Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Photo Tuesday - Spring!

Spring is here! The trees are in bloom, flowers have appeared, and the weather alternates between shunshine and rain.

These are some of the obvious signs of spring. But as we are writing, do we remember to include the not so obvious signs?

As the cold weather vanishes, insects appear.
Bees emerge from hibernation.
Other bugs hatch and swarm.
Butterflies return.
And the ants go into overdrive...


Soon all of NC will be covered in the sickly, neon yellow-green stuff...

May stay all year, but migrating species will return.
And many will be in search of a bath...

Spring cleaning!
From houses to garages to cars.

I think it's been six months since I washed my Tribute...

Time for home improvements and yardwork.
And all the aggravation that goes along with projects.
Our fence project a few years ago led to the worst case of poison ivy I've ever endured!

Baby critters!

Cats, dogs, bunnies, birdies...

And they are so cute!


Pros, minor leagues, T-ball...

(And don't forget the apple pie!)

So, what are some of the other signs of spring?

And today I am visiting Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here
Yesterday I talked about speaking to promote at View From the Publishing Trenches

Monday, March 29, 2010

Is Urban Fantasy the New “It” Genre?

Today I'd like to welcome my buddy CC from CC Chronicles with her take on urban fantasy!

Is Urban Fantasy the New “It” Genre?

What exactly is Urban Fantasy? That is the question of the day, because the lines have become blurred and so many authors want to jump on this new gravy train. Urban fantasy is becoming one of the most popular genres and that is partly because of those fuzzy lines. Before we look at why it’s growing in popularity, let’s get back to the original question – What is Urban Fantasy?

Technically, Urban Fantasy is a fantasy set in a city. Sounds pretty vague. The original Urban fantasy plots were borrowed from Noir. They usually revolve around solving a mystery and often have an element of horror or paranormal. Like thrillers, they have many twists and turns. The main characters are usually tough as nails and the story is often told in the first person narrative. Well, that sounds pretty defined and straight forward. So why the blurred lines. Because authors and publishers want to sell the most books possible and because Urban Fantasy can encompass so many different types of stories they buyer demographic is broadened. For example, as popular as the romance genre is (and it is currently the best selling) many authors don not want to be labeled as romance writers or even paranormal romance writers. Paranormal Romance is one of the genres most often miss labeled as Urban Fantasy because it can have all the elements of an Urban fantasy, however, the plots is driven by the romance not the action or fantasy elements. Romance has generally attracted the female buyer (when was the last time you saw a man browsing that section?) and smudging the line and labeling a paranormal romance, Urban Fantasy, an author can capture more male readers. By the same token, contemporary fantasy, even horror, generally draw a larger male audience than female. Both men and women like reading about strong female leading characters and many Urban fantasy’s have these femme fatales.

Is this why Urban Fantasy is growing in popularity? Partly. But the main reason we read Urban fantasy is escapism. We want to get lost in a story about a tough hero. We want to live vicariously and defeat the bad in the world. When life is difficult and we are surrounded by despair we want the strength that our hero possesses. In our current economic crisis, we want the thrill of not having to worry about money, because rarely does the hero in fantasy have to despair over finances. Finally, often these heroes have super human strength or immortality. By losing ourselves in Urban Fantasy, we get to experience a magical life that has just enough realism to keep us connected.

Thank you, CC! Please visit her blog at CC Chronicles

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Sunday SIllies!

A prize in every box!

Don't forget to leave a caption for the last picture!

funny pictures of cats with captions

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funny pictures of cats with captions

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

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funny pictures of cats with captions

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funny pictures of cats with captions

Now it's your turn!
Leave your caption below and I'll feature the best one in Friday's blog!

Friday, March 26, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...

KEEPER: Stop! Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, 'ere the other side he see.
LAUNCELOT: Ask me the questions, bridge-keeper. I'm not afraid.
KEEPER: What is your name?
LAUNCELOT: My name is Sir Launcelot of Camelot.
KEEPER: What is your quest?
LAUNCELOT: To seek the Holy Grail.
KEEPER: What is your favorite color?
KEEPER: Right. Off you go.


Thanks to all who comment on my guest post at Straight From Hel yesterday!

Today I am visiting Steph the Bookworm for an interview!

A writer community with workshops and more - Savvy Authors

Tom Gillispie recommends a great Yahoo group for editors - Writers in Business

Preparing a book business plan from Gail Martin - Feathered Quill

Ten good reasons to be a ghostwriter - Blood Red Pencil

Elizabeth gives tips for skittish sellers - Mystery Writing is Murder

Yesterday was Happy Tolkien Reading Day! CNN

Carol Denbow tipped me off to Saturday, May 15 - it's Promo Day

And this was a surprise treat from an author who came to see me last weekend at my book signing - Dog and Cat Resuce Stories


From "The Sunday Sillies" - this week's winner:

Helen Ginger! And she even used LOL Speak...

“Iz shoulda never volunteered to do foster care without specifying kitties.”


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Writing Changes Your Life

Life changes when you write. It changes even more when you become an author!

There are many adjustments. Every day is a new adventure.

Since many of you have asked about Spunky's world, I will list some of the changes in my life - and I invite you to share yours!

I spend A LOT more time online. A minimum of two hours a day. Sometimes it's closer to six.

 I travel more - to the tune of 30,000 miles a year. I put my little Tribute out of warranty real quick!

 I write a lot more, and not just my books - articles, blog posts, journal posts, outlines for seminars, etc.

 Thank goodness for rollover minutes, because I am on the phone a lot more, too. Funny thing - I don't even like using the phone!

 My reading shifted from fiction to mostly marketing books.

I learned how to build a website. Still don't know html, but that's okay!
funny pictures of cats with captions

I have packing for a book signing or speaking engagement down to a science!

I now have two computers on my desk and multi-task well. (I also have a "Lappy" but I don't get to use him much...)

A big change is the shift in time. We only get 24 hours in a day. I'm still lobbying for 40, but until then, there's some things that went by the wayside...

I don't keep up with my roller coaster stuff as much. I used to hit several parks a year, but I'm lucky to see one now. I also used to know anything and everything about roller coasters - the oldest, the biggest, the fastest... You could name any park and I could tell you all the coasters in that park, and probably how tall they were, too. Not so much anymore...

I cut way back on my photography business. No more Saturday weddings - instead it's Saturday book signings. I still do portraits occasionally.

I've made more friends, but now have less time to keep up with any of them.

I still go to movies, but my movie-watching at home is restricted to one a week. I never really watched much television, so that wasn't a problem.

I forget birthdays. That sucks, too.

I haven't played a computer game since Roller Coaster Tycoon III came out.

My house is still clean, but it's messier and bit unorganized some times. Maybe I should fire the maid...

So how about you? How has writing changed your life? What do you do differently? What do you no longer have time to do...? What new things now fill your day?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tales From the Bookshelf - The Home Library!

Okay, now who doesn't dream of a large room devoted entirely to books, decorated with elegance and yet inviting and warm?

I discovered some cool books that show you how to do it!

At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries

by Estelle Ellis and Caroline Seebohm

Decorating with Books

by Marie Proeller Hueston

Library Design

by teNeues

Living with Books

by Alan Powers

Books Do Furnish a Room

by Leslie Geddes-Brown

Now, I've not read, reviewed, purchased, or receieved these books as a gift! They just looked interesting!

And my dream library includes a large window seat with many fluffy pillows!

What about YOUR dream library???

Monday, March 22, 2010

Free Online Marketing Help from Tony Eldridge

Tony Eldridge joins me today to offer some marketing tips!

(And please visit me at Psychotic State today for an incredibly funny guest post from Heather!)

Free Online Marketing Help For The Technophobic Author

Free Online Marketing Help For The Technophobic Author

Facebook, Twitter, blogs, HTML, websites, social media, social networking, RSS feeds, autoresponders, Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0…

Terms like these can make the average author cringe when they hear that they need to “Be on the Internet”, “Get a blog”, “Tweet”, “Do a podcast”. For many authors, just getting a business card is a chore that can cause nerves to fray.

Well, if you fall into this category or know someone who does, take heart. If you commit to baby steps, a month from now, you can have an online presence that you might now think is impossible to have.

Rather than give you a fish, I want to teach you to fish in this post. What do I mean? Instead of giving you a list of resources you need to have on the Internet, I want to give you a few resources that can help you make the decisions yourself about what you need on the net and then will teach you how to do it.

So, let’s get started:

1. Video Instruction- There are a lot of text instructions on the Internet to explain how to do anything from opening a Twitter account to creating an HTML page. But sometimes, the easiest way to learn is to look over someone’s shoulders as they show you. Videos can do this for you. YouTube is one of my first stops when I want to learn how to do something.

2. Free E-books/Reports- Many experts who charge for their services often offer e-books that teach you basic skills as a way to get you to sign up for their newsletters. The info in these books and reports can be a tremendous blessing. Don’t be afraid to sign up. If the expert does not deliver what they promise, unsubscribe and look elsewhere.

3. E-mail/Forums- Sometimes the easiest way to get an answer is to simply ask an expert. If you have a friend who is doing what you want to do, ask them to point you in the right direction for resources you can use. You may find that they will give you specific answers themselves. You can also post topics in forums asking your questions. Forum members are typically the type of people who thrive on helping others, and on a forum you generally get the benefit of receiving multiple insights to your question.

4. “What Is…”- Another one of my favorite tools is the search engine. If I simply don’t know what something is, or if I want to make sure I know, I go to Google and type “what is {insert term}. For example, “what is RSS?” yields results 1-10 all trying to explain to me what RSS is, including a video entitled, RSS in Plain English. You will be surprised at how quickly you’ll find answers to your questions.

5. Templates- When you first start out, templates can help you get started quickly while giving you time to learn new technology. While templates can lock you into limited features, they can allow you to have some features when the alternative without them is having no features. There are free templates available for websites, blogs, and just about anything you need to drop content into. While there is a good argument about recreating the wheel and coming up with a unique layout, in this case until you know “how” to create the wheel, using a template is a viable option.

6. Blogs/Newsletters- There are people who love to write about things to help authors learn about marketing (and other things as well). When you run across a blog that has content you find useful, look for a way to subscribe to it via e-mail. That way, you will never miss a post. When you scan the new post that is e-mailed to you, you have the option of keeping it or deleting it and moving on.

7. Blog Comments- Blog comments can be a gold mine when it comes to learning information. You will be surprised how many people have the same questions you have. Comments do these things for people who take the time to read them:

A. They clarify part of the post

B. They encourage others to share their experiences about topics discussed in the post

C. They expand on the topic of the post

D. They invite others into the conversation which increases the likelihood that the most up-to-date information is included in the conversation

E. They provide for a way to meet others who you can connect with and have as a future resource for later issues

Blog comments can be a great way to learn basic technical marketing information, especially if you move beyond a casual reader to an active participant. Most blogs have a way for you to have comments e-mailed to you when new ones are created. That way, you will be able to keep up on the conversation without having to go back constantly and check for new comments.

No matter how much of a technophobe you are, if you follow some of these avenues, you will find ways to ease you into what can be a confusing world for those who are not familiar with it. I said earlier I was not going to give you a fish, but rather teach you to fish. I hope that I accomplished this. However, I cannot resist in passing a few “fish” your way. Here are some resources for people new to the technical world of marketing books online. I know the authors of these free resources and I heartily commend them to you:

Miller Mosaic’s (Phyllis Zimbler Miller and Yael Miller) free report: The Power of 3 - This report walks you through a quick-start of the three big Internet sites that you should start your online presence with: Twitter, Facebook and your website.

The Savvy Book Marketer’s (Dana Lynn Smith) free ebook, Top Book Marketing Tips and The Savvy Book Marketer monthly ezine.

The Creative Penn’s (Joanna Penn) Author 2.0 Blueprint . How to build your online platform and find free or lowcost Web 2.0 marketing tools.

The Spirit Author’s (Lynn Serafinn) 5 free mp3 podcast downloads that captures the wisdom of 18 book experts as they discuss everything from writing, to marketing to publishing your book.

Author Marketing Experts’ (Penny C. Sansevieri) The Publishing Insiders . This is a series of free on-demand and upcoming classes presented through the Blog Talk Radio format. There is a lot of great material to get you up to speed on the technical aspects of book marketing online, and a whole lot more.

Marketing Tips For Authors (Yours Truly) Free Video Marketing Tips For Authors Newsletter . Look over my shoulders as I walk through some of the more technical aspects of marketing your book on the Internet.

I hope these resources and suggestions can get you started. I know the Internet can be a confusing place for authors who are new to it, but there are a lot of people who are willing to hold your hand as you get started. Just take a few small steps at a time and before you know it, you will be the guru helping that new author taking his or her tentative steps into the Internet.


Tony Eldridge is the author of the action/adventure novel, The Samson Effect , that New York Times best selling author Clive Cussler calls a "first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure." He is also the author of the video e-book, Conducting Effective Twitter Contests. You can sign up for his free Video Marketing Tips For Authors newsletter by visiting his blog, Marketing Tips For Authors

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Sunday Sillies!

Celeberating all that is funny about cats!

Don't forget to caption your own LOL cat below...

And in case you missed it, I had an interview yesterday at Teens Read Too Book Club

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funny pictures of cats with captions

epic fail pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions

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And now - caption your own LOL Cat!

Friday, March 19, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different!

"We're knights of the round table
We dance when e'er we're able
We do routines and parlour scenes
With footwork impecc-Able."

I'm visiting Teens Read Too Book Club on Saturday!
Fridays's stops:
Interview at Red Headed Book Child
Guest post about editing at Mystery Writing is Murder

The battle is on!
It’s a read-a-thon between the Blue Team and the Red Team.
Who are you pulling for?
Kate’s Team Blue at The Neverending Shelf
Or Kristin’s Team Red at Bookworming in the 21st Century

Elana Johnson started a discussion and asked how YOU define success - best-seller, contract, sales, etc?
I stated that to me, real success is based on the number of lives I touch in a positive manner through the message of hope in my books and my speaking.
What’s yours?
Pop over to Elana’s site and tell her What Defines Success
Tell me here, too!

Jamieson Wolf posted this incredible video - “End of Publishing”
Watch it all the way through!

Jamieson also gave me this special award, The Storyteller Award, which goes out once a month:

Thanks so much, Jamieson - hugs!


Another tie! You guys are good...

From Alex J. Cavanaugh - "Does this bag make me look fat?"
And from CC Chronicles - "You want to be green? Find a leprechaun. I'm not giving up my bag!"


Thursday, March 18, 2010

A New Toy for the Display Table!

And it totally rocks!

My husband is too awesome. He came home with an RCA Portable DVD Player for me on Wednesday!

My series has a book trailer and I always thought it would be cool to have it playing during signings and appearances. We've taken the laptop a couple times (I call him "Lappy") but only when Craig can hover protectively over it at all times. We set it up on my display table for the fundraiser/release party the other night:

I guess that got my husband to thinking and he came home with a little portable DVD player that is all mine! ("Lappy" was to be ours, but I don't get to see him often.) Now I can play my book trailer on a little DVD player and add to my display table.

Too cool, because tonight is a speaking engagement at a library that totally rocks for author appearances. Boo-yah!

So what little unique things do you have on your display table? What would you like to get?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Long Awaitied Moment...


It's been an incredible journey, but all good things must come to an end...


When confidence turns to frustration…

A new beginning awaits Heather Jennings. The position at Clemson means she will finally realize her dream of coaching basketball. Heather is ready to focus on her duties, using sheer force if necessary to prove her independence.

Sadly, her triumph is hampered as her father and greatest advocate lies dying of cancer. Battling her grief, she must also deal with a sister who appears incapable of responsibility or achievement. And once basketball season begins, a talented but cocky player who resembles her in every manner challenges all that remains of Heather’s patience.

Heather’s life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her bold and feisty attitude. Straightforward and smug, he entices her to date him, and despite his gruff nature shows a great capacity for compassion. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…

Release date: March 16, 2010, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
$19.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 282 pages, Fiction/YA
ISBN 978-0-9816210-5-0 / 0-9816210-5-8

Winner of the TOP CHOICE Award - a perfect 10
“I couldn't sleep not knowing what was going to happen next… definitely one of the best books I have read in a long time. It was brilliant. Props to L. Diane Wolfe!”
- FlamingNet Reviews

“Heather deals with real life and real situations - 5 Stars”
- Teens Read Too

“Wolfe has created amazing characters with believable attributes and flaws; making Book V…a true gem.”
- Donna M. McDine, Write What Inspires You Book Reviews
“Even after reading the novel, I am haunted by these characters… This is the power of Wolfe’s writing.”
- The Book Pedler

“She puts so much emotion into her stories…”
- There’s Always Something to Read Reviews

“… quite a refreshing read.”
- Peace, Love & Pat Reviews

“I did not want to put down… You will truly be drawn into the story and will find yourself eager to see what happens next.”
- Dad of Divas Reviews

“Thought-provoking, heart-warming, humorous and spirited.”
- Red Headed Book Child Reviews

“A nice completion to the series - 4 Stars.”
- Debbie’s World of Books

Described as “encouragement personified”, Wolfe’s five-book Southern-based series portrays love and friendship overcoming all obstacles. Known as “Spunk On A Stick” to her fans, Wolfe is also a professional speaker. Originally from Oregon, she now resides in North Carolina. “With a positive attitude, any goal can be achieved!”

The Circle of Friends Website: The Circle of Friends
Book Trailer: You Tube
Links to purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Dancing Lemur Press


Follow along and discover some great new writers, books, and bloggers!

9 - Guest post Thoughts in Progress

10 - Review There's Always Something to Read

11 - Review CC Chronicles

11 - Review Red Headed Book Child

11 - Interview Alex J. Cavanaugh

12 - Interview CC Chronicles

14-19 - Excerpts and giveaway Deviant Art Tour

15 - Information VBT - Writers on the Move

16 - Guest post and review Jo-Jo Loves to Read

17 - Interview with Heather and review My Overstuffed Book Shelf

18 - Guest post Books and Lit. For Teens

19 - Interview Red Headed Book Child

19 - Guest post-Edits and Revisions Mystery Writing is Murder

20 - Interview Teens Read Too Book Club

22 - Guest post from Heather and review Psychotic State

23 - Interview Jamieson Wolf

24 - Guest post from Heather and giveaway LaFemme Readers

24 - Interview Tossing It Out

25 - Guest post-Writing Tips Straight From Hel

26 - Interview Steph the Bookworm

29 - Guest post-Speaking to Promote View From the Publishing Trenches

30 - Interview Find Your Next Book Here

31 - Guest post-The Self-Image Karen…Following the Whispers


1 - Guest post-Setting up a VT Marketing Tips For Authors

5 - Guest post-Travel Tips From a Road Warrior The Vacation Gals

6 - Guest post-Why Write Uplifting Books A Journey of Books

9 - Podcast Writers in the Sky Podcast

Thank you everyone for your support and enthusiasm, from my fans to my author friends to the book bloggers out there and to everyone I've met along the journey...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Looking Back

We should always keep moving forward, our eyes on the future. But now and then, taking just a moment to look back provides a new perspective and can guide our path.

With a week packed with virtual tour stops and three large real-world events, the launch of the fifth and final book in my YA series is finally upon me. I started writing this series in 2002, so it's been quite a journey.

Looking back, I wonder what I could've done differently... What could I have changed? What could I have avoided?

Would my books be more successful if I'd made them darker, grittier, and with more angst? I'm sure they would! Controversy sells. Sex, drugs, etc. are very real elements in the lives of young people today. However, it would've deviated from my own morals and standards too far. I needed to be true to my spirit. So while yes, I'd be more successful, it would've rquired compromise, and that I'm glad I didn't do.

Would I have started with a subsidy publisher first before signing with a traditional publisher? Well, I did learn a lot along the way. It gave me time to grow and understand marketing. Okay, that one I'd probably change. (I could've self-published it for a third of what I spent on the subsidy publisher!) The subsidy route is a deep hole from which to dig and I'd rather leave the shovel at home next time...

Do I wish I'd landed a bigger publisher? Eh - yes and no. Yes, the glory and honor of the big six in NY! But you know, even Stephen King left his big NY publisher for a smaller one because he was just a number to them. I like being able to work with my publisher, not being told how it will be! And again, I might've had to compromise what I was writing...

Are there avenues I would now avoid? Yes! I probably won't do very many writer's conferences in the future unless the pay is really good. (Writers don't buy books - it's the weirdest thing!) I will do less bookstores. Evil, evil returns!!! Nobody eles returns books... Public libraries aren't productive for me either. None of my books are historical in nature...

However, I am happy where the journey has led me! I got to complete me series with my best effort ever and I am ready to tackle something new. I'm also ready to focus more on my speaking career.

Looking back, what would you change as an author, writer, blogger, or otherwise? What would you do differently? What would remain unchanged?

* Award time! *

I was given the Prolific Blogger Award by Helen Ginger at Straight From Hel -  thank you!!!

It seems everyone I know has this already (good job, guys!) so passing it along to:

Elizabeth Spann Craig
Nancy J. Parra
Kate at The Neverending Shelf

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Sunday Sillies!

I have to warn you, when I posted this one on Deviant Art, I titled it "You No Like My Paper Hat?" - so give me your BEST!

Friday, March 12, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Winter changed into Spring. Spring changed into Summer. Summer changed back into Winter. And Winter gave Spring and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn...


Got a lot this week!

Carol gives a warning about the Google coupon A Book Inside

Vivian gives some great tips on writing for children Sharing with Writers

Stephen guides us through the Seven C’s of Mystery Writing Breakthrough Blogs

Are you using Bookbuzzer? Marketing Tips For Authors

J. Aday media kit series, part II A Writing Playground

Penny Sansevieri give tips on blogging and articles Susan Whitfield’s Blog

Helen Ginger discusses character growth The Blood Red Pencil

And since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, Yvonne gives us a little history… Writers in the Sky

Day four of Spunky’s Virtual Tour and I’m visiting CC Chronicles today!
For a full list of appearances go HERE
A big thank you to my hosts this week!


Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
For some reason, we missed this in the theatre - which was a total shame!
Based on the book by the same name, this movie is just cute and fun. It's a sweet story (no food pun intended) and an original idea. There are a TON of stars voicing the characters, from James Caan to Mr. T. to Bruce Cambell. The funniest character? Steve. Steve the monkey! You have to see it to appreciate it.
Not deep, not even the best animation in the world, but just good fun.


There were some good ones last Sunday!

However one stood above the crowd - and had I been drinking, water would've come out my nose...

"Sigh, being a Muslim feline has so many restrictions." - from The Old Silly


Spring is coming!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Working from Home - The Reality

“Oh, you work from home? Must be nice to stay home all day and do what you want!”

LOL Yeah, right!
Yes, there are advantages. I’ll not deny it. I’ve been fully self-employed since 1999 and couldn’t imagine working a J-O-B now. However, there are a lot of disadvantages as well.

So for those who’ve always wondered, let me give you a run-down of the nitty-gritty. And my fellow authors and bloggers who also don’t work a job outside the home, feel free to chime in with your thoughts! Let’s paint as real a picture as possible.

So from Spunky’s viewpoint…


I set my own hours - when I get up, when I go to bed, and where I go.

When I’m at home, I can wear whatever I want. (I REALLY hate sharp-casual, so that's cool!)

If I get hungry or thirsty, the fridge is not far.

I can make phone calls, respond to emails, do interviews, and meet with people at any point in my day. I don’t have to wait until after work or cram it in during my lunch break.

I have more time to write and promote. I can do more online.

I’m in my comfort zone when at home.


I set my own hours - which means I need to be a self-motivator or I’ll never accomplish anything.

More time to promote means I’ve taken advantage of that - and quadrupled my workload to keep up with my efforts.

There’s a constant parade of distractions - phone calls, emails, deliveries, errands to run, etc. that aren’t business-related. Stupid things vie for my attention - the Internet, snacks I shouldn’t eat, falling snow, etc.

There’s an even bigger parade of necessary distractions! Household chores - laundry, dishes, cleaning house, taking out the garbage, taking care of the cats, preparing dinner, etc. When you’re home, you see these things need to be done - so you do them! There’s also business distractions - phone calls, emails, book requests, trips to the bank or post office, etc. And for those with kids or pets, there’s times when you have to tend to their needs and play with them. (My cats a necessary distraction? Hey, YOU try ignoring those two and see what happens!)

Since each day is always different, I have no set pattern. So I rely heavily on my calendar and to-do list to maintain order among the chaos.

Often, I’m not so much working from home as I’m working out of the home. I’m a professional speaker, so I do speaking engagements and many are during the day. Most media interviews are also during daytime hours. Sometimes it’s book events or I’m meeting with someone or visiting a school or whatever. But often I am gone all day, racking up the mileage on my little SUV. (And besides author & speaker, I’m a pro photographer and I own another business that requires my attention 15-20 hours a week - so I can be really busy during the week.)

When I’m home, especially for more than a day, the temptation arises to retreat and withdraw from the world. And that’s never good!

I don’t receive a steady paycheck, but I still need to bring money into my household. Therefore, my income is totally dependent on my efforts, and it fluctuates with changes in the economy and the seasons. Some months are really good - some really suck!

That is my work-at-home world and the advantages and disadvantages. What are some of yours?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Author Leanna Ellis

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Once in a Blue Moon
B&H Books (March 1, 2010)
by Leanna Ellis


Leanna's sister recommended that she write, since she ‘wrote in her journal all the time.’ The idea took root and began to grow. So after five years of teaching, she quit and started writing, with no clue about the book business. Ignorance is bliss. If she’d known the odds against her, she might not have ever started writing.

For about three years, she wrote with a collaborator, but because she had so many ideas she began to write more stories on her own. She suffered numerous rejections. Deservedly so. But she was growing as a writer and learning. She went to as many conferences as she could manage. During that time, she met her future husband, fell in love and became engaged. She also began to final in contests and then actually began to win! The contests helped her get noticed by editors and agents. In March, the year Braveheart won the Best Picture Oscar, Victor/Victoria opened on Broadway, she sold her first book. It was her Cinderella year. She sold her book, got married and won RWA’s Golden Heart Award in Hawaii.

She wrote six books between her first baby’s birth and when the second baby turned one. Then she hit a wall. Not literally. But creatively. It’s not that she didn’t have any ideas, but her ideas didn’t fit the romance market. These new characters, random and weird as they were, began to take over the part of her brain that wasn’t domesticated. These stories were about all types of women, and so she began to let her writing grow in new and different ways.

Leanna Ellis sold more than 1.3 million romantic novels writing as Leanna Wilson, winning a Readers’ Choice award and the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her work. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is the first book published under her married name, marking a new creative direction in her writing. Like Francine Rivers before her, Leanna has left behind a successful career as an author of secular romances to write novels of faith that glorify God. A former schoolteacher, Leanna is now a homeschool mom and lives with her husband and children in Keller, Texas.


Bryn Seymour was nine years old when her mother died under mysterious circumstances on the same day Apollo 11 made its historic lunar landing. Forty years later—divorced, working as an obituary writer, and duly cynical—she meets Howard, a conspiracy theorist who knew her mom and believes a small Texas town may hold clues to what really fueled her demise. Seeking closure, Bryn goes along for this men-in-black ride. But upon meeting Howard’s son Sam, an outspoken Christian, she can’t decide whose beliefs are more pie-in-the-sky.

The gravity of life has pulled Bryn down for decades. But a perfect love could be her first step to soaring. It only happens once in a blue moon.

The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805449884