Tag Archives: Blog Hop

Failure As a Motivational Tool

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This week we’re talking about failing at the goals we’ve set for ourselves. It happens to everyone at least once in their writing career, moreso if you’re trying to balance family, a day job, and writing. It’s not the easiest thing to do – especially if you have young children who can’t entertain themselves – and at some point you find yourself with your head in your hands wondering how you managed to get there.

Setting goals for yourself is a great thing for those of us with super hectic schedules. I’ve heard many people say that it’s a good thing to schedule some time in your day to write and even read one person say you should commit to being creative during your scheduled time. The problem is, your brain doesn’t always cooperate.

You can’t schedule creativity. You can find time to write but if the creative juices aren’t flowing there’s a good chance you’re going to have to cut everything you just wrote when you edit it.

So what do you do when you fail at a goal you’ve set? I accept the fact that I didn’t get where I wanted or what I expected, then use it as a lesson. What worked? What didn’t? Was there a reason I didn’t make my goal, and if so can it be worked around next time? By asking myself these questions I not only learn a lot about my writing process, I also learn about myself and get that much closer to achieving my goal next time.

How do my fellow writers deal with failure? Check out their posts on the blog hop!
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.



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Tape Flags and Highlighters

Open Book BH 3Today on the Blog Hop we are talking about our favorite office supplies!

I have to say, I absolutely LOVE office supplies. I have always loved roaming the aisles at Staples or Office Depot, checking out the latest pens (I prefer fine or extra-fine point), and buying way too many Post-It notes and highlighters, all of which I use when I’m doing my first round of edits.

My favorite office need by far, though, is the humble tape flag. I use them as a quick way to mark a page that needs a change, and I prefer the ones from Post-It because they’re like tiny horizontal Post-It notes and I can scribble a quick note on them if I need to. I can also put some on the top and some on the sides if I need to remind myself where I was at during the last editing session. They come in all sorts of colors (I prefer the neon-colored ones) and they’re surprisingly cheap.

Once I decided I was going to try and make my own tape flags out of Post-Its, but it ended badly and I ended up walking to the drugstore to buy some of the real deal instead. Ditto for the ones made like tape, which are hard to write on. I always come back to the Post-It ones and try to keep a pack of them handy whenever I have to do some editing.

Another thing I love are Sharpie highlighters. They’re liquid highlighters which seem to go on smoother and last longer than regular ones, and despite being liquid they don’t smear ink as badly. When I go through the manuscript for the first time I do it on a hard copy, so highlighting and tape flags are immensely important to me. This is a very timely post, as I will be starting edits tomorrow on Turn the Page and need to make sure I have all this stuff!

What are my fellow authors loving these days? Check out their posts on the Blog Hop and see!

 
Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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The Worst Day

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This week on the blog hop, we’re talking about a topic that affects almost every writer at some point – a time when we considered giving up writing.

I wrote The Detective’s Brother in 2011 and spent several years trying to get it published through every possible avenue, but even though I got a little bit of interest from agents I was ultimately rejected.

Every time I got a rejection letter I felt like I was personally being rejected. No matter how many times I reminded myself that every writer gets rejected and that JK Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before she found one that would publish Harry Potter, I felt my resolve that I would ever publish slipping.

Then one day I just woke up and couldn’t write. Everyone has an off day so I just sat around watching movies and crocheting, deciding that I would try again the next day. But the same thing happened over and over until I couldn’t put more than a paragraph on the page without worrying about its quality.

Rather than trying to ignore my inner editor as they tell us during NaNoWriMo, I overanalyzed every word in an attempt to understand why no one wanted to take a chance on my writing. I got so caught up in trying to craft the perfect sentence that someone might love that I wasn’t enjoying writing, and eventually I just stopped.

After a few months of attempting to write this way, I gave up. I decided I was just going to stop writing because obviously it wasn’t good enough for anyone, so I put away my computer and sank into a deep depression. Every day that I wasn’t writing felt like an eternity but I couldn’t look at a blank screen any longer.

Then my husband suggested that I write something completely outlandish just for fun. When I was in college and high school, I used to write fan fiction (if you don’t know what that is, it’s when you write fiction using the characters and stories from something established like Harry Potter or Doctor Who). I decided I was going to write something like that again just for fun, and once again I found joy in writing.

I got used to writing every day again and before I knew it I was getting ideas again and writing outlines for stories of my own. I started rewriting Detective’s Brother and submitted it to small presses. You know the story from there!

Since then I have never had a day like the one where I decided to stop writing, and it’s been a relief. Now I can’t imagine making that decision again.

 

Behind the Scenes

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After a couple of weeks of hiatus, I’m back on the blog hop!

This week on the Blog Hop, we’re pulling back the curtain and giving our readers a glimpse behind the scenes of our writing.

I don’t talk about it much but I work a full time job in the medical field, which means I’m on my feet 10-12 hours a day with no time to think about anything besides vital signs and drug dosages, and I come home tired and wanting to doze off on the couch.

As a result, I do a lot of my writing in short bursts just before bed. I won a Kindle Fire in a raffle and gave it to my husband, so he usually sits with me and catches up on his reading or sometimes plays video games so that we’re spending time together even if my head is back in 1885. I also get some tidbits written over my lunch hour, though they’re usually more disjointed scenes that I put together later when I have more time.

My favorite place to write is on the couch with my feet up while a horror movie of questionable quality plays in the background. I get more writing done that way on my days off, and I’ve actually amassed quite a collection of horror movies that I’ve seen so many times I could recite the script. If it’s too quiet I invariably end up getting stuck on things that I would have flown past.

When I was in college writing fan fiction (also of questionable quality), I did my best work in the University Center with Tri-Sigmas talking about their sorority drama or professors complaining about their office hours. I couldn’t get anything done in the library, so my laptop was my best friend back in the days when a laptop weighed ten pounds. I still carry my writing computer with me everywhere just in case I get a stroke of inspiration when I’m in the cafe waiting for my husband to get off work.

Speaking of my writing computer, it’s a cute little blue number with only the most basic software needed for writing. I don’t use it for music or movies, just work, which limits the distractions I face when I’m trying to write. The two programs I use almost exclusively are Word and Scrivener, switching back and forth between them as I go, and Scrivener keeps me moving forward along my outline but also gives me the flexibility to add scenes and info whenever my characters decide to do something completely out of left field.

When I get an idea for a story, it’s usually not more than a single line or two, and the first thing I do is fire up Scrivener and start making notecards. I start filling in the blanks later but once things start falling into place it happens quickly. One thing that isn’t hard and fast for me is chapters. Sometimes I’ll feel like a chapter needs to be added or switched around, and Scrivener lets me do that easily. Almost too easily sometimes. And once I start doing research, it’s all over for me. I’m neck deep in a new story and I won’t see daylight for a couple of months.

Want to know how some of my other author friends do their work? Check out some other stops on the blog hop!

Aim for the Head

Open Book BH 2This week on the Blog Hop we’re talking about zombies.

Strange topic, huh? But for a creature that was only slightly referenced for years, zombies have become a hot topic in pop culture. Zombie books, zombie movies, even a sort of serious debate on whether zombies would be fast or slow.

As much as I’d like to say that I’m above the whole zombie craze, I really love The Walking Dead. My husband is a huge fan of comics and horror movies, so he had already read a lot of the comics before the show was even announced. We both agreed that for a long comic like it, the best way to adapt it was to do a TV series. I was kind of curious to see how they handled the gore but just as in the comics, the show is really more about the people than the zombies. I haven’t seen the most recent season, though, so no spoilers please!

My husband also loves video games, and one of his favorite games is Dead Island. He also loves the zombie DLC for the Call of Duty games, even though he’s not a huge fan of first person shooter games. I think it’s a case of his liking to play with his friends more than the actual shooting, and he only ever seems to play the zombie version.

I’ve only read one zombie book that I can think of, Stephen King’s Cell. I read it when it first came out and don’t remember much about it other than the fact that people were turned into zombies (or zombie-like people) by a pulse that went through their cell phones. I can’t even really remember whether or not it was good, which probably says something about it. I have seen a lot of zombie movies, though. And as far as that debate? I can see both sides of it but I’m firmly in camp “Classic Shambling Zombie.”

Willow BranchBefore you check out the rest of the posts, check out Lela Markham’s book, The Willow Branch: Book 1 of The Daermad Cycle

A healer must mend a fractured kingdom and bring two enemy races together before a greater enemy destroys them both.

Fate took Prince Maryn by surprise, leaving Celdrya to tear itself apart. A century later an army amasses against the warring remains of the kingdom as prophesy sends a half-elven healer on a journey to find the nameless True King.

 

What’s your opinion on zombies? Share it with everyone on the blog hop!
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Reality TV

Open Book BH 2This week we’re talking about reality television on the Blog Hop.

In some cases I enjoy reality TV. Shows like Undercover Boss and Who Do You Think You Are? are wonderful and in a lot of cases make me cry. I was watching one episode of Undercover Boss where they were at a water park and when the owner revealed herself and started handing out college education and raises, I seriously started crying.

There are other cases, though, and it is they that give reality TV a bad name. Stuff like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Bad Girls Club is almost entirely trash. Spoiled rich people acting spoiled is not my idea of a good time, especially when there are way better shows to watch. Some shows, like 16 and Pregnant may actively promote teen pregnancy because they glorify it and gloss over important things like how teenage mothers have to drop out of school and often end up on welfare or food stamps. And shows like Toddlers and Tiaras…I just don’t have the words.

I also tend to like shows like Pawn Stars or Storage Wars where people find crazy stuff buried in junk (I used to be a huge fan of Antiques Roadshow). Not only do you get to see cool collectibles and treasures you also get to learn the history behind them in a lot of cases, which is pretty great too.

There are some shows that kind of walk the line for me. I like watching Hoarders but feel kind of guilty about it, and I love the art of Miami Ink and LA Ink but could really do without the drama. Drama makes shows like Kitchen Nightmares fun but if I have to watch one more episode of Say Yes to the Dress I will throw something.

So I guess I’m kind of in two minds about reality TV! Everyone has their own favorite show, I’m not about to judge you. Unless you watched Honey Boo Boo. Then we’re breaking up.

Want to share your opinions? Join the blog hop!
Rules:
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2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Blue LadyJust because Christmas is over doesn’t mean that Stephany Tullis doesn’t have anything for you to read! Blue Lady is another of her great books, and you can find it here at Amazon!

My Christmas Music Playlist Has Two Songs

Open Book BH 2

This week on the Open Book Blog Hop, we’re getting into the Christmas spirit by talking about our favorite Christmas songs!

As a rule, I’ve never much cared for traditional Christmas songs. Where people love to listen to certain ones over and over, I tend to cringe and say “Not Baby, It’s Cold Outside AGAIN” in my head. I have other reasons for disliking that song, but not today. Today I’m talking about my two favorite ones!

The first one is Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You. It was made famous by Billy Squier in the 80’s, and from the first time I heard it when I was a kid I loved it. It’s much more my style while still being a song that you can play at a Christmas party without having the fruit basket thrown at your head.

It was remade by a band called SR-71 on the Very Special Christmas 5 album, and they gave it more of a hard rock tinge that really hit it for me. I still love hearing either version, though I found this one completely by accident while looking for the Billy Squier version.

My second favorite is a classic from my childhood, Bruce Springsteen’s version of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. The Boss gives the old song his own flavor, not just in the singing but also the patter at the beginning of the song. This is one of the only Christmas songs my stepdad would play without being coerced and it always brings back nice memories.

Much like the two versions of my other favorite, it adds a little rock n’ roll (and a healthy dose of saxophone) to an otherwise well-picked-over holiday offering.

The main problem with most Christmas music in my experience is that there are very few new songs. Most of the ones you hear are rehashes of the traditional favorites and I’m getting to the age where I have literally heard these songs thousands of times. There are a couple of other ones I can listen to but nothing like these two. I could even be persuaded to listen to them for a few weeks after the trees are on the curb.

Danny'sWar

Before you go, be sure to check out PJ Fiala’s latest book, Danny’s War! It’s the story of a military veteran and an artist who find love and redemption with each other, complete with love, motorcycles, and a liberal amount of drama. Check it out here on Amazon and take a look at her site (http://pjfiala.com) while you’re at it!

Now, what are your favorite Christmas songs? Share them with us!

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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