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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Appreciate Time!

Why when you're an independent writer no one appreciates your time? I realize I don't have a monthly release and I don't write essays or articles so it may not seem to some that I am busy.

Today for example I call my mom - not unusual we talk daily, twice a day, three times ... whenever the whim takes hold but today! She says "I need you to come over and shred my 40 years of old paperwork."

Seriously! Suitcases of old statements, cancelled checks and even ... yes! A file titled "Worthless Receipts" - Really? I just started a new book and I've got twins, four dogs, dinners daily (which I hate) and about a thousand chores that I put aside because they're just no fun. But even my least interesting thing to do is better than shredding ancient documents!

And I love the "if you don't have anything better to do" - Yes! I have better things to do but you are my mother and ... I shredded the first of many file folders dated 1988.

Time is essential and prioritizing is crucial. But the biggest waste of precious time is having your computer crash! Happened yesterday. My husband asks, "how can I help?" Very nice but he doesn't understand my need for violence at that moment, not late involvement. Now all of a sudden it's his fault - don't know why but I'm creative and can come up with something.

How easy it is to say ... back up your work. I do, in fact that's what I was doing when I lost it! Don't judge, don't hate and don't forget to take a breath. Most likely what I lost wasn't as magnificent as I remember it to be. But now I will never know.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Starting The Third Book Of The Series

On Thursday I started Book 3 of The Melanie Ward Novels. To open a new page and see that big white screen staring at me is an odd feeling. Not scary - which is what I'd think but WOW! Wow, what the heck am I going to do? And I have to get it done by ... when?

The bright white page isn't where this book starts - it started months ago, thinking about what happened to Melanie when she got back from Africa. It's not square one but ... pretty close. To put images into words, the right words is a big deal. My goal for Book 3 is to visualize every scene. Which I do but this book I want to be transported with every sentence. I want to laugh with Trish and I want Melanie to learn something ... so many hopes for her and those characters around her that have been holding steady in that white space ... the hiatus is over.

For my last two books - Second Chance and Moon Over Monsters - I had outlines waiting in the wings but not this time! And last week I was in a mood - sad? Not exactly just down and there's always something to feel about ... birthday, finishing a book, starting a new one, low sales - just a feeling of am I moving in the right direction with my life? Big, unanswerable questions. There is still residue of those emotions but ...

Happy Autumn -

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cost to Benefit

Okay, so the book signing was Saturday and I did a neighborhood experiment. Background: I live in a very community oriented neighborhood - we have a name, lawns and a mixture of long-time residents and young families.

So with $40 out pocket expense and 2 hours/40 minutes of my time I set out to deliver flyers. I put them on the doors the morning before the signing. I didn't count the exact number but my estimate is approximately 250 flyers/homes.

What was I expecting? If I am honest I would say 10 people - I'm not a dreamer but even my rational mind was disappointed. 3 neighbors. That is just over 1% - but it is also three people who didn't know about me on Thursday.

So there you go -- it's an idea and if it's worth it to you and I'm not saying it isn't -- 1%.

Brighter Side - my ya is off and running. Delivered to the awesome Jill as I type - it is crunch time and as soon as she's done my job starts back up. I really hope she likes it!!

Tomorrow I am taking the day off - it's my birthday and I'm shutting down the computer - I will keep thinking because Thursday is the start of Melanie Ward Book 3!! Mentally it is all plotted out and Melanie has different adventures waiting for her.

For my 3 neighbors and those that couldn't make the signing -- Thank You! Your support matters.

Another year older and it only feels like a day,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gotta Get the Words Out!

Book Signing!
Saturday at Clues Unlimited 
3146 E. Fort Lowell 

So how does a single author, without a big house behind her, publicize her appearances? Get creative.
I know there are online sites and all the social networking tools -- those are the first that come to mind.

But let us not forget the good old fashioned method - door-to-door sales. There are 300 homes in my neighborhood and my book signing is about 100 yards away ... Here is where one girl with flyers and an active neighborhood wears out the soles of her shoes.

Could this be any more grass roots?
I get exercise, my covers get noticed, my name gets out there and who knows I might get some sales out of it! I will let you know how it goes.

I've been thinking about taking up meditation - but first I'm going to let my kids try it out. If it works for them and they're at peace, maybe I'll get some quiet!

All about little steps and small changes.

Deep breaths,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An 8 Step Process ... or is it!

I'm just about done going through my young adult - seriously it will be ready for edit next week! Holy Moly! It's going really well but I am not ready to say Smooth Sailing, yet -- one never knows what's beyond the horizon. I've even got a title - that I'm going to keep under wraps until it is a definite go.

Every author has their own process - mine is - 1. write the outline (which really is the story - I don't do chapters stuff until later) all the way through to the end - 2. go back and fill in the story trying to use all senses and making certain the timeline is right (chapters go here) - all the way through to the end - 3. read through fixing small errors, getting rid of non-esssentials, clarifying confusing sentences and general tweeking - 4. give to the awesome and amazing Jill - 5. receive back about 10k errors to fix and one last chance to adjust anything - 6. hand it back to Jill - 7. get it back and fix for the final time, then ...  8. out of my hands - until dust jacket and the cover art, photo, marketing, book signings - you get the picture.

After all that I'm a little sad. I thought I was closer to the end ... if there ever is an end.

And as a side note -- Can I just ask all the older men of the world - Stop Using Right Guard! It stinks and it doesn't make you smell good! That spray stuff sticks in my nose, throat and I can taste it for hours. YUCK! They walk around in a aerosol bubble knocking out people along the way. Nuff said.

Great days to you,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do You Know What Your Children Are Reading?

Have you read what your kids are reading? Because all Young Adult books are not created equally. The pendulum swings from tame to yikes!

I read the popular YA novel over the past couple of years. I wanted to know the market, the readers - which is not limited to kids - and I wanted to know the guidelines. It's a great genre because anything is possible. It's a area that accepts the impossible, the incredible and there are no limits to the imagination. With a YA you can suspend belief for 300 pages and expand your mind.

Read to your kids, read what they are reading - create a new generation of readers.

Kate Mathis

Friday, September 2, 2011

Myth Busters – An Author's Perspective

"Write What You Know"

What kind of advice is that? I know it's come out of the most famous, popular and award winning authors since the beginning of time but ... I have to disagree. (non-fiction being the exception) What if what you know isn't interesting? What if you feel the calling to write about a race car driver? You're half way there, you've driven a car. The racing part ... you can learn!

There are no limitations to your imagination!

If everyone followed that philosophy of write what you know, we'd never have great works like ... Superman, the Little Mermaid, Journey to the Center of the Earth. You'd have boxers writing boxing literature and inmates writing murder mysteries because who else would admit to have experience in dolling out death? Oops, I think OJ did do that.

Imagination and the internet. That is what you need. So all you science fiction authors who've never ridden on the Space Shuttle ... relax, let out a huge sigh of relief knowing that you don't have to spend a fortune to be a Cosmonaut! You just need a computer and a vivid imagination.
And when you bump into the submission guidelines that ask why are you qualified to write about interplanetary travel know that if not you, who? John Glenn? Pretty sure his was an autobiography.

As the author of a spy series, I'm not at liberty to explain how I get my plot lines and that's what I say in my query letter. What spy is going to lay out the truth just to get published? Besides, who knows ... maybe I am a secret agent! Does it matter?

Take care and write what you love - if you know it, excellent!