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

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's Okay To Have Someone Critique Your Work

Since I began this new journey of social media I have been blessed with meeting some wonderful new friends. Most of them are writers such as myself, but they are great at giving me support. I am open to their suggestions and comments about my work because I want my book to be as perfect as I can get it. I have learned not to fall in love with a specific line or sentence I have written, less really is more when writing detail and description, and tighten your writing. 

It really is easy for me to tell if a writer who self-published has hired a professional editor because one of the giveaways is rambling on in description and POV shifts. If I am reading their book and I am skimming through, then there is too much description. And, if I am reading and all of a sudden I am in some other characters head, then they have head-hopped or jumped into another POV (point of view).

Not that I am a perfect editor, I just have learned through having critique partners and taking classes or workshops. I often wonder if these writers just wrote a book and published it without revisions or any advice for that matter. 


I have gone back through some of my earlier work, not only my rough draft, but also work from only a year ago and could see how far I have come. I have also realized how true it is that your family and friends will tell you how wonderful your book is when it really needs work. Once I decided to get a critique partner (now I have 5) I saw how you really can't edit your own work and your friends and family can't either. You need an objective person's eyes and ideas.

I realize that a lot of writers don't have the money to take classes or hire professional editors, but there are alternatives. You book is a major investment if you truly want to be an author. Believe me I am far from rich and I found ways to join groups and find affordable editing. Here are a few ideas that could help you, that is if you can admit you need advice and critique.

1. Meetup.com is a great way to find writing groups. My group cost 10.00 a class and we met twice a month. Most of the leaders of the group are professionals and will teach you the rules of creative writing and will critique your work. I did have to go through 2 different classes until I found one I felt I was learning from. But, that is one of the drawbacks of not joining a class at a college, and I excepted that.

2. Google online writing groups. There are workshops that you can join and they will help and support you.

3. Join a group that surrounds the genre you write. There are several national groups out there, such as Romance Writers Assn. RWA, and Sci-fi fantasy fiction groups, etcetera. 

4. Go to mini-conferences in your area. you don't have to be a member and can learn quite a lot from the workshops. They are also affordable. The one I am going to next week is 40.00 for non-members.

5. Join LinkedIn writing groups. You will meet a lot of writers, some who are beginners and some who have several novels published. They are full of ideas and are usually more than willing to help you.

I am sure there are other writers who can give you suggestions in this area too. I believe one of the biggest opportunities I received from doing these steps was getting to know and becoming friends with other writers. And, of course, critique partners.

The first step, however, is admitting that maybe you need critique. Maybe your books aren't selling because they need tightening and editing, or maybe you might decide to do this before you self-publish. 


I just believe that when I put my novel out there to the public, I don't want to get bad reviews based on my writing. If someone doesn't like the story, well that's one thing, you can't please them all. But, if my writing is holding back my book, that, to me, would be embarrassing. 

A few announcements: This Thursday I have a new guest writer. His name is Seth and I met him through LinkedIn. He impressed me when I went to his blog and read the story about himself. He seemed to have a lot of energy and a positive outlook about his writing future. I hope all of you welcome him and leave him some comments of questions. I will also be having other guests in the future, one of which is a long time author.

Until Thursday, I hope all of you have a great week! Lisa











Thursday, October 11, 2012

Not Up To Par Lately

Lately I have not felt that good and the reason has finally shown it's ugly head--my Thyroid is back, and in full swing. I have fought to stay in remission, but sometimes I loose that fight. I have Graves disease and there is no controlling it.

Graves disease is an auto-immune disease that affects the thyroid. It causes me to have symptoms of a hyper-active thyroid, usually the shakes, unable to sleep soundly, headaches and a few other symptoms. I also tend to have a hard time concentrating, and this time I think it has affected my eye-sight. So, tomorrow I have to go in a take a blood test and I'm sure I will be back on medication soon. There are other deciding factors, I can have my thyroid removed, or I can have it 'killed' with iodine. 

So far, I have opted to take the medicine until it goes back into remission, but I am not sure if that is the way I should continue. I have to discuss the options with my doctor and decide the best way to go. I am not happy about the other options simply because I don't want to be dependent on medication the rest of my life. 
 

I also have Fibromyalgia, which I was diagnosed with in 1993. After my last thyroid test the doctor's gave me and the diagnosis of the Graves, I happen to be looking into a Fibromyalgia center here in Colorado. I read on their site that they believe there is a connection between FB and thyroid issues. I found that rather interesting. 

I plan to do more research on both, and then take my findings to the doctor before I decide anything drastic. Have any of you experienced either one of these afflictions, or any other types like these? I am curious what you decided to do and if you have heard of these two being tied to the glands in your brain?

Let me know your thoughts on the matter. I am not looking for an excuse, but I now know what has been going on with me the last couple of weeks. At least it explains a lot to me. 

I hope to be back in full swing soon. I have a book to get out and several after that one and I need to be up to par, if you know what I mean.  

I hope all of you have a great weekend, and if you have any thoughts on this matter, please drop me a line. I love to know what you think.


Love, Lisa

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blog Block

Okay, all you bloggers out there, have you ever had one of those days that you didn't know what to blog about? You want to beat your head against the wall, hoping some idea comes out? Your past blogs start coming to mind and none of them sound like a good idea. You know you've done blogs about writing, or about book reviews.

You know you've put an excerpt up from your book, or talked about the most recent holiday. How about recipes or interviewed someone. Not one idea sounds appealing. 

You've even read other's posts to see if something comes to mind, but nothing does. You begin to panic and start to write something and then erase it all, only to be back at square one. You tell yourself, I will come up with something, and nothing ever does.

So, then you say to yourself, well no one will miss my blog post today, so you decide not to write one, and then you realize one of the most important rules of blogging...be consistent! You picked certain days to blog, by God, you better blog.


Now, you realize that even though you might never have experienced writers block, you have something worse...Blog Block!

Help! You cry out for someone to save you, somebody needs to give you an idea, and then it finally comes to you, for some reason, and you ask yourself, why didn't I think of this before?

It hits you...write about blog block!

Have a great week all! Lisa

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Do You Believe?

What would you do if you were outside on your deck one night and saw strange lights in the sky, or on a walk in nature and a disc shaped ship appeared? Would you think you were going crazy or would you think that you've always believed they were real, and this now confirms it?

On several occasions in my life I have seen strange lights, lights I could not explain away. I know that people think I'm nuts, but I think they react that way because they are scared to admit that it might be true. They are too afraid that people will judge them to be crazy. Just to let you know, a recent international poll was conducted and it claims that 70% believe in aliens, and I'm not talking about people crossing borders, I'm talking the real life, their from another planet, aliens. 

Have you ever watched any of the documentary's on TV about aliens? There's quite a bit of proof out there, proof that some countries are beginning to admit some basis too. Several have opened their archives for the public to investigate for themselves. There are pilots, scientists, astronauts, military officers, and quite a few others that are credible witnesses to this phenomena. 

Also, in our history there are accounts of aliens, or as some of our ancient people called them the star people, or the Gods. There is scientific evidence to show our ancient ancestors could not have physically accomplished several of the structures that were built, such as Machu Picchu and the Pyramids, and they claimed that the Gods helped them. Not to mention, paintings with alien ships in the back ground that are 500 yrs old, some older, or even our earliest known writings from the Syrian people talk of a race of beings called the Anunnakis who came here and changed our biology from the neanderthal man to the humans we are today. They needed us to mine gold for them. There are also videos and photographs taken from people all around the world of ships and lights in the sky.

What if this were all true? Do you think there could be some basis of fact here? Have you ever seen anything unusual in the sky? I know this is a tough subject for some to talk about, or even admit they would consider the possibility, but I think it's a fun subject. 

One of my characters in my book, Detective Wood, has seen things he cannot explain. I loved writing this piece of my book. He is drawn to anything unusual and of course, the other cops he works with thinks he has a screw lose. But, because of his open-mindedness, he becomes an ally to my main character, Stevie, and sets out on an adventure with her and her friends. 

I love adding the sci-fi with the fantasy fiction. In fact, it's been a blast. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this subject. Even if you think I'm crazy, I want to hear form you. I love this topic and I love to hear other's thoughts on this. 

Until next week, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


http://alienspaceshipidentified.com/nasa_admits_to_long_history_of_seeing_alien_spaceships

Love, Lisa




Monday, October 1, 2012

What Do You Look For In A Book?

I know that the winter ahead will be filled with editing for me, but I want to put out the best novel I can. It's important to me to have it as close as possible to perfect. I know it won't be perfect, especially since it's my first book, but I want to do my best. I have read series of books before and seen the writer's skills get better as more books are written, that is normal. The more we do the better we get, but for now, I am working delegently on those skills and I hope that people enjoy the story. 

Lately though, I have read some books that although the writing skills were wonderful, the story lacked. It made me want to ask the author, don't you want to write a book that really pulls the reader in and want to see them begging for more? Wouldn't you rather reach for substance, as apposed to just sex, for an example.

I personaly think the story is what it's all about. As far as relationships, that is only part of the story, for me anyway. Take me on a ride through this world that you have created. Even Nora Robert's books have a great story with the sex being only an added bonus. 

I have several friends who write romance novels, and even though romance is great, it should only be part of the story, not the whole story, if you know what I mean. 

If your genre was murder mysteries, you wouldn't just write about the murders themselves. You would write about the investigation, the twists in discovering who the murderer was and unfold the plot with the detective figuring out the killer and what is motivating the killer. 

I love to read and I am open to reading across most genre's, but give me a good story. Not just boy meets girl, their sex, and more sex, and they live happily ever after. That doesn't ring true anyway you put it. Whether you say it's a paranormal romance, or fantasy fiction romance, whatever the genre, you need to fulfill my needs for that world on top of the sex.

I don't know if any of you have ever read books like this, but if you have, did it leave you feeling empty? Were you left with an overwhelming sense that you will never read one of that author's books again? 

What motivates you in a book? What do you look for? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Until Thursday, have a great week!


Love, Lisa