Wednesday, June 20

Nan Here, Checking In...

I’m up this week and frankly, I’ve got nothin’. I mean, I can tell you stuff, but it’s newsy stuff about me and my family and my writing and I’m fairly sure y’all have more interesting things to do with your . . . oh, you don’t at the moment? You want to hear how things are going in my life? Well, aren’t you kind. Okay . . .

I’ll start with writing because this is after all The Word Wranglers and we talk about writing here—mostly. I finished the first book in my series for Tule Publishing and it has been through my editor, who was highly complimentary. She loved the story, the setting, the hero, the whole thing. She had some great suggestions and edits, so I’m in revision for the next three weeks. Tweaking my heroine a bit and layering in some more scenes between her and the hero. All in all, it is daunting, yet a valuable learning experience, to work with a traditional publisher. I’m hoping I’ll have a release date soon and a cover! Tule’s covers are amazing and gorgeous, so I’m anxious to see what they come up with for my winery series.

On the home front, we just got back from California where we went to watch Son get his PhD and celebrate his becoming a doctor. It’s been nearly seven years of hard work on his part and we proud as can be of him. His thesis was fascinating reading, although the math left me in the dust somewhat, however I’m always amazed at this kid’s mind. He is so extraordinary and I don’t say that just because I’m his mom. I have it on good authority—Stanford University! Great graduation ceremony with the keynote given by Sterling J. Brown, who as it happens, plays Randall Pearson on the one TV show I actually watch--This Is Us. He was terrific!

I’ve had some fun stuff happening since I posted last. I was interviewed by a reporter from Next Avenue, for an article titled “How Romance Novels Are Luring Older Readers” and that was great fun! Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait.

You’re done! Great! Wasn’t that cool? The reactions to it were even more fun, particularly after it got picked up by and they shared the link with their audience. I sold some books, read some snarky comments from the literati, enjoyed lots of kudos from friends and family and readers, and all in all, just got a real kick out of my  few moments of fame. Kinda neato. Also, I wrote another article about seasoned romance for the Women Writers, Women’s Book blog and it will go live the first week of July, so there’s another chance for some promo.

Today, I’m finishing an editing gig for a client and doing the Art Facts Sheet (AFS) for Tule, telling them all about Conor’s book so they can figure out what the cover should look like. I get to wander the Web and find three covers that I love, so that should be fun. I also have to write a back cover blurb, which I’m not good at even a little bit. Ironic isn’t it that most of my writer friends really dread synopses and blurbs? I mean, we just write an entire 60K-word novel. Why do we dread a simple paragraph telling what said book is about? Yeesh.

So, there we have it--thanks for stopping by. What’s new with you?


Wednesday, June 13

Drenched to the bone.

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone.
 - Bob Dylan, from "The Times They Are A-Changin' "

Nan and I talked about change yesterday. She’s pretty adaptable to it—at least when compared to her husband Jim, who hates all change. And compared to me—I only hate most of it.

I did, after all, learn to type with only one space after a period after having used two spaces for 40-some years. I do, after all, change my hair color at least once a year, sometimes twice. I’ve learned not to flinch every time someone drops the f-bomb, calls me a snowflake, or indicates something I’m determined to blame someone else for might actually be my fault.
But there are things. Some of them are the hard, hurtful ones. My brother died recently and I’m still learning to live in a world without him. I understand the workings of grief and where I’m at in the stages. I also understand that at the age I am, loss will become more frequent as I go along. While my own mortality doesn’t scare me much, everyone else’s does.
Many of the changes in publishing are bewildering, to say the least, and often appalling. Cockygate, anyone? I remember in the workplace, seeing employees who stayed longer than management wanted them to, and wonder how long it will be before someone tells me and others like me that our voices are just too old to be attractive to the demographics publishers want to attract. For that matter, how long will the traditional publishers of romance even be around? It is a scary time to be traditionally published. I'm starting to feel a lot like a VHS tape.
But, surprise, surprise, this wasn’t exactly the direction I intended to go today. The changes I was thinking about were like these.
  • All right or alright. I always thought alright wasn’t even a real word—Nan the Editor shrugged (no, I couldn’t see her, but I’m sure she did) and said they both mean the same thing. Hmmm… But I think alright looks stupid, I whined.
  • Lay and lie. I’m not a grammarian, but I know you lie down, not lay down. I know in the past you lay down, not laid down. I've grown accustomed to the f-bomb, for heaven's sake--must I learn to like improper usage of lay and lie as well?
  • I understand that "politically correct" has become a terrible, awful, no-good thing, to use some of Judith Viorst's words, but is being nice really so bad? Please, thank you, not calling names.
  • Lying. Or as Nan says below, dispensing with the truth. It's become acceptable. Expected. Okay. I call BS, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
It appears to me that this post has been one long complaint, and I apologize for that, but thank you for listening anyway. Even the changes here in the round corral have been hard for me to get used to. I missed my last post, am late in getting this one up. Although blogs, one of my favorite methods of communication, are still popular, commenting is not. No one has time or maybe inclination, and I miss that. I do.

But I think it's okay sometimes in this time of everything changing, to feel as if we are "drenched to the bone." 

We’re still glad you’re here. Have a good week.

Wednesday, June 6

Half Year Check In @JanaRichards_

So back in January, I had some pretty big plans for 2018. I’d chosen “determination” as my word of the year, and I was determined to get a lot done, in a lot of areas of my life.

On the writing front, I planned to self-publish my three-book series, submit another completed book and proposed series to a publisher, start a new project, and perhaps continue with a series I began a while ago and got stuck on. I’m not doing too badly. I released my self-published series, Love at Solace Lake, in March. Yay! And I did make a submission to a publisher (note to self: they’ve had that submission for a while. Maybe it’s time to check in with them.) I have started a new project, though the writing’s been going pretty slowly. I haven’t had a chance to get back to that series that’s been stuck in a rut, however. Someday, I’m going to have to make that series a priority.

Love at Solace Lake
Something I didn’t count on was the time and effort it was going to take to launch a self-published series. I’ve been participating in giveaways and events. I’ve been having sales. I’ve been begging for reviews everywhere. It all takes time and a lot of mental energy and didn’t leave me with a lot of gas in the tank for new writing. But lately the words have begun to flow a little easier, which makes me happy.

Something else I didn’t count on in January was that three of my novellas with The Wild Rose Press would be made into audiobooks and all be released around the same time as my series. A good problem to have but promoting and requesting reviews for six books is exhausting!

Burning Love at Audible
Chill Out at Audible
Flawless at Audible

While I’m almost on track with my writing, my personal goals are not looking so good. I wanted to get to the gym more often. Well…I’m no better at getting to the gym than I was in 2017. Or 2016. And as for taking off a few pounds… (hangs head in shame). I made a vow in January, promising myself that I would give away clothes I’ve been hanging on to if they don’t fit me by January 1, 2019. At this rate, I’m going to have a very empty closet next year. It's not that they're such great clothes; it's the idea of giving up and admitting defeat.

In my head I know that exercising and keeping my weight down would mean I’d have more energy to do all the many things I’d like to do, like write more books. But somehow, I can’t put what my head knows is the right thing to do (step away from the carbs!) into practice. I really don’t want to have to throw out all those clothes!

One last check-in: I’m way behind in my reading. Half-way through the year and I’ve only read a measly 18 books. Maybe if I’d gone to the gym more often I would have listened to a lot more audiobooks!

But all is not lost. My 2018 word is determination, after all. I can still turn it around. So, my fellow Word Wranglers and readers, what do you do to defeat a bad habit (eating too many carbs) and replace it with a good habit (going to the gym more often)? Any suggestions gratefully accepted!

Tuesday, June 5

#GuestAuthor Heather Thurmeier: Writing Needs that Make the Magic Happen

The WordWranglers welcome guest author, Heather Thurmeier, author of The Wedding Host! Heather's going to talk with us about what she needs before she can start writing. Take it away, Heather! 

First of all, thank you so much for having me here today! I’m excited to be here, chatting about my writing life. There are a few things that I need when I get down to the business of writing, aside from inspiration, perseverance, and time.

1.     I need quiet to write. I know a lot of authors talk about their playlists or what show they are binge watching while writing, but that is so not my style! I need quiet so I can hear my characters talking to me and focus on their words, not the words of an actor or singer. But I’d say this rings true to most areas of my life, not just writing! The only place I listen to music is in the car. However, if I’m doing tasks around the house like cooking or cleaning, I love to listen to audio books or have a show on TV running in the background so a little noise.
2.     I need a view. For the most part, this is the forest in my backyard. I have a lovely view of it from my spot on the couch or on the back deck. Once in a while I actually write in my office and then my view is a street, my neighbor’s house and the hill beyond that. It’s pretty, but not nearly as nice as my forest.
3.     I need drinks! And no, I’m talking about the fun adult variety. Lol. I love a good cup of hot English Breakfast tea with some sugar. And I always have a reusable water bottle by my side. I seriously have a water bottle addiction! I’m not kidding. I have a water bottle with me everywhere I go, including to bed, to write, and if I’m leaving the house for any reason, one gets plopped into my bag.
4.     I need my laptop. I’ve tried writing on a desktop computer, in a notebook, or with a portable keyboard and my iPad, but those are only ever ok for short moments of writing when I’m trying to fit it into a busy schedule. If I’m doing any amount of solid writing time, I need my laptop. Luckily, it’s pretty small and very light. And since I always carry a huge tote as a handbag, there’s always room to slip my laptop in beside my water bottle. Have I mentioned all of my water bottles must be reusable and leak proof? Now you know why!
5.     I need exercise breaks. This is a new one for me. It took me a while to realize how sedentary a writer’s life really is. So often I get lost in my words and forget to move around enough during the day. Then I’d wonder why my back and neck hurt, why I have headaches, and generally just don’t feel good. So, I’ve started making sure that I move more each day. I still do long stints of writing, but I try to take more walks around the house when I need a break. I’ll do a little laundry or cleaning to help move around a bit too. After my writing day ends, I make a solid effort to take the dog for walks, go to the gym to do the elliptical and lift weights, and most nights I do gentle yoga to stretch out and relax.

I’d love to hear what your writing must haves are for making the magic happen in the comments! And while we’re talking about making magic happen, what’s more magical than a wedding? Wedding season is upon us and The Wedding Hoax is on sale for a very limited time. Grab your copy today for only $0.99!

Wedding dress designer Daisy Willows always imagined marrying the man of her dreams. The fantasy did not include a fake engagement or a fake wedding. Or that her ex, Cole Benton, would be the groom. But as her mom's medical bills pile up, Daisy can't refuse the help of a well-known bridal show expo owner...or his plan for the fake wedding of the century.

Cole Benton's bridal magazine is on the verge of capsizing, taking Cole's dream of an outdoor lifestyle magazine with it. So Cole agrees to the publicity stunt and becomes "engaged" to Daisy. But despite their searing-hot chemistry—both in public and in private—not everyone is buying the charade. And now the only way to save their skins and prove that their big white wedding isn't a big white lie is to say "I do..."
Buy links:

Where to find Heather Thurmeier: