Memorial Day – Remembrance and Respect

I hope everyone had a chance to remember and respect those who died while serving our country today. I always get emotional when I see volunteers who help honor the fallen. At one point in time, the soldier had been a son or daughter, a husband or wife, or a brother or sister. When that soldier died, other lives felt that loss. Grief, pride, fear, and duty rolled into one.

Nowadays, Memorial Day is a weekend event that celebrates the fallen, veterans, a three-day weekend, and the beginning of summer. Just remember the true meaning of the day. Take a minute to think about what you have now and how it could have been if the soldiers had not fought for freedom during the Civil War, WWI, or WWII. Think about the fear the soldier felt when moving forward in an unknown mine field or having to dodge gunfire.

Let’s just hope that one day all wars will end and we can live in peace. Maybe that’s a prayer that could be said as well while we remember the fallen. May 30th is the original day of observation that was set back in 1868. If you didn’t have a change to observe the day at 3 p.m. today, please do so on Thursday.

After the Release

Gitana – Life Plan has been available for two months now. Seeing my eBook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the other websites is exhilarating. I love to write and this was a big accomplishment for me – to take an idea and form a story, to write the manuscript, and then publish to major outlets. I didn’t have time to breath, knowing that next I had to promote.

The first adrenaline rush made it easy to promote myself and my book. I did my “just released” announcements, handed out cards and networked at the RT Convention, and blasted my news whenever I had the chance. I’ve had great help from people along the way, whether they told others about my eBook or gave me advice on what to do. I’m not sure how long the “just released” phase lasts, I’m assuming two or three months. I was able to get in two months’ worth of going strong since publication. Now I’m pooped and have to take a break and reassess my next steps.

I still have different networks to hit to get my name and book out there, but I can be patient. I hear that successful authors spend one to two hours per day on promotions and marketing. I’m ready for the one hour a day. I learned at the RT Convention that marketing is important and a necessity, but the best action you can take is to write another book. So this week, I’m going to grab that idea and form the story. I’m excited to start!

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s not the best thing either when you are at the computer trying to write your blog for the night…like me. I’m not liking the blockage from brain to fingers to computer. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to say, but tonight my energy is low. I created a rough draft this afternoon of what I was going to post for tonight, but I didn’t like the layout. Yes, I could tweak it, but the words have to hit right and tonight it’s not happening.

So, you get to see writer’s block in action. I started writing three different subjects for tonight’s post. One was on mother’s day, the other on the dog running across the park with enough energy that could light the neighborhood lights, and on generations of mothers. Now I’m writing on writer’s block.

It happens. You’ll start writing or typing your story, your blog, an email, or an article but you end up erasing more than you write. The best thing to do is keep writing. Here’s four tricks:

1. Move away from the computer, find a favorite chair with a pad and pencil and try writing the old fashion way. To me, this is more personable, like writing in a diary. Let your emotions run into your hand, to the ink, and then to paper. You can always fine-tune the words or structure once you type it up on the computer.

2. Find a picture of a person in a magazine that looks intriguing and write a bio on his or her life. Keep it on file and you may have a new character for your next story.

3. Stop writing. Go for a walk or do some exercises for twenty minutes to half an hour. Get the blood flowing and stimulate the brain. Try writing again.

4. Force yourself to type. Let your fingers keep pressing away at those keys and see where your writing takes you.

Well, what do you know. I finished my blog!

RT Convention – Our Final Day

The RT Convention is now a memory for 2013. Like last year, I really enjoyed the event. Saturday was bittersweet as we packed our boxes of books and goodies into the van (less to lug around in the morning) and then headed to our last day of events.

The Book Expo was the first event that we attended. Holy Moly!!! The people!!! What a great place for readers and fans to get their books signed by their favorite author and to meet them in person! I talked to Yvonne, a reader whom I met earlier in the week. She had a bagful of books ready for purchase. Her daughter had two bags. I went to the corner of the room to snap this shot:
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In the afternoon, I attended one of my favorite and best events of the trip. Jade Lee celebrated her 50th birthday. She had attended our WisRWA conference last year in Wausau, and we had talked about RT and her turning 50. She told us of her plans of having a roast with plenty of cover models to back her up.
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The friends who roasted Jade were hilarious. Her best friend had the birthday girl demonstrate how to eat dark chocolate-coated candies and show us all the pure pleasure of doing so. One of the models helped her. Once the roast ended, Jade gave away prizes. One prize was a large box. She asked if there was anyone in the room named “Beth.” I raised my hand and won. I received a box full of Kathy Lyons and Jade Lee books that she signed personally to Beth. After cupcakes and champagne, I went to thank her and learned the story behind the prize. She had donated the books, decals, and jewelry to Brenda Novak’s auction to fight diabetes. A person named Beth won her gift but never paid. Since Jade had already signed the books she decided that there will be one special Beth at her 50th party.
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And, by the way, I am going to donate to Brenda Novak’s fight for diabetes. If Jade’s gift was meant to be given for a cause, I will be happy to donate for the one Beth who didn’t.

At night was our last cocktail party hosted by Carina Press and dance party hosted by Harlequin. Tina and I didn’t stay out until the wee hours of the morning, but we left with smiles as we walked back to our hotel. We wish we could’ve stayed through Sunday, since RT still had another day of social events, but other duties called. Maybe next year. We’re already plotting.

RT Convention Update

I can’t believe that this is our last full day at the RT Convention. I have been enjoying the people, the sessions, and the social events that bring us all together. For me, this is the place to connect.

For the sessions, I focused on marketing and promotion. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed by all the marketing that can be done and should be done. I will be busy when I get home. In one of yesterday’s sessions, I sat next to Larry Kirshbaum who runs Amazon Publishing. He reminded me of my husband’s uncle, a happy-go-lucky guy who liked to hum. In the session that followed, I sat behind Larry this time. A big surprise was seeing in the session author E.L. James of Fifty Shades fame. How cool that she came to attend the convention.

For people meeting, I sat in the lobby after being overwhelmed with marketing ideas. It didn’t take long before a reader sat in the chair next to me. We began to talk. She came with her daughter and had to sit to rest her worn feet. We had a greet conversation about family, the convention, books, and where we live. Another author, Lina Gardiner, came and sat with us. She invited us up to their suite for an erotica party on Saturday night. Next to sit with us was Laura Kinsale. She’s working on audio books and was excited about the narrator she found. She had us listen to a short reading. The guy has a great voice.

For social events, I attended the formal ball, Heather Graham’s party, the Red Slipper Avon event, the Indie Expo, and other gatherings that were equally as fun. I loved getting new books to read, enjoying the food and drinks, and participating in the games. All events usually start with waiting in line to get in. Some people hate lines, but I enjoy them. It gives me a chance to meet new readers, authors, bookstore owners, and librarians.

For today, it’s the big Book Expo, Jade Lee’s 50th Birthday Bash, Carina Press’s cocktail party, and Harlequin’s dance party. I’m ready to go.

RT Convention – Kansas City, MO

Today was the first full day at RT – the Romantic Times Convention. I had fun talking to authors that I met last year and to meeting new people – authors and readers – as we sat at tables, waited in line, or walked to our hotel. I came with Tina Susedik, my roomie from last year. We drove to Kansas City versus flying. This way, we’d have room to bring home all the goodies from the events and promo or swag tables.

Last year, Tina and I vowed that we would attend RT in 2013 as authors. What a year. Both of us accomplished our goal. With my eBook Gitana – Life Plan published at the end of March and with her eBook Riding for Love released today, we did it! We signed up for a promo spot, a section of a table to promote our eBooks. We tag teamed, having similar postcards. Mine said “Take Me” and hers said “Ride Me” with the backs having our book information. Many people commented on our cards, loving the concept.

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During the day I attended the Welcome Party and went to four sessions on marketing. Tonight’s parties were Rose Gulch’s Saloon and Ellora’s Cave Bad Girls of Romance Disco Inferno. The male models of Ellora’s Cave danced on stage to classic 70’s music. Oh yeah……..not a bad sight!

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s events 