REVIEWS?

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Reviews are part of the writing process, whether good, bad or indifferent. What writers do with them are sometimes a shrug of the shoulders. Let’s take a this to a different level. I have noticed more and more questions coming in from social media. What to do? How to handle emotions? Ignore? This is why I will take a stab at my own observations.

We write because of a fire that burns inside us. Stories we want to share. After months and months of research, writing, editing, searching for an agent or publisher or deciding to self-publish, we still keep plugging on making this the best book we can. Edits, edits, and edits are done over and over until the publisher or the author thinks this is the best.

The next steps are the cover and the ‘blurb’. You  look at the cover and decide if this entices you enough to look at the ‘blurb’. Then you notice your book is in the general “Romance” section, and you know it is romance and suspense. Sometimes, our books get into sections of a bookstore, or even online where we do not expect to see them.

A writer writes what she or he sees, feels, imagines, or has experienced. This may take a year or years to get the experiences onto the computer screen. Then  a publisher or agent comes in with their view points. Next, the bookstore puts the book into a different section.

As writers, we know our work is good, but we cannot please every reader. Each reader has an opportunity to express their thoughts on a particular book. However, I have found a lot of social medial avenues are not reviews on the books. Sometimes the reader has not even read the book, but wants to get their information online, so others will see their names on social media.

As writers, we have the option of reading and responding or not responding to these reviews. Why, we can see they have not read the book, ignore the content, or the genre of the book.

Just remember, a reader took time to bash your book and another reader took time to share a good report of your book.  Move on without a conversation on either the good or the bad. Reviews and Reviewers are part of the process. Your  part of the process is to KEEP writing.

HAPPY WRITING.  HAPPY DAY.  HAPPY YOU.

 

 

 

 

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DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

dog days of summerDid you know this period of August and into September is named after a star, Sirius the Dog Star. Looks like this Sirius is enjoying his air conditioner. The hot weather during this period seems to be hotter, no breezes, and robs one of their energy to be active. I’ve thought about this and remember, way back when, times of air conditioning did not exist. Yeah, they had means to cool businesses, but what about homes. We used fans, like in the picture, in our windows, rooms, porches, and we drank plenty of lemonade, ice tea, water and lots of ice in every drink. Never thought too much about the heat, until we got our first air conditioner. It was a huge, clunky box which my dad installed in one of our living room windows. It cooled the room where we stayed most of the time. Why? Our first black and white television was in this room. As I remember backwards, a lot of firsts entered our lives. Exciting to see pictures on a big screen and be cool at the same time. Then came the first washing machine, but not like the kind that you have in your homes. No, this was similar to the old washer and had ringers you ran the clothes through, after the rinse, to squeeze the water out. Only, this new washer had a motor that rotated the clothes you put inside the machine. You could watch the clothes move around without the use of hands or paddles. Then you hit a release knob and the dirty wash water ran down a drain. When it was empty, you filled the machine with clear water for the rinse, started the motor again so the rotation would rinse the clothes. Now, the final release knob and the water ran out again. Hands ran them through the wringer and they were ready for the clothesline. Wash day was a lot of work. No, I like the laundry days now, except…Oh, the clothes smelled so fresh as they were unpinned from the clothesline and folded up.  I’m happy to have had these experiences and when I do laundry, thankful for all the new technology. But, would love to smell the freshness from the outside, not from a rinse of different smells. It is good to remember what was and be thankful for what is now. Sometimes, we want things to go faster, quicker, and forget what we need is downtime from all our activites. During these “Dog Days of Summer” take time to relax, read, write, connect with friends, old and new, sit back and enjoy your Ice Tea, or Sweet Tea depending where you are spending your hot summer days. Just keep in mind, these days won’t last forever. Soon Fall and Winter will creep up on the calendar. At this point, you’ll remember  the hot days of summer. Enjoy your days, write about your own memories, and you’ll be surprised at what your fingers will dig up for you.

Happy Memories. Happy Days. Happy Writing.

POLISH YOUR CREATIVE SIDE

An IdeaPolish? That’s for floors, shoes, silver, tables, and cars, but we cannot hold our creative side in our hands to polish. These are tangible items, but what you need to work on are the intangibles:  imagination, thoughts, brain power. and get yourself outside for a walk or a stroll. No, we are not counting the gym you may belong to, but hitting the sidewalk, the park, or even a walk to a part of town you’ve not seen in a while.

Look around you and sense some of the things you see. Yes, even the mundane, looked at with a feeling of newness, can make your imagination work overtime. Walking, sprinting, and walking slow can increase your blood flow to your brain. When this happens your ingenuity jumps to attention, and you begin to experience a new awakening.

Now, your creative juices are  at full speed, think of some of the usual ways you use everyday items and try to find new ways to change their usage. You will be surprised at how your imagination jumps are the chance to be unleashed. What if you have a tough choice to make, whether in your life or the life of the character in your story. Instead of sitting at your computer getting upset, get up and walk around. Let your subconscious do some of the work for you. Relax, take a deep breath, and listen to your inner-self.

Okay, you have had a creative side polish and your fingers should fly over the keys as your mind bursts with new thoughts. Your imagination is ready to take over, and you let it go in high gear. Just a small break like walking around the block, doing squats in your home, breathing deep, holding, and then letting go will add to the creative polish.  You are on your way to knowing your characters better and not surprised at the decisions they make. Surprise yourself.

POLISH CREATIVITY.   TURN YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS LOOSE.  HAPPY WRITING.

STUCK IN THE BLACK HOLE?

Two friends“Here we go again, Ethel. What does she know about black holes? Aren’t they the things that will gobble up the earth?”

“I’m sure she won’t let us fall into nothingness. And no matter what, we will still be together. But, before we get excited, let’s check this out.” Ethel smiled. “She has something to share, I think.”

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” If you believe this then you will never get out of the black hole. But, Aristotle did not go far enough and let you know how to break this chain. I call it a chain, as it has a way of hand-cuffing us to our present lives. Why? Because it is comfortable. What would happen if we decided to change our habits, our lives, our minds? Yes, a lot of chaos would happen, and it could be the change we need to pull us up from the BLACK HOLE.
Stop and think for just a moment and ask yourselves, “What do I do over and over each day that I could change?” Here are some things I thought about:
1. Checking email over and over.
2. Re-organizing files, which don’t need it, but might look neater.
3. Checking online banking balances.
These are daily moves we make without thinking. Just something we’ve done forever and have not made a move to change. No, we can check email twice a day and still not miss anything. Why reorganize the files in the middle of the year. The New Year may make changes for us and then we can decide what to do. If you have an idea of your bank balances and there has been no HUGE expenditure, why look every day.
If you always start out your day with the same chore, do something different. Does your floors need vacuuming every day? Not unless you are a day care center for foster animals. Besides, dust bunnies are company and can inspire your writing. Okay, take the time and watch them hide on a cloudy day and spring to life as the sun shines.
Do you always have to cook a big dinner at night? What about breakfast at dinner? Kids would love this and sometimes I think scrambled eggs or an omelet taste better in the evening than the first thing I see in the morning. Or, what about cleaning out the fridge with the left-over food, mix and match, and surprise even Aristotle.
Okay you do have writing and research to do, but always at the same time? If you need to do research, hit the internet and get most of this done. Don’t flip-flop from research to writing. Do one or the other with concentration and persistence. You’ll accomplish more and feel less overwhelmed.
Switch day for chores. If you always do laundry on Monday, switch to another day. If you get groceries on Wednesday, when the prices change and new ads are printed, why fight the crowds. Go on Thursday when there is fewer people, shorter lines, and more parking. Saturday and Sunday are so different for everyone. Still, experience these two days as usual, and see what you do over and over that you could change.
Have you ever walked through your home, looked at your small book library, and shook your head. “No, I can’t stop and read. My writing comes first.” What if you changed this to, “I think that new book would be a jump-start on my writing,” and sit down and read a few chapters right smack in the middle of the day. You get involved with the characters and feel energized.What happened? You relaxed, enjoyed reading, and now your fingers are ready to hit the keyboard with gusto.

What about the BLACK HOLE? If you make small changes and do something different each and every day, it will fill up with your excitement, your new choices, and disappear.
Happy Changes. Happy Surprises. Happy Writing.

Writing Got You Down?

Lost ConfidenceYou go to YOUR writing spot, room, or the corner table of your favorite coffee shop. You relax, open your computer, and find your desire to write . . . GONE. You’ve lost the fire inside you. Why?

Stop trying to write. Yes, stop and do not feel guilty. Every day deadlines, then you need work for your critique group, or maybe just a critique partner, and it is not ready. Your editor reminds you to finish revision one. Seems like everyone wants a piece of you. The joy of writing isn’t there.

Yes, it is, but how can you get it back?

First and foremost — DO NOT PANIC. Relax and breathe deep. No, not just once, but several times. Let your mind meander. Do not think. Give your thoughts a change to roam. Which brings me to an old, old song, sung by Eddie Arnold, “Don’t Fence Me In.”  Check this out on U-Tube. After you read and hear, let this music and words become your motto.

Have you traveled far enough backward to find a time when you could not wait to write? Where were you or what were you working on? Were you in a different city or state? Maybe, you dabbled in poetry or took long walks to come up with just the right setting, AND, yes, your characters talked to you.

Don’t push. Relax and let these old feelings rise up inside you and ideas start flowing. You’ll feel energized and want to write that way again. YOU CAN. Do not judge yourself, but relax and enjoy the moment.

HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY YOU.

FREE FRIDAY

9776003-audienceDoes this look like we are all standing around wondering what comes next? Might be a great place to introduce to you your FREE FRIDAY.  My computer is still undergoing diagnostic measures, but got a call I can pick it up on, you guessed it, Friday. Since my old laptop is still in the working mode, thought it best to give you some good news.

Sometimes, we all need to just stop, take a breath, relax and look at a movie. WHAT??? I have books to read for reviews, pitches to make, press releases to send out, emails and more emails to answer, and you want me to watch a movie? Yes.

What I want to suggest, is not any movie, but a movie from an indie film. This can be a straight indie film, or a foreign indie film. The one where the sub-titles run at the bottom.  Years ago, when I was among the women at a nine-to-five job, I belonged to a Key Sunday Cinema Club. Wow, this was one thing I hated to give up on retirement. I joined the Winter and Spring groups. After paying for my club dues, I received a ticket for the Sunday morning performance of the movie, about once every two-three weeks. I never knew what would be showing, and this became part of the anticipation. The theatre was packed and everyone seemed to know everyone there. We were handed a card to complete AFTER the film, a small sheet showing information on the film we were to see that Sunday, and then the screen dominated the whole theatre. After the movie, there was a talk about the film, from the Emory University Arts/Film Department, or an actor in the film, or even the producer. The cards we filled out about our likes, dislikes, thoughts, and anything we wanted to jot down. This went to Emory and to the Producer(s) of the film. Each time we returned, we received feedback from our previous show. I’d thought about this since my computer was out of whack and here’s something for you do with your Free Friday.

Go to your library and check out a movie. Make sure it is something you’ve never seen, and that it is an indie film. I’ve kept three or four videos you might like to look at: The Red Violin, Koyla, The Spanish Prisoner, Ponette, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. But, look for something that interests you.

Sit back, turn off the cell, the lights, and get involved in the scenes before you. Watch, listen, and if a foreign film, pay particular attention to facial expressions, body movements, lighting, sounds – hey you know what to look for. You are a writer and this is how you should look at the film. Scrutinize this piece of work like you are critiquing another writer. What do you feel? What is the arc? Can you feel the emotions? Is your heart racing? Are your eyes dry? Get into the movie with your writer’s mind, heart, and feelings. This is why I suggest indie film or foreign film. The fluff is deleted and you get the meat of the story.

Now, sit back and see what you can jot down with your pen and paper. Can you see any different avenues to make your characters come more alive? Is there any new movement or emotion you can give your character(s) that will make the reader experience the “oops, I’m this character.” Remember, movies show and show and show. We see everything, feel everything, breathe with the characters. Now, do the same with your writing. Take your reader into the hearts of your characters and let them breathe, feel, and be the character.

Enjoy your FREE FRIDAY, and don’t forget the popcorn.

Happy Writing.

 

COFFEE TIME IN 2014

Two friendsIt’s been a wild ride in 2013, but we always look forward to a new year and new beginnings. Edna looked at Ethel, “Let’s sit and chat with Patricia for a while. She may have some new ideas.”

Welcome to 2014. We need to take it easy this afternoon. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage and look at all the opportunities ahead. Are you ready for new experiences, new friends, visiting new places or just hanging out? When a new year arrives, are you one to jump forward with gusto? Or do you feel overwhelmed, lost or unsure. With so many pages in our calendar or planner, without events listed, the white spaces scare and confuse us.

Relax. Sometimes this is harder to do than the word says. Yeah, we all know what it means, but I decided to expound and looked up some of the other words. Relax is the same as being at ease, slowing down, softening an attitude, a slight pause, amusing oneself, and then I stopped. Amuse myself to relax? How do you feel when you grab a book and get involved with the characters? You can forget your worries and let the book characters do the worrying. You do not have to take on any responsibility for their ups and downs. Some people get lost in their hobbies. When they do something they love, the world turns without their help.

This is your year to keep your minds sharp and upbeat. Do not rule out quizz shows on television or a walk with a friend. When was the last time you played a game of Solitaire, whether with cards at a table or on your computer? The next time you feel uptight, play a game of Scrabble, fill in a Crossword Puzzle, or try to put a puzzle together, and not the little kind? Better yet, put the stereo or radio on to some great listening music and play a game with me–The Dust Bunny Race. This game forces you to sit and relax, okay amuse yourselves. Watch the Bust Bunnies scurry across the floor, under furniture, behind furniture, in corners, or wherever they go, and bet on which one will hide the longest. This game shows you have more and important areas to attend to, instead of cleaning up, all the time.

Make each day count for you and for others. Giving is a great relaxer when the receiving person smiles and says, “Thank you.”

Now, go and enjoy 2014 with all its surprises and adventures. “Thanks for sitting with me, Edna and Ethel. You have become great friends.”