Thursday, January 31, 2013

Better Late Than Nothing

Yes, late on posting today. First, I woke up late, then I had to rush out for my critique group. It's like playing catch up to the day now, but at least I am posting on Thursday. I guess it could be worse. 

Well, my sister and I have started revisions on the novella, a part of the continuing story of Djenrye and Stevie. See, our plan is to release shorter stories of the Djenrye world in between the novel series. This first one is about how Stevie ended up in our dimension with adoptive parents and no clue about who she really is. 

The story is set, 99%, in Djenrye, and in the past. It brings you into the world of the Djen and the kind of life they lead. It is fun making up a world and adding conflict and action. This originally was to be put in the first novel, intertwined with the original story. It would have gone back and forth, but we decided that it took away from Stevie's coming awareness of the Djen and her true identity. So, we thought it would make a great side story. 

What is nice about it is it's already written, except I do need to add a few chapters for effect, and now all we have to do is revise and edit. It should be released in the fall. We want to give the first novel some time before we put this one out there. 

It's fun getting back into the Djen world. I really enjoy it. The setting is true fantasy world with swords, bow and arrow, heroes, nemesis's, and saving the day. There is magic, good and evil, and a more understanding of what and why the Djen world is the way it is. We even touch on the prophecy more. 

I am looking forward to the day when it's launched. I am hoping by then you have had a chance to read Fable, the first in the series, and are ready for more. I will post, now and then, sneak peeks, so keep your eyes posted for the near future.

Until Monday, I hope that all of you have a wonderful weekend. I am scouting for new guests for the blog. I will be announcing the next person soon. Plus, once we launch the first book, we will be starting up giveaway's and contests. I am looking for funner things to add to the blog. Again, any ideas, I am more than open to hearing them.

Love, Lisa

Monday, January 28, 2013

Show Me All About It

We have talked about social media and platforming. We've talked about the normal mistakes in a manuscript, but we haven't discussed, to me anyway, the hardest creative writing to do-show, don't tell.

I'm sure all of you have heard this phrase at one time or another. Either your teacher, or critique partner, even your editor. It's the one that none of us want pointed out because it involves having to put your brain into overdrive. Trust me, that's what it does to my sister and I. 

But if you can show, instead of tell a scene or description of a scene, it will draw your reader into your story. For example:

The blood stained the carpet--The smell of copper lingered as she pushed open the bedroom door. The odor rising from the crimson stain that assaulted the plush oriental design covering the oak-wood floor.

Okay, so I'm not the greatest at it either, but you get my meaning...I think. The point is, the blood stained the carpet is boring. It really doesn't give a description to take a reader into the scene. One of the ways to get more scripted is to use the five senses. Touch, taste, smell, hear, and see. Smell is one of the easiest to use in descriptions, such as the 'copper' smell. 

We are all guilty of taking the easy route when describing a scene. Try to explain 'The moon shone through the trees' in another way. A way that you could look up and see it as though you were actually there. 

If you can take your reader into a battle scene, or a love scene with a better choice of words, then you are a great writer, instead of 'just' a writer. If you can help them to smell or taste as apposed to telling them 'He ate an apple', you have hit the nail on the to speak.  

The next time you find yourself writing a scene, stop and think about how you describe it. Once you have found the exact words and then read it out loud, you will be thrilled at how wonderful it sounds.

There are writers that are masters at this. There are writers that are masters at POV shifts too. We all have our strong suits, but if we can master all the creative writing techniques, we will then be the 'great' writers we are striving to be.

What are your strong suits when writing? Dialog, scenes, descriptions, hooks?
Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this subject, and no teasing my description of the blood on the carpet...just kidding!

Have a wonderful week everyone and I look forward to reading your comments. 

Love, Lisa

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do You Pay it Forward?

Isn't it nice when a fellow colleague plugs you or your work. Whether it's your blog, fanpage, or book, a pat on the back and a 'shared' response always feels good. But, do you make sure to reciprocate? 

I see this all the time on Facebook and LinkedIn. A person will reach out and join your blog/page and the person who gets the follow doesn't give back in some shape or form. Whether joining back or sharing the page with others, anything to say thank you for taking the time to read my page and I will read yours. 

Not all of us are published, but we are working toward the same goals. Now, I realize this is hard to keep up with all the time, but I see people that never do it. You know the type, even if you suggested something to help them with their platform, they would think they've got it covered, you're the know-it-all.

I don't mean to pick on people, I just wonder what runs through through their head? I try to reciprocate as much as possible. I'm sure there are those whom I have missed, but for the most part I try to get to everyone. 

When I am on a deadline it makes it hard to add additional responsibilities to the mix, but I will stop and remember that we are all trying to support each other in one fashion or another. And this doesn't just point to writers, there are other types of artists that should be doing the same thing. 

Social media is very competitive. I remember when I booked bands and comedians and I was told how competitive other agents were and that I need to step on toes to accomplish certain goals. I didn't agree with that, and I still don't. There is room for everyone in my opinion. Look at all the TV shows, cable networks, channels, internet, there are openings everywhere.

The same goes for books. If your work is great, it will get noticed. It might take some time since there are so many out there either self-publishing or traditional, but if you have a wonderful story, people will share it with others. And, if you are getting your name out there, you will get more sales.

It's like my father used to say, "What goes around, comes around"!

Leave me a comment and let me know if you experience or see this. What do you do to reach out and support someone?

I would love to know your thoughts and if there are any of you who I need to reciprocate let me know. I want to make sure to appreciate your time and acknowledgment! 

Love, Lisa

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hiking Muse

Here it is Monday already. Time sure has been moving fast lately. On the one hand, it's a good thing. My book will be launched before I know it. On the other, I'm getting old too fast! There is plenty I still want to do, and not that I won't have the time, but do I have the energy? 

We writers tend to hide in our little caves and write, or read if the mood changes. We are perfectly satisfied with hanging out in front of the computer talking to our cyber-friends and typing our next great story. 

That is, until the secretary spread is getting to be a problem and we need to get up and exercise. I do love to hike. I love being in God's country. I am so fortunate to live in a state where the Rocky Mountains are in my backyard. Literally for me. 

On Friday, my mother, my husband, and I, went for a jaunt. We have a small mountain near us that is a great place to hike in the 'off' season. See, one of the things about Colorado is we have sunshine more often than not. As long as we have several days without snow or rain, and then sunshine and warmer temperatures, the paths dry up and you can get your 'hike' on. 

It was a beautiful day. The sky was bright blue. The birds were having a wonderful time singing and the deer were napping in the hidden crevasses of the mountain. What more could I ask for? 

We hiked for an hour and a half. I know, your saying 'is that all' but when you're out of shape, that's enough to start out with. Walking and hiking are two different things. There are hills you have to go up. But we did it. My hips were feeling it and my old dog Branch was noticeably different by the time we got back to the car. I could tell she couldn't wait to crawl into her bed. Poor girl. She started out so excited, and ended with sprawling out in the back seat of the car, leaving no room for my mom and her dog, Sunny, to get in. 

We did manage to push her out of the way and get my mom back home. I am so grateful to get to hike in the middle of January. In fact, the whole weekend was nice, but I had two meetings to go to, and writing to do. Not to mention, my niece's birthday party, so it left little time to hike again. 

The whole week is supposed to be nice, so I am planning at least some walks around here. It really isn't that much different to walk around my neighborhood, then to go hiking. Plenty of hills. The only difference is, not too many dirt paths. It's a little harder on your body to walk on cement, or in the street. 

I'm looking forward to getting up in the high country soon and enjoying some bigger hikes. There is nothing more peaceful than to be surrounded by mountains. The smell of the pine trees, hearing the occasional skitter of a creature in the woods, or the rushing water of a spring along side the path. The warmth of the day, and then the shade from the cottonwoods. 

I love to go up early in the morning when most of the world is going to work and I can enjoy the wilderness in peace. I could live in the mountains. In fact,  when we retire, that is the plan. 

Have you ever been to Colorado? If you're one of my followers that don't have the complete joy of living here, do you want to come visit someday? If you don't live here, or in a city close to mountains, you should come on vacation. There is plenty to see and do. And, to those of you that are writers, it will help to get out in the fresh air and sunshine and 'get your hike on'! We gotta work on getting rid of those secretary spreads!

Until Thursday, I hope all of you have a great week. leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on hiking and the mountains. I would love to read them!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Brings You Back?

Last night I watched a webinar that I signed up for, on the subject of building an email list of fans, and to learn how to build a bigger following on Facebook.  Now, I'm not going to talk about the webinar, it would bore you, but a thought came to me while watching it--am I just a business? Is this only about sales for my novels? 

True, that is important, sales I mean, but I also value the relationships I have built and new friends that I have met along this journey. Not just the relationships I have personally, but my newest cyber-friends. There has been several people who have become extremely supportive that I've never met, except on Facebook or LinkedIn. I value their insight and their suggestions. Because I am open to what they have to say, it's helped me to become better at opening up to people. 

 Now, I know I am not the social magnet queen, but my goal is to never make people feel as though their support is not appreciated. Believe me, it is absolutely everything to me.

I have friends that love to leave comments, and some that do every once in a while. I have friends that never leave comments, but have told me they read my blogs and enjoy them. Yes, there are shy people, and there are those who simply go for it, and aren't worried what other's think. I'm sure there are people that aren't 'into' my blog, but are supportive nevertheless. 

My newest venture, the fanpage, has now become a new challenge for me. Trying to come up with clever ideas to post is not one of my strong suits, but at least I am trying. Actually the fanpage is easier, you only have to post short sentences, or interviews and articles that pertain to the subject, reading or writing. 

But, I would also like to make it fun. I have quite a few 'Famous', or they like to think of themselves as such, friends on Facebook. Some interact with their followers, some think themselves 'too big' to do so, but either way they get comments all the time. People so badly want to get noticed by whom they are following. I've never understood that, maybe someday one of you could explain that to me. Just to clarify what I mean by that, I am talking about successful people who are on FB or other social media sites, and post something that they get dozens of comments and never acknowledge the people back. You know, the ones who are too big for their britches, as my father used to say. Okay, one of them does every once in a while, but most of the time they simply post and watch the comments gather. 

I have vowed to always appreciate my followers or fans. True, some 'famous' people could never answer them all, but why post on Facebook if you're that 'big'? 

Anyway, if you have any ideas or suggestions for me about posts you would like to see, or subjects that you would like to read about, I would love to hear them. I do want to make it fun, and for my followers or fans to keep coming back to my blog and fanpage. Maybe look at this as a survey, what do you like to read about on blogs? What brings you back to certain ones?

I can't wait to see your answers, I will be waiting patently. Until Monday, have a great weekend everyone. And don't forget to drop me a line and let me know your thoughts on this subject.

Love, Lisa

Monday, January 14, 2013

Guest Today - Susan Uttendorfsky

Please welcome Susan Uttendorfsky to my blog today! She is my professional editor and I believe that if you are writing a book, she would be a great asset to your finished product. I met her through LinkedIn groups, specifically the group Writania. Rita introduced me to her and I am so glad I chose to have her as my editor. I have tons of questions, but will list my most important ones and I hope that those of you who read my blog will ask her some, too. She will be checking in throughout the day to comment back. Later this week we will draw a name from the people who do comment or have a question for 10% discount on a book or poetry you would like edited.

Thank you, Susan, for joining us. I have a goal to get self-published authors to consider an editor before they launch their babies. I believe it would make all the difference in the world for sales and for respect.

First question, tell us a little about yourself, married? Kids? Grandkids?
I’m not married, and I have two grandchildren – Mason is nineteen months old and Lylah is seven months old.

Fill us in on your background with regards to writing.
I had my first poem published when I was a child, and I wrote some short stories in high school.  After I trained as a secretary in the early 1980s, I mostly did business writing. When my children were small, I wrote some non-fiction parenting magazine articles, and newsletter articles for La Leche League, a breastfeeding organization. I had a letter to the editor published in Time magazine once.

Have you published a book and if so what was the genre?
No, I haven’t had a book published. I actually did start a novel when I was in my 20s – I think I still have it somewhere. It had something to do with espionage and the potential for nuclear war. Give me a break – that was in the 80s! It wasn’t very good, but that attempt has given me a great appreciation for all of you creative people out there who actually complete the process! I know there are lots of tips and tricks for keeping track of characters and subplots (spreadsheets, white boards, etc.), but even just to think them up in the first place is impressive. You’ve all got to give yourselves a big hand for that.

What got you started in professional editing?
As a secretary/administrative assistant, I inevitably edited my boss’ work, as well as my own. In addition, since I loved grammar and was happy to pore over the written word, I gradually became the go-to person for people who wanted me to review something. My mother took up writing after her retirement, and I started editing her books, which I enjoyed very much.  I loved seeing how a story developed and how I could tweak it just a little to make it better.  And how I could point out something an author hadn’t even considered and help polish their work. I stopped working in 2010 and went on disability, but I wasn’t comfortable relying on a source of income that could stop at any time, so after the first six months, I started investigating other employment opportunities that would fit my circumstances and editing came to the forefront. One of the best things I loved about administrative assistant work is that I enjoyed the tasks, and I could work in any industry and learn all about it. Editing has that same allure! I enjoy the tasks involved, and I get to read all about all sorts of topics. In the past year, I’ve learned about dinosaur fossils in Oklahoma; the history of Martinsburg, New York; and how to be a successful entrepreneur. Moreover, I get to read great fiction books! Depending on the changes I may suggest, nobody else in the world may ever read that exact book again… that’s exciting.

What are your goals in editing?
Well, my goals are to support myself financially and to support authors in achieving their dreams of being published. I’m not out to make a million dollars, and I don’t want to work for a publisher or another kind of company – I like being a freelance copy editor and working directly with authors. I genuinely want to help you make your book the best it can be.

What is your favorite genre to read? Do you have a favorite author?
My favorite genre is science fiction, particularly disaster and end-of-the-world scenarios, and dystopian fiction. I don’t really think I have a favorite author. There are some authors from whom I am have all the books in a series, but there isn’t anybody whose book I would automatically purchase regardless of the specific book. In addition to editing, I also offer honest reviews of self-published books.

And last but not least, where is your favorite place to vacation? I like to ask this one for fun!
My goodness! I haven’t been on a real vacation in over fifteen years. Hmmm… I did go to Paradise Island in the Bahamas once, and that was very nice. I think that was in 1989. Lol! I’d like to go on a cruise someday.

Thanks again for your willingness to come on my blog and answer questions about yourself and your profession. I am so glad there are people like you who love editing and are willing to do it at an affordable price. You can reach Susan at these links:
Adirondack Editing
Susan Uttendorfsky’s public LinkedIn profile
Smashwords profile
I am leaving all of you with one final note—Susan’s trailer for all of you to watch. I hope there are those among you that are considering Susan as an editor. Don’t wait, contact her and find out if this is the right way for you to have your book clean and professional when you put it out there for all to read.

Until Thursday, may all of you have a wonderful week! Lisa

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Book Review - Chosen Series

I have not written a book review in a while, but I have been reading the Chosen series, by Denise Grover Swank, and really enjoy the story. I thought I would pass it on to those of you who enjoy reading urban fantasy. So far, and I'm in book 2, I have not seen the typical urban fantasy characters. No Vampires, or Werewolves, which is a breath of fresh air for me. I am tired of the same old.

Her story begins with Emma and her son, Jake, running from the 'bad guys'. She doesn't know who they are, only that her son, who is 5 yrs old, knows they are coming. A stranger, Will, offers to help and then jumps in her car with her, uninvited. If it weren't for her son telling her that Will is going to help them, she would have dumped him somewhere. But she trusts in her son's abilities. 

There is a lot of action and she does a great job introducing the character's and building their personalities. These 'bad guys' keep showing up, some how, and you don't figure out how they could know where they are until later on, almost at the end. It is a good series. I am so glad all the books are published because I am terrible at waiting.

My favorite series, the Game of Thrones, has me waiting almost 2 yrs for the 6th novel and I'm dying to know what's going to happen. I am hoping once my book is published, you will feel the same!

I think most of you will like this series. There are gun battles, intrigue, character's with powers, and a story that unfolds. You don't get answers until Will and Emma do, which I like that too. You will fall in love with Emma and Will and worry about them. Plus, you really want to know what's going on.

The only negative I found in the books are several places of POV shifts and using the same words close to each other. Other than that, the author did a great job in critiquing since these are self-published. As I have always said, an editor would have caught those, but they are already published. Since I am a writer myself, I catch these, but those of you that aren't won't even notice. 

Check this series out. If this is your sort of read, you will like them. Until Monday, I hope all of you have a great weekend. Don't forget to mark your calendar for my Guest Spot, Susan Uttendorfsky, my editor. And to give you a nice little surprise, she will be offering a 10% discount to one of the people that comment. We will do a drawing of names and the winner will be announced on next Thursday's blog post.

Have a great one, Lisa

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Note

Happy Monday all. I hope your week is prosperous! I'm only writing a short post today. My Grandson is having surgery and I want to be there for him. He's only 4 yrs. old and sweet as the day is long. I need to hug him and tell him I'm there for him.

So it's not a thought out blog today. I don't have time since I have to be there at 6:30 and it's an hour drive, almost. It breaks my heart to think my little guy has to have surgery. Not only is he having one, but two. He is getting his tonsils out and he was born with a hernia and it never 'fixed' itself, so that is the other one. He is not going to feel very good.

Smart on the doctor's part though. Do them both at the same time. Otherwise, he won't want to come back and have another surgery. No one likes to be in pain, and no one likes hospitals. 

I will be having a special guest next week so mark your calendars for next Monday the 14th. My editor, Susan Uttendorfsky, will be here to answer any questions or comments you may have. She's a great lady and reasonable in her prices. You could find out if she is someone you would hire for your editing needs. 

So, until Thursday, have a great week everyone. And, if you get a chance pop over to our new Facebook fanpage and 'like' it. It would be wonderful to have you join in. I will leave the link, but just in case you can stroll down my blog page and click on the Facebook badge and it will take you to it. 

Thanks for all of your support everyone and I will see you on Thursday!

Love, Lisa

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013, Are You Ready?

Here we go again, another new year with new challenges. Are you up for it? I for one am looking forward to this year. Our book will be launched in a few months, and I have another one almost completely written and will start on revisions soon. If all goes well, we plan to get that one out in the fall or winter. 

Now that we understand more about creative writing, we hope to be able to get through this next book a little easier. We are also blessed with a wonderful editor, and great critique partners. It is a big plus. 

I will be having our editor on here as a guest this month. I am looking forward to introducing her to everyone, and those of you that are writers can check her out. She charges very reasonable rates and is really good. My plan is to get the word out to my self-published colleagues that this is an important step before you launch your book. 

There is a new group discussion on LinkedIn about this very subject, and although some agree that this is an important step, there are those who believe their book is up to par enough to publish it without an editor. My look on it is even the big publishing companies have editors go over their clients book before publishing. There must be a reason for it.

Now that the book, Fable, is at the editors, my sister and have been working on the dreaded social media. That is the next part of my plan, to understand all the in's and out's of building our fan base. Basically, a nightmare, for me anyway. 

The reason I don't like it is I'm not that great at computers and there is a lot to learn. I know, it's a must, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. At least I am doing it and know the importance of it. 

We set my sister, Toni, up on Pinterest, and Twitter, and we started building the fanpage for Facebook. I am very excited about the fan page, and I am excited to get my sister introduced out there to all my new friends. I know she will be a major asset and I hope she is welcomed by everyone.

We will be working on this Saturday and probably the next month. I hope to learn all the new ways to reach our readers and hope that when the book is launched, they will check it out.

We also met with the artist, Mike, who is creating the cover and map for our book. It is coming along nicely! I love it! I will put up a picture of part of the map so far so you can check it out. 

And, just to let you know, I rewrote the poem, and it looks much better. Thanks to everyone who left me comments. They got me thinking and working on it. It is now at the editor's, so we will see what she thinks. 

Last, but not least, I will be having more guests in the coming months. More writers, and authors, and I will try to have more that are in my own genre. But, I will have writers from other genres as well. I think books are the best way to get away, no matter what you prefer to read, or even to write. 

Until next week, I hope that you are all working on whatever it is you plan on to have a wonderful and prosperous new year. leave me a comment and tell me your goals for 2013. I would love to hear them!

Love, Lisa