Monday, December 11, 2017

Farewell, 2017

What a year. It went fast. A lot of fine things happened in our family, like the birth of my granddaughter. Christmas is really exciting with a little one running about. Family will pull me away from blogging for a while.  I'll post again on the first Wednesday of 2018 for IWSG day. I'll still be writing, but my time on social media will be limited.

We had the first snow that actually hung around last Saturday. Only about two inches in my neck of the woods though not far away, they received more. My sister in Picayune, MS sent me a picture of the three inches they had on Friday. They built a little 12 inch high snowman.

Those fires in California are horrific. Keeping those suffering and worried in my thoughts and prayers.

Hope you have clear weather and can step outside at night and take in the yearly celestial display from the Geminids meteor shower happening this week. I think the best time is around the 13th or 14th. Those of us living in the northern hemisphere have the best show.

Netflix isn't letting me down during the TV drought. Lots of offering from Disney on there and from the Marvel Universe. I really enjoyed The Punisher and my daughter and I are enjoying Godless though it's a really grim and dark show.

Christmas shopping is pretty much complete at my house with only a few gift cards to be picked up for stocking stuffing. And perhaps a few bottles of wine. This is also the first time since I graduated from college where I don't have any traveling to do over the holiday. More time at home, though the reason for it leaves a hole in the family.

And a wish for all my blogger friends. May you find the joy of the season and spend time with those you love. If I could share out the huge mountains of it we'll have at our house, I would send some to all of you.

Are you taking any writing breaks over the holiday season? Doing any traveling? Are you going to enjoy the meteor show? Done with the Christmas shopping?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG: Farewell to 2017

Can it really be the last IWSG post of 2017? The year flew by. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this awesome group. Join in if you want. You can sign up here and visit lots of other participating blogs.

The optional question this month:
As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I guess I would spend more time on my fantasy writing and less on the romance side of my career. I felt like I didn't get much writing done, but looking back, I did complete three new novels. One less than I wanted but still not too bad.

My local writers' group held our group Christmas party last Saturday. We also went to a retirement party for the mayor of the town closest to us on Friday evening. On Sunday, I made Mac-n-Cheese for the kiddies after we decorated the Christmas tree. Needless to say, I'm watching the calories this week. I'm not a person who usually gains weight over the holidays, but it was a tempting three days of goodies. Still, it was wonderful to have all the children together to decorate the tree plus the new granddaughter. It's a time when I really see how much my kids love each other as they argue over placement of ornaments.

Christmas... is not an external event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart.
Freya Stark

Between now and the start of the new year, I'm going to organize my projects and my promotional plans and ideas. And of course, I can't wait to break out that brand new Old Farmer's Almanac Planner. I already have things written in it. In the meantime, I need lots of coffee for rewrites and outlining for what's up next.

TV land is drying up over the holiday season as usual. The Gifted has continued to keep me interested. The Good Doctor hasn't disappointed me yet. I like a medical show where everything doesn't always work out. More realistic when the patient isn't always saved. Looks like a lot of Netflix happening at my house for the next few weeks.

Last week also was a time of giving at our county libraries. They collected foodstuffs and took donations. It was also a great time to donate to the library itself. Perhaps even to gift a book in the name of a beloved teacher.

The news is awash with all kinds of accusations about sexual misconduct by people in power. It's all sickening and not at all surprising. Will it ever stop? As parents, we need to educate our children, boys and girls, about respectful behavior. I hope I've taught my daughter to take no s**t. 

We're expecting a bit of snow this coming weekend. Traffic in all the places I have to shop is already bad. PA has terrible roads and there's also still some summer roadwork that is messing things up.

Would you change something you did in the past year in terms of your writing? Suffering from holiday TV hiatus time? What good causes do you donate to at this time of year? Did you get the LotR reference?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Disposal by Tara Tyler

DISPOSAL has arrived!!

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

KINDLE <=> Paperback (coming soon)

About the Author:
Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Pop Travel & Simulation - The Cooper Chronicles
Broken Branch Falls & Cradle Rock - Beast World fantasy series

To celebrate, you can take Tara Tyler's SURVEY- which will automatically enter you for a PRIZE!

Here is the DISPOSAL blog tour schedule:

FRI, NOV 17 - Tyrean Martinson - 5 Things that will get you published!

MON, NOV 20 - Christine Rains - The Lazy Housewife talks Garage Goals
THU, NOV 23 - Juneta Key - I'm Thankful for where I am

MON, NOV 27 - Patricia Lynne -
THU, NOV 30 - Diane Burton - The Lazy Housewife talks Bathroom Blues

WED, DEC 6 - MJ Fifield - Special IWSG: Will anyone like me? Will anyone care?
FRI, DEC 8 - Elizabeth Seckman - The Journey of the Really Real Housewives

MON, DEC 11 - C. Lee McKenzie -

Monday, November 20, 2017

Give Thanks

It's that time of year to give thanks for all my blessings. So, so many. Family, friends, warm home, great food, health and safety, and living in a country where those things are possible. The Gourley house will be filled to the limit with fun, laughter, and way too much food, all prepared by moi.

But it's not the way for everyone in our country. It's the time of year to give generously to food banks and other organizations who help make sure everyone can have a Thanksgiving meal. There will also be football on the TV for most of the day. Its the first time in many years that all my children will be home and off work for the entire day.

I haven't watched the entire The Punisher series on Netflix yet as I write this, but I like it so far. Frank Castle is more interesting that at first glance. And it's not all shoot-em-up stuff going on. And I'm glad to see season 2 of Frontier is coming to Netflix later this month. Finally saw Thor, and it didn't disappoint. It will definitely be in my video library once it's available.

Speaking of video library, I no longer buy blu-ray or DVD style media. Any movie I decide to purchase I get through Amazon video. Nothing to store and I can watch it on my Kindle, with my Fire stick, or on my computer.

I don't like to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but I have completed some Christmas shopping early. Just little things to bring a smile. It's really difficult to find those things when the kiddies are actually adults.

On Wednesday, I will feature Tara Tyler and all you need to know about her newest release, Disposal. I hope you'll stop in and check out her newest. The next time I will post will be on the first Wednesday of December for IWSG.

Are you having Thanksgiving at your house or traveling somewhere else? Did you watch the Punisher? Have you watched Frontier? Do any Christmas shopping yet? Do you still buy blu-ray or DVDs?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Older But Content

So yesterday was my birthday and it was wonderful with the entire family here. It was so much fun and in the middle of the chaos, I realized how content and happy I am. Thirty or forty (yes, I'm old) years ago, I might not have imagined where I would be today with a large family, a huge house, and a writing career. I wasn't even considering being a writer until after my daughter was born 23 years ago. But here I am, and it's great. The industry is a tough nut to crack and once you are published, it's even more difficult to keep on going. Low pay, hard work, and long hours add up to a sense of personal accomplishment. I hope I never get too old to give up the constant learning that my writing career demands.

 Of course, my dear family gave me all the things I love as gifts beyond their presence. Wine, a GoT wine glass, book gift cards, Yankee candles, and did I say wine. They're the best.

In the industry, my friends and I have discussed what it means to be a bestseller. There are so many lists. Do they mean anything anymore? Do readers care if a book is labeled a bestseller? How the heck does Amazon even come up with their numbers? Do the lists include eBooks? This PW article talks about all these things. All writers want to publish a 'bestseller' but does it mean anything in today's market?

As a writing of romance, I, like most of my colleagues, find myself often defending the genre. Yet, romance makes up 34% of the book market. It's important. So many people have the idea it's not on the same level of writing as other genres. Worse, because most of the readers are women, it's deemed not intelligent or not good stories. The attitude is so ridiculous when the genre is so successful. Many studies have shown the average romance reader is a college-educated female. There's nothing wrong with reading a book with a happy ending compared to reading a book full of the suffering and terrible things that are on the news everyday or perhaps in a person's own life.

On the good side, Supernatural has been great this season so far. Poldark has been satisfyingly dramatic. The Punisher is coming to Netflix on Friday. My once favorite show, Once Upon a Time, is okay this season. I always like seeing how they put new spins on old fairy tales. It gives me creative ideas.

I'm planning for Thanksgiving dinner and starting to gather the 'fixings' as the entire feast is at my house each year. The kids want everything to be exactly like the previous years, but I try at least one new thing each year.

That WIP that I wanted to have done in October? I'm hoping by the end of November now. Sigh.....

Have you ever had a bestseller? Does bestseller 'status' influence you to buy a book? Enjoying Supernatural or looking forward to The Punisher?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Getting Stuff Done

I'm excited to have finished up the final edits for my second book in my Survivors of the Apocalypse Series, Horse Tamer's Fiery Lady. This will be my 22nd published book, not counting the ones that
are no longer published because the publisher closed. I'm not sure of my release date yet, but I'm pretty pumped up about it.

If you in the mood to do something about your author newsletter, like maybe start it, one of my writers' groups, Pennwriters, is running a class that starts today about Getting Results from Your Author Newsletter by Jessie Clever. It's open to all.

It's amazing how fast this year is going. My days are so busy, but I'm getting stuff done. I'm rearranged my living room nearly every weekend as I try to 'Elliana-ize' it. My granddaughter keeps finding her way into things I don't want her in. On the flip side, I keep having to clean behind and under things I usually only move about twice per year.

I'm also falling back into the old habit of doing a lot of my writing at night like I did when I was teaching full time. It's working for me. Now that Daylight Savings Time has ended, the dark drives me to my writing office. I am dreading seeing snow outside my window. Not too soon, I hope.

"Inspiration exists, but it must find you working." Pablo Picasso

Because I had to do editing this weekend, I didn't get to see Thor, but I play to by the end of the week. Still enjoying Poldark and The Good Doctor. The Gifted is keeping me interested. I heard a rumor over the weekend that Amazon might be working on putting together a LoTR series like a TV show. I'd give it a try though I don't see how they could top the movies.

Hope you go out to vote tomorrow if you're in the USA. Not much for us to vote for here except Township Supervisors and a judge. I'm voting for the supervisor most likely to make sure the road in front of my house gets plowed sooner than twelve hours after it stops snowing. I have simple needs.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

Do you have any clue what Albert meant by that statement? Does the long dark days of winter inspire you to write or impede you? Do you see Thor? Hear about that LoTR rumor?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IWSG November17 Edition

Can't be the first Wednesday again already! Yes, it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. This wonderful group was started by everyone's favorite ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can sign up and be part of it on this list.

This week's optional question is about NaNo. Since I've never participated in NaNo, I didn't go with the question this month.

My insecurity this month is about another punch in the purse that Amazon is slugging us with. Recently Amazon removed rankings from thousands of books, accusing those authors of gaming the system somehow. Most of the authors are innocent, including moi. Anne R. Allen wrote a great post about it here.  Here's another by David Gaughran. The only thing my publisher did differently was put some of my books together in a boxed set. The set was selling really well and maintaining a good ranking. Suddenly rankings for all my books disappeared.

Amazon will not respond to any questions or protests except with an automated response. Not having a ranking makes it almost impossible for anyone to find your book unless they're looking for it specifically. Once again, Amazon has made a sweeping attempt to clean up the cheaters like it did when it purged reviews a while back, but like then, they throw innocent authors under the bus. It's very discouraging to be so helpless against this retail giant we love as a consumer and hate as writers.

 It's tough to sit down and write each day with that black cloud hanging over my book sales. And since I'm not one to check my rankings everyday, I have no idea when those rankings disappeared.

Onto better things. Like wasn't Stranger Things, Season 2, good. It was really fun. Rest in peace, Barb, finally. Saying nothing more so I don't spoil if you haven't watched yet. A new show I'm finding okay so far this season is The Gifted which is in the X-Men universe. I don't set my clock by it, but I like it so far. The Good Doctor is a tearjerker every week. I don't know if it can keep that up but I'm still tuning in. Looking forward to the new Thor movie.

A new library story time is starting for my granddaughter today so I'll get to read your posts later today and tomorrow. The fun never ends.

Do you know any writers slapped by Amazon this time or the last time? Are you participating in NaNo? Did you watch Stranger Things 2?