Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Interview on The Author's Show and Book Release for "Makeup Your Mind"


So many great things have been happening in the past few weeks I hardly know where to begin!

Let’s start at the shortest update about the longest string of words I’ve put together in a long, long time. NaNoWriMo. I won!


At 50,169 words I validated my “novel” on November 22, 2017. It felt great getting this win for multiple reasons.

First, I found the beginnings of the next Shaw McLeary Mystery, Missing Miles.

Second, I had a CRAZY BUSY month and still managed to pull out a win (more on that in a minute…).

And, finally, this is the first time I’ve won in seven years. Holy crap that’s far too long! I’ve taken part in the challenge 4 times over those 7 years (2012, ’14, ’15, ’16) but this is my first real win since 2010.

Which leads me into other intertwined updates of course…

One of the main things I did over the past couple months, aside from NaNo, was some marketing and promotion for my recently released book 30 Chapters in 30 Days: Write a 50,000 word novel without feeling blocked.

First, I shared some of my personal and professional advice with the readers of the NaNo blog in my article: NaNo Prep: How to Write Believable Characters (and Push Your Word Count!).

With that article looming out there, plus a book telling people how to make it through the challenge of NaNoWriMo I kinda figured I should get through it this year as well. I mean, practice what you preach, right?

Right!

In the spirit of that, I also took part in another internet radio interview. As mentioned in the title, my interview giving even more detail and info on 30 Chapters went live on The Author’s Show TODAY!

I’m going to do my best to create a link to the interview so you all can come back and listen anytime you like but the first broadcast of the show is a brief 24 hours and then, poof, it’s gone off their website.

Listen to my Author’s Show interview here until November 30, 2017, just click on my name in the gray box.

What a crazy experience that interview turned out to be behind the scenes. And you know I’m all about the brutal honesty over here, especially about myself, so here’s the tea.

I nearly fucked up this entire thing.

Okay, that could be a bit over-dramatic but not much. The day I was supposed to talk there were timing issues (in AZ we don’t do DST but at the time of scheduling neither of us realized the clocks would flip). All of that was my fault for lack of preparation. Ugh. What I will blame on myself, but still hold a grudge against technology for, were my issues with Skype.

When I thought I was calling Don, my interviewer, I tried about ten times and Skype kept kicking me off/out and forcing me to log back in. I rebooted multiple times but my laptop is a dinosaur and takes FORever to do anything.

I was already 30 minutes “late” and panicked because I had a chiropractor appointment right after our interview. One more reboot and Skype seemed to finally want to work. But it was already too late. I had to jam.

I called from my cell and left Don a rambling, probably incoherent message about how sorry I was. As I pulled up to my chiro, I picked up the message he left while I was driving.

The one that said I was a full hour EARLY. Like I said, DST.

After all the confusion we managed to reschedule (bless him!), and on that day I tested Skype minutes before the interview (Matt is my hero!).

Don called, we chatted, I was prepared AF and feel like it was one of the better interviews I’ve ever done. Talking about that book while in the throes of NaNo reminded me I needed to open her up and take my own advice for how to get through the challenge.

It worked!

I have so many chapters that will be cut when I edit but it helped me better see the characters and where they were going. It also helped me step away from caring if my novel was perfect. And, not gonna lie, it felt great to rack up another NaNo win!

So, of course, because I didn’t have enough going on already, in the midst of NaNo I also listed my latest, book 3, in the California Dreamin’ Series, Makeup Your Mind for preorder on Amazon.

Click the title in that last paragraph, or right here to pick up your copy today!

My nail art at the beginning of this post is my nod to the book cover:


And I’m soooooo excited to get this one out there. Cherry Davis might be my favorite character I’ve written since Perth. She’s spunky, sexy, and self-sufficient. She’s a young retail whore living and working in the mid-nineties in coastal Cali.

I’m in love with her. Seriously. I might need to see a therapist.

But, regardless, her story officially hits the digital shelves tomorrow November 30, 2017 and I couldn’t be more excited!

It has been a fun, frustrating, but overall totally satisfying career month.

I’d love (LOVE!!!!!) you forever if you’ve already read either 30 Chapters or Makeup Your Mind if you’d be so kind as to review them on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews don’t really count for an author until there are at least 25 so please tell your friends, share the book love, share your opinion (even if you hated them both, I literally don’t care just review!).

Thanks!

And now, look out December, I’m coming in hot for a vacation. After the month I’ve worked, it feels like I’ve earned a week off.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Is it Cheating if I Paste this Entire Post into my NaNo Draft?

I still love you even though I've moved on to Shaw.
Yeah, I know. I’m not supposed to be blogging. I’m supposed to be typing like a rabid squirrel in my silly manuscript document right now. I’m not supposed to be doing anything other than crafting my new book.

The one just shy of halfway to a NaNo win. The one everyone is already sick of hearing about.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Because we’re right here in the midst of week 2 and I swear, I got nothin’. At least, not today. All I got is a lot of complaining over a bad day at work. You’re welcome. Everyone has them, you know. This job is a motherfucker most of the time.

Writers are already very solitary creatures most of the time. When we’re working on projects most other stuff falls by the wayside. But force us to do our jobs? Force us to stay trapped indoors until our fingers pound out the designated, daily word count? Eventually we will grow to resent you.

Don’t tell me how to live, NaNo!

The “you” we resent in this case, in case it wasn’t clear, is NaNo in general. But, honestly, I know I have to keep reminding myself what’s on the line, the beginnings of a new book, even though I’m sick of hearing myself talk about this stupid challenge.

I feel like one of those vegans who can’t help tell literally everybody they’re vegan. You know the type. You’re together at the mall in the Hallmark store or somewhere equally free of food, fur, etc. with your loved one who happens to be vegan.

Approaching the cashier, who asks how we’re doing, your companion answers, “I’m vegan, thanks, and you?”

To which the cashier responds with a look of confusion mixed with uncertainty if she should ring up the order or quit to go work on a farm somewhere.

I’m literally the militant vegan of writers right now.

“Hi, I’m doing NaNo so if you want to talk to me I’ll need to record our conversation to later transcribe into my manuscript. Thanks so much.”

Ugh. We get it, you’re a writer. Just shut up about stupid NaNo, will ya?

Gladly. In about 30,000 more words.

The problem is, while I’ve allowed this challenge to consume my every thought, there’s still Makeup Your Mind. My poor, all but forgotten novella! I finished her and my excitement level soared. Cherry Davis was about to become a living character in the real world outside my laptop. Yes!

The pre-order link for Makeup Your Mind is live and everything!

And…enter NaNoWriMo.

Promptly forget all about your favorite character and her sexy little mid-twenties coming of age story. Forget that Cherry Davis has all kinds of dreams. Forget that you should, I don’t know, tell people about this book that drops in a mere 21 days.

Create an ad. Some press releases. Blog posts. Something?

Sigh.

I have no idea what I was thinking, taking on this challenge this year. But then I think, when the heck else would Missing Miles get a start if it wasn’t during NaNo?

Because, the funny thing about my Shaw McLeary Mysteries, every single one of them were born during a NaNo. A couple were during summer camp when the NaNo folks toast up some s’mores (wait, no, some ooey gooey s’mores, more words) and one during the traditional November challenge.

So obviously I’m feeling the pull to work this one out during a NaNo challenge. Because Shaw deserves my irritation and ridicule now so I don’t have to subject her to my scornful ways when I actually start writing her book.

Did you think I’d get a real manuscript out of NaNo? Sorry to disappoint but I generally use this month as the challenge to find the story they want to tell by writing them into situations they sometimes can’t even get out of. That’s so the real book reads without plot holes or other major issues.

(Hand to forehead, Major Issues)

And, in the spirit of issues, I’ve procrastinated entirely enough already today. If I expect to get to 50,000 by the end of the month, I can’t fall back on the three day pad I’ve built.

I need to put on my big girl pants and get typing in my other document.

Because, despite my title question, I refuse to cheat. None of these 750 words count.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Is Anyone Still Falling for this Scam?

Okay, I get it. The world is smaller, population larger, and employment pool shallow. So, if we want to survive in this world, we better be able to fend for ourselves. Get creative and learn how to make money in non-traditional ways.

But, is this idiot serious?

Wait. Let me back up for a second. This part of the backstory is important.

I got my first email address in 1997. It was an exciting time for me. Mostly, because I worked for a company that created and implemented healthcare software. I think. Honestly, I was the greenest person where IT was concerned.

No joke. Ten years or so prior to getting that job I sat in an office only a mile up the road as my mom worked an on-call shift and I uttered the words, “nobody in the world will ever use those stupid computer things. Who wants that in their house?”

Yeah.

In my defense, computers in the late eighties weren’t exactly the graphic wonders of ease they are today. They were big and clunky and so expensive my mom would have needed five jobs just to afford one of the things.

Fast forward to 1997.

Computers, for better or worse, were a thing everyone wanted in their house.

Oops.

Tired of a life of being a retail whore, I decided to get an entry level job in an office. Your friendly Receptionist, Jenn, at your service.

I started as a temp. It was the easiest work I ever did. And I don’t mean to demean Receptionists by saying that, there is a lot of work to do, it’s just, that work isn’t exactly solving the world’s problems. Or coding software.

Learn the phone system, everyone’s name, and password to the computer and literally anyone who can say “Thank you for calling MMS, how can I direct your call?” can do my first corporate job.

Monkey work. I was fucking great at that job. Zero real responsibility. Twice the pay I made at the mall. Every weekend off. Button pusher. Big fake smiler for visitors and employees. If I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do with my life right now, I swear I would go back and get a job as a Receptionist. One with zero ambition of advancement.

But that’s another story. This one is about why all that time in corporate America has me questioning the motivations of people in these modern times.

As a gal working with a bunch of techie types in most every corporate job I ever held, I guess I was at an advantage over the average Joe. I got my education on the job.

As little as I knew about the online world when I started that first job, nowadays, I’m pretty well seasoned to the internet-at-large. 1997 was the same year I heard the term ‘urban legend’ for the first time.

I distinctly remember when and why one of my co-workers shared those two glorious words. An email. Of course it was a freaking email. There was no other way to internet scam people back in those days other than through email.

We didn’t have social media. We had chat rooms. Nobody even used their real name, we certainly weren’t asking for each other’s bank account information. We talked about stuff like football and movie stars.

The email in question, however, scared me. Some poor person had their kidney removed and woke up in a bathtub full of ice!

I mean, can you even imagine?

I was a club girl. For years my nights from Thursday through Sunday were spent in dark, smoke-filled, loud-as-fuck nightclubs. Most of the time I was broke. And I loved (correction: still love) to dance. I also despise falling over. So 90% of the time I went dancing, I was stone sober.

Club guys didn’t like that. They wanted me drunk and pliable. Sucks to be them. Thanks for asking, you can get me a bottled water and I’ll let you grind up on me on the dance floor. But you probably won’t be taking me home. This is about dancing mofo.

So, when I opened that email I started thinking of the other 10% of the time. The times I went out and actually had a couple bucks to spend as well as a desire to get plastered. How easy would it be to wake up in a hotel room after being drugged? How easy would it be for someone to surgically remove my kidney and leave me to die in a tub?

I clicked forward and sent that warning to most of the people I knew.

Moments later, I learned the term urban legend, as provided by one of the techs at the company. He was, of course, nice enough about it but made sure to let me know it was in fact a scam.

From then on I learned to filter the internet through my cynicism before forwarding anything.

But, just to be safe, I pretty much stopped drinking when I went dancing.

That urban legend email was the day my curiosity with the interwebs came to a screeching halt. Wait, what? People try to steal your money online? And nobody has lost a kidney in a hotel bathroom?

My mind flashed back to the office with my mom. I suddenly wished I’d stuck to my guns. Computers were nothing more than a big waste of time. Right?

I got all the scams, but was lucky enough to know they were false. So, I guess I assume that twenty years later everyone with an email address has seen and dismissed just about every email scam that’s ever been tried. That old scams were forever a thing of the past.

That is, until I opened my email this morning and read this:

Dear: Friend.Assalammu'Alaikum I am Mr Hamza Mohammed, I need your assistance to transfer an abandoned sum of(US$20.5million us Dollars) into your Bank account 50/percent will be your share,50% for me and 10% for any income expenses that will come during the transfer,I need your assistance only keep the business secretly. No risk involved but keeps it as secret. Contact me for more details. Please reply me through my alternative email id only for confidential reasons,( mrhamzamohammed8@gmail.com ) I am waiting for your urgent respond to enable us proceed further for the transfer. Yours faithfully,Mr Hamza Mohammed.

Really?

I mean, if this former tech neophyte could learn what not to do online then I figured everyone with an email already knows to filter shit like this to spam.

Who is still falling for this con that someone is still selling this con as legit?

Does anyone think they might hear about millions of dollars in abandoned money (earmarked for them) in a freaking email? No, I mean, like I said, I was once very green too but come on. Even back then I never would have fallen for something like that. Who just gives a stranger their bank account information?

Who reads this and thinks, “Oh good, my ship finally came in!”

The email alone tells us everything.

Things wrong:

1. The email sender: mrhamzam9@aol.com. I know some people still use AOL but, really? Again, welcome back to 1997. I’m pretty sure if I get an email that someone wanted to give me up to 10 million dollars it would come from @lawfirmofchoice.com.

2. Math. Look, I’m a writer and numbers aren’t exactly my forte if you will, but even I know the clichĂ© of “I gave it 150%” can’t be real. 100% is the actual maximum available. Especially when we’re talking about a finite number. For example, “US$20.5million us Dollars.” So if we take “50/percent,” and add that to “50% for me,” then again add 10%, I’m simply left scratching my head. Where exactly does Hamza expect to find “10% for any income expenses” lying around? Which one of us must sacrifice our $2mil to these foreseen expenses?

3. That grammar. I literally can’t even. That sentence is about as fragmented as it gets and it still makes more sense than any single sentence in Hamza’s email.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the 1997 throwback (especially with a book set in the mid-nineties about to drop [Makeup Your Mind] I’m pretty much all about the decade right now), but the guy might as well have told me someone was going to steal half my liver and stitch me up with yarn.

I know better. That 10% of the time I spent drinking took care of my liver.

Try again Scammy McScammerson.

Photo courtesy quick meme

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Makeup Your Mind Cover Reveal

Ha! I fooled everyone (including myself) and actually managed to get a new post up before the “here’s my new book, go buy it now!!!” post.

Of course, this one is still about the book so take it for what it’s worth.

But who isn’t excited, right? It’s the cover reveal for Makeup Your Mind!

This will be basically short and sweet today, there’s still so much to do before November to get the book done -- final proofread, uploaded to Library of Congress, added for pre-order on Amazon, marketing…

Though, this is my favorite part of the process.

The story is solid. Manuscript finalized. Characters living in their own lane. Fully developed and ready to greet the world. But still reserved for very few sets of eyes. Very few readers.

These are the final minutes before the general public has the opportunity to tear my writing apart.

Funny, though, I’m usually more panicked at this stage than the day I get an email from Amazon that the book has gone live. It makes no sense but I worry that the book will never make it to published. Like I said, makes no sense because it isn’t like the publishing part is out of my hands.

Writesy Press, LLC is a one-woman operation, after all.

Me. I’m that woman, just in case that wasn’t clear.

So, why in the hell I worry about not publishing the book I just finished writing (the one I wrote so I could publish it), is ludicrous. But it happens every time.

At first I thought it was fear over those scathing comments from the public but now, on my tenth title,I don’t think that’s it at all. Truly, I think maybe I’m just a crazy person who puts too much pressure on myself to make things look and feel like a professionally produced book that I worry I’ll realize ten things I didn’t do the moment I hit that publish button.

Procrastinator. Perfectionist. Producer. Someday I’ll have to write a memoir how those three characteristics can live inside one writer.

But that day is not today.

Today is the day when I stop rambling and do what I said I’d do at the beginning of the post – reveal the cover art for Makeup Your Mind!


What do you think?

And, yes, I know asking that question leaves the cover open to public critique and mockery. But I’m in love with the cover so, frankly, bring it on if you’ve got something to say. I’m not a-scared.

I’m too excited.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Updates from the Work and Life Front

It seems the more I write (books), the less I have time to write (blogs). But I guess that’s nothing new over in these parts. Ten years into this blogging life and the only constant has been that I never abandon this space entirely.

And that’s enough for me right now. Something has to fall by the wayside when other things require more time.

Not forever but for now.

With a couple hours to fill today (say what?), it seemed like the right time to reflect and get a new post going.

So, what are my updates, you may ask?

You did ask that, right?

Okay, well, where do I start? I guess the biggest news is the writing that has me not writing over here.

I’m getting really excited for my next release. With final feedback coming in from my Beta Babes on Makeup Your Mind, I should hit my November release date with ease. Next up, the final editing process.

These are the weeks where the story polish is applied and then I get to write stuff like jacket copy, ad blurbs, and other marketing material. But that’s not why I’m excited.

I truly can’t wait for everyone to read Cherry’s story. She’s one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written. And I’m not just saying that because she’s the star of the next book coming out. Nope. I honestly think she’s so much fun.

She’s the girl/woman I aspired to be in my early twenties: unapologetic for her choices. I love her.

In other book news, I released 30 Chapters in 30 Days: Write a 50,000 word first draft without feeling blocked earlier this month. You can click the title to learn more but this one is a helpful guide to whipping up big word count even when you don’t have words to write.

Specifically geared for fiction authors and aspiring authors, I’m happy to report this book has actually made it into the top 300 on Amazon for Self-help Creativity, the top 400 in Education & Reference, and the top 500 in Writing Skills!

WOO HOO!!!

For many years I dreamed of being published but never took the first step – writing the damn book. I mean, without a book you don’t have a book to publish. And yeah, I know that sounds all ‘Captain Obvious’ but it’s astounding how many would-be authors talk about wanting to be published without ever having finished a book.

I was one of them, until the day I decided to finish the thing I started. No matter how good or bad it was, I would type The End on a fully fleshed out story. It took me 28 years to get there from the days when I first started writing, but I haven’t stopped releasing work since.

So, now that I’m about to release my tenth title in November it seemed like the right time to take all that experience and help another writer. If even one aspiring author uses the book as a tool to push through until they type The End, then I will be the happiest gal around!

Last month I was interviewed by Pat for Speak Up Talk Radio and the interview was a complete blast. It was really cool to do my first radio interview and the experience inspired me to reach out for more networks and podcasts.

I definitely want to start spreading the word about my books in a major way. You know me. All about the shameless self-promotion. (Tell your friends!)

And in the spirit of promo, I’m going to be the featured artist in an upcoming week of The Foothills Focus. That will be a fun one. I’ve gone back and read a bunch of Shea Stanfield’s articles and look forward to how she helps me tell my writing story.

And thus ends work updates.

Two weeks ago, Matt and I went on a whirlwind road trip spanning from Phoenix to Carson City, NV, and just about everywhere in between. Within an hour of hitting the road I got inspired for Shaw McLeary’s next book.

Like I said on Facebook, leave it to a writer to continue working even when they are supposed to be on a relaxing vacation. Story of my life. And I wouldn’t change it for a second!

Literally, can hardly contain myself to start writing that one but I will wait. I have to. Sorta. But don’t think that doesn’t mean I won’t engage in a little note taking over the next couple months to get that book started in the back of my mind. But, there are others to finish before I start a new one.

Okay, now, I’m done with work updates.

Life and work do tend to bleed into one living thing as a writer. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the two.

But anyway…

Vacation.

I posted some pictures on Facebook but for those of you who I’m not friends with over there, here’s a random sampling of photos on each stop of our journey. It rocked.

Kingman


Hoover Dam


Lake Mead


Las Vegas


Lake Tahoe


Yosemite


Bodie, CA


Road home


Over 2,000 miles spent driving to celebrate fifteen years of married bliss. Great times!

And now that I’m done with the life/work update from last month…

Who thinks I’ll get more than one post up before the next book release” post?

I’m not betting on it.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Strong Women are my Spirit Animal

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a fan of ladies who operate from a ‘kick ass and have no fear’ mentality. Women who aren’t afraid to take risks to get what they want, need. Sometimes that meant the woman was an activist, sometimes it meant she risked her reputation, other times her life.

Those were the women I looked up to. Those women didn’t take no for an answer, didn’t let anything stop them from going after their true calling. They were, and are, about as bad-ass as I could imagine and take a lot of shit because of their spirit. But who says bad-ass is a bad thing?

Because, how does that quote go again? Oh yeah…

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” 
– Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

And really, who wants to be ‘well-behaved’ anyway?

Some of my earliest interest in how much a woman can do came from women who threw caution to the wind. Dove head first into their feisty soul and made zero apologies.

Joan of Arc, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Madonna, Emily Dickinson.

And, me? I’m here living a simple life, far outside the realm of extremes that my heroines faced in their lives and careers. I’m just a girl publishing some books in a time when girls are allowed to publish books, work for themselves. Because that’s my soul. My calling.

Every time I take on a new challenge and complete it, face a fear and conquer it, I hope to inch one step closer to bad-ass. In my own way.

I feel like I’ve come a long way from the girl who scribbled, incessantly, in a journal, never releasing a single word to the world. The girl who feared and let it stop her from taking work-life by the balls.

As of a few years ago I would shake at the thought of standing up in front of the women’s writers group I belong to and giving just a 30 second introduction. I was so afraid of public speaking, in fact, that it took me well over six months before I forced myself to stand up and talk at all.

Now I take the mic every time I'm there and have some interesting tid-bit of my writing life to share.

Am I still nervous? Hell yes. I always feel like a socially and professionally awkward mess because even when I prepare the words seem to vanish as soon as I rise. But I do it anyway because fear is just an emotion.

Then there was last week. My career took a new and exciting turn as I was interviewed for a podcast for the first time.

Radio. My voice. Many, many people potentially listening to what I had to say.

And I didn’t get advance copies of the questions.

Gulp.

But I sent her some items I definitely wanted to talk about and she worked off my author bio and books as a basis for her questions. Not only that but Pat was a master interviewer. Smooth, no awkward pausing, follow up comments, excellent questions.

It was like the half hour ended in a minute. At the end of it, I tried to remember everything I’d said. Because, you know I over-analyze. But as my mind went over my responses I had something happen that rarely happens to me.

I felt good about the interview.

Maybe it was running on pure adrenaline, perhaps it was my desire to lead my work into the consciousness of a larger market (finally), or a combination of both but I felt like I got all the points across and not in my usual Boston speed-speak.

It just felt, right.

When Pat sent me the link, not gonna lie, I waited a few days before I had the courage to listen. Matt said he wanted to check it out. Family had encouraged me beforehand. I knew they wanted to hear it too.

Still, I considered not sharing it at all.

But then I thought back to five years ago. Five years ago I was in the midst of putting finishing touches on Reckless Abandon. Five years ago I’d already self-published my first title and was getting ready to release my second.

I didn’t let my inner critic stop me that time.

So I wouldn’t let it stop me this time either.

I clicked on that link and, as I listened to myself, the same feeling I had after recording washed over me. It wasn’t rambling. It wasn’t incoherent. I actually sounded okay.

Again, though, questions arise. Did doing this podcast cure me of the fear of my recorded voice? No. Did it cure me of nerves? Hell no. But will I do something like this again?

Hells to the yes.

Just like those first two books I wrote so many years ago, this interview isn’t perfect but that doesn’t matter. It was fun, challenging, and super cool I got to talk about my work so a bunch of total strangers might discover a book they just have to read.

Liberating and scary all rolled into one 33:07 segment.

So, it’s true I’m not helping to free slaves, taking a stand against discrimination, setting new standards for females embracing their own sexuality, but to me, advancing my career in this way still feels pretty bad-ass.

If you’d like to listen, turn on your speakers and click:


• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The 20 Words I Hate Related to Internet Sales

Marketing. Ugh. Am I the only one? I can’t be. I mean, if you’re a person in an online environment with a product or service to sell then you pretty much have to eat, sleep, and breath internet marketing these days. Right?

Well yippie-freaking-skippy.

It’s all just words. Shiny things strung together to entice a person into spending their hard earned dollars. And, you know I’m a person in an online world with a product to sell, but, come on.

I write books. Books that fall into pretty specific categories, genres.

Why does that matter? Because keeping someone on the line with a hook is good to get them in the boat but a minnow gets tossed back even though it was still technically considered catching a fish.

Let me put it like this, I tell people I’m an author. Every time a man asks for a business card or my information I say the following line:

“Here you go, but you should probably know you’re not my target audience.”

I’m not a person who will try to snake-oil anyone into buying something they don’t want or need because what good does that do me in the long run?

None. The answer is none.

Those people won’t be my repeat readers. They won’t promote me. They will toss that card in the trash and continue on with their lives not giving a crap that card cost me $0.09. Minnow.

But anyway, I thought I’d share some of the words and phrases related to the new age of selling that kind of make me want to hurl.

1. Strategy (Good luck getting one in a world that changes by the hour.)
2. Content (Usually of the “quality” or “fresh” variety. You mean, words?)
3. Marketing (If you can read it then it’s probably marketing.)
4. Authentic (Having to tell people you are something makes me question how true the statement really is.)
5. Tribe (No, just, no. You aren’t related, descendants. You are on the internet. You are a group or community.)
6. Sell without selling (Yeah, I’ll get right on that. See #2 & 3, right?)
7. Social networking (Essentially redundant.)
8. Quality work (See #4.)
9. Drive traffic (It’s an oxymoron and I hate it.)
10. Authority (How are you supposed to get this if you can’t tell people things without it?)
11. Monetize (This literally means to turn into money. Which literally means a website can’t perform this task.)
12. Avoid self-promotion (Screw rules. Here's some now - shameless self-promotion!)
13. Insert website here (And gasp at people who aren’t using it. Fucking hipsters. It’s already obsolete.)
14. Capture your audience (Uh, I think that’s illegal…)
15. Industry trends (You mean, like, every word/phrase written in this list?)
16. Engage (The definition of this word is: to attract. It has nothing to do with continuous back-and-forth, like people who tout their abilities in #3 want you to believe.)
17. Consistency (Density. Uniformity. Constant and unwavering adherence to a principal or action. AKA: zero flexibility.)
18. Click-bait (The marketing industry can’t make up its mind. Do you want me to click or tell people not to?)
19. Above-the-fold (This phrase has no business outside the newspaper industry. Your mouse has a scroll wheel for a reason. The internet has no fold. Except the folds of time, ever reduced every time you get onto the internet.)
20. Thoughtful posts (So subjective. Who are you to tell me if I’m being thoughtful?)

Sadly, I have to admit to using some or all of the above tactics to get my work in front of readers. 'Tis the way of the internet and the online purveyor of goods.

I would do anything for page rank.

Wait, that's still a thing, right?

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Some People have Cats…


I think I might have a teensy little problem. Apparently I’m a calendar and charts kind of girl.

Some people have cats, I have a white board. Or four. And a day planner. Plus a handmade paper chart. But that’s only because I ran out of room on the whiteboards!

Okay, I get it. That doesn’t exactly help my case against being a crazy cat, er, whiteboard, lady.

But, in my defense, they’re all crucial to my process.

A process that is quickly evolving into something bigger.

In other words, I’m gonna need a bigger whiteboard.

See, when I freaked out on that other post, it prompted a long, hard look at my current state of things. Then Matt and I sat down and talked about all things career. Mine. His. Where we’re both heading and what it will likely take to get us there.

He wants to see me succeed as much as I want to see me succeed so we talked about increasing my advertising/marketing/publicity budget. Okay, to be fair, we actually talked about me having a budget to begin with.

As someone who doesn’t pull in a big income every month, and someone who feels like I’m bleeding money every time I start setting up a new book for sale, I always feel weird about spending more.

But, this market of authors is quite saturated and I need to remember that every day I go to my job. I need to get my name out there. Especially as a sole proprietor trying to build a business in a creative industry. The truth is, we have to spend money to make money in this world.

Even an office worker doesn’t get paid to go to and from their job. Car repairs, gas, food during the day, all of that comes out of the money they make for the job they do. Money they spend to get to work to make money.

So I tore apart my old marketing plan and developed a new plan. A good plan, I think. Again, still green to all this promotional stuff but the plan I developed for the next six months or so should help to keep a buzz going.

Hey, even one Africanized bee buzzes, it might be quieter than a swarm but swat at it and see how long it takes for that swarm to arrive. Am I right?

I’m using that mentality to approach my revived interest in marketing.

But with all new projects comes brainstorming, scheduling, a great need for organization. Hence, the corner full of erasable marker.

Okay, I’m not ashamed to admit it - I love whiteboards!

Because anything and everything can easily wipe away in an instant. In fact, as soon as I’m done with a task for the month, week, day, I take my eraser and clean the task off my calendar.

Whoosh!

See ya!

I do that because I don’t like mental clutter and there’s plenty of that going on just having the boards up in the first place. I mean, you saw the picture in this post, right? When I can declutter my brain of looking at something I already finished, it frees me up to concentrate on the next task.

In any given day at work I rarely complete the same task two days in a row. True, I write almost every day but it isn’t even the same writing every day. Nor at the same time of day every day.

Thus, a room full of erasable surfaces.

So, the first whiteboard breaks down the current month by days and weeks.

The next is my advertising schedule and budget broken out into the next six months by week.

Below that is my big, blue, paper chart for tracking characters in my California Dreamin’ Series.

Next whiteboard is current book(s) in process (timeline, character development, general story notes) and a bunch of magnets I don’t know what to do with (plus the list of all sites where I need to update info on a new release and my list of beta readers).

Finally, I’ve got an eight month projection board where I list out all the stuff I need to do in a given month on books themselves (AKA: write it, send to betas, edit, etc.), giveaway schedules, free/other promotion schedules, and the rare days I will allow myself to completely disconnect from my job and take a damn vacation.

The day planner? That’s for personal stuff like actually making sure we leave the house occasionally (hockey, concerts), paying bills, seeing family, scheduling time with friends.

I’m ready. I’m organized. I’m maybe a bit over the top with my calendars and charts but, damn it, no scattered business owner ever made it very long. And after working out a realistic marketing and advertising budget for the next year, I fully intend to do everything I can to stick around as long as I can with my business.

Resolve renewed.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lighten it up with some Girlie Things

So, after my last post, I kind of got the feeling like people were concerned. For my safety, specifically.

Sorry to everyone who got scared, freaked out, etc. by the things I wrote. That wasn’t my intention and I just want to say the fact you reached out means a lot. Writing is my therapy, always has been, and perhaps that’s the first time you read something in that vein over here.

I want to clear the air and reboot a little bit because the concern actually shocked me. But then I went back and re-read the post and, yeah, I can see how some folks might have been wondering about my mental state.

I’m not, however, sorry for sharing the post because it was something (is something) I felt needed off my chest and in a very publicly shared way.

You should probably know that my mental state is basically fucked all the time.

No exaggeration, I pretty much think like that most days at some point or another. A common occurrence since I was ten or eleven years old. I call it the curse of the creative.

I need to feel things. Everything. Enhanced emotions are what keep me working. When’s the last time you read a book where the characters never experienced anything? Never cried, screamed, flung their arms around the one they love to tackle them to the floor?

Exactly.

I tap into my highs and lows on a daily basis in order to craft my worlds.

Last week’s blog post was a reflection of that deep seeded personality trait bubbling up into my world. That’s all. I swear, if you pulled out my journals from any year of my life since age 14 you would be amazed at how much of that super dark shit comes out.

I don’t often share that kind of raw emotion over here but on that particular day it was something I felt I needed to do.

I’m not defending it, don’t feel I owe anyone an explanation per se but I at least wanted everyone to know that I am a-okay.

But you should also know that I still feel the same. Still frustrated, still a bit lost. But I will find my way and appreciate all the hands I have to hold on the way. Love you all!

Now, in an effort to flip-flop right over to the other side of my self-diagnosed bipolarity, I thought it would be fun to share something here that I haven’t done in a long time.

Nail art! (See ya dudes…)

I’ve been getting back into it lately, watching (read: binging like a zombie) YouTube videos about anything and everything under the sun. So last week while I was working on this manicure:


I decided to give a bunch of different styles a little practice. Since I have a silicone nail art mat I decided all of the designs would be something I could lay down to save until I did my mani this week. And it worked to create a skittle manicure (meaning all fingers are different).

I’m calling it Cohesive Color Chaos.

None of them came out perfect, far from it, but I had a lot of fun creating each of the designs, keeping an eye on the color theory of the full manicure, making sure the two hands were balanced (for example, if I did a white/teal/iridescent on one hand I did the same on the other in a different design), and learning which are my favorite techniques.

So far, I’m not a big fan of water marbling, am only a partial fan of freehand, and love stamping.

Without further ado, here’s the mani in full detail by finger then a mashup of the two hands so you can see what it looks like all together.

First, here’s the mat with most of the self-created decals laid down.


The two on my pinky fingers were supposed to be those pink and white ones but they crumbled a bit and I had to use some backups.

Now here are the nails as I see them, from left to right, starting with the pinky on my left hand.

Drag marble

Blobicure

Stamped flamingoes

Water marble with glow in the dark

Freehand sunglasses and letters

Stamped sunglasses

More attempts at water marble

Freehand flamingo with acrylic paints

Drag marble

Smoosh marble

And here are both hands side-by-side. What do you think?


Personally? I love the mani, not as thrilled with my application. Some of them are already starting to peel up in the corners (applied Saturday) and I’m sure it’s because my nails are so C curved that the decal just didn’t bond with the base coat of polish I laid down.

No biggie, I’ll keep practicing and get better at some of these techniques.

Bottom line, this fun, upbeat girl is who I am today (and every day). It’s just that some days she has to let the darkness surface.

Just like nail polish, I have to let something sucky take the lead every once in a while and share that fail with the world. Because that lets me remove the layers and get back to my natural starting point. The clean slate of my nails and my brain.

xoxo

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.