Update on my procrastination skills, and other events of note

alarm-clock-590383_1280Yeah, so, procrastination.

About that.

It’s still a thing that I do. (For evidence, note that here it is something like 3 weeks after saying I’d post an update in a week. Ha!)

HOWEVER, that is not to say there has been no movement on that front.

I did do a little bit o’ plotting. Not much. Not enough. But some.

Blog Hopperpetualbloghop

Also, I wrote a flash story – one that I really like! I’m participating in the Story Time Blog Hop again this month. It’s a quarterly thing, and being October, all the stories will probably be leaning toward ghost stories, Halloween, paranormal… typical haunted fare.

But these are my friends, so don’t expect ordinary. Never expect ordinary. 😉

Expect to see that story as well as links to the others on October 26 at 6PM. (We are a global group, so we try to make things drop right at Midnight UTC. I’m in the -6 timezone, so I post 6 hours early.)

Advent CalendarKat's Advent Calendar

I’m also planning to participate in my friend Cat’s Advent Calendar again this year. I’ve done this a couple of times in the past, and it has always been a lot of fun.

As soon as I have sign-up info for that, I’ll post it here. To get the stories, you’ll need to join a mailing list… but it’s a list ONLY for the Advent Calendar and Cat never spams.

For that collection of stories, the theme this year is Winter (but not necessarily Christmas). As usual, most of the authors participating will likely have some kind of bonus in the form of an additional story, a traditional recipe, a fun desktop background… something unique. You won’t want to miss out!

NaNoWriMonanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200

Between the Blog Hop and the Advent Calendar, is the annual event known as NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.  For those who haven’t heard of it, writers (anyone, really) are invited to try to write 50,000 words in November. That works out to an average of 1667 words every day.

50,000 might be a short novel, but by most classifications, it’s a novel. A whole novel (or maybe a good start on one) in 30 days is a pretty significant challenge. With my afore mentioned habit of procrastination, I have never managed to hit that 50,000-word goal. But I’m giving it a shot again this year. (My username there is pearannoyed, so if you’re participating too, feel free to connect!)

The story I’m planning is actually an extension of what I wrote for the Blog Hop. So if you drop back by on the 27th and read that story, you might have motivation to cheer me on for NaNo. Maybe. If you like it.

 

That is, I think, all I have on the table at the moment. If anything else comes up, I’ll let you know.

Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Write something!

I’ll admit it – I’m not the world’s most organized person.

  • Sometimes I’ll start a project and realize halfway through that, oops, that other project I started has a deadline.
  • Sometimes I’ll completely forget I have something to do until it’s too late to get it done well.
  • Sometimes I’ve got something I really want or need to do, but I get stuck and frustrated, letting writer’s block keep me from moving forward.

brain-954823_1920And on and on.

And I know I’m not the only one. I hear similar things from other writers (and non-writers too) all the time.

Some of it is bad planning and time management – not really knowing how long something is going to take. Some of it is ADD, or should we call that Creative Brain Syndrome – just about every creative type I know suffers from this to some extent. And some of it is probably also fear – not trusting myself to be able to do something well, and so putting it off until I have no other choice.

Since my procrastination is very often in the realm of writing, I’m going to use writing to break my procrastination. In other words, I’m just going to do it, even if I feel overwhelmed, scattered, or nervous and afraid.

And I’m going to invite you to come along for the ride.

Get Writing Promptly

I have a story that I have to get written for the Blog Hop planned later this month. So here’s a writing prompt that I’m giving myself for that story:

Write a 500 word story about someone who gets in completely over their head.

If you want to play along you’re more than welcome! And if you don’t want to write fiction, feel free to turn it into a non-fiction prompt:

I couln’t believe I’d gotten in so far over my head… Write 500 words about a time when you discovered you had too much to do and not enough time to get it done.

I’ll be sharing my story at the blog hop on July 27th. If you want to share yours, feel free to post it in the comments below!

Shouldn’t I be writing?

Really I should print this out and keep a copy right by my desk at all times…. as a reminder.

Yes, that’s the reason. It’s a reminder.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

No, this isn’t a post about David Bowie. It’s also not a post about Alan Rickman. I’m sorry to see these two incredibly talented people gone from the earth, but death is a part of life and we move on.

road-sign-1076229_640This is a post about changes coming to this blog very soon.

First, I’m going to try hard to get back on some kind of regular schedule posting here. Not because you need it, but because I do. I work better to deadlines than I do “freeform” so creating real deadlines that I don’t want to miss will, potentially, help me be more productive. I don’t yet know what those deadlines will look like, exactly. But I know that it will mean posting at least once a week here. So yay, or boo, depending on how badly you wanted to hear from me. Heh.

Second, I’m going to be removing most of my older fiction posts from the blog. If you haven’t read them yet and want to, do it now or wait ’til I publish. In cases where a revised version of the story is already published, I will indicate where it can be obtained. Otherwise, I’ll simply hide the post. As stories I’ve posted here get published, I’ll update the posts and put them back online. I’ll always leave the last 4 or 5 stories live for people to peruse. And, in keeping with the first change as indicated above, those stories will hopefully be refreshed more frequently than they have been.

perpetualbloghopFinally, I’m planning on participating in another blog hop. For those not familiar with the concept, me and some other authors will all be posting flash stories (the aim is for under 1000 words) to our blogs on the same day. Along with the stories, we will also be posting links to everyone else’s stories. All the stories will be speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, horror), and will be in roughly the PG-13 or lower category so they should be safe for most audiences (no explicit sex, no gore or explicit violence, no foul language). Why do we do this? It’s an opportunity to potentially gain some additional readers for ourselves, to support our friends and fellow authors, and to help out brand-new authors who are just starting to build a readership. (Technically, I probably fall into that last category. I’ve been doing this a while, but I’m still working on building some traction.) But, more importantly, you, our readers, get a chance to possibly discover your next favorite author. Isn’t that what every reader really wants?

So, recap…

My older stories will be disappearing from this site on or around January 22nd. If you want to read them while they’re still there, do it now. You can find them by clicking the “recent free fiction” link on the front page.

I will be participating in a blog hop on January 27th in which you, my readers, will get to see a new story from me as well as following links to stories from other authors. 😀

Don’t miss out!

Advent Calendar

tea-lights-80186_1920A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of participating on a good friend’s Advent Calendar that she hosted on her website. It was a lot of fun.

This year I had the opportunity to be part of it again! I know this is late notice, but if you’re interested in some free flash fiction (stories under 1000 words each) from a variety of writers, as well as some additional goodies, please take a minute to sign up. You’ll get one email per day from December 1 through Christmas, and then nothing else from that list for the rest of the year.

I hope you join us!

Offbeat Dialogues: discussing Folklore and the Modern Day

The Offbeat Dialogues 2015 (event)Hey – here’s a bit of fun news…

I’m going to be participating in a live discussion with other authors! The topic that’s planned is “Folklore and the Modern Day”. We’ll be talking about the use of tradition in contemporary literature, including (but not limited to) the retelling of folk stories and fairy tales. Since I’ve written some flash stories that borrow from tradition, and since my current WIP is also based on faerie lore, I get to play. Fun for me!

We will be chatting on September 11th, at 11:30 CDT. Yes, that’s this Friday. Life has been ridiculous… I lost track of days. My apologies for not sharing the news sooner.

For more information, and where to visit if you want to watch live, check out Thea’s website!

And if you can’t come on Friday, stay tuned. There will be a link to the recorded session available after the event.

 

Hello again…

OK. I’m here.

I have not been here as much as I would like. But life happens and busy happens and time sneaks away to canoodle with focus, leaving me to my own devices. That’s never a good thing.

Anyway, here’s hoping I get back on a regular schedule around here.

Blog Hop

bloghopIn the mean time, I’m happy to tell you that I plan on participating in a blog hop on August 26th.

What’s a blog hop, you ask. Well, a bunch of authors will be writing flash fiction or short stories and posting to their blogs, along with links to everyone else who is participating in the hop. If you follow me, you’ll be able to come read my story, and then follow links to read the stories that other writers have posted. If you like their stories, you might choose to follow them, too. Hopefully, some of their fans will also choose to follow me. But either way, there will be a bunch of new, free stories available to read!

Free stories are always a good thing.

All the authors posting will be writing in the speculative fiction arena… sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, maybe even horror. But there will be no graphic sex or violence, so this should be safe for a PG-ish audience to read.

So don’t forget, join me on August 26th. Maybe you’ll find you next favorite author … after me, of course. 😉

I’ve been featured…

Well, here’s a derp moment for ya.dab-93485_1280

I was featured on another writer’s blog, and I completely forgot to link to it here. Oops!

The post is me answering questions about indie publishing. She’s doing a whole series of these, so if you’re interested in indie publishing, you’ll want to read the responses from the other writers as well. There’s good information out there.

 

Focus on Authors

There are about 17 gazillion web creation tools out there these days.

blog-684748_1280There are options for nearly everyone.

  •  the super simple
    • Blogger
    • WordPress.com (the WP-hosted version)
    • Wix
    • Other “plug in some information and it will show up on a page” type tools
  • the content management all-in-ones that take a little more know-how
    • Joomla
    • Weebly
    • WordPress.org (the self-hosted version)
  • the social media sites
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Tumbler
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • etc., etc., etc….
  • the build-your-own traditional website tools
    • Dreamweaver
    • Adobe Muse
    • Ummm… there are probably hundreds of tools and software packages out there

This site… surprise… is built on WordPress. WP is, in many ways, the gold standard. It’s easy to use. You can build a good-looking website very quickly. There are tons of plugins and themes so you can have a customized look that suits your needs.

But WordPress also has some drawbacks. One of the key ones is that updates to the framework have a habit of breaking plugins. Not cool. Seriously not cool if you have a huge, complex website and what breaks is a key component that is absolutely necessary to keep thousands of paying members happy. That actually happened to Holly Lisle, and she is still working out the long-term fix.

That fix will include getting off WordPress, which has broken for her more than once because of updates and plugin problems.

Personally, I’m not quite at that level of stress with WP yet. But as useful as WP is, I know it could be better, especially for authors.

There are a bunch of special/customized needs that authors have.

  • The ability to link to reviews
  • The ability to post new books easily along with sales links and images
  • The ability to stay connected with readers and fans
  • The ability to easily share posts on social media
  • The ability to easily share snippets of current writing without jumping through annoying formatting hoops

Lots more that I’m not thinking of just offhand.

The good news… I know of at least two systems that are coming.

The bad news… neither one of them is available yet.

One is called ReadershipPro. It will be an all-inclusive web site hosting service, specifically geared towards the needs of writers.

The other is being developed by Holly Lisle. She doesn’t yet have a specific site link for the project, but you can check this post if you’re interested.

Both of these are potentially awesome solutions for writers who want a one-stop means of self-promotion. As more information becomes available, I’m sure I’ll talk about it again.

Please note: links on this page may be affiliate links, or may confer some other benefit to the author. 

Incarnations of Creativity

I’ve always been a believer that everybody is creative in some way.

Not everybody becomes an author or artist. Not everyone takes award-winning photographs or sings like Leontine Price (or Taylor Swift). But every human being has an innate urge to create. It’s in our DNA.

Many of us create in multiple arenas.

Napa2011-304 Obviously I do the writing thing. I also dabble a little bit in art (not well, but I do dabble). I’ve been involved with music most of my life. And I’m a pretty reasonable hobbyist photographer.

Recently (well, maybe a year or so ago), I had the opportunity to make some greeting cards for an event using some of the photographs I’ve taken over the years. I’ve been offering cards for sale, on a very small, local level, ever since.

But I’m actually thinking about branching out a bit. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m seriously considering setting up an Etsy or similar shop to sell cards and prints of my photos. I may eventually include some original artwork as well … or even cards and prints from my artwork.

August 2013-599It feels very nervy to consider it. It’s an entirely different kind of publishing than I’ve been working on. But it would be exciting to know that something I created got to wish someone I never met a happy birthday. Or whatever.

Anyway, just thinking at this point. But I’ll let you know if/when I decide to move forward with it.

FWIW – the photos on this page are a couple of my favorites! And the cover of my most recent collection, Flashes of Magic, is based on a photo I took.

These images were taken by me and are copyrighted – All Rights Reserved