June 27, 2013

Old Bay and a Writer's conference

Well, I'm back from a week at the beach with my family. I know I'm supposed to be well-rested and eager to get back to work. Truth to tell, it's taken me all week to get over all the family fun.

We did have a great week. The weather could have been better, but we managed. We played corn-hole toss (which sounds really rude for some reason) and I beat my husband and son!!!!! We played a game called Smart-Ass which I highly recommend for an evening's very silly entertainment. We had a crab feast with many Margaritas. My granddaughter, Sophie (5), rolled in the sand, and grandson, Storm (16), smiled bravely and didn't let on that he was bored stiff. There was a lot of reading and sleeping, eating and laughing.

Of course the best part of all was that Tom and I had both of our children and their families with us for the entire week. It doesn't happen often enough and the older I get, the more precious I find these times.

While I was there I got a nice surprise. I got the first draft of my book cover. We have some work to do to get it just right, but seeing it was a bit of a thrill. It's dawning on me that I will have a book in print by the end of the year. Something I never thought would happen.

Speaking of which, I would like to do a bit of advertising here. My publisher, Intrigue Publishing, is hosting a wonderful conference in mid-September. Among the many aspiring writers attending (moi, for instance) will be best selling authors Jeffrey Deaver, John Gilstrap, Trice Hickman, and Christopher Golden.

This conference has a lot going on for authors and readers. If you can't make it for the whole event, come for the day on Saturday, September 14th. Please check out the conference website for all the information you'll need. http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com. I hope to see you in September.

In the meantime in preparation for this conference I have to work on developing a half-minute book spiel and finding the nerve to deliver it to complete strangers. Promotion is so foreign to my nature that I find this the most daunting aspect of all. So I'm off now to talk into a mirror to try to sell myself on my own book. I'll be so embarrassed if I turn myself down! I'll let you know how it goes next week. Who knows, with any luck I'll be able to say I knew me when.


June 21, 2013

Gracie's Blog - Paperback or Kindle?

Here I am, sitting on the beach under my umbrella and reading about the adventures of Rose and Daisy Greene.  The sound of the waves has put me to sleep and suddenly I wake up to water hitting my legs.  But where is my book?  Aunt Penny, I hope this doesn’t happen to you (or anyone else for that matter) but if it did...would it be your E-Reader or your paper back? 

Personally, I could go either way.  Paperbacks are always nice because they are free at the library, but they are bulky and annoying to hold.  My Kindle on the other hand is nice to read books and play games, but I can’t bring it to school.  My friend, Sammie, has a very passionate hatred for E-Readers, so I asked her to tell me why real books are better.  I was watching her messages come through and laughing out loud…her: 

I'm just not good with technology in general, but besides that, I love books. And it's not only the words in, but the actual physical book. I love the smell of books, especially old ones. And having physical copies is nice too, because you can feel and touch them. It's also a nice feeling seeing it’s pretty cover sitting on your book shelf. Sometimes, I'll just buy books for the sake of owning them.  With physical copies, you can throw the book at the wall when something happens, or the book ends in a cliffhanger. Although, it can get damaged from drowning in your tears, though that is a problem with E-Readers as well.  I like turning pages for some odd reason. And you can know how much of the book left- not in a percent, but in pages. There's that horrible feeling you get when everything's happy and whatever horrible conflict has been solved but there are too many pages left in the book for there to be a happy ending. Or the opposite, in which there are not enough pages for all that needs to happen in the book. In the end, I just like the simple act of owning and holding a physical copy of a book with pages you can turn that you can see all the words on, instead of staring at a screen and having to deal with going back and forth between parts. But books are awesome in general so if you're reading, I shouldn't berate you for using an e reader and it's all good I guess!”

Wow, I literally sat here for 15 minutes cutting that down.  I guess you get the idea that E-Readers are not actually popular with the young crowd.  In fact, I struggled to find a friend that preferred E-Readers.  Actually, I didn’t.  So I went the other way and asked my grandmother, Christine “Goggi’ Clover.  You probably know her as the artist that drew all of those pictures and such in earlier posts.  Anyway, here is her input:

Book, E-Reader, Book, E-Reader...what to do...I like the E-Reader.  I'd like to say I'm trying to be hip, but the practicality wins it for me.  Being of a ‘certain age’ I like the fact that I can adjust the font on my kindle to a size that I can actually see (and that gets a good laugh from my Granddaughters).  Also it's lightweight and flat, so it doesn't take up much room in my handbag or tote. And late on a sleepless night, I can read without bothering anyone by needing to have a light on...which reminds me of hiding under the covers reading by flashlight after 'lights out' years ago”…ah memories.

The E-Reader / Paperback debate will probably continue forever.  Regardless of my preference, I still fell asleep under my umbrella and my copy of Roses and Daisies is still out in the ocean.  It is my loss, but at least I got a blog out of it!

June 6, 2013

Expanding My Purview

Well, here it is Thursday morning and I've got no idea at all what to write about. I've checked all my groups on LinkedIn looking for ideas. I've asked my sister and my husband. I'm getting a bit panicky. Apparently I have a small, but loyal cadre of followers who look forward to my little musings on a Friday morning. Who'd have thunk it?

So here's the deal. I've decided that a blog about writing needs to encompass a bit more than writing about writing. There is only so much I can think of to say about the actual process. As my book gets nearer to publication I will wax poetic, as they say, on the thrill of being an author. Until then, I think I've covered most of the nuts and bolts of 'finding the time to write'.

I believe that I need to enlarge my - what do you call it? - my purview. Remembering this word took me ten minutes. This is why writing takes me so very long. I cannot remember nouns. I call it noun aphasia. I take comfort in the fact that I am one of many in my family afflicted with this dread disease.
A school girl once more

But back to business. My purview (this is a great word, isn't it?) shall encompass not only talking about the writing process, but also actual exercises in writing. This weekly endeavor is wonderful discipline for me much like a school assignment. Actually, it's exactly like a school assignment. I have a specific time constraint and I'm more or less graded on the content. As long as the stress doesn't get to me and I become a Valium addicted zombie, I should be able to improve my writing skills.

However, I do apologize today. I'm afraid that this particular blog is not one of the exercises that show any meaningful improvement in my writing, but I'm sure it will come if you'll stick with me.

In the meantime, I welcome any assignments or ideas for discussion, any grades B+ or above, and, most importantly, any delicious summer cocktail recipes, in lieu of Valium.