30 April 2012

Letting It Ride

There are a good number of writers who advocate writing every day. I'm not one of them.

Don't get me wrong, it's good discipline. And I do write every day--just not on my Works In Progress (WIP).

My morning routine consists of making sure I have coffee first. It's vital, else I am a raging bitch. Sorry, there's no other word for my attitude without my cuppa java. Then I wake my computer and check emails--and start writing: replies, blog posts, Facebook replies/comments, Tweets (gotta keep your name out there to market), and comments on other authors' blogs. Since I'm still working at my day job, I also have to write reports, records, summaries, and explanations as necessary.

When do I find time to work on WIPs? For me, the best time is at night. Once all my obligations are filled and no one is demanding my attention, then I can dive into a world I'm trying to concoct. Sometimes it's fairly early, just after supper. Most of the time it's between nine and midnight. When I'm really on a roll I may not stop until two or three in the morning. I love those times, when the words just rush out and paint the scene like a magical watercolor.

Yet I can't force those episodes to occur. For me, ideas need to ferment or bake in the brain for a time before they emerge. I think about a storyline for quite a while before I try to write it, imagining all sorts of "what if" scenarios my characters might encounter. I've also found that physical activity boosts the process. Whether the increase in endorphins or energy level increases the baking temperature, or adds yeasty enzymes to the idea brew, or simply fires the imagination, it's time to get off the butt and take the cat for a drag...

So letting it ride, letting ideas rest while you get out and walk, or hike, or even dig up the back yard can stimulate your writing to flow. At least that's how it works for me.

24 April 2012

Fighting to Connect

Blogger's new interface sucks diseased donkey gonads.

Yes, I know I should just come out and say what I'm really thinking instead of pussyfooting around, but it's true. It isn't just a question of changing what I'm used to. i like to think I can go with the flow as I need, that I'm not to the old and crotchety stage of hating any and ALL change. But these new changes are making it nearly im-freakin-possible for me to view one of the other blogs I post on: The Writers Vineyard.

I can't just click on my bookmark and see the blog. I can't even type in the url and see the blog. And now, with the "new interface" I can't go to my dashboard now from my own blog site. I have to go to my son's blog, click on "dashboard" and then I get to see the list of blogs.

But that still doesn't let me see The Writers Vineyard. Nooooooo. I can compose a new post but when I click on preview, I get "Firefox can't connect to this site." Which is also what I get if I click on "view" beneath previously posted entries, the titles of said entries, view blog from the dashboard, or pretty much any other way I can think of to get to the home page.

I have to search for it on Google, then click on the link multiple times before it will connect. From Google. Which is the parent of Blogger and supposed to connect to all things with ease and speed.

Yeah, right. And I'm a six-foot-three blonde volleyball star.

For those of you who are geeks, why yes I have tried clearing the cache, clearing cookies, trying different browsers, different computers, different connections, and even rebooting the whole damn system. And when you try to contact Blogger about the problem, all you get is a "forum" where you see many, many, MANY other people having the same problem.

But is there a solution offered? Is there any way to email the powers that be at Blogger to inform them of your difficulties? I believe that reply would be a rousing, "F*CK NO!"

So screw you, Blogger and the Google you rode in on. Get off your fat asses and talk to the masses. Else we all may have to defect to Wordpress.

16 April 2012

What Did You Learn Today?

Remember those old Cracker Jack commercials of the late 1960s and '70s? I loved Jack Gifford, the gentleman who starred in most of them. My favorite was this one, called "Sharing":

Sharing is something authors either do freely or not at all. I've been at events where some authors refuse to even share a table, let alone information. While writing is a solitary endeavor, it doesn't have to be a lonely one. What does it hurt to tell another person about where you got your bookmarks, or where you met your agent, or whether a publisher is looking for new writers? I learn so much from being with other authors; I certainly don't mind paying it forward.

Just watching what others do to market their books has been enlightening. For example, fellow Champagne Author Rosemary Gemmell had an "Online Book Party" last Friday to celebrate the release of her new Young Adult (YA) or "Tween" novel, Summer of the Eagles. She had fun quizzes and a contest or two, and from my observation, had a good number of folks looking in and participating. I'll be trying my hand at this in a month or so, once I get other obligations out of the way. Out of Forgotten Ashes was just released on April 2nd, so we need to Par-tay!

Two other Champagne Authors--Julie Eberhart Painter and Allison Knight-- are joining me for a special chat on Coffee Time Romance's Yahoo group on Friday, April 27th. You have to join the group and be a member to participate, so sign up this week and then join us for a fun evening [from 6:00PM until 9:00pm Pacific Time] of contests, giveaways, and chit-chat about Welsh heroes, rogues, and other Rare Bits...

I'll soon be sharing more about other authors and writerly friends, doing interviews and book reviews. If you'd like to expand your reading list into new territory, be sure to check back in the next few weeks. Tucson author Jim Woods, a former big-game hunter who has written extensively on African safaris, will guest blog here throughout the first week of May.

05 April 2012

Oh The People You'll Meet!

Remember the Six Degrees of Separation, aka The Kevin Bacon Game?  One person would name an actor and you had to come up with a connection to Kevin Bacon within six links--without looking up information on the Web. For example:

Actor: Clive Owen
Worked with Julia Roberts in "Closer"
Julia Roberts worked with Tom Hanks in "Larry Crowne"
Tom Hanks worked with Kevin Bacon in "Apollo 13"

YAY! I made the connection in three links. I win!

The theory behind the game (other than the fact that Kevin Bacon has been a very busy and extremely well-employed actor) is that everyone is connected by six degrees of separation or less. With the advent of the social networks and the unbridled "friending" friends of friends of friends, sociologists estimate we are now even more easily connected, within four degrees.

So why does it still surprise me when someone at a book event says they've heard of me? Logically, I should expect it. After all, each of us meet others in many different but overlapping circles: work, classes, professional associations, vacation trips, grocery stores... you get the idea. And those circles are getting larger, shrinking the distance between all of us on the planet.

But I'm still stunned when I discover a connection I didn't expect. Quite some time ago, I was invited to speak at a local AAUW (American Association of University Women) luncheon. They had been given my name by fellow Gecko Gal author Mary Ann Hutchison a number of years ago as part of a local author speaking list. The date was set and information exchanged.  Then only a few months ago, my best friend was dog-sitting at a house on the north side of Tucson. You see, my friend's sister is a hairdresser and this woman is one of her clients. When the woman mentioned she needed a trustworthy person to house-and-dog-sit, of course the hairdressing sister mentioned my best friend. While getting to know one another, the homeowner tells my friend how she schedules authors to speak to her group, and voila! my friend mentions my books. The homeowner laughs because I was already scheduled to speak. When I arrived at the event, it was as though we were old friends, even though it was the first time we'd actually met.

Still, I don't think I'll ever quite get over the surprise when someone says they've heard about me. It's a little weird to think about. But hey, as long as no one mistakes me for a Kardashian, it's cool...