I'm off work today for Confederate Memorial Day. Believe me, we got plenty of flack when they started giving us that day off as a holiday. It was actually part of the compromise for removing the Confederate Flag from the State House dome. As part of the deal, the flag was moved, and Martin Luther King, Jr., day and Confederate Memorial Day were added as official State Holidays (but I think State Employees are the only ones that actually close their offices on this day).
I know it's obscure, but before you start squawking tell me: Would you refuse a day off? I won't. Not even on principle. Plus, honestly, I think they're required to give us so many holidays a year and I think we just ran out of the major ones, so we had to move on to secondary ones to get the extra day in.
Well, a day off's a day off, and I plan to enjoy it. It gives me a chance to get some little things done that usually sit until they pile up to the point where I have to make time for them. That's good. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that efficient time management is a must for a busy lifestyle.
That's a good point to ponder on this extra day off. Somebody asked me recently how on earth I find time to write with a full time job. The short answer is efficient time management. I'm lucky that I was taught that in college, and it's one of the skills I've found most useful in my life. It isn't always easy, but the truth is that we make time for things that are important to us, whether we realize it or not. Writing nights and weekends is the obvious answer, but I have to admit that I make a fair amount of progress by taking my laptop to work and writing on lunch breaks too. It's only an hour, but if I do that two times a week then it's the equivalent to another weeknight of work. And another secret is that I don't watch much TV. I watch 3 shows during the fall season (Arrow, Supernatural, and The Americans - all come on the same night, so I can "block out" Wednesday nights for that), and 1 show during the summer (Breaking Bad). I look up news and weather online so I don't have to watch it on TV. And yes, occasionally I do forego recreation to get writing done. I've passed on watching football games, lunches out, and shopping or "hanging out" on days off like today to write. And I have to humbly admit that I even write on sick days, if possible. One reason I made good progress on my novella this week was because I was sick with a virus Monday, but I drug myself out of bed and wrote a chapter anyway. It isn't always easy, but with some planning you can make time for things.
I tell you, a busy life is a blessing. It's a life of abundance, but you have to manage it wisely to experience and enjoy it to the fullest.
Speaking of the novella, it has a name now - Incursion. It looks like it going to be 10 chapters with a prologue and epilogue. I know the pros recommend against prologues and epilogues, but I like it and that's my style. If people like the piece then they'll read it. Plus, I endeavor to keep them short. To me, they're the bookends of the story and I'm not going to abandon them just because it isn't popular. Platform shoes went out of style after the 70's, but darn if I don't see women wearing those atrocities again all the time. So there. Style is a poor reason to change something that works for you. Or to do something that doesn't work.
Anyway, I've written 5 chapters so far, which is excellent progress. More than I expected at this point, really. But alas, I did push myself to make this progress and my wrists are achey, so once I complete this entry then I do plan to take a break from the keyboard for the rest of today and tomorrow. You have to balance the planning and time management with common sense, and I won't make any progress at all if I push it too far with my wrist. So given my good progress this week, I'm using today to spend time with other people and things that I wish to nurture in my life. Like hanging out with the birds, tending my roses, and having lunch with Mom. A day off is a rare gift, and I want to enjoy it to the fullest.
That's all today. I hope you have a Happy Friday and that the mom's out there have a good Mother's Day.
I'm happy to announce that I released my latest novel, Move, yesterday! As you can see from the front page, I published it through Smashwords and it should be available through Amazon later today. I'm so excited!
As you know from previous posts, Move is a story about a young woman that unknowingly makes a deal with a djinn (genie) and finds out that messing with fate is an unpredictable and dangerous venture - especially with the djinn doesn't have full mastery of his craft! This is really a book about dealing with life ruts, and the proper way to get out of them. The protagonist, Ruby Josen, finds herself in a life rut that she can't seem to break free of, but it turns out to be a trap of her own making. Ruby isn't moving ahead because Ruby is afraid of change, and her desire to stick with the comfort of the familiar holds her back from taking chances that would lead to a better life. By taking the passive approach of letting another deal with her problems, she hopes that she can keep the comfort of what she knows and let others deal with doing the work that a better life would take. Plus, she finds herself victimized by other peoples' mistakes and doesn't know how to stand up for herself. Ruby's passive demeanor puts her in the perfect trap, and she can't see that the key to freedom is in her own hands - and that if she won't use that key, others will use her self-imposed imprisonment to their advantage.
So why self publish this novel, when I worked so hard on it for so long? Simply stated, I prayed over it and realized that my mixed genre approach could make publishers uncomfortable. Although audiences are willing to snap up vampire-romances, other forms of mixed genres are taking on more slowly, and a lot depends on having one genre clearly primary over another - which this book does not. I define this book as a mix of urban-fantasy and mystery and by and large, that gets mixed reviews from readers. Some love it, while others that don't like to see a heavy mix of genres dislike it (especially when it comes to mysteries). I very much believe in this novel and feel that there is an audience for it, but I'm not sure that a publisher would be comfortable with a novel that's not clearly one genre over another. In short terms, I thought it was more likely to be rejected, so I decided to strike out on my own with this one. We'll see how readers react.
It's been a lot of work, but well worth it. I hope readers will enjoy it. Keep an eye on the home page of this website for links to more online bookstores as they become available, as well as other promotional news and information.
That's all today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I hope you have a great start to the new week.
So how do you keep it all together? What's the secret to handling the complexity that is life? I believe you need one simple thing. It gives you something to keep you grounded. It gives you peace. It can help you keep it together when everything else is flying apart. It's the one thing that can help you keep your perspective when life gets crazy.
It's a hobby.
I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. We all need to have something in life that's our own; something that's ours and ours alone; something that nobody else in life can put their hands on. You need to have at least one thing in your life that you choose to have in your life. Something that isn't inherited, passed on, or pushed on you. Something that you choose for no reason other than the fact that it brings you joy. It's something that's uniquely you.
That's not to say you can only have one hobby. I have several: I like to write, read, cross stitch, hike, and growing roses. But I believe that if you're blessed with hobbies then naturally, one will rise above the rest, and this is the thing that is "your own." For me, it's writing. That's the thing I choose to have in my life. That's the thing that is uniquely mine and that nobody has a right to touch in my life. When I face tough times or stress, I know I have that one thing I can go to as an outlet to express myself. I love creating stories that reflect my life, and I hope that people who's passion is reading will connect with the stories I create and find an outlet through them.
We all need to have that one thing that is our own, and there's too much to choose from to even list them. What's important is that it's something that you enjoy and that allows you to have an opportunity to follow a passion, even if only for a little while. Something simple and fun that you do just for the joy of doing it.
Simple but true. One thing in your life that's all your own can make the difference between you getting the best of stress and stress getting the best of you.
That's all today. Happy Friday tomorrow and have a great weekend.
If you love books then you know that most people view you as being lost in a fantasy world. This stereotype applies to readers just as much as writers. People think we get so lost in those "other worlds" that we aren't in touch with reality.
And they're wrong.
Oh, they're very wrong because I believe they miss a fundamental point: the reason why we retreat into those worlds - whether it's one created by us or one created by others - is because we're VERY in touch with reality. In fact, we're probably in touch with it better than others are, because the very nature of the worlds we "visit" cause us to perceive the world we're "in" with more detail and clairity than most people do.
It is true that there's a thin line between fiction and reality. In fact, I believe most people would be very surprised at how much reality is reflected in fiction. It's masked, of course. The entire purpose, at least in fiction, it to entertain, but it does that by showing us different reflections of what we know. No matter what the genre, that new and different world holds up a mirror to make us see reflections of what we know in new and different ways. Do you relate to the characters? It's because you understand what they face based on situations or experiences you have. Are you intrigued by the plot or theme? It's because it reflects something that interest you in your own life. Do you ponder a course of action? It's because you see something there that you have or do face and are trying to stretch your mind to consider wider possibilities.
So the next time you see a reader or writer, don't be so quick to assume that they're out of touch with reality. In fact, they might be more in sync with reality the little things that so many people take for granted speak to them, and help them to see the "real world" with a wider perspective and a clairity that pierces the surface and gets the core of meaning - a meaning that could change everything, not just in the worlds they visit with writing and reading, but in the very life they live, everyday.
And isn't that what fantasy is about - taking us out of reality, so we can come back and see our own life more clearly? It's something to think about.
That's all today. Happy Friday to you, and I hope you have a great weekend.
One thing I've intended to do in this blog is to talk about books I've read and enjoyed. Unfortunately, I'm a slow reader, especially when I'm working on a major writing project, as I have been with Move
since May and Feathered Frenzy
since August. I do still enjoy reading, though, and had an idea that a good way to kick off working this into my blog would be to give you list of books I've read in the past that I enjoyed. I plan to link them to Amazon so you can find and purchase them easily. Be forewarned: I'm fond of e-books, so if there's an ebook version then that's the link I'll share. But most of them have paperback versions available as well.
And why wait until the New Year to start? We're winding down 2012 and many of you are probably looking for a devotional book to read in the new year. If you didn't get one for Christmas, I'd like to start sharing my reading list with you by recommending some devotionals I've read that I found inspiring.
1. A Year With C.S. Lewis
. This is by far my favorite devotional. In fact, I plan to read it again this year. They're brief but thought provoking excerpts from Lewis' work, which is perfect for me since Lewis is one of my favorite writers. Definitely my #1 recommendation.
2. Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. This is a close second on my list. This book is an inspirational guide to helping you find your authentic self. It's not strictly religious - in fact, Breathnach makes many historical and cultural references to help guide you on the journey. One word of advice on this is that some of the entries can get lengthy, so if you choose this devotional then make sure you read the entry when you have some time to sit down and read perhaps 2-3 pages. But it's well worth it!
3. The Confident Woman Devotional
, by Joyce Meyer. I'll be honest: This is one for those times in life when you need to start kicking a** and taking names. And ladies, we all need this pep talk every now and then. A great devotional to inspire you to find your confidence, set boundaries to protect it, and stand up for yourself. Plus, the readings are short and easy to read. You'll finish the year believing you can slay a dragon - without even chipping your nail polish.
4. Daily Guideposts 2013.
Every year, Guideposts magazine releases a devotional book that features daily entries from their series of authors. Personally, I find it refreshing to get a different devotional from a different writer each day, because I feel it offers a broader perspective. The readings are brief - about a page each - and easy to read.
5. The Everyday Bible
. One thing I do every other year is read through The Bible. You can read through it in a year if you read roughly 3 chapters every day. I like this version because it's easy to read and understand, but it's not so contemporary that the meaning is lost. Of course, there are many study Bibles available and I encourage you to use any version that you like best. I recommend this one because it's the one I prefer.
So there you have my 5 recommendations for daily devotional readings. I plan to offer more entries in the future on books in other genres that I've read and enjoyed and, of course, I'll share any new reads that I come across as well. It's one more way for me to expand the scope of this blog. As if I don't cover everything that comes to my mind anyway! :)
That's all today. Happy Friday to you, and I hope you have a great weekend.
As we head into the chaotic holiday season, I’d like to offer a few more tips on how to get great customer service.I’ve already offered some in an entry earlier this year, but now I’d like to expand to give you information that will help you get what you need faster and more efficiently:
1.Read and follow all of the instructions before you make a telephone call or send an email. I said this the last time I did customer service tips, but it’s a perpetual problem that so many people face. People tend to panic when they read something that alarms or confuses them and skim right to a telephone number to start dialing and firing off questions. Don’t do that. I can’t tell you how many times people said “oh yea, it says that right here.” Keep reading because businesses try to address their most commonly asked questions in instructions and the answer to your question may be in the next sentence (or paragraph). If you read everything and still have questions, then make the call.
2.Be mindful of deadlines and routinely busy times. There are two times when volume spikes: Right before a deadline and right around a holiday. Everybody rushes to get thing in, and that results in a slow down in productivity, especially if the staff has a heavy schedule or is short staffed due to people taking off for the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day are especially heavy times (frankly, New Year’s Resolutions nearly kill me just about every year). So don’t wait until the last minute, or set an arbitrary deadline for the next major holiday. can assure you that you’re likely to miss it because you aren’t the only one cleaning off your desk. Submitting about a week to ten days prior to a deadline or holiday can make a world of difference in response time.
3.Gather things together before you call. It makes it easier for the conversation to flow if you don’t have to say “wait a minute” while you dig through piles of paper, or break into a conversation with a question you just thought of. Sit down and plan your questions before hand – write them down if you need to, and gather any paperwork you need to reference during the call before you dial. If you have to leave a voicemail and wait for a callback, set it aside where you can get to it quickly.
4.Find a quiet place to make telephone calls before you dial. I know this can be tricky because you can have an hour of silence, and then the place lights up with noise the minute you pick up the phone.Machinery, pets, children, and other people tend to pipe up when you pick up a receiver. I face it myself with screaming parrots at home and co-workers in the cubical farm around me at work. Just do the best you can to limit that background noise and it will actually make things easier for you.
5.If you have a heavy accent, consider saying “no” to the telephone. If you must call, be sure to speak slowly and annunciate. I’m not trying to sound rude. It’s just a simple fact that accents don’t translate well over the telephone and the heaver it is, the harder it can be to understand. This applies to domestic and foreign accents, too. And this is inexcusable to plead ignorance on because people aren’t shy about the “you aren’t from around here, are you?” question. If you’ve ever been asked that, at any place, any time, or in any contect, then you have an accent. Consider emailing your question if possible. And yes, I know I’m guilty on this one. I have a southern accent and I’m frequently asked to repeat myself over the telephone – in fact, I try to avoid drive-in restaurant speakers for this very reason.
6.If you leave a telephone message, don’t spit out your telephone number in a fraction of a second. Sometimes people ramble on messages, then spit out the number quickly when they realize they’re about to “time out.” Give your name and telephone number first (speak slowly, and consider repeating your number), and then give a brief description (1-2 sentences) about why you’re calling. Try to keep your entire message under 30 seconds. In fact, it might be wise to consider what you will say in a voice mail message prior to calling so you'll be prepared.
7.When you visit a place of business, be sure to fully secure your vehicle. This isn't really a customer service tip - it's more of a CYA tip (if you know what I mean). Don’t leave anything out in plain sight. Businesses have things stolen too. In fact, we had a customer have their truck broken into one morning during a meeting – in broad daylight in a public parking lot! It happens. Put personal items in trunks, consoles, or glove compartments and be
sure to lock all doors and set car alarms (if you have one).
8.Be mindful of business hours. Don’t loiter in parking lots before opening or after closing and whatever you do, DO NOT grab random employees and ask questions. Employees can only address questions related to their area and sometimes aren’t allowed to personally interact with customers unless they are in the building or
at a business-related function. Loitering around a building and approaching employees in parking lots is a good way to get security – or worse yet, the police – called. If you arrive early, stay in your car and direct questions to
the front desk receptionist or the person you’re there to meet.
9.Set deadline dates in your cell phone with a reminder to go off about a week before the deadline date. I mentioned this too, but it bears repeating because people keep claiming that “I got busy and it snuck up on me.” This is inexcusable with everybody flashing smartphones all over the place. Even the most basic cell phone has a calendar function. Use it.
10.Give other employees a chance to help you. So often, people will get a name, and that’s the only person they want to talk to. Don’t make your life harder by being stubborn and clinging to a particular employee. They’ve all
been trained and have the same answers for you. And likewise, don’t think you can play this the other way by calling back several times to “shop” for the answer you want. The answer to your question will be the same whether you talk to your favorite person, or whether you’re “fishing” for an answer. So accept what you get and don’t be a bully.
That’s it – eight new tips for great customer service and a repeat on two that, well, seem to need repeating. Follow these tips, and I can guarantee that you’ll get faster and better service all around.
That’s all today.
I’m often asked if the things that happened to Jana Lanning in my recent novel, Anywhere But Here, actually happened to me. For those of you that haven’t read this novel, Jana Lanning, the protagonist, is denied admission to graduate school, finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, helps her best friend get married and move out of town, and has to settle for a job that she’s overqualified for – and all of this happens within two weeks of getting her undergraduate degree. Then to make things worse, the office where she works starts a merger with another firm and Jana finds herself on the wrong end of office politics that are the final straw in her battle with depression. The thing people seem the most interested in are the office politics. People want to know if the happenings at Dixon Financial are reflective of my job before it was transferred to a new agency a couple of years ago.
In response to that I’d say not entirely, but I can’t deny that some things that happened to me early in my career are reflected in people and events that take place in the book. I know that’s cryptic, but bear in mind two things: The people and events are fictionalized and that was accomplished through a mixture of my personal experiences, experiences I’ve seen and heard of from other people, and instances I’ve read about in books, magazines, news and other media. It came from a vast pool and I’ll admit that I had experience with being on the wrong end of office politics – heck, how could you write about it even from a fictionalized perspective unless you lived it in some way – but it’s also a universal issue that anybody working in an office environment is going to be on one end or the other of. And sorry folks, but there are probably going to be times when you find yourself on the wrong side, at least from the perspective of the majority.
My purpose in both writing Anywhere But Here and this entry isn’t to bash my former workplace. These things happened a decade ago, and I must admit that I said and did things that weren’t wise and didn’t lead to the best resolution in the situations I faced. I certainly learned from those experiences and in retrospect, I’m glad I learned those lessons early in life or I certainlywouldn’t be where I am now. The purpose is to share lessons learned, because this is something that I believe everybody in the workforce faces at some time. It makes you feel isolated and lonely when it happens, but the truth is that you aren’t alone. Lots of people face it but few talk about it because frankly, it’s embarrassing.
I used to think that people playing office politics were selfish jerks that like to hurt people, but experience has shown me that it actually grows from a root of fear. People that play with power are insecure and doubt their own ability, so they create an elaborate game of turning people and things to their advantage. I’ve found that there are 2 good ways to identify a person that is likely to use power to their advantage:
1.They cling tightly to cliques that are made up of people that are higher on the chain of command than they are; and
2.They don’t associate with anybody on the chain of command below them unless it’s absolutely necessary - and those people better give them what they want immediately or it’s insubordination.
It’s the people in category #2 that usually find themselves on the losing end of office politics because any wrong word or deed will be met with fierce retaliation. I won’t say that I never see office politics anymore, but I have found that I find myself in these situations a lot less since I’ve been reclassified to a mid-level position. I’d like to think this is because I’ve proven that my knowledge and abilities are valuable, but it’s more likely that I learned valuable lessons on how to deal with these types from previous experience – and people know it.
So what’s the secret to dealing when you’re the victim of office politics? If you’re right, stand by that. Don’t ever cave in and take the quick and easy way out because that’s a temporary end. If they’d turn on you once, they’ll turn on you again. Caving in only shows that you can be taken advantage of, and they will milk that dry, plus the consequences of doing wrong will follow you a lot longer than standing up for what’s right. They might not like you, but they’ll respect you and at least know not to let you catch them with their hand in the cookie jar again. If you aren’t right, correct yourself immediately and stick to your guns in walking down the right road. And whichever situation you’re in, it’s imperative that you have patience. Truth will show itself in time and it will be end game then. It might take months or even years for things to come around, but they will and you’ll be better off for it. The reward will come in patient endurance, and it will be something that nobody can deny. Sure, there are people that are so stubborn that they’ll refuse to change their mind no matter what happens, but don’t worry about them. Leave them in their ignorance and move on because it’s highly probably that they’ll be gone in time themselves.
I believe Jana Lanning in Anywhere But Here is a good personification of office politics gone wrong, because she’s the one in the weakest position. She didn’t do anything wrong and in fact suffered for doing right, but recent personal losses kept her from taking a stand in the right way and the right timing. The people that create these situations are masters at turning things against you even if you didn’t do anything wrong, and it’s exhausting to constantly defend your own character. Unfortunately, she found this out too late and suffered the consequences of crossing the wrong people simply by being who she was and not deferring to people doing things wrong. She was right and had proof of it, but she didn’t know how to present that truth in a combative work environment. That happens sometimes, and it’s awful. I think the worst offence in the world is to have to suffer for other peoples’ mistakes, and office politics are the ultimate example of that.
I think this is why eople tell me that they find Jana Lanning so likeable. She’s a good person that doesn’t deserve the hard knocks that come her way from people taking advantage of her shy nature, youth, and inexperience. She makes the same mistakes that all of us made in our early adulthood and we understand her confusion at why life is kicking her around. Reality is a hard teacher, and it’s the only one that can do the job once school leaves off. Remember the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire” from the 80’s? That strange, new world opening up is the exact thing that Jana faces, and we understand exactly where she’s coming from. She, like the rest of us, has to learn to find those gems of opportunity in the rubble of defeat to rebuild a new life from shattered dreams. In some ways, we may even relate to her right where we’re at, because life is always teaching us lessons.
So no, I didn’t start out in life exactly like Jana did. I actually did marry my college sweetheart, but I never made it to graduate school because I found other things that I believed were worth more in my life than higher education. I never struggled with depression, but I knew (and still know) many who do battle that demon, and I hope Jana’s struggle helps people with depression understand that this is a battle they can win if they stay in the fight. But yes, I did go through an office merger in my early years in the workforce, and I found myself prey to the power plays, albeit in much different circumstances. All I can say is that wisdom comes from experience, and I gained plenty in those few years.
And lest you think it’s impossible for poor Jana to face so much at one time, I call your bluff. Too much smashing my life to bits was the catalyst for my next novel, Splinter – but that’s one for a future blog entry. I’ll address it closer to the release date in mid 2013. Until then, enjoy Anywhere But Here and my other books - information on them and links to buy are on the other tabs of this website. I hope you find entertainment and inspiration in them.
That’s all today.
Many people have asked me recently about how things are going with my writing, so I thought I'd update you through a blog entry. I've stay very busy with it between promoting work that's already published and writing new work. Here's a rundown of where things are at:
As you probably know, I'm in the middle of an Author Feature Week on The Edible Bookshelf. DelSheree Gladden read my young adult novel, Blurry
, and is doing a feature on me that's focused on this book on Monday - Friday of this week. Today's entry is the best so far with an author interview on Blurry
. You can check it out at http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/08/interview-with-sherri-fulmer-moorer.html
. Be sure to drop by http://www.theediblebookshelf.blogspot.com
tomorrow and Friday too to see the remaining entries in the feature week. I'd like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to DelSheree Gladden for reading Blurry
and giving me this wonderful opportunity to reach readers through her outstanding blog!
I was also surprised to get a very flattering review of Anywhere But Here
today. It was so encouraging to see that this story touched someone and that they recommended it because they believed that others could relate to it too - even with the twist ending! (Folks, this book has a BIG twist in the end!). Dealing with personal setbacks and depression are the major themes of this fictionalized novel about a young woman whose life falls apart in the weeks after college graduation, and it was my hope that others would read this tale and find hope to face their own challenges. I'm glad people are relating to this story. That is, after all, why writers do write in the first place - so their stories can entertain and inspire others. I'd like to thank Goodreads for their support of indie authors and for helping people to find me and my work. If you love reading, this is a great site! You can check them out at www.goodreads.com
I have several book reviews for Blurry
and Anywhere But Here
pending, and I have my fingers crossed that they continue to get good reviews! I'm also planning to pick up promotion for Quarantine
, my mystery novella, and Resonance
, my horror long story, in September and October. Both of these stories take place in October. In fact, Resonance
is a Halloween tale. I believe these are good, quick reads that people will find interesting as a fall read. Plus, they're cheap - only a dollar!
On the publication front, I signed a contract with Whiskey Creek Press to publish Splinter
, my sci-fi novel that I wrote for National Novel Writing Month in 2010, in late May. I should get more information from them on a publication schedule in October or November, and it should be out sometime in mid to late 2013. I'll let you know when I get a timeline for publication. In the meantime, here's a synopsis:
The end of the world is just the beginning.
Dr. Leigh Lorene Lybrand, a thirty-three year old geophysicist, is content with her humble life on Earth. She has good work studying the reversal of Earth’s magnetosphere, a loving fiancé, and a supportative family. It’s a life most people would be happy with, until she’s offered a chance to make history. Developing interstellar habitats in the Jovan system will make her famous and financially secure for the rest of her life. She’s willing to put aside life on Earth for two years to have a chance to establish humanity in outer space.
History takes a critical turn when Earth is destroyed by a solar flare, and the crew of Jovan I are responsible for the survival of humanity. As they explore ways to survive in space, dark matter starts to rip open the fabric of
space and time, allowing Leigh and one of her colleagues to see parallel universes. When the visions take a sinister turn to reveal that a radical religious group planned Earth’s destruction, Leigh must make a choice: Accept her fate or use what she’s learned to save humanity; even if it means sacrificing herself in this universe.
I obviously need to clean that up into a more intriguing back cover blurb, but I beleive you get the point. And let me tell you, I'm super excited about this book! It's the most work I've ever done to write a novel - it's my longest book to date at 50 chapters and took over six months of research just to plan the plot! But the work was worth it, because I believe this is my best book so far.
On the writing front, I have two books in progress right now. That's right, two! The first is a mystery novel titled Move
. The tagline - be careful what you wish for. I don't nave a formal synopsis for it because it isn't complete, but it's about a woman that's stuck in a rut that unknowingly makes a deal with a djinn to help her with people that are getting in the way of her progress. Unfortunately, the djinn isn't really good with the whole wish-granting thing, and he makes a bigger mess of things than she ever imagined. And I'll be honest with you - I love working on this book. This is the most fun I've had writing a book since Blurry! It's just a good, intriguing story and I love the characters I work with. Well, except one of the villians, but I'm having fun helping things bite her in the butt. These are the experiences writers live for - to get absorbed in our work and fall into the world we've created. This is why I love writing. To create new work and share it with the world. I think the only thing better than reading a great story is writing one. Well, one that you think is great anyway.
The other book is a short non-fiction book titled Feathered Frenzy! A Quick Guide to Adapting Birds Into Your Life.
I'm writing this book as a way to share what I've learned from over twenty five years of bird ownership with others that have birds for pets. I might not have advanced degrees, but I believe that a lifetime of having birds for pets gives me plenty of advice to share, and I have picked up quite a few tips, tricks and lessons throughout the years that I beleive will be helpful to other bird owners. When I say this is a short book, I'm not kidding - I started it last week, and I've written 8 of the 10 chapters already. Hopefully, I'll complete the rough draft in the next couple of days. I plan to self publish this book. In the meantime, I posted a sample chapter in this blog last week, and I've posted another snippet on the bird blog over at Conure Corner at http://conurecorner.weebly.com
So that's what's going on with my writing. Thanks to all of you for your continued support and interest in it! I'll return to my usual musings and shenanagins next time. Until then, I hope the end of your week goes well.
Hi everybody; I hope you're having a good weekend. My wrist has been hurting a bit from typing a lot at work last week, so this entry will just be a rundown of "what's going on" in my corner of the world.
I got my first newsletter for the Mystery Readers and Working Writer's Newsletter turned in, and that's supposed to be out on the 26th. I'm looking forward to it. I've always wanted to have a regular piece somewhere so this is a dream come true for me. I've also been invited to contribute a story toward an anthology that's being proposed for publication, and I have some fiction story ideas buzzing around in the old grey matter. We'll see what develops. Lots of potential and I'm trying to pull the pieces together to turn some of it into reality.
I finally got back into reading and resumed Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini. I'm about halfway through it and I tell you, it's a great book. I start reading and have to tear myself away to stop! I love it and it's interesting to see how this series ends. Only thing is, I believe it's a bit too violent to be classified as "Young Adult." (I thought the same about Brisinger.) But a good book is a good book. I suspect that this may be the last hardback that I read for a while. I've been reading more e-books lately and now that I have an iPhone I suspect that my e-shelf will continue to expand. Especially since I have the phone with me all the time and it will just be easier to have my library on that device.
I've recovered from my illness a couple of weeks ago and Rick is also recovering. He still has down spells - of course, he got a lot sicker than I did - but we are recovering. That's good news.
The SC Republican Primary is today and we did get out and vote, despite the rain. We believe it's important to vote. It's a privledge of democracy that we intend to use! It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.
That's all for this time. Not much, but that's ok. Sometimes plugging along is just fine and dandy. Today it is for me, at least.
Take care. More later.
Last month, an interviewer asked me how I deal with the issue of technology in my writing. Specifically, they asked if I had concerns that including computers, cell phones, and other technological advances would "date" my work too quickly. My answer to this question was that technology is such an integral part of our real day to day lives that we can't afford to ignore it. In fact, I believe that not including technology runs the risk of dating your work by making it seem more antiquitated than it really is from the start. So I choose to use it, and in fact it's such an integral part of my books that I hope readers will grant me the grace of being as patient with this evolving nature of our lives in fantasy as they are in reality.
That's well enough, but as I was working on an article for the Mystery Readers and Working Writers Newsletter, I began to look at the issue from the other end and wonder: Am I as understanding of this issue as a reader as I am as a writer? The truth is, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and only started reading mysteries myself in the past 3 years. Fantasy typically shuns technology in favor of magic, and sci-fi is so inventive that I can stretch my mind to imagine any number of advances for the setting. But I wonder how I'll fare as I continue to read in the mystery genre and find myself in that place as a reader where the characters are using devices that were updated last month. I'd like to say I'll be as patient as I hope my own readers would be but can't help but ponder when, say, I pick up Die Softly, by Christopher Pike, and wonder how that story would unfold now that cameras have gone digital and every home has a computer (or 2, or 3, and who knows how many mobile devices). Or Whisper of Death (also by Christopher Pike) and wonder how that story would have unfolded if they found those short stories foretelling their deaths on an e-reader instead of a notebook.I still love these books (and believe it or not, I pluck them off my shelf and re-read them typically once a year or so), but I can't help but ponder how those plots would have developed with some of our modern advances.
Maybe that's not a bad thing. In fact, it might be good for our imagination by helping writers imagine twists on some of those old plots, and readers to keep them interested not only in the new things coming out but the older things that inspired them. For example, I'm sure I noticed that I mentioned 2 Christopher Pike books in the last paragraph. He was my favorite YA writer when I was in my teens, and I credit his work for being a huge influence on the development of Blurry and even my upcoming book, Anywhere But Here (although that is an adult novel).
It's an interesting question to ponder and I'd like to pose it to readers. How do you feel about including technology in writing? Good idea? Bad idea? Or the unavoidable pink elephant in the room that each individual has to decide whether to address or ignore?
Happy Friday everybody, and I hope you have an outstanding weekend.