Monday, March 14, 2016

Forced Stop

Last month I wrote a post whining about the Blogging Conundrum-- do I? Don't I? Does it help within the sphere of publishing? Yes, no, maybe. There's no right or wrong answer, basically just do it if you want to, don't if you don't.

Last Wednesday, I was given the opportunity to put my priorities in order. Yeah, in the giant sphere of life, blogging isn't all that important.

On Wednesday morning at 9:38, Monster's father fell off the roof cleaning the gutters. I know exactly what time it happened because I had just come out of the house with the broom to sweep the stuff into the bin. I heard stumbling on the roof and then I watched him fall. Twelve feet from the roof onto the cement of the carport. It was a James Bond movie. All of a sudden this guy is landing in my driveway.

I called the EMT's they took him in. He broke both of his feet. Yes, BOTH of his feet. Left ankle, right heel. Instead of falling, he jumped, and landed straight down on his feet like a cat. The doctor told me on Sunday morning, Robert's prognosis is a year, at best, before he'll be able to stand on his broken heel. He will never walk right again.

This is a total guilt trip--I told him the gutters needed to be done. He's a roofer, that's what he does. Or did, until he took disability. But I knew he had experience on a roof.

I've had to wrangle the insurance claims, the Social Worker case manager, the hospital doctors and nurses, the PT guys, the medical equipment company who is coming to my house to bring a hospital bed, wheelchair, commode, walker, and other assorted items that a complete invalid might need. I've had to set up appointments for future care, and wrangle transportation to and from the doctor's office.

I've had to arrange for all this because Robert will not be allowed to go to a rehab facility.
The insurance company will not pay for rehab because the doctor said Robert was in for observation, not as a patient. That's a whole other side line I won't get into. It was HOURS of bureaucracy. Yes, let's thank the doctor for that as well.

*Pause for the telephone* I am writing this on Saturday morning.

Robert just called and said they were going to release him today. With no equipment in the house. His doctor gave me a follow up call two minutes later and said they were going to release him today. I explained to him the equipment wasn't here-- there was a long dramatic pause-- and then he said, "Well, we'll see if we can get it sorted out." I also explained to him that Robert needed to be taken home by ambulance on a stretcher because his (the doctor's orders) were that Robert was NOT supposed to be on his feet at all. Obviously. The doctor said, "Well, we'll see."

*Pause again for telephone.*

The lovely Ginger from After-Care at the hospital said she spoke to the Doctor who is releasing Robert today. I asked about the equipment. She said she'd get back to me. Fifteen minutes later she returned my call and said she spoke to the medical supply company who is bringing the bed and said they couldn't get out here until Monday. Not five minutes later, I received another call from the medical supply company that said they couldn't get out here with the bed until Monday.

I am writing this next on Sunday morning.

Robert now needs to have a bed downstairs. Unfortunately, the only way to bring Monster's full downstairs, is if I clean the entire house, move furniture, and spring clean at the same time. So, that is what I did, from Friday night into Saturday morning. It looks like I may even be able to paint upstairs now that he's living on the main floor. (I have to look at the bright side somewhere.)

Robert is now in bed, (which I will also have to move BACK upstairs tomorrow morning before the medical supply company arrives with the hospital bed.) He is happily encased in purple haze of pain medication. I am trying to figure out which closet to clean next.

Tomorrow brings a whole other nightmare of phone calls and furniture.

In the larger scheme of things, blogging is NOT important when the fit hits the shan.

There's a line from an old song

"... don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day."



Anne Gallagher (c) 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Blogging Condundrum

I fell into blogging just by sheer luck. Way back when, when Monster was in "play-school" (or Pre-K I guess is what they call it), a mommy told me that as a writer I should start a blog. I asked, "What is that?" I had no idea, having come into computer life very late. She said I would benefit from it as a writer.

Seven years later, here I am. It seems odd to me that I've been in the blogosphere for that long. Mind you, I'm not prolific. I don't share the secrets of the ages, I don't expound on glorious new ideas or even generally have anything important to say. I guess, I basically use it as a diary of sorts and perhaps share my opinions.

I do like to blog. I have friends here in this virtual world that I like to keep up with. I learn things. I have discussions about writing that I can't have anywhere in the "real world". The problem is, and I hate to admit it, for some time now I just don't want to do it anymore.  

I'm a writer. It's my job. Lucky for me, it's also my passion. I would rather spend fourteen hours a day in my made-up world than do anything else. Blogging hurts my bottom line of hours that I can actually write. I liken it to Pinterest. I went on there to pin one picture last Sunday and I ended up spending four hours looking through a billion pins. Blogging is the same thing. I scroll through my feed, check out a post, follow a comment to another post, then end up lost in space. 

Four hours to me is twenty pages. And it's bad enough I lose all track of time when I'm writing that I forget to feed the Monster. (How many times have I heard "I'm hungry. Are you going to make me dinner?") 

As a single parent and a single income earner, every monthly check depends on how many books I sell. More books = more pay. However, if I don't talk about my books no one knows I've written one. Where does one talk about one's books? On the blogs.

For the last few years, I've also been very active at Monster's school volunteering. It's a part-time job. Literally. With no pay. Talk about cutting into writing time. So, in order to make up the time I've lost writing, something else has to go, and that equals blogging. 

I hate the idea of giving it up for good. I really do. I hate the idea of losing friends. And you may say, well, just blog once a month, or only when you have something important to say. Or get on a schedule. Yeah, we all know what happens to schedules in my world. The best laid plans...

Over the course of the last seven years, I've seen very prolific bloggers leave. I always wonder what happened to them. Did they get famous and just don't have the time? Did something happen in their personal life? Did they move their blog to FaceBook? Did they just give up? I don't want to be one of those people. I don't want people wondering "Whatever happened to Anne?"

I've had this discussion several times over the last few weeks with other friends on the blogs. It seems for those of us who have been here for a long time, the allure has faded. We have nothing to say. Or rather, does what we say matter? I haven't had a new blogger join my little group in almost three years. Does that mean I don't want any? No. It just means communication is done differently these days. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, God knows what else is around the corner. I can't keep up with the blog. How can I keep up with anything else?

I don't really know why I wrote this post. It's on my mind. It's my opinion. I don't need advice. No matter what you say about the blogging conundrum, believe me, I've heard it before. 

Tell me -- How do you feel about blogging? Are you ready to chuck it? Have you found something else to occupy your time? Do you have a schedule? Do you love your blog?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Truths I Tell Myself

After last week with my lying, I figured I would search out the truth. This is what I came up with.

I'm a good writer. 

Yup. I am. A good writer. I'm not great, fabulous, Hemingway. I do have occasional moments of brilliance, or humor, or humanity depending on what you may be reading. My stories have been known to move women to tears. Men have said my male characters are realistic. I feel competent in my writing skills.

I'm better than I used to be. However, I would like to be really good. And I will. Eventually. Practice makes almost perfect.

I'm a good parent.

I am. Monster thinks I'm off the wall most of the time. Her friends think I'm wicked funny, she thinks I'm lame. Go figure. But I think she's a good kid, and I hope she thinks I'm a good mom. I try my hardest. I'm better than I used to be. However, I could be better.


I love my job. (Even the one where I don't get paid.)

I cannot tell you how much I love my job as a writer. Even on the most blinding frustrating maddening days, I love my job. I cannot imagine doing anything else. Making up stories is like living on the beach. Every day is a new adventure.

I even love the volunteer work I do at Monster's school. If I ever went back to work in the real world, it's going to look damn good on my resume.

I'm a good friend.

At least I think so. I hope so. My friend Debbie gave me a little plaque that reads You're The Friend That Everybody Wishes They Had  Isn't that sweet? Sometimes I'm a little too blunt and I say things I probably shouldn't, but I try not to hurt anyone's feelings. I'm just opinionated. And loud and bossy, and the girl your mother would never let you hang out with. But I'm also kind, and generous, and pretty damn funny once you get to know me.

So, those are my truths. Got any you want to share?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Lies I Tell Myself

I don't lie. I learned a long time ago that I always get caught. Besides, the truth is so much easier. That way I don't have to remember what I said. The caveat with that is -- I don't lie to other people. Lying to myself? That's a whole other ball game.

I took a look at this last year, what I accomplished, what I didn't, and instead of New Year's Resolutions, which I never make, decided to review my faults (as pertains to my writing life -- if I wrote down ALL my faults this blog would become a novel.)

I WILL BECOME A BETTER BLOGGER

I will write engaging, interesting content. I will post every week. I will keep up with the comments, and do my part to get around to all my friends. I will find new people to follow. I will leave thoughtful comments wherever I go.

Epic fail. I looked back on what I wrote this last year and it was a rambling, chaotic mess. I barely acknowledged my own comments never mind, getting to my friends' blogs. As for posting every week, I'm lucky I posed once a month, and even then, not so much.

I WILL READ BOOKS

I haven't read a book in almost five years. I used to read a book a day when I wasn't writing--when I lived in the real world. Now that I'm writing, all my free time goes toward my stories. I received two books for Christmas--do we want to take bets on how long it will take me to read them? Or should I say--open them? I'll put $10 on July.


I WILL BECOME A BETTER MARKETER

With the last novel I published, I had a marketing plan in place for several months. I talked it over with a very good friend who actually does that for a living. She thought my plan was good, and gave me some ideas to make it better. When the book came out, I implemented all the ideas. Did it work? Hell to the no. Why not, you may ask. Because I'm still marketing like it's 1999. I need to get into the 21st century, but it's hard considering I'm a fossil who still thinks just publishing a book will make it sell.

I WILL STICK TO A SCHEDULE

I drop Monster off at 7:30 every morning. It's a half hour commute, I'm home by 8, at the computer by 8:15. I write until 12, make lunch, then edit what I wrote until 2:15. I pick Monster up, make her food, help with homework, make dinner (the kid is always hungry) clean up the kitchen, then return to the office to tackle where I left off, in bed by 9:00.

Does this happen? Never. I blame it on my volunteer position at Monster's school. I've always been the "yes man". If they can't find someone to help, they just ask me. Because they know I'll do it. And then what happens is, after being at school all day, I'm so exhausted, I can't get up the energy to even sit down at the computer, never mind find a coherent thought.

I WILL PUBLISH MY BOOKS IN A TIMELY MANNER

See above. I started three stories in June. I finished one in July. I had 25k on the second one by Aug 1. We went back to school August 28. It took me three and a half months to finish that book. It should have been finished by the end of Aug, edited and revised in September, published in October. As it was, I didn't finish it until two days before Thanksgiving and barely had it revised for Christmas. Now, I'm working on that third book.

I WILL BE BETTER AT SOCIAL MEDIA

Friends keep telling me to get on Instagram, Wattpad, Face Book. I can't even keep up with my blog, never mind Twitter. I still haven't figured out how to link my blog with my LinkedIn account. I just finally updated my Pinterest boards. I used to keep Monday as my "social media" day. I don't know what happened. (School is what happened.)


I WILL SAY NO TO VOLUNTEERING

Until the principal, a kindly old nun, looks at me with the "face" and says please. How can I say no? It should be simple. I say no to Monster all the time. I say no to other people. Why is it so hard? Probably the Catholic guilt. I'm afraid I'll burn in hell if I refuse. (This one I promise I'm working on.)

I WILL TAKE TIME TO SMELL THE FLOWERS

When was the last time I did anything for myself? I can't tell you. If I'm not at school, I'm working on a book. When I'm working on a book all hell breaks loose in the housework department, so when I'm finished with the book, it takes me a week to straighten out the mess. By then I'm ready to start work on the next book. It's a vicious cycle. I keep telling myself as soon as I get the money I'm going to the beach. Of course, if I wrote my books in a timely manner, published and marketed them so they sold well, I would have the money to go to the beach.


So that's my list. What do you think? Tell me-- Is there anything you lie to yourself about?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2016

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays

Warmest Wishes for the Yuletide. I'll see you next year. 





Anne Gallagher (c) 2015


photo credit morguefile: svklimkin

Monday, December 14, 2015

Marketing and Promotion

So, I finished my book, had my edits, made my revisions, found a cover image, and uploaded everything successfully to where it needed to go. Now, comes the dreaded next part. Marketing and Promotion.

I hate this. I really do. Because I don't know how to do it. I spent years learning how to format correctly (hell, I spent YEARS just learning how to use WORD.) For my Regency romances I had a small following, so that when the next book came out, I really didn't do much except announce the book on the blog, once or twice on Twitter, and voila, sales.

However, trying to gain traction as a "new" author is a little daunting. I had thought about publishing this new book under my Anne Gallagher name, but if I did, then I'd lose the few reviews I'd garnered on REMEMBERING YOU. I didn't want to do that.

Believe it or not, I have a marketing plan in place. I've been thinking of this for several months. Problem is, I don't know if it'll work. And you say, "Go ahead, try it. You won't know if it succeeds until you do." I know that. But...what if it doesn't?

When I'm cooking for a large crowd, I like to use my tried and true recipes. That way I won't mess up and everyone will say, "Oh, that was so good."

I'm kind of feeling that same way with this new book. I don't want to try anything new, afraid that people will say, "Oh, that just sucked." Or worse, I've just spammed them to death. I love Twitter, but it's just so full of crap these days, I don't want to be "one of those people".

Right now the book is up on Amazon for 99 cents until Christmas. I'm hoping some people will buy it and write a few reviews before I change the price. I'm also going to post some excerpts on the Robynne Rand blog and link those to Twitter. If you'd like a copy, I have epub, mobi files, and PDF that I can send you. If you'd like to write a review for Goodreads, that would be swell. If not, that's okay too.

Ads are not my thing, so that's out. I'm still unsure whether or not to do a FaceBook page. However, a friend said that the demographic I'm trying to reach is on FaceBook, so...we'll see.


Tell me -- What do you do for marketing and promotion? Any tried and true tricks? Any advice? Please share.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Women of a Certain Demographic

So, I've been working like a fiend to get this book finished. My time has not been my own since school started and the original draft was supposed to have been finished by the end of August. The writing gods mocked me. But now that it is (and has been looked over by my editor and is now with my critique partner) I'm ready to talk about it.

I've decided to release it under my Robynne Rand name as several characters from REMEMBERING YOU appear in DEMOGRAPHIC.

Without further ado...



After losing her job, apartment, and latest friend-with-benefits, prize-winning newspaper journalist Cathryn Parker returns home to Rhode Island and her domineering mother Rita, six Chihuahuas, and the old bedroom she slept in as a kid. Blacklisted for writing an expose on a philandering Senator, Cathryn takes the only job offered her at Providence Woman Monthly, if only to escape her mother's constant disapproval.

When asked to write a piece on the lack of love in the lives of women over a certain age, Cathryn is appalled, as she's part of that demography. To make things worse, the only way to ensure the magazine stays afloat and Cathryn keeps her job is if the article is a hit.

A chance meeting with her brother's best friend, Steve, finds Cathryn battling an emotional roller-coaster. Living under the Disney delusion that someday her prince would come—Steve is the perfect man, everything she's ever wanted—but he carries the physical scars of a bomb blast from Afghanistan and the emotional scars from a fiancĂ©e who left him because of it. 

However, when she discovers the secret that her perfect Prince Charming has been hiding, Cathryn makes a life-changing decision, especially as she has her own secret to keep.

*****

The novel is available on Amazon for a limited time for .99  -- It will be available at its regular price on Christmas from  Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, itunes, Gardeners UK, to name a few by Christmas.

If anyone would like an ARC, please let me know. shoreroadpublishing@gmail.com

Anne Gallagher  (c) 2015