Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Up In Flames (IWSG + Flaming Crimes Bloghop)

Hey everyone. It's Double Blogfest Day on My Pet Blog, and we've got a lot going on, so we're going to jump right into it. If you're here for the IWSG, please keep on reading. If you're here for the Flaming Crimes Blogfest, scroll on down.


***

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group. (Click on the link for more information, or a complete list of participants...)

This month's co-hosts are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ the Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhaabria.

This month's (optional) question asks, "What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?"

On Monday, I blogged about my goals for 2018 which laid out four big writing goals—publishing three books, and completing the first draft of a fourth (I won't get into details here—you can check out the post, if you're interested)—to be completed by the end of the year.

What I didn't blog about was how I then break up those goals into monthly, weekly, and daily goals because my goal posts are long enough already.

Today's goal, for example, is two-fold.

1. To not burst into tears when I think about the latest and (not to sound super dramatic or anything...) most soul-crushing setback in my quest to publish Second Nature. (Again, not to sound dramatic...)

2. Work out a new weekly and monthly plan that the aforementioned setback so willfully destroyed yesterday.

I'm really starting to get a complex here. But eventually I will run out of delays and setbacks, right? I mean, at some point, there will just be nothing left to get in the way, right?



Next up, is the Flaming Crimes Blogfest, hosted by author Chrys Fey, who has a brand new book out today—the latest installment in her Disaster Crimes series.

Congrats, Chrys!!


Participants are asked to answer the following question:


What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?


So, last April, my area of Florida was more dry than usual, and a series of wildfires broke out. One such fire broke out very near our house. I was in a car on my way to Maine at the time, but The Man sent a text informing me of the situation and how people were preparing to evacuate. I called him to tell him the pets' packing list and the exact order that pets and all of their required items needed to go into the car. (I may have a slight case of OCD. Whatever.) This was then followed by a request that he save the following:

—My hand-drawn map for my fantasy series
—The storyboard (the little one, not the big one) for my WIP at the time
—My collection of Ellen Emerson White books that I've had since the seventh grade
—The little pewter pegasus on my desk (he's a story inspiration that I would be devastated to lose)

and then I told him he could save whatever else his little heart desired. Which I'm sure he greatly appreciated. And followed to the letter.

Fortunately, the fire department and national guard were able to get the fire under control, and The Man never had to evacuate. But boy, that was a nerve-wracking day–and I wasn't even in Florida at the time.

***

Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.


Donovan escapes what could've been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they're trying to build.


Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.


Their lives may just go up in flames…




About The Author

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.



Find her online: Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter 



Monday, January 1, 2018

Go Big Or Go Home (2018 Goals)

Happy New Year, everyone! May it somehow be better than last year.

So, it has become my habit to set a series of goals on the first of the year to be completed by the end of the year. These are big, bold goals, or occasionally very silly things. One year, I set a goal to eat more donuts. Don't ask me how I intended to measure my success with that goal, but at least I had a reason to eat a lot of donuts.

Because, you know, I need reasons to eat a lot of donuts.

But there shall be no donut goals this year. Instead, I am laying out my biggest, toughest, boldest (possibly stupidest) goals yet. And yeah, there's an excellent chance that I shall outright fail, but I like to think that there's also the outside possibility that I might not. Or perhaps I'll fall somewhere in the middle. Regardless of where I end up come December, I feel like bold is the way to go this year. To paraphrase a line from an episode of The West Wing (and you shall receive super ultra mega bonus points if you can name the episode), if I'm going to run into a wall, I'm going to do so at full speed.



So...just remind me of that when, in six months' time (or six days' time...), I'm hiding under my desk and crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Let's begin...

The Writing Goal

This is the goal by which my entire year is always measured. I don't care if I achieve everything else on this list. If I haven't accomplished what I wanted to do here, my year has been a failure. Which is, perhaps, not super healthy, but it is the truth. That said, here are my truly insane writing goals for 2018:

1. Publish Second Nature. If for no other reason that I'm so sick of having to write out this goal every January. And I'm close. Just so, so close. I hope.

2. Publish Vinnie & Ellie (working title). This is that (potentially crappy) romance novel I've been playing with off and on for a while. I'd love to have it available for this big book fair I have coming up this year, so it's on the list. And yes, I realize this means I'll have to come up with a much better title for it. And, you know, finish it.

3. Publish book of work-related sarcastic haiku. I'd love to have this available for the same book fair as mentioned above. I have half a plan for this book, and I'm looking forward to working out the rest. Including a title. The working title is Retail Rhapsody, but I think I need something better.

4. Complete first draft of Full Circle, otherwise known as Book Three of my fantasy series. I'm really looking forward to finally getting into this story. I mean, there's a scene where my characters are happy (Well, happy-ish. For a couple of paragraphs, anyway...All right, fine. Maybe just the one paragraph. Or the first half of that paragraph. Still, they're happy. Ish.) and that's just so weird. I can't wait to find out where this story will end up because I know it's probably nowhere near where I think it will end. I mean, I am totally in control of my characters and what they do.



The Reading Goal

I create one of those Goodreads challenges every year, too. Last year was 40 book. This year, I've decided to go with 52. Because I don't already have enough planned for this year.

The Fitness Goal

As I reached my 2017 mileage goal with relative ease, I've decided to up this year's goal as well. Instead of running, walking, or biking at least 3 miles each day, I'm aiming for a yearly total of 1500 miles, which comes out to approximately 4.10 miles each day. I know I won't actually log 4.10 miles each and every day, though. Unless I get one of those treadmill desks. Well, maybe not even then.

The other part of my fitness goal is to start doing yoga again. I fell out of the habit a while ago, and I really want to get back into it to see if it can help with my chronic back issues. I plan to start off with two yoga workouts a week with the intention of moving up to three someday.

No weightlifting, though. Here's some footage of the last time I attempted to lift weights:





And I think that's where I'm going to cap the goals this year. There's more than enough on that plate, and I'll drive myself crazy enough as it is.

Wish me luck! (or just call the men with the giant butterfly nets to come and take me away now because I have so very obviously lost it...)

Did you set any goals and/or resolutions for 2018?






Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Year That Wasn't (2017 Goal Recap)

Hi everyone! Hope you all had (or are having) a wonderful holiday season.

We've reached that point in the year where I take a look back at the goals I set for myself back on January 1st and see how well I did.

(Spoiler alert...not great.)

Here we go...

The Writing Goal: Publish Second Nature

Yeah. This didn't happen. Which probably surprises no one. I'm starting to suspect this book is simply just cursed and will never be published, regardless of what I do, because the delays that keep popping up are somehow more ridiculous each and every time. The biggest delay was back in September. I lost a month and a half, and I was never able to make it up. But I'm totally cool with it. Totally.



The Reading Goal: Read 40 Books 

I did manage to hit that magic number. Not exceed it, by any means, but I did manage to read 40 books. The best book I read this year was (by far!) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

The Fitness Goal: Walk, run, or bike at least 3 miles a day

Though I didn't hit the 3 mile mark every day, I still hit the miles. If I did the math right, 3 miles a day comes out to 1095 miles total for the year. As of this post, I've logged 1190 miles, so I feel pretty confidant in saying that I'll get to 1095 by the end of the year...

The Decluttering Goal: Clean out the house of stuff I don't need or use

I think I can give myself only partial credit on this one. I started off strong (strong-ish), but fizzled out partway through the house. I only made it through a couple of closets, but I did go through my books and pass a lot of titles onto my nieces. I could probably cull a few more titles, too, but let's not get crazy. And I know this Baby Groot gif has nothing to do with anything, but I just watched Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 yesterday, and my love for this gif was renewed.



But enough about me. Let's talk about you. Did you set goals for 2017? How'd you do?

Also, I'll likely be off for the rest of the year (because multiple posts in the same week are apparently too difficult for me to pull off these days), but check back on January 1st when I reveal my goals for 2018. Not that you can't already guess what #1 will be.

Have a happy and safe New Years, everyone. See you next year...







Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Will Anyone Like It? (An IWSG Post)

Hello, all! It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

(I'm assuming that by now you're all well versed in the way of the IWSG, but for anyone looking for more information, or a complete list of participants, click on the above link!)

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner.

So, I'm totally stuck in the editing doldrums (from which I fear I shall never escape), and the depths of my insecurities are reaching fun new lows each and every day. Yay! Fortunately, amazing author Tara Tyler has agreed to take over My Pet Blog today to talk about some post-publication worries instead.

Take it away, Tara!




IWSG - Will anyone like it?


I love the Insecure Writers Support Group. Where we get to whine and complain about our writing woes - or help others get through theirs.

Getting published is hard. Once you get there, it's an awesome feeling. But then the real hardships and worries begin. When you've put your baby out there, you are judged, and reviews and sales are your jury. Even after five books, I still worry if anyone will like it and more importantly, like it enough to buy it.

So here are some bits of advice to help you get through the low times, when feedback is scarce and you're feeling insecure...

  • Keep writing - readers love to read and you will find your niche of fans
  • Keep writing - more books mean more sales
  • Keep writing - the more you write, the better you get
  • Keep writing - it keeps you from checking sales!
  • and lastly, Go to book events - (bet you thought I was going to say... ha!) 
    • My best sales are at book events.
    • Readers love to interact with authors.
    • Other authors can give you more tips on how to be more successful.
    • You are your best salesperson! (whether to an agent or to an audience)

I wish you luck in your writing journey. We're all in this together!

Thank you, MJ for hosting me today. It's so great to visit your Pet Blog! Still waiting on the next novel! And looking forward to hosting your next book release at my place.

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.
About the Author:
Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Book One           Book Two


To join in the celebration, take Tara Tyler's
  SURVEY

and be entered for a PRIZE! Drawing and winners announced on December 15th.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

At Your Disposal (A Release Day Post)

DISPOSAL has arrived!!

DISPOSAL by Tara Tyler
Pop Travel, Book Three

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived when Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship. He hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

KINDLE <=> Paperback (coming soon)



About the Author:
Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Pop Travel & Simulation - The Cooper Chronicles
Broken Branch Falls & Cradle Rock - Beast World fantasy series


To celebrate, you can take Tara Tyler's SURVEY- which will automatically enter you for a PRIZE!

Here is the DISPOSAL blog tour schedule:

FRI, NOV 17 - Tyrean Martinson - 5 Things that will get you published!

MON, NOV 20 - Christine Rains - The Lazy Housewife talks Garage Goals
THU, NOV 23 - Juneta Key - I'm Thankful for where I am

MON, NOV 27 - Patricia Lynne -
THU, NOV 30 - Diane Burton - The Lazy Housewife talks Bathroom Blues

WED, DEC 6 - MJ Fifield - Special IWSG: Will anyone like me? Will anyone care?
FRI, DEC 8 - Elizabeth Seckman - The Journey of the Really Real Housewives

MON, DEC 11 - C. Lee McKenzie -

Monday, November 13, 2017

If The Apocalypse Comes, Beep Me (An Editing Update)

Hey, y'all remember how, in my last post, I was all, "I actually like my manuscript!"

Well, you can relax. It's over now. There shall be no apocalypse today. (Or, if there is one, it's not my fault.)



Which is not to say that I hate my book. Because I don't. (Well, maybe on occasion.) It's more...I don't trust how things are going, or that I have managed to do anything even remotely close to the way it should actually be done.

You know, normal things.

Yet, despite of this, I seem to be making some semblance of progress.

Here's how the To-Do list was looking when I started this "final" editing stage about a month ago:

—Implement the proofreader's corrections/suggestions

—Complete corrections on the editing run-off list you will inevitably compile while implementing the proofreader's corrections/suggestions

—Complete front and back matter (Acknowledgments, Bio, and Blurb)

—Contact formatter/book designer and get on her schedule


Where Things Are Today:

—Implement the proofreader's corrections/suggestions

Done.

—Complete corrections on the editing run-off list you will inevitably compile while implementing the proofreader's corrections/suggestions

Nearly done. There's one sentence with which I'm still not super happy. Just haven't hit upon the right wording yet. It's possible that I'm being entirely too picky about it, but I suppose there's no way to know for sure.

—Complete front and back matter (Acknowledgments, Bio, and Blurb)

The bio is done, and the blurb is...mostly done. There's one sentence in the blurb with which I'm not entirely pleased, but I don't know how to fix it yet. Or even if it needs to be fixed. I'm still working on  the acknowledgements page. I'm struggling to find the right flow. Transitions in and out of paragraphs, and whatnot. Occasionally, I'm tempted to just write "YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHY I LOVE YOU" and call it good, but they deserve better than that.

—Contact formatter/book designer and get on her schedule

Yeah. So here's the thing...apparently, the woman who did the book design and formatting for Effigy is no longer in the book design and formatting business. Which is a bummer because I was looking forward to just handing over the manuscript and saying, "Please do what you did with the first one." But now, instead, I have to find a new designer. I haven't started that hunt yet, but I imagine I will be soon. I'm running out of other things to do. Though I do seem to be making those other things last as humanly possible.

Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator, I guess.



So that is where I'm at. Getting things done, yet still not crossing anything off the list. It's nice to know that some things never change, right?

Thanks for stopping by today—How's it going in your writing world?

And because it inspired the title of this post, here's one last gif for you:



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Real Life Inspiration in Fiction

Hey, everyone!

Today, My Pet Blog is turning the spotlight on to author Patricia Josephine and her latest release, Mistakes of the Past.

Take it away, Patricia!

Four real life inspirations in Mistakes of the Past


1) Rose’s cleft lip
My nephew was born with a cleft lip and palate. By the time he was five, he had five different surgeries. He still has more to go, but is getting a break. When I created Rose I wanted her to be a cleft lip baby. There really isn’t any reason and it has no impact on the plot. It’s just one of those things that affected my life, and I know it affects others, so it’s nice to see a character with something I can relate to.

2) Josh and his grandma
There is a scene where Luc is comforting a young man at the hospital about his grandma. The thing is, she is still alive in this scene. Still, Josh asks Luc why it hurts already when she’s not gone yet.

I have one grandma left. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and every illness saps her severely. She’s in her 80s. That’s where the scene came from. I’m aware that I have less time than more with my grandma. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye and I doubt I’ll ever be ready. This scene is coming to term with that fact.

3) Rose’s memory of her teacher at the funeral
My main memory of kindergarten is getting in trouble with the teacher. My bestie of 30+ odd years and I met in kindergarten. We sat next to each other, and instead of listening to the teacher, we were talking. That got us in trouble. For the longest time, I was not endeared to that teacher.

4) The Gerrish farm and Rose’s landlord
Both those I drew from my own landlord. His last name is Gerrish, and I needed a one-time name and that popped in my head. When Rose gripes about her landlord not fixing her toilet and having to reach in to flush. That actually happened with my toilet. Although, my landlord fixed it really fast.

And as a bonus, here is one inspiration that isn’t based on real life.

Rose’s hair loops in chapter five. Anyone watch Avatar: The Last Airbender? Katara has hair loopies and I recall her brother poking fun about them. That’s the picture I had in my head when imagining Rose.





Luc seeks atonement for the actions that banished him from his home. Living as a priest in a small town, he strives to show how much he’s changed with the hope that one day he can return to his family.

Haunted by the guilt that destroyed her family, Rose has shut her heart off. She vows to never let anyone near again lest she hurt them. When she meets Luc, she can’t deny the draw she feels to him.

But the past is not easily forgotten. When Luc’s past finds him, Rose is caught in the middle. Forced to face who he used to be, Luc must decide if he’s willing to give up his chance at redemption to save Rose. But doing so means he won’t be able to hide who he is. Will Rose be able to reconcile the man she knows with the devil he used to be? Or are the mistakes of the past too damning?

Now available at: Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes



About the Author:

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Find Patricia online at: Twitter, website, Google+, Wattpad, Goodreads