Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Promoting your book through Social Media.....

With another change in our Mommy Authors, I'll be writing each month as well.....Often times writers get comments like the ones listed here............
We all have to overcome this

I find that I really love to read about how other authors promote or write so these five tips were very helpful.  I can't remember where I found them but here they are....

Five tips found to help promote books with social media

•Make connections before you need them. You can’t start a Twitter account the day your book launches and expect to be an instant success, said Natalie Lin, online publicist at John Wiley & Sons. You need to start developing your audience long before you have something to market to them, she said. New writers have the most to gain from social networks, said literary blogger Levi Asher, since a social presence can help an up-and-coming author prove to a publisher that their work has an audience. Asher cited author Tao Lin as a rising talent who is gaining a cult following through his use of social networks.

•Join conversations that aren’t about you. You can’t build meaningful connections with fans by just talking about yourself all the time, Lin said. If you want to make authentic relationships, trying joining in conversations about other topics that interest you, she suggested. Lin also suggested using your social presence to reach out to bloggers and other influences that you respect. Asher agreed, noting that when an author approaches him about reviewing their book, he’s more likely to consider the request when the author can send him a personal note and demonstrate a little familiarity with his work.

•Use social media to feed your work. Your Twitter account isn’t just a promotional vehicle, said A.J. Jacobs, author of “The Year of Living Biblically” and other memoirs. Your social-networking experiences can actually help you develop ideas. Jacobs recently tweeted about his wife waking up in a bad mood after she had a dream about him flirting with another woman. Jacobs told the panel that after he sent this message, several of his followers responded that they’d had similar experiences with their spouses. What seemed like a freak occurrence at first might actually be a common problem that Jacobs
could explore in an article.

•Use your social presence to support other promotions. Asher said he doesn’t see social media as a platform for driving direct sales so much as for building buzz and promoting events. The publishing business is changing, and part of that transformation may mean that Web events and non-book merchandise may become a larger part of an author’s income, he noted. Publicist Meryl L. Moss said having a strong social presence can make it easier for an author to score a guest appearance on a TV or radio program. Moss pointed out that when new authors have a strong YouTube video under their belt, it can go a long way toward allaying a television producer’s fears that they won’t be able to hold up their end of an interview. Several panelists pointed out that many of the bulwarks of traditional publishing — media appearances, live events and even books themselves — are in a state of flux or even decline. Having a healthy personal brand online may a vital part of surviving and adapting in this new publishing environment, they said.

Stick with it. Shifting from the private process of writing a book to the public process of promoting it can be a jarring experience for a writer, said Asher. Many writers become frustrated when they don’t develop an online following right away, he noted — or worse yet, when the people they connect with first aren’t fans, but harsh critics. Developing a real following takes time, and even then, your fans may still be critical of your work. Jacobs said he routinely received notes from fans alerting him to factual errors in his books. Authors need to be willing to open themselves up to critics and trust that their fans will take care of them in the long haul, Lin noted. “You need real stamina to make it work,” she said.

As an author, I'm always looking for ways to promote my book.  This is an ongoing, uncomfortable job as authors are always having to push their writing... I haven't made a twitter account yet because I just don't want that much information on my phone but there are other ways to promote your writing with social media if you feel the same way as me.

One of the hardest things to do is to keep doing it..... sticking to a plan and then having the passion to keep pushing yourself is a feat in of itself... Just keep writing.......writing..... writing and just keep promoting...promoting....promoting.

Speaking of promoting...I found this really cool blog of Grant Snider's creative cartooning and he has a lot more of these very entertaining cartoons...   See here for the rest of the blog....

Happy Writing

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Say What??

My husband and I both moved around quite a bit when we were children. My husband has lived in Salt Lake, California, Germany, Texas, and Oregon, to name a few. I've lived all over Utah, with brief stints in Nevada, California, and Virginia. It will come as no surprise that our communication patterns are quite different from each other's. 

When I say the word "Yeah," I mean, "I agree with you." 

When my husband says the word "Yeah," he means, "I heard what you said."

Would you believe I didn't figure this out until we'd been married for about sixteen years?

All that time, I was getting frustrated because I'd tell him something or ask him something, and I'd think he was agreeing with me. Then when it came up later and it turned out that he did not agree with me, I felt like he wasn't listening to me or that he was changing his mind all over the place. One day, like a bolt of lightning out of the sky zapping me in the forehead, I realized that we were speaking two different dialects. I said to him, "When you say 'Yeah', what does it mean?"
He had a very confused look on his face when he said, "It means that I heard you." I explained what it means to me, and suddenly, an issue we'd been struggling with for sixteen years was resolved. Now when he says "Yeah," I ask, "Do you mean that you heard me or that you agree with me?" This gives us the chance to understand each other better and avoid disagreements later.

I'm sharing this because it's pertinent to your writing. Different regions use different words and phrases in different ways, and if you're using a term that doesn't have a universal meaning, you could confuse your reader. They might think you mean something else entirely, and that might change the meaning of the story for them. As you write and as you edit, seek to be very clear with what you mean so you're all on the same page (ha ha). A confused reader is not a repeat customer. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kinesio Kidnapping

by H. Linn Murphy

I was all set to do my blog post this morning. I'd done the whole routine and had that tunnel vision going. Suddenly, I got kidnapped by my friend Christine and forced to go to lunch with her. She even made me shower. To say that I smelled like the Green Bay Packers' locker room is an understatement. I'd been running earlier and it's already hot enough outside to bake cookies on your car hood at seven o'clock.

So she called and totally demolished my concentration. Even if I'd had it, there was no way to get around, over, or past the friend. She's a one woman regimen wrecking ball. I'd even been planning a new foray into dieting after a horrifying glance at the scales (thus the earlier running--make that stumbling slightly faster than walking). She did away with that with one fell trip to Monkey Burger. 

We had burgers you had to unhinge your jaw like a snake to consume. And chips that make you want to kick someone. Yeah. That tempting. Then she dragged me down the block to her favorite boutique to admire the dress she already bought. Then we went back to her truck and let a couple of homeless boys wash her windows.

Next we went to her kinesio-taping appointment so that she could show me what she was going to do to me later on. While gripping to watch, it did nothing for my schedule. The little old man was fun to tease, though.

So then she came home with me and hog-tied me (okay, taped me up). I have to say it's a strange sensation. The tape gently pulls the muscles and skin so that the lymphatic juices can return to where they belong and the edema goes down. I'm thinking that maybe I'll have to get the whole body kinesio-taped so that the chronic chubbiness goes down (and I wish it worked that way).

So here I am at the end of the day and I've done next to nothing but listen to her prattle on about her new house, truck, dog, job, and boy friend. At first stare it looks like a wasted day. But the release, information, and friendship I got (not to mention the amazing tape job) were all worth it. I hope I can be half as good a friend as she is to me.

A Teaspoon of Ether and Golden Coins

by H. Linn Murphy

My son recently brought home a particularly egregious set of grades. This is a son who comes home and tosses me a quick yes to my question of whether he's finished his homework. He "does it all at school." I would question that, but his school is really going downhill and doesn't send homework. So like a dolt, I believe him.

Then he plops himself down in front of the computer and begins to kill stuff. Normally I wouldn't whine about someone coming home and unwinding for a few minutes from a long slog through academia, but the session never ends. I form an expedition into the wilds of his room in search of dirty towels and clothes and eating utensils. When I mention that I think I've spotted grazing raptors and his country must be razed he gives me THE LOOK.

"Mom, I'm right in the middle of a fight. I could die!" he exclaims, his face blanched white in earnestness. I can't elaborate on how little I care if his funky-looking character takes a dirt nap. I can't even fathom how that is so important to him. The disconnect floors me.

Then I remember back to when I coded for an on-line multi-user dimension game a few years back. It started out as something I could do with my husband and ended up being a completely solitary venture. Back then I had a 55 level Elflord who could kick some serious tail. I was extremely buff and able to defend Lothlorien against all comers at the click of a button. Yeah, I seriously rocked. I'd spent countless hours getting that way.

But I looked up one day and saw the sun coming up. And then my little girls came in to me rubbing their sleep-sandy eyes. I hadn't even been to bed. I'd been locked onto the screen trying to kill Cthulhu and nearly getting "killed" myself. My little girl came to my knee and asked, "What are we having for breakfast?"

Then I really looked at them. I realized I'd "mudded" clear through their whole babyhoods. I could barely remember their first steps. But I had about 23 quests under my belt and could thrash almost any monster the M.U.D. had to offer. Woo. That was the end.

I realized then that I'd spent the golden coin of C's babyhood for a wisp of nothing--less than nothing because they deleted my 55 level Elflord two weeks after I stopped playing every day. All of that playing time and angst and "prestige" went careening down the Whirlpool of Ending. And for what?

I told my son this morning about the things I'd done in my life. I'd lived in Europe when I was young. I'd gone back there at 16 with the German club folk dance team. I'd done a tiny bit barrel racing. I'd competed in dance and danced on toe in ballet. I'd sung, danced, and acted in school plays. I'd swum and climbed and rappelled and hiked. I'd gone to Alaska to work in the fish camps. I'd caved and painted and toured with choirs and fought in heavy armor. This was where I spent the golden coin of my youth.

Still I have regrets that I didn't do more with my coin. Why didn't I continue with the violin until I could stand to hear myself play? Why did I let a move to OR with my parents explode my dream to be a ballet dancer? Why didn't I fight harder to go to school in Austria like I'd planned? Why didn't I push to finish getting my Young Women's Medallion? Why didn't I go on a two-year mission? There are a thousand regrets.

My husband ran in three marathons and countless 10Ks. He played the string bass in school and in plays. He served a successful two year mission in Argentina. He was in tour choir with me. He fought in heavy armor and caved and hiked and camped and took scouts on outings. He has worked hard for our family.

He has regrets. He wishes he'd finished the last bits of his Eagle. He wishes that he'd gone to the Olympics in running. He wishes he'd finished more college.

We have a trove of stories and memories and experiences to draw from. We learned to trouble-shoot and solve problems. We learned to use our imaginations. We learned a thousand different life lessons.

But my son? He has nothing like that under his belt besides a play. I feel so sad when I think of the load of regrets he'll have when he's old and used up and too crumpled with arthritis to move much. He spent his golden coin for a teaspoon of ether. I tell him, "Run. Play a sport. Act in drama productions. Play an instrument. Get the last three merit badges and do your Eagle project. Join a club or three. Pick and pursue a college. Pursue scholarships. Decide what you want to do in life and then make firm goals to get there. And for heaven's sake do your schoolwork! Don't let your life equal a teaspoon of fog." 

He slopes away into his cave to lick his wounds and wonder why his mom is so mean. And I'm left wondering how I could have let it get so far.

But this is the deal: We only have so much coinage. There are no Youth Coin Give-backs except in the movies. We need to make certain that the things we spend that golden coin of our youth on, are worth it.
s young. I'd gone back there at 16 with the German club folk dance team. I'd done a tiny bit barrel racing. I'd competed in dance and danced on toe in ballet. I'd sung, danced, and acted in school plays. I'd swum and climbed and rappelled and hiked. I'd gone to Alaska to work in the fish camps. I'd caved and painted and toured with choirs and fought in heavy armor. This was where I spent the golden coin of my youth.

A teaspoon of ether never satisfies.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Do You Have Robotic Hands?

Suzanne Warr

I watched the Disney Pixar movie WALL-E for the very first time a couple weeks ago, and absolutely adored it!  How’d we miss it the first time?  I don’t know…probably ‘cause we were doing some nonsensical thing like building a house or moving (since we’ve done a fair amount of that!), or just didn't have anyone robot-crazy just then to push for it.

But beyond finding the movie being terribly clever, and loving that they made a whole feature film about R2-D2, I thought it had some lovely, deep, and moving insights.  One for another day is the fascinating implications of the people needing to rediscover their humanity through two sweet little robots—but, despite that tease, I want to focus today on hands.

Let’s talk about how the screenwriters of WALL-E developed their theme and brought it to our attention.  First there was of course WALL-E’s very human interaction with what others would see as junk, and the sense of hope with which he collected each treasure.  His connection to these precious items was tactile, and he turned them in his robotic hands the way a toddler explores some new bit of wonder with their pudgy fingers.  It was also how he interacted with his little roach friend—first reaching out, with his hand.  At this point the writers had consciously or unconsciously settled in our minds that WALL-E’s hands were the way he gave his hope and dreams reality, the way he reached beyond his limitations toward a brighter, richer existence.  I suspect it’s also part of why he alone, of all the WALL-Es, had survived.

Next we have the entrance of EVE, who at first has no hands but only a blaster and an eye scanner.  But each time EVE interacts with the world of precious things which WALL-E has discovered, she turns her flipper-like side arm into a hand.  Her hands are more graceful than WALL-E’s, and in this grace she’s able to interact with his ‘stuff’ more like an adult would.  A speckled rubik’s cube quickly becomes a solved puzzle, without mystery, and the light bulb takes on its function and glows.  In her speed and ability, she whizzes past much of WALL-Es wonder, but because he cares so much she cares, too.

Later in the film—and just in case anyone’s needs it, here’s your SPOILER alert!—we have those touching moments (pun intended) when people’s hands touch, and their eyes startle upward as their souls connect.  But they also begin to live fully as their hands do other things, like struggle with robotic indifference so they can return to earth, catch cascading babies, and pass a much needed tool back to the little robot who’s trying to save them all.  And finally, it is with their hands that they pat the tiny plant into the ground and begin truly living again.

But what about those little robots, what are they doing while the humans rediscover that rich link between growing as people and growing things from the ground?  EVE is trying to save WALL-E, in a massive surgery of sorts that leaves him more replaced than not.  And while it appears to be successful…he’s not WALL-E.  He doesn’t know his own treasures, and callously crushes them.  He’s just another mindless robot with no sense of hope, or desire to reach.

Until EVE fits her hand to his, providing the connection he sought all along.  Then, and only then, does WALL-E wake up to who he is, and know her.

All through the movie this lovely theme was carried out, as important changes occurred when two hands connected.  It reminded me of soft baby hands, and how they’ve grown into hands larger than mine.  And from that I heard echoes of the lessons my Grandpa taught, and how he’d take the hand of a grandchild and place it against his, and show them how big their hands were getting and prompt them to make sure their hands were doing good work as they grew.   At any rate, the image of hands touching is burned into my soul and will stay with me, guiding my hands.

For now I’ve set myself the tasking of watching people’s hands, and thinking beyond the mechanics of physical interaction to the meaning behind each touch.  I’m excited to take those observations and use them in my personal life, but of course I’ll extend that to my desktop—where I write with my hands—and to my writing board, as well!

What do you notice when you watch a movie?  What about when you people watch?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is life crazy? Just remember: The Most Important Things in Life are NOT Things.

Monique Bucheger

Silly me—I honestly thought that this year would be the year that I could accomplish everything I wanted/needed to do since my youngest entered school full day. Most of all, I thought I could be an author between the hours of 8am and 3pm and have no guilt as I engaged in the business aspect of being an author: writing, editing, marketing, blogging, attending and helping with conferences, critiquing, exchanging with other authors, finding new readers, submitting to agents & publishers and a host of other things that are not glamorous … and yet are needed and expected.

Being a mom means an equally long list including the care and feeding (and doctoring, chauffeuring, disciplining, encouraging, etc) of our young ones. Multiply the number of kids and a mom’s duties increase exponentially—just trust me on this—I have 12 kids. When I had five kids (8 and under) I SWEAR to you I did 20 plus loads of laundry a week. The next year when our family added 2 more kids, that number jumped to 40 plus loads. Add in husbands, jobs, pets, friends, family, church, work, and social obligations and let’s just agree that all-in-all, daily life can get overwhelming.

And yet it still needs to be lived and handled—preferably calmly and efficiently –at least the majority of the time. I’m not here to judge or nag or make anyone feel bad.

I’m just here to say: I understand. It’s okay. Breathe. The most important things in life ... aren't things. ;) 

Sometimes, not perfect has to be good enough and almost perfect needs to be relished and cherished. Because at the end of the day if the house is immaculate and you are cranky and miserable as well as everyone else in your household, because you’ve screamed and nagged trying to get everyone to pitch in, the quality of life is poor.

I’ve got several deadlines looming—including filing my taxes and launching a book, and right now, I am not overly concerned that every piece of clothing is hung up or every cup or plate makes its way immediately to the kitchen sink. (Although with the rule about only eating in the dining room—this shouldn’t be an issue. L ) I am concerned that time spent getting the things done that I need to do is taking up a lot of time I should be spending with my kids.

So maybe this post is about giving myself permission to slack in some areas temporarily for the greater good.  J If so—feel free to join me. We can be PERFECTLY awesome another time. Today, I will settle for mostly awesome with good intentions. I have too much to do to juggle every ball equally. I just don’t want to drop the ball that let’s my kids know I love and care about them. The other balls will have to make adjustments until things ease up again.

Laugh lots, love much, write on! J

Monday, April 7, 2014

Entertainment Without Electronics

We live in an age of electronics. There are apps for everything and computers everywhere. You can bank, order food, get directions, and send emails from your phone. 

With all of the electronics in this world, it’s sometimes nice to get away from it all. We need to remember what it’s like to have non-electronic entertainment.

 I’ll wait a moment while you remember to breathe from shock.

Yes, there are still ways to be entertained without electronics.

For example, my family just moved to a new house last week. It was pure chaos for a few days while we tried to unbury the floor from all the stuff that we’d collected over the years.

That meant no electronics. We couldn’t get to the fireplace where we were going to put the TV so we just lived without it. The kids didn’t care because they had too much fun finding the toys that had been packed up for six months while we waited for our other house to sell.

It’s been heaven.

This weekend we had a chance to go to Idaho for a few days. It has been awesome. Why? Not many electronics. There have been a few times when the kids got away with playing on their phones. And I’m obviously on my computer. 

But the basketballs have been pulled out of the garage at Grandma’s house. Not just once. But at every possible opportunity. The sun has been out, the wind has died down, and it is gorgeous.

Even better, the grandkids got to go on a tractor ride with Grandpa. They didn’t just ride either. He let them steer. It didn’t take much to talk the kids into going. There was a line.

There are a few other things that I like to do with my kids to keep them from being glued to their mobile devices.


 My kids have wonderful imaginations and I love to write stories with them. My daughter has a story she has written about a witch who loves to play soccer. My son comes up with fun stories for school. And my youngest? She just helps inspire new books for me all the time.


We had our books packed up in the garage with everything else for months and it was killer for me. I missed having them on my shelves. I didn’t realize until Wednesday just how much my kids missed the books as well. My four year old sat in front of the bookshelf pulling one book down after another, begging me to read them. Sometimes I’ll read to one child at a time or I will read a chapter a night to the whole family. We made it through the whole Percy Jackson series and I want to keep going with others.


And this can be dancing, hiking, skating, or whatever fits your family. For my family, we love sports. Getting out the basketball, soccer ball, or bike is fun for everyone. It makes for good exercise and bonding. 

I have learned that if I stare at my computer all day every day trying to edit or write, my brain goes fuzzy. I need to get out there and experience life in order to come up with better ideas. Remember that sometimes those looming deadlines are helped sometimes by walking away and spending time outside instead of staring at your computer screen. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Happy National Poetry Month

Here we are again.  It is that month of the year that someone decided to celebrate poetry.  I remember last year this time hoping to inspire others to give poetry a chance and shared a few poems that helped me through a rough time or two.  I also remember Angela Morrison's class at the ANWA conference last year and how a free verse poem had given more power to the prose we were writing.  The interesting thing was that at the conference this year Dr. James Blasingame gave a class on "voice" and he also discussed poetry briefly.  You might not be willing or think you are able to write a limerick or haiku or meet the rigorous standards of iambic pentameter, but if you talk, you speak poetry more often than you think.  The way we structure our phrases and sentences or chose to use just one word in a certain instance create a rhythm in the way we talk.  He used an example out of the book The Outsiders that showed the poetry in a simple conversation between teenagers.  

 I have admitted that I love poetry, but now I am going to be completely honest.  I do not like all poetry and there are some poets I cannot stand to read.  When I was first introduced to something other than Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss, I had a horrible reaction to what I read.  It took me a while to read through different poets and actually try to write some poems before I learned to love it.  It has taken many years for me to understand that often things are written for the person who wrote it not an audience. Those poems whether or not I like them give me another way of seeing things, a glimpse through someone else's eyes and that brings me closer to understanding others.  We all have different life experiences and view points and we all react to life differently.  How much easier it is to build a connection with others despite our differences if we can see at least a little through their eyes. 

I wrote a poem for my Dad many years ago,

It was a black, windy night
   And so she slept kinda light
      The wind howled with the trees
          And sang his scary song
             The grandfather clock in the living room
          Replied with a deep
       BONG Bong bong
    Unable to bear it any longer alone
 She got up swiftly on her own
   Her footed pajamas scraped softly on the floor
The hinges screeched as she pushed on the door
   "Daddy?" a little voice called 
       There came no reply
    But the low, comforting rumble
       Of a deeply sleeping snore
            At last unafraid 
                First sank the pink blanket
                   And then the little girl
                       Curled up on the floor
                           To rest for the night 
                               In  a puddle of soft, silver
I was terrified of the dark as a child.  This scene replayed over and over when I was little.  I vividly remember all of those things.  Being from Wyoming, the wind is a constant thing, but at night it can be pretty scary.  I can remember how bad the fear had to be- the physical pressure in my chest to make me get out of bed and dare the dark hallway to my parents room but all it took to erase the fear was my dad's snore.  When I wrote this poem, I just wrote those memories and feelings, I didn't even really know about rhythm and rhyming so it is off in places but I think you can feel the transition from the fear to the peace by the end in that lovely puddle of moonlight which by the way really did exist- at least in my memory.  
Add a few years and some life experiences and I managed this to explain how I feel about nightfall and night as an adult thanks to a loving earthly father and a loving Heavenly Father.

Velvet dark swirls imperceptibly 
Spinning deeper quietly
First begins a violet glow
The silent blackness starts to grow
Haloed with a golden band
As the sun draws back its hand
Sprinkled tiny points of light
Soften the inky black of night
As in a magic flower bed
Light blossoms  sprout and sparkling spread
Growing beyond the human world
The universe itself unfurled
Laid out in quiet majesty
A glimpse into eternity

Not the emotional tug of the previous poem and probably not that great of a poem, but I think you can see that I have a different perspective on night now.  I am not afraid.  My dads did a great job of showing me different ways to see it. You don't have to like my poems.  I am probably not that good of a poet, but since there are some acclaimed poets that I don't like, I can't really be sure.  I know what poetry means to me and what it has done to help me deal with life and how it has helped my writing and that is why I hope others will take advantage of a month long celebration of poetry.   Even if you don't want to attempt writing it yourself, find some to read, if you don't like them, try others, but give it a try- a poem a day for the rest of April- then see if you can see things differently, too.  Enjoy!