Welcome to my blog. My place for my wandering thoughts and meanderings. You never know what may fall out of my brain.
|My participation in 2016|
See this explosion?
This was my summer plans. Yep, up they went in a giant fireball of FUBAR! Yes, the family went to Washington and we had a great time. That was the beginning. Now, we get to the middle and end.
I had big plans. I had lowered my work hours to write more, and spend time with the kids. I am intrigued by the paranormal and am writing a new series. The main character can see ghosts.
My son and I were going to see some haunted places; maybe drag his sister along. It was going to be great fun. We were going to swim and I was going to write by the pool while they played. It was going to idyllic, so television series worthy. We were going to be the next perfect family. Nope.
Then, life happened. Doesn’t it always? Plans changed. Time flew and all of a sudden, it was August. The two months the kids were out of school was gone. Where did it go?
I’m on a trip to the Pacific Northwest, Washington, to be more specific. I’m writing this from the hotel’s computer. It’s our family vacation. I was born up here and I wanted to show my children where I came from.
As we were driving through Mt. Ranier National Park I realized why so many fantasy stories take place in the Pacific Northwest. It’s beautiful. It’s majestic. And most of all, it’s mysterious. Old growth forests protected by moss. Lush green vegetation enveloped the forest floor. Mushrooms and wildflowers covered fallen trees, and waterfalls flowed into streams and small rivers
We had no cell service on the mountain. Tourists from all over the world were at the Paradise Lodge doing what we were doing, admiring the mountain. Feeling the heart of the earth.
The mysteriousness is perfect. The sense of solitude. A place to get lost. Perfect for Bigfoot. The eerie, dark forest with little light shining through. Perfect for vampires. The wilderness, wild and free; perfect for werewolves. The Pacific Northwest is a mystical place where fantasy can be seen. A secretive place full of monsters, fairies, and Bigfoot. A place that is wild and scary and I would go back in a heartbeat.
On March 1st I participated in my first book signing event. Book Exchange, a local book store in Marietta, hosted an Indie author and publishing event. I hesitated for a moment to sign up, but something pushed me to do it, so I called the bookstore, talked to the owner, hopped in my mini-van and paid for my table. I promoted the two books I have available right now, Fat Farm, and Mallow Mayhem.
I decided to do two give-a-ways, one for each book. I cross stitched two simple bookmarks, bought some candy, a Starbucks gift card and baskets. I put it all together. They looked so good. I had bookmarks with my logo made, I created a sign-up sheet for my mailing list. I was in a perpetual state of freak-out for three weeks. My poor husband.
The night of the event arrived and I was as prepared as I was going to be. I had a nice table. I set up my wares. My assistant, my beautiful daughter, was by my side and people began to arrive.
It was a good crowd, despite the thunderstorms that came through. My friends and family came to support me. I talked with people, and other authors. I got up and spoke about my books. I listened as the other authors spoke about theirs. It was a wonderful night. I didn’t sell that many books, which was disappointing, but that was not the purpose of this event. The purpose was to get me out there. It was to sell my brand. To network. And it worked. I got a few more names for my list. Now I have 14! Woo Hoo! Every little bit helps, because these names can bring more names and more fans. I hope.
Here are some things I learned:
1. It can be hit or miss with the crowd. You might hit your demographic. You might not. Since Fat Farm is a dystopian tale, I wasn’t sure the senior citizens in the crowd would buy it. And I think that made up most of the group.
2. You’re selling you. I’m not a salesman. I never was and I never will be. That is why I had a hard time working with the limousine service. If they didn’t want the service after the I gave them information, then I wasn’t going push it. Writing is a solitary business. I’m an introvert, although I think there is an extrovert in there somewhere. It’s hard to be out in front of people, hawking your wares and selling yourself as an author. Be personable and charming. It can be fun. The most die-hard introvert can light up when talking about their passion. I did.
3. Step back and punt I think Mallow Mayhem is a wonderful story. It’s a fun read, but it’s not selling like it should. I only sold one copy. That was disappointing. From what I learned from the crowd, was they thought it was a children’s book. It’s not. And it never will be. It seems that no matter how much I say to the contrary, that’s what readers think, so I’m rethinking the Philippa Marlowmellow series. Am I going to stop writing it. No. I may do it as a free series on my website. I’m still pondering that one.
4. Keep writing. This is the most important. When I left that evening, all I wanted to do was come home and write. It jazzed me up to keep going. To keep telling stories. When you’re not selling, or on the best seller list, it can be hard to keep it up. I would love to be on that list and one day I will be. I just have to keep going. Keep creating the stories.
So, after all this the question is: Would I do another event? The answer is Hell Yeah! The Girl In The Golden Cage is being sent to beta readers soon. And then to be edited. Then off to another event! Off to hawk my wares It will be fun!
When I was younger I would screw up, or learn something new and I would tell my friends, “Lisa lesson number … ” whatever number I made up. We would laugh or cry, depending on the lesson and go on with our activity.
That brings me to this lesson. I don’t make New Years resolutions. I used to, but I never kept them. Besides, my birthday is “my new year,” so if I make a resolution I do it on my birthday. This year has been full of ups and downs, good and bad, and everything in between. The last few months of the year were especially hard as everything basically went to hell in a hand basket. But it’s a new year. Time to step back, re-evaluate and move forward. So instead of a resolution, I’m going to have a New Years Theme. Lisa Lesson 4,265,325,001 is to live more intentionally.
How am I going to accomplish this? With a lot of help from my God, my family, and my friends. Here is what I am thinking:
1. Being more intention in my writing.
Yeah, yeah. I’ve said that before. I think in almost every post I’ve done. But it bears repeating…every day. I’ve heard you should write every day. I don’t. It’s not for the lack of trying. Life interrupts. That is where being intentional comes in. I have, not want, to schedule time to write. Make it a priority. Just as much of a priority as my outside-of-writing job, and my family. My sister bought me this planner for Christmas. I thought it was the neatest thing. I may not write 100 stories this year, but maybe I can plan out 100 stories. I will be more intentional about my writing.
3. Be more intentional about my health and wellness.
This is not an “I’m going to lose weight,” although I need to do that. This is about taking care of myself. I’m bad about that. I do have health issues that need to be taken care of, and I tend to put myself last the list. I am diabetic so this means eating right. Moving. I don’t move enough. I sit and write, I sit and stitch. My retail job helps with this, so that will be better. Drinking my water. During the hell of the last few months I started drinking diet sodas again. I hadn’t had a soda in five years. I am stopping those sodas. Make time for myself to just be. Be in that zen area and relax.
4. Be more intentional about family.
I don’t know if my family would like being out on the internet, so our cat Koko will represent them. After all, he is family too. Sometimes life just slaps you down and you get caught up in bills, work, all the “stuff.” And that “stuff” changes how you interact with family. At least it did for me. I get cranky after work. My knees hurt, my feet hurt, etc., and I’m not me. I’m not going to let that happen. I bought my son an electric guitar for Christmas. He wanted to play and my nephew brought his guitar over and gave him a few tips before I bought one. I didn’t want to spend the money if he wasn’t going to play. This is something we can do together. I printed out tabs for a Linkin Park song that we’re learning and we will play it together. It’s going to be fun.
5. Last but certainly not least, be more intentional in my faith.
I love God. I love Jesus. As a Christian that means to be Jesus with skin on. I’m not going to go out and preach you’re going to Hell if your not saved. I’m not that way. To me, being a Christian is to love like Jesus loved. To care for people, help people no matter who they are. It’s not my job to judge people. It’s my job to love people. Am I perfect? No freakin’ way! I’m just as messed up as the next person, but I try my best to be the best person I can be.
This is my theme for the year. I will let you know how I do along the way. It is my hope that all of you have a wonderful and best 2016!
“The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.” – Stephen Nachmanovitch.
The past few weeks have been a challenge for my family and myself. I won’t go into much detail, but my writing has not my priority. It’s been all about my son. He’s been having a tough time. Missing school because of a concussion and making a trip to urgent care with a nice five stitch worthy cut. Poor little guy. I shouldn’t say little, he’s thirteen and taller than me. But he had a science project due and since he is in Advanced Content Science, he had to enter the Science Fair. He planned his project, but didn’t realize how much building he would have to do so, my husband and I had been helping him. (It was a cool project about safe houses and tornadoes.)
I was binge watching Bones and working on panels for the house he was building, I was gluing these panels together and getting the stuff all over my fingers. It dried. I looked at my fingers, grinned and peeled it off. As a child, I LOVED to put glue on my hands and try to take it off in one piece. Have any of you ever done that? I had fun making those tiles just so I had an excuse to peel the glue off my fingers. That child-like joy of doing something so simple as to play with glue, was fun.
I know. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Life, as an adult, is so full. We go to work, come home, help our kids, play taxi, etc. We have bills, taxes, car payments, house payments, the list goes on. We get lost and so does our child-like joy. We become so jaded watching the news, and television that life doesn’t seem fun anymore. Commercials show us how fun life should be if we use that product, or buy this car, but that is not life.
What I have noticed is that we seem to hunger for simpler things. I work part-time at Michaels. I like the job. I get to see what everyone is creating. But what I also see is that search for fun and simple joy. Coloring books for adults have become very popular. We carry a wide variety. I ring them up, and see all the designs. They’re beautiful. The act of coloring relieves the stress of our over-scheduled life.
Another popular trend is Zentangle. My sister introduced me to this creative artwork. So, what is Zentangle? Zentangle is an art form that creates images from repetitive patterns. It’s supposed to relieve stress and increase a sense of well being. I see it as doodling. My sister’s pictures are beautiful. I’m trying to see if I can make one into a cross stitch pattern.
These are technological-free forms of creativity. Are we yearning from some simple non-tech time? Don’t get me wrong, I do like my IPhone, and computer, but I’ve noticed, in myself, that need for non-tech time. I’m setting my computer aside to something else. Something creative and relaxing. For me, it’s counted cross stitch. As I sit with pattern, needle, floss, and fabric, I find it frees my mind to do some creating in the background. I have solved plot problems and come up with new story ideas by sitting and stitching.
You may wonder what all this had to do with writing? A lot, really. Without the permission to live in that simplicity, to be who we are supposed to be, how can we create? Some of you may say, “I don’t write children’s books.” I don’t either, but freeing our imagination like a child can help our characters grow and evolve. While you color, those what-ifs, wow-what-a-cool-story-idea, and so-that’s-how-I-fix-that-plot-hole will come through.
Put aside the stress of marketing your novel, getting in that word count, or meeting that deadline. Doodle and draw like children. Go play. Sit down and color. Sit down and draw. Let the colors fill the pages as ideas fill your minds. Have fun.
Do you ever sit in your living room watching TV or reading a book and some weird random thought pops into your head? That happened to me and my husband. We read a lot of the same fantasy books, and watch the same television shows. We like a lot of the same adventure movies. I don’t remember what we were watching, but things were getting blown up, monsters on the loose, or something.
Me: We can’t live there.
Husband: Why not?
Me: To much destruction.
So this led to a conversation of places we cannot live.
Yes, I know it’s not a real place, but think about it. The crime rate is astronomical. The criminal element is one of the worst around. They’ve got Two-Face, and the Riddler. And the psychotic Joker and Then you have the vigilante element. The man who runs around in a cape and cowl. Batman. He’s just as dangerous as the psycho criminals. Holy Property Damage Batman! Think about your property taxes in that place.
No to Metropolis. Yeah, I know Superman is cool, but seriously? How does one good man/alien attract such a bad element? I Googled Superman’s enemies and the list is so long, I can’t post it. My goodness. The ones I am familiar with are Lex Luthor, Braniac, Bizarro, and General Zod. So, with the ones I know, and that REALLY, REALLY long list, you take your life into your own hands living in Metropolis.
Starling City and Central City
I combined these two because their shows cross over. In Starling City we have The Arrow, a hooded masked man who goes around killing people who have “failed this city.” I only have experience with the television show, so the villains I am familiar with are Deathstroke, Malcolm Merlyn, and Ra’s al Ghul. Once again, I’m on Google and the comic book villains abound. Can I really live in a city where there are arrows flying, earthquake machines destroying the city and the crazed League of Assassins? I think not.
The Flash lives in Central City. He’s a nice young man who got his powers with a supercharged bolt of lightening caused by an explosion at S.T.A.R. labs. He runs around helping people. So, what of the others who got with the supercharged explosion. Central City has some pretty nasty villains called Metahumans. They are rather insane and use their powers for evil. If I can’t have a super power, then I’m not living in a city full of Metahumans where death and destruction abound.
By now, you may be thinking, “These are all make-believe. She’s so full of it.” That may be true, but now we get down to the nitty gritty. The REAL places.
New York? Yes, New York. The Avengers, Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, and others live in that fair city. And so do their villains. The city may be dirty enough, but you will have Spidey webs everywhere, destruction, doomsday devices. My goodness, can you imagine the taxes you would have to pay to live there? Seriously, I could go to work one day and everything be fine. Come home and find my living room exposed and my cat hanging from the ceiling after a big battle. Nope, not living in New York.
Any Dr. Who fans out there? Every alien invasion happens in London. Poor guys, they just can’t get away from it. Any bad thing that is going to happen to Earth starts in London. The Weeping Angels are the creepiest. We have a stone angel statue in a garden at church, and it creeps me out every time I see it. There’s the Adipose,cybermen, the silents and the whisper men. Oh and the snowmen. I’m glad it doesn’t snow much in Georgia.
Seattle or should I say Pacific Northwest
I love Seattle. I was born in the Pacific Northwest. I have family there. That part of our country is beautiful, but there are a werewolves, shape shifters, zombies, Wessen. I would be afraid to go out at night, and definitely not during a full moon. Nope, nada, zippo for the Pacific Northwest.
I think this is a given. Zombies and Vampires people! I’ve never been to New Orleans. I’m sure it is a very nice place, but the preternatural beings that live in the city will keep it from becoming a residence to me. No living here either.
Godzilla – enough said.
So, I was just about to be finished with my little diatribe and say we live in a supernaturally safe place when my daughter pipes up and says, “What about the Walking Dead?”
Oh My Gosh! I live near ground zero of the Zombie Apocalypse! Is there no safe place? Where am I going to live now? Well, I guess I’m going to have to put together my Zombie preparation kit, and make a plan. It’s a good thing we have a basement.
“Honey, where did you hide the shotgun?”