Thursday, December 29, 2011

Changes For The New Year

New Year 2012

"Goals are dreams with deadlines." ~Diana Scharf Hunt, Author (The Tao of Time)

As I said last year around this time, resolutions are not my forte, but GOALS are a horse of a different color. I read somewhere that writing down your goals can help them become reality. So, instead of resolutions, I've decided to write my goals for 2012.

If we are to believe the Mayans and their calendar, we don't have much time left. Hopefully, I will accomplish my goals before December 21st.

I will cut my debt in half.
I will save enough money to cover our household expenses for 2 months. (I'll work up to saving 6 months.)

I will be smoke-free, for good.
I will lower my weight by at least 10%

We will increase productivity and sales.
We will raise our customer base.

I will complete YA novel
I will complete one children's fiction piece, one children's non-fiction piece, and one adult piece per month.
I will stick to a realistic writing schedule.
I will have at least twelve new works published by the end of the year.

Notice how my career list is twice as large as the other lists? That's because I've raised the bar for myself. Hey, I'm not getting any younger.
"Part of the issue of achievement is to be able to set realistic goals, but that's one of the hardest things to do because you don't always know exactly where you're going, and you shouldn't." ~George Lucas

In 2011, I worked hard. The scrambling and juggling I did to accomplish tasks always made the end-result feel less than fulfilling. True, our home was in constant upheaval most of the year and I spent as much time as possible with our fresh-out-of-the-military daughter, but those are excuses and excuses are never productive. In 2012, I will work smarter.

2012 will also bring a new blog schedule. I've noticed people are downsizing in the number of blogs they follow and the amount of time spent online. My twice weekly blog entries took time to research. Time I could not spend on my novel and short stories. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed blogging immensely, but to stay productive, I've decided to cut my posts down to a more manageable once a week. I hope to make the posts engaging, informative, and fun with publishing news, markets, fun facts, book thoughts, and taking the leap into doing author interviews!

"Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress."
~Bruce Barton (1886-1967--Author of The Man Nobody Knows.)
Progress. My #1 goal for 2012. I didn't write nearly as much as I wanted. I have this thing where I feel the need to tidy the house, wash the dishes, write bills, put in a load of laundry, or whatever before I settle in to write. I don't know why. Considering I hate doing all those other things. I feel as though writing is my reward for getting my chores done, but in 2012, I'm going to be naughty and enjoy my reward first. Kind of like eating ice cream for dinner. Who's going to yell at me?

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”--Oprah Winfrey

Attitude is everything. Having the right attitude can help someone heal, develop self-confidence, accomplish a difficult task, or bring one closer to publication. 2012 is the Year of The Dragon, and I can already feel the fire under my butt!

"It is never too late to be who you might have been." ~George Eliot
I came across George Eliot's quote about four years ago, soon after I applied to the Institute of Children's Literature. I wrote it down on a piece of paper and tucked it into my wallet. I am excited about the coming year. In June, I will turn 50 years old (YIKES!) and the quote has never felt more appropriate for me.

"Try not. Do or do not. There is no try." ~ Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Yesterday was Christmas Day.

Today, I am still basking in the glow of family, love, and the magic of the holiday. I hope you are too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

The house is decorated.

Stockings are hung.

Daughter is home.

I have everything I need.

Hope you also have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spreading The News--Hey Publisher

I've been using Duotrope for a few years now. For those of you who have never heard of it, Duotrope is a site that lists over 3600 markets for fiction and poetry. It's free to sign up. The submission tracker allows you to enter the name, genre, and word count of your manuscript and helps you stay on top of your submissions by tracking days in the slushpile, your rejections, and acceptances.

I really like their monthly newsletter which lists publishers, their calls for submissions-including the themes, and the deadlines.

BUT...I recently learned of a fairly new website that also connects writers to publishers. At Hey Publisher, you can sign up for a free writer account and set up a profile. You can upload your work, browse publishers, and submit. Hey Publisher uses Amazon-provided servers and have a 100% guarantee your work will never be lost.

Sounds interesting and since I'll be putting my nose to the grindstone come January, I'll be signing up for Hey Publisher the first day of the new year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Virtues of A Writer Part V

This is the fifth and final post on Virtues.

The Morality of Deed:

Trust--Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

"Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself."--John Harold.
We must trust other writers with our work and ideas, trust people who handle our submissions, trust our agents to do what's best for us and our work, trust editors to be honest and fair, but most of all, we must trust our own abilities.

Morality of Mind:

Perseverance--Continued steady belief and persistence, withstanding discouragement or difficulty.

Big Load

"The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit."--Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Oh, Mr. Twain, how right you are.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coming to a Theatre Near You...

You may remember me mentioning that one of my favorite book series is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books.

One For The Money, published in 1994, is the first book of the hilarious series. The feisy Jersey girl needs a job, and when sleazy cousin Vinnie, a bail bondsman, gives her a shot as a bounty hunter, the zany adventures begin.

Stephanie is accident prone, and whenever she's around, cars and buildings have a habit of blowing up. Stephanie is torn between her very hot, on again/off again boyfriend, Joe Morelli, and fellow bounty hunter, Ranger, a mysterious sexy latin who likes to wear black.

Grandma Mazur, Stephanie's gun-toting, rebel grandmother, and Lula, Stephanie's plus-sized, spandex-wearing, ex-prostitute co-worker are two of my favorite characters. (Besides Ranger, of course.)

All the titles are numbered and Ms. Evanovich just released Explosive Eighteen this past November. Can you imagine having such a long-running series of your own? Well, believe me, the fans never get tired of them. Ms. Evanovich runs contests for the book naming and the winner gets to be a minor character in the book! How cool is that?

To top it all off, the long awaited release of One For The Money: The Movie is set for January 27, 2012. Katherine Heigl makes a great Stephanie. BUT, aside from Ana Reeder, as Connie and
Sherri Shepherd, as Lula, I'm not feeling the other choices for characters. Don't get me wrong, I love Debbie Reynolds, but she's not who I pictured as Grandma. The love interests of Joe Morelli (Jason O'Mara) and Ranger (Daniel Sunjata) are very good looking men, just not the men I pictured in my head when I read the books. Oh, well. I'm still excited about going to see it.

If you want to laugh out loud, pick up the book, One For The Money. I guarantee you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Virtues of A Writer Part IV

The Morality of Deed:

Righteousness--Morally upright, without guilt.
Which Way?
"The man who in view of gain thinks of righteousness...such a man may be reckoned a complete man."--Confuscius (551 BC-470 BC)
I could never consciously plagiarize or steal another's work in any way. There is so much to learn about the fast-changing publishing trends, but we also need to make ourselves and other writers aware of permissions and licensing. I would never knowingly do anything illegal for the sake of publishing and I don't know any other writers who would.

The Morality of Mind:

Will--Diligent purposefulness. The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses a course of action.

Old Typewriter
"It is not the the will to win that matters...everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters."--Paul 'Bear' Bryant.

"The will to do, the soul to dare."--Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
As writers, we made a choice to write. For some of us, the choice was made at a young age. For others, at a much later time in life. Writers must have the will to write. The will to sit down every single morning, afternoon, night, or weekend and create a manuscript. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fun Facts about December

Happy Birthday to all you Sagittarians and Capricorns!
  • Today, December 5th is Walt Disney's birthday and he would have been 110 years old!
  • Sinterklaas, the winter holiday figure just like our Santa Claus, rides the rooftops of Belgium and the Netherlands tonight on his gray horse, Sleipner.
  • Decem means 'ten' in Latin.
  • December was the tenth month in the Roman Calendar, but was changed to the twelfth and last month in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.
  • Everyone knows that December has 31 days, but did you know every year, both December and September start on the same day?
  • December has the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Northern hemisphere.
  • December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day, which commemorates the 1941 surprise military strike on the US by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Wow! That was 70 years ago.
  • Nobel Prizes will be awarded on December 10th in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Peace, and Literature.
  • The Honolulu Marathon, one of the world's largest, will take place on December 11th.
  • December 21st starts Hanukkah this year, Christmas is December 25th, and Kwanzaa begins on December 26th.
  • Fans of Seinfeld, who are frustrated with the commercialism and pressure of other December holidays will celebrate Festivus on December 23rd.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Virtues of A Writer Part III

Today is December 1st and NaNoWriMo is officially over!
First of all, congratulations to all the participants. Even if you didn't reach the 50k word goal, I commend you for your commitment and determination. You are well on your way to a completed novel, and I can't wait to hear all about it.

Now, onto this week's post...

Morality of Deed:

Respect--To show consideration or appreciation. To feel or show deferential regard for.

"Respect yourself and others will respect you." --Confuscius (551BC-479BC)
Writers respect writers. Even though we may not like a particular work or genre, we know how much goes into creating a poem, picture book, article, short story, or novel. We respect their dedication and hard work.
We try hard to respect other writers' feelings when critiquing their work, and always respect the creative abilities of others.
When all is said and done, we all hope to gain the respect of our peers.

Morality of Mind:

(Shout-out to Doug Savage and his Savage Chickens)

Patience--The capacity for calmly enduring trying situations.

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them-every day begin the task anew."--St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
Can you tell that St. Francis was a writer? His quote should be the 'Writer's Creed.'
I want results NOW and patience was the first thing I learned as a writer. I still struggle with it.
Writers must have patience in themselves to learn the craft and to create a great manuscript. We must be patient and revise it until it is complete. We must be patient with others during the submission process, and if rejected, we must dig deeper for the patience to start again.