Jennifer Lyon
Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Happy Friday!

I’ve been a complete moron and forgot to tell you all that there’s a Plus One Chronicles Book Blast going on.  If you haven’t seen it going around the various social media sites, you can link here and enter to win a $50.00 or $25.00 electronic gift card. There’s more links on the site–you can follow those and enter at the various stops until January 5th.

Also. The Proposition, book 1 in The Plus One Chronicles, is now free on these sites:

Amazon Kindle  /  iBooks  /  Kobo  /  Smashwords

Yesterday was one of those incredibly frustrating days where I couldn’t get my next Once A Marine book started. I always *think* I know the characters and plot well enough until I sit down to write, then I realize I need to do more prep work. So I spent yesterday thinking.  I made progress that way, but I still need to solve one more hurdle. And since I’m writing this blog on Thurs, what are the odds I’ll think of what I need right around two am? :-)

This weekend, I’m planning to go out to CPA Boy and Special K’s to finally meet Corky–seen here sun bathing.

Corky sun bathing

He’s a kick back dog :-) I’m sure I’ll love him! They also have Cookie, so I get to play with two dogs for the price of one!

Otherwise, I’m back to work, work, and more work.

What are your plans this weekend?

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Professional Lessons of 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish you all a Happy and Successful 2014!

I started to write this blog late yesterday afternoon but Wizard came home from work early and I got side tracked by the glass of wine he held in front of my face :-) I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve! We  stayed home and made our traditional steak and lobster, along with a spinach salad, fresh-baked bread and some  wine.   After all the non-stop holiday craziness from Thanksgiving on, we were ready for a quiet night.

I’m not doing New Years Resolutions, they always look the same: Get in better shape, learn to write faster, try to be more patient especially while driving…it’s always the same things. Instead I’m going to list a few things that I learned career-wise  in 2013.

CHOOSING TO SELF PUBLISH: I didn’t shop the Plus One Chronicles anywhere, I didn’t even show it to my agent.  This story was important to me and while publishers can be awesome to work with, in this case, I had a vision that I feared they might want to water down.  I had no idea, not a clue, that the books would do as well as they did.  What also surprised me is how much I love self publishing.  It’s probably a good thing I didn’t quite grasp exactly how much long hours and sheer perseverance it would require of me. But  now I have a pretty good idea and I plan to continue self publishing with a new series I’m beyond excited about in 2014. However, that said, I’m always going to keep an open mind. If a publisher offered me a good deal, I’d probably take it and be thrilled.

EDITING: I still, and will always, need a good editor. I found one of the best editors I’ve worked with in my entire career for The Plus One Chronicles.  She’s not cheap but worth every penny.  Editing is a rare combination of skill and talent that is critical to developing a book to its fullest potential.  Sasha (my editor) always stayed true to my vision while pushing me hard to not only choose every word carefully, but to develop my characters to the point where she’d say things like, “This doesn’t sound like Sloane” on a piece of dialogue.  On POSSESSION her revision letter started with, “This book needs some extra loving,” which meant, I’m going to work your butt off to make this book shine because right now it’s not good enough.  I went into full-blown, stomach churning, bile spewing, panic. But I took that book apart and fixed it to the best of my ability. And I am grateful to Sasha that she didn’t pull her punches. We have a very professional relationship–she respects my vision, and I respect her edits. I don’t get angry at her edits, even in the rare case that if I didn’t agree with them.

GOALS: I learned that setting clear concise goals is important to keep me focused. My goals were to write Kat and Sloane’s story in three books, write the Once A Marine Series, and my overall goal this year was to reach new readers. That’s it. I didn’t aim for lists. There is a way to aim for lists, and I chose not to do that because I’d put too much pressure and expectations on myself.  I know myself well enough to understand the disappointment would get in the way of my writing. When I ended up hitting a few lists (not the USA Today and NYT), I was stunned and over-the-moon excited, but it was more of a happy accident than a goal.  And this leads me to my next one:

PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY:  It’s real, it happens, we’re all human. We can’t always control what we feel, but we can control how we react.  An example is my good friend, Laura, she’s hit both the USA Today and New York Times this year.   Here’s how I felt: THRILLED! Laura and I’ve known each other for years and years, we’re critique partners, and I know exactly how talented she is, and how hard she works–and here’s the best part–Laura’s one of the most genuine people you’ll  ever meet.  Shes’ also incredibly supportive of me, and many other authors.  I knew she was going to hit the NYT before she did. But was I jealous? Sure. However I refused to let that dim my happiness for her, I celebrated with her and had a blast. We were texting constantly and soon the jealously faded. (By the way, Laura knows all this, we talk about this stuff straight up.) Feeling jealous or envious is normal. The mark of our character though is how we react. I want to be happy for other people’s successes and so I will be.

SOCIAL MEDIA and BRANDING: This is something I’m still learning. It’s a guilt that dogs me, I should be interacting more on social media, creating a stronger online persona and branding myself. Except I would rather write :-) And the thought of branding myself sounds…painful :-) So…I’ll keep trying. Although I love my Lyon FB page–that one is fun, plus I love doing giveaways there when I have the time and resources.

DEADLINES AND PRESSURE:  Stomach burning, insomnia producing, sweat popping pressure can force a book out of me. I don’t like it, in fact, I hate it. But I can do it.  I’m hoping that knowing I can do it will calm that insane level of anxiety I dealt with this year. But it won’t–the root of that anxiety is that I care DEEPLY about my readers and worry about disappointing them.

EXPECTED THE UNEXPECTED: Like the offer from the German publisher to buy the translation rights to The Plus One Chronicles. I was gobsmacked. The books will be released in Germany late 2014. But the unexpected will also bring more work that takes time away from writing. I’m learning to be flexible and accept that there will be many nights where I must work. I have to sacrifice things like reading and TV. That’s okay though :-) Insomnia gives me a chance to catch up on reading!

READERS:  I love my readers! It’s readers that have given me the best job in the world.

Okay that was a long LONG post! If you made it this far, chime in with anything you want. Maybe something you’ve learned this year, or comments on something I’ve learned, or just tell me anything you feel like sharing.

 

Monday, December 30th, 2013
Holiday Roundup

Christmas was wonderful and exhausting.  Having all the kids and their wives/girlfriends home is always special, then they all left except for Bailey Dog.

Bailey with his bone

 

Bailey is here until we take him home–probably tomorrow. He’s been good as gold.  He and Wizard are buddies–so much so that Wizard got very brave and took Bailey in the car with him to the post office. Bailey loved it! But he almost gave Wizard a heart attack when Bailey put his paw on the arm rest and accidentally rolled down the electric window.  Poor Wizard! He was afraid Bailey would jump out. But Bailey was fine and Wizard handled it. Right now the two of them are sitting together watching TV.

So how was your holiday? And if I don’t talk to you before hand–have a safe New Years Eve!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013
Happy Holidays

So CPA Boy (oldest son) says: “Mom there’s a cookie exchange at work, and I consider this a contest that I must win.”

“Um…CPA Boy a cookie exchange is not a contest.”

“It’s totally a contest.”

Right. He’s so like his dad. Not me, I’m not at all competitive.   “And you’re telling me this because…?”

“Can you bake extra cookies so I can claim them as my own and win?”

“I’m not baking a lot of cookies this year.” I’m being tough this year, drawing lines, doing less…and I’M NOT COMPETITIVE.

“Oh. Well that’s okay mom.  Don’t worry about it. It’s just a cookie exchange.” And we started talking about other things.

Fast forward a couple days to the family party where I handed him a big Tupperware filled with cookies. I carefully labeled it “CPA Boy, the big cheater.”

CPA Boys eyes lit up. “What’s this?”

“Cookies.”

“You said you weren’t baking this year.”

“But you asked and I can’t seem to help myself. Are you REALLY going to take credit for my cookies?”

He nods. “One hundred percent.”

“You’re a cheater, you know that. I wrote it on the tag. See?”

“I’m going to cross out cheater.”

I laughed. “You suck at cheating.”

“You suck at saying no. And you’re helping your son cheat.”

Dang, he has a point. So I poured some wine and contemplated what a bad mom I am. But he totally better win that contest…uh…cookies exchange.

In all honesty, it really is a cookie exchange, and I’ve met his smart coworkers–not one of them will believe he baked those cookies :-) The truth is I did it for him because my kids rarely ask me for anything. And…I suck at saying no.

I want to take a moment to wish  you all have a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays! I wish for each of you a truly special time with family and friends.  You all have made my life better, sharing smiles and joy and I truly appreciate all of you.

I’m going to take a week off from the blog, but will check in next week.

 

Friday, December 20th, 2013
Happy Friday

Only five days until Christmas!

I ran out of time to write a blog–I’ll try to write more on Monday.  Right now, Wizard and I just finished making peanut butter balls and we used Ghirardelli melting wafers–first time I’ve ever used them and so far I love them. So if you’re doing any candy making, they are a good option. And also this was Wizard’s first time making rolling and dipping peanut butter balls–he did great!

My shopping is done (or it had better be!) and most of my wrapping is done. We have a family party on Saturday, and I’ll be baking all day today and Saturday morning.  The complication is my bad ankle is acting up so I may have to cut back on what I planned to do.  I saw my doctor yesterday and he’s ordered an MRI against my wishes–he actually tricked me into agreeing to it– I’m rather impressed :-)  And no worries–this isn’t a big deal, just annoying and slowing me down.

What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Wednesday Worthy

One week until Christmas, and the best part? Wizard and I asked Middle Son if this guy can stay with us for a few days after Christmas:

Bailey while I work 2

Middle Son answered, “I’ll ask Bailey if he wants to stay with you and Dad and get back to you.”  I’m 99% sure Bailey said yes :-) We’ll have fun for a few days.  Wizard’s really excited, so last night I said to him, “I’m on to you, you know.”

He tried to look innocent, “What?”

“You think that after we have Bailey for a few days, I’ll be tired and realize I don’t really want a dog.”

He smirked and refused to answer.

Changing subjects here, I went to Big Stock to find a Santa Hunk, but I had sticker shock at the price. So we’re going to have to make due with one of the guys who’s been hanging around here for a while now. Just imagine him in a Santa hat:

bigstock-Sexy-sensual-outdoor-portrait--39922273

What do you think?

Monday, December 16th, 2013
Weekend Roundup

I have 90% of my shopping done! Wizard and I did half the shopping together–and the other half separately and managed to get the bulk of it done. I was actually in the mall two days in a row–I haven’t been to that mall in MONTHS.  I talked to real people and everything, LOL!

 I finally got to read SEBASTIAN/ARISTIDE (Bayou Heat Series)  and I’m ready and enjoying FIGHTING FOR FLIGHT. I haven’t had time to read at all unless I had insomnia, so it’s been an awesome break.

I’m also bugging Wizard for a dog–something I always do when I come up for air after finishing a book. He’s SOOO used to this, he just puts me off knowing I’ll start the next book and get too busy again :-)

So three questions for you all:

1) How was your weekend?

2) What are you reading?

3) And what is your favorite home-made Christmas treat?

 

 

JenniferLyon.com