An indie novelist muses about writing, society, and the arts.
CNote images - free to send off-site: "Ornament Greetings"
"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store."
I'm rather eclectic ... an indie but fairly conservative, somewhat opinionated but open to intelligent discussion, and a rule-follower unless I feel the need to break them for good reason. You never know what you might find. I generally don't know what I'll write here until I sit down to do it.
Elora is Latin for light. I'm a light-seeker. Elora is my muse.
This is my second blog at WDC. You'll find the first here:
"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."
~Henry David Thoreau
My December Writing.com activities:
creating Christmas CNotes!
What I'm currently reading:
Thin Ice by Liana Laverentz
Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox
A Night In Twisted River by John Irving
Keeping Faith by Joyce Carol Oates
Pumpkinnapper by Linda Banche
The Death of Adam by Marilynne Robinson
Short Book Reviews: "Invalid Item"
"On Our Own: Indie-publishing Group" by Voxxylady
"Indie Publishing: Method and Madness" by Voxxylady
"Invalid Item" by A Guest Visitor
"Invalid Item" by A Guest Visitor
"If this work seems so threatening, this is because it isn't simply eccentric or strange, but competent, rigorously argued, and carrying conviction."
Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe,
shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish."
All writers know that moment: when you put down words that flow from somewhere within and it's simply perfect. It doesn't come often, but it does come.
I said a couple of days ago I had my 2nd draft done. It was. Except it apparently wasn't. The end bothered me. It wasn't just right but I figured it would come during edits.
It came last night instead. NOW it feels finished. It feels like a real end mixed with a new beginning and it's satisfying. It feels right. And it's amazing how much more refreshed I feel today.
On a writing list, we were discussing whether a writer is who you are or only what you do. There were good points on both sides, but I said it's who I am, that I'm not me if I'm not writing enough. Then I wondered if I was being pretentious. Last night reminded me why I say it's who I am. When you wake up refreshed in the morning instead of feeling a nagging weight and the only thing that changed is finding the "right" ending (or other part) of your story, a writer is who you are. It's part of you.
This book in itself feels "right" as well. Something inside says this is the one to focus on, the one that will make me more established as a writer to be acknowledged. I know that sounds pretentious and I humbly apologize but that saying that goes "if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you" is completely correct. I believe I'm a writer to be acknowledged. I'm glad to finally be able to say so. And this time, I'm going about the publishing process in a more productive way, a way that will help that more than I have so far.
One thing I'll be doing is ordering ARCs (advanced reading copies). As an indie, I'll have to pay for them myself but I believe it will be worth the cost. I want it reviewed, hopefully by the Library Review Journal among other places. I want names in the business providing cover quotes. I may even go after quotes from big names such as Marilynne Robinson, my unwitting mentor. I've already been pricing the ARCs, including sending for an email quote from one printer already. It looks like the best I'll do is actually through Lulu.com since I only want a few. They have a new publisher quality paper that lowers the cost and would be perfect for ARCs.
I can't put in the thousands of dollars for promo as some self-publishers (such as The Shack author) do in order to get big sales, but there are less expensive ways to do things that are still done right and I'm all for finding them.
|(This is a repost from my site blog. Had to do it, David McClain )
AHHH! There are so MANY social networks out there and although some of your friends may already be on the one(s) you're on, some are on different ones and how do you keep up with all of them when they're all over the place?
Well there has to be a limit. I'm on Myspace, Facebook, Shelfari, Goodreads (although I only know how to get to my account there through my Facebook), Yahoo 360, Flixster (connected to family only), Gather (although I haven't been there in forever), LibraryThing, and there are likely others I've forgotten by now. I also recently joined Twitter. Why? Because John Kremer told me to.
No, I don't always follow orders from experts who say "you have to do this to market," and I put it off for some time after Mr. Kremer insisted it's a book marketing necessity, but ... I'm at Twitter. Find me there and everywhere else by searching LK Hunsaker (no punctuation, although I apparently like parentheses). You know what? I like Twitter although my first thought when I heard about it was somewhere along the lines of rolling my eyes, which I very well did. How can I not like it? I "followed" Keith Urban and he's following me back! Granted, most of the big names don't bother to follow you back and I know Mr. Urban has more to do than to actually read my twitterings (yes, I think that is an actual word now) but still, when you decide to stalk someone who decides to stalk you in return, it's flattering. Uh, I mean follow, not stalk. I think.
Much of it feels like stalking, though, with some of the stuff people put on there. I finally stopped following an author who every two minutes informed all of us about how her refrigerator cleaning was going with more description than I wanted, thanks anyway. So Twitter away, go for it, but leave the frigde cleaning and such in private, please. I don't want five minute updates about what you're doing unless it's actually interesting. Hey, if you're backstage with Bon Jovi getting to see the roadies at work and the band at play, by all means, let us know. Or if you're on your way to London from the States and getting stopped by security although you're a big name, let us know that, too (a nod to Rob Thomas -- sorry, had to laugh about that one). I like finding new blog entries and new happenings and reading successes and struggles along career paths. I like nature/spiritual quotes. I like some of the regular daily stuff as long as it's not overdone, or gross. I do appreciate those who keep the language PG rated since you never know what age group is following you.
Today Steve Weber decided to follow me. Of course he's looking for writers to follow him in return and I'll be glad to do so, but that means my name is getting out there as being a writer. That's a good thing. It's also getting out that I'm music-obsessed and appreciate the meditative quality of nature since those into music and Yoga are following me.
It doesn't even take much time, which is a good thing when your schedule is busy as most of us can say. I run through now and then to see what others are up to, sometimes sending return comments, and post what I'm doing or thinking. Um, I don't post about what I'm cleaning. That's even boring to me. Why would I share the boredom? Of course, some may think my nature appreciation posts are boring, so I don't do them often. Variety is good. I do some marketing posts but I prefer simply to chat with people. I might have to find something interesting to be in the midst of so I'll have something more interesting to post. Because ... while editing may be brain-filling and intense, it's boring to read about. Hmmm... what I can think of to tell people today?
inserted for WDC: [Ah, I found something to Twitter tonight ... David McClain 's blog post about Thomas Paine and being cheaply attained. Well, something to that effect.]
Oh, I have the posts from my site blog linking automatically to Facebook and my Twitters linking automatically to Myspace and my site blog. Now if I could just set up one main hub of communication that would post to all of them at the same time, how grand would that be?
About 3 minutes before midnight last night, I finished the second draft of Off The Moon. I'm not sure how other authors view the whole process, but to me the end of the second draft is a huge milestone. It means all that's left is some minor shaping, checking for places that need a touch more description, taking out extra "that" and "just" occurrences and so on and then on to final edits. It means I should make my fall publishing goal without much trouble (knock on wood) even if most of June and July will be full of visits and visiting. More on the process thing later.
This morning I got up and out earlier than normal (hey, when you work until midnight sleeping in is a good idea) in order to attend our area Memorial Day event. It started with a 5K run, which we only caught the end of with a few of the final runners coming in. But then, I've seen plenty of military runs -- not super exciting. Then came the USO-style show where 3 performers called the American Belles came from NYC to entertain. I love 40s music and the 'war' songs they did during WW2 and it was fun to see it performed right here. It was especially fun when they walked down and chose vets to sing to and dance with.
After the performance, we walked over to watch the Army hosting a climbing wall which my daughter would have loved to do again (did great when she was younger) but she was wearing flip flops and so we watched others instead. My son doesn't care for heights much more than I do. Then we returned to the stage area to watch the induction ceremony where many of our area's young people were enlisting in the service. What a poignant moment, being recently retired from the service. They looked like babies -- so young. I stood watching and realizing they had no idea what was in store for them and sending up a prayer to keep them all safe.
The parade was the last part of the day (morning) and mainly it consisted of actually saluting our veterans. They were in cars, on floats, walking, on bikes and we all applauded them as they went by. The gentleman standing in front of us was also a veteran, wearing a hat marking him as a former POW. It was touching to watch him salute others.
Of course I had my camera and I posted a few of the photos on my area blog: http://mercercountypa.blogspot.com if anyone wants to share in our tribute. But I'm proud that our area treats Memorial Day as a memorial and turns out in droves just to say thank you.
Sorry.. again. I'm not really here at the moment. I'll be back, though!
My head is thoroughly within my WIP and I'm hitting the end of the big rewrite, which has meant going through the printed version and finding what wasn't working at the end that had me stopped. Finally, I pulled much of it out, copying the sections into OneNote on different pages with titles to find them again easily, rearranged scenes, combined some of it, threw some out completely, added what was missing..
and I'm on the home stretch so it'll be done by the end of the weekend.
I've pulled out of socializing almost completely, here there and nearly everywhere. Had to be done.
I've also been considering a different path with this book, incorporating all the stuff I've been learning about publishing and self-publishing and will share that with you, and the On Our Own group which has been painfully neglected, soon. Not until I finish this draft.
Otherwise, all is rolling along on the homefront. I'm gardening for relaxation and brain-cleansing because the silence of it doesn't interfere with my thoughts.
I've decided how I'm changing the cover of it and am excited about the changes, which won't be made until after the second draft completion.
I know I haven't visited anyone here and so maybe no one will be reading this, but just in case ... I'll be back soon.
"This has turned out to be a disaster," she says. "Most of what these kids are reading is at an arrested intellectual level. That's not what you want."
from "Death to the Classics"
Yeah, welcome to the new world. Everything is now at an arrested intellectual level. So sure, let's allow our schools to teach Harry Potter and Twilight instead of Farewell to Arms and The Scarlett Letter.
Okay, I do think pulling kids in to read something they will actually read is important, yes. But how about a balance? Keep teaching literary fiction. It doesn't have to be all old stuff. There are still some good literary writers. Maybe there aren't a lot, but they are there. Make them multicultural picks, of course. But keep teaching literary fiction.
It's easy enough to allow them to choose what they like, within the appropriate age/intelligence level, for their free reading, but seriously, if they learn all of their language/reading skills from that stuff ... yikes, aren't our reading and writing skills bad enough already?
I couldn't read past the first chapter of Harry Potter. Why? It was interesting enough, I guess, but I can't stand being talked down to and that's how it felt. We shouldn't let our kids be talked down to, either. If you tell someone often enough he's too stupid to read anything educational, that's what he believes, whether or not it's true.
I feel the same reading many of the commercial genre books coming out now. Most of it is dumbed down. Most of the writing is just in the average range. The editing is horrendous (even worse than mine and they have professionals doing it!). There are too many cliches and "that"s and "just"s and passive writing and jumping POV. The authors are telling us things they want us to know instead actually writing it into the story. I've picked up books I thought I was going to review and I can't do it because I can't find anything nice to say, and I generally do think about things in a nice manner and look for positives.
This is not what we want our kids reading for school. I admit, I let my son read Darren Shan's sci fi demonata series although I don't like all that wierd gory stuff, but he will read that instead of watching television without my even suggesting it. It's still gotta be better than TV. On the other hand, over the summer I had him read the first and second books of John Jake's Kent Family Chronicles.
Balance. Let them read for fun, but also make them read for education and intelligence. It's not all that hard to find literary books that will interest them in the story if you stretch to offer selections. Don't make them read The Great Gatsby (wow, what a boring, boring novel). Let them choose among the classics, both old and recent.
I'm hoping about now this entry makes some kind of sense. I've barely slept in over a week and I may have no real idea what I'm writing about now. Well.. Dancing is about to start so I'll go pay bills during commercials and hope I'm filling in the right amounts.
Stay tuned. I'll wake up again one of these days!
"If Barack Obama had come in and done what he said he was going to do and look at the stuff and see what is working, then Cheney would have continued to do what he was doing -- working on memoirs, finishing his house," she said. "He's got a good life. He's got stuff going on. He doesn't care about being on TV. There's no more politics there. He's not settling any scores. He just wants people to understand."
"This isn't about partisan politics, it's about what's right for the country," said Liz Cheney, the former vice president's daughter and a former State Department official. "Every American, whether you're a Republican, Democrat or independent, would agree that before critical decisions are made about national security of the nation, we ought to have a full and fair debate."
The GOP is worried about Dick Cheney hurting them by bringing up important truths about both the Bush presidency and the current presidency. Well, you know what, guys? Pull out your ... 'nerve' ... and stand your ground instead of being pansies and giving in to all this ultra-liberal garbage and maybe you won't keep losing your supporters. Cheney is what we need: someone who will stand his ground despite "ratings" and say out loud what is going wrong, very wrong. National Security is nothing to be a wimp about. That has to come first, or there will be no nation to secure. How hard is that to understand?
Republican voters are courageous, military supportive (in actions, not only in words) cowboys who aren't afraid of the long, hard ride it takes to get what you need. You messed up by putting someone up for president who wasn't tough enough, wasn't stalwart enough to Republican principles of small government and high morals and standing your ground, and then you added a woman to the team to try to be politically correct, aka pussy-footin'. We want better than that. We won't keep supporting you if you don't give it to us, if you don't stand up for what you supposedly believe and say you believe it and then follow through.
THIS is why GOP is losing its supporters. It's becoming too mushy and pandering. We don't like pandering on this side of the fence. We like strength. We like resolve. We like straight-shooting. That's why we voted for George Bush, because we're smart enough to see that just because someone isn't eloquent on the podium doesn't mean he doesn't know what needs to be done and has the nerve to do it. He had nerve. We liked that. How in the world can you run the strongest country in the world without nerve? And I don't mean pretty words that sound like you mean business when everyone knows you don't. I mean real nerve, what it takes to get the job done.
That's the kind of men our forefathers were: strong, determined, cowboy-type straight-shooters. If they had been pansies, America would not be in existance. And it won't stay in existance if we continue to be pansies. The parts of the world now being pandered to by our highest office want one thing: our extermination. Are we going to oblige them? Will that make the rest of the world "like" us better? Come on, Mr. President, don't play Sally Field. This isn't the Oscars.
Keep talking Mr. Cheney, and so will I. I'm not going for a popularity contest, either. I've never liked the things and I never will. I believe in saying what needs to be said and following what you truly believe instead of what everyone wants to hear. Yeah so, I expect most liberals will not be reading my blog or supporting my work. *shrug* Liberal Hollywood can say what they think. So can I. There are still some of us out there who will. And we vote, too.
I am so sick of the media-hyped up fear mongering over the dreaded and deadly "Swine Flu" pandemic.
Come on. Anyone know the real numbers on this thing?
The most over-the-top rhetoric has come from the World Health Organization director general, Margaret Chan, when she raised the level of alert of an impending pandemic. “It is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic,” she said at a news conference in Geneva. “The biggest question right now is this: How severe will the pandemic be? All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic plans.”
The World Health Organization’s own data fails to support the scary proclamations of its director. WHO reports 91 confirmed human cases in the U.S., with one death, and Mexico has 26 confirmed cases, including seven deaths. Scattered cases have also been confirmed abroad, with no deaths. And, no different from earlier this week: “WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders.”
91 cases in the US, with one death. What the media isn't saying is that the one "US" death was a young child flown in from Mexico to a Texas hospital with pre-existing health conditions. And they have no fear he spread the illness to anyone in the US who was in contact with him.
Anyone know how many cases of "regular" strains of influenza there are?
While increasing number of cases of swine flu are being confirmed as testing increases, the number of cases and deaths continue to pale to those seen even with the typical seasonal influenza. As we’ve seen, government health statistics report 30,000 to 50,000 deaths each year in the U.S. attributed to typical seasonal influenzas, and the number of cases is considerably higher. Every week, the CDC reports the number of confirmed cases and this month, in just one week (April 12-18, 2009), for example, the CDC confirmed 25,925 cases of influenza in the United States and 55 child deaths.
This strain is no more harmful than any other flu strain, and deaths generally occur in the very young and very old and in those with existing conditions who are susceptible to any illness that could be deadly to them. The average joe walking down the street does NOT need a face mask, for pete's sake. Our emergency workers also do NOT need face masks in order to perform their duties just because of the swine flu, as I see they're doing in part of Ohio now.
Come on, people. We all know the media blows everything out of proportion. When are we going to stop letting them cause panic?
Apparently there's a "possibly confirmed" case in the town next to us. Know what? I'm going about my business, not wearing a mask, and if I get a flu of whatever kind, I'll drink plenty of liquids and eat chicken soup and get over it.
Now, back to real issues...
This is an incredible blog you might want to read through and bookmark.
To all those celebrating today, I hope you're having a nice time with your moms/kids/grandkids. I'm cheating in this entry and linking to a Mother's Day writing-related entry I did for CRR this morning:
If the weather holds up, which is a bit iffy, I'll be working outside today as well as working on my WIP and going through old photos looking for scenic views I've taken that are mentioned in my books in order to use them in my website photo album in process. Oh, while sorting photos, I'll be watching Australia! Hm, wonder how much sorting I'll get done in between watching Hugh Jackman.
I'm here, I'm here, I'm here.... (visualize Horton Hears A Who)
Warning: Scattered Thoughts Ahead
I'm going back to calling my work Literary Romance instead of Mainstream Romance. Why? Everyone who writes non-erotic is now called mainstream romance. I disagree, but I'm outvoted. You can't fight everything. A review I got this week from a romance reader tells me I ... uh, I'm NOT mainstream as far as romance goes. I'm "melancholy" -- well, I don't think my work is melancholy. I think it's emotional and thoughful and psychological, but not melancholy. I don't know, though. I'm having some trouble rewriting the end of Off the Moon because it is so emotional and I find myself wanting to escape from it. Should I admit that? So ... Jodi Picoult is very emotional but she has a big, loyal following.
Here's the review: http://www.classicromancerevival.com/blog/?p=528
(not the same I posted a little while ago)
I do have to argue about the "one-sided" interest comment. That's pretty off-base. The rest of it is, other than the melancholy bit, actually pretty flattering.
I did a review for the site, also, for a fun romantic comedy called Mucho Caliente by Francesca Prescott. The review is also in my short book reviews item linked up there in my header. Yesterday I posted an interview she graciously agreed to do for my blog: http://lkhunsaker.blogspot.com It was a fun interview since Mucho Caliente is about a 37 year old who meets her fave pop singer. Francesca and I have a love of pop music and following a certain pop band (different bands) in common, so it was nice to chat about romance and pop and entwine them into one interview.
Today I found the email address for my favorite contemporary author, a fairly big name, and I'm pondering whether I have the nerve to email and ask if I can send an ARC of Off the Moon when I have it ready for a possible quote to add to my cover. Unless she thinks it stinks. Then I won't add it. But I'll thank her for telling me it stinks.
I was considering going back for my 25th high school reunion this summer. I don't know. I think maybe I'd rather do a family vacation up to Bennington Vermont. That way, I'll get photos of the place to use on my website to show where my main character is from and I won't have to worry about whether anyone in my class will actually talk to me. Plus, I'm not yet where I want to be career-wise. Maybe I'll hit the 30th.
I'm tired. Too many vivid dreams. I don't watch violent or horror movies because I don't want those dreams, but somehow they're fluttering in, anyway. Must be thinking too much about current politics. It is rather scary.
Found a new blog here I like, accidentally. Maybe I'll think to grab the link to it before my next post, unless Jace wants to come in and leave it himself? Not that I'm keeping up with anyone's blog right now. I'm tired. And trying to finish editing. And ... hey, at least my fingers are a bit better by now. I backed off the computer as much as I could stand and am taking glucosamine for joint strength.
My nutrition and exercise program is working! That extra roundness around my face I couldn't stand and so refused to take, or at least share, any new photos.. pretty much gone now, as is some of the rest of the extra roundness. Negative calorie foods. Lots of veggies, some fruit, no red meat, no deep fried stuff, no eating out (almost no eating out), and just mild exercise. Today we threw diced up squash into the ground turkey for taco meat -- fewer calories, extra veggies. The other day I put spinach and ricotta cheese in my spaghetti sauce over wheat pasta. Sunday I'm trying something I saw on TV (also accidentally 'cause I was too lazy to get up after eating lunch) -- steamed cauliflower mixed into my mashed potatoes. They say you can't taste the difference and it's about half the calories and starch. I have to watch the starches. I didn't even care when my daughter got a breakfast sandwich at Dunkin Donuts the other day when I was getting coffee. All I thought about was how much fat was in it. Well, there were about 2 seconds or 3 when the smell started to get to me, but my brain went back to FAT, it's filled with FAT! My frozen coffee was enough of a splurge.
Keith Urban is following me on Twitter. Not that I think he actually reads my posts, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
I did get the nerve to email one of my fave, rather big, indie bands about using their lyrics for Off the Moon the other day. No answer yet, but you never know.
Okay, fingers are tiring again, so I'm off here to try to do a bit more editing and then to bed to read. I've been reading a lot. Taking lessons.
I know, it's been a while. Since a friend emailed to check on me yesterday, thought I'd post a small bit about ... *shrug* ...
I guess I haven't had much to say in between personal life stuff I won't bore you with. Now and then I get to the point where I don't figure it's making much difference to share my opinions and thoughts so why waste the time? But I'm sure that'll change again and be back annoyingly opinionated.
I have written a couple of short romantic, sweet stories recently. There's a market looking for 1,000 word non-erotic stories for $5 and a month of advertising which is a good deal for something that only takes about an hour to write. One of them I did for a contest here, inspired by my adopted mutt: "Sneakers and A Beagle"
Mainly I'm obsessed with my WIP and it's quite an emotional story so I'm sure that's affecting my overall need for hibernation.
And, I'm having issues with my hands. First it was just the right hand I sprained .. the top finger joints are getting pretty painful as I type and I figured they were still just trying to heal. Now the left hand is doing the same. I've fought carpal tunnel in my hands and wrists for years and have that pretty much under control, but this is something different. I'm praying it's not arthritis setting in .. it's hereditary and much of my family has it. Either way, it's rather painful to type and I'm trying to save most of that for my work.
On the better side, I've been gardening in between and enjoying all the beautiful color, and I found what my WIP is missing, researching a setting to go back and add detail. Anyone from Bennington, Vermont? That's where my main character is now from. I already had Vermont but not the exact place. I like exact places in my stories. They feel more grounded that way.
Okay, I'm off again. The left hand is yelling, but I'll be around.
Most of last week, including into yesterday, I was fighting migraines at some point through each day. Thank chemists for Advil Migraine! Still, I've managed to rewrite several long chapters for my WIP, get the rest of my bulbs planted, plant a bunch more seeds, transplant some of my herbs growing fairly well from seed several weeks ago, keep up somewhat with my part-time, and take care of the mandatory housework and shopping...
Yeah, so what? These are all minor things. Now, I do have migraines that are incapacitating at times, sometimes all day, but mostly I can work through them. I think this week it's been a combination of hormones and the abrupt weather change. Not to mention my canine adoptee deciding to bark all night long at flippin' crickets! My daughter says to ignore him. I can't. I sleep very light. Everything unusual wakes me. Even usual things like a kid walking down the stairs to the bathroom wakes me.
Anyway, if it were still cold and snowy and dark, I would be much more put off by the whole thing. As it is, we have perfect weather and I'm SO incredibly grateful sometimes I'll sit at my desk feeling the breeze come in through the window and simply close my eyes and enjoy it. It makes me giddy seeing my clumps of daffodils in full bloom where they can be seen from the road, the bright yellow tulips around my mailbox in the little landscaped area I created last year, the magnolia suddenly boasting its shades of purplish-pink, my flowering almond beginning to flower, and my lilacs preparing to spurt out their dainty purple blooms. Nevermind that it's suddenly full-scale allergy season and I'm sniffing and rubbing itchy eyes. We take the bad with the good. It's what you concentrate on that matters.
Within the past week, also, I've read a note by someone I try to keep up with saying she went to get meds because despite all the wonderful things in her life, she's just not as happy as she thinks she should be. Hm. This young mother has 2 wonderful, healthy children, a sweet (cute) husband, a decent house to live in, and lots of family around to help. Now I understand where she's coming from. I've been a young mother with everything I physically needed and 2 wonderful, healthy children and a sweet cute husband. There were still times I fought depressive episodes. Whatever chemical that is in the brain is powerful and can be hard to fight. I still fight it at times. I just think relying on chemicals to pull you out of it is very dangerous unless it's very necessary. Mostly it isn't. Sit by your window, let the breeze blow in on you, nevermind the sniffing and itching, and close your eyes and enjoy. The enjoyment itself will activate the dopamine to counteract that bad brain chemical. Trust me on this. Give it a kick of good dark chocolate if it needs extra help.
Also this week, I've caught up with a friend who has every right in the world to look for some kind of chemical escape because she's had the real sh** kicked out of her and out of lots of people she cares about recently. Still, she's a delightful person who keeps caring for others and I don't imagine she has a thought of running for a doctor's chemical help. How do we bottle that attitude and market it?
While talking with and reading a bunch of current romantic writers in the past few months, I've wondered if I truly fit there. I especially wonder that while working on my current novel that's full of loss and struggle and deep personal issues. Most genre romance is pretty light reading. Most romance readers want that. I think Different Drummer is pretty light, even with its personal issues. It's a fun, kicky story. The second of the series is less light. The last two will be even less so (more so? more "less" light?). Finishing Touches is fairly heart-wrenching. This one ... is not light. It deals with a girl's struggle to want to keep going, to keep fighting, and mainly she's not sure she does. Still, within all of it, a beautiful breeze is ever present. That breeze may get cold and crispy at times, but it's there, promising to warm again.
The promise is what matters, I think. Those who truly "feel" that promise within have the courage to persist, to keep at least half an eye on the good while wading through the huge bogs of bad.
I found this yesterday and posted it to Twitter and to Myspace. I also have to share it here:
Toby Keith is again performing for front line, danger zone troops. He's done this often. This is a talk he gave to the National Press Club conference about what is really going on there, what he's seen, why he's doing it, and why extremism on both sides of the political arena is so harmful. Note: he's a Dem who supported President Bush and fully supports our troops -- a moderate in the full sense who makes a huge amount of sense. I rarely point out Dem speeches, as many of you know, and I rarely take anything to heart a celeb says publicly, but THIS is worth watching. It's an hour long but most of the best stuff is in the first 15 minutes.
By the way, if anyone is on Twitter, find me by searching LK Hunsaker. I'm following Toby Keith, Rob Thomas, Donny, Marie, & Nickelback (if it's them, nothing posted there yet), along with a lot of writers and indiebound.org.
"Courage is grace under pressure."
"We view ourselves on the eve of battle. We are nerved for the contest, and must conquer or perish. It is vain to look for present aid: none is at hand. We must now act or abandon all hope! Rally to the standard, and be no longer the scoff of mercenary tongues! Be men, be free men, that your children may bless their father's name."
Sam Houston, before the battle of San Jacinto
I just found this and thought it could be a fun contest. Looks like it needs entries! Anyone interested?
I'm taking both dogs to the vet's today, with my daughter. Last time Roxie went (also her first time) my daughter had to pick her up and carry her in because she wouldn't go in the building. Chicken-dog. This will be Axel's first vet visit with us. Should be interesting as he's still afraid of most everything. Wonder if Roxie will still play chicken or if she'll have to show herself as the guard dog she likes to act like she is in front of her man.
By the way, labs may like water but they hate baths! Mine do, anyway. I got nearly as wet as Axel yesterday.
Another baseball game tonight. And a migraine as of now. But hey, it's 60 and sunny!
The article about Obama and Biden's tax return is rather uninteresting for the most part. However, the comments from readers, and the ratings for the comments are quite interesting.
The pro-Obama remarks are being rated very negatively to the point most of them don't even show anymore unless you click on them. The remarks in criticism to his policies have huge high ratings.
Yep, there's change for you. Before the election all those reader ratings were opposite. I guess lots of people are seeing what a few of us were warning about.
"Obamas charitable giving is less than 7%, Biden's less than 1% - last year Bush gave 18% in charitable giving
Hmm.. what party is the "giving" party? It's pretty much across the board that Republicans give more to charity than Democrats, even within the same pay brackets.
The pro-Obama comment that really got me:
when are Republicans going to find a way to make life better for us
Wow. How about making life better for yourself? My guess is this commenter has plenty of time on her hands and could be using it more constructively.
And how are things getting better for anyone? Anyone see any evidence yet that it is or even that there's some real evidence that it might with this current plan? I don't.
But I know ... it takes time. Didn't take much time to magnify our national debt though, did it?
Strunk and White's Elements of Style turned 50! A few tips highlighted at http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/ from the book that all writers need to have engraved in their brains:
* Omit needless words.
* Be specific.
* Clarity, clarity, clarity.
* Don't use four words when one will do.
* Place emphatic words at the end.
* Don't emphasize statements with a mark of exclamation.
* Avoid overstatement.
No pigeons were badgering me today. In fact, during my son's baseball game his coach came over to say hello and showed me ... one of my business cards sporting Different Drummer on it! He found it in town (library I think) and recognized my last name as the same as one of his players' names and asked my son who the card belonged to (yes, it's a small town and Hunsaker is not so common). So then he came over to chat with me about it and said he thought it was nice that I was an author, looking fully impressed.
I guess I'm more like a crow tonight.
Major kudos to our Navy SEALs for rescuing Captain Phillips!
Now all the fuss is that the pirates may exact vengeance on other countries' hostages because they're angry we rescued our own sailor. Uh.. so we should've just left him there to be one more? Not hardly. Three quick shots. Three fewer criminals. One rescued hostage. Makes sense to me. Oh, and now we're on the pirates' top hit list. Well, surprise, surprise. We're always on the top of the hit list because we don't lie down and take crap. *shrug*
I do object to the one slightly injured pirate being brought to the States for imprisonment. That means we end up paying for his food and care. I think one more quick shot would've made more sense, but that's not what we do. Only mandatory force is used -- enough to get the job done and no more, in the name of human decency. And then we bring the prisoners over here to live better than some of our working class people live. *sigh*
As for the other hostages, I pray they get out safely. It is, however, up to their countries to get them out, and they should do so. No one helped get our bunch of hostages out of the hands of Iran. We did it. Well, Reagan taking over as president did it. Other countries know not to mess with Republican presidents because they don't take crap. As none of our presidents should. It shows weakness we can't afford to show. Neither can those other countries whose people are being held. Go in, kill off the criminal pirates, and bring your people home. This is Somalia we're talking about. Against the US and its allies? Go get them. We'll back you up. Not that anyone is backing us up. But we will anyway and I won't object to that. Someone has to stand up and defend those who are being wronged and decide to stand up for themselves.
But, hey, that's just how I think.
Have you heard about the newest Amazon controversy? They're taking "adult" books out of their bestseller rankings, which also takes them out of the search database, which means no one can find them without a direct link. Now tons of authors and readers are yelling, signing a petition. Never mind that when a bunch of us indies ranted against Amazon for monopolizing the POD trade, making things more expensive and complicated for anyone not using their own Booksurge POD, only us indies yelled. It got us nowhere. Why? No one else bothered to worry about it. So Amazon got away with it.
Anything a bully gets away with makes him stronger. Petitions, or meak words of protest, don't help. Actions get results.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Amazon announced (after being pressed by authors who found out what was happening) authors could no longer leave their book titles in reviews they did for other books. They made it retroactive and without notice to anyone, they started deleting all reviews with book titles. Now, this is plain bad business sense. A is selling the titles authors promote in their reviews. It hurts nothing to have them there. An author review is in general more reputable than other reviews and so it looks good for the book being reviewed that it's by another author. Why they did this, I can't imagine. One idiot yelled, I suppose. So never mind the hundreds of reviews getting deleted, as long as that one protestor is happy.
People started yelling about this, also, but only the handful of people it affected and very few more. It doesn't affect me. Still, I protested it publicly. I stopped buying from them after the POD fiasco and removed any Amazon links I had as well as my A store. Some of the reviews are being put back up, but stripped of links and titles, and only when the reviewer writes them and yells. If you don't, your reviews are gone.
Now that their shady policies are hitting a larger number of buyers & sellers, over 9,000 have signed a petition against pulling the adult titles. Gay and lesbian fiction is adult, according to Amazon. They're no longer allowed on the bestseller lists or in search. Isn't that against civil rights? I'm sure this one will be reversed. Or they'll try to add a separate listing -- for a small fee, of course.
I don't write 'adult' titles as far as sexual content is concerned. Although it'll be interesting to know how they define 'adult' and where they draw the line. It smacks heavily of book banning. So, it shouldn't affect me any more than the POD thing affected me (since my publisher uses their fee-heavy contracted program instead which means I make almost nothing from A sales anyway), and the review deleting doesn't affect me. Still, I'm protesting. It's wrong. And nothing will get done if those of us who know it's wrong even when it doesn't directly affect us stand up, also.
That's the way the world works, like it or not. The petition will fall on deaf ears unless action follows. Don't buy from them. Let their sales drop to nothing. Borders and BN will be glad to pick up the book business. Or maybe try your local independent store that needs the help to stay in business.
I think I'll contact my publisher and see what it would take to pull my titles off Amazon. Not buying from them or not sending buyers to them isn't enough any longer. I'm taking my balls and walking away to play elsewhere. What will Amazon do? Raise their prices to exact vengeance on those they're still getting to play? Then don't play.
snow still falling
earth out of shock
baseball in swing
activity in bloom
in winter's cold
rising in tune
other falls flat
sigh and move on
so many voices
and yet so still
too right then too left
the pendulum sways
balance slips past
warmth does return
after the freeze
pray it will last
should be played in
warm sunshine, birds passing
cool breezes brushing the skin
sotted with muddy dirt
with old blankets thrown overtop
protecting jeans and hands
are fair game, just for sport
for the laughter of children
leaving the game wet and dirt-streaked
wet heavy snow falling
blocking visions of players
leaving red burnt-cold cheeks
they don't care anymore
if they hit or miss
just so they can leave
and run home
Yesterday my oldest baby turned 20! We went to lunch and ran errands, then she went on to school while I tried a new veggie lasagna recipe and baked her Red Velvet cake and worked on my new website design.
I also received that pretty Nanowrimo winner badge you see up above for reaching over 50K words during March. My total was 57,672 and the first draft isn't finished after 2 months of Wrimo'ing, but I'm now at the last third of it and will again let it rest while I go back to my other WIP.
In answer to an off-site blog post yesterday, I came up with a three sentence "sell" for Off The Moon:
Ryan has never taken care of anyone but himself and rarely takes care of himself. When he finds a young girl stepping out onto a window ledge, that changes, drastically. How will he keep a skiddish girl with nowhere to go safe in the midst of his intense, self-centered pop star world without letting himself fall for her?
*shrug* Would you read this or at least pick it up to look at it? Can you sell your own WIP in three sentences? Do it here if you want!
Today I did the review for The Moonstone. It's here if you're interested: "Invalid Item" . This is one of my favorite lines from it:
"The upshot of it was, that Rosanna Spearman had been a thief, and not being the sort that get up Companies in the City, and rob from thousands, instead of only robbing from one, the law laid hold of her, and the prison and the reformatory followed the lead of the law."
Still pretty relevant, although the book was written in the 1800s.
Much of the rest of the day I'll be working on my website redesign trying to have it ready for tomorrow, which is the launch party for Classic Romance Revival.
I also need to figure out what prizes I'll be giving away at the party!
I may not have everything on the site I want there, but I'll have all the basics.
How's your yesterday, today, and tomorrow looking?
How's that for a title?
Those of you who have been following me here for a while know two things already:
1- I've only been in this area about a year and a half after traveling for the 20 years before that with my military spouse.
2- I've been fighting social phobia forever and am working through it to force myself to market.
That makes the title more relevant. So, on with the story...
A couple of weeks ago, I found my local library was having a book discussion. Actually, I saw the sign three weeks ago and it took me a week to find the nerve to sign up and buy the book. I didn't even ask what the book was. I'll read most anything a library book club is going to suggest. I have to say I'm sure glad it wasn't a horror! But then, I didn't expect it would be.
The book was "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins, touted as the very first English detective novel. I don't tend to read mysteries. I did read one recently because of my work affiliations that I liked a lot, though, and this was the first of the genre which had to be interesting. It was, but I won't review it here -- I'll add it to my "Invalid Item" instead. I will say I finished it at 1 am yesterday morning.
I've read so often about writers going to book discussions and writing groups and cringed at the thought. Wait! You have to TALK at discussion groups! But ... but ... I'm a writer and book discussion would be a really good thing to do, right? Of course But ... you have to TALK at discussion groups, out loud preferably. Hm...
I can tell you a few years ago I never would've even signed up. I would've let that urge inside to get together with other book lovers smoke and spark while trying to ignore it. Ever want to know what true social phobia is? It's not simply being shy or quiet or afraid to talk in public. Nope. It goes well beyond that. So here's how last night went:
My daughter went along to read in the library while I was at discussion so she could go from there to pick up my son from baseball so I wouldn't be disturbed. So walking in with her was no issue. [A quick note: if you're frightened of public appearances, take someone with you you're very comfortable around. She goes to my book signings, also.] I was so nervous about the thing that I walked out of the house without my purse, meaning no driver's license, no money, no nothing but my cell phone that I turned over to her. Talk about feeling naked from the onset, and rattled because I never leave the house without my most basic stuff! (And I drove without my license. But my daughter drove home.)
So anyway, I started out rattled, but I think that's something social phobics just do to themselves, set things up to make it harder from the onset. I did stay, however, and took a seat beside a very friendly older woman who reminded me of one of my favorite great aunts. She started talking with me about it immediately, which was soothing to the nerves. I can do one-on-one conversation fairly well by now. Trust me, that's been a learning process, also. Even typing this kicks up my nerves.
When everyone was settled, my big fear kicked in -- we had to introduce ourselves and say whether we enjoyed the book. I was about 6th in line and as I saw it coming nearer and nearer, I felt the paralyzing effect filtering in. It's a mind game. You sit there remembering all the other times you've talked in public and how horribly it embarrassed you and it keeps growing the longer you have to wait. The paralyzing effect is hard to describe, but I'll try.
It starts as simple nerves. We all know that one, so put yourself there to begin with. As it increases, the lovely noise in your brain taking in all the sounds and sights around you drift away and leaves you in a "dry" spot with tunnel vision as though you're entering a nightmare world where you see only in blurs and only straight in front of you and everything backs away. Next, your capacity for coherent thoughts filters somewhere into Neverland, where you'd much, much rather be at the moment. Nevermind you have a wonderful concept of the English language and "talk like a writer" when you're comfortable so you sound intelligent and ... well, that disappears, also. All that's left is the ability to force your sentences as you do when you're speaking a foreign language you barely know and you just know you sound like an idiot with the language level of a four year old.
That's where I was when it was my turn to introduce myself. So I dig in and say my name and that I'm new in the area ... and my face starts getting hot so I know it has to be red and I'm wondering if it's visibly red and I'm showing how panicked I am and I'm trying to describe how I felt about the book and focusing only on the one person in the room I slightly know -- the librarian who hosted my book signing a couple of weeks ago -- and I know I'm stammering and my heart is racing and I can see nothing except a shadow of the librarian and the fuzzy figures beside her ... and I made it a real quick end to what I thought, even though I had lots of thoughts I would've liked to share.
So I stop, and the librarian says, "She's also an author" which is incredibly sweet since I didn't want to say so -- I wasn't there to promo -- and the eyes are really on me now, so ... this is new! .. I made a quick joke and said, "And I'm also very bad at talking in public" which got a chuckle out of several of them. And it moved along to the lady beside me....
At this point, I'm trying to clear my head. It's still packed full of the black and white tunnel vision and the hot face and racing heartbeat but I managed to listen well enough to hear what others thought of it. I didn't catch names, but I forced myself into their words and out of my inner conversation berating myself for letting such a simple thing like saying a few words in front of a few other women mess with me so badly.
I have to say that generally that would have been the end of my speaking in the group as long as no one asked me directly, which was the only way I said anything in any class at school through the years. BUT ... after I settled down, I actually joined the conversation a couple of times of my own free will. And my face didn't get hot, although I know my voice was a tad shaky. So I consider it a success for a few reasons:
-- I went
-- I faced the fear I knew was coming
-- I made a joke about my fear!
-- I voluntarily talked in between
-- and, when it was over, one of the women asked what I write and I was able to speak coherently and when one came to me to ask more about it, I let her know the library had an excerpt for one of my books there and led her to where they were. She was happy to have it and took it with her, saying I should lead a discussion and use one of my books. I admitted flat out that I had too much trouble talking in front of people and she was very kind and said I didn't need to be in front of "just us," chatting a bit and giving me her name again. Sheila. Of course, my immediate association with Nada will make it easy to remember.
Yes, I was still jittery when I left, another reason to let my daughter drive, but the librarian thanked me for coming and I have every intention of going to the next one in June.
Now my thought is to restrict access to this very personal entry only to registered authors. But I won't. Social phobia is real. There are lots of us out there with it. It doesn't tend to get a public voice because ... well, we're all afraid of that limelight! And it's embarrassing. Eventually I'll have a character who is social phobic and maybe I can shed more light on it that way. No, it's not life-threatening like many mental issues, but it does tend to hold us back and prevent what we could be. A few years ago I consciously made the decision not to let it hold me back and I've been working on that (therefore, the book signings and middle school author day talks that were terrifying). So, this is staying public and I may cross-post this to my site blog, as well.
Should I admit my face is actually warn right now?
I've been involved with a group of authors working at trying to clarify some of the misunderstanding I mentioned yesterday and I'm excited to be able to announce that our deliberation on the subject has turned into a new venue for romance:
Classic Romance Revival
What is classic romance? It's straight-forward heterosexual romance between one couple without erotic love scenes. It's the kind of romance a lot of readers have been scouring thrift stores and yard sales to find from earlier times when they knew they might get some sensuality, and expected that, but never found graphic detail.
With no disrespect to authors or readers of any other kind of romance, we wanted to clarify who we are and what we do and make it easier for readers to find us and give us a chance.
We now have a Yahoo group started: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/classicromancerevival/
and have a blog set in place with author and book info, plus ratings.
Our official launch date is April 3rd and we'll be throwing a party on the group list complete with prizes and author chats that day.
We also have a blog, complete with our mission statement, our book rating system, and a bit about who each of us are:
If you're a writer who fits this category, please consider joining as an author. If you're a reader interested in this type of fiction, we'd love to have you join us on the group and visit the blog and would be happy to chat and answer questions. If you know readers looking for this kind of romance, by all means, please pass the word along. Although sex definitely sells, we feel there is still room for romance that isn't selling sex.
Classic Romance Revival ... Real Romance with heaRt
[permission to forward granted and encouraged]