next week to bake my famous cookies, which by the way are on one of my author friends blog. Here's the link if you want to check them out.Christmas Cookies

Plus, we are tight on money this year, so the Christmas gifts will be nothing to write home about, if you know what I mean. 

I have decided to try to get myself out of this slump and think about what is good this holiday season. Yes, of course the obvious, a roof over my head and food in my belly, but other things that bring to light my holiday cheer.

There is one thing that I am very excited about, my book is on the last stretch of editing! We will be finished this weekend, YAY! Then it goes to my professional editor next week. I am so excited that it's almost ready to launch! I have been looking forward to this for 4 years and I can hardly believe  we have hit the mark!

This has been a long road, and it is so nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

There are other things that bring to light my holiday cheer. This Christmas eve will be celebrated at my house. And, we have some new family guests, Jon, my daughter's fiance' parents, will be joining us. I am looking forward to getting to know them better, and they have been great people to get to know. I am looking forward to having them over. 

So there. Two things I can look forward too. There is one more thing, watching my grand kids open their gifts. I have always loved to watch a child at Christmas time. There is nothing better to warm my heart and fill me with love and appreciation.

So, there you have it. When it doesn't feel like Christmas to you, stop and think of the wonderful things that are happening around you and give thanks to the Great Spirit for all you do have.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I will see you back here next Monday!

Love, Lisa






Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest-Shah Husain



Please welcome my new guest, Shah Husain, a writer of myth’s, legends, and fun stories from India, Africa, and other Ancient worlds. Her books are quite a few to list, but they are full of insight, intrigue, and information about a time in our history almost all but forgotten in this modern age. And, since my series touches on the Genie, or Djinni lore, I was fascinated about her work. I first became attracted to her books when I saw the one about the history of the Goddess—the oldest known religion to the human race. It is 25,000 years old. Right now, Shah is not promoting a new book, but instead is working on a new pilot series in the UK where she lives, one that I would love to know more about. I hope that all of you enjoy the interview and don’t forget to leave her questions and comments.
 
Thank you Shah for letting me interview you for my blog. I am looking forward to getting to know you better.
Tell us a little about yourself and back ground: Well, thank you very much for inviting me on to your site, Lisa.  I’m pleased to be here.  My first memories are of London, UK,  where my father was completing his studies to practice at the Bar.  Then we returned to Pakistan.  It was a very educated, literary household, so we breathed books, stories, writing and reading, along with the oxygen.  It was an idyllic childhood in many ways.  We were surrounded with gardens, greenery, hills and an amazing verve and vigour.  Pakistan was not even 10 years old when we returned to live there.  It was country full of hope – everyone had a purpose and a place and it was a brave new world, specially for women.  Who would have thought we’d look ahead 30 years to such catastrophe.  But as I grew up the sheer vitality and optimism of people around infected me.  My mother worked hard to rehabilitate refugees and her general attitude was, yes, some things are not so good YET, but we’ll fix’em.  That attitude didn’t really allow the self-doubt writers feel -   I’m afraid I’m going to repeat that writers’ cliché about writing since I learned to hold a pencil. I never doubted even at 5 that one day my scribbling would be in a story book. I started freelancing, interviewing and writing short stories for magazines when I was in my teens – wrote for children’s pages when I was much younger.  I did radio programmes from interviewing to weekly diaries– and then finally, started to write books.  My first book was published in the early 80s.  I write for children and for adults.  Fiction is my passion though I’ve written a fair amount of non-fiction too and I enjoy writing screenplays. 
I would love to know about your pilot series, what’s that about?:
These are two TV series: one’s an adapatation from ancient Indian myth and the other is a contemporary story centering on the paranormal.  A high profile director approached me for a collaboration about the first and as we worked on that I mentioned the second idea and she was very taken with that too, so she took my proposal to the network’s drama department and they went crazy for it. Both proposals are in the early stages of development.  We have a fantastic broadcaster backing them.  But these things take time and there’s many a slip in the world of film and TV – I’ve been around long enough to know these things can disappear into thin air at any stage.  I’m still confident about these, though. So far everything seems to be progressing well. There are actually signatures on dotted lines and all submissions have been approved to date.
Your writing takes us into a time long since passed, what has been your motivation?:
Indeed.  Many of my books are set in the land of never-never and magical, mythical worlds that still survive in our unconscious minds.  I grew up in Pakistan and India listening to stories.  As children we were rarely told off or given instructions without a story to demonstrate the point.  Some of my mother’s relatives in India lived in a deliberately un-modernised way in places where TV did not penetrate until the 1970s.  This meant my siblings and cousins and I spent a lot of time amusing ourselves in inventive ways.  One of my favourite pastimes was exploring wooded areas, orchards, gardens and scrub and fantasizing about magical worlds within them.  One of my favourite pastimes was to listen to stories wherever I could find them.  Ghosts, jinns, witches, fairies and demonic beings.  I read the stories too, of course, voraciously: all the tomes of European, English and American fairytales I could find as well as Russian, Chinese and Japanese and Middle Eastern ones.  I found out many things that influenced my later writing choices.  Firstly, I realized I liked listening to stories even more than reading them. Secondly, that most myths and fairytales and legends fall into certain patterns and contain similar motifs and themes no matter where in the world they come from.  So I chose to retell fairytales in a colloquial manner and all my story collections for adults (Virago Press) tend to be around a single theme – eg. Witches.  Traditional tales demonstrate a universal tendency, a oneness about humanity, which greatly appeals to me and which is very unifying.  According to Jung, these stories come from an unconscious reservoir of story and we all share it.  That was why I was thrilled when my recent children’s book about a popular character Mulla Nasruddin was selected as one of only 9 recommended reads by Chautauquan Institution for its Young Readers Programme.  (link to interview in Chautauquan Daily
 …. interview
Do you have any ideas for a new book in your future?:
I am always exploding with ideas, Lisa.  It sounds ungrateful but I kind of wish they’d pause a while and allow me to write what’s already churning around in my head.  I’ve got a novel coming out next year, set against sectarian violence in India and am two-thirds of the way through a modern reinterpretation of an ancient Indian myth. It looks at Multiple Personality Syndrome.  I’m really enjoying it.
I am writing a fantasy fiction series and based my world on the Djinn. Not the Djinn in a bottle, but a race of beings in another dimension. I named the world Djenrye and the people are the Djen, (different spelling) but I wanted them to be a people, not a typical trickster with wishes. What kind of lore can you tell us about the Djinn?:
You’re on to something there, Lisa.  In Middle Eastern tradition Jinns there are races of Jinns distributed into tribes much like humans, with their own motivations and activities. Interestingly, I’ve been thinking about Jinns recently in connection with an episode for my TV project but I have been fascinated with them since I can remember.  I grew up in a world where people freely believe in Jinns and speak as casually about them as people in the west may speak about astrology or psychics.  They take them for granted and take appropriate precautions as a matter of course. When I visit Bangladesh people regularly refer to some precious object being found through the aid of a ‘controller’ of Jinns, in India they speak of Jinns inhabiting mosques and wild places.  In Pakistan, too.  Apparently they love sweet-meats, shift shape and sometimes live in mosques or in trees, love flowers fall in love with human women, specially those with long hair and beautiful voices.  When they do, they become very possessive and prevent them marrying or having romantic relationships even if this means making them mentally or physically ill.  They can be cast out, of course – but it’s hard because they are apparently religious beings and so prayer is not an antidote.  Of course the Arabian Nights stories – the real ones, not the sanitized western versions for kids – reveal much of this lore.  I had a great uncle who spoke of seeing them in the late 19th/early 20th century when he travelled far and wide in India as a District superintendent.  There are loads of tales about them transforming into snakes - in oral tales and the Nights, so in a country like India at that time, where there were lots of snakes, there was always the worry that one of them might be a Jinn!!  The Quran describes them as beings of ‘smokeless fire’. It tells of many races of Jinns, good and bad, and names some of their significant leaders.  They are not immortal but they seem to be somewhat invincible.  I remember fairytales in which they would hide their heart inside a bee, inside a fruit, inside a parrot. 
I really look forward to reading your book, Lisa.  Best of luck with its progress.

Thank you so much for answering my questions. I would love to sit with you and talk about these stories. First I love history, and second, I love fables. If you would like, please leave us with your thoughts and anything you wish to promote about your pilot, or your books. Also, don’t forget to leave your links so everyone can check out your work. Thanks again Shah, you’ve been wonderful and I appreciate you and your books!

You can find Shah's works on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble sites, or go to her website-http://www.Shahrukhhusain.com You can also reach her on FB and Twitter.

Thanks for joining in my wonderful blog followers and leave Shah a comment or question. she will be checking in periodically to answer. Until Thursday, have a great week!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Writing Woes

Good Thursday to everyone. I hope all of you have a great weekend. We are finally expecting snow, which is a good thing. If we don't get a lot more, we will have a water shortage come spring. I am looking forward to colder temperatures and seeing snow on the ground. Some how, it doesn't seem right to only have the sun up from 7 in the morning until 5, well kind of 5 in the evening, and not having a winter...weird.

But enough about our weather woes, I wanted to touch on a few writers I know and their writing woes, or should I say challenges. 

Two friends of mine have asked me for help in writing their books. Not that I have all the answers, so good thing they are only logistic type problems. Although, I do not mind helping, it is a frustrating toll. Not for me so much, but for them. I do feel bad when I have to reiterate, but I guess that's what happens when you're learning. 

One of my friends had issues with grammar and punctuation mainly, the other, scene setting. Both have issues with description. One wants to give to much, the other, not enough.

Luckily I was blessed with a wonderful writing coach, Janet Roots. She taught me a lot and I tend to retain well. But, not before over 2 yrs of classes and a private writing coach and a lot of trial and error. Oh, and of course. quite a few critique partners.

People don't realize how tough writing a novel can be. Not to mention, time consuming. It's almost been 4 yrs since I began my writing endeavor, and even though I am so glad I experienced it, it doesn't make it any easier. There are no short cuts to writing a good book, no matter how hard one tries. 

One of the hardest things I have had to experience though, besides patience, is teaching what I have learned. The funny thing is, both of these writers are writing in 'first' person, and I have never written that way. Another weird experience. But, since one of my critique partners writes in that, I have learned a lot about it. My critique partner, Robin, is also helping me with one of these writers, but I'm on my own with the other. So far so good.


I think I have figured it out. Not to say I would change to first person, I prefer third myself. I hope that I am helping these two talented gals, and I hope that I don't screw up their books! They are both good stories, from what I have seen, and have a lot of potential. 

So bear with me ladies, I hope that I don't steer you wrong. I know I can be a tough critique, but it should pay off in the long run.

Back to the weekend. I am turning older this one, on Saturday. Not really sure how I feel about birthday's any more, but it sure beats the alternative, right! 

See you on Monday with my guest Shah Husain. I'm looking forward to it!


Love, Lisa








Monday, December 3, 2012

Working on Writing

I can finally see the light at the end of the very long tunnel. We are on chapter 23, only about 12 more to go. I'm very excited! 

I also sent five pages to my professional editor last week and she loved it and wanted to read more! I am stoked! It really feels good when someone who doesn't even know me likes my book, they aren't saying it because the love you, like your mother or daughter...well you get my drift. So, things are moving along. 


The outline is almost finished, which is a good thing, and I am going to rewrite in a few places where it needs some ramping up. Other than that, I am thinking the book might be ready on time to get it edited for free. Yes, you heard right, free. The editor that will be working on my novel offered free services as long as she receives it by the end of the year. After that, she charges. But, she is really reasonable. Only 500.00 for the entire manuscript, and that includes grammar, punctuation, and scene setting along with pace. 

I think that's a pretty good deal. I have been quoted as much as 2500.00, which I think is ridiculous! No wonder so many self-published authors don't pay to get professionally edited before launching. I did, however, find quite a few reasonable editors through LinkedIn. Just food for thought for those of my writing followers. I think if you do your homework and really want your book to be the best, you can find deals.

Back to the writing. I have decided to go ahead and start rewriting my short story (novella) that will come out the fall of next year. I need to actually write. It's been a long time. I am looking forward to it. I am weening myself from Facebook for now and working on my stories. It's also good to know how many writers are feeling the same as I when it comes to social media and marketing. It sucks you in and the next thing you know you are not doing any writing. I do appreciate the people who have joined my blog though and leave comments, it means the world to me. We writers are like all other artistic people, we have low self-esteem issues and need support. But, you guys are great!

I will be having a wonderful guest next Monday. Her name is Shah Husain and she writes about ancient beliefs and stories from the old worlds. She lives in British Columbia and I look really forward to having her as a guest. I also will be having Michael Hicks, although no date is set yet. He writes sci-fi and I have read two of his books and plan to read more. I have to know how the stories turn out. I will let you know when he will be on here. Again, I hope that all of you make them feel welcome and drop them a line. I'm sure it will make them feel good too!

Well, until Thursday, I hope all of you have a wonderful week. I will be writing and now my yoga and walking, (I gotta get in shape!) and of course, the daily home duties.

Love, Lisa

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Computer Issues

I finally can sit down and write out my new blog post. Of course, I had another subject in mind, but not until my computer had problems this morning.

This is not the first time. This has been going on the last few months and I have some good ideas as to what is causing it, now that my son cleaned it out and explained what happens.

First, when you down load, files can secretly join to whatever it is you put on your computer. Bad files, ones you don't want. One good thing, I didn't have a virus this time. Several downloads came to mind. Pinterest pictures might be part of it. Also, my almost new son-in-law downloaded a game for my grand daughter, and a friend of mine checked her email and downloaded a senior singles site...that one led to porn attached files! 

What a pain in the arse! After my son cleaned out all the bad files, he used mal-ware and another cleaner, then deleted all bad files that even attach to my Google Chrome. Then, the de-frag. Now, I've been going through my documents and downloads and cleaning it all out. It's taken most of my day!

Lesson learned, that's for sure. I guess the next step is saving everything I want on my computer to my external hard drive and wiping it all out, then reloading a clean slate, so to speak.

I hope it all works and I don't have to invest any time soon on a new computer. I have to have my computer to write.

Has this happened to you? What steps did you have to do to fix it? Did you get a new system? 

I am blessed that my son does this for a living, or I would have been screwed!

All's well that ends well! Have a great weekend everyone and don't forget to drop me a line and let me know your computer (nightmare) story!

Love, Lisa

Monday, November 26, 2012

Movies

I am a typical movie lover and prefer to see the good ones on the big screen. We went to the movies yesterday and I saw Lincoln. I think I had something more in mind and was a little let down, but it still was good. The acting was wonderful, and the writing excellent, but I am an action junkie.

Yes, you heard that right, I don't like chick flicks. I have watched chick flicks, but usually at home. To me, if I am going to spend that much money, I want to see action and special effects, not heartwarming. 

It drives my friend nuts. She always suggests going to the movies, and I always remind her that our tastes are different. I like movies with really good stories, and I am a tough critique, but give me something I can sink my teeth into. Such as, Starwars, Underworld, and Lord of the Rings. 

I have enjoyed the stories they came up with for the hero's when we were kids, like the Green Lantern, Thor, and Captain America. The story of Snow White and the Huntsman was good, but one of the actors kinda ruined it and some of the writing was dull. I did like Prometheus because they mixed the Ancient Alien theory with the story, and the action was cool. But again, some of the writing was not so good.

Sometimes, I feel at though the directors take shortcuts, and I will pick up on it quick. They shorten scenes that should be more intense. Not only with action, but also with the characters. I need to know the characters in the movies, just as if I were reading a book. And, I absolutely hate it when they set up a movie for a second one, and never come out with the second one. 

Are you a movie junkie? Do you ever feel like you were cheated after seeing a movie? 

Here lately, I have felt that way several times. Yes, Lincoln was good, but there were parts that I was bored. And, It's not because it was politics, because I do understand it, it was because it did not put you there. 

I do recommend the movie and give it 4 stars. If you respected Lincoln and what he did for our country, then it is a must see.

Until Thursday, have a great week and don't forget to drop me a line. If you have seen Lincoln, let me know what you thought.

Love, Lisa

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Yes, this is my favorite holiday. We get together with our families, eat really good homemade food, and you don't have to exchange gifts...What more could you ask for?!

I am very thankful this year, for so many things! First and foremost, my husband. What a wonderful and supportive man! He is absolutely the best!

Next, my novel. Wow, has it come along way, and I am so proud of the work my sister and I have done! I cannot wait to get it launched in the next few months and I really think you guys are going to love it, at least I hope and pray you will.

Then, of course, my beautiful children and grandchildren! I am so blessed to have them in my life. I have learned so much from them and appreciate the love and caring they give me.

Also, my wonderful mother, Carol, and sister, Tanya! I have been blessed with the best in that category too! Also, my brother-in-law, Scotte, my niece, Sonia, and her significant other, Paul. And I cannot forget my nephew, Jim, who is always teaching me that it is okay to be yourself. 

I love them all and hope that life is good to each and every one of them.  

But, I do have some great friends too! Linda, Jola, Robin, Janet, Jodi, Lizzie, and my friends I haven't seen in a long time, but I get to talk to on Facebook or emails. And, my family all across the country who mean the world to me and I pray they have a wonderful Thanksgiving and miss them all!

My prayers go out to our soldiers and their families who won't be together this year and that they are safe this holiday season. Also, to all the people out there who don't have family to spend this day with. My heart is with you and I pray to find joy on this day.


And, last, but not least, I am grateful for the early Christmas gift I received yesterday from my husband, a 50 inch flat screen TV! That was our combined present to each other and it has a kick ass picture! 

Life is good!


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! Don't forget to leave me a comment and tell me what you are thankful for.

Love, Lisa

Monday, November 19, 2012

Obstacles of a Writer

We all have our own way of setting up our space and our minds for writing. Whether it's listening to music as we write, or silence. Taking a walk, or running to clear our head. Or just putting words to paper and seeing what comes of it. The problem for me is, there have been too many obstacles that have changed my writing habits.

When I first began writing, I would start first thing in the morning. Usually I would end up writing at least 1000 words or more. Even after my first rough draft was finished, I would write in my second book to the series in between working on edits. I even devised an outline chart to keep track of the basic scenes to fall back on when needed. I preferred writing in silence, still do, and I would read out loud when no one was around. If I needed to clear my head, I would take walks, or read chapters to give me ideas for the next scene. 

Now. that's all changed. I am trying to find that place again, but there are too many distractions. My first obstacle was signing up to Facebook. Then my habit went from writing first thing in the morning to social media. As I began to get involved in it, I started my blog and joined Twitter and other sites and found I was spending way too much time in the morning traveling from one site to the other, completely distracted from writing. By the time I realized I hadn't written at all, it was time to get to other responsibilities, such as cleaning, shopping, spending time with the family, anything but writing.

The next thing was joining writing groups and critiques. Although we would talk about the writing, not much writing, (for me anyway) was getting done. I did, however, manage to write 10 chapters that originally was meant to add to my original book, but now has ended up becoming my novella about my main character's family. Not her family in this world, her family in Djenrye. So, that's a good thing.

And, the last distraction, my Graves disease, and what a distraction! I have a hard time remembering what I need to do through out the day, let alone write. 

Time for a change, or at least, go back to my writing habits. My graves symptoms are letting up some, and I do say some. I still have a hard time concentrating to a small degree, but I plan to get back to my love, writing in the morning! 

I am looking forward to spending time with my character Stevie and her friends. I miss coming up with new and fresh ideas for them and new conflicts. The novel is coming along so well. I am excited about how it has turned out. I am going back to finishing the novella and the second book, and can't wait to spend time alone writing the morning away!


What obstacles have you come across that prevent you from writing, or if your passion is something else, what has stopped you? I would love to hear your thoughts so drop me a line in the comment box and let me know. Until next time, I hope everyone has a great week!

Love, Lisa





Thursday, November 15, 2012

Do You Outline?

When I first began writing my book, my friend and fellow author, Lizzie, kept telling me to outline. I did try to do an outline, but my story was rather complicated and basically I was making it up as I went along. I would try to outline a chapter and by the time I finished writing one, it did not look like my outline at all, so I decided to go without. Now that we have rewritten the book, but it is still based on the same words from my rough draft, we have implemented an outline. Or, at least we are implementing one now.

As we moved along in the edits, we found that there were some inconsistencies along the way. I had recently read an article in my RWA magazine about a woman who wrote a series and the reader who caught her mistakes. I didn't want to be like her. Writing a series you can forget even the smallest details, and later be called on them. So, my sister and I devised a plan, one that seems to be working, and one that is giving me a chance to read the book along the way. I have to say, I am so proud of how the book is turning out!

Yes, this has been a long adventure, but one that is coming to fruition. My goal is, and has always been, to launch a series that when you read it, you cannot tell it was self-published. I want the writing tight and concise. I want the details to take you there, and I want to make sure that when I say a 'black car' that two books later the car is still black, not another color by accident. 

I don't know if this would help an author writing a series, but I would like to share with you our outline in the hope that it will give you ideas when you set up yours.

  • Set up a graph with the characters names, attributes  and personality traits along the top.
  • The side bar will be the chapter numbers. Under the numbers put things like the timeline, such as what day it is, and things like full moon ect...
  • Under each name write what is happening to them in that chapter. 
  • Split the chapter with each scene change and write again under the characters involved in that scene.
  • Make sure to have all characters involved, including a dog for instance.

That is pretty much it. As you create more characters, especially when you move to the next book, you can add them to the graph. When we are finished we will print it out and put it on the wall in front of us so we can see any issue we come up with.

This series has become a large undertaking, but well worth it. I have been reading the book as we implement the information onto the graph, and I have to say, the book sounds awesome! I think you will enjoy it too!

Until next week, I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. We do have a few guest lined up and I will be working on one of them this weekend. She is a wonderful writer and lives in the UK. I hope you welcome her as you have with my other guests. I have to say, my blog followers are the best!

Don't forget to drop me a comment or question, I love to hear from you!

Love, Lisa

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Get Together

An issue came up yesterday that has changed the way my family gets together on the holiday's. The one where your kid is married and has babies and you want them at your house, but they have another family now to share Thanksgiving with. Have you ran into this problem?

It's not fun to go through and I have had to learn to let go. Yes, I would love to have the Thanksgiving's I used to have, especially since it is my favorite holiday, but I do understand being pulled in different directions and not being able to please everyone. 

I do miss the days when we had a big house and everyone came for the holiday dinner. My husband and I love to get in the kitchen and cook together all day, and then the best part, everyone loves the delicious food! Then you laze around for a while and watch football until the homemade pie is served.

Those were the days! 

It is hard for both sides to get together too. I am a very picky eater, I don't mean to be, but I am. I don't think I could go to eat someone else's dinner. I have tried that in the past, but I miss my way of cooking. I know, I'm a pain, but it's true about me.

Let me know if you run into the problem and what you have had to do to fix it.  Maybe in a few years we will have a bigger house and can have everyone over like we used too. Until then, I am having a small dinner I guess.

Drop me a comment if you want, I would love to hear from you! See all of you Thursday!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Working The Election

For the first time in my adult life, I worked the election this year. My mother has been an election judge for years. What a process! I learned so much and although it was hard work, I had fun!

I didn't work in the poll places, instead I worked in the warehouse excepting the ballets as they came in. We scanned them and straightened them out for the counters. And to tell you the truth, I was amazed that people still waited until election day to vote, there was thousands of them!

But, I was glad to see that people voted and it seemed to me, a lot more voted this year than in the past. That's a good thing! 

For the life of me I cannot understand why someone wouldn't want to exercise their right to vote. People have died for that right! 

Anyway, back to the fun. I met some great people while hanging out in that warehouse. Ann, Marsha, Jimmy, David, Scott, and Mike. There were Republicans and Democrats working together and we were a great team! Altogether we had about 30 people working. I felt bad when I had to leave by 5:00 and couldn't continue to help, (I was told 5:00 and made plans) but we still worked 9 hrs, so it wasn't a total loss.

I also talked about my book and the two ladies want me to let them know when my book is launched! I'm always workin' it! 

I hope I get the chance to work the next election. I look forward to it. It's always great to meet new friends and work across the aisle! 

Until next week, I hope all of you have a great weekend! Drop me a comment if you get a chance.

Love, Lisa

Monday, November 5, 2012

Harder Than You Think

Writing a novel is much harder than expected, and I am sure most people don't realize the time and effort that goes into writing the best book you can, before putting it out to the public. Those of us who begin this endeavor for the first time think that we will be able to accomplish this within a year...right!

A recent conversation I had with my brother-in-law and sister was about this very subject and how deciding to write a fantasy series takes more time than you can possibly imagine. Our topic was the new book in the George R R Martin series, (The Game of Thrones) and how his last book took 5 years to come out and we hope that his next book doesn't take as long. Scotte (my sister's husband) made a very good point, George Martin wants the book to be consistent with the rest of his story and ring true with the world he has created, so therefore it takes extra time.

So true, especially since my sister and I have run into a few places where we weren't consistent and needed to go back over the 200 pages we just went over. Whew! It is a lot of work! 

Now, after half way through the edits, we are going back to square one. I know, I know, when will this book get published. But it shouldn't take to much extra time and I am sure the book will be out by springtime. It's a matter of making an outline and keeping track of the story. 

I tried to do an outline when I first wrote the book, but I was making it up as I went along and the outline never matched up to where the story was going. Now that the story has been re-written, the outline will come in handy. Not only with consistency,  but also staying within the character's personalities and descriptions, and all the new character's that will come into play in the rest of the series.

My sister is such a doll and volunteered to type up the 'chart' we are going to use for our outline. And, my husband is going to make us a huge board to tack it up in front of us so this never happens again.

It shouldn't take us but a week or so to be back to where we were in the edits, and I am sure it will make the book even better for our readers. So, therefore we all have to be patient, but I think in the end, this book is going to be very well put together. I believe you will enjoy it and want to continue reading the series.

Again, thanks to all my friends and family out there that have been supportive of me and my novels. I do think you'll find that it was worth the wait!


Until Thursday, have a great week and don't forget to vote! This is a very important election!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Long Few Weeks

The last few weeks have been tough. My graves disease has been over the top with symptoms this time and It's been hard to concentrate, even with writing. I miss feeling up to getting on the computer in the morning and visiting with friends and working on my book. I probably wouldn't be on here this morning, but I wanted to write my new blog post.

I don't know if any of you have experienced this kind of disease. Either, thyroid, fibromyalgia, lupus, you know the auto-immune types. It is not a fun thing to go through, but at least my symptoms are slowing down a bit and hopefully soon I will feel normal. 

I meet with the thyroid doctor next week and I have a ton of questions for him. I hope he's not in a hurry. I am really anxious at the thought of killing my thyroid with iodine. I don't like the thought of being on meds. for the rest of my life. Anyway, enough whining on my part. I look at the pictures of the east coast, namely Jersey and New York, and my problems don't seem that bad. 

I hope and pray that their lives get back to normal soon. What a nightmare for them! I am happy to see that Chris Christi and our President are working together to help everyone. It's nice to see that. It's been 4 yrs since republicans and democrats have worked together to take care of things. I hope it continues no matter who our next president is.

Well, enough rambling. I do have some guests coming on my blog soon and I look forward to getting to know them. Also, my book is coming along, even with shortening our work sessions because my concentration (or lack there of) or because of problems with my eyes. We are on chapter 16, moving right along.

I don't know if we will be finished before the end of the year, but it will be close. I am looking forward to the day I can announce it's launch! It has been almost 4 yrs since I began this project, but my writing coach said that's about normal. So, I am not going to worry about it.

I hope when it is launched that you all read it. And, I pray you like it! Well, time to close for now, hopefully next week my post will be a better one, but until then, have a great rest of the week and drop me a comment and let me know your muse for the day!


Love, Lisa

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Time Again

Wow, it's hard to believe Halloween is in two days, where does the time go? That also means it's almost November, and an important one this year. We will have a new, or the same, president in about 10 days. Anyway, enough of that, I can't wait until the election is over.

Back to Halloween, one of our families favorite holidays. I remember running around the neighborhood on Halloween, like it was yesterday. We would be out until 10:00 pm, not with a bag, but a pillow case full of candy. Those were fun times! I used to love it when people would say I had to do a trick before the treat and I would do a cartwheel or handstand for the candy. People would love the gymnastic stunts and I would usually 'bank'!

Ah...the good old days...now, I get to watch my grand-kids enjoy the exciting holiday with as much enthusiasm as I had. My grand-daughter, Madison, is a zombie ballerina this year, and my grand-son is curious George, but instead his shirt says, curious Carson. They are so precious and mean everything to me. I wish I had some pictures to show you of them in their costumes, but now a days everything is digital and my daughter's computer isn't up to par lately, so no pictures. She did put some on Facebook, but FB won't let you copy pictures from it, so I'm back to square one.

I remember a few years ago I got to go with the kids here in my neighborhood and we had a blast! That is one thing that's nice about living in Golden, Colorado, it's more like a small town and you don't have to worry so much about weirdos. We took the kids out for several hours and my son-in-law, (at the time) decided to take them up to the houses (practically mansions) up on the north mesa. The kids 'banked' like I did as a kid. The people were handing out normal sized chocolate bars and big amounts of candy. The kids were so excited! I think they still had candy left when Halloween came back around the next year!

I really enjoy seeing their excitement on Halloween and Christmas. I hope that Halloween never goes away so all generations can enjoy dressing up as monsters, or princesses and go out at night for a fun time of trick or treat. 

This year my daughter's ex has the kids so I miss out, but I am still happy that this tradition has not died and they will have the time of their life on Wednesday. 

Next month is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, and at least I get to share this one with the whole family. I am looking forward to it!


Until next time, I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween and I will be back here on my blog Thursday! 

Take care, Lisa

Monday, October 22, 2012

Do You Read Blogs?

So, I'm just curious, how many of you actually read this blog and enjoy it? Do you read other blogs too? The reason I'm asking is I read a local agent's blog today and she talked about the need for blogging and if it's for everyone. 

I thought about what she was saying and on one level I agree, blogging is not  fun for all. To some it is hard to do and frustrating. To other's, they seem a natural to it and have a lot of followers. It does take up time and if you have a regular job, it can seem daunting. 

I was told early on in my writing that social media is a must for both traditional publishing and self-publishing. That you need to get your name out there and hopefully build a fan base. On top of having a blog, you need to be on Facebook, twitter, and any other social media you like such as, Pinterest and Google+. And, I did just that. But, I have found that through reading other peoples blogs, and seeing their frustration when they leave their blog address on the LinkedIn sites and no one comments, that it is more than frustrating, it can hurt feelings. We are only human after all. 

The problem is blogging has now become over saturated on the internet. Anyone who is trying to sell a book, art, comedy shows, and even their band have blogs to try and build their name and to make a living on it. Even agents have blogs and editors. To many blogs!

I believe one of the things that could stop some of this is traditional publishers should be doing the advertising for their clients. It amazes me that just to have their companies name on your book you have to give them a percentage of your sales and they do either very little advertising of you or none at all. How is that fair? 

That is one of the reasons why my choice was to self-pub. I didn't believe I should have to give them 15% of my sales when they do very little for me. So, quit being so cheep publishers, take care of your authors. Then the only one's who would have to do social media would be those of us who self-pub. Therefore, less blogs. 

What do you think? I know several of my followers are writers so I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Also, do you think I should keep blogging? If you are interested in reading the article I mentioned here is the link: Should All author's Blog?

Have a great week everyone! Lisa



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Please Welcome Guest-Seth Hammons


Please welcome Seth Hammons, Author of The Keys series. I met Seth through one of my LinkedIn writing groups. When I went to his web-site and read his bio, I was impressed with his enthusiasm and energy. I do believe there are those who are born with certain gifts and I think writing is Seth’s. He pushes himself and takes his writing seriously. I hope that some of you engage Seth with questions or comments and let him know we appreciate his talents and hope that he is successful with his novels.

Seth, welcome to my blog. Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Lisa, thank you so much for having me!
I'm a 32-year-old father of three, married eleven years now to the most wonderful lady.  Prior to picking up the pen, I was a store manager for Burger King in Atlanta, where I had worked for nearly fifteen years and met my wife, Crystal.
Two years ago, Crystal was offered a spot at a medical school in West Virginia and a U.S. Army scholarship to go with it.  Not wanting to break up our family, we left work, home, and family behind in Georgia to pursue her dream.  As our youngest wasn't yet in school, I stayed home and began writing.  And it's come to this...
I love storytelling, love the curveballs thrown by others, whether it be on the page, stage, or screen.  Stories themselves are often simple and can be summarized in a paragraph or two, but it's how the details are doled out that fascinates me.  I liken it to a puzzle; one glance at the end product and the picture is plain to see, but before that, the storyteller is handing you a piece at a time, in no apparent order.  Those 'aha' moments when a piece of the story snaps into place, those are what I enjoy the most.

What is your motivation to keep writing your series and why the Fantasy fiction genre?

My motivation is my wife, Crystal.  She's been an avid reader as long as I've known her.  Glancing over my shoulder just now, I see her collections of Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, Dorothy Garloch on our bookshelf.  Not a week goes by that she hasn't read or reread a book or two.  Reading has always been a passion we've shared, and though our tastes are different, they occassionally converge and we'll read at night together.
Crystal believes in me.  She's told me she likes my books so much that even if no one else ever reads my work (and let's hope that won't be the case), she'd still want me to keep writing just for her.  She's got my back in this, just as I've got hers.
As for why I chose fantasy fiction, it goes back to my thoughts on storytelling.  I like the freedom afforded me by the genre, that I can present my characters, locales, and themes in my own way, without the reader bringing too much of their own experiences with them.  That said, I consider my world fairly "grounded" for a fantasy series.  Magic and monsters are all fine and dandy, but any good story, regardless of genre, is really about people.

Do you write full time or have to keep a ‘normal’ job too?
I would have to check 'C: None of the above'.  When we moved to West Virginia, my full-time job became housework, taking care of the kids, and providing logistical support for my wife's studies.  Writing was a part-time passion.  Now that the kids are all in school, it's a little easier to find time to write, but I would still list 'holding down the fort' as my main job.  I expect my mindset will change in the next two years after we've moved wherever the Army sends us and my wife has started her residency.  Until then, I'll continue to chip away at this story.
I will add, however, that this project has turned out to be a lot more work than I first anticipated.  Beyond the story, there are tons of little things to learn; typesetting, formatting, copyright law, how ISBNs work, coding the books in HTML for Kindle, setting up a website, Author's Page for Facebook, Twitter.  Thank God I found an illustrator.  I think it would have killed me, learning how to draw.

Tell me about the basis of your novels:
A tricky request, considering I try to run the gamut.  Life and death.  Mercy and revenge.  Love, hate, and self-sacrifice.  There are other themes, of course--faith and science, discrimination and misconceptions, imperialism--but those are the main ones.
The story takes place on a chain of islands referred to as 'The Keys' by the Iori Empire, which has ruled the world in its entirety for several centuries.  Technologically, the Iori Empire has advanced to something resembling our own late 1800s; mankind has steamengines, guns, and the telegraph.  Electric light is being tinkered with.
The first novel introduces the duke's youngest son, the shepherdess whose brother was sent off to war, a drunken sailor, and a mysterious artifact from the time that the Iori Empire first conquered the Keys.  I dare not say more.

What is you favorite thing to do in your free time?
Hanging out with my wife, as sappy as that may sound.  Whether we're watching our shows, reading, walking at the park... just being in her company is what I like best.  It's even true if we're simply in the same room, doing our own thing.
My most peculiar guilty pleasure is probably getting sidetracked while doing research for my books.  Yes, I do actual research for a fantasy fiction novel.  I couldn't tell you how many mornings my plans to finish a chapter have been derailed by Wikipedia and the rest of the Internet.
In no particular order, I like video games, playing with my kids, singing and ringing handbells in church, a mug of Guinness at the local Irish Pub, and watching the Atlanta Falcons.  And of course, reading.  I'm currently floating between the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) and waiting for the final "Wheel of Time" novel to come out.

How can people contact you and order your books?
I love to get feedback from readers, especially those who wouldn't typically consider picking up a "fantasy novel".  The best way to reach me is through my website, www.sethhammons.com or email me directly at theauthor@sethhammons.com.  As mentioned earlier, I can also be found on FB and Twitter.
The easiest way to order books would be through Amazon.  As I mentioned, they're available in both paperback as well as digital.  Amazon Prime members can borrow the first novel for free.
"Unheard Of" is the first novel in the series, and the one you should start with.  The second novel is also published, and the third is completed and being released December 1st of this year.  The fourth is tentatively slated for June 1st of 2013.

Would you like to give us an excerpt of your work?
Certainly!  We'll start at the beginning of the beginning, book one, chapter one.

Troubles

There was something about the sound of his fist smashing into the other boy's face that gnawed at Chastin, but not enough so that it stopped him from throwing a second punch to the gut.  He put his weight behind it, sending the bigger, pasty-faced boy staggering backwards and holding his nose.  The two-dozen or so classmates that formed a ring around the combatants held their breaths. Jon Charl gasped for his own.  Even Mart and Doge, Jon's usual cohorts, stood in slack-jawed shock, not bothering to lift a finger in defense of their friend.
Chastin didn't care two spits that Jon's father was Minister of Technology for the Keys.  He wouldn't have even cared if Jon had been the Vision of the Church.  There were some things in this world you just didn't say and expect to walk away unscathed.
It wasn't a heartbeat later that Chastin had Jon to the dirt, keeping a steady rhythm of knuckles to Jon's slightly larger frame.  The surrounding boys were no longer silent.  Some had taken to cheering Chastin on while others heckled Jon as the blows continued.  Doge was shouting at him to stop, but Chastin wouldn't until he was finished.
The taunts and hoots of the schoolboys ended just as abruptly as they had begun, but Chastin didn't bother to look for what had cut short their jeering.  He made certain to get in one last shot at Jon's face—was satisfied when it struck true—before an all too familiar hand grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and hoisted him to his feet.
"Chastin Valroy," the headmaster said with a tone that held no surprise.  Chastin didn't bother acknowledging his name, savoring the sight of Jon Charl whimpering on the ground and trying to stem the flow of blood from his nose.  A⁠ second vice of a hand snatched at Chastin's shoulder and spun him around.
"Headmaster Laurens," Chastin replied respectfully.  The headmaster was a tall, wiry man approaching sixty years, the golden hairs on his head being slowly betrayed by strands of silver.  Despite his years and build, Chastin knew the headmaster was every bit as formidable as the brick walls of the Radiant Academy.
With the corners of his mouth turned down in distaste, Headmaster Laurens's eyes darted to the bleeding and now blubbering figure of Jon.  The headmaster let out a grave sigh before his gaze shifted again to one of the other boys who had been watching the fight.  "Pocks."
Timidly, Pocks stepped forward.  His dark-brownish hair made him stand out in a crowd of other Iori boys, and his scrawny stature made him an easy mark amongst his fellow classmates.
"Pocks, go fetch Master Kaust and have him tend to Jon's injuries."  A⁠ simple head-bob of acknowledgment, and the boy darted off in the direction of one of the many weathered brick buildings that made up the Radiant Academy.
"The rest of you," the headmaster continued in a cool tone with eyes sweeping the rest of the boys, "had better find yourselves heading home.  The next student I see lingering about the school grounds after session will receive a demerit; beginning this moment."
There were a few respectful nods to the headmaster.  There was a great deal more of sixteen-year-old boys skittering away from the schoolyard like so many bugs from an overturned stone.  Even Mart and Doge had only spared a moment's glance at their fallen friend before deciding it best not to risk the headmaster's displeasure.  Chastin watched without envy as his classmates dispersed.  He'd known what the fight would cost him and had measured it worth the trouble.
Headmaster Laurens didn't bother to watch the scrambling lot of boys as they fled in various directions towards their homes, his gaze already returned to the fallen Jon Charl.  "You will wait here until Master Kaust arrives," the old headmaster glowered.  "And you," he continued, gripping Chastin's shoulder so firmly it hurt, "are coming with me to the office."
The piercing, bony fingers that dug into his shoulder were quite unnecessary—Chastin would have marched with pride to the headmaster's office—but he didn't complain as he was forcibly guided to one of the larger brick structures on the campus.  A⁠ little imagination, and the headmaster became a loyal manservant, massaging his aching shoulder instead of being the source of the pain.  The delusion was helped all the more when the headmaster opened the door for him, though the agitated shove ruined it some.
The waiting room outside the headmaster's office was regrettably familiar.  Without looking, Chastin could have said what color the curtains were; green—purportedly the shade of the jungles of the Greatlands.  He could have pointed to where the jar of sweets was on the secretary's desk.  He could have even named the magazines that rested on the coffee table; The Vision's Sight, The Father's Dilemma, and Modern Science.  Chastin didn't bother reaching for any of the printed material.  He'd already read all three quite thoroughly, and it would be another week or two before the March issues reached the Keys.
"Sit down on the bench," the headmaster ordered as he released his grip and disappeared into his office, closing the door behind him.  Such a schoolyard brawl as had just been witnessed on the grounds of the Radiant Academy would usually have required a stern lecture by the headmaster to all parties involved, accompanied perhaps by a switching from one of the more able-bodied instructors.  Chastin was well beyond lectures and switching, though.
Chastin could picture Headmaster Laurens preparing to use the telegraph that sat by the miniature replica cannon on his desk.  The technology of telegraphy had only reached the Keys a year ago, and the Radiant Academy was proud to be one of the first private institutions to utilize it.  It was unfortunate that there was another such machine in Chastin's own house.
"Again, Master Valroy?" whispered Anelia in a tone of mock disbelief and sincere disappointment.  Of an age with Headmaster Laurens, his secretary was as much a part of the institution as he was.  The students gossiped that she saw a stylist every week to keep her golden curls, though Chastin didn't see the point himself.  One didn't stop being Iori with age, neither could all the hair dyes and face powder in the world make you one if you weren't.
Chastin let his eyes shift from the headmaster's door to the secretary, but didn't spare words.  It wasn't any business of hers, after all.

Thank you so much, Seth! I hope that you have success with your series! You are talented and you have a good heart, you deserve it in my book! Lisa