Jennifer Lyon
Monday, January 16th, 2017
Weekend Roundup

There was a weekend? I’m behind and trying like bad to catch up!

So Friday I saw my doctor and I’m in pretty good health except for my Rheumatoid Arthritis :-) That’s really good news for me. Yeah, we have to deal with my stomach issues, but we’ll figure out a way to manage it successfully. And I’d like to point out something–a solid combination of skilled, caring doctors, medicines developed by dedicated intelligent scientists and luck has given me a great quality of life that wouldn’t have been possible for those of us with autoimmune diseases a few decades ago. That is something I am grateful for every day. So dealing with these side issues might be annoying and a little tiring, but it’s a small price to pay for the fact that I can live a good life. So thank you to all the passionate, committed professionals who make it possible for people like me to have a great quality of life and pursue my own passions like writing. I don’t want anyone to think I’m whining.

Saturday was good. I wrote two new scenes in book 2 of SAVAGED VOWS. I’m not sure who the genius was who thought I could write books two and three in the Savaged Illusions Trilogy, create and implement the marketing plan, get the books through production (edits, brainstorming covers, writing blurbs, gathering metadata for formatting and scheduling/uploading, etc) while re-publishing two of my favorite books from my backlist…all while dealing with Wizard having back surgery tomorrow.

Oh wait, that was me. I’m the idiot, uh genius :-) Even with Amazing Anna (my virtual assistant), this is crazy, but apparently, that doesn’t stop me from trying. I’m going to do everything I can to make my deadlines.

Yesterday I got out and saw Biker Witch for a while. We met for coffee and talked, and when I looked down at my watch, I realized we’d been talking ALMOST THREE HOURS! But it’s usually like that when I see my sister.

Today I’m getting everything ready for Wizard’s surgery. It’s going to be a long day and his recovery will be roughly two months, but he’s more than ready to tackle the challenge.

So how was your weekend?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Friday Five

Happy Friday! Okay so let’s do Friday Five where we list five random things going on in our lives.

  1. Wizard’s surgery for a severely herniated disc has been moved up a week to next Tuesday the 17th! Yay! It’s taking a little juggling, but this is good news!
  2.  Thieves suck. I’m not gonna say more except that Wizard is all over this. So far, we’re fine but Thieves Of Any Kind Suck.
  3. Writing is hard. Sooooo hard.
  4. I have to do another lab test today and see one of my two doctors. This isn’t serious, we’re just chasing down stomach issues that I’ve had for years and years that have recently escalated. It’s most likely from meds and stress and all the doctors know this (really). But they’re being conscientious physicians who want to make sure they aren’t missing something. I get that, but I’m sick to freaking death of it. Wizard, however, has zero sympathy for my whining and is all like, “You will do this.” Whatever. Now I’m just doing it to say, “Told you so!” :-)
  5. Rain!!! We’ve had a good amount of rain here in Southern California. We need it! Unfortunately, we’ll probably get some mudslides and assorted problems too, but I’m still celebrating the rain!

Now it’s your turn! Tell me five random things going on in your life.

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Contest and Wednesday Worthy

Happy Hump Day!

First up, for those of you who haven’t signed up for my newsletter mailing list yet, now’s the time!

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I’m giving away one of the All-New Kindle Fire 16GB tablets! To enter just join my mailing list and fill out the Rafflecopter!! Here’s the link:  www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bb34cd0b112The contest is open to US, CAN & UK. Winner must claim prize within 30 days of end of contest. Kindle value $89.99. 

Now for our Wednesday Worthy candidate. Can you all tell I like torso shots???

Athletic man's torso. Unrecognizable male fitness model show naked muscular body. Strong hands, chest and shoulder muscles and biceps. Studio shot on black background, low key. Bodybuilding concept

So what do you think is he worthy?

Monday, January 9th, 2017
Quick Review of 2016 Goals

Before I start, Good, Bad & Sexy is up for pre-order for 99¢ at all the vendors now!

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Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook /  ibooks / Kobo / Google Play

I’m going to do a quick review my two main goals from my 2016 business plan,  including where I met my goals, exceeded them and where I fell short.

Okay let’s go:

Books: FELL SHORT

  • I planned to write three full length books and a novella.
  • I succeeded in writing and releasing one novella. SUCCESS
  • I wrote one full length book, but held off publishing it until June of 2017 in a revised marketing plan. SUCCESS AND FAIL. I decided that the one book I was writing was too long for a single novel and decided to write three full-length connected books. (My editor agrees and thinks it’s my best work yet—we’ll see if that’s true.) Changing the strategy midstream was a creative decision, but there’s cost to that on the business side of things. It slowed my production for 2016 significantly.
  • I failed to write Ram’s book, Primal Magic, in the Wing Slayer Series. FAIL. And it bothers me every single day, but I have to finish this Savaged Trilogy.
  • My conclusion? Pretty plans get shot to hell by creative needs sometimes. But more seriously, business plans are a document meant to guide, not lock us in. I think writing the Savaged Trilogy will work out long term, but there will be some short term pain to make it happen. And this is part of taking the big risk for big rewards.

Financial Goals: SUCCESS.

  • My 2015 income had a projected drop. So for 2016 I wanted to increase that by 25%. I exceeded this goal dramatically.
  • The reason? Marketing and Strategy. A chunk of that marketing and strategic plan began in 2015, so much of this is long term planning.
  • My conclusion? Marketing and strategy are important to a long term career. But it’s not as important as the books themselves.

Some thoughts:

  • I believe in a business plan. I have mine in a less formal format this year, but it’s still written out. My publishing plan, financial plan and marketing plan. It’s all fluid and can change, but I know what I need to be doing and what goals I’m working toward.
  • I believe in big goals. I hate failure—it’s painful, scary and sometimes humiliating. But I have learned how to succeed from my failures.
  • I have too many “rabbit holes.” Rabbit holes are the things that distract me from what I should be doing—writing. This year the whole election was a nonstop series of rabbit holes. I kept clicking on news articles to read and videos to watch instead of writing. Avoid Rabbit Holes at all costs! Right now, Wizard will walk by and call out, “Rabbit Hole” if he sees me doing it.
  • Life is not a Rabbit Hole we can avoid. 2016 was filled with medical crap and one major scare that turned out fine. This year is starting out with Wizard having surgery at the end of the month. Life happens and we just have to change and adapt as it comes, and so should our business plans.
  • Marketing and Strategy are even more important as the e-book market is slumping and sales are falling off dramatically for most authors I know. Readers aren’t just one-clicking anymore. We have put that book in front of them and that takes marketing and strategy.
  • I will always wish I could write faster and more efficiently.
  • And this is for all of you. Dream big, then break that down into goals and go for it. You can do this!
Friday, January 6th, 2017
Reminiscing about Bailey Dog

Happy Friday! I mixed up my days this week, and thought Wednesday was Tuesday. I was halfway through Wednesday before I realized, Holy Crap, I forgot to post a blog! I’m sorry about that!

Today I just feel like talking about Bailey Dog. I miss that little guy! This is longish if you feel like hanging in and reading. If not–have a great weekend!

As most of you know, Bailey passed last summer. I love all the other dogs in our life, but Bailey will always have a very special place in my heart. But did you know it didn’t start out that way? Nope, the first time I met Bailey, he burst out of his kennel, bouncing around the room like Tigger from Winnie the Poo. Boing, boing, boing. Let’s just say I was unimpressed. And Bailey wasn’t too sure of us either. The first time middle son left Bailey with us look like this:

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Bailey stared out the window at driveway and he didn’t move until Middle Son returned. Nothing we did helped. I felt terrible for him. You see, Bailey’s previous family gave him away. While I think they did it for good reason as they had a couple other dogs who were mean to him (hence Bailey’s dog aggression), that “abandonment” left its mark on Bailey. He was terrified Middle Son would abandon him too. Over time two things happened. We learned to ignore Bailey when he did this, then heap lots of love, playtime and reassurance on him when he would stop fretting and come be with us. And Middle Son ALWAYS CAME BACK. In time Bailey learned to trust his love and ours.

But it was a process. This is what it looked like the first time I tried to walk Bailey.

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Actually that doesn’t look half as bad as it was. I kid you not. He was seriously INSANE, standing up and surging forward, causing himself to cough because the dumb dog was choking himself. I was mortified, and terrified the neighbors would think I was hurting this dog. I made it down our street and around a corner, before I picked him up and carried him home in embarrassed frustration. When I told my son, he laughed. Loudly. So did Wizard :-(

Then Middle Son took me out and showed me how to walk Bailey. I gotta tell you I thought I knew how to walk a dog, I mean come on, I’ve had dogs, I worked at an animal shelter, I’m a huge dog lover. But…I didn’t know how to walk Bailey. I learned quickly how to show him authority and confidence, and we soon loved walking and covered miles together.

Bailey and I began bonding, and one day, Middle Son dropped Bailey off and left. Bailey didn’t care. He grabbed some toys, jumped up in “his chair” in my office, and waited for me to get done with writing to play with him. And thus began years of adventures with us.  Chasing lizards, going for walks, the day Bailey stole a pork chop out of the trash, LOL or the time I had Bailey wake up Wizard on Christmas morning. That was hilarious! I put Bailey on the bed and said, “Wake Wizard up!” Bailey licked Wizard’s face, his whole body wiggling in happiness. Wizard…not so much :-) He was bellowing at me. I was cracking up and desperately wishing I’d thought to video it. We have a million great memories.

But this is the moment I lost my heart to Bailey forever.

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Youngest son had a freak accident and suffered a very serious break in his leg that required surgeries. It was bad enough that we had to bring him home from the hospital in a private ambulance and he had to stay in a hospital bed in my family room. Once Youngest was home, Bailey jumped up on his bed and stayed with him. Bailey knew Youngset well as all three boys lived together in a rental house while going to college. Bailey’s absolute love and loyalty still chokes me up. That wild dog that boinged like Tigger or choked himself on the leash morphed into this calm dog determined to help and protect Youngest. When we got Youngest up on crutches, Bailey sat quietly. When Youngest was in a wheelchair, Bailey hopped up on his lap, or sat beneath it. One of the most stunning moments when Youngest was sitting in a chair, and I was kneeling on the floor helping him exercise the leg. Bailey was sitting on the couch with my other son and was very interested. Then Bailey moved to sit next to me, and kept watching. After I moved Youngest’s leg a couple times, Bailey got up and moved to sit beneath Youngest leg as if he could support it once I let the leg go.

We were all speechless at this. Bailey repeated this whenever youngest was in a chair if the leg was unsupported. And I just have to interject here that Middle Son was so awesome too, letting Bailey come over and stay with us, to keep Youngest company.

I’m not sure how any of us would have gotten through those tough days without Bailey. He was better than any antidepressant. His love was unconditional, steadfast and priceless.

 

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Bailey was truly one of those special little guy. It wasn’t love at first sight…but it is forever.

Monday, January 2nd, 2017
Weekend Roundup

Our New Year Day Eve was fun but dinner was a disaster. Wizard and I have made steak and lobster together easily more than a dozen times. Somehow this time, we failed. The steak was supposed to be a rib eye, but it was dry shoe leather. The lobster wouldn’t cook correctly and I was afraid to eat it. I think it had been frozen too long, or at some point, frozen, defrosted and refrozen. I had no desire to test my difficult stomach with questionable seafood :-) But I’d bought some fresh French bread and that was delicious! So we ended up mostly sipping some good wine and eating excellent French bread. Then we hung out and watched movies.

I got up early New Year’s Day to work, which I did for an hour. But around 6:30 I decided to make cranberry sauce to use later for Baked Cranberry Brie Appetizer. I’d already made chocolate chip cookies because two out of three kids were supposed to stop by for a few minutes. But I had a feeling I was going to need more than cookies. Apparently, I was making enough noise to wake up Wizard–he stumbled into the kitchen but I didn’t hear him because I had my headphones on, listening to an audiobook and cooking. Finally he yells out, “What are you doing?”

I jumped, took off my headphones and answered, “Making cranberry sauce.”  I mean Duh, why else would I be grating orange zest into a pan of cranberries and sugar?

He shook his head. “Seriously? At six thirty in the morning?”

I looked at the clock. “It’s six-forty-five now.”

He shook his head and laughed. “Oh well now it makes total sense.”

I decided to ignore the obvious sarcasm and asked, “What did you think was going on?” I was curious why he got up. It’s not like he hasn’t heard me doing stuff in the morning before. I usually write but once in a while, I’ll decide to cook or prep something in kitchen.

Wizard answered, “I heard banging and thought you found ants. I came down to help.”

I forgave him for the earlier sarcasm. Guys, the mornings for Wizard are rough with his herniated disc. I mean, it’s hard to watch how much pain he’s in. It literally took him 10 to 15 minutes to work his way out of bed and down the stairs, but he did it because he thought I was battling ants and was going to help. I know it’s not technically romantic, but moments like that take my breath away. Wizard knows how much I hate ants in my kitchen. And no matter how much pain he was in, he was going to help. That kind of love is not something I’m going to take for granted even after all these years. And FYI, his surgery for the herniated disc is only weeks away now. (One of his doctors last week reinforced how much he needs this surgery too, which is good. Surgery is not something we’ve jumped into lightly, but there’s really no option at this point).

So, as it turned out, my intuition was right. Around 10am New Year’s Morning, I got a call that all six kids (my three sons and their mates) plus Baby Jett were coming over for lunch and to hang out. I had the baked brie appetizer and cookies, and one of the boys stopped and picked up pizza on his way so it worked out great (if a tad unhealthy, LOL). We had a very kick back afternoon. I think Jett can demonstrate our energy level perfectly:

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It was Jett’s first time at our house. He wasn’t interested in the pool, but loved exploring the backyard and side hill. Inside the house, he refused to go up our stairs to the second floor. He goes on stairs on his walks at the beach all the time, so that was interesting. But Jett’s a six month old puppy and while he’s a pretty confident dude, he’s still learning and mastering the world. This just wasn’t his day to take on the “inside” stairs for some reason. He’s so young that I’m betting next time he comes over, he’ll race up the stairs. Otherwise, Jett had fun playing, but as you see from the picture, he’s also happy to chill out and take a nap on his travel bed.

My year is starting off well. I’m behind where I wanted to be on the book, but that’s okay, I’m working now! And this year, I’m starting off determined to believe in myself and the books. I know what I want to accomplish this year, so it’s just matter of fingers on the keyboard and trusting my story over the shrill voice of self-doubt in my head.

How was your weekend, and how’s your new year starting off?

NOTE: Next Monday I’m planning to write a post reviewing my 2016 goals and talking about 2017. And I want to talk a little bit over the next weeks about the state and business of publishing. 

Friday, December 30th, 2016
Happy New Year!

This weekend we’re taking the leap from 2016 to 2017

silhouette man jumps to make the word Happy New Year 2017 with sunrise. (New Year 2017 is coming concept.)

I like this image as it’s not about the new year happening to us, but us taking the leap into the new year, ready to live and experience each new day, week and month with renewed vigor and joy! Let’s not be bogged down by the disappointments and heartbreaks of the past, but seek out fresh reasons to smile and laugh, go after our goals with fearlessness, discover new magic in the world around us and most importantly remember to cherish all those that we love!

This is my wish for each of you as we let go of one year to take the leap into the next together.

Happy New Year My Friends!

JenniferLyon.com