Friday, July 29, 2011

It's Just Another Bad Hair Day

I live in the south. The hot, humid south. The so-wet-in-the-air you can feel the mildew growing south. And that is why I rarely attempt to perfect my hair style during summer.

Why blow dry to perfection when the moment I step outside all my efforts will turn to frizz and curl? Why straighten to a silken sheen when I'm one mid-afternoon thunderstorm away from looking like a bedraggled, damp rat? Why bath at all when all I need to do is step outside, get wet hot air damp cleaned, and sweat?

Oh, how I long for no humidity. As it is here is my current hair regime. I blow dry the front, let the back remain fluffy and curly, then spritz some hairspray on it. As it is, I travel with a pony tail elastic on my wrist or in my wallet. I usually scrunch the entire mess up into a pony tail or a half tail during the day to keep the hair from touching my neck which is damp with hot, wet, mildewy southern sweat due to the heat index hitting 107 degrees.

These aren't just the dog days of summer. These are the bad hair days of summer. I can't wait for cooler weather so I can straighten and style my unruly tangled wavy hair into submission. But for now? For now I am ever so grateful for pony tail holders.

Do you have bad hair days in the summer? How do you cope with heat and humidity messing with your style? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pattern Recognition

On Saturday July 23rd, I drove down to Birmingham, AL so I could attend the Margie Lawson EMPOWERING CHARACTERS' EMOTIONS daylong workshop which was hosted by the Southern Magic Romance Writing Chapter.

I'd read Margie's lecture packet with the 8 lectures in it prior to going to the workshop so my brain would be ready for her lessons. And I'd completed a "clean" first draft as well. I didn't want to bring something I'd worked on and sent out before because I intuitively knew that would make me feel like my writing sucked. Bringing a new, clean, SHORT first draft that I knew needed revision seemed like the way to go.

And it was. I learned so much that my brain went insane with a desire to head home and apply everything she'd taught to me as I revised my MS. The first assignment Margie gave us was to work on 50-75 pages. I have about 100 pages in the short first draft, so I am tackling the entire mess. My instructions were basic:

1) Take out the five highlighters and apply the EDITS system to my MS. Look for patterns in my writing. Do I have too much green, not enough yellow, a bit too much blue?

2) Take out my handy, dandy red pen and apply the DABS system to my MS. Look for action, dialogue cues, senses, and more.

3) Circle tired, worn out cliches and pump them out. Delete them, or twist them into a new, fresh sentence.

Sounds easy, right? Highlighting the MS and looking for what is and isn't there is easy. That's easy peasy. That's so easy anyone could do it. After all, it's just analyzing the work. But fixing the work? Not so easy.

As I highlighted I realized I had a lot of all blue and a lot of all yellow scenes. I had very little pink and green in the scenes. I didn't even bother to drag out the orange highlighter because first I have to fix the other four colors. And the red pen? Well, I have boxes around paragraphs that I know I will shift around and move. Boxes that indicate where the paragraphs will go. I have notes and circled words. I have a lot of work to do.

I learned that in a clean first draft I tend to write all yellow, then all blue scenes. Usually the yellow stuff has to be woven into the blue scenes that are before or after the yellow scenes. But I had a feeling that would be the case. I am a revisionist style writer. I have to get the story down, my way, even if it is the wrong way and then I fix it. I've been intuitively weaving yellow into blue for 5 years! I knew I'd be low in green. What I didn't know is how low I'd be in pink. And that is where the fun starts. Adding powerful pink to key scenes will punch up my writing and take it to the next level.

Oh, I am excited. I can't wait to braid together the yellow and blue. I can't wait to add more green and pink where necessary. I can't wait to apply the orange pen to the pages after I print and go again. This kind of editing is right up my alley ("cliche alert!").

I've learned more than a better way to edit and revise my work. I've validated my process, my natural writing process, with this workshop and Margie's lecture packet by applying her lessons to my manuscript.

Now some of you may be wondering what the colors mean. Others may already know because they've graduated from one or more of Margie Lawson's workshops or online classes. A select few may have even gone to her total immersion class. Wow, I'm green with envy ("cliche alert!").

If  you already know what the colors and DABS system mean, then you've given yourself a great gift and are probably an NYT published writer or on your way to becoming one. If you don't know what the colors and the DABS system mean, then I highly recommend taking one of Margie's classes.

And here's a challenge to all of you. Take my two cliches and rewrite them in a fresh way. I can't wait to read the results!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Morning News & Views

Last week I kept myself super busy with all kinds of errands planned and unplanned. Keeping busy helps me to move past my sadness over losing the Dowager Feline Clancy. I'm still sad, but it is getting easier. I know she is playing now and one day we will be reunited. I believe that in my heart.

My planned errands included touring our final college: Vanderbilt. A private university with lots to offer a college student. But that all comes with a hefty tuition and price. There's a lot to be said for the cost's payoffs, and the campus is absolutely beautiful and located in Music City, USA aka Nashville so it's in a great location. But there are drawbacks: no car the first year, got to live on campus all four years, and oh yeah, the price. Darling Teen loved the look and the feel of Vanderbilt but she decided not to apply. She wants the freedom of being able to attain some adult life skills when she's at school. I agree. I think part of going away to college is to learn how to be an adult in the adult world.

Meanwhile, our brand new dishwasher has one problem that is highly annoying. Sure it works. It runs beautifully. It is amazing. It should be for $1000. But it doesn't do one thing that I paid for it to do. The four hour delay does not work. I've had 4 service calls to the house, 1 where parts were replaced, and the four hour delay is still broken. Now if it were you, what would you want to do? Me? I want a new dishwasher because obviously this one can't be fixed. My time is worth money. I'd rather be writing and exploring the world than be waiting for a technician to come to my house during a four hour window of time and then have nothing better for the wait after the technician leaves my house. Am I miffed? A little.

We experienced some unplanned events last week. We had plumbing issues requiring lots of work. Oh yay!! $500 to fix a pipe that leads water away from our house. That means "Yellow is Mellow and Brown goes Down" until the plumber can come today and excavate the area around the pipe to fix it. We've also been very creative about our dishwashing and cleanups. The good news is that I can't do laundry or clean the bathrooms till after the pipe is repaired. Hallelujah!

We also had to fix the Escape. It needed a new fuel pump. No fun paying all that money for a car repair, but it beats having a monthly car payment. The Escape is 8 years old and I've piled a lot of miles on it. I need it to run reliably and safely. I trusted Woody Anderson Ford with my literal "Escape" vehicle. I especially needed it ready to escape to the Saturday workshop I attended at the Southern Magic Chapter in Birmingham. Margie Lawson's workshop was amazing. MORE ABOUT THAT LATER THIS WEEK. But here's a bit of a teaser: if you get the opportunity to take one of her workshops, run to take it without any hesitation. You'll be a stronger, better writer for doing so. I feel I have the last missing piece of the puzzle to apply to my own work. You will, too.

So stay tuned to the blog this week. I can't wait to share my experiences with you on Wednesday and Friday.

Friday, July 22, 2011

When I am Published I Want to Be Like...

When I am published, I want to be like the authors I admire and like many of the authors I met at the 2011 RWA Conference in New York City. Here are the qualities I admire in the authors I want to be like when I am published:


These authors also want to share how to get through the publishing door. They want to give advice about how to get published. They aren't afraid of the competition. They welcome more people at the table. They believe there is room for everyone. They want to see you succeed. They want to help you attain your dream goal.

How did these authors show me these qualities? By speaking at the luncheons, by giving inspiring thank you speeches, and by teaching workshops. They also shared their love of writing, craft, and storytelling during random meetings. I met several authors during the literacy signing, the luncheons, and in the workshops who eagerly shared information with me about the craft, the industry, the genres, and their experiences. They even offered to help me by reading my pages, by answering my questions via email.

Authors were once writers struggling to get published. They know how hard it is to beat down that door. They get where we unpublished writers are sitting, and they want us to succeed. While I was at the conference I met many generous authors who took the time to encourage me.

And that is why going to a conference is money well-spent. You learn who you want to be like when you cross over to the published world. Keep these qualities in mind if you aren't published. Write them down. Live them now. Pay it forward when you reach your dream.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lucky Charms

As I clicked the "accept charges" buttons the RWA web page, I knew I was taking a gamble. Again. I was spending a lot of money, money I hadn't earned, to go to New York City and attend the RWA National Conference 2011. But I had a good feeling about this conference and I'd earned the money to go via saving money by doing a lot of home improvements myself (and with the help of friends). Plus I'd been typing for quarters for a while and I'd payed myself for "trying to get published" letters. Every one of those letters garnered another $1, $5 or $10 in my savings for the trip.

My good feeling turned out to be better, initially, for other people going that I would room with while I was in NYC. My CP Sharon Wray finaled in the Daphne and the Golden Heart. Another friend finaled in the GH. More people finaled that I knew and I was thrilled for them.

I did NOT final in the GH. That kinda stung for a bit, but then I figured at least I KNOW great writing when I read it. Besides, I was beginning to feel like a good luck charm.

Apparently the cosmos thought so, too. And out of the blue, two very special people, published in different genres, asked if I would pick up their prizes for the Readers' Choice Awards in one case and in the Daphne in another if they should "by some miracle" win their category. Of course! Why not? I figured it would be fun as long as I didn't hit the champagne till AFTER they won.

So off to the conference I went via a long drive to DC to see old friends and give my darling teen time with her BFF in Centreville. Then I hopped on the Vamoose bus in Arlington, VA and rode up to NYC with my CP and future roomie, Sharon.

The first night we were in town, we chilled, and I met a lot of amazing published authors in my favorite category line, HQN Mills & Boon Presents/Modern Heat (Riva), and Medical. I had a serious fan girl moment when I met the delightfully charming Carole Mortimer. I think my tongue just went haywire and danced around the room, but in the end we had a lovely discussion about her heroine in one of her Duke series -- her favorite and I loved this heroine, too. So we just talked about our favorite subject: writing. I had the great fortune to meet Sandra Marton, Melanie Milbourne and more fabulous authors during that night and the rest of the week. MORE ABOUT THAT LATER.

Any rate, Wednesday morning arrived and I went to the Readers' Choice Awards. This was a swank deal put on by the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. Champagne Mimosas, breakfast, coffee, and a 20 year celebration. Two of my Heart of Dixie Cohorts joined me from OKAY LISTEN HERE, Kathy Bone and Jean Hovey aka Alicia Pace. I sort of got confused when the final was announced for our friend Melanie Dickerson's books and thought she'd won, but apparently I handled my confusion well. OKRWA likes we southern ladies.

Anyway... MELANIE WON! Best New Book for 2011!!! THE HEALERS APPRENTICE won!! Woohoo. I got to go back up and say thank you for real. It was a great moment. I truly enjoyed it.

Later that night, Sharon and I got ready for the Kiss of Death Romance Chapter's Death by Chocolate party during which the winners of the Daphne would be announced. Wow. Sharon was nervous. I just hated wearing my Spanx, but hey, I looked fabulous in my new blue dress so all was well. We went down to the party, got platefuls of goodies and I got wine and we chatted at the finalist table with other finalists. They were all in different categories so we could cheer happily for each other!

So finally, my dear friend and CP, Sharon WON THE DAPHNE for best Romantic Suspense, Single Title, in 2011 for unpublished writers. That was the best news!! The best win for an RS writer. It capped our day and set the tone for the rest of the conference. Then it was time to wait for my friend, PAULA GRAVES' published category RS announcements.

And lo and behold SHE WON THE DAPHNE for Category Series RS for her book, CHICKASAW COUNTY CAPTIVE!! How cool is that? I was so stoked for her. Another win.

Two other dear Southern Magic Unpublished authors I love were also at the Daphnes. Heather Leonard placed second in the unpublished paranormal RS category and Louisa Cornell WON the unpublished Historical RS category.

Wow! This was beyond exciting. By Thursday the news had gotten out. Apparently, my Lucky Charm status had reached epic proportions. Another friend and fellow GIAMx4 buddy, rubbed shoulders with me and guess what? Yup. She WON THE GOLDEN HEART FOR CATEGORY SERIES. Woohoo. There are more stories, more cool wins, more amazing victories.

I had a great time at the conference. Wonderful and amazing people opened up to me. I learned a lot. I laughed a lot. And I really enjoyed my status as a Lucky Charm.

Stay tuned! More Lucky Charm stories on Friday!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Morning Views and News

Hi Everyone. I had to say goodbye to the stalwart Dowager Feline Clancy on Friday, July 15th. I am still too emotional to write about it now, but I promise I will share as soon as I've had enough time to grieve her loss. The outpouring of support I've had via Facebook, Twitter, and phone calls has been very comforting. Thank you very much.

The Dowager Feline developed quite a following when I posted about her here and here. In the end, she taught me more about life than a thousand prophets or seers.

I have filled my weekend with family, cleaning, and movies. Now I am looking forward to my upcoming week of writing. I've been reading the Margie Lawson lectures and am almost ready to dig in with the homework. I'll be using my current WIP, first draft, for the work. On Saturday I'm heading to Birmingham's Southern Magic Romance Writing Chapter to take Margie's all-day intensive workshop EMPOWERING CHARACTER EMOTIONS. Can't wait!! And stay tuned for a recap of my day-if my brain survives the learning curve!

Those of you who visited on Friday were treated to a special blog post by Margie. And one of the commenters won a packet! Heather Leonard!!!

This week on the blog, I'm posting about my recent travels to DC and NYC. I have a lot of busywork to catch up on in the office, too. I'm sending thank you notes, transcribing conference notes from the workshops I attended, and I'm cleaning out the junk drawer.

For those of you who followed me on the 4 Hour Body Diet, I have news. It didn't work for me. As soon as I stopped following it. I gained back every inch. It also didn't work for my daughter. So I've switched over to Weight Watchers. Darling Teen, Darling Hubby, and I are losing weight together. I'm really excited about it because we're in it together AND there is a super cool phone app I can use to track my points. The best part is that I already lost two pounds. Hopefully I'll be Skinny for the Moonlight & Magnolias Conference in two months. Stay tuned.

I'm really looking forward to this week. Hope to see you all on the Veranda. And if you're setting goals or just hanging out, come visit me today and tell me what you're doing this week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Margie Lawson: Analyze This!

Please join me in welcoming one of my favorite people, Margie Lawson, to the Veranda on Digging Out of Distraction. She's a wonderful mentor and friend to all writers. I'm super excited about her blog today and I hope you join me in all the fun!! Put your thinking caps on because you will learn something, too!! 

by Margie Lawson
I’ve always loved analyzing things, including writing.
Of the 25+ Deep Editing Analyses on my web site, the one spotlighting Marcus Sakey’s is a favorite. If you don’t know his work, but you recognize his name, you may be recalling the two-page article in RT on Marcus Sakey.
The Deep Editing Analysis below provides a preview for what I’ll present in Birmingham on July 23rd.  Enjoy!

Marcus Sakey’s first crime thriller, THE BLADE ITSELF, was selected by the New York Times as an Editor's Pick, chosen as one of Esquire Magazine's Top 5 Reads of 2007, and won the Strand Critic's Award for Best First Novel. With his next two thrillers, AT THE CITY’S EDGE, and GOOD PEOPLE, Sakey kept the power up and electrified more readers and reviewers.
What do the giants in the film world know about Marcus Sakey? They know he writes a story guaranteed to mesmerize readers—and viewers. The film rights for all three of his novels have been optioned for film. Power-players Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, are buying slices of Sakey-talent—and likely salivating to play the leads.
You can count on dynamite writing craft in each of these stand-alone thrillers. My Sakey novels are mega-sticky-tabbed. Let’s dive in and check out a few of the several hundred examples.
“I heard someone was asking about you.”
Old instincts tightened Danny’s skin. “Who’s that?”
Patrick looked up at him, the joking in his eyes replaced by something more serious, like he was watching for a reaction. “Evan McGann.”
Danny’s mouth went dry, and he felt that tingling in his chest, the sense of his heart beating hard enough to rattle his ribs. He scrambled for his game face, almost got it.
ANALYSIS: Marcus Sakey makes it look easy. Note the two STIMULUS / RESPONSE patterns above. Since Danny learns critical information in this passage, Sakey gives us VISCERAL with each response from Danny. Plus—the reader is treated to fresh writing in a BASIC response with the ‘old instincts’ line. Five words, and they carry visceral power.
After Danny hears “Evan McGann,” he experiences an EMPOWERED response. Sakey loaded that response set with SIX EMOTIONAL HITS:
1) dry mouth
2) tingling chest
3) sense of heart beating harder
4) amplifies by adding his heart could rattle his ribs
5) Danny tries for ‘game face’ to block his reaction from Patrick,
6) ‘almost got it’ -- Danny failed.
Danny knows his facial expression tipped Patrick that Danny had a history with Evan. And we all know it wasn’t a happy history.
NOTE 1: Sakey uses some clichéd visceral responses: dry mouth, tingling chest, heart-pounding. Writers have to fall back on some clichéd viscerals, but stacking several together in a creative way, building a COMPLEX or EMPOWERED response, makes it an interesting read. It carries power.
NOTE 2 with a 1 – 2 punch: 
1) If you write a strong stimulus, include a visceral hit in your response. 
2) If you include a visceral response, visceral comes first.
“Ain’t you noticed, cop?” Dion’s voice was soft, his gaze weary, and for the tiniest second, Jason almost felt sorry for him.
ANALYSIS: Nice DIALOGUE CUE and GAZE CUE: It shows a good guy feeling sorry for a bad guy – and it’s tight, with stimulus and response in the same sentence.
The Set-up: Jason’s talking to his 8 year old nephew whose dad was murdered
“Hey, buddy.”
Billy didn’t look up. He pinched the crayon harder, the tip of his finger bloodless, and started stroking fast, hard lines.
Jason took a tentative step forward. “What are you drawing?”
Jason felt an acid shudder in his gut, like he’d put away a pot of coffee.
ANALYSIS: Sakey SHOWED Billy’s emotional response by sharing that Billy did not look up, and describing how Billy held and used the crayon. Writing ‘the tip of his finger bloodless’ informed the reader that Billy was holding the crayon so hard that his knuckles turned white. But Sakey dodged that cliché.
Extra credit awarded for fresh writing with ‘acid shudder in his gut’ driven home with the coffee-based simile. Fresh, fresh, fresh. And that simile had to resonate with every coffee drinker.
GOOD PEOPLE: Last example – a wife looking at her husband. It’s three paragraphs.
There was blood on Tom’s left hand, and the way he held it was odd, a swollen mess, the pinkie off-kilter. Her nerves felt like she’d bitten metal. She gasped, one hand covering her mouth, and started forward. Then she saw the look on his face, and stopped.
Sometimes it felt like they had known each other for a hundred years. She knew his every gesture, every expression. She could render them in her mind: the easy smile, titled a little to one side that drew crinkles around his eyes. The half-lidded head loll, lips barely parted, as they made love in the night. His precise squint when reading, meant not to bring the words into focus but to put the rest of the world out.
She had never seen the look that was on his face now. She recognized fear around the wide eyes. Pain marked in the press of his lips. And concern, concern for her, in the cock of his head and the readiness of his body. But there was something else too. A guardedness like a metal gate drawn across a store window. And through the slats, a sharp and sparkling accusation.
ANALYSIS: Strong example of a POWER INTERNALIZATION fueled by the POV character analyzing body language of a non-POV character. Sakey covers multiple stimuli and response patterns. 
First paragraph --  we see the husband’s mangled hand and pain – and the wife’s fear. 
Second paragraph -- Sakey draws the reader into the depth of their relationship, chronicling the husband’s nuanced body language and the wife’s caring interpretation. 
Last paragraph – the reader is hit with a contrast. The wife focuses on her husband’s body language – and sees fear and pain and concern and guardedness . . . and accusation.

Marcus Sakey’s writing will hook your mind, your funny bone, and your heart. Edgy, yet loaded with compassion. The reviewers, Top Read’s and Bestseller lists got it right with Sakey. Winning stories. Winning characters. Winning writing craft. My money’s on seeing his heart-grabbing stories about bad things happening to good people on the big screen.
Now it’s your turn. Post a comment about the blog – or just chat. 
Everyone who posts a comment will be entered in a drawing for a Lecture Packet from one of my online courses.
    1. 1. Empowering Characters’ Emotions
    2. 2. Deep Editing:  The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More
    3. 3. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist
    4. 4. Powering Up Body Language in Real Life:
      Projecting a Professional Persona When Pitching and Presenting
    5. 5. Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors
Here’s another opportunity to be a Winner!
Open House for Lawson’s Writer Academy – Today!
As soon as you post a comment on the blog, pop over HERE to my web site, to attend the Academy’s Open House.
Tour the LWA Campus. Check out the cyber classroom, the Coffeeshop, the Deep Editing Fitness Center. If you are a Margie-grad, check out the Margie-grad Forums, and pick up your cyber gift.
Drop by the Open House. You have TWELVE CHANCES to WIN a Lecture Packet or Online Course. Don't miss your chance to be a winner!

Margie Lawson —psychotherapist, writer, and international presenter—developed innovative editing systems and deep editing techniques for used by writers, from newbies to NYT Bestsellers. She teaches writers how to edit for psychological power, how to hook the reader viscerally, how to create a page-turner.
Thousands of writers have learned Margie’s psychologically-based deep editing material. In the last six years, she presented over sixty full day Master Classes for writers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
For more information on Lawson Writer’s Academy, lecture packets, on-line courses, master classes, and the Immersion Master Class sessions offered in her Colorado mountain-top home, visit:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My New Tornado Shelter--Valley Storm Shelters to the Rescue!

The shelters are delivered.

My family has lived in Northern Alabama for 3 years. We've had several tornado warnings, but this year was the worst. Up until April 27, I was perfectly fine sitting in the interior bathroom with two cats, the teen, and the hubby during a tornado warning.

April 27 changed my mind. Try riding out 21 tornado warnings over a 16 hour period, the last 4 hours in the dark with no communication, in a small bathroom. Try doing this after seeing 2 tornadoes begin to form over your house and one heading your way. Try doing this after realizing that an EF5 tornado with winds of over 200 miles has blown through 100 miles and just missed your house by a few miles.

Bob and Mean Bill move it!
 Not fun. Very scary. Very very very scary. So I finally decided to cough up a big chunk of change and I called Valley Storm Shelters to discuss getting an above ground tornado shelter installed in our garage. You can learn more about this company here.

 I ordered a 4x6x6 steel shelter with carpet, a light, a fan, the ability to run power and the strength to withstand an EF5 force tornado in May. It was built off-site, then finally delivered on July 6th. Bob and Mean Bill (yes that was his name) installed the 2000 plus pound shelter in our garage during a rainy, thundery, tornado like day. To be honest, any dark cloud with a whorl in it scares me these days!

Pulling her through the door!

Will it fit?
Mean Bill gets it in!

I'm really pleased with my new shelter. It fits perfectly in our garage. There's only one problem. It's white. Super white. It's a big box of white in my garage. I want to decorate it. Darling Teen agrees. Maybe some applique stickers? I don't know, but I can't stand the idea of sitting in the all white room. It's too coffin like to me. Darling Hubby is worried it will impact a future buyer's opinion. But I think it is no big deal. All a buyer will care about is if it is a shelter. 

Bob and I pose for a picture. 
So who do you think should win? Me and Darling Teen or Darling Hubby? Look at the pictures and give me your vote.

Stay white or decorate? You decide!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Break Out the Bubbly and the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Adrienne Giordano's Debut Novel MAN LAW

Hi Everyone. I'd like to welcome a dear friend to the blog today as we celebrate her debut novel, MAN LAW. I met Adrienne Giordano through the online motivation group GOAL IN A MONTH or as we like to call it GIAMx4. Adrienne's debut novel MAN LAW is available digitally and is sold through CARINA Press. The cover is super delicious. I know I will LOVE this book. Adrienne is taking over my blog and telling us all about her own distractions after she got THE CALL. The call is the elusive thing we unpublished authors dream about getting, but after the call, the real work begins! So welcome Adrienne. 

*pop* *pour champagne* and *sip*

My Attempt to Manage Distraction 
Adrienne Giordano

This is Adrienne's cover. Nice Distraction!!
I'll admit I've been distracted lately.  I'm trying not to beat myself up over it because in the last four months I've been through nine rounds of editorial edits on three books.  I've also needed to revamp my website, set up author accounts on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Library Thing, etc.  And let's not forget I'm a co-founder of Romance University, a busy and growing blog. Oh, and I'm also working on a new book. Not to mention I have a life outside of writing.

The thing I've figured out is that I'm not special. Hard to admit, sure, but this chaos, apparently, is day to day life for published authors. Rather a scary thought, no?

After absorbing the fact that all the marketing aspects of promoting a book wouldn't go away, I had to decide how to manage my distraction and not let it get in the way of my writing. I had to make brutal decisions about eliminating some of my online groups because I was spending close to two hours each day scrolling through digests. I also had to cut back on the blogs I visited daily. It's hard to back away from things I enjoy, but unless someone could give me another five hours in the day, things had to go.
After cutting back where I could, I implemented a plan to work for a specific amount of time each day on marketing. Of course, immediately after implementing said plan I received edits on book three and had to go into my cave and ignore everything but the book in front of me. That was okay. I just picked up my plan when I finished the edits. The downfall was that I had to dig out from everything that piled up while I was in my cave. It's a never-ending balance that I will keep working at.

What I absolutely know for sure is that if I allow myself to go over my allotted time for each task, I will completely lose control of my day and get no writing done.  Why, you ask, don't I write first and do the other tasks later? I've tried that. Unfortunately, all those emails and tasks nag at me and it distracts me all the more. If nothing else, I've determined that I'm one of those people who needs to clear everything out before I can concentrate on my writing.
It's a process that's evolving. It will probably never be seamless, but if I stay focused on keeping at least a little control over my day, maybe a routine will develop.

I hope.

Thanks so much for coming and sharing the pitfalls of social media after one is published! And you're right, Adrienne, this is a time when the focus has to be on promoting your books. I am very excited that you're debut novel is out and I can't wait to read it!!

Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and women's fiction.  She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest. She is a co-founder of Romance University blog. Adrienne's debut romantic suspense, Man Law, will be released by Carina Press on July 4, 2011. Her second book, A Just Deception, will be available from Carina Press on September 5, 2011. For more information please visit  Adrienne can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Mash Up

I've been a busy bee over the weekend. First I went to my Heart of Dixie Romance Writer Chapter meeting. We celebrated all kinds of wonderfulness in our writing world. Two of our PRO writers have joined the ranks of published writers which continues to give this writer hope for her own writing future. One of our board members made Coconut Cake. And I had some. Well, I ate a good sized piece. Delish!

I blogged about my journey from feeling tied down to having no strings on Sunday on the Romance Magician's blog. You can read about it here. I am eagerly hosting two guests this week. On July 12th, I'm celebrating Adrienne Giordano's debut novel and on July 15th the fantabulous Margie Lawson is visiting my blog and posting a guest blog. I'm very excited about both events.

Heart of Dixie's Online workshops are gearing up for the month of August. We are holding a class about FAT FREE WRITING taught by the Grammar Divas. For more information, visit our HOD Website here. I'm looking forward to trimming my own writing as well as to learning how to Empower My Characters Emotions during the July 23rd all day workshop held in Birmingham by my wonderful Southern Magic writing chapter. You can still sign up for it and learn more about it here.

So that's my Monday Mash Up. I'll be back on Wednesday to blog about my new tornado shelter. I need decorating ideas!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hiatus is Coming to An End: Fun Things In Store

Hi folks! Miss me? I have been out of the blogger world for a few weeks now due to travel, the RWA National Conference, uber expensive Internet charges at the Marriott Marquis (boo), and more travel!!

Next week I plan to post my 3 blogs a week again. I can't wait to share the travel news with you as well as my experiences at the National Conference. If you want to get a sneak peek, you can take a gander over to the PETIT FOURS AND HOT TAMALES and see my post about all my conference confessions. I'm also super excited to be hosting the wonderful and gifted Margie Lawson next week. She is coming to Alabama to teach an all day workshop about EMPOWERING CHARACTERS EMOTIONS at the Southern Magic Romance Writing Chapter.

This year is turning out to be one fantastic year with wonderful debut authors and friends sharing their experiences. Stay tuned for more fabulous authors coming to visit the Veranda with their tales and stories.

I've had a great summer. I actually took time away from writing. I know. Unusual as I usually write every day. But I really needed a break. As many of you know, it has been a long and difficult spring. In addition to my daughter's mono (yay, she's cured!) and the horrific tornadoes, I've also been battling an ongoing sinus infection. I'm finally back to my normal self. "Normal" being as sane as one can expect me to be considering I write for quarters and I pay myself for "trying to get published" letters.

Now I'm starting to get pumped up about writing. Not selling. But writing. Nationals was a great way to juice up the writing genie. And being around my super friends in this business, new and long term, jazzed me even more. Plus I got to be part of other people's successes in the Golden Heart, the Rita, the Daphne and The Readers Choice Awards. Sometimes being at the game is enough. I showed up, I smiled, and I felt my old happy writing self come out of hiding.

So stay tuned! I can't wait to get back to action on Monday.