Monday, January 30, 2017

If I Succeed, Will I Have to Sacrifice My First Born Child?

Do you have invisibilitis? In case you aren't familiar with the disease, it is a debilitating condition that renders the afflicted weakened and benign, often afraid to shine too brightly or sing too loudly.  Just for the record, I have a slight case of invisibilitis....Okay, I might have made the word up, so don't go pestering Google. You probably won't find anything. 

The condition flares up, like a bad case of diarrhea, whenever I threaten to do something truly magnificent. Invisibilitis manifests itself as the deep, irrational fear that IF I succeed (for example, my novel is a hit), THEN something equally awful will happen (one of my children will be picked off by the imaginary vultures in the sky, or I'll get cancer).

Friday, January 27, 2017

How Important is a Social Following For a New Author?

My unfinished manuscript, last year at this
time <3
Do you have a soundtrack in your mind? Some of you might be scratching your head and wondering what in the heck I'm talking about. But I suspect most of you know exactly what I mean. For those who don't - let me explain.

For example, when I'm in the grocery store during rush hour AND Miss Slow Poke is taking her sweet time in front of the exact section that I NEED to be in.....the song that plays in my soundtrack is "Move Bit@# Get Out Da Way" by Ludacris. (Don't judge, I didn't write the song.) Or, when I'm feeling overwhelmed, "Under Pressure" by Queen/David Bowie plays in my head. And so, the list goes on. 

Today, my soundtrack is on repeat with The Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited!" I don't know if the song has an exclamation point at the end of it on the album, but in my head, it does! 

This week has been a big week for me. I finally agreed with myself on a title to my new novel AND yesterday, we (my social media guy and I) launched my author Facebook fan page. Since I am not a published author, I feel like I'm venturing into unknown land with a pocketful of handwritten maps given to me by a bunch of folks who have been to the destination taking various routes. All the advice has been a little overwhelming. And the big, famous authors, the ones who are there already, haven't exactly left detailed maps with little provision stations along the way. It's good though. It's a journey of faith in my writing, belief in myself, and belief in the consistent hard work required to accomplish any worthwhile goal. 

I've read and listened to a great deal of advice on the subject of "getting published". One thing that I continue to see is that the landscape has changed recently in the publishing world. No longer is it enough to write a great book, find a literary agent and wait for the agent to find a publisher. Social media has changed so many aspects of our world, and book publishing is not immune to its influence. Now, a writer must also have a platform. The publisher wants to know that the author is marketable, that they come with a fan base. I find it distressing in some ways, but also encouraging. 

On the downside, it is sad to think that a writer of amazing talent could possibly be passed over just because he or she hasn't taken the time to develop their social media presence. 

However, the positive voice in my head (almost always the loudmouth in the group) says, "Wonderful! You have the opportunity to create an edge and to be noticed!" If a platform, or a following on social media can make me more appealing to a potential agent and/or publisher, then I can have some influence in the likelihood that my novel(s) will be published! I may not be the most brilliant person on the face of the earth, but I am creative and above all, I am a very hard worker. I can do this! And that, my friends, is why the song, "I'm So Excited" is playing in my head on repeat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What? I'm Supposed to Find Fans for a Book That's Not Published Yet?

While I'm so excited to be done with the first phase of my book, the realization hit me today that I've got a long road ahead of me in the process of finding a publisher! My vlog from today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Am I a DIY Fraud?

Photo credit to Caylie Harris -
Taken of me at my favorite
thinking spot - next to my
writing desk
Because my novel is in a holding pattern, and I have a little down time, I was looking over the history of my little blog. Wow! I was all over the place! It's interesting to look through the posts and remember my excitement to share an idea or "how-to". And frankly, I'm a little intimidated by my former self! "Former Me" made her own laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, egg noodles, sour dough breadnon-toxic cleaning solution and she grew huge gardens!

Fast forward to present day - I still grow a garden, but I'm completely hooked on Finish brand dishwasher detergent, we almost never eat bread, my pasta maker hasn't been out of the cabinet in over a year, and Mr. Clean Gain Scent is my spirit animal. I should be ashamed. 

I've realized that I'm a conqueror. For me, the challenge of learning a skill is more exciting than continuing to practice the skill. I love to know HOW to do things, love to know HOW things work. But to continue to do those things day in and day out? Hmmm....not so much.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Why is it so Hard to Name this Baby? (Finding a Title for My Novel)

No, I'm not pregnant, at least not with a human child. Naming my children was so much easier than naming my novel. It's sporting a temporary title for now, of course. But no one, and I mean no one, in my group of beta readers got the title. I purposely picked beta readers MUCH smarter than me. Soooo.... that means I need a new title!

Turns out, naming a novel is much more difficult than naming a baby. First of all, you shouldn't name your novel the same name as anyone else's novel.  There isn't any honor in naming your book after another famous work. Secondly, the title should actually be connected to your story in some way. No matter how much I like the sound of "Genny Carter's Underwear Drawer", it won't work because it has nothing to do with my story. Thirdly, while the title shouldn't give away the plot line, it should result in an "Ah ha" moment for the reader after they have finished the story.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

My Off the Grid Fantasy

The forecast is calling for a severe ice storm over the next twenty-four hours, as in the kind of ice storm that snaps power lines and makes travel impossible. On my Facebook feed, my friends' responses range from "Oh no! Praying it passes us!" to "Yeah! Bring out the chain saw and the rock salt!" 

Once the news of the impending storm hit, I started getting an excited, tingling feeling. Mr. Man-of-the-House is right there with me! The threat of a storm brings out the very best in him. We spent yesterday making soups (in case we lose power), bringing enough firewood into the house and garage to get us through until spring, and stocking up on kerosene and candles.  Oh, and just in case we do lose power, we did all the laundry. Going without electricity for days would mean no washer and dryer.

As all forecasts invariably do, the prediction of when and how much ice we will be getting began to change. As the projected amounts of ice dropped from an inch to a half an inch, my heart began to sink a little. Yes, I know, that's still a lot of ice. Yes, I know that great amounts of property damage can ensue from an ice storm. I understand that there are people who will have to get out on the bad roads and risk their lives to go to jobs that they cannot miss. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm still praying for a big ice storm. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

High Protein, Non-fat "Ice Cream" Recipe

I am in love with ice cream! Unfortunately, ice cream is high in calories, fat and sugar. Bummer. Thanks to ice cream (which apparently does NOT love me as much as I love it) and a few other tasty foods, I had packed on some pounds over the past few years. 

Last September, I decided I should drop a few pounds. I started to monitor my calories through the free version of MyFitnessPal app. I quickly discovered that ice cream is a little too expensive for my diet, calorie-wise. I'm only 5'2" and the 1200 calorie target that I needed to hit daily to shed some excess weight didn't allow for things like ice cream, or Twix bars, on a regular basis.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Magic Jar (the Power of Positive Thinking)

Happy New Year! Yes, I know I'm a few days late but I've been more than a little distracted from my humble blog lately. And by lately, I meant to say at least a year or so. 

2016 was a year of soul searching, but not in an earth shattering, mind-melting sort of way. Rather, the voice in my head began to sound something like this, "What are you doing with your life?",  "When are you going to do something that actually matters?", and "You DO realize that your life is probably half over, don't you?"