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Friday, November 16

Getting it Write

Image result for the night circus quotesby Margie Senechal

Old files are kind of scary. I wandered into an email file titled Betas and realized that I have been writing Bix for around eight years. Why, yes, I do have eight versions and close to 300,000 words to prove it...but really eight years. Wow. 

Either I'm dedicated or crazy. Not sure which.

Image result for the night circus quotesBut then I saw an announcement on Facebook from author Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus. 

Now, The Night Circus is one of my all-time favorite books. Easily in the top five, if not top two. It's quite magical in that I had no idea at any time where it was going and how it would end up. 

And the announcement was that after seven years of not publishing, she was going to launch her second book, The Starless Sea next  November. And this new book sounds amazing--well worth the wait of near a decade.

Now, I'm not putting Bix up to the masterpiece quality of The Night Circus. I'm just saying that patience and getting it right may be worth the work.

I have YA Beta partners who have recently or will be soon publishing their books and it makes me happy that I may have assisted their journeys along the way and they mine. 
Image result for the benefits of being an octopus 
Ann Braden's The Benefits of Being an Octopus has gone into it's fourth printing since publishing this September. She's on an incredible journey with an incredible book.

Image result for stacy stokes book
Image result for tiana smith bookTiana Smith's Match Me if You Can publishes in January 2019--I read an early version of this and adored it. I can't wait to read the final product.

And Stacy Stoke's Where the Staircase Ends published a few years ago--but it's worth seeking out. I think I read this one three different times and versions over the time Stacy worked on it.

Image result for the night circus quotesIt just goes to show, that every book has their journey and Bix is still on his. I have to remember that when I get discouraged that I am writing another version of the same story I've been working on since 2011.  I've taken pauses, beginning several books along the way, but I tend to always return to Bix.

And this--Number nine--is more of a family story than past versions. Basically all that remains from the first incarnation are the characters, the Witsec town, and Bix's snark. 

Thank you, Erin Morgenstern for taking the time to get it right and showing me it's okay to take my time. 

Thank you, Ann, Stacy, and Tiana for reading Bix, giving me advice, and for persevering toward your own dreams of publication.

Tuesday, November 13

Today, I am Thankful ~ @AuthorKristina Knight

Photo Courtesy: Photo by Jessica Castro on Unsplash
For the past few years, I've been participating in the #30DaysOfThanks hashtag. I think it started on Twitter, but I do it on Facebook because it's the social media that I like the most. Well, actually, that isn't true. Instagram is my favorite...at least recently. I just love all the pretty pictures.

But I digress.

I started doing the challenge, which is to post one thing for which you're thankful throughout the month of November, just to see if I'd remember to do it. I've kept doing it because I love it. I like the feeling that I get when I'm taking the time to really think about the things and events and people and silliness and privileges that I have in my life. I enjoy trying to come up with something new every year. I especially like going through my Facebook memories to see what I posted about last year or two or three years ago.

Those memories? They are my favorite part of Facebook, at least recently. They're a vivid picture of bebe - literally and figuratively. I've probably posted way too many pictures of her over the years! But, also, I've posted silly things she said or did, her observations, her excitement, her wins...and I've decided that I'm going to start a new bebe-book January 1. A kind of keepsake for her (and for me).

I actually started to do this in real-time, writing down her silly sayings and doing in a special book...but I kind of lost track. I'd forget or things would get busy or I'd already be at my computer, making it much easier to pop that moment onto Facebook than into the book that was down the hall and on a shelf. But I want a physical reminder, so I found a fun journal, and starting January 1, I'm going to write those things down - and date them, since Facebook so generously tells us when we posted memories! lol - and have a completed physical book. 

Over the summer, I found this pretty journal at Target, with one of my favorite quotes on it. If you can dream it, you can do it. I know the book, at least as I start it, will be filled with past 'doings', but I like the message of it. I think it's fitting for her because she had a rough start, but she fought through those things, and she's still dreaming and doing. Also, the journal is large enough that when I finish writing down the past, I think she'll still have room to add for the future. Things she hopes for, things she's done or wants to do, struggles and wins.

Every year I'm reminded of all of the things I'm thankful for, and at the top of the list each year are RadioMan and bebe...what are you thankful for? 

~Kristina

Saturday, November 10

Holiday Gift Guide @JanaRichards_

Need a holiday shopping hand this year?

I’ve teamed up with over forty-five award-winning/bestselling authors to bring you the ultimate holiday gift guide for any booklover. The best part: it’s an online store. Scroll away and do all your holiday shopping in one place. Who knows? You might even find a few books you’d enjoy for yourself. 



Friday, November 9

To rally or to president @Liz Flaherty

This is Election Week. I can remember when Election Day was just that--one day. There would be signs all over the place, even then, and too many commercials that still maintained at least a veneer of civility, but it was still just a day. You did your duty, people conceded, others crowded stages with their families and smiled a lot. The next day, everyone went to work as usual. People who were being replaced started cleaning out their mental desks, I'm sure, but they went to work. Both before and after Election Day, the president spent more of his time presidenting than rallying.

It reminds me, I'm so sorry to say, of the way publishing is now. We have to promote, promote, promote. People who make their living writing books (I don't) have to write...so many. Some writers do 10 or a dozen a year. We all have brands, we all write particular things: erotic, clean, inspirational, et al. We are divided and sub-divided and sub-sub-divided.

We have made such progress, haven't we? At least by the standards of now. The parameters of our genre have widened, electronic publishing has made us easily available worldwide, and there are so many resources out there we can do everything ourselves. If someone is disrespectful of us, we can just tell him to go do something extraordinary to himself.

But the promotion, the social media time (I'm a Facebook addict--pretty sure I need an intervention)--we're rallying, not presidenting.

And yet, last night, at a wonderful writers' meeting, someone intelligent and erudite and educated referred to romance as "bodice rippers." I took immediate offense and was probably rude when I did so. I'm sorry for that--both that she used the term and that I had a knee-jerk reaction to that use.

Did I say progress? It doesn't feel like it. What it feels like is that I'm doing too much rallying and not enough presidenting, spending a proverbial week instead of just the day. While it is easy for me to say, because making a living isn't even a blip on my writing screen, I'm going to just write for a while. It may cost me, but I think it will be better for me in the long run. And better for the words on the page. That is, after all, why I'm here.

Have a great week.

***
After my righteous rant, I feel kind of goofy doing this "rallying," but here's a reminder that The Dark Horse is out and available in print! It would be a great stocking stuffer and I even have a stocking for you. If you buy the book and leave a review, I'll be happy to send you one!

B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dark-horse-liz-flaherty/1129076892;jsessionid=1CE2CA50E0E4DCB22BB44C041510E26D.prodny_store01-atgap05?ean=2940162061731





Tuesday, November 6

I'm Back from My Book Blog Tour!



I've spent the last week in book promotion land and although it's been lovely and amazing to see all the hoopla around A SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS, I'm ready for life to get back to normal. When I figure out what that is, I'll let you know. Yikes, I"m still in promo mode, I just added a link to my book title--it was completely unconscious...crazy.

I suck at promotion, so I was beyond grateful for the help of PRISM Book Tours, who set up my book blog tour and arranged for all the reviews and spotlights I had last week. The Rafflecopter giveaway is still going on, so if you haven't entered for a chance to win one of five fun prize packs, click and give it a try. (I did it again, didn't I?) I would do a book blog tour with PRISM again in a heartbeat. The ladies there are amazing and helpful and so easy to work with.

My own publisher, Tule Publishing also did a lot of great promotion for the book. I know it's not uncommon for a publisher to just put the book out and then expect the author to take it from there, but Tule has been fantastic--right by my side, promoting with FB posts and Tweets and Instagrams. I'm so delighted to be signed with them for this series!

I still have some promo stuff coming up for the book--a library appearance, a book club gig, a few more blogs, but the big push is done now and it's time to settle down and refocus on writing the next book in the series. But my question for the universe is this, does it help? All the blogging and traveling 'round the internet announcing the arrival of A SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS and offering prizes?

I'm not sure I have an answer to that yet...I think I sold books. Actually, I know I sold books and not just A Small Town Christmas, but also Women of Willow Bay books, so it was a good thing in that regard. I won't know how many of ASTC sold until I get a royalty check and that's months off. The blog tour increased traffic to my website and to my author FB page, Twitter page, and Instagram. I added nearly 60 Twitter followers, 30 or so FB followers, and well over 100 new followers on Instagram. All in all, not too shabby for a kid from the Midwest who's always just wanted to be a writer.

But I confess, I'm ready to refocus on writing the next book, work on my editing gigs, spend time with Husband and the kids... I'm not sure if it's my age or what, but as exciting as the book release was and as fun as the promotion was and is, it still knots my stomach somewhat. It may also be the fact that I've put another baby out there for the world to either love or hate. That's harrowing...at least it is to me.

So talk to me. If you're a writer and you've done the book tour thing, been completely wrapped up in book promotion, how did it feel? Were you exhilarated the whole time? A little exhausted? Overwhelmed? I loved PRISM--how did you like your book tour company?
~Nan~

Friday, November 2

The Test of Time @JanaRichards_


My birthday is coming up in a few days. I won’t say which one; suffice it to say I’ve been around the block once or twice. But it’s got me thinking about my writing and an uncomfortable question.

Will my books stand the test of time?

Recently, my husband and I went to see the play version of “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen. It’s hard to believe Austen wrote the book some two hundred years ago and people are still finding enjoyment in her words today. But I guess if you write with the wit of Austen and with her sharp eye for the social conventions of the day, those themes will resonant across the decades. 

Not to compare myself with Austen, because really, there’s only one Jane. But as a writer, I aspire to the kind of longevity Ms. Austen has achieved, whether that is realistic or not. I seriously doubt anyone’s going to read my books two hundred years from now. I’ll be happy if people are still reading my books in five or ten years. Unfortunately, like much in our modern use-it-once-and-toss-it-away culture, books are consumed and then forgotten. When there are literally millions of books uploaded to places like Amazon or Kobo, and an author is only as good as her newest release, how do you keep from being forgotten?

Perhaps that is the same question as “How do I get noticed in the first place?” which is also something that occupies my mind. But for now, my question is “What gives a book longevity?”

I guess the number one answer to that question is “Write a good book”. Believe me, that’s what I strive to do. Do I always reach my goal? I guess that’s for readers to judge.


So, fellow Word Wranglers and dear readers, what makes a book a ‘keeper’ for you? What do you think gives a book longevity? Can you give examples of books, in any genre, you’ve re-read many times, or older titles that still ring true after many years? I can’t wait to hear your answers!