Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cluculz Lake Happenstance

I feel as if I've been neglecting my duties as a blogger and follower this past week. Winter slowed my reflexes and left me in a bit of a slump.

But guess what?





The ice is off the lake! Yay!

I took the above picture around 9 this morning. Look how fast it went off.


See how it's opening up in the distance?  It's crazy how joyful this view makes me feel.


By noon, all but some patches were left!


 


I can't tell you how excited that makes me. It's bigger than my birthday. It's bigger than Christmas... okay, maybe not Christmas, but the ice off the lake is  H U G E!

And to think on April 13th it looked like this: 


Amazing!
 


As for my writing adventure...

I've reached the 69,000 word count on my current WIP. I've also changed the title. It's a suspense thriller about a man who loses his wife in a freak hit and run and sets out to find the killer even if doing so gets him killed. It may also ruin any hope of mending his relationship with his estranged daughter.

It was titled "One Wrong" as in one wrong doesn't make a right. But the other day a blogger mentioned that titles shouldn't require work, but instead an immediate response. So, I've renamed it BROKEN MAN.


The other thing I wanted to share is a few days ago a fish hawk landed on our balcony and couldn't escape. He kept smashing into the plexiglass.



Finally, his mate called to him, and he simply swooped himself up and over the glass. It was quite spectacular. 


To tell you the truth, I'm not sure he's a fish hawk. I've gone and packed our bird book. If you know what species he is, would you let me know in the comments? Thanks!

Lastly, I finally discovered who was getting into our garbage. I leave it outside after the bears go into hibernation.


He does look guilty, don't you think?

Looking forward to reading all your blogs!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Interviewed by Suzanne de Montigny

I'm being interviewed by a fellow British Columbian and fellow MuseItUp author Suzanne de Montigny over at her blog, Suzanne's Thoughs for the Day. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of my ebooks! !


Suzanne's middle grade children's novel

My house is located directly under the letter B below.

(squinting) Uh... no, I think it's the lake house under the C.




In contrast, Suzanne lives an inch above Washington, 700 km south of me, in Burnaby, next to Vancouver. Wave, Suzanne!


--best
joylene


My family and I would like to extend our sympathies and prayers to those affected by Boston's tragedy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A MishMash of Stuff...

Remember I shared with you a few weeks ago that with the onslaught of spring I was feeling better, more optimistic, and excited over the upcoming season?

Don't you just love the sounds of birds singing? So uplifting, right?

Everyone I talk to feels fired up to get outside and prepare the gardens. 

Did I mention the robins are back!

Yay, spring!

Last year's peonie

I want to thank you all for your good wishes on the sale of our home. It hasn't happened yet, but we did have another viewing on Friday. That's two in less than ten days!

Thanks, everyone!



But with every positive there is a negative.

Darn.



I spent Friday morning raking the lawn between the shop and the house, so our buyers would have a better impression of the curb appeal.

It looked nice, really. Spring-like! Hints of green.



Until I woke up Saturday morning.


 

Eighteen inches overnight! 






This is what they mean by "Jaw-dropping weather."


It's also the reason I need to apologize for not reading all your posts. I hate that I'm behind, but I really had a good reason. And I will catch up.


I should probably mention that I'm okay about the snow. It will melt in no time. It's already started. Yay!



Now for something inspiring...

If it's true writers are full of insecurities, then the link below is a must-read.  Click and you'll be re-directed to Rachelle Gardner's blog.

Don’t Feed Your Discontent



Have a super week!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Let's Hear It For MuseItUp Author...

P h i l i p  C o l e m a n 

 

Philip Coleman (author of The Master's Book) has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.

The Master’s Book: Blurb
In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 24. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.
Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?
Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.
 ~ ~ ~

FROM FIRST LINES TO PUBLISHED BOOK: The Longest Journey

                                                                                by Philip Coleman

I’ve always loved books – everything from non-fiction (especially history), to highbrow literary fiction, to thrillers and intelligent fiction for children. I did write a little as a teenager but after that, though I secretly dreamed of taking it up again, I never wrote any fiction until I reached my late forties. In the meantime, I graduated as a botanist and I’ve worked most of my life as a biologist, dealing with matters relating to both plants and animals.

I was prompted to take up writing again when I read Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, which I found absolutely enchanting, largely thanks to the strength of the central character, Lyra. The last scene of the story is set in the Oxford Botanic Garden and that gave me, a botanist, the idea of setting a fantasy novel in a botanic garden. The novel proved more of a learning experience than anything else but was followed by another fantasy which almost made it with two publishers before I decided to move on. Then, in order not to go back over old ground, I decided to write a novel set in contemporary Brussels, where I’d spent a particularly happy time when my children were growing up. I wanted to re-live that experience through a teenager’s eyes. The result became The Master’s Book. 

Again, I struggled to find an agent, without success, and again I had two near-misses with Irish publishers (one being Puffin Ireland). That led to a total re-write and some encouraging critiques but still no luck. I had more or less decided to move on, and was working on a sci-fi scenario, when I made friends on Facebook with an author named Kristy Brown. She told me about MuseItUp Publishing so I decided they would be my last try. A few months after I sent in the manuscript, I was in the USA on a business trip when I got an email from them. “Another rejection,” I thought, deciding to deal with it quickly before moving on to my work emails. When I saw that the email enclosed a publishing contract I nearly fell off the chair. 

What have I learned along the way? Well, lots of things really. Firstly, that when people try to encourage you by reminding you of J.K. Rowling’s story, although they mean well, don’t get carried away. You need to be very realistic. And, while it is true that you must never give up writing, there is a point where you must move on from one writing project in favour of a new one, if you don’t want to get de-motivated and depressed. That’s the part that I’ve found hardest to act on in practice but it’s important. 

From first writing attempt to publication has taken me nearly seven years, with a lot of heartache along the way. Thankfully, the writing part itself, although hard work, can be fun. And that’s what makes it worthwhile. 

~ ~ ~

Buy The Master's Book here.

Friday, April 5, 2013

ASK PZM: April 2013 - Amazon Goodreads

Q:  What do you think will be the impact on authors of Amazon acquiring Goodreads?






This is a very good question, one for which there is no crystal ball to use for an answer. Thus let me respond with the impact this will have on me.

First, I have to admit that I have had an account on Goodreads for almost five years and still do not “get” the site. I find it very hard to navigate, and here is something that is especially bothersome about Goodreads:

Anyone can rate your book without even having to write a one-sentence review (as required on Amazon). In my opinion this really opens up the possibility of abuse by vindictive people.

In addition, recently I learned that, even though I have an author account, I could not change the cover of my romantic suspense spy thriller “CIA Fall Guy” to the new cover. Instead someone who has the designation “librarian” had to make the change for me.

A couple of weeks ago (before the Amazon acquisition announcement) I read Michelle Campbell-Scott’s new ebook “Goodreads For Authors: How To Use Goodreads To Promote Your Books.” The book is packed full of information – and I have no idea how authors are supposed to find the time to follow all her helpful advice.





That said, let’s looks at this newest acquisition by Amazon. (Remember that Amazon previously acquired Shelfari.)

I think it is a very good idea for authors to get a Goodreads user account and then apply for an author account. (Campbell-Scott deals with the confusion over these two separate but same accounts. Personally this arrangement drives me up the wall!)

If you already have an account, check your book descriptions on Goodreads. I just checked mine and discovered that the descriptions of two books were interchanged. A non-fiction book description was on the “Mrs. Lieutenant” novel page and the “Mrs. Lieutenant” description was on the non-fiction book page. How this could happen is a total mystery to me!

 


Then it is a good idea to start reading blog posts, etc. as more information is revealed as to how the acquisition will affect your book info on Amazon as well as on Goodreads.


This acquisition probably means that we have to start paying attention to the reviews our books get on Goodreads in addition to paying attention on Amazon to our reviews. I am wondering whether there is going to be some crossover of the reviews.

(Paying attention to reviews on Amazon led me to discover that the introduction of the Kindle Fire messed up the coding on my ebooks – and I had to redo all the coding.)

Next, it is probably a good idea to start joining groups on Goodreads related to the topics you write about just as it is a good idea to belong to such groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.



Yes, I know there are only so many hours in the day. But when Amazon is the elephant in the room – and that elephant “adopts” a baby elephant with tons of book readers – it is time for us authors to pay attention to what the baby elephant is doing.




Now I am exploring the promotion and advertising opportunities on Goodreads. This is important, in my opinion, because recent experiments with offering my Kindle ebooks free via KDP Select have convinced me that spending some money on promotions makes a big difference.

Will the relationship of Goodreads to Amazon make spending promotional money on Goodreads more effective than spending promotional money elsewhere?

I have no idea, but this is an arena on which we authors should keep an eye.
P.S. If you are on Goodreads, let’s become “friends.” I’m www.goodreads.com/pzmiller
 

Meanwhile, let me add another piece of information that I found out the hard way:

I followed the advice in Steve Scott’s book “61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books” (which has tons of good info for fiction authors) to put a book excerpt at the end of each of my Kindle ebooks in addition to the links to my other ebooks (which I had already done).




I started doing this, and I put the beginning of the cozy mystery “Cast the First Stone” at the end of “CIA Fall Guy.” Next thing I know is that I get an email from Shelfari telling me that there have been changes to the info about “CIA Fall Guy.”





In fact, what happened is that X-Ray (explained by Shelfari as a software function) automatically added the characters in the beginning of “Cast the First Stone” to the character list for “CIA Fall Guy.” I had to then manually delete the “Cast” characters as well as some other incorrect info supplied by X-Ray.
One more tip:  Steve Scott suggested getting a URL and redirecting it to your Amazon Author Central profile.  I liked this idea because even the customized URL www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller is hard to type.  Now I have www.ZimblerMillerbooks.com directly to my Amazon Author Central profile.

 

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com and the author of fiction and nonfiction books, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK.  She blogs on author topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and visit her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/phylliszimblermillerauthor

Recently, Phyllis received a nice shoutout as Author of the Month at @AuthorShout. Congratulations, Phyllis! 







*I've mentioned this before, but for some strange reason, Phyllis is unable to leave comments on this blog. If anyone has information that could rectify this problem, I'd love to hear from you. Contact me at Cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca. Thanks!* 

Phyllis says, "Thanks everyone!"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

IWSG - Not Writing Related...

Because today is the first Wednesday of the month, you know what that means--YES, it's IWSG day, compliments of Alex J. Cavannaugh, our Ninja Captain!

It's a simple process. "Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post." 

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG



I had this woe-is-me post ready for today, when my realtor called and said there was someone coming to look at the house, our house, this morning at 10 AM PST. 

If you've been following this blog, then you know we've had the house on the market since June 2012 and ... YES! -- This is our very first viewing. 

Please forgive me for being crazy and irrational, and blogging on IWSG Wednesday with a request that has nothing to do with writing. But I just need one little favour. If you could give a resounding cheer for our house to sell, I believe that together we can make it happen. 

Thanks in advance. You guys are the best. And I am so very very grateful! 

--best
joylene