Monday, April 30, 2012

Me and Social Networking

Good Morning. I'd like to broach the topic of social networking. Much has been said about this ever-evolving media and I'm not about to rehash every topic, but what I would like to do is share my thoughts with you.

First, I do believe it's a necessary evil. Back when I first started writing, I had no clue about blogging. NONE. A friend at my daughter's then pre-school said, "Oh you should blog if you're writing a book." And I was like, "What is that?" Seriously. Clueless. So I jumped into the fray with my blog and made oh-so-many mistakes, but I found my way, and a few friends, and lo-and-behold, I have a nice blog, a nice smattering of friends and followers, and I'm quite content.

Now some people really get the machine that is Blogger and how to go about building scads of followers, but I'm not one of them. Not that I would mind 1500 followers, but I would have no clue what to do with them. As I put writing at the top of my priority list, right below The Monster, it's impossible to follow the almost 400 blogs I have on two separate blog rolls everyday. I do what I can and hope that's enough.

Now, let's take a look at Twitter. I joined because everyone kept telling me it's a great way to get my books "out there". I have a love/relationship with it. I admit I am inept at it, don't know the "rules", have made mistakes and quite frankly don't care. People follow me, so I try and be polite and follow them back. I hate  that I have to wade through  90000000 bits of information just to find anything remotely interesting. I post once around 6am and find that's about all I can handle. Not much socializing there. (I did make lists, but don't use them.)

Goodreads is meh. I feel like I don't spend as much time there as I should. I want to, but I don't read as many books as I used to. I haven't read anything "new" (published within the last 5 years) unless it was given to me, or won in a contest, or have been asked to write a review. Quite frankly, I don't know what to do with it.

LinkedIn is another social network I have. I do like it, because I don't have to do anything with it. I have it linked to my Twitter account, (and I think it's linked to my blog but I'm not sure) and I rarely check on it, maybe once a month, because it's not something I know what to do with either.

I am NOT on FaceBook, nor will ever be. I know I was on the fence with Twitter and finally caved, but rest assured, I will NEVER join FaceBook, not even with a fan page. I have my reasons and they're private.

As far as Tumblr and Pinterest and whatever else is out there, nope, not doing that either. I might even close my Twitter account because I just hate it so much some days.

Now some people can be social butterflies and are very good at it. Throw me into the midst of a cocktail party, or any other kind of social function and I can chat it up with the best of them. But it's a different atmosphere. This whole other thing that is "media" is just daunting, and quite honestly, exhausting.

The one thing we're told as writers with published books, is that we need to keep writing and keep publishing, whether traditional, small press, or indie. That is a FACT! Follow the big name bloggers and they all say the same thing. Just write. Write the next book, and the next, and the next.

The problem is, without the machine of a publishing house (and sometimes even with it) we're also told to promote, promote, promote. And what better way to do that with social media.

Tell me --  Do you find social networking as daunting as I do? How many sites are you on? Do you use it every day, or just when you find the time? Is it just a promotional tool for you, or are you actually socializing?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- A Meme

A couple of day's ago, Laurel Garver (Laurel's Leaves) passed me a meme. I've seen it around, it's called the Lucky 7 (or something like that) where you go to page 77 in your manuscript and pull out the first 7 sentences, (or 7 paragraphs). I'm supposed to tag 7 people to do the same, but I'm not going to. (I don't like to be pushy.) So, I'll tell you what, if you want to do this, (and I think it's kind of fun) just say you found it here. How's that? No pressure.

I thought this meme was especially fortuitous as I've just published REMEMBERING YOU, my contemporary women's fiction I've been hanging onto for a couple of years. I finished this book in 2009, was in fact, the second book I've ever written ( should clarify - I've written many, this is one I actually finished). I used to post excerpts from time to time. It's about Genna who goes home after a ten year absence and what she finds when she gets there. Remember Tony, and Pete, and Uncle Sally, and Aunt Fortuna. Yeah, that book.

Anyway, here's my meme. I'm doing 7 paragraphs. And funnily enough, this is one of the most highly charged scenes in the book. Angie, Genna's cousin, just finds out she has breast cancer.


The hopelessness in her cousin’s voice unnerved Genna. Angie had never backed down from anything before. Not to Sal and Fortuna when Angie wanted to go to art school and there was no money for tuition. Not to Michael when he said he wanted a stay-at-home wife. Not to her mother-in-law who found fault with everything Angie ever did. Genna didn’t know much about cancer, but she knew if Angie gave up the fight to win the battle over it, she was as good as dead. She wanted to slap Angie, hard, right across the face. Knowing her cousin would reach full-blown hysteria in less than ten seconds, Genna did the only thing she knew to get her cousin grounded.

“Oh, Angie, why can’t you just do what you’re supposed to do instead of wallowing in all this hysterical self-pity? It doesn’t do anybody any good, least of all you.”

Angie looked up wide-eyed, snot mixing with her tears.

“God Angie,” Genna said. “Deal with the facts, not the unknowns. You know, you used to be one of the strongest women I ever knew. You wouldn’t take crap from anybody. Now I can understand how this whole cancer thing might knock you for a loop, but you’re bigger than it, and once you get through all the chemo, you’ll be fine. Once Fortuna goes to her doctor and we have some more information, she’ll be fine. As for Michael, well, that’s none of my business, obviously, but when I talked to him the other day at my party, I could tell he still loves you. Sure, he might have been upset about the affair, but who wouldn’t be? Ang, you’ve got to get it together. Now is not the time to fall apart. People are depending on you not to give up. You need to fight, not surrender.”

Genna hoped her little speech would knock some kind of sense into her cousin. If not, Angie would be completely useless. She’d become paralyzed within her own fear, and indulging in what-ifs would only lead to more hysteria, which no one needed.

The birds didn’t seem to care the two women were dealing with emotional overload and chirped in the branches of the trees overhead, although the silence at the table was deafening.

“You’re right,” Angie finally said. She sat back in the chair and dried her face with the bottom of her shirt. “You’re absolutely right. I need to get it together.” She stared over the back yard.


Now of course, there's a whole lot more to this than I've presented here. Genna isn't as hard hearted as some of you may think. As a matter of fact, during the next few paragraphs, Genna gives Angie all the love and support she needs and by the end of the scene, both women end up laughing as Genna grosses out her cousin with her unshaved legs.

So that's that.


On another note, for those of you who hate the new blogger look, I found a button (the one on your new dashboard that looks like an inner clock works -- if you hit that, you can find the tab that allows you to go back to the old blogger dashboard style. They say they're going to change it to the new one eventually, but I'm keeping the old one for as long as I possibly can.


I hope you all have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Writing Life in Increments

I know you probably don't want to hear about how I spend my days, but as this is my first second post being back, I figured I'd start with that. Nice and easy.

I'd like to get something straight before we start. I am NOT a stay-at-home Mom who writes. I am a writer who happens to work from home. I have nothing against SAHM's, I was one. Believe me, it's the hardest job a person can have. But when the Monster started school full-time, I started writing full-time.  This isn't a hobby for me, it's not a job I just clock in and out from, I have a schedule, and deadlines, and goals, like any other career oriented person working in a major corporation.

The Schedule -- I am up before dawn, usually around 5am. I make a cup of tea, and head downstairs to my "office" (a corner in the playroom where I keep all my "stuff". I can't wait to move, I'll have a real room for my office.) I get on the computer and check my email accounts (3), make my one Tweet for the day, and then check my stats on my books. Depending on what mail I need to answer, I do that, then I try and get on the blogs to see what I've missed. At 6:30, I wake the Monster, fight with her to get ready for school, and out the door by 7:30. I'm back by 7:45 and again at my desk. I share my ritual morning email with my crit partner, and then I go into "work" by 8am. I write until 1:30 when I have to go pick up the Monster from school. (In the pick-up line I get a 45 minute break where I read something everyday.) Back home by 2:30, I do the Mommy thing, the house thing, the supper thing, and then back to the computer around 7pm for a round of edits on what I worked on that morning. And then do it all again the next day.

Weekends are a bit different. I'm up at 5, but I generally work on blog posts and paraphenalia for my books. I don't tend to "write" unless I'm all caught up on the business end of things.

The Deadlines -- I try to write at least 2500 words a day. Of course, it's not a hard and fast rule, some days I write just 100, with 4 hours spent doing research, and others I can break 4K when the words are flowing. But by and large, by the end of the week I like to see myself with between 25 to 50 pages. I also made a promise to the Monster that I wouldn't work during her vacations so that I can spend time with her. So I get the bulk of my writing done from the end of August - November. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, it's crazy nuts, so last year I wrote a short story. In January I go back to the major work and stay with that until Easter break. (And hopefully it's done. This year, with my dad sick, left a lot to be desired, so the deadline for that particular book has been moved.)

However, I worked on the final edits for REMEMBERING YOU, put THE DUKE'S DIVORCE out to paperback, and am in the final stages for THE LADY'S FATE and REMEMBERING YOU to paperback. Am also in the process of finishing up another short story for the Regency line. Over the course of last summer, I did nothing but read. I went to the beach, found the beginning of a women's fiction novel and that was it. This summer, with moving and getting both houses situated with paint and repairs, I don't think I'll be doing too much writing either. But once the Monster is in school again, I'm diving back into THE LADY'S MASQUERADE (which I'm afraid is going to be a complete rewrite and not just a revise) and will hopefully have that done and out in all formats by Thanksgiving.

The Goals -- I read once, that you need to have your writing goals listed for the next ten years. I won't bore you with mine, only that my goals are pretty simple. Two books a year, plus two or three short stories. Some books are harder to write than others, which is why I'm constantly shifting my focus. I always have two or three projects going at the same time, so when I get bored or frustrated by one, I can move to another, until that gets snappy, then I can move to another. I find this works for me because as I'm working on whichever, I'm letting the other stories rest, and when I finally do get back to them, I'm looking at them with fresh eyes. Last year, I met my goals, and this year, I'm hoping to do the same. I keep telling myself life would be easier with a laptop, but I'm not so sure. We'll see.

And so, there you have it. My Writing Life in Increments. (And as I'm sure you know, real life can and does intrude from time to time, so all of the above is generally thrown right out the window.)

Tell me -- How do you write? Do you work full-time and grab whatever time you can? Or are you a full-time writer? What are some of your goals? Do you have deadlines? What time constraints are you under?

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'm Back! Did You Miss Me?

Well, good morning. I'm finally back to Blogger and they changed the format around. How many of you are hating this new system besides me? I can't find anything, don't know where to look, afraid to touch a button for fear the whole thing will crash. ARGH!!! Why can't they just leave things alone? Rant done.

Anyway, thanks for all your support while I was away. It really means the world to me. My dad is doing better. I don't think he'll ever change his curmudgeonly ways, but then he wouldn't be my dad if he did.

We're still waiting to close on the new house. Lawyers and banks and home inspections, oh my. You know how it goes. I just can't wait to start moving. You should see the dining room. Filled with boxes and crap and yard sale stuff. The only nice thing about this move is that I can just take stuff 'as is' and bring it to the new house in the car. I don't need a moving truck -- yet.

As for being back, I'm hoping to go back to my old format of M-W-F posts. I'm really hoping you'll all stop by again. Thanks so much to all my new followers. It's so nice to have you here.

And I hope you spent yesterday doing something good for Mother Earth, for her birthday. Oops, for Earth Day. It was actually my birthday. The Big 50. Where did the time go? Anyway, I hope you did something fun and picked up some trash somewhere. Or recycled something. We all have to do our part.

Now, tell me true, did you miss me? What have you been up to? What did I miss since I've been gone, beside Blogger changing?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Update On My Dad and Other Miscellany

Good Morning.

It's certainly been a long couple of weeks. We finally got my father on a breathing machine and a new bed that allows him to sleep sitting up. He's been in his chair in the living room for almost six months and although it helped, it didn't allow him to get the rest he needed. Now he's in bed again and feeling so much better. Not 100%, but at least 85, so that's a good thing.  He even cut the back meadow on Saturday. (Although I still had to push mow the front hill .)

I joined in the fun of the A-Z challenge, which some of you may know. I didn't sign up on the linky because I knew with everything I have going on I wouldn't be able to do it justice. But I had this crazy idea for it about a week before it went down, and if you want, you can find it here on my Anne Gallagher blog. My theme is my characters in pictures.

Also, I managed to get THE DUKE'S DIVORCE out in paperback. You can't find it on Amazon just quite yet, (they say it takes about 14 days for all the content to be uploaded) but you can find it here.  I'm hoping if you know someone who likes to read Regency in paper form, you'll tell them about it.

 I'm also working on another short story to e-publish. It involves Lord Greenleigh, (Letter G) spies, intrigue, and espionage with Russians. I'm up to Chapter 9 and I think it's pretty cool considering I don't know the first thing about espionage. (And I'm hoping MI6 and the CIA don't take my Google searches into consideration.)

AND, the biggest news of all, (which I'm still kind of reeling from) is we're moving. No, not back to the beach, (I wish) but to the house two doors down from my parents. It has 1200 more square feet than the house we're currently in, which translates to a proper living room, sunroom, private office, and a HUGE kitchen with a FIREPLACE! (I still can't believe that.) And another bonus, there's a garage. Unfortunately the yard does not have space for a pool (unless I want to sunbathe in the front yard). It's a win-win that we'll be within shouting distance of my parents. It's also a drawback in that there's no escape. But, I'm trying to stay positive with the fact it means so much more living and BREATHING space.

Also, I believe I have to cancel the big Earth Day party I planned for my Birthday. With so much craziness going on, (packing cleaning while still trying to write) I really am quite scatterbrained these days. I'm also trying to get LADY'S FATE out to paper, as well as get Greenleigh's story finished and pubbed in e-form all before we take possession of the new house. (Which will likely be by the end of April.) So I'm trying to keep my sanity and keep all the balls in the air. HA!

Anyway, that's my news. I've tried to be around as much as I can, but it's not the same. I miss you all terribly. Tell me what you've been up to so I can keep up.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The A-Z Challenge

Good Morning. I know I'm not around much anymore, but I had an idea for the A-Z Challenge that mostly everyone is participating in this year. I didn't sign up on the official roster, but I am doing it on my blog, so if you want to take a look-see that would be swell.

My theme is to meet my characters. I actually think it all came out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

I do hope you'll stop by if you have a chance.