Tag Archives: perception

Leftovers make me happy

November has been manic. Those following along on my Thanksgiving Crossword Bloghop can surely attest as posts have gone into the black hole of cyberspace, and others have come up with missing pieces. No worries…every missing post has been caught up on my personal blog so the puzzlers can finish…but it’s been a busy time making sure everything gets where it needs going. I love doing a big hop and having a great prize…but this might be the last time for the month-long hop with the puzzle, I’m sad to say.

In other news, I got to enjoy a great meal with my immediate family and laugh for a couple of hours on Friday night…a treasure I don’t take lightly or for granted. It is so rare that the 4 of us get to sit down together, someone is always running…so, a meal together is a gift beyond measure. I will have leftovers for a week easily, because I don’t know how to do a family holiday meal small-scale, but I’m pretty sure we won’t hear a complaint. There were enough dishes to give variety for several days, even as leftovers.

As we wrangle our way toward the end of the year, I am blown away by the odd weather pattern that persists too. This year has been so off-kilter that I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. We went from low twenties and snow flurries earlier in the month to 50+ degrees the day after Thanksgiving and the weekend as well. The forecast shows more of the same to come. Weird – just weird. The predictability of the seasons here in the northern Midwest is out the window for 2017. I’m hoping to see some regularity return soon. I like the predictability…but more than that…I want a color filled Autumn again next year. I feel like I got jipped.

November was also, “Mom, I need…” month as my girls made life-change choices. One is moving out, and the other is trying to line up the ducks to return to school, starting college. I honestly never know if the sound of the door is someone coming or going. I can’t decide how I feel about it either.

December is stacking up to be zoo-ish as well. I’ve got a huge stack of ‘to-do’ on the desk, not counting commitments to others. I’ve got 3 editing projects to finish and a blender full of stories that are in pieces. I tried to do Nano, but honestly, the hop had me divided for focus and the story I thought I’d work on, like so many others, is a paper wasteland on my office floor, and every other available surface. I’m also preparing for the next step in my jaw reconstruction. There are 3 or 4 pieces left now, which seems surreal, but they will be wrapping up in rapid fashion as the next surgery happens in December…and great Goddess willing…the whole thing will conclude by the end of January, nearly 2 years after it started.

All in all, things have been crazy, and will continue on that trajectory for the foreseeable future. I’m up to the challenge, just don’t ask me what day it is. It makes the down time sweeter, and personally…leftovers that much tastier as the memory of a family night filled with laughter wafts up with the smells from the plate. Maybe that’s the true magic of leftovers…they are more than reheated sustenance for the system…they are food for the soul.

Holiday blessings to all as we are inundated by the season. Until next time, read something amazing and share with those you love.

Sav.

 

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Stirring the water

More ages ago than I could accurately quantify, a speaker made the comparative reference to personal growth as ‘all in’ or likened to a stagnant pond. I think about their comments occasionally, using them as a metric for myself, based loosely on the ‘smell factor’ for the scum on the surface.  There is a great body of water I know for the mental imagery as well…if the spring warms faster than the aerators are activated…there is a lovely green, mossy blanket that covers the surface of the water. While pretty – it is clearly out of place.

The same can be true for notions about writer things. I’d much rather have my life pond look like this…colorful, peaceful, but also…scum free.

(Image source unknown. No copyright infringement intended.)

Why do I mention any of this? Well…I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I have a professional career outside of writing and publishing, one that I don’t always enjoy, but never fail to be proud of. The idea with that work is that we are always innovating, always growing, reaching out to serve the customer in new and different ways. For that position, I am also on a short list of folks for a chance to move up and be a deciding factor for a team, a location, a region, and my company. It’s daunting and exciting at the same time. There is no moss growing. There’s no time.

That said, I’ve often been fond of the notion that those who forget history, the past that brought us to this present, are condemned to repeat it. Consequently, I spend a fair amount of time learning, and sharing the past practices as we reach for new, better, or innovative ones to replace them for my non-author me. Interestingly enough, I’ve gotten an opportunity to do it for the writer side of the equation recently…and I’m submerged in the idea of how much publishing has changed.

Moreover, I’m shocked to see how some things have returned to the fore, often with the user none the wiser for the point. The dialogue and discourse of the industry has changed expansively, and divisively. I’m not saying anything new, I realize that…but in learning about where we have come from, to seeing what we’ve become…I understand better the confusion so many are experiencing. The sheer number of charlatan experiences is mind-boggling. And, I don’t believe that it’s on a course to turn away soon.

There’s another adage I know about filling many roles, but mastering none – I think that’s where publishing is right now. With the floodgates open to allow publication of works that have been neither edited, or reviewed, put into the mix by writers who don’t understand or know the history, the market has flooded. And, continues to run over. Unfortunately pooling in places that don’t get stirred.

There are pros and cons to this. Writers who the ‘gatekeepers’ withheld once upon a time until they were better positioned to be published, either by writing education, or storytelling instruction, etc…are out and in the market…and what early bard didn’t have a few bumps in their stories? At the same time…they are in the market without the benefit of firm guidance on those factors, nor the expanded circle that used to be the path. In my head I see a fish on land…

What I mean to point out is this…once upon a time, the work went through so many hands before getting to public consumption, the village worked together. Now, we have individuals who are author, editor, art designer, marketer, publisher, and media rep. How many hats can we wear well? I think it is far fewer than most believe. And, I would argue that running for the sake of running doesn’t eliminate pond scum, it only churns it up to smell as each task takes a turn on the bottom.

I further believe, that just because we are seeing someone do something, doesn’t make it responsible or an accurate practice. I think most of us NEED others in our circle of influence. I think it reveals a large scale problem with publishing right now…One we need to get ahead of and back down before it destroys us all. There are valuable lessons to be learned from the past. Innovation should be moving the bar farther…not bringing it down. We collectively need to be doing better. I think that includes reaching out to others, and clasping the hands of those who reach for us.

That said…we also need to know and understand when in the timeline it is time to regroup and right our own ship before we align with an armada that isn’t where we’re trying to go. At the end, balance is everything. It’s what keeps us moving forward without letting the moss grow. For me, after the recent learning curve, I’m more convinced than ever that I need to take some time to stir the water. The surface may be clear, but I’m not sure what’s lurking underneath. I can’t accept that.

Last – don’t forget about the Crossword puzzle blog hop…there have been hiccups, but I’m loving seeing so many new sites and what they have to offer. Hope you will too. Until next time, read something great, and tell your friends.

Sav

(don’t) Let it Show…

I’m not a big dog in this race…not even close. There are some that think I’m a big deal though, and well versed too…why? Because I learned one lesson in business young and have never forgotten it – Don’t flinch…and I don’t.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a full-blown tornado ripping though my soul at any given moment.

I did something a week or so ago, something I never thought I’d ever consider doing again…I pitched a literary agent to go back to traditional publishing. I LOVE being an Indie…don’t get me wrong, there’s just something about the idea of traditional backing, and marketing funds, and a few other perks that are tempting…though only recently. I’ll give it to you gospel…I was shaking in my shoes and nearly yerked my lunch before I got to the door. All in all, there are some great things on the horizon though because of that meeting…and I did manage to keep lunch in. So there’s that too. I just have to re-evaluate how I’m going to travel the road I’ve endeavored to take.

I’m fully confident of my abilities to write and be in the public eye at signings or conventions. I love the energy in a signing room…not gonna lie, it’s a hard habit to break and I have a fix every chance I get. That said, I also know my limitations. Public Relations and Marketing are easily my predominant Achilles heel, and the aspect of the business I struggle forward every inch to gain ground. I have to consider that I may need to go hybrid at the least to be able to have that front get the attention it deserves. It scares me more than a little, but I know I need help.

 

I did not make the decision to leave traditional publishing lightly. Any consideration to go back must be as carefully weighed. Whichever way this road goes, one thing will hold true…you won’t see my frenzy if I can help it. Composure will be me, if I have to stand on my own feet to accomplish it.

Tangled webs

I want to take some time today to talk through a few sticky situations. Why? Because left untended, they become monsters and the tangled webs are too strong, even for ninjas then. I’m no ninja, so venting them openly is the best I can do.

I’ve been gunning HARD lately as many of you know. It’s meant long days, short nights, an ass-ton of coffee, and raw emotions. The combination can be lethal…but I’m holding the tiger by the tail…so far. I know that’s not how we maintain control, but at this point, any grasp is better than none at all. Right?

I’ve noticed that when I’m in this odd euphoria of sleep deprivation that things jump out at me that I might not otherwise notice. Rather than poke the bears, I thought I’d offer some friendly advice without naming names…with the best of intentions and a smile on my face while the caffeine has continued dominion.

Let’s start with the person on social media who posts every hour or so about the same thing…or an update on something that will obviously not be resolved for days…or what they are doing at any given moment. Let’s face it, over-sharers exist. Most of the time, I can ignore the behavior, or there is always the ‘unfollow’ to click if it gets to be too much, but let’s talk about some self-regulation on social media. I’d like to point out to those who feel compelled to share such finite changes in your day…there is a difference between quality and quantity in sharing too. If your audience can fathom when you are ‘on the throne,’ based on your lack of posting for those 4 minutes, you’re doing it wrong.

Next, let us take a lesson from Yoga about breathing…there are going to be things that come up that will fluster us to no end, and when that happens…let us stop, and take a good, deep, cleansing breath before we react. The cursing, screaming, spittle-dripping tirades that some have come to favor are so unattractive…live and virtual. Personally, I think one of the rapid killers of civilized society right now is the immediate gratification of responding before having to think. What ever happened to taking a few minutes, or overnight, to process information before spitting out the first, often worst, thoughts that come to mind? We are not showing ourselves very well.

Third up on my list of ‘OhMyGoddessWhatAreWeThinking?’ is the matter of If you ask for it…guess what? I recently suggested a new writer who wanted to publish, work with an editor I know. They write outside my comfort level of what I can edit and have ability to offer good feedback for…so I referred them to someone else. I learned that they got the edits back and have ‘poo-poo’d’ the comments as being too picky, and that it isn’t fitting with their writing style. Also, that a NYT Bestselling author most of us have heard of doesn’t do it that way. Here’s the thing…One, you are not said NYT Bestselling author where you can take license with the hard rules.  Two, grammar rules ARE picky. Three, YOU ASKED FOR AN EDITOR because you didn’t know what you were doing wrong or how to remedy it…guess what? They gave you comprehensive guidance on how to fix what wasn’t working. If you didn’t want to know…you shouldn’t have asked.

Four…and mercy let me slurp some coffee before I begin this one…IF you KNOW the answer, please don’t ask the question just to get attention. I’ve seen recently…seasoned authors, with a year or more under their belts, asking first book, newbie questions. Questions that I am seeing first book/newbie authors answering with ease and confidence. I am floored. That’s all I’ve got. Well…that’s not completely true, and it goes to a larger, pandemic problem that should be addressed…If you ask a question – BOTHER TO LEARN THE ANSWER. there are TONS in the Indie author community that are so helpful and will go out of their way to assist anyone…respect them enough to take in the answer and make it work, not just hear or read the words. You’ve taken their time, return the courtesy by at least trying to apply the response. If you require repeated exposure to the same information, get a notebook.

Four segued nicely into five which is ditch the excuses. LIFE HAPPENS…to all of us. We all get sick, have babies or fur babies who need us, want to take a day away from the keyboard to decompress, have parents, or play-dates, or appliance mishaps, or any other myriad things that happen…at the end…if you made a commitment – keep it. It’s that simple. your best is not the same as anyone else’s…and guess what? It’s all you’ve got to give. Don’t bungle it up with excuses about how you didn’t go as fast as someone else, or whatever…leave the excuses for the quitters. If you’re going for it – RUN!

Lastly, if you’ve just learned it, you are not qualified to teach it and CHARGE for the lesson. There is sharing and information swapping that happens all the time, but I’ve noticed a trend that makes me nervous…young authors who had a good book do well, who jump from that to the ‘teaching class about it for $50 an hour so you can do what they did.’ It reminds me a workshop I attended at RT several years ago about learning the Amazon algorithms to maximize exposure…which translated to sitting in a class waiting in pain to get to the subject, instead of how amazon was like the presenters dating life. Many of you know just how pricey RT is…so I paid for that. I can never recover those funds, not the hour and I learned NOTHING. Welll..I learned I’m not going to that presenters class again. Basically, there is a wide range of information out there and often it doesn’t have a price tag…so Buyer beware.

I’d like to say this is everything, now squarely expunged and I’m good to go…but we all know it isn’t. These are just some examples of the sticky things that are out there…the ones that are easy to get tripped up in and off-track. It’s too easy to lose our way, and get caught up in the crazy of others.

There used to be a meme on my desk that I haven’t rediscovered since moving the office that said: “Don’t let others pull you into their storm, pull them into your peace.” It’s good advice.

All of these things are detractors, and false roads that take us away from the golden path to productivity…so let us now make an agreement to lift each other up, and offer positive reinforcements as we each try to grow, and to put helpful things out in the paths of others, and not to ask for things that we don’t truly need as we try to be a bit better than we were yesterday.

It’s my goal…how about you?

Reviews

Reviews. I will admit I am not always prompt on leaving reviews for the books I read. To be honest, before I became an author, I never really much thought about it. If I liked the book, I put it on the bookshelf and searched for the next book in that series, or if it was a stand-alone, I searched for the next book by that author. If I didn’t like it, I sold it to the used bookstore.

Now that I am an author, I see the importance of reviews as far as getting a book into the hands of other readers. I find myself reading the reviews of books I buy, especially if the author is a new one to me, and I usually pay more attention to the 3 and 4 star reviews.

I know some people don’t leave reviews because they feel like they don’t know what to say, but reviews don’t have to be more than one or two sentences. Leave a star rating and in the comment section leave something like, “Great Read”, “Loved it.” or if you didn’t like it, “Bleh.”

There is a theory floating around that after 20-25 reviews on Amazon, a book will get included in their “Also Bought” and “You Might Like” lists. Which makes the books more visible to readers looking for new reads.

I don’t like asking for reviews. It gets annoying to see an author ask for reviews day after day, but I also think that every once in awhile, it’s ok to say, “Hey…if you read my book and you liked it, please leave a review.”

So here goes….If you have read Beyond the Veil of Whispered Dreams…please leave a review. Thank you!

Until next week….Happy Reading!


~Jolanthe~

Driveway tetris and other winter games

It’s beautiful here…and freaking cold. If I could have the snow without the frigid, I’d be the happiest girl in the world…but alas, they go hand in hand so let the winter games begin.

Games? what games?

Winter is a festival of playtime for us. The first wet snowfall is a requisite snow fight and fort building event…even if it’s a work/school night. Then comes the aftermath…ours is the yard along the street that looks like a crime scene while everyone else’s wears a pristine blanket of white across the now dormant grass. I love this about us. I hope this will be true forever, but the resulting soreness says that it will not. The friends of ours who show up unannounced on the first snow night says it’s not just our tradition anymore.

Winter storms also mean the game of who will win the battle to keep the walks and drive way clear so that there is an easy path to walk. Most years Old Man Winter wins this in the deep overnight hours, blowing drifts across the clear, but we fight back each time and eventually spring takes a vote and the paths stay clear for another season…alas, as we’re just beginning, it is up to us to keep bidding against the ice and slippery places of packed snow that my knees have come to hate in this most recent of my 5 decade fight to stay vertical in the winter. *sigh*

The other winter game around here is driveway tetris. We have a 3 car drive and 4 vehicles. I thank my pop for giving me mad packing skills as we turn autos to angle over the yard without the tires reaching it to wedge the cars in so the plows can clear the street.  There is little room left for the plow piles to block us in, though they still manage. I think they are on to this game of ours though…they have their own version…how much plowed snow can they get into the few scant inches at the end of our drive while staying on their side of the magic line that delineates street from drive? They are getting quite good.

I’m not complaining, far from it. This season, like the others, is necessary. Just like the darkness helps us to remember to appreciate the light, winter reminds us of what it means to be in the sweltering heat and humidity of Midwest summers when the temps and humidity numbers are close the mirroring each other, but not quite tipped enough to give us that refreshing summer rain that relieves the day. As much as I want to move to a warmer climate, there is something about fresh snow that has stayed my move for ages. There is something about a hot toddy and a steamy bath after being amid the flakes that has no equal in the other seasons. Winter days are when I pause to count my blessings simply because they are.

As we are amid the push and pull of the holiday season, the snow is my reminder of small miracles, tiny wonders, and the great joy that can come from things that cost nothing. I wish you all a moment of such simple clarity.

So snuggle in with a good book…it’s a great time of year to remember to do something good for yourself as you are busy doing or buying for others…the whirling white flakes say so and so I do. I’m off to another round of clear the drive and the tetris game of autos to put the day away before the plows come though again and leave a car trapped on the street. No one left behind…even as the temps go south of zero.

Sav

 

Continuing my journey

As of November 1 I will no longer be an author with Eclectic Bard Books. This is not a decision that I came to lightly. My journey has taken me in another direction. It has made me make some very difficult decisions. One of them was deciding to leave EBB.

Although, I am leaving the business side, I will never forget or leave the friends I have made here. The authors here are wonderful people and I am glad that I have met them. I am sure that we will continue to keep in touch and continue to help each other it will just be in a different capacity.

This opportunity has helped me in a way that I never thought possible and I will forever be grateful. I have grown as an  author. I have been taught things that I didn’t even realize that I needed to know. My eyes were opened to a whole new world that I didn’t even know existed.

We all have our own journey. It is up to us to follow our own path. Nobody can tell us which way to go. We have to follow our instincts. As much as I have enjoyed my time here, it is time for me to move on.

Thank you for taking me into your corner of this world, showing me what I needed to see, teaching me what I needed to know, understanding that I am still trying to find my place in this author world, and making it easy for me continue my journey.

~Miranda

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When inspiration eludes you

There is nothing more frustrating than looking at your computer seeing that cursor blinking at you having nothing come to mind. It is not really writers block. You know what you want to say, you just don’t know how to put it on the page.

That is when inspiration eludes you. I have so many ideas running around in my head. It is almost causing a traffic jam. This is the time that you have to decide to either focus on one project or work on multiple ones.

Whichever of these methods works better for you, it will most likely help to get your mind less cluttered. I find that if I can get some of it down I can focus a little better and then I can clean it up and inspiration then strikes and I can move on and the projects take off.

If I have too much vying for my attention it is hard for me to focus on anything. Inspiration can be fickle. As long as you don’t try and force it, though, it can always be found.

~Miranda

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When life gets in the way

We all have busy lives. What we have to remember is to make time to get the important things done. Between the day job, kids, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and the daily chores, sometimes writing and editing gets put on the back burner.

When I do get to the writing and editing I feel so much better. It is my outlet. It is what I love to do. I have started to make sure that I make time for my writing. It is important to me so it needs to be a priority. Yes, life gets in the way, but writing is part of my life.

Always make time for what is important to you in your life!

~Miranda

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When to move on

We are always told we have to fight for what we want. That is true. There also comes a time, though, when we have to think about what we really want. We all know what our end goal is. That does not always mean that everything we thought would come with it will be there.

We have to fight for the things that really matter but sometimes we have to let go of the things aren’t necessary. We have to recognize when it is time to give up the fight and move on. That can be the most difficult thing to face. To admit that you have to give up something you put your time and energy in to. Something you pinned your hope on. That doesn’t mean it didn’t serve it’s purpose on your journey, it only means that it’s purpose is done. Now it is time for you to move on to your next phase.

I have always been a fighter. I have never been very good at giving up on a fight even when I have seen it was a time to give up. I could clearly see that I would lose but I would go down fighting. The older I get the more that I see there is no point in that. I can now see when it is time to move on to something new. When something has served it purpose in my life I can smile and be thankful for the good and part on good terms instead of burning a bridge that has no reason to be burned.

This is an important lesson to be learned in the book world. As you make connections and network you can always go back to people that you have met in the past. You may not have talked that person in years but as long as you did not burn that bridge you can still talk to them and have a nice conversation and talk books at the next event you run into them again. There is no tension and there is no problem with not getting to go to an event you want to go to because of a feud.

Words said in anger will haunt you. Fighting for the sake of fighting will only hurt you in the long run. Learning when to move on is what will make you the happiest. Not everyone will understand this, but it is not for everyone to understand. It is for you to be happy with your life.

~Miranda

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