Finally Friday!

Yeah yeah yeah I know, but just live with seeing the cover for another day, huh!

It’s Friday. For some that means weekend, no work. For others, it’s just another two days in the week. For me, it’s sometimes no work, sometimes just another two days, other times it’s a combination of both.

When I was kid, Friday night was either pizza night. Homemade pizza. Rarely did we order pizza until I started working at Godfather’s. Then I’d bring home all the pizza we could handle and then some. Man, I loved Godfather’s Pizza. Or, we’d have burgers. Now, I don’t have a ton of good memories regarding my stepfather, but he could make a mean burger. They were delicious, had a nickname and everything.

In my house, we don’t have such ‘traditions’ on Friday night, but right about now, one of those burgers would sure hit the spot.

On Saturdays, we didn’t sleep late. No, it was house cleaning day and if the weather was nice out, yard work too. I didn’t do yard work. Have never cared for it, can’t stand it. I’ll clean the house all day long, but I won’t rake leaves, or mow, or weed, or anything else. I don’t know why. It’s just the way I am. So, my sister helped with the yard work and I turned on the radio and cleaned the house…three bedrooms, two baths, living room, kitchen, dining room, den. My mother was a stickler for neat rooms and clean everything. I’m not so…unflexible. I hated the rigidity, but appreciated the skills I have now to clean my own house, do my own laundry, etc…

I don’t require my kids to keep their rooms tidy and doors open and all. That’s their private space. If they want all their clothes on the floor in a wad…well, okay. I do like the bathrooms clean though. The downstairs and my bedroom are the biggest issues for me. I hate the clutter that has accumulated and I dread looking at it everyday. I keep telling myself I need to just start, one thing at a time until I’m done. And you know what? I will. This weekend, come hell or high..icy slush mix, I am going to clear out and clean out my craft bins. I have at least 4. That’s what I’ve paired down to so far. 4. I will be make a stack to donate and a stack to toss and fit whatever is left, into 1 bin. That will be my goal. By the end of Sunday night, I’ll have 1 craft bin paired down from 4.

On Sundays, if I wasn’t working as a teenager, it was hang around the house day. We didn’t do much on weekends. I wasn’t allowed to have too many people over and though I did spend the night at friends’ houses from time to time, it wasn’t a lot. My daughter has a lot more freedom in that area and I purposely wanted her to have more freedom. My son as he gets older will have the same, though he’s more of a loner like his mom and dad. He can sit for hours making lists and oftentimes my daughter would rather be home away from people more than out with them.

As a grown up, Sundays are sports in our house. Football, baseball, Nascar. It’s all there. I like to use Sundays for no writing, but for blogs and website and misc writing biz stuff. This Sunday though, there will lots of writing. Lots and lots of writing. Next Sunday there will be the Super Bowl (Go Saints!) and the Sunday after will the Daytona 500 (Yay Rowdy!) So, there will be NO writing those days and only minimal other work done.

I clean house throughout the week so the weekends aren’t all about cleaning like they used to be when I was growing up. I would like though a tradition of burgers or pizza on Friday’s through. I think I’m going get the fixings to have my own version of those burgers from all those years ago.

What about you? What are your weekends like? What is your Friday night dinner in celebration of the coming weekend? How many craft bins do YOU have to clean out? grins…

~lissa

Thursday Thoughts…Lone Promo

What makes an impact more? The writing or the promo?

I honestly don’t know. I have guest interviewed, guest blogged, blog blogged on my own and on Kiss and Tell Girls. I’ve tweeted, I’ve facebooked, I’ve myspaced! I love my new release as I have loved all my books. Each one is personal to me. Each one carries some mark of something that’s happened in my life.

The title of this post ‘Lone Promo’ is apt, I think. I do the majority of my promo alone. No blog tours, no group of authors on a yahoo group (though this is being discussed with another author). I am part of Kiss and Tell Girls, but we don’t really promo together, though we are all supportive of one another. I will admit to admiration and envy of some of the groups of authors that are always promo’ing together. What draws groups of authors together? Online? Face to face?

I don’t know really. I try to seek out people that write what I do or similar, but at the same time, I’m a very introverted person. I don’t like to insinuate myself into groups and I never want to seem desperate. I talk about all sorts of things on Twitter and Facebook, not just promo of my books. I don’t participate on the yahoo loops and groups as much because well…I don’t have that kind of time. Though, there must be different clocks with different numbers of hours in the day in some parts of the world because there are people that chatter on the loops all day long, write 3K, home school kids or work an EDJ, run here and there with kids, etc… I need one of those days! I need to find the time management system they use to be ‘super writer/super mom’ because when all is said and done, I barely have time for all of it before I’m hitting the bed dead tired.

Then, there are the authors that seem to do nothing at all and yet sell hundreds of books! Wow! And how? These authors you never see guesting, touring, yahoo looping, interviewing, tweeting, but yet they are well known, well liked, and sell hundreds! Personally, I would like to try out that way, too, but, I don’t think it would work for me and my writing.

So, what is the answer? What is the right amount of promo? I’m sure it varies from author to author, from personality to personality. I do try to talk about other things besides my books. I know people get tired of it and I do too. There’s so much more that happens in the course of a day, so… I try to congratulate others on their releases and good news, commiserate with them on bad days and bad news. I should do more of that, not for any other reason than, it’s the nice and right thing to do. I try not to exclude or only choose certain people to talk to, follow, or connect with. But, because I don’t know a lot of people well enough to stick my nose in their groups and because I don’t want to appear like the red-headed stepchild, I keep to myself when it comes to promo.

I have met some awesome people that have given support to me, guidance in my fumbling ways. The Blackraven is one. She’s amazing and promos my books whenever I have a new one. Terry Kate of Romance in the Backseat is another. She’s given me a guest spot on her blog for desserts and I love it. Gives me even more reason to play in the kitchen.

Promo takes a lot of work and effort. Diligence. Time that none of us seem to have a lot of. Sometimes it’s a who you know, sometimes it’s a what you know, and sometimes it’s a lot of trial and error of what works for each individual author. There are promo companies and author virtual assistants, too to hire for help. I don’t have the extra $$. There are also the conventions. You have really expensive like RT, RWA. And well, yeah, I can’t afford those. Astronomical is not even the word for it in my checkbook. RomCon in Denver this year, yeah, again, not something I can afford. But, I can do the smaller cons like Lori Foster’s event and Authors After Dark. Ellora’s Cave’s Romanticon is one I’d love to attend, but not sure I can yet. What would be nice would be if some of these large cons like RT did something regional, something smaller that would maybe drop the cost a bit. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t matter. Probably not.

My choice would be to gather together with some authors a few weekends a year and have a writer’s retreat. This goes on my wishlist. I know authors that do this and will not lie when I say I envy that closeness, camaraderie, support, etc… 

I know some authors that are promo gurus and I bow down to their expertise. They get in on every little bit of promo they can, join the blog tours, guest blog, interview, know the right people at the right time, are well liked and well accepted, have a large group of diverse friends and acquaintances to choose from and interact with. I haven’t reached that level yet. I am still in the AWE stage I guess.

What is the right amount of promo for you? What do you do to draw attention to your books, website, blog, and name? How do you connect with other authors to do group promo? Is it important to you? Are you more a solo act? I’m curious…talk to me.

~lissa

Why What When Wednesday

Purge the Sh*t! (this is also posted over at KissandTellGirls, but I wanted it on my blog as well.)

It’s me again. You won’t see me here tomorrow though. I’ll be guest blogging at Phoebe Jordan’s place about Sugar Rush. What else, right? Grins…

Mari and I switched days this week when we thought yesterday was going to be used by another person. You’ll see her tomorrow!

I followed a link from Yahoo to a blog that I followed to another blog that I…well, you get the idea. These are not author or reader blogs. These are not industry or publisher or editor blogs. They have nothing to do at all with our business. I was telling someone yesterday that I don’t read a lot of ‘our business’ blogs. I read some, a few, but some of the content is mirrored from one blog to another, so I spend blog reading time (yeah right, like I have any extra that is designated like that) on reading personal blogs. (How many times did I say blogs in that paragraph? My editors would clobber me…)

The one I ended up on today is called fit this, girl. She’s a runner, a freelance writer, blogger. I read a few of her posts, including yesterday’s about the activity pyramid which I think is cool. But, the one that caught my eye was one she had titled Great Purge of 2009. Basically, it was about purging the sh*t. Decluttering. Organizing. Down-sizing. I need to do all of that. Not just my closets, which I did back in December, but the downstairs closets, my son’s toys, the boxes of school art projects, the paperbacks, the stuff in boxes in the garage that I haven’t looked at in 3 years.

I read another blog a few years ago where the person said to take photos of memorable items and then toss the items. It was a way to keep the memory but chuck the actual clutter. Yes, even those momentos from high school and college and all the weddings you were in, and this birthday and that anniversary…if it’s all in a box, what good is it doing?

We all have stuff we know we cannot and will not ever part with until we’re dead. We all have things grandma or mom made or that grandpa or dad built. I’m not talking about that kind of stuff, but the stuff that we collect, and then we have to buy more stuff to put the old stuff in, thereby creating more clutter, more that we have to deal with. And maybe it’s just me that has all this crap around, but somehow I highly doubt it.

There’s the question of why we hold onto thing and for me…it’s just easier at the time to throw it in a box to deal with later than to deal with it RIGHT NOW! I hope to break that bad habit this year.

I read on another blog a few years ago about a 6-month box. You take whatever you’re cleaning at the time and unsure what to do with and put it in a box. Label the box with what it is and put the date on it. Mark 6 months later on your calendar that way when the 6 month date comes around, you’ll know it’s time to deal with that box. The trick is…if you haven’t opened it in all that time, you. don’t. need. it. Of course, ask me how many 6 month boxes I have? LOL…

It’s a good practice though. I have tried it before and it did work. I just haven’t been all that diligent with it of late. fit this, girl Mary talks about how she looses entire weekends cleaning or doing laundry and yeah, she’s single, but it still applies to all of us. We all talk about how it takes us a whole day or weekend to clean this, do those clothes, etc…  I would rather not lose that much time. It clutters our brains, too. We know we need to write, but we also know we need to clean and do laundry and often one or both gets put off in favor of the other or neither.

Though, again, I could just be the only one.

I need to purge the sh*t. I need to clean the house, the garage, declutter, and organize what’s left. I need to clear the space around me so that my mind is clear, my spirit is clear for me to create the erotic romance stories I love. Honestly speaking, it’s one of the reasons I love my itouch so much. I rarely buy print books anymore because I don’t want the clutter of them. I don’t want them to take up space I really don’t have. My itouch organizes the books for me in one small device and I can have as many books as I want. Of course, no only the itouch can do that, but, that’s the one I’ve got and that’s the one I can relate to.

There’s a scene in Sugar Rush (y’all knew I was gonna throw in a bit of promo here somewhere) where Jane takes down the box her ex had left for her of all the things from their years together. (Most of us have or had boxes like this) She realizes that by hanging on to it, she’s also hanging on to the past, the memories, and the hurt and that it’s got more of a hold on her than she has on it. In order for her to move on, to let go and give in to Graham, she must give up the box and the hurt and make a conscious step into something new and different. 

That scene is personal to me because I know I’ve done that, and it doesn’t have to be tangible items. It can be an email, an IM conversation that we hold on to, that we keep going back to, that we can’t let go of (talking about painful ones).

We should live and move forward and not hold so tightly to the past, to the things. We should instead have more time for what and who we love.

There were other great things I pulled out of this fit this, girl’s blog, like the when you go shopping question list…

WHY am I here?
DO I need this item?
HOW will I pay for it?
WHAT if I wait ?
WHERE will I put it?
WHY do I want it? 

It’s a great list too and one that I’m going to start putting into practice, but…the getting rid of things and how it ties us down, how it keeps us bound (and not in the good fun kinky way), how it bleeds us of money and zaps some of our freedom…that’s what I took out of it most.
Do YOU have anything or a lot of anythings you could and/or should clear out, clean out? If so, what?
Have a great Wednesday!

~lissa 

Thankful Tuesday

I have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to this chosen profession. This journey began for me in January two years ago with a gentle nudge from Eliza Gayle. She urged me to enter the Cobblestone Press contest for their Wicked line. I did and was chosen as a finalist which resulted in my receiving my first contract.

From there, I met some other amazing authors. Moira Rogers. Dee Carney. Moira Reid. Leila Brown. Selena Blake. Layla Aaron. And L. Shannon.

A lot of us used to word war together, used to talk a lot about what we were doing, where we wanted to go, celebrating success, commiserating over rejections and disappointments. I really appreciated those women and their support. I still do. I still think very highly of them and wish for them all the best.

I am lucky to still be close to a few of them and able to watch from the sidelines as the others achieve awesome success. I owe a lot to that group I met at Cobblestone Press. I wouldn’t be where I am without their early encouragement and support and the introduction of word wars.

So, thank you Bree and Donna (Moira Rogers), Dee, Moira Reid, Selena, L. Shannon, Leila, Layla.

I also met Amie Stuart around the same time. We became friends over the last year and I have to say, I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s made me laugh until I cried, usually over the antics of kids. She’s listened and given advice when I’ve asked for it about submissions, agents, and NY. She’s also been a tremendous source of support and in this business, I’ve found that friends like that can’t be taken for granted.

There’s a lot of luck associated with this business. Sometimes it’s who you know. Sometimes it’s that your manuscript ended up in the slush pile at just the right time. It can be luck of the draw at any given publisher or agent or editor. And it can be that there’s so much talent in our little toes that we can’t help but be offered contract after contract after contract. LOL… I know some of what I’ve achieved is by sheer luck. I work hard on my writing. I have a friend that calls me the hardest working writer he knows, but there’s some small measure of blessing or luck or falling stardust or something…there has to be. And if there isn’t, well, that is luck itself.

I can’t begin to list or thank all the people that I have met since that first group (though a few are Samantha Kane, Mari Freeman, Talya Bosco, Selena Illyria).  I have learned a lot. I have made a ton of mistakes, missteps, said things I shouldn’t have, done things I shouldn’t have. I’ve overstepped, asked inappropriate questions, and at times have stalked (with her permission) Eden Bradley. And yes, I have a crush on Eden. She knows this and is okay with it!!!! Grins…

Two years after that first foray into the eBook world, I have books published with Phaze Books, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, and now, as of today, Loose Id. I don’t have many books out, but have hopes for many more in the future. Whatever it was that made my editor curious about my books enough to contract then, I am very grateful and many times humbled and speechless that they have found my writing worthy of their publisher. In a previous post, I have thanked my editors, so I will leave it at that.

I try not to take for granted the people I have met, the people that have helped me, the people that have lent a supportive ear, an encouraging word, or that have let me throw a tantrum and still liked me afterward. I have done my fair share of dumbass things in the last couple years with regards to this business. I have also moved forward, careful not to make the same mistakes.

Again, thank you. You are all very special and important people to me for the roles you have played in helping me achieve my dreams.

~lissa

P.S. Sugar Rush is available today! Like, RIGHT NOW for those of you that haven’t seen my bazillion posts all over Twitter and Facebook! MySpace is next! 

Head of the House

Photobucket Housewife. Stay at home mom. Home school teacher. Author. Under each of those job categories, there are many other subcategories. And none of them pay nearly enough in money. But…they have their own rewards if I really think about it, if I really step back and take time to appreciate them. One thing that is seriously lacking in a lot of ways though, is respect, from me for myself and what all I do as well as from others.

When I graduated from high school being a stay at home mom and house wife were the two things so far from my mind. I was going to have a career. I was going to earn my own money. I was going have kids and pets and a fantastic husband…one day. Oh, and he was going to make a ton of money and we were going to live in ‘that’ neighborhood. You know the one I’m talking about.

Pipe dreams. And I didn’t even have to smoke it.  Photobucket

However, once I fell into the ‘wrong’ crowd and you’d probably be surprised at my definition of the ‘wrong’ crowd, I began to see things a little different. I wanted to stay home with my kids, but I worked then and I work now.  I’ve worked since I was 14 years old. And believe me when I say that I’ve never had a job working for anyone else that is as hard as the one I have now…working for me and working for my family. That’s what all the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, the chauffeuring, the raking, the fielding phone calls, the home schooling, the organizing, the budgeting…it’s work. It’s hard work. It’s not sit on my ass all day at the computer or in front of the television or shopping work.
Photobucket  It’s wondering what the gunk is in the shower drain. It’s scrubbing the grout. It’s sweeping the floors everyday and wondering how so much crap gets tracked in. It’s wrestling with the blanket from hell because the washer keeps throwing it to one side and becoming unbalanced. It’s trying to save money on groceries and still eat moderately healthy. It’s finding happiness and smiles wherever you can. And you know what?

I wouldn’t trade any of it.

I can sit on my ass all day if I want. I can watch Food Network all day if I want (it’s usually on anyway in the background for the noise). I can cook all day or bake or make coffee. I can nap. I can go lay out in my backyard. I can read. I can go wander the mall or take a drive and get lost, though I do have to find my way back in time to pick up my daughter from school. I can do anything.

I spend hours a day home schooling my son. It’s tiring, frustrating, and I hated math then and I hate it now. But I love the smile on his face more when he gets it. He doesn’t like sitting down to do it, but he likes it better than spending 6-8 hours a day in a classroom. He likes sleeping late and watching Sportscenter before getting out of bed. Who can blame him? I can’t.

Up until summer of 2009, I had a job of some sort. From 2000 to 2007, I had a job, full-time working from home for someone else. The money was great. The job sucked. I did it though. When we moved here in 2007 and I got serious about starting something for myself, starting my writing career, I started looking for something else I could do from home. That something ended up being editing and proofreading. It got to where though, I was able to write as much, to do everything at home and the editing had to go. I haven’t regretted it. Sure, the money is tight. Living on one income in today’s times is hard. Hard. Hard. Hard. It’s a choice. It is full of sacrifice. It is having to make difficult choices and having to say no to family, to the kids, to friends, and to ourselves, me especially. DH has always played softball and golf and doesn’t do without NFL Sunday Ticket and MLB Extra Innings. He won’t give those up without being dead.
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I have lost myself in crafts, taken cake decorating classes, read more books than a small town library could stock, learning a lot about cooking, and have found another calling in life…writing.

Sometime, there’s this feeling that no one respects those of us that make the choice to stay home and raise the kids, teach the kids, keep the house, etc… How much are we actually making a difference? Are we? Is what we do as important as a woman that goes off to a full-time job? I do believe the answer to all of those is yes. I’ve been on both sides of the debate and both are valid and have merit. I can defend each one equally and I have great admiration for women that have careers they love or those that have the EDJ that they hate but go to everyday. Been on both ends of that one, too.

Women in general, and for the topic of choice in this blog, house wives and stay at home moms, have to be the ones though that start with the respect. Giving it to one another, but also to ourselves. We are the ones that end up on the bottom of the totem pole when we need to be at the top of it. If we can’t or don’t or won’t take care of ourselves then who will? It also sends the wrong message to our kids… Remember that saying… If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy? There’s a lot of truth in that.

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We don’t receive validation or admiration from anyone, not like those in the workplace do or even those that have jobs at home where they work for someone else. So if the respect is gonna come, it has to start with us.

I love this song by SheDAISY. As I was sweeping and mopping yesterday, it was on and it got me to thinking. Housewives do need a miracle. And we do still need to consider ourselves women, laugh at the situations sometimes, wear the sexy bra and panties under the sweats, remember that we’re not just here for everyone else…

God Bless The American Housewife by sheDAISY

Look at me,I’m gorgeous in my housecoat with my coffee cup
I bend down to get the paper,every neighbor tryin’ to check me out
Look at me,I’m lovely as I wave beside my minivan
Look at how my diamonds seem to sparkle on the garbage can

Chorus:
God bless the American housewife
How she does it all I’ll never know
God bless the American housewife
She could use a miracle for sure
God bless the American housewife
Cleanin’ up the world for you and me
God bless the American housewife
(Ah Ah Ah Ah AH)

Look at how my children play Commando in the cul-de-sac
Look at how my husband has survived another heart attack
Look at all the other mothers envious of all my things
Have to call the plummer Cause my daughter flushed my wedding ring

(Repeat Chorus)

Look at me, I’m beautiful and glamorous in rubber gloves
Look how my tiara can be bent back to the shape it was
I can do the laundrt and make dinner while I’m on the phone
Look at me, I’m sexy as the devil when I mow the lawn

Chorus 2x

How she does it all I’ll never know
God bless the American housewife

Have a wonderful Thursday! I have glamorous things to do today! What about you?  Grins…

~lissa

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