Welcome Back! — an Update and a Re-Evaluation

Tap, tap, tap! Does this thing still work??

Ahem.

Yes, I’m back after a much extended break. So, let me catch you up on what’s happened in since I did a serious post back in January.

My little man +121 after transplant, feeling great!

In early February, we were told that we were ready for transplant, and March 1 found my husband and I driving from Kansas City to Seattle, WA, where we proceeded with my son’s bone marrow transplant. It  was slated to happen the last week in March, but he got a virus (which he wasn’t symptomatic for!) and forced a delay until May 1. From May 1 until July 23, we were outpatient for only 2 weeks, 14 hours! My little boy kept getting sick for various reasons, so we never got more than a week and a few hours out the two times we were outpatient.

However.

He has done AMAZINGLY well, and we were able to leave on his day +101 to come home!! We arrived home on August 12, which ended up being a bit of a whirlwind for us. We got home at 12:45 AM, rushed to make an appointment with our KC BMT doctor, then went to see my grandmother who was dying… and who passed away while we were with her.

I am so glad I got to come home and see her one last time.

___________

So, whirlwind 5 1/2 months means no writing, right? 

Nope. 

While I didn’t do near as much writing as I’d hoped to do in those five and a half months, I did more than I think many people expected I would. I finished the third draft on my suspense-in-the-future book, Reprisal, and moved further along with the first draft of my police procedural with a Sci-Fi-y twist, Dead Before Arrival. I also began drafting a short story that will be a prequel to Beyond Dead and Dead Before Arrival–and am actively brainstorming ideas for a series of shorts that could very well lead up to the publication of both books, plus the third book in the trilogy, which I’ve yet to name or do more with than have a few ideas for scenes that could or should happen in them. 

Which brings me to the re-evaluation phase of this post.

Something in me snapped last fall where publishing is concerned. Most of you who regularly read this blog will remember I’ve said repeatedly that I’m only interested in getting an agent and going the traditional route. I’m not sure what changed, but something has. Maybe it’s watching so many of my friends succeed in self-publishing, maybe it’s the further success of e-books, or the fact they’re now outselling physical books, but I’ve been re-evaluating what my desires are for publishing.

Over the last several months, I’ve been listening to podcasts like Self-Publishing Podcast and Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn with regularity–maybe even being on the brink of being a bit obsessive about it.  In the many hours of listening while driving or doing house chores, the things the hosts and their guests have said struck a chord with me, and I’m beginning to see how it’s possible for lilol‘ me to be successful in self-publishing. I’ve got a few hang-ups I’m working through, but thankfully, I’ve got friends whom I can pick the brains of. 

Currently, I’m formulating a plan to begin publishing in the next 18 months–maybe even sooner. We’ll have to see how that goes. I’m starting to chomp at the bit in order to make this happen, so if I can keep up that level of enthusiasm and have things come together, you may be seeing my name in print very soon!

As for this blog, I’m going to keep trying to plug away at it, though as I think I’ve said in the past, it’s going to encompass more of what interests me besides writing, so you may hear about kitchen disasters, anecdotes about my kids, or whatever else floats my boat. I’m also considering doing a non-fiction book about my experiences during transplant, although I’m not really sure about the direction of the project yet.

Until next time,

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How to Devour Books Without Really Trying

Anyone who knows me knows I go through phases where I do things. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.

By Bob AuBuchon

In the last 10 years or so, my activities usually have a revolution over the course of a year or so which include intensive times of writing/editing, reading, and some sort of craft (primarily crochet, but sewing and candle making have taken that spot as well.)

I’m in a weird spot right now where I’m actively pursuing all three activities with almost equal vigor.

And, I have my friend Juliet to thank for that.

A couple months ago, probably the last time I was physically at my local critique group, Juliet as well as one of the other ladies asked if I’d read a certain author. I’m like, “Who?” I’d never heard of Craig Johnson. They were going on and on about the books, then the fact the books were being made into a TV show on cable and how well it was done.

Well, Juliet insisted I read the first book, The Cold Dish. I’d hoped to have it from my library before going out of town a couple weeks later. (Didn’t happen–apparently, they’re very popular right now, probably because of the TV show!) It took me about 4 – 6 weeks to get it…

… and I couldn’t put it, or its sequels down.

Really.

I’ve read the first 5 books of the series in the last 6 – 7 weeks, have yet to watch the TV show online (I don’t have a working TV for broadcast or cable, so only catch stuff on Hulu when it’s available). And, on top of that, I’ve started reading other books again. Like Robert B. Parker, Lisa Gardner, and I have a stack on my nightstand that includes Kathy Reichs and Diane Mott Davidson.

Going back to my opening statement, I get into grooves where I’m only pursuing one task. Writing and editing had really taken over my life for the first 5 – 6 months of the year. This usually means I won’t read any books whatsoever–not even writing help books–except review books for CCBR. The longest non-children’s item I may read is a news article or a lengthy blog.

But the last two months have been wonderful… I’ve been writing actively, and reading when I’m not writing, then about 2 weeks ago, added in a craft project–crocheting a cotton afghan for my son (it’s going to be a belated birthday present.)

All because of Craig Johnson.

And Juliet of course.

If you write, do you find you can do all of your other interests in close proximity with each other? Or, do you usually divide up your time whether intentionally or inadvertently so you write during the course of a few days/weeks/months and do other things in a different time frame?


Until next time,

P.S., are you on GoodReads? If so, feel free to connect with me! LS

Confession Time

I have a confession to make today.

I, a woman who desires little more than to see her books in print form and to sign with an agent, has yet to attend any conference with any literary agents in attendance.

I’ll pause while you pick yourself off the floor.

There’s a bunch of reasons I haven’t made it to any of these. The two primary ones: time and money.

In fact, the last time I went to any conference related to writing was probably at least ten years ago.

Now, I’ve been to multiple shorter events, usually Sisters in Crime talks, and an occasional book signing.

But to go to a convention, or even a weekend seminar? Hasn’t really happened. At least not in person. I did attend parts of the Muse Convention online last year, just before the health mess with my son started getting rolling.

I’ve wanted to go to Bouchercon for years. This year, it’s in St. Louis–which would be a very affordable train ride via Amtrak across the state of Missouri for me. But, I’ve also heard Bouchercon is more for readers rather than writers. *sigh* What’s a girl to do?

I think ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) is also having their conference in St. Louis this year, just a couple weeks later. While I’d fit in theologically, my stories… well, they really won’t fit with the ACFW or CBA “guidelines.” Hmmm…

Getting TMOTH to sign off on any convention at this point is also pretty iffy, given our son’s state and the “mommy” factor–he about panics whenever I leave him, even with Daddy for an hour or two.

Maybe a convention isn’t in the cards this year.

But, I do know that I can’t afford to keep ignoring this aspect of the writing game.

Today’s Question: Have you ever attended a conference? If so, which one(s)? What did you find most beneficial? If you haven’t attended a conference, what’s holding you back?

Until next time,

Finding Time to Write

A writer must make time to write every day. Even if she can only peck out a few words or sentences, it’s better than not writing at all.

What of the writer who, like me, has a day job? I come home tired, yet I have to fix dinner or risk starvation. The laundry monster roars, cats demand food, litter boxes need scooping and …

The list is endless.

Yet, I’m still supposed to write?

Absolutely!

True, those of us who work have less time than stay-at-home writers, but it can be done.

  • Carry a tape recorder with you. Record those ideas as they come and get them on paper later. Think about your manuscript while shopping for groceries, on your commute, or while you’re brushing your teeth. Sometimes my best ideas come to me while I’m in the shower.
  • If you have a laptop, take it to work with you. On your lunch break, find a private location and get busy. If you don’t own a laptop, print out the latest chapter and edit it while you eat your bologna sandwich.
  • One writer I met uses Documents To Go on her BlackBerry. The app has a Word document, and while her car’s getting an oil change, or when she’s waiting at the doctor’s office, she works on her manuscript. Once she gets home, she uploads to her desktop computer. Another writer takes her laptop to her kid’s soccer games.
  • Set a time every day and dedicate it to writing, even if you can only manage thirty minutes. If time is a problem, set a word count goal. You’d be surprised how fast 250 words a day (about one page, double spaced) can add up.
  • Turn off the TV.

If writing is important to you, you must make time for it. But it does call for dedication. Sometimes it requires a firm voice to family members, or a lock on your office door.

Billy Crystal’s character in Throw Mama from the Train said, “A writer writes. Always.” So, what are you waiting for? Shake the muse awake.

And start writing.

Lorna wrote her first story when she was twelve years old. In 1992 Country Extra magazine published one of her short stories. She writes a blog, Myriad Musings, and is working on a novel called Wounded Hearts.

Until next time,