Monday, December 11, 2017

REFLECTING ON THE PAST YEAR

This year has been full of ups and downs. 

It started off so well and then the middle of the year happened and it all seemed to go haywire.

June 6; I will never forget. Its the day I had my first cardiac episode. You know; instead of calling it a heart attack; they (doctors) refer to it as an episode. 

Funny, it's not like an episode of my favorite TV comedy. Nor is it an episode of a docudrama. Instead it was a health 'episode' and for that I got to wear a heart monitor for 45 days. I had to adjust my eating habits AGAIN and I had to take life easy. 

I was smack dab in the middle of trying to get my tiny house money together and then this happens. 

All plans were halted and I became at the mercy of my doctors; nurses and family to help adjust my thinking, my habits and my mental attitude. 

Mind you; I didn't think I was dying but it became a thought. 

I had just turned 51; I wasn't ready to leave this earth. Besides, I had another set of twin grandchildren to wait for and I damn sure was not leaving before meeting them.

So as December continues to roll along; I have taken this opportunity to smile at all of the life lessons that happened in 2017 and can't wait to see what 2018 brings.

Hopefully my tiny house will be delivered by my birthday and I will be able to quit my full time job and just sit in my tiny (yet to be named) and write and enjoy my grand children. Until then, I hope you all are looking back on a year full of lessons and taking the time to enjoy the remaining days of 2017.

Monday, December 4, 2017

END OF THE YEAR...WHAT'S NEXT?

It's the end of the year, so what is next?

Well now is the time that you need to sit down and make a budget for all of the things you want to do, get or get done that involves your writing.

Are you going to transform that extra bedroom into an office for your writing? Well now is the time to get those great deals on all things that you will need. You will need a new desk, a new chair; maybe a computer or a new light. And if you use that office solely for your writing, you can deduct some of that cost on your taxes. But make sure you talk to an LICENSED tax professional about it.

Now, what conference was too expensive this year, that you might want to attend next year? 
Now is the time for you to make plans and a budget to get to that conference. Don't let another year go by that you don't attend a conference. You don't have to go for the weekend or week. Choose one that you can attend for one day. Choose one that you and a couple of your author friends can attend together. Share a room, split the cost. Better yet. Split the cost of a conference. Chose one that is at least two days long. Then decide which day you and your friend will want to attend and co-share the conference. Getting that experience is better than missing it.

Well, what if you don't want to go to a conference or fix up that room. Well you still need marketing materials, right?

Here's your chance to make a budget for those business cards, banners, table scapes, book holders and all things that you will need for your display. 
Don't forget about about things to give away. After all, we all like FREE things, right.

Now, here's the last thing you need: BOOKS. 

Your books to be exact!

You need to order a stock of your books; at least 50 to keep in your car; at work, or anywhere you are traveling. After all, YOU are the BEST salesperson your know.

So, the end of the year is almost here, what are YOU going to do next?

Monday, November 27, 2017

CHRISTMAS TIME AND THE LISTS ARE OUT

Let the countdown begin!

Christmas is less than a month away and I have some great gift ideas. 

Sure, they may be the gifts I want but if you are shopping for an author, feel free to use them as well.

1. Nice Pen- a nice pen to sign those new novels would be a great gift to give; especially if my name was on it.

2. Portable Hard Drive- I have been through the heartbreak of my computer crashing and it is nothing fun. This little beauty could be used to back up those important revisions you are making.

3. Professional Photo Shoot- Let me be clear; it doesn't have to be professional. I just need someone to dress me up, do my makeup and take some great photos of me.

4. Deep Tissue Massage- After all; sitting in a chair all day and writing is hard work. My back is always sore and would keep me motivated. Hint: Massage Envy offers great monthly plans

5. Pretty Journal- That I can travel with. Notes would be so much better if I had a dedicated place to keep them. Plus it would go nice with gift idea #1

6. Carry On Luggage- Now this may seem odd. This is the perfect size to keep my laptop (17 inches), journal, some extra books and all things related to writing. I would use this bag every time I had an appearance to go to. 

7. Wine- After all, I need motivation and for me; my favorite wine, from my favorite winery would do the trick. Hint: Romano Vineyard and Winery is in Brandywine, Maryland. OK; that's more than a hint. 

8. Touchscreen monitor- Yep; I have a desktop and all I want is a touch screen to go with it. That's simple, right?

9. New shoes- C'mon you knew that would be on the list, right? Size 9 with at least a 5 inch heel. Easy Peasy.

and finally

10. How about purchasing some of my novels. Give them as a set or gift them on Kindle! 

So what is on YOUR Christmas list?

Monday, November 20, 2017

GOT MONEY???

You have submitted that manuscript. You waited months for an answer on whether your writing stood out. You were elated when they said YES! You received an advance! 

Now you are awaiting for your 'baby' to be delivered.

It went through edits, rewrites, more edits and now it's in cover design. You rejected the first one but the second one is spot on! Then you had to write a synopsis AND short bio.


Your novel is now in the finishing stages of book production.


But wait! You look at your desk and see it.

There's that check you received! You were scared to cash it because you didn't know if it was actually happening! You didn't want to jink it so you left it there, in the envelope until now.

You are published! 

You got an advance and now you have money!

But what will you do with that sudden 'extra' money that you have.


Here's an idea: Use it for marketing! Buy your business cards, buy a domain name or invest in going to a conference and getting on a panel to promote that novel!

See, getting money is great and getting money as an author is greater! 

However most authors look at it like 'extra' cash to spend on things NOT related to being an author. 

You have to invest that money back into your business. 

Remember, I keep telling you that you are now a SMALL BUSINESS and your business is writing. 

Buy that new laptop, Ipad, or desktop computer you've been eyeing for some time. Buy a printer or portable hard drive. Buy flash drives to keep your novels on. Buy that outfit that will become your 'author wear' when you travel and sit on panels to discuss your novel. Buy that carrying case, messenger bag or duffel bag to carry your manuscript when you travel. Buy a nice pen to sign your books with. Pay for some professional photos of yourself and your novel. There are endless possibilities.

Remember, you can write it all off come April so invest it now; you will get it back later.

So what are YOU going to do with that advance for your novel? 

Make sure you choose wisely.

Monday, November 13, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR....ALMOST

With the end of the year fast approaching, you need to begin making plans now.

Make plans to get your writing schedule set for the new year. 

Make plans to attend some conferences.

Make plans to connect with authors outside of your genre.

Make time to treat yourself to that new book that you have been wanting to read.

Make time to research and visit some of the locations that you reference in your novels.

Make time to get a new desktop or laptop. (You do know that most laptops are built to last only 3 years.)

Make time to get your books in order and receipts ready for tax season. (You did keep your receipts for mileage when you drove to that conference didn't you?)

See, now is the time to make plans. 

After all; there are only 48 more days until 2018!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

REFRESHED, RENEWED, REJUVANATED

That is how I feel when I spend time with other authors. 

In the past few weeks, different writer and fan conferences concluded.

MDC3Con (Creatures, Crimes and Creativity) and BoucherCon are two of my favorites. Thrillerfest is another.

This is the time of year for the three R's. 

Refreshing your desire to write. Renewing your goals and rejuvenating that manuscript that has been in your desk for months without seeing the light of day. 

This is also the time of year for the fourth R.

Reflection.

Reflect on what you have done for the last 10 months. Reflect on how your writing has improved. Reflect on what it is to be an author. 

This is the time that the leaves change, your wardrobe gets warmer and your writing should become easier as the day passes. 

This is also the time of year that authors gather to talk and share ideas. They share what they have learned with each other. They share their ups and downs. They share their successes and their failures. 

They also share what they plan on doing differently in the coming year. 

If you don't have a support group to talk to; you really need to join one. 

Better yet....create one. 

Create what you need. After all; writing is a solitary thing. But the benefits of being an author is that you get to meet some amazing people to reflect, refresh, renew and be rejuvenated with.

Are you ready for your new season? 

I am.


Monday, October 30, 2017

CHANGE IS GOOD...

Change is hard for people and change for me is always hard.

I've been working on this manuscript for almost a year and didn't want to change a thing.

That was until Regina (character in the novel) kept telling me that I was writing her part all wrong.

Like, what? Really?

But after stepping away from it and re-reading it. She was right.

Her part should have been much bigger. I had been making her twin sister the main character; while all along it should have been Regina.

See I thought that Regina just wanted the limelight for herself. Turns our she actually is the one driving the story. Who knew? 

So, after bidding a farewell to over 50 pages of the story; I'm back on track. 

Regina is happy. Her twin is much more rounded and I'm on a roll with my murder mystery.

See, in this case; change WAS good.

I'm just glad that the change came BEFORE I wrote; THE END