Scribbles and thoughts ...

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lions, lambs, sleet, rain & happy!

A good review can make my day. Check this out:

Here's a person who read the book and GOT what I was trying to convey about love, trust, and second chances. And this for a book that released last year! Ha! If anyone published with a traditional publisher can get a review for a year-old book, I'd like to meet them. I seriously doubt that'll ever happen.

This e-publishing stuff is great -- books will always be out there, waiting for new readers to find 'em.

Oh, the lion/lamb thing? It's the last day of March, going out like a lion. I had rain, snow, sleet, ice, and wind, all on a 12-mile commute this morning. Depending on your zip code, the Twin Cities will get dumped on with snow, or rained, or iced.

Springtime in Minnesota.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bunnys are not just for kids, you know

I just finished coloring my hard-boiled eggs. I do this a lot. I get a Paz kit and dunk the eggs and put on stickers. Sometimes I get creative with the wax pencil but usually I stick with basic colors, often three and four on an egg.

A friend at work saw me peeling one of these beauties and she said, "You don't have kids. Why do you do the eggs?" My response was, hey, I eat a hard-boiled egg every day, why not have them colored? I do these year-round, at random times. I buy a few extra Paz kits and tuck them in the back of the pantry and sometime in August or November or February I'll see it, pull it out, and make colored eggs.

I have the same philosophy with Christmas lights. I often will leave up a string of lights around a window somewhere and turn them on in August. I think it adds a nice touch to a summer night, reminding us of winter and helping us appreciate the warmth.

I do the same thing with writing (you wondered how this would apply to my writing, didn't you?) If I'm going to go the trouble of doing something (color eggs, put up Christmas lights, write and publish a novel) then I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can. These things take effort and time, and as I blogged about elsewhere (see my Mavens post here) I don't have a lot of time to spend on my writing. So I like to make it all count. I don't work on books I know won't sell, and I don't work on stories with plot lines that make me sweat. I'm in this to enjoy myself as well as make a name as an author. If I can't do both ... well, then I'll need to re-evaluate.

So make those Easter eggs and flip on the Christmas lights. Life is tenuous and to be enjoyed!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reflecting ... as in puddles ?

I've been thinking about an acquaintance of mine who set a goal for herself to be a single-title author within 5 years of selling her first category book ('category' = Harlequin and it's slightly lower on the food chain than a single-title book).

She's writing because she wants to but also as a career. Hence her need to achieve a certain milestone by a certain date. I don't really have such milestones, and I wonder sometimes if I should. Is my lack of milestones laziness on my part or am I truly okay with where I am?

I was pondering this today as I drove home from work in the rain (not snow, thank heavens!) Should I be aspiring to the "Big Time"? Should I go after a contract with a bigger publisher? I periodically consider this idea, but today I wondered if I was actually being lazy or avoiding failure by not striving. I started to visualize it ... waiting 18 months to 2 years for a release; hoping my books sell so I can get another contract; seeing my book on a bookshelf at Barnes & Noble ...

I could visualize it. I'm just not sure it's worth it. I'm enjoying myself immensely right now and I'm not sure I need that validation. Or let me put it this way: if someone comes and offers it to me, I'd be interested. But I'm not sure I want to dread checking the mailbox again ('another rejection letter? Who's it from this time?')

So for now, I'll continue as is. I have a series that I plan to pitch to a bigger publisher and as soon as it's ready, I'll gird my loins for that battle again. I like to revisit this idea now and again, sort of poke it and prod it and think about it. I don't think I'm ready to start setting goals again. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the ride ....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weeding out and finding out

Yep. It must be spring. Spring cleaning has arrived!

I got a new gadget (those who know me know that I am the Gadget Gidget). I got the Itouch a month or more ago, but it really didn't have a good calendar/todo application. I got a calendar with it, but it was so-so. I bought a ToDo application (these things are dangerously cheap, like $1 or $10 or some ridiculously low price). Then I bought another one because the first one didn't do quite what I wanted. Then I bought another calendar ....

Well, I bought a calendar/todo yesterday that I THINK will do what I want. So I busily sorted through the old calendar, ToDo 1, ToDo2, and the ToDo and Calendar on my old Palm (which had been my default gadget of choice for years).

As I did I found a lot of old memories. A concert, a pet's death, a surgery -- all events of importance. I have new categories on the new calendar, so I had to figure out how to categorize them. Before I just used 'anniversary' as a generic catch-all for 'milestones'. But this time I decided to really sort them. It was fun, really, to go back and look at all those Events.

It made me realize how happy I am that my main publisher releases ebooks and print books on the same day. I used to have to do double promo for a book release: once when it came out in download and another promo 6 months later for print. What a pain! Now I have to do that for my 'second' publisher (the one that I release with once a year). My 'main' publisher (the one I release with 3 times a year) has simultaneous releases. And my third publisher ... well, that print schedule is on a whim, I think.

Setting up a new calendar also made me realize that I need to get busy for the next release -- it's not that far away (April 7). Between now and then I need to organized for that, finish the Oz book, do edits for 2 more books for next year, promo my Eppie winner ...

I'd better get that ToDo list out and start updating!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It must be spring ...

... I've got a new crop of books, waiting for editing!

It seems like they all gang up on me at once. Why is that? I finished final galley proofs on a book releasing next year and I no sooner turned that in to my editor, than another editor wanted to get started on edits for the 2nd book in my paranormal series.

I said, 'sure, we can get started' when I got final edits in on the 3rd book in my OTHER paranormal series. And I'm also trying to write the Oz book!

Oh well. This means I'll have lots of releases coming up next year -- hopefully not all at one time! I'll dig in for a few days, do a flurry of editing and when I emerge, I'll dig in and finish the Oz book. I've got so many ideas for new books, I can't wait to get started.

Yep. It feels like spring.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Civic duty accomplished

Well, I called in for the last time on Thursday to check my jury status. I was relieved when I found that I wasn't needed for Friday. It was a bit of a hassle to check in twice a day to see if I was needed, but overall, not a problem. The Jury Lady made a nice little speech about how pleased they were 'we in the pool' had done our civic duty and how that made democracy work ... etc.

I am not ashamed to admit that I teared up a bit at this. Yeah, it's BS in a way, but it's also true. We take our society for granted so much of the time. But a 'jury of your peers', and 'involvement in the legal system' is one of our rights and a privilege. I'm sure I would have whined if I'd been stuck in a courtroom listening to the legal system drone on, but still -- we're damn lucky to have the chance.

As a woman, I feel especially lucky to be in America. I read the BBC news online, and there are always stories of atrocities against women: circumcision, rapes, forcible marriage, child slavery ... of course women aren't the only ones who suffer, any vulnerable creature does (animals, children, women, the mentally handicapped). Human inhumanity is amazing as is the amazing power of humanity when it's focused on good.

So take a minute today to thank heaven that you live in a free society (I realize 'free' is a relative term to a lot of people). You have options, you don't have to be ashamed of who you are, you are allowed the opportunity to learn and grow. Most of us have food, shelter, warmth, and safety. Just pause and consider that and thank Whoever.

And if you get the call for jury duty, don't whine (too much)...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A win ... and a thought

I won an Eppie this past weekend. This isn't like an Oscar or anything, but it does represent a milestone for me. The Eppie is an award handed out by the electronic publishing community. When I started my publishing journey, there were a few select competitions in which I wanted to make a good showing. The Molly is one (and I won that one), the Eppies was one, and there's a couple of others that I've entered (and am now entered in). We'll see how I do there.

You know and I know that an award's value is only as good as the competition. If no one enters, then a first place doesn't mean foo. I have no idea how good the competition was, but I'm not going to worry about that. It's the same in any contest.

My win has awakened a bit of a discussion among some friends about the value of the organization giving the award versus RWA (another organization that has excluded most electronically published people from competing in their contests). I've mostly given up on RWA ever recognizing that I'm a legitimate author. I use my membership with them as a means of promotion -- having a membership gives me access to various loops where I can tout my books. I don't expect to learn much more from RWA or get any help from them with my career.

My friends disagree. They think EPIC (the organization handing out the Eppies) is valueless whereas RWA has value. Now this all boils down to what you think, I know. Do I get a lot out of EPIC? No, I don't, but they are the only group in town that welcomes -- WELCOMES -- electronically published people. As such, I feel I have to support them rather than RWA, which looks down on electronically published people.

It's interesting how my perception of value has changed since I started attending smaller mystery conferences. Smaller presses are welcomed at most of those conferences and e-authors are considered as good as others there (there'll always be the Big Guns like Vince Flynn, etc., but in general there's more Little Guys than Big).

So my journey in publishing continues and my ideas and values change ... I'm enjoying the journey immensely and wonder sometimes where I'll end up. I'm rather content where I am, but I suspect there might be more adventures around a corner somewhere ...

Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Luck... works in strange ways

Why, you ask, luck?

Because I'm on jury duty this week and next. My stint ends on March 13. This means I'm eligible to be chosen for a jury during that two week time. Lucky? On March 16, the start of the next 2-week stint, the Trial of the County starts. This was a nasty murder that happened last year in my little piece of bucolic Minnesota suburbia. Actually, my town isn't a suburb. It's a real town that was gobbled by the encroaching city.

But I digress...

It's a murder trial involving young people (late teens, early 20s) and one lured another to a not-so-remote spot here in town and killed her. I am striving not to sound as though I've made my mind up ahead of time, but I've read a lot about this case and the evidence is pretty conclusive. The defense arguments will be what make the difference (diminished mental capacity and so on). I've read up on it. After all, I write murder mysteries and this was a murder right here in my back yard (about 2 miles from my back yard, actually), although it was a relatively straightforward one, not convoluted the way I plot them.

But I digress ....

If I was in the jury pool for the next session, I probably would have been called to be examined for the jury. They're going to go through every person on their list to get a jury that hasn't read about this case or formed an opinion of it (see previous note). And while it might be interesting to be involved in a murder case, I think I can do without the crime scene pictures. I've seen someone get beaten (read my book, Your Saving Grace. Yes, that happened while I was standing at the bar. The guy lived, but ....)

But I digress ....

So you see, there is such a thing as luck in the world. I was whining about being on call for jury duty (you know -- you've got to call in twice a day and if Called [so to speak], you have to drop what you're doing and go). When I read about jury selection starting on March 16 for that trial, I realized ... there is luck in the world.

Here's wishing good luck to that jury pool.

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