Question Answered

Tall Ship in Coos BayWe had a great Mother’s Day in summer like sunshine at our weekend place. The grandsons rode dirt bikes and the six year old was undamaged by his spill through a barbed wire fence into a small stagnant pond. His mom had stopped to caution him on the turn so got to watch – which she said was like watching it happen in slow motion.

The massage I had yesterday was devoted to my neck, shoulders and hands so I’m feeling pretty good again. I’ve been taking care of writerly business stuff and now am ready to return to a novel in process. There was really no doubt which one to give my attention but I like when a nudge from the universe give me a “Yep, on the right track” message.

Paty Jager posted the above picture on Facebook with the  caption, “Spending our anniversary in Coos Bay and this drifts by our hotel.”  That’s my Yep, as Coos Bay is one of the main settings of the novel I set aside last month. Now the storyboard is again set up and binders and books are spread across the dining room table.

Mermaids Around Me

mermaid-book

Handmade 2013 – Cynthia Burke – The Copper Tail Whale

There’s references to mermaids in my novel, and the aquarium described represents one I had for years in my living room. I’m also an avid kayak-er and have often been called “a fish” when near bodies of water.

Pittock Mansion Tree Ornament 2013

Oregon Authors Tree

I really hadn’t planned for the mermaid motif to represent this book, but that’s what’s happening.  

Morgan saw the mermaid on Etsy and contacted the artist for “a tree ornament” one that could be holding my novel from the back of my business card. Ms. Burke also painted “Checkmate First Mate” below the scales on the tail.

This mermaid holding the cover of My Tale is now hanging on the tree in the Books Room at Pittock Mansion. 

Jessie Smith was the driving force behind the decorations in this room and many of my author friends are represented in ornaments on the tree and in all the book displays around the room. Lots of pictures were posted on FaceBook today but I hope to take my own pictures really soon.

Later, as I was scanning my news feeds, I noticed a “Wired” article titled “Professional Mermaids Are Lost Treasure of Florida Park.” Wow. Fun! I followed the link to the artist Annie Collinge and 25 pictures of this mermaid park.

mermaid 007I also have mermaid earrings and that costume I made to wear at a conference in October of 2011.

I’ve really been over-tired lately because while I love grammy-nanny time it is comparable to hours of yoga and aerobics at the same time. (I’m feeling muscles and joints I had forgotten I had.) All the book events also wore me out as I’m more of an introvert and need quiet time to recharge. So I haven’t done any promotions for this novel yet, and planned to wait until next year when it’s not exclusively in the Amazon Select program.

But today, seeing all these mermaids, I realized this story is promoting itself. And that’s great! Happy Reading!

Fun in Book World

I spent the weekend at the PNBA Tradeshow and am excited about this new layer of interaction with booksellers, librarians, and book lovers who have made their passion their business. Our workshop was a rousing success as Morgan kept all attendees in the packed room, engaged. No one was in a hurry to leave the room and some gathered to chat more among themselves in the morning.

We had a few meetings with publishing and bookseller experts. They were already flipping through our little book and offering all kinds of pointers and suggestions for future marketing books. My brain is rather stuffed and it will take some time to relax and process everything.

PNBA2013 029

One of the highlights of this event was meeting new friends, like Gary & Kathy Robson who own Red Lodge Books & Tea, in Montana. Gary knows his Teas and he has written children’s nature and science picture books in his “Who Pooped in the …” series, featuring wildlife “Scat and Tracks for Kids” in numerous parks around the western USA.

Morgan was entranced by Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu, and we were both enthralled at Don Compton’s amazing Pop-up Book of America’s National Parks. It’s very elaborate and a treasure. We never would have seen this book if Don hadn’t been in our workshop and was convinced to carry it around. It’s only available (for now) at National Parks, or through Amazon, not at a local bookseller.

We took some time away from our book browsing and chatting to sign our own book for over forty people who Really Wanted It! Our publisher was thrilled with the orders she got that day. 😀

We’ve gotten a 5* review on the kindle version and know that reviewer was so impressed with the ebook that he went and bought the print version. My romance novel also has a 5* review from a reader.  I’m feeling pretty good after my first event in Book World where my name badge labeled me as an author, to my peers.

Now I’m home for more fun, with my grandchildren.

Tasks and Advice

The first week of January is as good a time as any to create new routines and improvements. A few of my author friends have teamed up to help each other with their New Year resolutions. They each picked a topic where they need advice and support but instead of searching for answers – are offering advice on the topics inspired by each other.

This is a great way to begin the year because by helping others, we help ourselves!

Spread the word, THE RESOLUTION TOUR – January 1 – 9, 2013, is off to a tremendous start.  If any of these resolutions below sound familiar, you might want to check them out:

Maggie Jaimeson – Take a Vacation

Jessa Slade – Get Organized

Paty Jager – Volunteerism

Linda Mercury – Creating a Literary (or Creative) Life

Jenna Bayley-Burke – Eat Healthier

Cassiel Knight – No More Procrastination

Cathryn Cade – Take Time for those OTHER Creative Passions

Susan Lute – Reduce Stress: Find and Follow Your Bliss

Jamie Brazil – Shrink My Closet

If any of the above topics are on your agenda – hop around their blogs for the next week and see what they have to say for each other. The advice we give is often the advice we most need to hear.  😀

I have never been a New Year Resolution girl as January is always too busy, Plus I got that wicked FLU that wiped me out for almost a week.  I’ll assess what I want to accomplish for the year ahead sometime in February.  There’s still tasks to assess from the fiscal year cliffhanger, wedding wrap-ups and photos, holiday cards and decorations, home and business taxes, calendars to close out, and NEW TOYS to enjoy.

However, I do have a new routine that is totally aligned with my dreams and desires. I’ve brought all my music CD’s to the top shelf right inside the door of my office. My first task is now choosing the mood music of moment. I highly recommend it!

Parallel Lives Lead to Lasting Friendship

In February 2009 I was new to blogging and used the word “synchronicity” in a post. I got a comment from Rob MacGregor that he didn’t see the synchronicity and he wondered why I used that word. He and his wife had recently started a blog on synchronicity because they were writing a book on the topic. Our online relationship has continued and since I was blogging to develop my Author Persona it was influenced by that first contact with Rob & Trish.

Morgan and I were barely acquainted in 2009 when we both attended a workshop on marketing for authors. We both had such a visceral reaction to the presentation we could read the other’s anger from across the room. So we hooked up and decided we’d put together a marketing presentation that was valid. We started meeting monthly and soon presented a short overview of marketing basics to our writing chapter. Attendees (many published authors) were stunned that this was such new information and requested a more in-depth workshop.

As we continued to develop our Author Marketing 101 message we learned the need was great and we should bring a business focus to our workshop so it could be more easily promoted to lots of other chapters and authors. Morgan and I also came to learn we shared a lot of things!

We are both from Cleveland, Ohio and now live in Portland, Oregon because of our professional focus – in the electronics industry. Our approach to business is rooted in the core value of helping others and giving freely. We share an “open hand” approach to life, but we aren’t afraid to close our hand if we feel abused or misused. Both of us were raised in households filled with faith, but also are willing to question and be open to energies and God’s infinite possibilities. Introspective and energy work are critical components of who we are and how we choose to travel through this plane of existence. Our stars complement each other, almost perfectly – kinda scary.

So in March of 2012, Morgan and I have been amazed at how our AM101-Author Persona message is expanding in only a year and has become so fun for us, and beneficial to our author friends. We were at an intimate writer conference in WA and chatting in a parking lot with a literary agent from NJ. She ruffled through the draft of our workbook and stated, “This looks very professional. You two need to build your platform.”

This is so obvious that Morgan and I are stunned. It’s a combination “Aha!”  “Of Course!” AND “How the (expletive) do we do that?” A platform is a Marketing 101 concept required for any professional service business. Our message is that a platform does not apply to Novelists –  they need an Author Persona. But a Platform does apply to us regarding our AM101 message about the Author Persona being the dynamic core of a novelist’s marketing plan.

Morgan and I had created a free blogspot site where we put our 7 primary AM101 points into static pages to reside forever available in cyber space. But we weren’t doing anything with that blog, it was just an electronic handout for our workshop.

But as I was initiating my Author Persona back in 2009, my connection with the MacGregors was because they were blogging to build their platform and write their book. Hence, in May of this year, Morgan and I started blogging 3x a week and that’s when synchronicities seemed to happen every week as we would be inspired for a new post, or recruit a Guest Post. Our workbook will now have better examples and be a greater benefit to authors. We’ll be working on it again after the new year.

Because Morgan and I pay attention to synchronicities beyond the potential for a good parking space, we appreciate being able to see layers of synchronicities that build on each other. And that – to me – is a HUGE deal because though synchronicity is flavored with magic and mystery, it’s also the foundation for what is practical and good business.

And now, our Author Marketing 101 message is just what Trish and Rob need now they are Indie publishing their extensive back list of novels. And I’m thrilled they came to me for advice on their marketing.

The Next Big Thing – Week 13

My Author Friends are playing a Tag game and while I’m not sure what it’s all about, I’ll play along. Delle Jacobs tagged me to answer the following questions:

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing

1. What is the working title of your book?   Mismanage

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?   A marine construction, father-son company, and researching property management jobs.

3. What genre does your book fall under?   Contemporary Romance

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?   Hayden Christensen & Zooey Deschanel

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   Competitors on a construction bid try stealing each others secrets to win the bid and keep bigger secrets of their own.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?   Targeted for Indie publishers.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  Three months

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I’ve been reading out-of-genre but the movie “How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days” is comparable.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?   Brainstorming a romance between a Cancer woman and an Aquarius man (a daughter and her fiance!)

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  There’s a paternity suit, historic and green construction, motorcycles, Tai Chi, and some crystal therapy.

That’s it for me. Now I tag 5 other authors as listed below.

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) ***

Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. It’s that simple.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing
1. What is the working title of your book?
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
3. What genre does your book fall under?
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

TAG You’re it!! You’re blogs need to go up Sept. 12th or when you have an opening on your blog. Make sure you name it The Next Big Thing Week 14. Have fun!

C. Morgan Kennedy   Lisa Nowak   Melia Alexandra   Jamie Brazil   Pat Lichen

Snoopy dancing

Does everyone have the image? Good, now it’s time for a webbit tour! I was reminded that I hadn’t done one for a while. My webbit tours are a collection of links to different websites that interested me today. So here goes:

The first is one of those “restricted ones” so you can skip it, but it is an interview with a new author friend who I have yet to read but is definitely on my TBR list – that is To Be Read but Matt associates the acronym with  Typical Brain Ridiculousness. So check out  M. L. Buchman at his own website, which is not restricted.  😀

Next up, another writer friend Marc Acito has a great post exploring the question, “Why Bother Writing?” and yes, many of us need to revisit our answer to this craft.

For a some heart stopping True Stories check out Mike Perry’s Heart Saving Coincidences.

And for my final Valentines Gift to you, hop on over to SynchroSecrets where The MacGregors share the history of Charles M. Shultz, the creator of Peanuts and the immortal Snoopy with his happy dance.

JAK thru time

I recovered from the flu and was able to attend the dinner party with Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick & Jane Castle) and 23 of my writing friends. Then we crossed the mall parking lot for her book signing event at Powell’s Books.

Renee - Jane - Marti

Renee and Marti are awesome booksellers and love promoting local authors! So when they host an event, our writers groups shows up. 😀

I met Jayne at the RWA conference in Reno in 2005.  We chatted for almost half an hour while both waiting in a quiet lobby for the next session of workshops. I had recently returned to romancelandia and Jayne is one of the queens in the industry. She also promotes her reputation as an authority on killing and rebuilding your career.

As one of the keynote speakers Jayne revealed she still gets rejected by editors, which she prefers to having readers refuse to buy her books because they were too different than previous ones. That’s how she killed her career more than once and even changing her name didn’t help. However, as history has proved, her previous names and books have found new markets and avid fans who are happy to read all her names.

Since Jayne is a writer, her talks at reader signings are about being a writer. I’ve recapped:

Jayne’s 5 Tips to becoming a better writer:

1. Recognize your own writing voice.  Chose your genre to fit your voice, and it is usually what you love to read. Be aware that you are writing to a specific genre/audience.

2. Know your own core story. The themes remain the same  independent of the fictional landscape. Themes with heroic flavors, like courage and relationships, are more important than character archetypes or time frames. One of her rejected novels was a futuristic on a different planet. But since it was a marriage of convenience story she shifted everything but the setting into a historical saga, that’s how “Amanda Quick” was born.

3. Know your market. Always consider how the reader finds your books. Write to the audience. Bad cops and snarky P.I.’s are okay for an audience in the USA but are not welcome in England.

4. The book proposal must include the genre and read like a back cover blurb. The industry has changed and authors have more options than banging on the gates around the agencies and publishing houses. But a book is still about connection with an audience and if you can’t explain your story, why would a reader care to open the page?

5. The most important advice for aspiring writers: Join a good writers group and become an active participant in writer organizations as it is a business.

Unfortunately, Jayne could only shrug to the question, “How do you get inspired with new story ideas?” Ideas are just there for her.

She writes from 6am until noon everyday and is vocal about it being exhausting work. She always feels the book she just sent off to her editor as being the worst one she’s ever written, this seems to be common among authors but she explained why,

“It’s because we’ve been through the book so many times, in so many ways, for so many months, that it’s not fresh and new to us. But we have to trust that initial excitement for the story we had during the first writing.”

Since I had personal chatting time Jayne when I first returned to romancelandia and now again on my second return… I see this as a good sign. She’s a marker in time, like bookends, for my aspirations to be a romance novelist. She’s excited regarding the changes in the industry since 2005 and the opportunities for authors.

Strangely enough, I found Jayne’s Arcane Series at the library and have stopped searching out other authors and continue to read through the series. I even drafted a blog post and thought I saved it. But a search on her name through my blog and my documents only revealed one mention.

On 2/18/11, I answered the following workshop exercise question:  Name three authors living or dead you would want to have dinner with: Only three?

Jayne Ann Krentz was #1. 😀

webbit tour

Lots happening in my life seems to be a recurring theme and I’m processing a lot of life/death/new home/new job/holiday/family/ events and responsibilities this month.   So instead of attempting a coherent post it’s better if I do a webbit tour of blogs I like.  It’s been a while!

After my last post, one of the first I read was Seth Godin’s post The World’s Worst Boss.   This is one of the big lessons it’s taken me ten years to learn, to be my own best boss.  I like the synchronicity of his words explaining this concept even if Seth tends to be a bit pithy.

In Mike Perry’s post today about reincarnation studies, I laughed at how the professor of psychology debunks those who had past life experiences as:  “…They tend to be very imaginative, articulate and interesting people.”

That statement alone, from a respected professional, encourages me to not seek out those who are rational, inarticulate and boring.  Mike also has a cool Richard Bach post.  This story about the random antique airplane part where and when it was needed is well known in the world of aviators.

Deb Cooke’s post Radio Silence explains the truth behind the life of a professional novelist.  It’s really boring to talk about writing a book until there is a book and this has been my personal lament for years.  If only I could get the conflict and drama out of my life and into my books I’d have something to talk about!  🙂

In don’t pet me I’m writing, Tawna has a list of five potential gifts for writers.  Hint!  Hint!  Of course I’d rather get the taut fanny over the fancy underpants as a present but writers over 50 take what they can get.

Trish and Rob MacGregor posted about the new TV reality show Gold Rush which we watched because Ed has a lot of connections with the family involved and the Sandy River Airpark.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the show but the Alaska scenery is pretty awesome and there’s no connection to a folksy woman or her tea-party politics.

I could include lots more webbits but I have that LIFE thing going on so instead I’ll just direct you to my sidebar links.

I’m currently reading Paty Jager’s Spirit of the Mountain.

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