Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guest Post

I'm still out of town, but I'm still visiting too.

Yesterday a guest interview went live at Karen Lange's Write Now!

Please give it a read! 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Something Big for my Kids and Celebrate the Small Things Early

So, I've hinted around a bit, and maybe had too many proud mama moments on facebook, but I'm finally ready to reveal a bit more here on my blog.

My daughters are going to New York City for a five day International Modeling and Talent Association competition/conference!

They auditioned and were accepted a few months ago, and since then we've been calling Seattle Talent our second home, where our daughters are taking acting and modeling classes (again, something they had to audition and interview for back in February and March).

In addition to classes that are sometimes three days a week (specifically for the competition), we've had to shop.

Now, I know what you are most of you are thinking: yay shopping, right?

Ew. I only like bookstores for shopping. My daughters know this well.

However, we did manage to have a bit of fun, and with some professional help (one of the former models who works for Seattle Talent), we did find some "high fashion" outfits for a fairly inexpensive price.

My girls also had their hair cut, styled (and in one case, highlighted) by a hair artist . . . and watching him work on my kids' hair was definitely like watching a highly trained artist/sculptor at work.

This is a foreign world to me. I'm more of a jeans, t-shirts, and cheap hair cut kind of woman. Of course, I own a number of hats (note: cheap hair cuts sometimes look bad). I wear sneakers for every day wear. I don't wear makeup, and seem to be mildly allergic to most make up and hair care products (burned scalp and major rashes, anyone?).

So . . . when my kids begged me to take them to a modeling and acting place, I wasn't super enthusiastic. It took two years for me to think about the idea, and a lot of research done my oldest daughter, to get me to bring them to their audition.

But now, several months, and several memorized monologues, scripts, and commercials later, plus learning the "model walk," and I find I'm super excited for both of them.

Oh, my kids also got me to buy a fancy(ish) dress for me for the banquet, and a few outfits that don't include jeans, so I'm ready to cheer them on from the audience.
(And I survived the shopping experience, except for some tears at an overly fancy dress shop one day - those places should be outlawed and replaced by book stores).

New York City, here we come! Countdown: 3 days.

We decided to turn our trip to New York into a big family vacation, and extend our time there. So, I won't be here for a few weeks. I might visit your blogs, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to do that, so I won't be posting. And prior to our departure, I'm going to be scrambling with last minute preparations.

Celebrate the Small Things (a little early):

1. Suitcases, and small toothpaste tubes. :)

2. I took my books on a mini road trip on Tuesday to deliver it to a store in the tiny town of Port Gamble where my mom-in-law grew up, and to two bookstores in Sequim, a smallish town. (pronounced "squim" - just ignored the "e" in that name and you'll fit in on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington). According to the book shop owners, they expect that they'll need to re-order from me within a month - that would be awesome, but I'm not counting on it.

3. My youngest celebrated her 12th birthday early with a wonderful group of friends at the park, and they all liked my allergy free chocolate cake, and even the melting "slushicles" that we had. Plus, they played lots of games and wore themselves out.

4. The trip we've been looking forward to for months is just around the corner.

So, what are you celebrating? And have you ever let your kids participate in something that's way outside your background and comfort zone, and then found out that it's not so bad?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things

This week I would like to take a moment and thank Viklit for starting this wonderful hop. Celebrate the Small Things is a wonderful way to end each week and look forward to the next. Thank you Vik!

My Celebration this week is:
1. Getting a call on Tuesday from a unique books and antiques shop owner from small town Port Gamble this week. She asked for 5 copies of Champion in the Darkness to sell from her store, and wants to me to bring some promo flyers for her front window. Really cool!!

The backstory on this: I gave my parents two copies of my book to take with them on their secondary, non-motorcycle, road trip up the Peninsula (we live on mid to south part of the Washington peninsula), and my mom talked to three shop owners about my books and brought back their business cards. So, now, my mom is my #1 PR expert.

And, I would like to highlight some blogger buddies I love who have celebrations this week:

Tara Tyler's book, Pop Travel, is out!!! I downloaded a kindle copy because I couldn't stand waiting for a paperback, and I have to say: it's a thrilling read!!!

Find it at Amazon, and find out more about Tara's Pop Travel Blog Tour! (I'll be hosting Tara later - Yay!)

Also, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStorm is coming soon, and he has an awesome book trailer!

Plus, there's a Goodreads giveaway for CassaStorm!

And S.K. Anthony had a cover reveal. Isn't this a gorgeous cover?

And Indie author, Laura Diamond is releasing her book, Endure today! Goodreads Link
Also, Ali Cross and a group of other writers who write for tweens have started a new site called Emblazon. It's a cool site!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Indie Life: Success?

What does Success mean for an indie author?

I'm a little embarrassed to admit where my mind goes first on this one, but here it is:

The first word that jumps to mind is: sales.

Then: recognition.

Then: growth.

I think I might have this backwards a bit, but I admit that is where my brain goes when I first think of that question.

There are some amazing, extremely successfully indie authors who have all three of those words easily applied to them.

Am I one of them?

Well, by strict definition . . . no.

Sales: my books are selling slowly, one by one, not hundred by hundred or thousand by thousand.

Recognition: um, here with my blog buddies - yes!!! (Thanks!) In my smallish community of homeschool and church friends and a few bookstore owners -yes! Plus, I did garner one somewhat local newspaper article - yes! And I've had some sweet reviews!
Recognition beyond people I know: Um, maybe one or two people out there who don't know me via blog or personal life or meeting at the bookstore with my books in hand.

Growth: (in writing and readership) Slow growth, very slow growth, but hopeful growth.

So, what does success mean for this Indie author?

I hope someday to hit higher sales and garner a little recognition beyond my circle of friends.

However, until then, success is about growth in writing, and a growth in readership. 

Plus, when I have one of my "I'm not very successful" bummed out feelings, I remind myself of something an excellent writing teacher told me,

"Don't expect success as a writer until you have 5-6 books published and on the shelves. Until then, don't quit your day job, and even after then, don't quit it right away." (And she was talking about traditional publishing many years ago, before the indie boom)

So. Two down, four more to go. And the day jobs are un-quittable, so I'm safe there.

Also, there's another great article about self-publishing here: Ron Vitale - and I found that post by reading C. Lee Mckenzie's post here.

How do you measure success?

And for the Wednesday Movie Quote via Alex J. Cavanaugh:

"Lipstick Taser!" (from Despicable Me 2)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Dayze

Many Thanks for all the support and encouragement in the last week! I've seen shout outs for my book, and read your awesome comments, and I really appreciate them! Thank you!

I'm feeling a bit bad about not getting comments into the comment stream on my blog. However, I'm trying to visit everyone that comments here, and I hope that's all right.

This summer has been . . . interesting, fun, and very focused on family, something big for my kids, and exercise.

On a typical weekday morning, I bike ride with my husband between 6 and 12miles, and then I walk/job with my kids and their friends 2-3 miles.

Our days have been busy with the "something big for my kids" that I'll get to in a post next week, we've been doing a lot of fun activities as a family, and then when I cram in writing time around things, and then I visit blogs.

So, please know that I love you all very much and I appreciate all your comments, but I feel my best way to show that appreciation is to visit you back . . . so if I don't keep up with the comment stream below, please know that I'm making time for visiting . . . even if it is on a Sunday afternoon, or late at night.

Oh, and if you hadn't noticed, my summer schedule is a bit off and on. I think I'll be here this Wednesday and Friday, and then next week . . . well, I'll be revealing a bit about the "something big for my kids," doing a bit of celebrating and then I'll be off for a few weeks until the first Wednesday in August.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG - Out of Order and Celebration

Have you ever blurted something out?

Ever pushed send on an e-mail and then realized you weren't quite ready yet to do that?

Ever done things out of order while cooking dinner - you know, like steaming the asparagus (1 minute) before throwing the roast in the oven (2-3 hours of cooking)?

Ever added the vanilla after the chocolate chip cookie dough was mostly made?

Or . . . pushed publish at CreateSpace before you meant to?

I've done all those things.

And one of them I did just a little over a week ago.

It's true that I had copy edited, proofed, and checked, and re-checked my manuscript at least ten times, but I wasn't intending to push the final "publish" button until I had my ebook formatted, and maybe a book release party set up . . . ok, so I was thinking of going really small on that last part, but I was having some last minute daydreams of grandeur.

And the silly button on CreateSpace wasn't that clear. It didn't say "publish by pushing this," it said "finish with proof." Well, yes, I was finished with the proof. So, I clicked that button. (That's my excuse, anyway)

And my book went live on CreateSpace ten days before I wanted it to, and before I had my ebook ready, before I had anything set other than a request for a shout out for my release party.

Um. Oops.

So, that's bad enough, and then I ran madly around the web trying to throw up last minute blasts about it coming out.

And then, createspace alerted me to 4 spelling errors in my book. Aagh! 4 spelling errors - and in actuality they only caught two spelling errors and two "Tyreanisms" - words that I made up (I like to pretend I'm Shakespeare like that). So, I was in "crazy panic" mode and I fixed them, and re-uploaded the book, and then it went to "processing" which meant that it was no longer on sale after I just told everyone that it was, and I felt like a giant loser/shmuck/doofus/embarrassment to the entire indie community. Or as I put it in a comment on my blog on Sunday afternoon:

It's been a bit of rough go with some foolish moments on my part, and my lack of inner understanding of tech showing like pink underwear under a sheer white pant suit.

So I'm feeling insecure about my own lapses, and at the same time being egotistical enough to think that I'm ruining the whole world for other indie authors - how insecure and crazy is that?

And then . . .at the same time, I'm celebrating Dragonfold and Other Adventures. It's really, actually, definitely, for sure out now. It's a fantasy short story and poetry collection that I enjoyed putting together, and it is partly dedicated to all of you bloggers who have inspired me to keep writing, despite all my faults and mistakes. Thank you IWSG!


Available at Amazon.

Now, really, I'll stop talking about it, and get back to revising Champion in Flight.

Ever make mistakes like I do? Do anything out of order? or Do you keep all your ducks in a row at all times?