Wha…where did June and July go????

Sooooo….here it is, end of July. I planned to to be SO much further along than I am now. Yes, I am still on schedule, and thank god, because I am sticking to my pub deadlines come hell or high water, but daaaaaang.

This is HARD.

I have the best two jobs in the world. Seriously. I get to stay at home with my kids. Not everyone does, and I can’t tell you how thrilled that I can. Our family has been fortunate that we’ve been able to do this, because my Beloved and I both believe that kids need a parent at home. It’s good for them. LOL – they may not think so when Mom’s always on them, and tells them daily that this is NOT a frat house, and I am NOT a maid – but it’s good for them.


Nope. Much as I love this movie (SAP, my sister and I, can quote it on the fly to one another), this is not that house.No matter how hard they try.

And let’s not forget I have a tween. While my tween is a boy, so I’m not getting the hair flips of my past tossed back to me, I do get a lot of this:



It’s not like either of my kiddos went begging for their attitudes. My dad just laughs into his drink when he sees this sort of thing. He can be heard muttering ‘Karma’ or something similar.

So that’s been my summer. Along with an amazing road trip that took us through the Southwest. You MUST go and see the Grand Canyon, and go to both the South and North Rims if you can. They’re very different.

Now that I am back into, sort of, some kind of schedule, I am slowly getting back to my pre-summer behavior. Wrote over 5,000 words yesterday. It felt good.

Both One Night At The Ball and Casimir’s Journey will be out shortly. Like, really shortly. Like, Holy Hell, is that the date shortly. My editor loves me.

OK. Back to the doc.

Book baby thoughts

So in two short weeks, my literary baby will be heading out to stand on its two little feet. Like any parent booting the kid out, I’m nervous.

Now that it’s finished, I know it. I KNOW it. My editor asked me a flurry of questions the other day. I knew the answers to every single thing. Some of it wasn’t anything that was in the story, but it was part of the arc that I knew. Know. By heart. After the amount of time it took to get those details sorted, that is a thrilling feeling. I’m all atwitter even as I type it.

Like a child, I know so much about Book Baby. I know the whys, and there are things that are non-negotiable. No, my character will not be buying a vowel (I used medieval spellings for some of my characters names. I’ve gotten a little…flack for that). No, I will not change that name. (Another character.) There are things that when I’ve gotten suggestions to change I think…eh. It doesn’t change what I want to share and makes the work flow smoothly, so sure. Why not? There are other things I get absolutely stalwart about and WILL. NOT. CHANGE. I’m always surprised by both.

And while the writing of it was a solitary thing, the getting the book out there is NOT. Not at all. My editor has been invaluable. My bestest critique partner has been as well. My critique groups (I have two, I know, I know, but they both kick ass, so there it is) have shown me things that I wouldn’t have considered. They’re also completely unafraid to tell me the truth. It’s couched in the criticism sandwich, but they say it.

I’ve wanted to finish and publish a novel for…oh…years. I did some serialized bits last year, but it’s not the same. Technically, it is, but it sure doesn’t feel the same. I’ve been in a daze since I concluded that I was done. And ready for the editorial eyes to latch on like a lamprey.

I was reading a blog somewhere else – it was Hugh Howey, I think – and he said that he never wanted to lose the joy that came from publishing something new. I agree. I never, ever want to lose how wonderful this feels. Of course, being able to speak coherently in full sentences would be nice, but I’ll live.

So if you have that novel lounging around in your head, waiting to get out, time to get to it. I won’t lie – getting this finished – to the point where I was no longer saying, ‘Oh! Just one more thing!’ is not easy. But it is easily one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.

So there it is. tl;dr – Go write your own Baby.

Free Kindle!

Do I have your attention?


I’m sponsoring a Kindle giveaway. You’ll need to pop over and visit the site. Take a look around.

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And may I just fangirl for a moment? My lovely Thea’s Tale is right next to A Brush With The Moon of Raquel Lyon’s Foxblood series that I really enjoyed. It’s rather surreal to be parked on a bookshelf, as it were, with authors who are on your Kindle.


Life is good. Now go and win yourself a Kindle!

Using Tech…for everything

Sooooo……I have been getting myself together, so to speak. As you might have noticed via the Welcome page, my book is FINALLY about to be released. AKA I FINALLY got off my duff, wrote the thing, and took the steps needed to get it out into the public eye. Let’s be honest here. I’m the only one holding myself back.

However, there is a road block. And it’s technology.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some techie stuff. Not that I USE it as much as I should, nor do I maximize the technology available to me. I am well aware of my shortcomings. But good grief! The things one must learn to set up an internet presence – I used to think it was easy peasy.

To an extent, it is. But then, you get into specifics. And certain pages/software/programs are not friendly with others – which means you must find a go-around to accomplish what it is you want. It means for every item on your To Do list, there are four or five more items in subheadings underneath.

However, I do feel that I have come to a place where I look out over my internet playground, my massive presence (stop laughing!), and feel pretty damn good. As much as I love tech, I remember when the first personal computers came out. We didn’t have computers in the classroom when I was in school. You took a separate class for Computer Science – even in college. I had a desktop in college, and I was considered fortunate.

Now, my kiddos use tech to sign in each morning, order their lunch, communicate with their teacher (seriously, my kids have Google accounts so they can send Docs back and forth to the the teachers), communicate with each other, with me – and these kids are not in junior high! It’s amazing.

I’ve tried to embrace it, and I think on a slightly deeper-than-superficial level I have. But learning what I need to do business primarily online has been like going back to school. This means pulling out my reading glasses, and reading the How To pages several times over to make sure I am doing it right.

Usually I am not. At least the first time.

But I get there.

Today, my kiddo asked me, since his iPhone was offering an update for an Apple watch, when he was getting his. He was taken aback that no, it didn’t come automatically. Tech to the school aged generation is something completely different than it is to my slightly older Gen X self. It’s not as automatic to me, whereas to my kiddos, they don’t even see it as a thing. It’s just there.

I’m sure my parents felt the same when I moaned and carried on about where was my boom box, and how I just needed one.


(Have a cookie if the dude carrying the box means something to you as well!)

Thoughts on Publishing

So my publication date is just under 2 months out. I’m so excited, when I can get a chance to think on it. I am awash – awash, I tell you, in things that need to get done. (Gratuitous plug – See my Welcome page for my gorgeous cover of Thea’s Tale, the first book in the Sisters Of The Curse series. That is a real woman used as the model. She is HAWT. Seriously.)

Edits, fiddling, edits, more fiddling, and the big one – Marketing. So I have done what many before me have done – headed to Dr. Google, to see what I might find.

One of the reasons I have decided to go indie is because I love the idea of charting my own course, steering my own ship, captaining my own destiny (I think I miss sailing!) – even if I don’t have insta-success. I look at this as a marathon. Part of that whole chart/steer/captain thing is how to prepare your book to be read by the crowds and how to get your book to them.

There are many authors who are willing to help you with this. I have found an absolute wealth of information on the Writer’s Cafe in the KBoards forums. There are pros and cons as there are with all public forums but you can lurk and read to your heart’s content. I highly recommend it. You’ll learn a lot, even if you never make a single post. The authors there are wonderful. And they discuss everything, so poke around.

Compare that with the services you, as an indie author, might need. There are some services you should pay for if you can’t do it yourself. For me, that was a cover. I can barely manage Paint. Another is editing – I love commas and long sentences. I also love to begin sentences with ‘So’. I need help. I don’t mind paying a reasonable price for it.

Here’s where Dr. Google comes in. Do your homework. If you need a cover, go and seek out cover artists. Read the KBoards, or Absolute Write, and see what other authors are paying. Same with editing. Or blog tours, or whatever aspect of publishing assistance you need.

As I have been working through the things I need to do, and need to know, the scams I come across are wretched. Absolutely wretched. Most of us get into this with a small budget. We don’t have tons of cash to throw, and have to manage it carefully. So do your homework before signing up for a service that promises to do it all for you. As referenced above, I have a few things I am absolutely paying for. But others – I am doing it myself. I’m still going for commercial quality and a professional product. That doesn’t mean I have to pay tens of thousands to someone to get that.

This was brought on by reading some of David Gaughran’s blog posts. He’s a great resource if you are going indie – and he consistently champions ethics in the author services industry. Go read his blog. You’ll find lots that will be useful.


This is kind of a ramble, I know. I mentioned that I am overwhelmed, and that’s not an exaggeration. I keep reading that there has never been a better time to write, and I think that’s probably true (I’ll give you more of an update on that after I publish). I know that I have been able to find out more about the mechanics of it, and how to make it happen for me than I ever thought possible.

The tl:dr shortcut – do your homework. Don’t just throw money at it. See how others have done it before you. See what may work for you.

And keep writing. Today was a bust (I was hauling some tasty items that I scored on the local yard sale site) but yesterday, and Wednesday – 16,000 words. Shoved my girls across a bridge of hell in terms of plot. It left me wrung out over the keyboard, but hey! More words, and the girls are now where they need to be.

Singin’ The Techie Blues

Technology Woes.

We all have them. Even if you don’t do anything other than fiddle with your smart phone, or play games on social media. There’s no escaping them.

However, in the world of online business, because let’s be honest, artists in today’s world have to see the online world as one of business, you really have to stay on top of things. Generally, I feel okay with this. I feel like I can hold my own in jumping into the technology pool.


Today, ladies and gents, I was bested, soundly by Facebook. I have an author page there, but because I jump before looking, I created, sometime last year, just a regular profile account. It means I must add people as friends, and it’s not an open subject page. Which, if you are promoting a business, you really want. Plus, Facebook’s TOS suggest you get your business to a Page rather than a profile.

So leaping before looking. There I was. I haven’t done anything about it since, even though it’s been on my to do list. Today, I went poking around. I took a massive leap once again, and created a Page.

No! No no no no no! Bad Lisa! Bad bad bad!

So off I go to….ah…actually read the directions. It seems one can take a profile and make it a Page. Open, your followers can add themselves, and it’s less administrative hassle as far as getting information out to your audience.

So I must go, delete the newly created Page, and take the steps to make my personal profile a Page.

The link crashes.

Yep. I crashed my own profile. It was not available for a good five minutes. Then I found it again, and went in to make the needed changes for my personal social media happiness.

It denied me. I was not allowed to make certain changes because I’d made too many. Apparently Facebook has a limit, and my fumbling had reached it.

Yay for me! I have to tell you, even though I am rolling my eyes at my ownself, I am also laughing. If I would just read the directions first – something my long-suffering spouse would have asked immediately had he been apprised of this debacle – the many steps and re-steps probably could have been avoided.

As well as the Facebook change denied message.

So there’s your public service announcement regarding tech today, chickens. Read the directions first, or show your online fumbling to the world.


My colleagues and I meet weekly to go over whatever we’re working on, and what we’d like critique feedback on. Initially, when I started going to a critique group, it was not fun. Not at all. I got lucky, though. I found another group, with a really focused and strong leader, and equally focused and strong members. Everyone’s supportive. It’s such an amazing thing to go somewhere every week where people are excited when you are, and commiserate and offer ideas when you have had a challenging week.

We all have projects we’re working on. Every one of us has a self-imposed deadline. Until I really started writing, I didn’t understand the importance of setting a deadline for yourself.

When you think about being successful as an author, in my thoughts, anyway, you think about having your work sought after and deadlines imposed by your agent/editor/publisher. This is all true, but what you don’t often read about is that you must, absolutely must, set deadlines for yourself. You have to, in my opinion, plot out your plans for writing.

This means you have to look at the next month, the next three months. What do you want to have accomplished? Finishing your work in progress, getting it copy edited, rewriting – what? What do you want, no, what do you NEED to get accomplished?

For me, it got all kinds of real when I looked at the rest of 2014. I have a deadline that looms for…tomorrow! And then another two for the end of August, and one for September. Within those four deadlines, I have a number of smaller deadlines. I had to make a list in order to keep all of them straight. Oddly enough making the list allowed me to take a breath and stop the rising panic at the thought of all I need to get done.

So to continue the tips to get the writing flowing, take an hour this week, and plot out your writing plans for this month. The next three months. The rest of the year. Add in getting things read by your beta readers, and edited.

If it seems too large, reign it in. Bring down the timeline to a shorter period. And focus on meeting your deadlines, one at a time. Not because someone is breathing over your shoulder. Because you know what needs to be done with your work, both by you and by your support system.

Go on. Go set your goals and a deadline for meeting them.

Step Away From The Smart Phone…


So it was another weekend up at the shalack. That’s our little mountain hideaway that is a cross between a shack and a lovely chalet. Just so you know.

If you’ve come visiting us, you know we don’t have much in the way of technology. No cable or satellite, no internet, no phone. I can usually get a cell signal for calls, but not for much else. Not even texts. Part of me mourns a little when we go up there. I do love my techie stuff, and I do miss keeping up with my tech world.

But when I get home, I am always struck, when I look over what I’ve done during the weekend, how much I accomplish. This weekend, and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know this already – I managed over ten thousand words. That is just astounding to me. I did the bulk of it Saturday night, after a long and lazy day with family. Our big event was going to the hot springs and cooking ourselves lobster style. Well, and I walked around town (it’s a small town) hitting the local yard sales. Scored an amazing cast iron stove for the deck.

Back on topic. I know we all love technology, or you wouldn’t be here, on WordPress. It’s fun, and I love keeping up with those I care about who don’t live close. And yet, when I step away, how much does life improve in certain aspects?

No, we don’t do much. One of the reasons we go there is to just get away, and because we love the pace of a small town in the mountains. It’s quiet. Our house is in a part of town that is generally composed of residents. There’s not a lot of tourist traffic.

The best thing? It’s the hummingbirds. My long suffering spouse, who generally indulges me has put up a number of feeders, and adjusted and fiddled to get the birds to come and visit our feeders. We sat, both mornings, watching the birds fuss and fight and generally carry on with one another. There are six regulars that go between the four houses on the corner of our street. They make a wonderful whirring noise – and all of them have a slightly different whir. It’s louder than a hum, LOL.

And then, my spouse takes a well-deserved break and sits on the porch with first one, than another of the kids, and they sit with camera in hand hoping to get the perfect hummingbird shot, and I go write.

The old saying of ‘sit ass in chair and write’ is so true. I was reading an interview with Diana Gabaldon, and she writes between midnight and four am. She says that it’s the best time for her because the house is quiet and she can work without distraction. And that she writes every night. Even if it’s only half a page, one has to put it in the schedule as a habit.

Which brings me back round to the idea of stepping away from the technology. It’s addictive, and I am as guilty of it as anyone else. But when we move away from it, even for a time, we can be productive outside it, and then utilize it for good.

I have to admit, I missed being able to look stuff up. I make notes and do research while I’m writing. It feels weird to not be able to follow my normal habits. but it’s not a bad thing to break away from habit once in a while.

So in my continuing interest of sharing what is fueling my writing, because I have some self-imposed deadlines that have to be met this year and that means I must be organized, here’s another tip I’ve learned the hard way. If you’re finding you can’t seem to settle into writing, which is never as easy as it sounds, then log out of Facebook, Twitter, and any of your other instant notification media. Set a timer, and sit in front of your computer, or with pen in hand, and see what happens.

It could be amazing.

Rebooting the writing…thing.

So what a shift from the last time I was posting! It’s amazing – before I was married with kids, I worked two jobs, usually six days a week. (As a recreational activities instructor, your day job is awesome, but the pay is not. A second job, usually restaurant oriented, is required.) I thought, and I remember this, how hard can married/parent life be? (Stop laughing.) One job, your husband is a team player and a partner in the hellish list of chores, and you come home from work and get it all done in a jiffy! Pretty sure, although I wouldn’t have admitted it then, I also saw the birds from either Snow White or Cinderella flitting through with ribbons.

That is SO not the case! My husband is totally a team player, and a great partner. Yet there are some days we both come home and don’t care that the kids want cereal for dinner, or that there is not a representative from the fruit and veg category on the menu that evening. I should feel like a bad parent (or as we call it in my house, MOTY/FOTY – short for Mother Of The Year/Father Of The Year). I’m usually too spent to muster the energy for that much guilt.

I still have a day job, and it’s not writing, sadly. I actually love my day job, and it’s both demanding and rewarding. My kids are demanding and rewarding. They’re kind of a day job, too.

So where does writing fit into all this? Well, late in the evening, when everyone has settled, and the kitchen is tidied. When my brain is still going, even though I know I have to get up to hit the grocery store tomorrow morning. We’re low on jelly, and that doesn’t fly at lunch time.

It’s hard, though. My head, up until the last week, has been full of what I’m working on right now. I got, finally, something to replace my 47 pound dinosaur of a laptop, a Surface tablet with the fun light up keyboard. Which means I take my writing with me. I have to mention, the last purse I bought was purchased with being able to carry the Surface around in it.

So if I’m stuck somewhere waiting on something (like the vet’s office for the mysteriously sick senior kitty) I pull it out and work. I have a running doc just for ideas. It’s invigorating! I’m pulling all the little minutes I can to work and ease that cracked out hamster in my head.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. I was reading in one of my forums a post from a mom who just can’t find the time to write, and I remember thinking, I get that. I totally get that. It’s why I’ve gotten crafty in my pursuit of time to get stuff out of my head into some written form.

Something else that motivated me as well was finding the right critique group. I used to go to one that met twice a month. It never felt amazing or creative, or any of the things I’ve heard from other writers about their groups. Then I met the group leader of my current group, and gave her group a try. It felt like the difference between night and day. The members write in different genres, are all passionate, and all enjoy helping one another. We meet weekly, and I’ve missed it for two weeks due to summer stuff. Boy, do I miss it.

So if you’re struggling, just find a way to squeeze it in. Easier said than done, initially. For me, the kick in the pants was getting a work station, so to speak, that I didn’t need a sherpa to carry around for me. I still have my dino HP. I need to transfer a bunch of documents from it to the new one. It still weighs 47 pounds. LOL, not even my kids want it, because it’s an older model than theirs. But in thinking about it, working with that thing was a weight in more ways than one.

Once I cast off the weight, so to speak, and became more flexible in what “work time” could mean, I got more productive. Then I surrounded myself with really great creative energy, and the brain and output has increased tremendously. So if you’re struggling, and I was for a time, look at what your weights are. What is it that slows your progress, or puts roadblocks up, figure it out.  That in and of itself can take a few days.  Then find ways to either remove the roadblock, or get around it.  Either one will work.  Whatever takes less energy and allows you more time to write, or do whatever it is that fills you creatively.

Because even though putting One. More. Thing. Into my schedule fills my schedule up even further, I am happier.  Happier that I’ve made time in my life for something that is just mine.  Don’t we all want that?

Ride the plot bunny! Updated

Last week, I was taking a shower. When I can, I take showers after the kids leave, so I can take a long one that is not interrupted. I usually have work right after I drop them off, so it doesn’t happen often.  When it does, I hang out until the water becomes warm instead of hot.

That was the case last week.  I was standing under the water spray, musing on who knows what, when the plot bunny ran up and banged his head against the shower door.  Before I could even say what the hell, about twelve more arrived.  They ran noisily about my bathroom, chattering and tumbling and falling over one another.

Not always being one to take the signs and go, I got out of the shower, kicked the closest bunnies away from me, and got on with the day.

But there they were.  In the rear view mirror on the way to work. In between patients. While I was driving in between appointments. All day, the bunnies hung around. And they went from the twelve or thirteen that I began with to oh, say, forty or fifty.

For anyone who is not familiar with the term ‘plot bunny’, let me elaborate. It’s a term that I first came across while reading fanfic, and while this is not fanfic, the idea applies.

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” –John Steinbeck

plot bunny is a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written. The term’s origin is unknown but is known to predate NaNoWriMo. Because plot bunnies tend to multiply quickly, the term is thought to be related to the oft-quoted John Steinbeck quote about ideas and rabbits.



So yeah.  There I was, with this thing right behind me, dogging my footsteps.
I gave in.  I started writing. I started Saturday night, and last night, Wednesday night, was the first night I took a break (in between all the real life responsibilities) and went to bed at a decent hour.
For any of you that do NaNoWriMo, it’s fifty thousand words in thirty days.  I have written over thirty thousand in four days.  Finally, the plot bunnies have scattered a bit, and there’s only a couple grazing round the laptop table.  Languidly, so I’m not really in fear for my life at this point.  Or my brain frying and falling out of my ear when I’m not paying attention.
But Lisa, you ask, what did the plot bunnies want? Was it any good? Was it fanfic?
It wasn’t fanfic.  It’s a whole ‘NOTHER story.  As you all may remember, I am editing Novel #1. I have Novel #2 nearly done. I have started plotting Novel #3, which is the sequel to Novel #1, and then here come the bunnies. So what I have worked on for the past four days is Novel #4.
I used to read posts from people making crazed statements such as the paragraph above, and think, you’re full of crap. I am struggling with Novel #1, how in the hell do you manage four at the same time?
Now I know. It’s because the plot bunnies take up residence, and refuse to leave or move on until you write it down.
Is Novel #4 good? I don’t know. I am on Rough Draft, which means all I have corrected is the spelling as I have gone along.  It’s not my normal genre, either.  It’s women’s lit, chick lit – basically a romance? I write urban/contemporary fantasy.  This is a new one to me.
Bunnies aside, I love this story line.  And scenes that might usually give me some fuss just fell right onto the screen. For good or ill, this thing had to be written.
If a plot bunny should sneak up on you, go  on.  Ride it.  See where it takes you.  I’m in an editing class right now, and one of the exercises we recently did was to write uninterrupted and sans editing for twenty minutes.  I did all right. When I chatted with the instructor, I told her I wasn’t sure of the quality, but I’d rather start with something on the page to edit than be sitting there staring at a blank one.
So the next time a bunny parks itself next to you, demanding some writing time, go ahead and see where it goes. Worst case scenario, you trash the scene. But you never know.  It may just be awesome.
UPDATE: I am currently reading this story, Novel #4, to my critique group.  They are enjoying it as much as I am enjoying writing it.  So the moral of the story is, go with the bunnies and see where they take you.