Friday, September 27, 2013

Seasons Come and Seasons Go

Fall! My favorite time of the year! This is no secret for those of you that know me. Although it is true that seasons come and go, this one by far is the best.

There is nothing more cozy or inviting than a cool evening cuddled up in front of a hearth, your favorite drink in hand, watching the embers crackle and pop and smell the richness of the burning pine or oak. 

The sweet aroma of Pumpkin or apple pie baking in the oven, or a brazened turkey. Plaid blankets waiting for you to curl up in. The sound of the game on TV.

Or taking a walk down a mountain path, crisp leaves and pine needles at your feet, cushioning each step. The colors of gold, red, green, and brown, surround you on this fairy tale scene. Lovely! 

The water babbling over rocks and fallen tree limbs, the sound lolling you to breathe and take in the fresh crisp air and beautiful azure sky. 

Squirrels gathering the last of their stash before winter's harsh cold and deep snow sends them inside for the months ahead. Deer curling up together under the trees and enjoying the weak rays of sun before the chilly night.

Ahh...I love fall! Nothing is more spectacular! I love wearing sweaters, drinking hot tea, football, gathering leaves in piles to dive into. Watching horses run and play in the fields, their energy from the fresh air revitalizing their spirits. 

The sky seems clearer, the sun brighter, and the air fresher. The surreal picture of a range of mountains covered in bright fall colors as if an artists brush stroke renewed the scene. 

On Monday we plan to take a drive up to Kenosha pass and take pictures and a hike through the trees. My mom and the dogs are going with us and even though my mom eyes are slowly fading out, she can, for now, still enjoy the fall colors and the crisp air. The dogs will be happy because there are areas we can let them run free for a little while and watch them chase and pounce through the leaves.  

I look forward to it! Until next week, enjoy the wonderful autumn weekend! I'll see you


Love, Lisa

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Actually this is the first time I've come to my blog page with several topics I want to write about. It's a tough choice, but I think what we're doing and where we are with writing the books will be the topic this time. Next one, either excited about fall, or what's new in the writing class I'm teaching. I can't decide.

It does feel good to have more than one choice for once!

Well, we are moving along with Fated, the novella turned novel, that we are almost finished with. As I said in the last post, we are struggling with the choreography of the ending. I really want to get it right and also make you, the reader, want to read the next book, Lore.

We are on either the last chapter, or we will add a little more and have one more short chapter, we will see how it goes. Then we still have the epilogue  which is a short one, too. I am hoping to be through this in the next two weeks so that we can make one more run through and fix or add what we need to.

We have a white board with a list of 28 fixes that we will revisit and correct, then off to the  beta readers. Hopefully by the middle of October. After that, it goes to Susan for the final edit. I just want to have it published on Amazon before Xmas. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Then there's Lore! The second novel in the series. I did some work on it and added several scenes and wrote most of one. I am fixing and, or, adding to the rough draft to get it ready for when Toni and I start on it. I bypassed one chapter and am now working on chapter 9. The previous one will get worked on next. I just happen to have the muse for the one I'm working on now.

See, the book goes back and forth between this world and Djenrye. I am trying to keep it around the same timelines in both worlds and so you know what's happening in each one. Chapter 8 is here on this side, and 9 on the other. So now you know why I jumped a chapter.

The story is coming along nicely, I think anyway. I plan to be through chapter 12-15 before we start on it. I want to be ahead so I know how the story will go. I will do some more work on it this week and at least finish that scene I was working on.

Next, and on the side, I am working on the outline for Fable still. We need all the information to stay on track with Lore. After that, I will start on the outline for Fated. 

As you can see, there's plenty for me to do. When writing a series, the work never ends! I just hope that all of you like the books and look forward to the next ones!

Is there anyone of my followers that are writing series? If so, what is your process for writing your novels and keeping track of it all?

Until Friday, I hope all of you have a great week and enjoy this nice cool Fall weather!

See ya later, Lisa

Friday, September 20, 2013

The End

Oh yes, the ending of a manuscript, and the hardest part to get right! Toni and I met with our critique partners last night and I was quickly taken back to the memory of the end of Fable last year.

Now, we are back to rewriting it so the story will have it's climactic peak, as it were. Yes, this can be frustrating, but I'm reminded of how invaluable our critique partners are and usually their advice is worth listening to. 

When we worked on the end of Fable, they came up with some great ideas that we implemented and they paid off. So again, we are taking their words of encouragement and changing the ending. 

Back to square one. Not completely, just the last two chapters. So I'm faced with the book being finished a little later than anticipated, but it will be well worth it in the end, no pun intended. So, that is what I will be doing today, rewriting.

Those of you who write books know how hard the beginning and the end are. It's tough in the beginning because you want the reader to keep turning the page and once you're on the "right" roll, the manuscript seems to come to life. That is, until you get to the other tough part, the ending. 

So, bear with us on this, we will get the pacing and excitement where it needs to be so when you read "The End", you will be disappointed that it's over. That's the idea anyway. 

So, take heart all you writers out there, you will figure out the best way to capture that ending and keep your readers coming back for more. It's just a matter of trial and error, and lots of patience. And, not to mention, listening to some good advice!

Have any of you run into this issue? What helped you to decide what the ending should be? I'm sure there are those who wished they wrote certain endings of their books different after publishing. Did you go back in and change it, or just lived with it?

Well, Thank God it's Friday and the weekend's ahead of us. It gives me some extra time to get it right!

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Love, Lisa


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

First Writing Class

All seemed to go well for our first writing class day on Sunday. Once we figured out if we should meet, (due to all the rain here in Colorado) and if so, when. We finally settled down in a lovely bookstore/coffee shop, Fireside.

We started out introducing ourselves and talked about our writing aspirations and what we have accomplished so far. Then we talked about some of the creative writing skills we would be touching on in the weeks that follow. 

I gave the homework of creating an outline and some ideas of making an outline more fun. It didn't have to be like the ones taught in school, more like a chart of what important scenes that were in each chapter and how to keep track of timelines and characters. 

For example, my first one was color coded. I bought a bulletin board and used a different colored marker to represent each character. I wrote out what they did in each chapter and boxed off each chapter separately. 

Now, we use an excel graph and I explained how we can keep track of each scene, chapter, and time on the left. Along the top is the names of the characters and in the cells underneath, we highlight what happens in each one of those scenes.

I then explained the importance of creating an outline they can put up on their wall. Once it is finished, they can see their entire book in front of them and look at the pacing and action/non-action of the book. 

We are meeting again this Sunday and I plan to go over what they came up with for their outline and discuss one of the creative writing skills. After that, we will talk about the synopsis of their book(s), so that I can see ahead of time where their story is going. 

I haven't decided what their homework will be, but I think I will have then send me 5 pages each and those of us with more writing experience will critique them and send them back so they can work on it.

I guess that's about it for now. I did enjoy the class and learning about the other people's writing experience. I look forward to getting to know them all better and seeing their progress. 

do any of you work with a critique partner or have you joined a writing group? What has helped you the most?

Until Friday, I hope your week is fantastic. Here in Colorado we are starting to dry up and now the real work begins for those who were in the flood's path. My thoughts and prayers are with them through this journey of starting over in a lot of ways.

Love, Lisa

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Day To Read

We have been getting unbelievable rain here in Colorado for the last few days, so much so that the entire front range from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins is on flood watch. Boulder county alone has received a foot of rain fall in less than 24 hrs. Amazing!

I've spent most of yesterday watching the weather since we had our own flooding here in my house, but we finally fixed some of the problems and hopefully, as long as there aren't any downpours, we are back to normal. The videos on the news are down right crazy! I have never seen anything like this here, and I've lived here for 40 yrs.

Yes, there was the Big Thomson flood in '76, but that was one incident, this is an amazing amount of size and scope of the area's being affected. I'm grateful that I don't live along one of the creeks or tributaries here, it could be a different story all together.

So, I decided today would be a rest and read day. I do plan to work on the book(s) a little bit, but for the most part, I am recovering from our own disaster yesterday. 

Between mopping, hauling big tubs of water to the driveway, moving boxes and stuff out of the water's line, and a visit from the plumber and the like, I'm tired. I'm just not cut out for this any more!

Yes, this will be a short post, but I'm sure everyone is busy dealing with their own little issues today, so it won't be a major problem.

Stay warm and dry everyone, and I'll talk to you next week. Have a great weekend!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Taking On A New Role

This coming weekend will be a first for me, I will be coaching some ladies on the basics of creative writing. 

I have never considered myself a teacher, but I have done a lot of training in my life. Of course it wasn't in writing, but I still know the basics of teaching someone how to do something. Yes, being a teacher in a classroom is a whole other thing, but this won't be in a class setting, it will be at a coffee shop. 

I am nervous about it. I hope I am doing the right thing. I really want to help new writers and pay forward what helped me.

Originally when I came up with the idea for our group, HODRW, I didn't think I would be the one actually leading this group. I figured they would want someone with more experience, but I look at it this way, I can learn a few things, too. I know I will never stop learning.

I think it's important to help others, I mean someone helped you, right?! You weren't born knowing whatever it is you do. Someone took the time to teach you, whether it was in school, or in a trade, or even an artistic talent. 

I just hope I am helpful and correctly teach the skills of creative writing. I am planning to do some research this week into workshops and see how they set up everything. Plus, I do have the knowledge of how my writing coach taught me and I have been applying some of that when working with my writer friend, Jodi.

So, hopefully this will turn out to be a good thing. If you have any ideas for the structure I should use, please feel free to drop me a line. I am always open to hearing ideas. 

Keep your fingers crossed for me and next week I will fill you in on what I've come up with. Have a great week everyone!

Love, Lisa

Friday, September 6, 2013

Trying To Sell Books

Happy Friday All! This week got away from me. I completely forgot to post Tuesday. The three day weekend through me off. Well, that and the fact that my mother has been having medical issues. I was, and still am, very worried about what her near future holds if she goes blind. But for now, she's doing well.

On a more positive note, it's Friday! Another weekend is just around the corner. When I was in the working class, I worked weekends with most of my jobs. So the weekend for me was Tuesday's and Wednesday's. Hey, at least I got a lot done on those days since everyone else was working.

I had planned to talk about social marketing today. Something that is tough for all of us who either are a sole proprietor, or entrepreneur. Time is not on most people's side and spending the day hanging out on Facebook, Twitter, and the like, just isn't in the cards. All is not lost though.

It is hard to organize your life to begin with, and then add marketing your book to the mix complicates it even more. A few months ago I attended a seminar about this very subject and the speaker had some great suggestions on how to find the time to do this.

The one thing that has helped me the most is purchasing a smart phone. You can keep up with Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest on most. Of course, your email, too.  This is the number one suggestion in my book. 

Number two, pick which media outlet you find is the most responsive and the most comfortable for you. Some like Facebook because of the constant more personal approach. Some like Twitter since it only allows 140 characters per comment. Which ever you pick is fine, just make sure you have a presence on there.

Take Facebook for instance. The best way to make sure you have this presence is to set up a ritual that you follow. Maybe at least twice a day, go in check to see if you have new follows, and take care of that. Then any private messages, then check your notifications. Make comments back, like a few posts, and leave a comment yourself. Preferably, ask a question in your comment to invite people to join in.

If you take 15 minutes twice a day to do this, your presence will grow. Since most people are working in the job force and don't have a lot of extra time, this will at least get you out there and start to grow a fan base. 

But I believe the best thing you can do to create followers and build a fan base, is to write great books! Yes, you still need to build a platform for people to want to search out your work, but if you don't give them a quality novel, then you will lose them entirely.

So take the time to make sure your story(s) are capturing and thoughtful of the reader. Once you feel you've accomplished that, then the social media will help to sell your books. Word of mouth is everything in this business.

What do you do to sell lots of books? Are there certain mantras that have worked for you that maybe you would be willing to share?

I always believe that we can help each other and all be successful. Have a great weekend all! I look forward to any comments you want to leave. I love getting to know you and anything you want to share.

Always, Lisa