How Alert Are You?

file00025755561I’m over at the Muffin today, talking about alerts, thanks to my friend and author Beth Cato.

See, Beth recently released the second book in her series; it’s called Clockwork Crown. (I read the first book, Clockwork Dagger, a thrill ride of a steampunk adventure, so yeah, I’ve already added Clockwork Crown to my TBR List!) And she likes to keep up with mentions of her books through Mention–but I’d never heard of this search tool. So I did a little digging.

And that’s how I came to share information about Mention and a couple other sites that will send you alerts about your books. Or your name, or any other topic you might want to track. Because you don’t have to be a big-time author like Beth to keep tabs on what people are saying about you. Go check out the post and try an alerts service. And who knows? You could be all kinds of famous yourself!

Stuck on Perspective (And Reading)

TheOceanattheEndoftheLane_Hardcover_1359996597I seem to be a bit obsessed with perspective lately, and I’m not sure why. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something?

Anyway, the universe (also known as the Tub Where I Get Ideas) told me to share my thoughts on Neil Gaiman and perspective over at the Muffin and so I did. If you’re feeling a wee bit overwhelmed by everything you need to do, marketing-wise, I hope you’ll take a look see.

To be honest, in the summer, I’m always struck with just the tiniest bit of ennui (which is just a high falootin’ word for my laziness, but still, it sounds so much better, right?). It’s not that I don’t want to write, per se…it’s just that I want to sit outside and read more. And so I needed inspiration and bless Neil Gaiman, he came through for me.

By the by, the book I mentioned in the Muffin post, The Ocean At the End of the Lane, is great summer reading (or anytime reading). And of course, Mr. Gaiman has a new book out, Trigger Warning, (Because he always has a new book out) and I have to read that, and naturally, when I was perusing his website and such (for research), I noticed a book or two I hadn’t yet read and I think the summer is the best time to catch up on Neil, don’t you?

Which is, I’m quite sure, the universe telling me that it’s okay to slow down a bit and read when there are wonderful books out there, waiting. So how about you, my writing friends? What books are on your Summer Reading List?

All You Gotta Do Is Ask

I’m a blessed person when it comes to good writing friends.

I’ve met lots of delightful writers through the years–some of them, I know only virtually–and most of them have been or are delightfully supportive, generous, and kind. Not just to me but to a whole slew of writer friends. But when it comes to asking for my support (or I imagine the support of their whole slew of writer friends), they can be maddeningly quiet, or downright apologetic.

I expect it’s because, deep down in most writers, there lurks an insecure mass of quivering thoughts. The kind of thoughts that whisper, “You’re not much of a writer, and any day now, all your friends are going to figure that out.”

But maybe we need to start whispering positive thoughts. Affirmations. Remember Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live?

Yeah, that’s what we need to do. And then we need to “Ask (Writer Friends) and Receive”. (Um…It’ll make more sense if you zip over to the Muffin now and read my post about asking our writer friends for support.)

How To Grow A (Writing) Idea

An idea that didn't quite work--apparently, you can't grow a working writer, no matter how many Cathys-on-a-Stick you plant.

An idea that didn’t quite work. Apparently, you can’t grow a writer, no matter how many Cathys-on-a-Stick you plant.

So the other day, I read a post (“Growing as a Writer”) by writer friend, Tina Cho. She had some lovely suggestions (and a very lovely analogy about plants and writing) and I’m sure you’ll find something that can help your writing grow when you give it a read. As for me, I found a little something extra.

See, I’d read her thoughts and posted a comment, adding that I believed you also needed patience for good writing (and a beautiful garden). Then I took my shower and started thinking about my upcoming Muffin post.

The one that looked more or less like a blank page.

Um…yeah. But all that hot water pouring over my head and Tina’s post that was still bouncing around up there and my own comment mixed in with it…well, pretty soon, I had an idea. You can read for yourself if you zip over to the Muffin for The Writing Waiting Game.

A little water, a little fertilizer from a friend’s post, and whoosh! That’s how you grow a lovely idea.

(Thanks, Tina!)

Even If You’ve Heard It All Before (Reminders for Writers)

file0001008451882Today, I’m over at The Muffin, writing about the best way to stack the deck in your writing favor with “Give ‘Em What They Want.”

To be honest, I didn’t say anything earth-shatteringly new. But the Muffin blog and WOW-Women on Writing attract writers new to the business every day, so for them, the information could be earth-shatteringly new.

On the other hand, even old-timers like me can fall into that two-headed trap: complacency and arrogance. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we think, I know what to do. Or, yeah, yeah, yeah, we figure, those rules are for other just-starting-out writers. So every once in a while I need a reminder not to get too big for my writing britches.

Not saying that you do, too. I’m sure you’re the Mary Poppins of the writing world, practically perfect in every way. But just in case you aren’t…

(And P.S. you might want to read Renee’s comment on the post; it’s good stuff, too. Please come back tomorrow for Scott Keen’s post–the one I referenced at The Muffin. He’ll be giving us the 4-1-1 on WiDo Publishing and his new book!)