Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Friday, April 27, 2007

Back to normal .... sort of

Getting back in the groove ...

I've decided that I have to set a firm rule.

NO PROMO AFTER 6:00 PM (unless it's a scheduled chat).

I'm allowing Promo, volunteer work and other crap to get in the way of my writing. I need to clear my desk and focus on writing. That's why I'm here -- I want to write, I want to publish, I want to write good books. But I'm using all this other junk as distractions because, as we all know, writing is a HUGE PAIN IN THE BUTT and IT'S HARD TO DO.

Okay. Whew. I feel better now.

Hmm. That means blogging, too.

Back to writing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Live and Learn

Well, I'm back from my conference. It was fun ... sort of.

First off, let me say, I am not a South Beach kinda person. I am just not into the whole style scene. So when I saw Hummer limos and Armani shops, I knew I was out of my element. I didn't mind that, really. I was just a tourist, and who cares what's normal for that part of the world?

And the beach was nice. It was fun to take long walks on the beach and look at what the tide washed in (usually very pleasant organic things, like shells).

And the hotel room was nice. A great view of Biscayne Bay on one side, the ocean on the other.

But ... there's always a but ... it was WAY too expensive for what I got out of it. I've been to other conferences where I paid about half what I paid for this one (in room, food, and fees) and got far more out of those other conferences. So I am chalking this one up to experience, taking the few morsels of information I got, and will try to build on those. I'm one of those 'glass half-full' people, I guess.

It's good to be back to the routine and good to pay $2.50 for a bag of apples, not just for one apple (could I make this up?) I suppose we don't know what sanity is until we go someplace that's a little bit ... crazy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

See you next week ...

I am off to sunny (hopefully) Florida and Sleuthfest, a mystery convention in Miami Beach. I will be attending forensic seminars, hanging out with other writers, and chatting up a friend whom I've never met -- a critique partner whom I've only 'met' online.

Should be fun!

I'll report back in a week.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

All is right with the world ...

I got my banners!!!!

These are the little promotional dealies that will go onto web sites, advertising my books.

I'm as excited as if I'd gotten my cover art -- which I still haven't seen (grr. Wish I knew what it would look like!)

Anyway, I saw the proofs of my banners, and I'm happy with them. I had to surf around and find the photographs to use (a whole blog topic in itself). Then I had to come up with the tag -- you know, the one or two phrases that would jump out in the advertisement. Then I had to figure out colors.

Oi! The anguish! But I really like them.

When they are ready for prime time, I will point you to them and you can see my NAME IN LIGHTS (okay, on the computer screen... still, pretty neat).

On to the next promotional learning experience ...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

As I drove to work today, I thought about our perceptions of people.

There are two women in the gym where I work out who are loud, somewhat obnoxious, and a bit intimidating. They're quite noticeable because I work out in the wee hours of the morning (3:30 to 4:00) and so the place is almost empty. Note I said 'almost'. It's surprising how busy it really is. I think most of the people there are coming off a night shift at work, but a few are early risers. I can tell by the Bed Heads I see.

These women are aggressively unpleasant, shouting to each other, making noise as they use the weight machines, etc. I like to use the studio rooms to work out sometimes and they've come in while I"m in there. When I pointed out there were other rooms they could use, one woman got verbally abusive, swearing at me. I left, worried she might pick up a weight and bean me.

Neither woman is in good shape. In fact, I sort of wince when I see them because they wear tight workout clothes that only shows the years of self-indulgence. Lord knows I'm not a bathing beauty, but at least I go for the baggy look and don't advertise my love of peanut butter cups. I suppose it's another way of being aggressively unpleasant.

I have a live and let live attitude. I don't believe in revenge or getting even. It's counter-productive to carry around anger, and my philosophy has always been that if I allow myself to remain angry at someone, then that someone has gotten control of my life, even in a small way. I don't like that.

I'm a bit stumped by these two -- what is motivating them to act in such a way? Are some people truly just unpleasant? Is it insecurity? Or arrogance?

I'm not sure what it is, but I know that I'm going to adjust my workout hours so I don't have to endure them. Life is too short to let odd people mess up what might otherwise be a perfectly fine day.

Despite the fact I'm at the gym at 4:00 in the morning, that is ...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Like whatever you do ...

I'm subscribed to a gazillion Yahoo groups because my publishers have a bunch, there's some reader ones, there's some RWA groups (paranormal writers, mystery writers, etc.) plus there's some for Published Authors of RWA. I usually skim the summaries I get from these loops, just glancing at the subject headers and not really reading every post. If I did, I'd be there all day and into the night.

This last group (PAN: Published Authors Network) is kinda neat. You get to join PAN when you have a publication that meets RWA approval (they've got a list of approved publishers, and if you sell to one of them, voila, you're eligible for PAN).

The PAN loops aren't real chatty but occasionally a thread (or 'topic', for those of you who are not loopsters) goes around that's interesting. There's been some talk lately about finding a good agent that's right for you, what should be in a good contract, etc. I don't think I've goofed up (yet) in terms of looking at contracts and things, and I haven't really looked for an agent. I think one will find me when the time is right (hopelessly Pollyanna of me, I know).

Anyway, there's a current topic going around about 'when did you know you could quit your full-time job and count on your writing income to carry you.'

Interesting replies. There are some high-powered authors on this list, folks who are on the NYT best-seller list, etc. Almost all of them have said that unless you can guarantee that your benefits are covered (read "health coverage") then don't quit the day job. By "covered" I mean that you're sure your writing income will pay for it OR you have a spouse or someone who will handle it.

Only one person said what I'd been thinking: I will always want to work at least part-time because I don't know if I could write 'full-time'. Even when I was unemployed and looking for work, I didn't write all the time. I took plenty of breaks and only finished 2 or 3 books during that six months (yeah, I know it sounds like a lot. Trust me. It isn't, not for me. I usually do a good draft in two months, even working full time).

This made me think. I have a sticker on my computer: "Don't do whatever you like. Like whatever you do." And I think that sums it up. I've been having some angst lately, worried that my publisher(s) will give me good distribution for my books, will I sell 'enough' (somebody define that for me, because I don't know what that is), am I on the right career path with the publishers I've chosen, etc.

That sticker, and the replies of the people on that loop, all reinforce what I've suspected: I would be doing this anyway because I enjoy writing. And when I cease to enjoy, I'll quit doing it and can leave without any regrets. That's what it's all about, isn't it? I mean, you gotta like what you're doing and when it becomes a chore, you either have to have an attitude adjustment, or quit doing it.

Okay, enough philosophy for one morning. Back to writing (I use these blog posts as an excuse to avoid a sticky plot point. No more excuses).

For those of you who celebrate it, have a good Easter. For those who don't, enjoy the chocolate anyway 8)


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Resetting expectations

We recently had a loss in the family. Our last cat passed away at the first of March. After 19 years of pets, we are suddenly petless.

Odd feeling. We decided we'd get all that stuff done around the house that you don't want to do when there's pets: maybe an addition? Finally -- an office for me?

We kicked that idea around. Nah. Let's wait on that. LOTS of money and would we really get it back on resale?

What about painting? We should really get the interior painted, it's been 8 years, yada yada. And those floors -- get them refinished, right? And maybe put in a new floor in one room that has an ugly rug.

Call painters. Get estimates. Get sticker shock. Call floor people. Get bigger sticker shock.

Okay. Maybe not a whole interior paint job. Maybe just the doors and the baseboards. Maybe just the floors.

Visualize it. Hassle, smell, moving furniture -- you may as well paint the whole thing.

Now we're down to: "I'll touch up the paint and the baseboards when I get time. Let's hold on the floors, because that's such an invasion, moving ALL the furniture, and if we do that, we'd need to paint so .... When we sell the house, we'll give the buyers a discount so they can do the floors. Yeah. That makes sense."

It pays to thoroughly visualize a project. It can sometimes save you a lot of money and bother.