Resolutions versus Goals

Resolutions on New Year's Eve? I don't do them.
I do, however, set goals for the New Year and I usually set those over the first week of said year. I try to be as specific as possible and I write them all down where I can go back and look at them. Sometimes, on this blog. Sometimes, the goals are written before January, after the crush of Christmas is over. But this year Maine has had a bunch of snow storms in a row and work has been unusually crazy, leaving me and my goals until New Years Day. So, tomorrow I'll be posting goals.

Got any you'd like to share?

Adding Meta Tags to Blogger sites

I spent several hours trying to figure out how to add Meta Tags to my Blogger Template. I've read tons of different online articles about it and I finally came across this one article that helped me the most. Want to know how to insert them quickly and easily?

Check out this posting Adding meta tags to blogger(blogspot) blogs,websites-SEO

GMC: It's not just for our characters

It's the end of the year. You're looking back at what you did or did not accomplish over the last twelve months and you are trying to figure out just how to get what you want. A manuscript published... or in my case... the next manuscript published.

For me, this was the year of rejection slips. Tough when you've sold before, but certainly not a new story. There are plenty of us facing the same fate after one, two or even twelve books.

Our Goal? To be published (again). To see a return on a major investment of heart, soul and time.

Our Motivation? Well, duh! We've worked really hard on our stories. They are our lives transposed onto sheets of paper and computer screens. Of course we want to see them published. And along with that goes the unspoken rewards. Money is good. I'd certainly not turn any down if they wanted to offer it to me for a book or books. Money is not the dirty word that every writer secretly covets, but some refuse to acknowledge. Money can be a powerful motivator and justification. There is also recognition both from family and peers and from those who have yet to read your books. That, also, is powerful. And there is that need to get that story on paper. To exorcise those characters haunting your brain.

Conflict? There are plenty of them. Time. There is never enough of it and it always seems that there is something waiting to just rob it from us. There is self-doubt that makes us write and rewrite continually and never actually submit in fear that some unseen person will reject us. There is a tightening market and an the skeptics and analysts that say this will be the roughest publishing year in recent memory. The shrinking midlist... the death of a genre... heck, anyone can find a reason if they try hard enough....

And that's what it comes down to... isn't it? Have you tried hard enough to see your goals realized? Did you take those chances that were offered you, no matter how small the offering? Did you sit your butt in your chair and write... no excuses? Only you can answer it. Me, I'm no stranger to the conflict. But I am always honest enough to know that there is always a chance, even the smallest... And it's up to me to take it.


For some unexplainable reason there is something about Sunday evenings that makes me think of Paris. I've never been, but there are times when I feel an ache to walk the streets and roam through the cathedrals de Paris. It's snowing here in Maine... a lot! And I have a vague image of snow gracing the streets along the canals of Paris that makes me think I must have lived there in another life. So, I googled Paris in the snow and came up with a site that had the most beautiful photos, some panoramic and some time lapsed and all beautiful. They are from Arnaud Frich and I would suggest that you take a few moments to enjoy his photos. I've included the link for you all. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did. And... thank you Arnaud.

Quote of the week...

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
--Mark Twain

One for the holidays...

I'm not known for my cooking. In fact, usually my family will shy away from anything that I deem an "experiment". But this recipe is one of my mom's and that guarantees two things. 1. It will be inexpensive to make and 2. It will be easy to make. These are both and they make a good a take along for get togethers.

Chocolate Cherry Bars
350 Degree Oven
Cooking time: 25-39 Minutes

Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven.
Mix by hand: 1 pkg Chocolate Cake Mix
1 21oz. Can Cherry Pie Filling
1 tsp. Almond extract
2 eggs, beaten

Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Five minutes before pulling the cake out of the oven combine the following in a saucepan.
1 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Milk
5 tbsp. butter

As soon as you pull out the cake you can set the heat under the saucepan medium heat. Stir with a whisk until it comes to a full boil and then keep stirring for 1 minute after it comes to a full boil. After that pull from the heat and add 6oz chocolate chips. Stir until melted and then pour over the cake. Let the cake sit until it is completely cool. Cut and serve.

Hint: I sometimes double the chocolate frosting amount so that I have plenty to go around. Just make sure that you have a pan with higher sides in order to accomodate.


Life at my house...

I worked late last night and returned home to find a very grumpy husband. You see, every morning my husband gets up while it's still dark and he does his best not to wake up the household. He gets dressed in the dark and apparently, sometime when the laundry was folded, the DH got a shirt that was actually mine. He was well into his work day when realized he was wearing a tee with a giant frog with a crown and the saying "Romance Writers, turning frogs into Princes on a daily basis"! When I asked him what he did when he found out he told me he just buttoned up his over shirt and refused to take it off... no matter how warm it got!

So, from now on... whenever I see a frog Prince (and in my line of work I see quite a few) then I'm sure I'll be thinking of my husband... and laundry.

Quote of the week...

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.
--Isaac Asimov

The finalists have been chosen

I have been to numerous workshops, all detailing the best way to come up with the most engaging openings for your book. I've seen charts, I've heard lectures and I've judged contests... but up until now I haven't found a better way to judge the worthiness of a first paragraph then to read the entries that Literary Agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown received in his 2nd-Sort-of-Annual-Stupendously-Ultimate-First-Paragraph Challenge. I would challenge you to read them all. I argue that it's worth the effort if only to see what works and what doesn't. I wasn't a finalist, but I did enter and found the effort worthy. Want to know what my entry was? You've got to read through them to find it... and while you're there you can check out the others and see if you can see why he chose the ones he did... I must admit... they are all wonderful and had I picked them up off the shelf and read the first page I would have bought the books.

Challenge yourself. Is your first paragraph worthy of a second look?

Begging the question...

With all the news this week from the publishing world, I have to wonder if this will mean an increase in the ebook market? After all, since the cost of printing books is so prohibitive (said by someone who used to work for a non-fiction company), it only stands to reason that they are going to focus their efforts on getting the biggest bang for their bucks. Does this mean they are going to be cutting the advances for the large names in the industry? Maybe they won't increase them, but I don't believe they'll be cutting them. They'll be looking for ways to utilize their back inventory and not taking as many chances on an unknown.

Now, don't stop breathing out there just because you're a new author. This doesn't mean the doors are closed to you, but it would behoove you (egad! Did I really just use that word?) to produce tight books with highly intriguing plots and an eye to the future. Does anyone really know what the next hot thing is going to be? Probably not, but it wouldn't hurt anyone to study the market right now.

Those of you who are already publishing within the ebook arena are already aware of what it takes to sell books. The authors that I see in these lists, at least the ones that do well, are a combination of great story tellers, avid marketers and determined individuals. It takes a strong constitution to survive in a hard market. And the ebook writers have been fighting a battle since their inspiration.

Do I have the crystal ball that tells me what is ahead for the publishing houses and the others who live there? Certainly not, but keep in mind that a recession is a trend in a downward movement... and anything that goes downward will eventually work itself back up again. Maybe not to what it once was. The concepts, strategies and systems may be different... but in the end the idea of a fascinating story in search of a willing audience will never completely disappear.

Quote of the week...

Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to write his memoirs.
--David Ben Gurion


It's been a particularly rough week in the Publishing world. Random House, Simon & Schuster, Thomas Nelson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have all announced that they are reacting to the tough economy. Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Thomas Nelson are laying off. Random House is reorganizing. And even Penguin and Harper Collins have been affected. It's that damned trickle down effect that the economist talk about. Higher production costs, less expendable income and a truly rough economic forecast have everyone worried.

But according to Nathan Branford, an agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. ( , the reports are not all bad. Some of the publishing houses are doing okay and those that are looking to the future and possible new venues are betting on coming out the other end of this recession looking good.

So, where as authors do we stand with this kind of news? Pretty much the same. It's my guess that the publishing houses are going to be a lot more selective about what they put in print and their budding authors may not get hugely fantastic advances... but the advice is still the same that it's always been. Write a damned good book and it will sell...

I'm waiting patiently....

well certainly as patient as I am capable of being. Anyone who has known me for any amount of time will tell you that patience is NOT one of my virtues to live by. So, what has me in an uproar today? Transferring domains. Yup, I've decided to move my domain to another host and of course the process can't be easy. If it were easy people would do it all time... wouldn't they? But they make the process more difficult just because they hope that people will give up and stay where they are. And that involves waiting patiently for all the processes to go through as they should... still waiting!

Goals and the holidays. Do they Mix?

It's that time of the year. The time when I start thinking about goals.

It's guaranteed that whenever I am short of time or resources, that's when I want to write the most. And the holiday season is the greatest example of this. Usually, by the time the presents are opened and the wrappings picked up, I'm ready to sit down with my computer and do some writing. It comes down to the things we have to do... and the things that we want to do. The writer's balance. Especially, if you have a full-time outside job, kids, and in my case, other responsibilities. I don't know of a writer out there who doesn't struggle with the writer's balance. Luckily, I've got a family that understands this delicate balance.

So, since I'm in the initial phase of my goals I'll not list them yet. But don't discount the quiet, I'm still there thinking about them...

Featured Post

Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" ...