Monday, July 17, 2017

The Game Returns

I suspect a lot of you were glued to your TVs last night to watch the return of Game of Thrones for it's seventh season. It didn't disappoint. Loved the opening scene. Loved Jon and Sansa acting like brother and sister even though they're only cousins. I liked seeing everything coming together and the characters finally being all on the same continent. Things I'm still looking forward to is the meeting of characters like Jon and Daenerys and when can all the Starks please get together. And can Littlefinger finally get what he has coming? And isn't Jon being a wise king so far. And how about Jamie's opinion of the Greyjoy's? Don't we all agree?
"Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select the more enjoyable." Lousia May Alcott
Check out this interesting article about authors bullying other authors. I've seen it happen but never knew anyone personally involved. We need to support each other. Anne R. Allen speaks from experience about this. We need to support each other. In light of that, here's a new book from my CPRW friend:
Into the Fire by Vicki Smith
In Olivia Sanders' world, people like her don't survive very long. Special abilities are a threat to the corrupt government and those loyal. Olivia and those with similar abilities struggle to keep their secrets as new laws threaten them daily. Though hiding isn't enough for Olivia. A healer and firestarter, she works with the resistance to ensure the safety of the people of her sector, toiling in an unforgiving world without freedom or hope with the goal that someday they will find both.
Poisoned by someone she should never have trusted, betrayed by her godfather, the former governor, who is using disturbing methods to control the population and grow his army, Olivia is forced to seek help from Luke Jamison, the leader of the resistance. They join forces with his brother, Matt, and Jillian Derrick, a hard-as-nails woman leading a band of "undesirables" to safety.
As conditions in the sector deteriorate and the death toll climbs ever higher, Olivia and Luke, Jillian and Matt, cling to the miracle of found love while facing the horror of a future without each other.


Victoria Smith lives in Central PA with her high school sweetheart and way too many animals. She writes paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian—all with romance, because who doesn’t love a happy ending? She publishes with Liquid Silver Books and Soul Mate Publishing. Visit her at http://vickismith.blogspot.com.


 Books: 
 Twitter - @smith_victoria

"There is no friend as loyal as a book." Earnest Hemingway

Did five hours of cleaning out and packing things for Goodwill. At least two dozen coffee mugs, a dozen wine glasses, and thirty vases. When you have six children, you get a lot of 'best mom' style mugs as they're growing up. Every child bought me a coffee mug or wine glass when they were in college. So yes, I have Penn State, Gettysburg College, Boston University, and University of Pittsburgh. Now they're bringing stuff from work. LOL

Did you enjoy the first episode of Game of Thrones? Have you supported some of your author friends lately? Known anyone to get attacked by author bullies? Do gifts collect in your house? Need a coffee mug? Hardly used.

Monday, July 10, 2017

When Everything is a Chore

So much work to do? It seems I have more chores piling up all the time. Am I busier than I used to be or am I older and just don't get as much done as I'd like to every hour of the day?

A partial list of things I had to do before writing this post: Register a copyright, send a cheery card to a sick friend, update CPRW membership list, do some Twitter and Facebook scheduling(Please follow me if you're not already), direct the boys in some trash removal, and renew my Pennwriters' membership.

Thing I have to do later this week: Have dinner with a friend I haven't seen for months, call and check on an ailing sibling, babysit my granddaughter on two occasions, make a date to have lunch with another friend, keep an eye on the guys doing some work on our pool, and DO SOME ACTUAL WRITING.


I didn't include all the housework things and outdoor chores. I think I'll take a nap now. Though in all serious, I almost never take a nap.

All these things will make the week go faster until next Sunday when Game of Thrones returns. Here's an interesting article about the world of Westeros and why they've never advanced as a society. If their history goes back 10,000 years, shouldn't they be a little more civilized? In the meantime, I have some GoT soundtrack playing in the background while writing this week.

I'm also going to check out two new shows starting this week. Will is a period piece about young William Shakespeare that is on Mondays on TNT. Salvation is a short running series on CBS about an asteroid heading for Earth and the people looking to stop the extinction of all life on Earth.

This article about copyrights came to my attention. I've never known any writers personally who had to go to court to protect their work, but all writers know about piracy. And we've heard stories about famous writers like JK Rowling facing questions.

Do you register your copyrights with the government? Is it money well spent? Are you ready for another disaster show about an asteroid? Why do you think Westeros is stuck in medieval times besides that it makes a good story? Do you take naps during the day?







Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: July 2017 Edition

Wow, we're more than halfway through the year. Where did the time go? And it's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time to share our insecurities and offer encouragement to each other. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh who started this wonderful group. You can join and receive all the wonderful benefits of being a member. Find other members of the group or sign up here.

What are those benefits? There are too many to name, but lots of people believe in IWSG as proven by IWSG being selected as one of The 101 Best Websites for Writers. Congrats to everyone who put in so much hard work for this to happen.

Don't forget about the #IWSGPit coming up at the end of July. Get your pitch ready.

Today's question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

It's tough to pick just one but I have learned over the years how generous writers are to each other. They help each other. They share advice and give of their time. We may write alone but it's not really a lonely job unless you want it to be.

My latest book is no available on Amazon. This if the first time I've stepped into dystopian territory. The Survivors of the Apocalypse Series is set 300 years after a plague wipes out 99% of humanity. A city of a few thousand is protected by a dome while outside in the wilderness, a small number or people live who were immune to the disease. Now the city people are running out of resources and desperation sets in. Who decides who lives and who dies? Can the outsiders be the secret to finding a Hunter's Exiled Lady opens the trilogy when two outsiders come upon a small group of people exiled from the city. Even if the exiles somehow survive the plague, they must adjust to the dangerous frontier life outside the city walls.
cure?

The little getaway for my husband and I last week was great fun. Until we got home and he discovered he'd been bitten by something, probably a spider. Doctor visits and some harsh antibiotics later and he's on the mend. July 4th was fun at the house. Burgers on the grill and the children playing games. By children I mean my grown children.

Yippee for Killjoys coming back on last week also. I also caught up on Zoo before season 3 started last week. It gets stranger and stranger. Gotta love that. And the countdown is on to the return of Game of Thrones. Yes, the science fiction and fantasy shows are my favorites.

Did you see any good fireworks for the 4th? Is your Twitter pitch ready? Do you enjoy Zoo or Killjoys? Ever have trouble with a bug bite?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hot Reads and Weather

I love the heat and hate winter. I don't enjoy the rain like some people do. But even I think we need some this week. So let it rain, a bit.

I've read some good books in between working on my outline for my next book and finishing up some line edits for the one coming out shortly. Lesser Evils by Joe Flanagan was a great read. The
main character is so human and interesting. The story is suspenseful and very dark, but the ending allows the light to shine through. I will read more by this author.

I have a stack of library books to read but that won't stop me from going to the bookstore today. In other good news, my local library has extended their hours for the summer. I guess that means that donations are up or the county powers-that-be found money in the budget to actually put toward a worthwhile thing.

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry. William Shakespeare

Father's Day was great at our house. Two of our boys took their father golfing which they all enjoyed despite the heat. I prepared some of my husband's favorite dishes, corn on the cob, pasta salad, meatball sandwiches, and the other children make time to spend at least part of the day here. My husband is an excellent father and deserves all the love that came his way.

The imprint of the father, remains forever on the life of the child. - Roy Lessin 

I'm polishing up the first page of First Dragon for a workshop we're doing at my next local writer's meeting. We're having three outside professionals come in and they'll evaluate first pages with the writers being anonymous. I also made a short list of fantasy publishers I intend to query that book too. My favorite is closed to submissions until the end of July so I'll probably wait until then.

Wonder Woman was great. Really glad I went to see it. We also rented The Batman Lego movie last week. It wasn't as good as the first Lego movie, but it was okay. My husband wants to rent the second John Wick movie next. I guess I can stand some endless violence and a main character I could care less about for an evening.

I won't be posting next week as my husband and I are going away for a few days to celebrate our anniversary. Finally. My next post will be for IWSG July version. The optional question for that post is: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Did you see both Lego movies? One better than the other? Summer getaway plans on your agenda? Ever attend a workshop where pages were critiqued in a group situation? Did you learn anything?



Monday, June 12, 2017

A Week of Celebration

This week in June is one of my favorite weeks all year. Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 35th anniversary. All the children joined us as usual, reminding us how full our lives are. We're going away for a few days later this month to celebrate alone.

"Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.Robert Browning

 This Wednesday, Flag Day, my one son turns 32. Now that he has his own child, I'm constantly reminded what a good baby he was and altogether a terrific child. Then next Sunday is Father's Day. That means another day with all the kids are at our house and goading my husband to play all day. Card, bean bag toss, and bocce ball. It will be fun.

Lots of my friends commented on the picture I posted on Instagram yesterday of the flowers my husband bought me. I so appreciated it, but it also reminded me of my determination to learn how to use and enjoy the app. I moved it up the list.

Another big thing on my list is finding a publisher for my second fantasy series. First Dragon, the book that led off that series, was published by a small press for about a year with almost no sales before the publisher closed its doors. The edits on the second book had been completed except for the final line edit. I need to find a publisher willing to take on a book that was out there already. The fact that the defunct publisher did so little with promotion and made no effort to help me leaves me with the hope that it wasn't because the book was bad that it didn't really sell.

Still have a lot of edits to do on that book. My publisher is used to me getting them back a little quicker than I did this time. I hope to get them done later today. After my daughter and I go see Wonder Woman.

I love reading hints and speculations about shows I'm looking forward to. Game of Thrones and Stranger Things are top on my list right now. GoT only has 7 episodes this season but I heard the last two are really long. I'm doing a re-watch from season one to the present. Currently moving closer to The Red Wedding lest I forget how terrible things have gone for the Starks in the past. Our family has a lot of fun speculating who will still be alive when the show ends. I'm also interested in the CBS show Salvation that is coming in July. A little like Armageddon.

Lots of chores to done around the homestead. I still have a few flowerbeds that need a lot of attention. My husband did some cleaning in the garage last week so I'm going to tackle the rest of it. I need to do my annual tree trimming to make mowing easier. Right now, I have two pine trees that try to know me off the mower. Inside the how, I have a stack of books for the second hand store and a box of things for Goodwill.
I always thought a yard was three feet, then I started mowing the lawn. ~C.E. Cowman

I read a good book last week. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is very different but don't be put off when you look inside. It's written as a report complied from various sources. It looks confusing but isn't at all and is a very fast read. There's very little narrative and is almost all dialogue. It's the first in a series. The characters are interesting and the setting is really cool if you love space opera. I can see this book being a movie someday.

Have you read anything interesting? Have any chores you're dreading? Do you like to read speculations about TV shows?







Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: I Love June

Welcome to the June edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly blog hop. This supportive group was the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. There is so much going on with this terrific group. Make sure you visit IWSG Home and see what project is coming next for members. It's exciting. It's great to see Pat Hatt and Nick Wilford moving into the administration part of the group.

The question for this month: Did you ever say "I quit?" If so, what happened to draw you back to writing?

I doubt many writers can honestly say they never thought about quitting. A little over a month ago, I considered it. And right after I signed a new contract for a book. Lots of things going on in my personal life. Things I had no control over. All the other responsibilities I had taken on nagged at me and drained my energy. So I trimmed my work load, set some priorities and kept with my writing. No magical epiphany. Sometimes writing is just forcing yourself to sit down at the keyboard and keep going.

So still here, working on some edits for that book I received the contract for. Admiring a little cover art for the first book in a dystopian romance series, Hunter's Exiled Lady. More about it later.

In other book news, in case you haven't already heard. Alex J. Cavanaugh's CassaStar is now available in audio book. Check it out on Amazon.

I hope you're still thinking about the #IWSGPit coming up in July. Today, if you write romance, you can practice by visiting #CarinaPitch.  Tomorrow, you can jump into Pitmad. Good luck. You have nothing to lose by jumping in.

I don't usually enjoy medical shows, but I'm looking for to The Night Shift coming back on for the summer season. Of course, Game of Thrones will be back in July. The new season of Sherlock is on Netflix already. It's really good if you haven't watched it yet.

A little science that sounds like fiction but isn't. If you haven't heard about the wasp that turns cockroaches into zombies, you can get all the facts here.

So what do you think about IWSG newest endeavor? Ready to do some Twitter pitches? Ever say 'I quit?'




Monday, May 22, 2017

What a Conference

I decided to post after all today. I made it back from the Pennwriters Conference Sunday afternoon. Like every conference, I came away with a pile of notes and lots of energy to dive back into writing and trying some new promotional ideas.

One of the speakers I enjoyed was Kathleen Shoop who shared pages and pages of information about self-publishing. I'm traditionally published by a small press, but indie-published authors know how to market. They have to if they're going to be successful. There's nothing quite so much fun as getting handouts at a conference.

On the flip side, as a board member who did a lot of work behind the scenes and some out in the open, the weekend was exhausting. And I love driving, but if you've ever driven through Pittsburgh, it's not much fun. The trip was four hours each way for me. Yawn!!! But I held strong and only bought one book while I was there.

Agent Mark Gottlieb presented a workshop on writing an elevator pitch. A way to tease your book in two or three sentences to an agent or editor. He shared some winning examples and I improved my short blurb for the dragon book I hope to find a new home for after the publisher closed.

Agent Eric Myers' workshop asked the question, 'How Far is Too Far in MG and YA?' I don't think he ever answered the question though the consensus did seem to be nothing is too far. I found it a bit disturbing.

One of the things I really enjoy about the conference is the mixture of writers. Nonfiction, short fiction, poets and novelists. Some are just starting their careers and many are multi-published. Everyone helps everyone and the mood is upbeat and supportive. One thing all the writers shared was their concern about how to use social media to promote and network. I could feel the stress of many of the writers as they searched for the answers to taming the monster of platform building.

My local writing group finished up our 50/50 yesterday also. I didn't complete my first draft like I wanted to because a lot of real life got in the way. But I'm almost done and I still had pretty good numbers for the 50 days.

On the entertainment front, I'm finally going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume II on Tuesday. My youngest son is taking me as my Mother's Day gift. I'm such a lucky mom. I'm looking forward to the season finale of The 100 on Wednesday. It's been an exciting season. Still about 2 months until Game of Thrones returns. Killjoys is returning this summer also. I really like that show with its mixture of action, suspense with some humor thrown in.

Have any summer TV shows coming on that you enjoy? Have you read any MG or YA that you think went too far? Does platform building concern you? Don't forget to check out the new post on IWSG.