Thursday, August 30, 2012

A New Teaser-I Know It Has Been A While

Today is a me day, I decided I needed a day to celebrate our recent accomplishment. The re-write is finished and we have already revised 2 chapters! I am ecstatic as to how fast the edits are going thanks to all my critique friends who have taken the time to go over my chapters!


So today I am going hiking and then afterwards I am going to the pool for some relaxing and rejuvenation. It's been a long 3 and a half years!

I know it's been a while since I posted a teaser, but I wanted to wait until we had cleaned up some of the chapters. I have posted this before, but it's been about a year and now it has gone through it's first round of edits. I would love any feed back or comments. As usual, honesty is the best policy and also helps me to write the best book I can.

This is the first part of my prologue, in essence, the very beginning of my book. It begins with a peek into Djenrye and the course that has been set for a prophecy told thousands of years ago. Enjoy and again, I am looking forward to any comments about the writing and the start of the story.


PROLOGUE
18 years in the past
Djenrye
The stone walls of the bed chamber trembled, the force knocking a vase off the side table. Shattered porcelain, lilies, and water slid across the polished wood floor. Carlynn nearly tumbled from the window seat, jolted awake by the tremors. She jerked her head this way and that, trying to discern the cause of the commotion. A brief moment of stillness and then another tremor combined with a distant war cry. In response, the heavy oak door rattled as if something unseen desperately tried to gain entrance.
It could not be long past midnight. Yet, light filtered through the window, eerily illuminating the bedroom. Goose bumps prickled Carlynn’s arms as she protectively wrapped them around her swollen belly. Squinting, she could barely distinguish the prone form of her husband in the bed, three long strides from where she sat. A thunderous noise rose again. When she opened the window outward to get a better view, its roar became deafening.
Torches glowed at the top of the hill where Raile ai Highlae, the Hall of Lights, stood. Monumental in its height and girth, it blocked the light of the full moon. The torches at its base allowed Carlynn to glimpse hundreds of horses choking the long pathway leading to the Hall. Dismounted riders scrambled up the stairs and the hillside, attacking the posted guards.
On the path, three stories below her, a battalion raced toward the insurgents. The armored men rode Dangrial war horses, their weapons drawn, ready for battle, shouting Djen war cries.
The warrior in the lead had short cropped hair, in stark contrast to the unbound locks of the men behind him: Ghorgon, Master Warrior of Phraile Highlae. He rode without the need of reins. In his right hand a sword, an axe in his left.
The Rebels mean to steal the Ortehs.
Terrified at the thought that the Ortehs might fall into the hands of their enemies–the Rebellion—she flew to the bed to wake the Guardian.

Well, that is the beginning so far. It will probably change more by the time it is published, but I want to know what you see needs fixed if you don't mind. Thanks for everything, my friends and have a wonderful weekend!

Love, Lisa

Monday, August 27, 2012

Branch Found Her Way Home

A Year ago, Branch, our yellow lab mix, found her way to our house. Not by chance, but by a woman who was looking for a good home for her. Branch's trusting soul allowed us in, and I believe she found what she was looking for. She has become our baby, she has become our love girl, as we call her.

Branch is a gentle soul, whom I think when she was young, wasn't treated well. But, at our house she is spoiled rotten and given a whole lot of love. 

On Saturday we decided to go on or nightly walk. We usually go around 8:00 because the day is too hot for my husband and I to walk. The nights have been cool and not to many people around. So, we set out on our nightly ritual, Branch in tow. She loves to go and her whole body wags with excitement. We came to the park we usually walk to, and found people everywhere. My husband asked what was going on, and it seemed since we didn't get our fireworks in Golden for the fourth of July, we were getting them that night.

Now, we know that thunder scares Branch, but we weren't sure about Fireworks. It was still early enough to complete our walk and we continued. As we made our way back to the park on the hill, the fireworks started. Needless to say, Branch freaked! She managed to get out of her collar and took off like a bat out of hell!

We ran after her, people telling us which way she went. My husband and I tried to catch her, but we aren't in the shape we used to be in, so we went to get the car. We drove around until 11:00 that night calling her name and scouring the Golden north mesa area, and finally made it back home, sick with worry.

You see, Branch has arthritis in her hips, and is 10 years old and we saw how fast she ran. We both knew that, first of all, we are idiots for not taking her home, and second, we knew that she would run until the noise stopped. We thought we would never see her again.

Sunday morning, we jumped up and made notices with Branch's picture and started out to go put them up in local stores. My husband opened the garage door and walked over to the back door and looked out, hoping she was there. I told him, call her name. That's what he did. As he yelled for her, I saw in my side mirror a yellow backside entering the garage! She had heard her name and followed the cry.

I was never so relieved in my life! The poor baby was limping, she must have practically crawled back. It wasn't until last night, with aspirin and glucosamine did she finally start to walk around. Boy, did we learn a valuable lesson, actually two lessons. One, we will never have her anywhere near the sound of fireworks again, and two, Branch is smart and knows where she lives. 

I am so grateful that she found her way home and that she was compelled to do so. She is our heart, and one of our kids and we will never be so foolish again.

Has something like this ever happened to you? I have heard stories of dogs crossing the country side to find their way home. Dogs are amazing animals in so many ways, and I have to agree...Dogs Rule!

Just one little announcement today, I Finished My Rewrite!!! Now on to revisions! It is finally here and one more step closer to publishing! Thanks to all of you for your continuing support and until next time, have a wonderful week!


Love, Lisa

Friday, August 24, 2012

Welcome Michelle Benavidez


I have a wonderful guest today, Michelle Benavidez. Michelle is not a writer, but she is an inspiration. She and her family walked from Colorado to Illinois for awareness and support of families who, like herself, lost loved ones in our nation’s wars. I met Michelle while working at Golden’s VFW and I was in awe at her and her family’s determination to see this walk through. I became friends with her on Facebook and followed the progress of the walk.
            Michelle and her husband, Dan lost their Son, Kenneth in one of our Middle East wars. Their pride and enthusiasm about their son struck me, and I witnessed how strong love and devotion can be.  Thank you for being a guest on my blog and I hope that my followers make you feel welcome. You deserve gratitude for what you did, my hat’s off to you and your family.
1.      Tell me about your walk? How do you feel after walking 1100 miles? I feel like I accomplished something bigger than ourselves and something big for our son, Kenneth. The walk was fantastic and we met a lot of supportive and amazing people along the way. People that heard about us waited for us to pass by and brought us drinks. There were VFW’s along the way that had dinners for us and even little parades and people walking a few miles with us. I was touched by their appreciation for what we were doing. As far as how I feel, well I’ve been back over a month and my feet just stopped hurting recently. It was so worth it though.
2.      What got you started in this supportive endeavor? My husband Dan was the one who suggested we walk to the new memorial that Kenny’s name would be placed on in Marseilles, Ill. The Middle East conflict wall. I told him he was frikin’ crazy! Then I thought about it for a minute and asked him if he could get that much time off work. Well, he did and the next thing I know I’m walking to Illinois.
3.      Tell us about Kenneth. He was in the military for 11 years, first in the 101st infantry for 9 years and then switched to the 4th infantry division, so he could relocate to Colorado. He loved the military, but he missed home. He loved to ski, fish, and he loved his family, probably in that order. He had been a troubled teen and made some bad choices. The Army helped him to become a wonderful and skillful young man. He was always an adrenaline junky, skiing, jumping out of planes or helicopters, ect.. He knew he wasn’t coming back after he was deployed again. He spent a lot of extra time with the people he loved before he left and asked me to honor him because he was willing to die for his country.  He didn’t want us to dishonor his name by crying out about the war, but instead holding our head high.
4.      Tell us about the organization you represent, American Military Family? AMF has been around for 9 years and is a non-profit org. Debbie Quackenbush is the founder. She founded it because of her brother, who did return bodily from Vietnam, but never emotionally or physically. She never got over the way the Vietnam Vets were treated by this country when they came home. Their services provide emergency relief for combat Vets. That involves re-integration, retreats, mental health and referrals. If anyone would like to contribute you can go to www.amf100.org. It’s a wonderful and supportive group and our Vets deserve to have a place to go to for whatever help they need to get back into their life here after being at war.
5.      Is there anything new coming up to honor and raise funds for AMF? We have a poker run every summer and every spring we have a casino night. Next summer we will include a golf tournament also.
6.      What is your favorite thing to do? Travel is my passion! I love meeting new people and seeing new places. I even love trying out different foods.
7.      Where’s your next trip then? Vegas for my son Danny’s 21st birthday. He turned 21 on our walk to Ill.
8.      So what’s ahead for you now? My new position which came from being involved with volunteering at AMF. I am now working with combat Vets by learning to write grants and help fund those who are uninsured or underinsured so they can get the treatment they need.
Thanks so much for allowing me this opportunity to interview you Michelle! I have enjoyed getting to know you better and appreciate all that you do to help our Vets. I hope one day we can get together and have coffee again, I would love to see what’s new in your world and of course, talk books again.  

      There will be a drawing from posted comments. The winner will receive a AMF T-shirt and a military pen for your vest or hat, whichever you prefer. Please leave Michelle a comment or question and I hope that there are some of you who decide to contribute to this wonderful organization!



      Until next time, I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend! Lisa

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Does Your Story Ring True?

Before I get to my muse for the week I have an announcement. Yes, I know, Michelle was supposed to be here today, but she had something come up at the last minute. It is an important task, and I don't blame her. She has been asked to speak at a memorial for the soldiers who recently lost their lives in Afghanistan. So, in my book, she is excused. I will be hosting a special blog post for her tomorrow and she said she will be around to answer any questions or comments you might have, so check in tomorrow! I hope you come and give her support!

In the mean time, I am blogging about my book today. First and foremost, I am at the end of my rewrite, YAY! Only 13 more pages to sift through and make sound like a novel! This is one of the most critical parts of the book, the climax and the end. It has to be good, and it has to make you anxious for my next book in the series, so it's taking a little longer than expected. But, it will be done by the end of this week! I am so excited!

But, there is a part that has left me anxious myself and I need to change it in the story. It's not really a big part, but it could make all the difference in the world, in the long run. 

I don't know about all you other writer's, but have you ever come across a story line in your book that won't fit in your series in the future? I have this dilemma. So, when I get back to this part I have to actually research our universe in order for it to come out truthful. Yes, I said the universe, because it literally has to do with the planets and stars. No matter though, it will all work out. There are things that happen in our galaxy that will fit the criteria. I just have to find out what they are. 


When writing a story, or even just a scene, or plot, it absolutely has to ring true. To me, there is nothing worse than reading a book, even if it's a book about another world, that has a scene that just doesn't fit with the story. For example: If you are writing a story that has real life witches and vampires, but they are hidden from the humans, then you have to make sure that the things the supernatural characters do in your book is hidden from the 'reality' parts. Otherwise, it takes your story in a whole other direction.

I have also read books where the scene is in another world and the writer set up the criteria of who has what powers. So, your reading along and you know this one character can change into something else, like a wolf, but all of a sudden at the climax of the book, this character can now disappear and reappear across the canyon so that he can kill the bad guy, and they add it like you should have known they had this power all along. That makes the book 'B' rate in my opinion. So, now you can see, for those of you who aren't writers, the issues we face when writing a realistic story. Even if the story is in a make-believe world. You can't write a historical fiction say, and the setting is during the civil war, and the bad guy jumps in a Porsche and drives off. It just won't work.

But, back to my struggle. As you can see, I want my book to bring you into my world and keep you there right to the end. And, I want you coming back for more. I know I love writing more! So, all you writers, have you had to change all or part of your stories to ring true before? Or how about you readers, have you read something that threw you for a loop and left you feeling let down?

Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts, or maybe even answers to my questions. I will see you back here tomorrow with my guest Michelle Benavidez. Until then, have a wonderful rest of your day!

Love, Lisa

Monday, August 20, 2012

Which Path Is Best In Social Marketing?

In my struggles to strike out on the best path with Social Marketing, I have come across conflicting ideas and recommendations. Do this, don't do that, scenarios, and within their own suggestions, they contradict themselves.

Let me give you an example: Make sure you post consistently, then later in the article: If you don't know what to post, just don't post that day.

Now I don't know about you, but that is a contradiction in suggestions. But, if there is one thing I agree on, you need to be consistent with your posts. Yes, I know, it's hard to always come up with new and fresh ideas, but one suggestion I found works, keep a small notebook with you and write down ideas as they come to you. You know, like when you are just about asleep for the night and a new idea comes to you for your book and you tell yourself, I'll remember it in the morning...and you don't, that's when you wish you would have wrote it down. It's the same with ideas that pop up in your head for blog posts. I know those of you who write, can totally relate!

I don't believe that you should only post about certain topics, and keep it at that. I think new and fresh posts keep things interesting, don't you agree? I do, however, believe that the topics should not be controversial, such as religion and politics. Those could be deadly, no matter how strong you believe in what you are writing about. I mean after all, isn't your blog about you and your book, or music, or whatever it is you are trying to reach out into the world with? Politics and religion are individual beliefs and not everyone will agree with yours.

But, back to the topic at hand. If you are blogging about blogging, make sure to detail what it is you are trying to convey. There are those of us that are new to this crazy world of social media and are begging for answers to this confusing and frustrating new way to reach out to our followers. 

Don't be like my "helpers" with my software issues and show me real fast how to do something, and then can't understand why I didn't grasp the steps. Show me step by step. Then be thorough in your explanation. 

I will tell you this much, there are steps to your platform that will prove to give you the most success in this confusing aspect of your marketing endeavor. 

1. A Facebook presence. 

2. A twitter acct., and post on it.

3. Find the sites you are interested in and get involved. such as LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

4. The newest future hot site will be Google+.

5. Of course your blog, and make sure you pick your day or days and post those days. Afterwards, share you posts with the above sites mentioned. Oh, and be patient, it will come to fruition.


Once you have taken these steps in building your platform, then venture out into the world of tiny url's and SEO's. It's all a building block and is doable! 


What have you found that has been successful in your platform? I would love to know, since any hints or ideas are important to me. And, I could always use any help I can get!

Stay tuned, Thursday I will have a new guest, Michelle Benavidez. I am looking forward to having her join us and I hope you leave her comments and make her feel welcome!

For now, have a great week everyone. See you on Thursday! Lisa



Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Witchy Review

I recently read a pretty good book, A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness. I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to ordering the second book. If you are looking for a novel with witches, vampires, and daemons, this is a great book. It is a fun book in the fact that the story is good, and the characters rich, but it is a drama, not a comedy.

The main character is having internal struggles and realizes that she needs to embrace who she is, while on top of that, falling in love with her enemy. It has all the conflict and action you are looking for when your forte is urban fantasy. I enjoyed the setting, Oxford, and I enjoyed the European details and history she brings into the story. Then, off to France. The details and style rich and satisfying. 

I normally don't read a lot of urban fantasy, usually prefer medieval, but I'm glad I downloaded this one. So if you're looking for a new read to take you away from the mundane, then download this series. The second book is her newest, but I have to read the first one before I read the second. I prefer to know everything about the main character first. I believe if you like vampires, and of course witches, you will like this.

Now on to announcements. Robin Calkins won the draw for Marilyn Rice's giveaway  Congratulations Robin! I hope you enjoy her book! Get back to me and let me know what you thought. 

I know today was supposed to be a new guest, Michelle Benavidez, but unfortunately, she was unable to get back to me. She has had a few medical issues. I hope that she is feeling better and have her on here next week. In the mean time, thank you for reading my blog posts and I hope that all of you have a great weekend, and don't forget to read a good book!


Take care, Lisa

Monday, August 13, 2012

What Animal Are You Drawn To?

As I watch my dog Branch get excited about going for a walk, or getting her daily snack, I think about the simplicity of her life. All she needs or wants is love, attention, and the occasional treat. She follows either my husband or I around the house. She prefers to be close to us and wants to go with us where ever we go, even if it's to the corner store. Branch is the sweetest dog I've ever had, and the most submissive. I believe her life before us wasn't that pleasant. I don't think she was as appreciated as she is now, but I want to make the rest of her life peaceful and loving in hopes that when she finally leaves this plane, she would have been a happy dog and fully satisfied.

But, why am I so drawn to dogs? I think dogs are the greatest pet of all. Their loyalty, unconditional love, and their protectiveness of their home makes them the best pets.

I have had cats, birds, fish, turtles, and a bunny, but the dogs I've had are the pets I've cherished the most. I love coming home to Branch. Her whole body wags, and she is so excited to see us and instantly forgives us for leaving her. My husband says her tail is attached to her heart. They are wonderful companions. They never judge you, and love you no matter what.

When I was young, my favorite animal was the Lion. I was in awe at their power, and beauty. I would collect pictures and statues of lions, and when I moved out on my own, I would usually have a cat. Later on in life I developed an allergy to cats. My step-son had a female and she had 4 liters in a year and a half and with all those cats in our house, the dander began to effect me and now, I cannot sleep in the same house with a cat. I love them, but I can't have one around.

But, during those years I also had dogs, and grew to love having them as part of the family. It soon turned into my love for wolves. What an awesome animal. Now, my collection is wolf pictures and statues, and I have become involved with organizations to save the wolf from extinction. 

I believe the wolf is the least understood animal on the planet. They are carnivores, pack animals, and they hide in the shadows. The amazing thing is, there are quite a few animals in the wild that fit this same description, but they are not as attacked as the wolf. The wolf is a survivor and if they see easy prey, they will go after it, but they do prefer elk and deer for their prey. 

Another thing about wolves, they are family oriented. They mate for life and take care of their own. Funny, that's where dogs came from, but people want to destroy the wolf. Wolves are misunderstood and I appreciate the groups out there that work with ranchers and farmers to reduce any wolf attacks on their livestock. The more we can learn to live with wolves in our environment the better. They are a large part of our ecosystem and an important part.

When they were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, it proved how important they were to have in the wild environment. When you have an over population of elk or deer, they begin to get sick and will transfer that sickness to other animals. If you have wolves in the picture, the wolves will take care of eliminating the sick animals, thus the area will thrive again. They are a part of the cycle and we need them to be here.

My love for wolves has grown and I appreciate their beauty, and my heart goes out to protecting them from people who would simply kill them for no other reason, but their wolves.

What is your favorite animal? And, what drives you to them? My husband's the Eagle, and his drive is his love of flying, and the beauty and how majestic an animal it is. Leave me a comment and share with me the animal that pulls you and why, I would love to know.

Until Thursday, I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. Take care of your pets and love them with all your heart! 


Love, Lisa

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Guest - Marilyn Rice

We have a wonderful guest this morning, all the way from England! I met Marilyn through another writer friend on Facebook and she has been very supportive of me and my book. She have offered valuable insights and information for me, and I feel like I have known her for years. Please welcome this great lady and writer and leave her a comment or question, I'm sure she will answer what it is you would like to know and there is a giveaway contest for one of her books. Thanks for coming on my blog, Marilyn, it's great to have you!


1.       Tell me about you, Marilyn. Are you married?
  I was born in Nottingham (U.K) in February 1951. That makes me proud of two things: sharing a home town with D H Lawrence and being an Aquarian and I’m a typical Aquarian – independent, forward thinking, humanitarian and definitely unconventional!
 My father, a man I adored and idolized, was a farmer and I spent my early childhood in a Nottinghamshire country village. I have fond memories of that time in the fifties when the pace of life was much slower (before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and the computer became an essential everyday item!) I enjoyed school and naturally loved reading and writing. The saddest memory I have of those days is the death of my young sister who was born with Down’s Syndrome and only lived for a few months.
 We moved to Derbyshire in 1960 when I was nine. I passed the 11+ exam and attended the local Grammar School and then to a College of Education and University where I trained to become a teacher. I taught in Secondary schools for twenty years.
Life, people, cultures all hold a fascination for me. I enjoyed living in the fast lane, looking for adventure and gaining as many experiences as possible. I used the College holidays to take up employment for both money and experience. I was a waitress, a barmaid, a shop assistant, a baby-sitter and I even delivered the Christmas post. Tomorrow is not promised to us, so enjoy today is one of my mottos.
I vaguely remember getting married in 1980; but we all make mistakes! My divorce came through in 1985.
Lisa, you tell me that most of your readers are American and would like to know something about life in England. Well, I have visited and enjoyed the hospitality of some of your Southern States. The one BIG difference between America and here is size. Does size matter? Over here, everything is so much smaller, our buildings, our homes, our schools, our roads, etcetera. The distance between our towns and cities is much less than yours. We are an island and would probably fit into one of your States about 4 times. We just do not have space.
We are now very much a multi-racial society, but Christianity is still our main religion. I live in a street which only has three houses and the other two are occupied by Asians. I joke that I am the ethnic minority here but if I had been told that this would happen back in the 1950’s I would never have believed it.
Our weather seems to be a main topic of conversation and it is something we are never satisfied with. It’s either too hot, too cold, wet or something. We have had two unusually dry winters forcing us into hosepipe bans in March. Since then, we have had rain most days and in abundance resulting in floods in many areas.
One of the best things I feel about England is having a Monarchy. Our Royal Family makes us the envy of many countries in the world. Our country is steeped in traditions and when we put on a show it is for the world to see and we do it in style! This year we have celebrated our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and we are hosting the Olympics. Last year, Prince William married Kate and the rest of the world joined in our party.
On the music scene, you Americans, have Elvis and Graceland but we have the Beatles and Cliff. I remember the ‘swinging sixties’ over here, a magic time when suddenly after the austerity of the post-war years we seemed to have everything and life was really good.
Finally, our Government! We have two main parties, Conservative and Labor and our elections are every five years. Like you, we are never satisfied with whichever party is in power and they will always blame the previous government for the mess they left behind.

2.       How did you get started in writing and what’s your genre and why?
I have always wanted to write. As a child I loved reading and writing. Reading is a form of escapism. Stories will transport you to mysterious, magic and unknown pastures. I loved that. I always wanted to write a book! Some people write short stories, others poetry, but for me it has always been fiction and books. I have done a few articles when requested for specific things, but not many.
I completed a writing course in the 1980’s but it was not until early retirement from teaching that I was able to really start writing. I decided on a book which I thought would be suitable for the Millennium, Time & Tide. It was a family saga from 1950-2000 with one of the characters keeping a diary of the social and historical events of the period. I described it as a ‘two in one’ and expected a mainstream publisher to be delighted with my idea and offer me a publishing contract. Alas! I was so naive in those days!  I learned that it was extremely difficult to get into mainstream publishing and decided to take the self-publishing route. On my 50th birthday in February 2001 I proudly launched  Time & Tide in a West Bromwich Shopping Mall. No Regrets followed in May 2003.
Then, Stay in Touch in 2005 and on September 16th 2007 at Slaithwaite in Yorkshire I launched my fourth work, Look After Each Other. My fourth book was taken on by Strategic Book Publishing,  and is now available in hardback from them. On December 28th, 2010 they released the sequel to Look After Each Other. It is Sofia’s Legacy.
My genre is loosely contemporary women’s fiction/spiritualism.  All of my books are different. My first, Time & Tide is a saga/history. My second, No Regrets is written in a diary format and follows the life and times of Joanna, newly divorced, teacher through 1986; a kind of comedy chic-lit.  Stay in Touch is a black comedy. Christabelle and Lucy arrange to meet on Sheffield station 15 years after leaving school. Neither of them realize that what transpires as a result of this first meeting will change their lives forever.
My last two books are in the spiritualism category and the first two of a trilogy although when I began Look After Each Other I wasn’t even sure if I had enough material for one book never mind three. It just shows how things can develop in writing. I had an unfortunate encounter with a man called Derek who seemed to spend his entire life complaining and finding fault; I tried linking this experience with two others in my life, namely, my strong relationship with my father and my experience with clairvoyance. On completing the book I realized that there were many unanswered questions, in fact enough to write a sequel, Sofia’s Legacy.
3.                  
What What is your favorite thing to do on your off time?
‘Off time’ is an interesting concept. I do not have a set routine for work because I work best when in inspirational mood. If I am not feeling creative there is very little point in my making an attempt at writing.  I like to think of every day as a holiday because that way life is a much more enjoyable experience.

I obviously enjoy reading and love escaping with a good book. I like sitting down in front of the television and watching films, documentaries and ‘soaps’ amongst other things. Like so many people these days, I spend a lot of time on the computer and enjoy games and chat on FB. Have I just admitted to that?

I have two real treats each week. On a Monday afternoon I visit a local library where they give tea and cakes to the Over 55’s. I meet with a great group of people and we have a good chat and laugh. I was really pleased when they read my books and liked them. I think that is what we all aim for as writers, to have our humble offerings appreciated. On this point I would like to impress on your readers the importance of visiting libraries to keep them alive. Many people still have the concept of libraries as quiet places with books and large notices saying ‘Silence’ everywhere. Please, if you have not visited a library recently, pop along and have a look. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. Like everything else the libraries have changed their image. They now have CD’s, computers and various activities. Help save them from closure!

My other weekly treat is a trip to the Sandwell Valley Country Park and Farm on a Friday. I have, weather permitting, a stroll around the Ice House Pool or the Swan Pool and then have lunch at the cafe in the Farm. Sometimes, I’ll have another stroll around the gardens or sit down with an ice cream and enjoy the sun. Sadly, there have not been any of the latter occasions yet this summer.

In the winter months I spend some time in Cyprus, an island I love. I have in the past sixty years visited many places but in more recent years I have been happy thinking of Cyprus as my second or winter home.

4.       Tell me about your new book
The book I am working on is, Love You Forever. It is the final book of my trilogy where all the outstanding  questions regarding Derek, Miranda, Charles Urquart-Latterley are answered. As usual, the ending is all ready written. I always write my ending FIRST; I know this is an unorthodox method of working but it works for me!
The ‘Sofia’ trilogy is about a young housewife and mother who is also under the thumb of a control-freak, Derek. She visits a clairvoyant in the hope of finding that there will be a better future for her. In fact, what she learns from the reading, changes both her life and character. She thinks she only has a few months left to live and intends enjoying every moment. She focuses on her children, gives herself a mantra for support and makes a ‘do-or-die’ list of all she wants to do before she dies. She has lost all her self-confidence and become an isolated individual feeling like a prisoner in her home which she has named, Haslington Towers. Her first step forward is to buy a new ‘confidence’  lipstick. She develops a positive nature and turns her life around.
In the second book, Sofia’s Legacy, Sofia has died, but was it as she expected? Well, sorry but you will have to read Look After Each Other to find out! In the sequel, we find out about the Sofia in the afterlife while, simultaneously,  life carries on at Haslington Towers. We see how those ‘upstairs’ work with those left ‘downstairs’, either helping them along or causing mischief!
And the third book?  Wait and see!
I love all of the books I have written and think of them as my ‘babies’. I live with all of the characters I create, I interact with them so that they, hopefully, come across to the reader as ‘real’. My favorite characters and book is always the one I’m working on.  I, also, always read my work out aloud and save it as I go on three different discs. There’s safety in numbers.


5.       Do you work with a critique partner or are you in any writing groups for support?

The short answer is, No! I work alone until I reach the publishing stage. When my work is complete I always leave it for a few months and then look at it again with a fresh approach. I then do additional editing before sending the ms to an editor. I rely on the editor’s final judgement.

I think one thing that new writers do not realize is that it is far easier to write a book than it is to promote or market it. In the present economical situation and digital age, people are just not buying books in the same way that they once did. Many independent bookstores have been forced to either close their doors or diversify to survive. Borders have disappeared. In the UK Waterstones have taken over Ottakars and the only other main bookstore is WHSmith. The majority of books are bought from supermarkets or online and usually at knock down prices.

I take every opportunity I can to promote and sell my work. I belong to the New Writers UK group. This group gives its members the opportunity to visit Book Fayres and Festivals, give readings from their books and sell them.

Lisa, I know you are waiting to publish your first book; I wish you and every other new author success in this difficult area. If I can be of any help to you or your readers, please email me. We have to help each other in this writing game.

My email address is marilynlrice@hotmail.co.uk
                                                        www.strategicbookpublishing.com/LookAfterEachOther.html
You may also find my books at  Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes and Noble and other Internet sites.
You may also GOOGLE me at Marilyn L Rice author. I often do that to see what I am doing!

I hope you have all enjoyed reading this and if you would care to leave a comment or question I will be giving ONE copy of my second book, No Regrets for a competition draw from all comments received.

Thank you, Lisa for having me as your guest this week.
  
Thank you so much, it's been wonderful getting to know you better and find out a few things about living in England. I have always wanted to go there and now when I do, I will have someone to have tea with. Take care and may you have success with your writing and books!

Don't for get to leave Marilyn and comment. I am sure she would love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend, Lisa

Monday, August 6, 2012

Priorities

We all have certain systems that we set up to complete tasks. Sometimes, they might seem backward to other's who do the same thing. For an example, writers will go about different steps, but still manage to get their books written, or even, believe it or not, a waitress will have a certain system that she does to deal with 10 tables, and it will be different from the waitresses she works with every day. But, the important thing is, you do the steps, whether you are a rookie or one who is seasoned in your line of work. 

There are tools in each of our toolboxes to get the job done, and I believe we need to use them all in order to have the best outcome.

Some writers have told me to outline first, then research, then rough-draft, ect... But I have found quite a few writers will write a chapter, have it critiqued, re-work it, and then move to the next one. I don't know how they do it that way, but who am I to judge?

Yet, there are specific tools that are an absolute must, and it doesn't matter what order, as long as the outcome is a tight, action filled, rich in the characters and plots, book. 

I believe you should have a basic outline of your book, an detailed outline of your characters, (I'm finding out that one the hard way) and a rough draft written first. Then, go back in and add your details, descriptions, and make sure everything is consistent. After that, I go back and do revisions, check, grammar, punctuation, and fix whatever else need to be fixed, and tighten. Then off to the editor for more fun revisions.

Maybe to some writers that's not their steps, but no matter what, you still have to do certain criteria in order to accomplish a nice, tight, well written book. 

On top of all that, there is one more tool that should be utilized on a continuing bases, read other books! You will get wonderful ideas, find do's and don'ts, see and feel what was great about the book and what didn't work and why. It is homework for the writer. 

I do find myself critiquing what I'm reading all the time, but if a book grabs me, I can't wait for the ride, it is literally my high! Nobody is perfect, but when you come across books that you want to tell the author to fix certain things, it makes me remember that and look at my own work. I have read quite a few self-published books lately, and to tell you the truth, it makes me rethink my strategy. 


My plan has been to SP (self-publish) but I see what people mean when they say SP author's don't edit properly so they avoid buying them. I tend to cringe...a lot! I do believe financially SP is the way to go, but I have been trying to get the message out that writer's need to hire an editor, not your friends, not people you know that have edited before, but a pro. 

I know that it can be expensive but it's worth the money if you want your book to be the best it can be and people tell other's about it. Also, there are editors out there, if you look, that won't charge you a small fortune. LinkedIn is a wonderful resource for prof. editors.

So, all you self-pub's out there, get an editor! Do it right the first time so you don't look back at your own work with embarrassment. You can proudly hold your head up and know that this tool is a priority, no matter what!

One more thing, don't forget your homework, read!

I do have an announcement for next blog on Thursday. I will have a guest author-new friend, and I hope that all of you come read her post and join in on the comment thread to make her feel welcome. Her name is Marilyn Rice and she lives in England. She is a fun lady and I have enjoyed getting to know her, so plan on next Thursday, and I will see all of you then!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Change Is Good

So many dread changes in their life, I have always tried to welcome them. Not because I always enjoy them, but because I might as well go with the flow. It will happen anyway, that's what keeps life interesting. 


Time marches on, and if your life was a constant drudgery of the same thing over and over, it would get pretty boring. Usually the changes are for a reason. Of course, you can't always identify the reason immediately, but eventually it will all come to light. I have recently been through a couple of new changes, but when I looked the situation in the face, I knew this was exactly what I wanted and just went with it! Now I have extra time to do what I love, write, and to spend more time with my family.

Another change in my life is one that I have been wanting to welcome for a long time and have now brought it into my life with open arms! With this one, I get to hike more, and spend time in God's country.

Everything happens for a reason, even when you can't for the life of you, understand why. I have been at rock bottom and I could have laid there and died, but I picked myself up and dusted myself off and charged full ahead. 

When I was young I could not decide what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted children, but as a career, I had no idea. I wish I would have listen to my instincts back then and took a leap of faith. I knew deep down I wanted to write and if I would have listened to that inner voice, my life would probably be completely different now. But again, It came at the right time. At least, that is the time life handed it to me. I am grateful I now have the opportunity to do what I love. 

I have learned so much and have met some wonderful people in my life. I am blessed. Now, I am welcoming new friends and I am open to the challenges a head. 

Life is too short to worry about what someone else thinks or does. Take your life by the hand and lead it in the direction you want it to go. There will be obstacles, but meet them straight on. And, above all, enjoy and appreciate what lies in front of you, after all, change is good!

Love, Lisa