Wednesday, March 25, 2015

When life gets busy - stress management

You've been listening to me complain about "too much on my plate" lately, with deadlines at work and trying to push the new book out. My brains are rattling inside my head and it seems like there is a hive of bees buzzing around in there (thank goodness they don't sting!). One of the things I like to do to counteract the buzzing is look for the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Consciously take myself out of the stress by looking forward to the "happy" things.

The weather in Illinois is turning. Spring is upon us and I am definitely a Spring person. I love the way the world comes back to life after a long winter. The return of color to the landscape, of wildlife running through the woods. These things make me smile, give me a warm, happy feeling. My Dear Husband and I can go walking, something we enjoy doing together. The young'uns came for a visit. That makes me smile, warms my heart. I bought another book. Books take me out of my head and into a world someone else has created. And then there's the change of venue approach. I have several trips scheduled this year that I can look forward to, both new and different places, and familiar places with people I enjoy spending time with.

What do you do in your down time? What gets you through the crunch times, when you have several "days in a row" of responsibilities and you need a break?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Deadlines, everywhere I look

The sun is shining. Spring is trying to push winter out of its way. The world is coming back to life.

Last night on the news they said we might be able to see the Aurora Borealis in Illinois, (This is high on my bucket list), but I couldn't see anything last night.

And I'm exhausted. Deadlines at the day job - March Madness, as previously referenced, and living up to the hype. Deadline with the new book.

All deadlines are on schedule! I may collapse in a big heap on April 1, but I'm feeling very accomplished at the moment. Waiting on one final piece of the puzzle to prepare the paperback copy, but Gathering Mist is available for pre-order as an e-book NOW. The official release date is on track for April 6.

And now I have to go punish myself with more work, because that's how my month of March plays out. Tell all your friends to buy the new book, and once I hit the best seller's list, I can give up the day-job deadlines in favor of writing more books. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Writer's Angst and "The Best Day of my Life"

I've been struggling with some of the edits to my upcoming release, more because of the other distractions in my life at the moment.

We are in the thick of "season" at the day job. March Madness (not related to basketball, but to volume of work).

Why did I think I could release a book this time of year? What made me think I could write a book, period? Who's going to want to read this drivel? This is known as writer's angst. It strikes at the most inopportune times, and I spent my weekend in the throes, mostly because my time is at a premium. So when my husband asked me if I was ready to go to the grocery store and I bit his head off with "Don't rush me! I have enough stress!" his eyes grew very wide and he stepped silently backward, away from the crazy lady.

On Monday morning, the day after the time change, mind you (and yes, I am a morning person), I woke up to American Authors singing "The Best Day of My Life." 5:20 a.m. I actually jumped out of bed and started singing (please don't call the men in the white coats yet). I had a fresh frame of mind, a new beginning to a new day. I'd been thinking through the edits I'd done the night before (which I was NOT happy with) and "saw the light." I knew what I wanted to do to make the story "right."

On my train ride into the Big City, I wrote notes to work with later on. And then I got into the office. Little by little, my enthusiasm started to wane with the heavy weight of work piling on once more, capped off by one of the people who work for me telling me they were taking a day off at the next deadline. Not asking, telling. At the deadline. Leaving us short-handed. At the deadline. These are the days where I hate my job. Fortunately, these types of days are limited, due to the highly seasonal nature of work that we do.

Tomorrow is another day. I'm on deadline at the day job, and I'm on deadline to get my book in the best shape it can be for release day. God willing, I will accomplish both deadlines without losing too much hair.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Prepping the new release

Today is "back from the editor" day.

Last week was the first deadline week of the season at the day job.

Karla is hyperventilating and chewing her nails (unattractive, I know).

Here's what you need to know today. Gathering Mist is scheduled to release April 6 (barring unforeseen circumstances). You can pre-order at the low bargain price of just $3.99 at all the usual outlets (links on the right side of the page). If you're a newsletter subscriber, there will be a special offer for Mist on the Meadow (so you can catch up on what you missed in the first book in the series, in case you haven't read it yet). The newsletter will go out near the end of March (you can sign up by clicking the "About the Author" tab or on my Facebook page. In the meantime, here's a glimpse at the new cover.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Read an Ebook Week

Readers: Where to Find Books

Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Catalog - This is the hub of the action, where you find over 50,000 multi-format books regularly priced at free every day, and thousands more that are free or deep-discounted for one week only.
Apple iBooks - For iPhone, iPad, iTunes and Mac users.   CLICK HERE to bring up a selection of FREE ebooks organized by categories such as Featured Titles, Fiction & Literature, Non-Fiction, Children & Teens, Romance, Mysteries & Thrillers, Sci-fi & Fantasy, Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Entertainment and more.  iBooks features thousands of free and low-cost books every day in their iBooks app.
Barnes & Noble - Download thousands of free ebooks.  Click the "See all" link to drill down into multiple other categories of free books.

Several of my titles are discounted up to 75% at Smashwords. Click on the title and check the right side of the page for the discount code. Click here to check out your options.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Muses and Cosmic Forces

This has been one of those weeks.

Every author questions what they write. We all wonder if what we've written is so much manure, and sometimes we actually know it would be better as fertilizer. I have at least two stories that I've written that I shelved never to see the light of day. Even I don't like them! But there's this one ...

Whenever I'm between books, I always pull Epitaph back off the shelf. It stays with me, and yet I still seem to push it out of the way when new ideas jump in. So here I am, waiting for my editor to finish looking over Gathering Mist, and looking ahead to my new project. And there's Epitaph, tapping me on the shoulder again. So I opened up the files. And cringed. I wrote this several years ago, and the writing is very sloppy. That means I have to reconstruct it, which makes me stop to wonder if its really worth the effort. But then something happened.

I was reading a book and the author used one of the phrases I looked up as a simile for Epitaph! Really?? A NYT Bestselling author used the same phrase. What are the odds? Well obviously her book was published and mine wasn't, so she gets dibs. The phrase? "Life by Normal Rockwell, screenplay by Stephen King." I have a young epitaph writer who people think is odd. She looks normal, even backward, and yet she has this skill that frightens people. Seemed like a perfect description. Until I read it in someone else's book!  So yeah, I scrambled to come up with another expression to use that probably works better. (Funny how that works!)

THEN, as I continued to wonder at the wisdom of trying to resurrect (no pun intended) this project, someone random posted something to my facebook page. A random quote by Percy Bysshe Shelley. So? you might ask? Well here's the thing. Epitaph has, well, epitaphs in it. One of them is a quote by Shelley.

So what's the big deal? Coincidence? Yeah, probably. But for an author sitting on the precipice between tearing up a story and losing it forever and trying to breathe life into her baby, it's a sign from the cosmos. A muse, tapping her on the shoulder.

So what am I working on? Epitaph. 

I have a cover for Gathering Mist, thanks to a stunning cover artist who has done great work for me! Chewing on my fingernails as I wait to hear from the editor on whether or not that one works. Still looking for an April release date (reminder: sign up for my newsletter to keep up to date on my new releases!).

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Elgin Literary Festival recap

I was honored this year to participate in an inaugural literary festival in Elgin, Illinois. (and a shout out to everyone who stopped by to say hello, and also to those who bought books!) They had something for everyone, from kids at the library, to fantasy, to self-help. Thank you to YA paranormal author Karly Kirkpatrick for organizing a great event.

The festival was spread around the city, in the old downtown area. Lots of charming venues, interesting break-out sessions. It was a nice way to showcase the city along with the information that was available. I sat on a romance writers panel along with Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Kym Brunner, Simone Elkeles, Nicki Elson, AJ Pine and Joanne Zienty. Excellent company! Fun to compare notes with other authors and answer questions from readers.

They had sessions for YA readers, for paranormal readers, Sci-Fi, fantasy and dystopian, poetry and sessions for writers/aspiring authors as well.

The book signings were done in the same venue where the Elgin Symphony Orchestra plays, and we were lucky enough to be there on Sunday when the symphony was playing Brahms.

So what's next? My next brain storm is brewing. While busy season lurks at the day job, I've been reworking Epitaph in the creative lull "between books," while also thinking ahead to the third in the Kundigerin trilogy, along with the next installment of the Northwest Suburbs. Seems as if that tromp l'oeil idea I've been tossing around would work in conjunction with telling Matt's story. Nobody liked Matt, right? I mean he dumped Audrey, then he fathered a child with Shannon, how can a man like that be redeemed? A new challenge...

Still on track for an April release for Gathering Mist - Kundigerin 2. Sign up for my newsletter to keep up to date on the new releases (click on the "About the Author" tab at the top). Pre-release information should be available within the next 10 days (unless I've made a bigger mess of things than I'd expected!). Anyone else as excited as I am?