Theme

To start off the year right, the Roses are finding inspiration in the words of others. For January:

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? ~ L.M. Montgomery

And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. ~ Meister EckhartT

Friday, January 30, 2015

Question Everything by Diane Burton



Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

Words to live by—especially not to stop questioning. Do you remember the Sixties? (either personally or what you’ve read) We were such a “horrible” generation. So disillusioned by the Establishment. We dared to question authority. “Because I said so” didn’t cut it for us. Even worse when it came from people we were supposed to respect. Government, organized religion, Big Business. “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” LOL

We grew up cynical, just knowing we were being lied to. Even when we weren’t. Worse when we could say “I told you so.” Questioning authority led to many arguments, even estrangement, within families. It also led to protest marches, riots, major disruptions of large assemblies (like the Democratic National Convention).

I’m pretty sure that type of questioning was not what Einstein referred to. While I’m not a flower child anymore (never was, actually), I haven’t stopped asking why. Or what if. Isn’t that what writers do? We want our readers to ask why, to leave them wondering what happens next when they finish our books. But first we have to ask those questions ourselves. What came before the story starts? Why do our characters act the way they do? What in their past formed their attitudes? What will it take to make them change? Why?

I’ve always been a reader. I love learning something new. Maybe not everything, like when Microsoft changes something that was perfectly fine. I’ve never enjoyed reading non-fiction, but if I need a fact for a story or blog post, I’ll delve deep into the internet. I’m very curious about other people, cultures, worlds. Not only do I wonder if there is sentient life on other planets, I make up stories about them.

Yesterday, Glenys wrote about age and attitude. I just shake my head at my contemporaries who won’t try something new, won’t use a computer (or are afraid to try), or think they’re too old to learn a new skill. They may be the same chronological age I am, but they’re years older in their attitude. 

I’ve frequently mentioned my three “Moms”—my mother, mother-in-law, and her sister. They are ladies who traveled to Europe in their eighties and nineties. When Aunt Cora broke her wrist in her mid-nineties, she learned to use a microwave. You should have seen her amazement when she discovered microwave popcorn came with butter and salt already on it. If laptop computers had been cheaper then, I’ll bet she would have loved learning to use one. Here's a picture of the three of them at St. Moritz. They continued going on European tours for another seven or eight years.
Cora, 89; Dorothy, 74; Grace, 91
I hope when I’m in my nineties, I’m still asking why and what if. Still writing stories to answer those questions.


Diane Burton blogs here on the 8th and 30th of each month and on Mondays on her own site: http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Don't Tell Me I'm Too Old!



@GlenysOConnell

It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” – Gabriel García Marquez.

As a society, we seem obsessed with age. Age dominates the way we're expected to behave - how often do we hear the phrase: Act Your Age! when we're maybe feeling light and easy and a bit giddy? And what a putdown that can feel like! Then the way we dress - why shouldn't 'older' women wear bright colors and yes, tight pants and mini skirts, too, if they have the shape for it. Not something I would do, though. My shape needs something more demure...:-)
 
Age perception affects every aspect of our lives. Whether we get a job or a promotion, whether we're considered too old to learn something new, too old to date or find new relationships. An aunt in her late sixties was advised by concerned family members that she was 'too old' to take a trip to Australia to see the son she hadn't seen for years, and meet his family. She went. She had a great time - and looked years younger when she came home.
 
A friend who's an avid woodworker set about building himself a new workshop as his 70th birthday gift to himself. Another friend suggested to him that, at his age, it was pointless building this new project because, after all, he wouldn't have a lot of time left. Twenty years later, he's still enjoying his workspace, making wood carvings and creating other items from his own designs.
 
There's a lot to be said for staying young in our outlook. I'm pretty sure that 'young thinking' people stay healthier and active. I'm a great believer in the idea that 'attitude is everything' and that, if we give in to the idea that age prevents us from doing something, well, we may as well head for the rocking chair and slowly fade away.
 
I've taught creative writing online for years, and one question prospective students often ask is: "Do You Think I'm Too Old To Start Writing a Book?" My reply is usually: "Are you breathing? Do You have a pulse? Then no, you're not too old."
 
It makes me angry when I hear newsreaders announce that 'an elderly woman of 57' was injured in a car accident. Jeez, whoever said 57 was elderly?
 
I'm not immune, though. This age thing gets into your head. One of the main characters in my recently completed novel, The Bride's Curse, is a woman of 62. I found myself frequently referring to her as an older woman, and even twice as an old woman. Goodness me - I had to slap myself silly and go back and change all those references!
 
So, that's my rant for today, and the reason that I veered from the straight and narrow of the quotes listed for January above. After all, my fellow roses have done justice to them already and I'm feeling far too old to be competitive - Not!
 
Glenys O'Connell, who refuses to give her age even when asked by Homeland Security, also blogs on Romance Can Be Murder! http://www.romancecanbemurder.blogspot.ca/ And you can see her books on www.amazon.com/author/glenysoconnell


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Debra Druzy's Typical Day of a Romance Writer



Thank you for hosting me on the Roses of Prose. As a newly published author, I appreciate this opportunity to share a bit about my writing life. Writing romance has been my guilty pleasure for years. Only a handful of family and friends know I write or even published a book. I'm an ordinary stay-at-home mom when I'm carting my kids around town. But once I'm home alone, I harness the power of my inner-MarkTwainJohnSteinbeckNoraRoberts and get to work.

A Typical Day in the Not-So-Glamorous Life of this Romance Writer
Have you ever seen the movie She-Devil with Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep? It’s funny on so many levels, but the portrayal of the romance novelist, Mary Fisher, is hilarious. Mary's world is pink and perfect—from her waterfront mansion, to her flowing outfits, to her Zenith laptop. Can you picture Mary Fisher? Okay… Now forget her. Because that’s not me.
Here’s my typical day—
3:15am – Hubby’s alarm goes off, and my brain starts tallying everything I have to do today. Since I get more done when I'm awake than when I'm asleep I might as well start the day now that my eyes are pried open.

3:30 – It's a frigid 64 degrees in the house, so I turn up the thermostat. Then turn on Mr. Coffee. Click the remote starter to warm up hubby's car. Swap loads of laundry. Check social media to see what's been going on in the world without me.

4:00 – Once I've sent hubby off to work and let the pup out for a quick squirt, I hop on treadmill because if I don’t exercise now I won’t do it at all.

5:00 – My stomach is craving a chocolate biscotti and coffee, but I suck down a protein shake instead while unloading the dishwasher.

5:30 – Hit the shower, aka The Think Tank, where I mentally run down the list of to-dos for today. Dressing is super-simple when all I ever wear is black yoga pants and black thermal shirts—I call it my uniform.

6:00 – Wake Middle-Schooler for round-one of the morning routine—which includes me begging and prodding for her to make a move so we can get this project underway.

7:00 – Wake Elementary-Schooler for round-two of the morning routine—she's usually ahead of schedule but still finds ways to deviate from the master plan.

8:00 - 9:00 – Two trips to the bus stop.

9:30 – START WRITING!... Wait—I have to read a few lines of what I wrote yesterday so I can get my head in the game! What was I thinking? This makes no sense… Let’s just tweak, and fix, and delete, and change and… What am I doing? This isn’t revising time—it's writing time. Stop revising! Start writing!

10:00—Okay. Writing for real now…

11:30 – Bathroom break—for pup and me. Stretch legs. Refill cup—since quitting coffee (boo-hoo) this means tea or water.

Noon – BACK TO WRITING! Hurry up, I’m burning daylight... Hubby and girls will be home soon and will want stuff—like my time and attention and food and a ride. Write faster!

2:00 – Get something ready for dinner. Ugh! I forgot to defrost the meat. Think, think… Raviolis! Check the freezer… Bingo—I just won another hour of writing time! Wait—just remembered… I have to write something for a guest blog spot. Stumped for a topic. Freak out while surfing the 'net for blog ideas.

3:00 - 4:00 – Two trips to the bus stop.

5:00 – After-school routine. Homework. Raviolis. Activities.

8:00 – Bedtime, finally! Take pup out for a last squirt. Turn down thermostat. Kiss girls goodnight. Relax and read an e-book. Or if I'm lucky, catch an episode or two or three of Family Guy with hubby. Zone out.

10:00pm – Double check the thermostat's turned down. Then lights out because 3:15am comes around real fast. Where’d all the time go? Thank God and say prayers for another day just like this one.

I'm exhausted just proofreading this J

Thanks again, for having me here today. Have a great day—I hope it’s a productive one filled with all the right words!

(BOOK BLURB)

When Nick reluctantly accepts the temporary transfer to the Scenic View Fire Department he doesn’t plan on playing Santa Claus for the kiddie Christmas party. Sticking around town for the special assignment will give him a chance to get to know lonely, local sweetheart Lily and find out why she wants nothing to do with him.

Lily is a lifelong fixture in Scenic View, sick of living hand-to-mouth in a place where everyone’s nose is in her personal business. Just when she’s ready to move out of town, she meets the gorgeous newcomer, and it’s lust at first sight. The only thing is she doesn’t date firemen, which is too bad, because charming Nick seems like a real keeper. With a little Christmas magic and help from the Santa suit, will Nick find a way into Lily’s heart and change her mind?


(EXCERPT)

Almost everything was closed on Thanksgiving, so her choices were limited to grabbing a bag of beef jerky at the gas station’s mini-mart or daring to go into the dreaded diner. She didn’t like eating alone in public, which worked perfectly because she didn’t have enough cash for the bill, plus a tip.
Studying the Specials posted on the glass door, she debated on ordering something to go. She could eat it at a picnic table in the park.
A man’s thick voice behind her shook her deep contemplation. “Going in or coming out?”
“Sorry.” As Lily jumped aside to free up the doorway, she recognized Nick’s superlative smile beaming like the sun, warming every cell in her body. His nose was rosy, and his quizzical eyes shimmered with moisture as if he’d been in the frigid wind for too long. She bit her tongue to prevent any wild thoughts from rushing past her shivering lips.
“Hey, are you following me?” He winked.
“I, um…” His distinctive musk and cinnamon scent derailed her train of thought. She hid her smile while brushing away an escaped curl tickling her chin. Did her best to contain the butterflies fluttering in her belly.
“Well?” Nick cocked his head. “I’m cold and hungry. How about you?” He grimaced, underdressed for the blustery weather in a black leather jacket with a red scarf tucked into the collar. “Care to join me?”
Of course, she wanted to join him but the rapid fire of her treacherous heart made it difficult to breathe, let alone talk, and her feet were too stunned to move.
“You don’t have to if you don’t wanna. But why eat alone when we could eat together? Unless, of course, you’re not here alone.”

(BUY LINKS)

(BIO)
Debra Druzy is a lifelong Long Islander, writing contemporary romance while caring for the hubby, two daughters, and the dog. Her debut novel, SLEEPING WITH SANTA, a spicy romance, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other notable booksellers. Visit her on the web at http://www.debradruzy.com/.


Find Debra Druzy Online at:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reaching Readers Through Telepathy by Betsy Ashton

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The
important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

On January 22, Leah St. Thomas had a great post in this blog about overcoming the fear of public speaking. After she completed and published her book, she was faced with the Now What moment. Now what do I do to tell people what the book is about? Do I have to do it in public? Or will osmosis sell my book.

Source: Wikipedia
I'm here to tell you neither osmosis nor telepathy will sell your books. Unless you are a David Baldacci or a James Patterson, your book is going to "get found" only when you get down and dirty with marketing and promotions. In today's book environment, most publishers are not going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising, television interviews and book tours. The return on their investments for most newbie or relative newbie writers is non-existent. Not that most of us wouldn't want our lives to be managed for the first six months after our book launches. But, it so doesn't happen.

For us to have hope for tomorrow, we have to set up a plan to get our messages out without spamming our readership. That line between sensible marketing and spamming is so fine that a mistaken step will send a writer sliding down the razor blade of life. (OMG, that's a cliche! I'm damned proud of it.)

My first book launch taught me many lessons, some of which I plan to apply to my next launch, which is coming up in June or slightly before.

Lesson one: Don't listen to people who say you have to be active on every social media site. You don't. If your readers don't use Pinterest, you don't have to have a presence there. If they are active on Facebook and post reviews on Goodreads, you'll want to be more active there. Twitter? It never hurts, although 1800 followers must find some reason for following me, even though I still don't know what I'm doing. I also find LinkedIn groups very helpful. I spend about an hour a week there commenting on the forums where I have the best likelihood of finding readers. Total amount of time a week setting up my multiple feeds: 2 hours. Most of that is on Sunday afternoon when life is quiet.

Lesson two: After Mad Max 1 launched, more of my readers bought my e-book than my trade paper book. Like ten to one. So, when my publisher asked how I felt about launching Mad Max 2 as an e-book first, it made sense. And it made life a lot easier because I could set up my marketing campaign in advance. I now need to execute it.

Lesson three: There is NOTHING like meeting readers face to face. Book clubs have been very kind to me. Seriously, with 25 around the lake where I live, I've reached hundreds of readers. Local libraries have helped. Book clubs out of my region often have Skype options, so I don't have to spend a day traveling to a group of 20 women. I will tell you from experience, libraries out of my immediate region have been a waste of time. I'm not going to pound on them again.

Lesson four: I look at Mad Max 2 as a whole new beginning. I am so enthusiastic about it. I can't wait for people to read it. I hope they will be as excited as I am. I won't know until I track online sales promotions.

In looking back at the Einstein quote, I want to amend it. The important thing is not about questioning. It's about the quest itself. May those of us who write because we are inspired by words and driven to reach readers accept the quest and go for the Holy Grail, whatever it might be. Onward.

###



Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max Unintended Consequences available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The second book in the series, Uncharted Territory comes out in e-book in June 2015.