Friday, November 30, 2012

Funny Photo Friday

I can't believe it, but I actually forgot to get today's post together. I have been fighting to get well all week long and last night I just wanted to go to bed. So I did! Unfortunately, I didn't even think about my blog responsibilities.

Last week's winner is:

And here are some new funny photos for you!

Notice all the people are on the other side of the jeep?

I always imagined this would happen if you did "taste the rainbow."

It was too cute not to include.

The power of teamwork!

Even penguins have to have dreams.

Why do sloths always look so happy?

I kinds was thinking along the lines of torpedo. It sure is a cute little hippo!

The winner of Brian Pagel's book, Up So Down, is Kimberly Gabriel! I'll get in contact with you soon.

My favorite today is the baby hippo, although the lions made me laugh. Can I call it a tie?

Have a happy weekend. I'm hoping to finally get well!

Anybody else sick out there? Which is your favorite picture?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Merry Christmas To All (e)Book A Day Traveling Blogathon (of Doom!)

Today is the day! It's my turn to host The Merry Christmas To All (e)Book A Day Traveling Blog-O-Thon (of Doom!) or The Blog-O-Thon (of Doom!), as I've come to call it.  The Blog-O-Thon actually started on November 23rd and will continue every weekday until December 24th.

Participating bloggers picked a day or day(s) and will post "something to do with the holidays," as well as give away one (e)book to a randomly-chosen commenter on their post.  

You may be wondering how I can do this, considering I do not yet have a book to give away. Quite easily, the Blog-O-Thon's creator, Briane Pagel, offered to let me give away his new book, Up So Down.  Since I really wanted to participate in a Blog-O-Thon (of Doom!), I jumped at the chance.

I'll have a special surprise for my next Blog-O-Thon (of Doom!) post on December 18th. I'll be sharing the cover for my own novel, Finding Meara, whose tentative release date is in February.  I'll also be giving away another copy of Briane's book, Up So Down.

Random Memories of The Holidays

When I think of Christmas, three separate memories pop into my mind.

My Eeyore today. He's almost 39 yrs old!
The first is one of my earliest memories. When I was two and a half Santa brought my sister a large stuffed Pooh-bear and me an Eeyore. I actually remember finding them under the tree. Eeyore was my best night-time buddy until well into adulthood.  At first he kept me safe from aliens and things that go bump in the night, and then I just couldn't go to sleep without him in my arms. Some people need music, I needed Eeyore. I'm okay with that!

The second is the year I was twelve years old.  My sister and I always used to get a doll.  That was our tradition and when I was twelve, even though I really didn't want a doll, I didn't want to admit I'd grown up that much.  I wasn't ready.  So, I put a doll at the top of my list, and it was the last year I received a doll from "Santa."

The last memory is Christmas not so long ago. About seven years ago, as a matter of fact.  My firstborn's due date was the first week of January but I began labor Christmas afternoon. My husband and I played Lord of the Rings on the Playstation and waited for things to pick up.  Our little guy took his time and was finally born two days later - on my father's birthday!

My question for you? 
What is one of your favorite Christmas memories?

Leave a comment for the chance to win Briane Pagel's newest release, Up So Down.

When "Bumpy" takes his sister's fiance out for a night on the town, a mysterious drowning crashes through their lives like a wrecking ball into an already-crumbling wall. Sarah mourns her lost lover by halfheartedly joining a group dedicated to proving there is a serial killer on the loose and jealously guarding her dying mother, while "Bumpy" moves to Las Vegas to take up a new career, only to accidentally stumble into his old one.

Through the course of a year that unfolds haphazardly and out-of-sequence, Bumpy and Sarah try to figure out how much of the past they ought to hold on to, and how much of the future is worth looking into.

Also, you can find more great giveaways by visiting the athors below on the days listed.  Have fun!

11/30: PT Dilloway, on his blog "Tales Of The Scarlet Knight,  Author of "A Hero's Journey."

12/1: Vanna Smythe, on her blog, author of "Protector: Anniversary of the Veil, Book One." 

12/3: Cindy Borgne, on her blog "Dreamer's Perch," author of "Vallar"

12/4:  Michael Offutt, on his blog SLC Kismet, author of the trilogy "A Crisis of Two Worlds"

12/5: Tony Laplume on his blog Scouring Monk, author of Monorama.

12/6: Briane Pagel at his blog Thinking the Lions

12/7:  PT Dilloway, on his blog "Tales Of The Scarlet Knight,  Author of "A Hero's Journey."

12/10: Andrew Leon, on his blog Strange Pegs, (theauthor of The House On the Corner and Shadow Spinner.

12/11:  Briane Pagel at his blog Thinking the Lions

12/12: Tony Laplume on his blog Scouring Monk, author of Monorama.

12/13:  Briane Pagel at his blog Thinking the Lions

12/14: PT Dilloway, on his blog "Tales Of The Scarlet Knight,  Author of "A Hero's Journey."

12/17: Andrew Leon, on Strange Pegs, (the author of The House On the Corner and Shadow Spinner.

12/18: Lara Schiffbauer, on her blog Motivation for Creation.

12/19:  Tony Laplume on his blog Scouring Monk, author of Monorama.

12/20:  Briane Pagel at his blog Thinking the Lions
12/21: PT Dilloway, on his blog "Tales Of The Scarlet Knight,  Author of "A Hero's Journey."

12/22: Vanna Smythe, on her blog, author of "Protector: Anniversary of the Veil, Book One." 

12/24: Brian Pagel at his blog Thinking the Lions

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Letting Go Is Hard To Do

Do you ever get caught up in the net of perfectionism? I totally agree that writing well, having a good grasp on the craft of writing is important. But when does mastering craft morph into the hideous monster of perfectionism?

The fear of getting something wrong can be paralyzing. It can grab a writer by the throat and send them trembling to their knees. Well, maybe it's not that bad, but it can stifle creativity. Brain research indicates that when the Amygdala is screaming it's not safe (ie. having an emotional reaction like fear), the rest of the brain isn't interested in functioning. It just wants to get back to the status quo and feel happy and snuggly-safe again..

What can we do then, if we are stuck in the process of making everything perfect? At some point, we have to let go. We have to accept that maybe our work isn't the best of anything, while acknowledging it has value in and of itself. We have to get to the point that we recognize we've done our best and it's time to move on.

Making a mistake is not the end of the world. Having a typo isn't instant writer career death. That's the Amygdala talking. As stated in the quote above "life goes on."  With each new story or novel, poem or essay, we will grow and learn and get a little closer to perfection. It's okay for us to not know everything at any given time.

The only thing that can stop us from being successful writers is not writing. I'd add never finishing what you start, too. Oh--and not letting other people see our work, ever.  In other words, if we don't have anything to offer to readers, we are going to fail. If we have a pretty good story, even if it's not the best, we have a start. And then we can only improve.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Funny Photo Friday

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! Due to illness, I ended up staying home with my youngest while my husband and oldest went to my husband's parent's house.  We had a good time though and still ate turkey, so I guess it's all good!

Last week's winner is:

And now for this weeks photos!

Totally the way I felt at Walmart on Wednesday.

I know some people I'd like to do this to, but I'm too afraid...

I love it for the pun!

Remember the old Looney Tunes with the dancing frog?

I'm developing a thing for walruses, I think. They're so cute!
Have a fabulous weekend!  I think my favorite is a tie between Moist Owelette and the Walrus.  The expressions on both their faces are adorable!

Which do you like the best?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Truths About Dating and Mating Blog Tour

It is my great pleasure to take part in Jaycee DeLorenzo's blog tour for the release of her debut novel, The Truths About Dating and Mating, due out tomorrow!

Be sure to read to the bottom for your chance to enter The Truths About Dating and Mating Giveaway!

In The Truths About Dating and Mating, spunky Italian coed Ivy Rossini likes to talk and push the boundaries. She gets to do both as she co-hosts Riordan College’s radio program, The Truths about Dating and Mating, alongside her lifelong best friend, Ian Hollister.

Being the only girl who cares to see beyond Ian’s bad boy reputation has its advantages, especially when he’s scaring off the jerks who just want to nail the campus sex-guru. It’s when he’s “protecting” her from the advances she welcomes that she wants to lob him over the head and tell him to butt out. But Ivy’s feels like she’s the one who’s taken a hit when Ian almost kisses her at a party. She knows she should feel relieved when he pulls away, so why is she disappointed instead?

What’s worse, Ivy’s now getting aroused by Ian’s slightest touch and can’t stop entertaining thoughts of a romantic future. But Ian doesn’t do relationships, and she’s not interested in anything casual. In the end, Ivy decides it’s best to keep her growing feelings a secret and hope they’ll pass. However, when Ian begins hinting at wanting to take things to the next level, she’s forced to decide if a chance at something more is worth risking everything they’ve built.

With their friendship and her heart hanging in the balance, can Ivy follow the advice she and Ian give their listeners - to communicate, be honest, and trust in themselves - or will insecurity, stubbornness, and pride ruin any chance of their relationship getting off the ground?

In honor of the big day, Ivy and Ian took the time to answer some questions for me!

Thank you so much, Ivy and Ian, for agreeing to be interviewed today on Motivation for Creation. Please tell us a little about yourselves - what makes you, you - how you met - that kind of thing.

Ivy: Well, I’m Ivy, and this is Ian. We’re both 21 and attend school together at Riordan College.

Ian: We’ve been best friends since we were 7. Some bullies were picking on her, and I stopped it. We’ve pretty much been friends ever since.

How did you come up with the idea for your radio show?

Ivy: We didn’t come up with the idea. We were just doing what we always do, lately, which his arguing--

Ian: Oh, come, we don’t always argue.

Ivy: Are you kidding? We argue more than a married couple.

Ian: We debate. And it’s fun.

Ivy: If you say so. Anyhow, it was Ian’s show, and someone called to ask a question and he gave advice…

Ian: Good advice.

Ivy: Terrible advice.

Ian: I convinced you, didn’t I?

Ivy: :thinks about it and starts to smile: Fair enough. Well, it’s in the book. You can read about it.

What's the hardest question ever asked on your show?

Ivy: Anything that has to do with professing unrequited love is always hard. You don’t want to give the wrong advice, and face a backlash if things don’t work out well.

Ian: I’d say any question that has to with love.

Are either of you in a relationship right now? How does your status affect the advice you give on the show? 

Ivy: :chuckles: No, he doesn’t do relationships, and any time I start to show interest in a guy, he sabotages it by scaring them off.

Ian: I only scare off the guys who aren’t good enough for her.

Ivy: You’ve scared off all of them.

Ian: Hey, I can’t help it if you have terrible taste.

What kind of advice would you give each other?
Ivy: Stop sleeping around and give dating a try. You may discover that girls actually like you for you.

Ian: Stop selling yourself short.

Thank you so much, Jaycee, for sharing Ivy and Ian with us.  I'm chuckling and already in love with them both.  I don't normally read Young Adult, but this is one book I'll be buying!

Jaycee DeLorenzo hails from Tucson, Arizona, on the outskirts of the Saguaro National Park – which she believes to be the most beautiful spread of desert in the world.  By day, Jaycee is an English language teacher to elementary students. By night, she’s a wife, mother, writer, cover artist, website designer, and blogger.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, singing (very poorly), catching up on her favorite T.V. shows, and researching.

The Truths about Dating and Mating is Jaycee's debut novel, and the first in a series centering around students of the fictitious Riordan College.

Find Jaycee on the web:
Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Along with her tour, Jaycee is doing a giveaway!  Click the link below to sign up for a chance to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 16, 2012

Funny Friday Photos

Another week has passed, thank goodness.  I really do feel like I'm wishing away my life, one week at a time.  

Now that I'm starting to see the plot of the follow up book to Finding Meara in my head, I'm focusing back on writing again.  Since I don't have enough time during the week to get any real work done, I'm wishing all week for the weekends and the time available to write.

Living in the present moment is important though.  If we are always looking into the next moment, we miss so much.  My goal this week coming up is to try to enjoy every present minute more.

None of us really picked a clear winner of last week's photos, but scary koala is the one mentioned most often, so I'm declaring him the winner.

I hope you enjoy this week's photos!

Save the Turtles!

I don't know how funny the caption is.  I just liked the photo.

The cat's expression mirrors what I was thinking.  Kind of a "Huh?"

Looks more like soul stealing, to me. Reminds me of the Podlings in TheDark Crystal where they get their life-force sucked out of them

Does this walrus remind anyone else of Jamie in The Myth Busters?

Yep, I'd say so.

I hope your Friday is a happy one, and your weekend full of accomplishment and fun!

Did you find a favorite this week?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Help One Another - Writer Style

For the longest time I've felt like I just don't do my share of helping others.

The ways I observe other writers support each other often seems like it would be more beneficial to me than to the person on whom I would focus my helping attempts. (ie. having interviews, guest-bloggers, etc...)  Additionally, I've got some social awkwardness that carries over into World-Wide Web Land.  I wanted to help other writers, but didn't really know how a shy writer with short social media reach could actually provide valuable support.
Photo Couresy of

Until yesterday.

Over at The Writer's Guide to E-Publishing, author Gordon Kessler posted on maximizing an Amazon book page.  Besides getting some great marketing ideas, some of the suggestions in the post included easy yet effectual ways authors can help each other with the dreaded marketing issue.

The three ways authors can support each other on Amazon are:

1.  Did you know Amazon book pages have "like" buttons?  I didn't.  But how easy is it to simply click a button as a vote for your favorite new author (whether traditionally or indie published). As Mr. Kessler pointed out, the more "thumbs up" clicks a book has, the more perceived credibility it may have with readers, which can only help anyone achieve success.  Also, the "like" button may figure into the Amazon algorithm to determine ranking and best-seller status.

2.  Reviews, reviews, reviews. But wait, there's more.  We all know positive reviews are helpful. What I didn't know is that on Amazon the most "helpful" reviews are moved to the top of the review list. So, even if we don't have time to leave our own review, we can help our fellow authors by finding the positive reviews and clicking "yes" on the question "Was this review helpful for you?"  If the positive reviews are found to be the most helpful, then those are the ones potential readers are going to see first.

3.  Download some freebies in the same genre as your author friend's book.  The potential effect of buying your friend's book, and then downloading some freebies in the same genre is that it may (no guarantees, of course) put your author friend's book on the "Customers who bought this book also bought..." list on those other books.  This thereby increases visibility for your author friend's book.

What are some ways you support other authors?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Funny Friday Photos

Yay for Friday!  I have to admit, it's been a quick, irritating week.  Another plus - the election is over. I love not having political hate posts all over Facebook. 

I've been trying to get a new plot going for the second book of Finding Meara (although it's not going to be called that) and I keep falling asleep when I put the children to bed.  When I wake up, my head is fuzzy and working on anything is a ridiculous thought.  So, writing wise, this week has been rather a bust.  I'm hoping to get some mojo going this weekend.  I better get some mojo going this weekend!

The winner of last weeks photos is:

Here's this weeks photos! I brought over a few from Pyzam this week, just for a little variety.

I just shake my head and wonder...

Evil koala is very scary!

Funny only because I've thought it looks like bacon before.

What can I say... I like sad kitty pictures.

The perspective on this picture makes me very happy
we're bigger than birds.

In honor of The Christmas Story,
one of the best Christmas movies ever.

It's very hard to pick my favorite this week.  I think I have to go with the scary koala.  Every time I look at that last picture I laugh and am very glad I'm not the one taking the picture. Do you think the photographer got away before damage occurred?

How was your week?  Which picture is your favorite?

Monday, November 05, 2012

What's a Fair Price for an E-Book?

Warning: Super long blog post ahead, and it has qualities similar to that of a rant, so go forward with caution.

For quite a while now I've read the myriad discussions regarding what is a fair price for an e-book from the perspective of the writer.  

Many a blog post like this one by Melissa Foster on the Indie Reader question "Are Self-Pubbed Authors Killing the Publishing Industry?"  In the first sentence of the article, Ms. Foster states that self-pubbed authors devalue the written word with books priced low to gain attention.  Later on in the article she gives the pronouncement that yes, self-pubbed authors are the bane of the publishing world because they "give away" their books for "less than a buck" and use other "gimmicks" to garner sales.  Quite honestly, I found the whole article rather obnoxious, but didn't really feel the need to evaluate why.  I filed the article away under my Opinions That - While Interesting - Don't Really Seem Fair or Right mental filing cabinet.

Today I was reading a section of Writing on the Ether by Porter Anderson titled "Pivot: Jonny Geller, Enough to Go Around."  In the section, Mr. Anderson relates  several points Jonny Geller made in an article of his own regarding the state of the publishing industry, including this one, "Readers need to risk paying for books again."

Mr. Anderson followed up the point made by Jonny Geller by saying,
"We can talk all day about the reader as a nearly holy figure in our business — seriously overlooked too long by the traditional publishers. But it’s also time for that reader to play his or her fiduciary role in the equation again, and prove the bargain basement prices of the fin-de-agency period to have been what they were, the dive for algorithmic leverage of amateurs flooding the market."

Before I go any further, I need to say that Porter Anderson is a very intelligent, witty and friendly guy.  When I read WotE I often don't understand exactly the points he makes, and I definitely am not being critical of the article.  That being said, what the article did was force me to change my perspective from writer to reader and back again. Quite frankly, I thought "Whoa. Hold on there."

First, as a soon to be self-published author, if I sell my book for something less than... Heck, I don't even know what Melissa Foster or the other people who think a low price devalues a book thinks I should sell my book for.  At what price do I show the world that I value my work?  Can anyone tell me?  Is $2.99 enough, or does it have to be higher?  Should I match traditional publishing at $9.99?  Do you honestly think I would sell any books if I did?  And yet, if I price point my novel in order to get someone to take a risk and buy my book, I am accused of devaluing my work and undercutting authors everywhere, but especially the "professionals."  I am not exactly sure who the professionals are, but it sounds suspiciously to me that they are those traditionally published.

Secondly, as a reader, if I buy a $.99 priced novel by a self-published author, I am accused of not holding up my share of the author/reader bargain and shirking my duty of paying an author what they're worth.  What happens if I buy a $.99 priced novel by a famous author who is traditionally published, and the publisher is running a sale?  Am I still shirking my duty as a reader?  And why is a sale (GIMMICK) by a traditional publisher all right, but by a self-published author it's tacky and devaluing to the written word?

As a reader, when the price of paperbacks rose above $7.99, I quit buying so many books.  Gasp, I know.  I got really friendly with my neighborhood library.  Then, after I became invested in some authors for FREE, I started buying their books.  Let me ask you, did the fact that I read their novels for FREE mean that I devalued their work, their talent?  No, it means I didn't have a very lucrative cash flow and I still wanted to read.

I think part of the problem about the whole "devaluing" issue is the question of how you measure the value of your personal time and creativity.  Someone I read said something like "Writing books is art, selling books is a business."

Throughout my twenties, I worked in the head offices of a retail chain as an assistant to the clothing buyers.  I learned about mark-up.  With clothing, the mark-up is basically double.  You buy a t-shirt for $2.99, you sell it for $5.99.  When a person self-publishes the need for mark-up is diminished.  The book is going to be available digitally forever.  If a person spends $1,000 for editing, cover, etc... they can afford to be patient with the first book being a lower price and baiting the hook for readers.  It's a career being built, not a get rich quick scheme.

So, do you want to know the funny part of this post (if you've even made it this far.)  The funny part is, I totally plan on selling Finding Meara for at least $2.99 or more, unless it's enrolled in a special program like Kindle Select.  I'd made that decision even before I decided to self-publish.  My reasons?  When I am shopping on my Nook and I see a book listed for $.99, I don't even really stop to look at it.  I judge the book by it's price point.  However, the same is true for the other end of the monetary scale. Also, you can sell less books at a higher price point and make more money. Hard math there.  Dean Wesley Smith taught me that.  He's got a great blog every self-publishing author should check out.

Does the question of a fair price for an e-book have an answer?  I don't know. I think it's up to the person putting their book out there.

Did you make it through the whole post?  What are your thoughts about the whole pricing issue with e-books?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Funny Photo Friday

Friday is here and Halloween is over. Let's breathe a huge sigh of relief!  I don't know about you, but Halloween was an all month holiday this year.  Starting three weeks ago we had the Fall Festival at my school, then the next weekend was the Fall Festival at my boy's school, and then-finally-Halloween itself.

The only thing I'm looking forward to ending more than Halloween is the election.  The one funny thing I noticed on Facebook is that the two people who are most extreme to say this politely...outspoken about their political opinions on my feed both are avid cat fans.

The lesson - animals bring us together.


Okay, okay! I'm just teasing. It has been amusing to me, though.

Last week's winner for favorite photo was:

And here's the new ones!

I totally love the Avon Lady Crab (or whatever it is!)  

Which is your favorite!  
Are you counting down to the election being over?


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