Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday Reads and I'm Almost Ready

Yesterday I had several appointments and still managed to get some Christmas shopping done, because I realized I needed to mail some presents BEFORE I left on the cruise. Like I needed to add MORE stuff to my list of things to do. But I managed to do it all. And I got the Christmas cards mailed. Now I just have to finish the laundry and pack. Piece of cake!

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #61

Dates read: May 26 – December 1
Title: “Write Naked”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Jennifer Probst
Genre: Non fiction – writing
Series: N/A
# of Pages: 225
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Regardless of the genre, every novelist faces a difficult task. Creating authentic characters and an engaging plot are challenging enough. But attempting to break into the hotter-than-ever romance genre, which is constantly flooded with new titles and fresh faces? It can feel impossible. To survive—and thrive—you need the help and wisdom of an expert.
   
New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Probst reveals her pathway to success, from struggling as a new writer to signing a seven-figure deal. Write Naked intermingles personal essays on craft with down-to-earth advice on writing romance in the digital age.
    Written in Probt’s unmistakable and honest voice,
Write Naked is filled with the lessons and craft advice every writer needs in order to carve out a rewarding career.
My thoughts: A writer friend boasted about this book, so I took a look at it and decided I needed it too. Sure, it’s taken me awhile to read it (between fiction books), but it is the SECOND craft book I’ve read from cover to cover (the first being On Writing by Stephen King). And I can see me reaching for this book again when I get stuck or need encouragement. Now, you don’t have to be writing romance to get some of what she talks about, and you don’t need to read this book in order (although I did). Each chapter talks about different parts of writing or being a writer and ends with an exercise. I haven’t done any of them yet, but I bet I do later on. Because I’m not shelving this book. Nope. It’s staying within sight.

Today’s weather turned nasty. Blowing wind. Cold temperatures. So glad we’re heading south in a couple of days. I shall bask in it all.

I am sad to see about the fires in Ventura County. That’s not too far from Santa Barbara (next county over), but far enough to not affect my mom (or other relatives I have in the area). Thank God!!

So… Do you have a favorite craft book? What is it? It doesn’t have to be about writing.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Monday, December 4, 2017

One Busy Week

I think this will be the week from hell. Or pretty darn close. Because it’s no fun unless you wait until the last minute to do anything, ya know? And I’m the great procrastinator.

We leave Thursday night for our trip. I still have to pack. I still have to figure out WHAT to pack. And then there’s laundry to do…

Oh, and Tuesday is full of appointments: the car, me, and a dinner engagement. Okay, so that’s not being a procrastinator, that’s just being a poor planner. Or maybe a good one. I’m getting it all done in one day! Tuesday is also my friend’s birthday and I still haven’t gotten her anything, but then she didn’t give me any ideas, either. So yeah, I’ll blame her.

Maybe I’ll find something for her on the cruise. Yeah, that’s it.

Then there’s decorating for that big holiday that’ll be here in THREE WEEKS! I was going to put up the tree before we left, but I’m not really in the mood to clean and decorate. So I’m hoping that after being on a ship full of Christmas decorations and cheer, I’ll be in the mood when I get home and put up the tree then. If not, well, I guess we’ll just pile the presents where the tree would have gone. I’ve decided I’m not going to stress out about it. I got enough stressing to do, if you know what I mean.

Oh, and in case I forgot to say, I decided against having chemo. Which meant on Saturday I was able to get my hair colored (you didn’t think I’m a natural blonde, did you?). If I had chosen differently, I was going to get quite a bit of hair cut and no color (why bother?). So glad I don’t have to do that now. I kind of like my hair.

Anyway… I start radiation treatments on the 20th. I can’t imagine that’ll be any worse than chemo. But I’ve been known to be wrong. Just ask my husband. He can probably count them all on one hand!

So… Do you like busy weeks? There was a time when I would have said yes, because I liked being busy. It made the day go by faster. But now? Heck no! The week already goes by fast enough. I just hope it slows down a little during our vacation. I just want to relax and chill.

Happy Monday!

Stacy

 

Friday, December 1, 2017

38 Years Ago and Goodreads Gouging

Thirty-eight years ago today Hubby and I tied the knot. And it seems just like yesterday.

Okay, maybe not yesterday, but it is a day I remember vividly. More vividly than I remember yesterday. Haha!

We’re not doing anything special tonight. The upcoming cruise will be our special. And that’s how we came to taking cruises in December. They were anniversary presents to ourselves. Then we found out how much cheaper it is to cruise in early December vs. Christmas or summer. Almost half the price!

But unlike last year, Hubby hasn’t booked any cruises for next December. Probably because we have two already booked for 2018 and are still paying for them. Although… he is getting itchy fingers to search for a December cruise.

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I should have known this day would come eventually, since Amazon bought Goodreads. I just didn’t think it would affect me so much. Starting in January, Goodreads will finally be able to let authors and publishers give away not only print books, but e-books as well. However, they will start charging for this feature. It’s not a cheap fee, either: $119 for “standard,” $599 for “premium.” And that’s PER giveaway! Talk about gouging an author.

I had planned on holding a giveaway for Ghostly Interlude once I got it all formatted for print. But seeing as I doubt that’ll happen before January 8th, I’ll have to scrap that plan. No way will I pay that much to give away a book. Goodreads isn’t that effective as a sales tool. I know. I’ve tried advertising there.

Not only is this disappointing as an author, it’s disappointing as a reader, too. Those e-book giveaways are for Kindle books only. I don’t own a Kindle. I own a Nook. So therefore, why bother entering the e-book giveaway? I wouldn’t be able to read it anyway.

I kind of wish I had told Goodreads about being disappointed as a reader when I took their survey, but I was too angry and disappointed as an author. I pretty much told them my money would be better spent on a Romantic Times review, and that ain’t cheap, either. But at least I know who my audience is there.

So… For you married folks, what kind of stuff do you do to celebrate your big day? Do you still give presents to each other? We never did that. We used to buy something for the house. Now it’s just the cruises. Which is fine. We don’t need anything else for the house!

Happy Friday!

Stacy

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday Reads and a Rough Day

Monday was rough. I had a doctor appointment that only added stress to my somewhat stressful life and I attended a funeral for Hubby’s uncle, who had died five days after my father. I’ve known Uncle Kenny since 1982, but hadn’t seen him in 20 years. It was still very hard to hear of his passing, but it was nice to see the family again.

Sad thing is, we’d hope to visit him earlier, but with all this cancer stuff going on, it just kept being put on the back burner. Not an excuse, just what it was.

Here’s what I read the past week:

Book #60
Dates read: November 21-28
Title: “Lucky Strike”
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Cate Beaumont
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Lucky, Kentucky #1
# of Pages: 194
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Kelsey Taggert is a modern woman blazing her way through single parenthood. While running her own business, she has no time for love since her cheating ex-husband left her for a stripper. A brush with death motivates her to step out of her comfort zone and get started on a Bucket List of new experiences. Number one on her list…a hot love affair.
    Workaholic Deke Connelly saves Kelsey’s life when she is struck by lightning, but she is not the only one electrified by the experience. He can’t stop thinking about the feisty brunette that dropped unexpectedly into his life. He believes she could be the one. Now how to convince her?
My thoughts: I read this because a friend wrote it. It’s a straight contemporary with some funny incidents. Was I hoping for more? Sure! I always am with contemporaries. But if that’s your thing, then you’ll enjoy this.

As for that doctor appointment that only frustrated me more: it’s basically MY decision to have chemo. It might help, but then the side effects might not be worth it. Might, might, might! Lovely, huh? I hate the vagueness of it all!!! So I’m leaning toward not having it. Thankfully, Hubby will support my decision.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Blogiversary to Me!


Eight years ago yesterday (not date, but holiday) I posted my first blog. If you’re curious to read it, click HERE.

Hard to believe how quickly those eight years went by. And how much has happened in my publishing endeavor during that time. I’d written my first novel in 2009. And now, eight years later, my sixth book is due to be released and I’m working on my eighth book.

What happened to book #7 (well… actually book #5)? That’s my alien story. I LOVE it, don’t get me wrong, but I’d feel better having written the next book in that series before releasing it (and no ideas are popping into my head!). Of course, I’d had hopes of getting an agent with that book, but now I’m not so sure I want to go that route. I think it would add too much pressure for me to write more often and frankly, I don’t need it! If I write slow, I write slow. It’s not like I’m doing this to make a LIVING. I just want to do it for supplemental retirement income (you know, when Hubby finally retires and we lose that big paycheck). And if my publishing career takes off, I wouldn’t mind owning a second home someplace warmer. But that’s all in dream land and I live in the real world.

For now.

Today is movie day for the family and we’re going to see “Murder on the Orient Express.” Actually getting the whole family together for this one. I’m hoping our granddaughter (who is 11) enjoys it. But we asked before picking the movie, so it’s not like a total surprise for her.

Then later I’m hoping Hubby, Daughter, and I will get out to see the Thor movie. With all the football going on this weekend, it’s the only time we can go and not pay premium prices.

I can’t believe matinees on the weekend end before 4pm. I refuse to pay $12.25 for a movie! I can buy the DVD for the price it would take both of us to go.

So… What are you up to this day? Did you get up early to shop? I do most of my bargain shopping on line, but I’m sure I’ll get out and do some regular, idea-churning, shopping later on. Or just wait until the cruise and hope inspiration strikes then.

Happy Friday!

Stacy