Jennifer Lyon
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
Wednesday Worthy

So Monday we bought a car. I was hoping it’d take two hours, but it took between three and four hours. Most of that time was sitting around waiting for finance to pull all the paperwork together. Anyway, the good news is we bought a white Toyota Camry S.E. and so far, we really like it. We traded in our older Lexus. We’ve had two Lexuses and kept them for about 8 to 9 years on average. We’ll see if this car lasts that long!

Sunday and yesterday I really dug into reading through my book, and I’m thinking about it over night before I clean it up and ask for help from a critique partner. I see the problem, but I need an outside opinion to get my back on track to finish it. It’d be even better if I could get my physical problems cleared up but I have to go through the process of changing doctors so all that’s on hold for a month. It’s frustrating in the short-term but will be better in the long-term.

Okay onto Wednesday Worthy. Here’s today’s candidate:

What do you think, is he worthy?

Monday, October 16th, 2017
Weekend Roundup

Oh Maggie! So this is our new foster pup. We name her Maggie. Wizard decided we should pick her up Friday rather than Monday:

Everything was going great until the Saturday night when she decided she didn’t want to be in her kennel and barked for a LONG time. It was probably about a half hour after I checked her (in case she was sick or had to go to the bathroom, and because I’m soft like that), but felt like YEARS. I thought Wizard was going to lose his temper. He hasn’t so far, but we’re both tired :-) Maggie will figure this out.

In a funny twist, Maggie is good as gold in the day, except she’s way more attached to me than Wizard. I’d say that’s pretty normal for a shelter dog, especially since I tend to take care of her. That will even out as she gains in confidence. She’s great on a leash, so far she never chews on the wrong things, she seems potty trained and she’s sweet as pie. I took her to Petsmart with me to buy her a new leash, and she charmed everyone there–dogs and people alike. They should be here around 10:30 tonight, LOL! Seriously, she was a very good girl there.

But we are having a battle of wills about where she sleeps!

I’m trying to read through the 350 pages I have on the manuscript for SAVAGED DEVOTION because I know there’s something off in there, something I’m sure I can fix once I find it, then go onto writing the end. Plus I want to clean up a some chapters for a critique partner.  I’m trying hard it’s just slow going with all the medical crap and Maggie :-)

In other news, we went to Special K’s birthday party over the weekend and she’s looks great four to five months pregnant. CPA Boy got her a diamond heartbeat necklace for her birthday and it was stunning. It has a tiny diamond in the center of another diamond that beats (glitters) like a baby’s heartbeat. I’d never heard of it before this, but it was really pretty. We also got to see Middle Son’s finance’s gorgeous engagement ring. Middle Son picked the perfect ring! He also planned a lovely proposal. I’m really proud of him and excited for them both.

I’m working today, and Special K is taking a break from her school work (she’s gone back to school for her masters degree in an IT related field while pregnant!) to come meet Maggie. That will be fun.

So that was some of my weekend, how was yours?

Friday, October 13th, 2017
Happy Friday Five

It’s that time again to list our five random things about our week!

  1. I’ve hit the wall last night. I came home from the NINC conference energized, but life is running fast and hard this week and not letting me catch my breath or concentrate on writing. Today, I have an early morning appointment then I’m getting back to writing!
  2. We met three potential foster dogs on Wednesday. Our first choice is a sweet little chihuahua mix (she’s a little bigger than an average chihuahua, curious and submissive with new people), and if all goes well, we’ll pick her up next week. Right now, her name is Nana but I just can’t call her by that name as it’s what my kids call Wizard’s mom. So I’m going to ask if I can change her name to Maggie–she looks like a Maggie. Although I’d be happy with almost any other name besides Nana. I didn’t take pictures like I should have because I really wanted to focus on the dogs not photo ops :-). If by chance she’s adopted over the weekend, then we’ll probably take the second choice, an eight year old laid back Pomeranian named Larry. He came across as a pretty mellow guy. We also met a scared little terrier that really tugged on both Wizard and my hearts. This dog has been seriously neglected or abused and afraid to let anyone touch him. It’s heartbreaking. I hate anyone who intentionally abuses an animal that way. I want everyone to be assured though, the shelter staff really care about this little dog. They have him in a kennel with two little friends that he loves to play with, and they have a trainer coming in to see if he can work with him. We’re keeping the little terrier in mind, but we don’t want to take him out of the place he feels safe unless we’re reasonably confident we can help him. And for sure, I’ll take pictures when we pick up our foster pup!
  3. We had a sudden death in our extended family this week :-( It’s always sad, and I wish I could spare my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and nieces the pain of losing a beloved father and grandfather, but unfortunately, I can’t. I hate when people we love hurt, but all we can do is be there for them.
  4. In good news, we’re going to a birthday party for my daughter-in-law, Special K, this weekend. That’s the reason I put off picking up our foster pup until next week–I didn’t want to leave her a really long stretch of time the first few days home. I can’t wait to see how Special K is showing in her pregnancy, and I’ll get to see Middle Son’s fiance’s ring in person :-) Middle Son is very proud of choosing that ring (and I’m proud of him for choosing a great girl!).
  5. I’m so sluggish from poor eating and lack of exercise, but I can do small things to change that. Getting a foster pup will help me get more active too.  It’s a win-win!

Okay that’s my Friday Five. Now it’s your turn to share your Friday Five.

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
Wednesday Worthy & My Worst Kept Secret!

I’ve teased you all with my secret…but now I’ll tell you all in a minute.

First, about my books. I’m energized and really trying to get Savaged Devotion done. It’s going to take a few weeks, but I’m loving the refreshed feeling after the NINC Conference. I’m still dealing with pain and the same old struggles, but I believe that in MTD (Mental Toughness & Discipline), or what my sister and brother lovingly call “Jen’s bulldog attitude.”

I will say that I was dealing with a bunch of medical crap for two days that required me to spend hours doing the job of my doctor’s medical staff, instead of my own job of writing. I’m not exaggerating, you can ask Wizard. However I had a forty minute phone call with my new health insurance yesterday and they will be moving me to Wizard’s doctor in November. I know this doctor, he’s taken very good care of Wizard and youngest son (BLB) through his serious leg injury, so this is a huge relief for me. I will lose my RA doc who has done so much for me, but I’ll have a better team helping me overall. It’s a good tradeoff.

Enough of all that, now let’s talk about my worst kept secret. Wizard and I are signed up to become Foster Dog Parents at our local animal shelter!! We are already approved, and will go this afternoon to meet the foster dog coordinator and hopefully begin meeting some dogs. I am so excited! As a lot of you know, I once worked a large animal shelter, and I’m a big believer in shelters. Helping these dogs is one of my passions, but I haven’t been in a position to do much before now. My hope is that I can take one dog at a time, help him or her adjust to a home environment with a little love and training, then take them to shelter sponsored adoption events to find them a forever home.

Wizard is predicting I will fail and keep the first dog I get :-) But I really want to try to do this. It does a lot to help the impacted shelter by freeing up a kennel and thereby keeping one dog from being put to sleep (it’s a brutal fact of life in the real world of animal shelters) and help a traumatized dog readjust after being place in a shelter full of fear and confusion. I truly believe in helping one dog at a time. But if I do fail and keep the first dog, I’ll find another way to stay involved.

I really care about shelter dogs. However, I want to be clear–I’m also fine with buying a dog from a reputable breeder. If I had the money, I’d buy a French bulldog puppy from a good breeder in addition to helping shelter dogs. But I know that breed often needs specialized and expensive medical care that I probably can’t afford, so I haven’t done it. What I’m saying is a dog is a dog, and if someone provides a good home for the dog, I’m all for it.

I am against puppy mills as is any compassionate human being. I want them all put out of business and every dog in trapped in those hideous places rescued. If you don’t know about puppy mills, Google it. Ten minutes of reading will turn your stomach.

But shelter dogs will always have a special place in my heart. And now I get to do one little thing to help a shelter dog. Wizard is very willing to try this and see how it goes. He’s going with me tomorrow today meet the coordinator and begin meeting dogs. He’s been really supportive since the first day I brought up the idea of a few months ago. And this is a good way for us to find out if we are ready to commit to a dog :-)

So that’s my news. I wanted to find Wednesday Worthy Candidate that fit the Dog Theme of the blog today and this was as close as I could come:

 

What do you think, is the guy worthy? How about the dogs?

P.S. One of the websites I love is called Bound Angels, where master dog trainer Robert Cabral and his team work to help shelter dogs. If you’re interested, check it out here.

Monday, October 9th, 2017
NINC Conference Roundup

I’m writing this blog from my hotel room in Florida, and hoping that we get home Sunday night. It will all depend on whether or not Hurricane Nate delays flights. Of course, that would just be an inconvenience for us. Hurricane Nate apparently caused multiple deaths in Central America, and could possibly cause more destruction in the U.S., so I’m not complaining. I really hope everyone is safe!

So lots of things to talk about.

On Saturday my middle son (G-Man) proposed to his long time girlfriend!! We are ecstatic! We love his fiance! So for anyone keeping track, I have three grown sons: Oldest is married to Special K, and they are expecting their first baby (my grandbaby!!!) in March. Middle Son is newly engaged. And Youngest is already engaged (another girl we love!), but they have put their wedding off to late 2018 due to her mom’s serious health issue (she is recovering, thankfully). So to sum up, our three sons have brought us three amazing daughter-in-laws! And yes, I’m a tad excited!!

The NINC Conference: It was awesome! I could only last until 2 p.m. as far as workshops go, but I got a lot out of this trip. I’m just going to give you random thoughts off the top of my head.

  1. I love this specific conference because it’s very, and I’m mean very business and success focused. If someone is a hobby writer who is just happy to publish a book or two and talk about it, this conference would not be right for them. But if you consider your self a business, with you as the CEO and Content Provider (the books), and you are looking to grow your company, then you’d love it here.
  2. The big thing this year seems to be collaborations (two or more authors writing together).
  3. Everyone is looking for a great Assistant. Okay, seriously people, if being an author isn’t your thing, but you enjoy being around authors and books, you may want to consider becoming a Virtual Assistant. You will likely need a strong skill set in things like newsletters, formatting, uploading, creating spreadsheets, doing promo campaigns, running street and review teams. It can be a demanding job that requires constantly growing your skill set, but it’s also fun and challenging.  And sometimes there are great perks, there were quite a few assistants here at NINC.
  4. Writing faster is always a goal. It’s pretty much the same advice: Write a dirty first draft without editing, then revise. Use tricks like a setting a timer and sticking to it with no interruptions. Turn off the internet and don’t answer the phone or doorbell. (Um..what about retired husbands? LOLOL. Getting a writing buddy to keep you on track. In my case, I’m talking to an author friend about working together to keep each other accountable, talking over plotting and business issues weekly or so via Skype or something like that. Figure out what works for you and do it.
  5. Set office hours and try to stick to them. THEY WERE TALKING TO ME!! That’s one of my goals. We will be more efficient if we know we only have certain hours to work, then we can play later.
  6. Create a Strategic Production Plan: 1) Figure out your plan like I’m going to write three books in a sexy paranormal serious about dragon-shifters trapped in their dragon form until they find a witch to release them. 2) Determine how long it takes to write each book.  3) Develop a launch strategy, like write all the books first, then release them all at once, back-to-back releases or release them as written.
  7. Set up a yearly calendar with deadline and your production schedule. I have a simple calendar, but I’m going to get a huge calendar and put it in my upstairs office where I can see it at a glance. In a nutshell, my calendar will be color coded and able to see at a glance: 1) 1st draft finished and due to editor. 2) Revision from revision letter and date due back to editor. 3) Line Edits done and due to editor. 4) Copy Edits sent, received and finished. 4) Proofreading. 5) Arcs/Reviews sent. 6)  Formatting digital and print. 7) Release Dates. 8) Marketing Plan (pre-release, release day, blogs, advertising, etc.)  And that’s for each book.
  8. Onto audio books. ACX has been the only game in town for a while, but now there are two new players: Findaway Voices and ListenUp Audiobooks. That’s exciting news and I’m really pleased to see these two companies creating more audible book opportunities. They allow writers to keep more rights and distribution options, and seem really excited to work with authors on their projects. However, it’s still very expensive. If it costs $350.00 (conservative cost) Per Finished Hour then it would cost me roughly $10K to put the three books in my Savaged Series in Audio. I didn’t even want to do the math on my Wing Slayer Hunters Series. Audio is a growing market but expensive to do ourselves.
  9. There was a two hour, very intensive workshop on newsletters. The take away from that is pretty simple–we all need a newsletter mailing list. It’s out most valuable tool in reaching readers who really want to buy our books. For anyone just starting out with a newsletter, look at Mailchimp–they are free for less than 2k subscribers. I started my mine there and do pretty well with it.

Okay that’s enough for now I think :-)  How was your weekend?

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017
Wednesday Worthy

Wow what a week. The mass shooting in Las Vegas is on my mind almost every moment. Wizard and I have watched the stories of so many heroes emerging, from strangers shielding one another with their bodies, coming together to find any method to get the wounded to hospitals, to the story of the woman who sat with a dying man and talked to his family on his cell phone.

They are all my heroes.

Today I’m hopefully in the air on my way to Florida. I’m crossing my fingers the nerve pain and tinnitus (which causes pressure, dizziness & nausea) cooperates :-) In the scheme of things going on in the world, this is a very miniscule thing to worry about.

Okay for Wednesday Worthy, we have a surfer dude with a sexy grin. I think he could be a Navy S.E.A.L. hero in a sexy contemporary romance!

So what do you think, is he worthy?

I don’t know if I’ll be able to post on Friday or Monday, but I will try :-)

Monday, October 2nd, 2017
Weekend Roundup!

**Edited To Add: I just woke up to the news in Vegas. I’ve only read the headlines, but I’m horrified, sad, furious and my heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones, and to all who went through the trauma. I just ranted on FB so I won’t repeat it here. But the post below is full of chatter and I didn’t want you all to think I’d do that after the awful mass shooting in Las Vegas.**

I’m back after being taken down by a stomach virus.  I was so sick, I think I saw my spleen…ugh. And in the lovely process of performing an up close inspection of my toilet, I wrenched something in my back, probably the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Wizard just shook his head in disbelief and muttered, “Only you.” I know he meant that I’m a rare gem and he’s incredibly lucky to have such a uniquely beautiful and amazing woman as his wife.

Anyway, the nausea mostly abated by early Friday morning and all day Friday and Saturday, I was a zombie, mostly eating saltines and drinking water, weak tea and Seven Up. Finally yesterday I bounced back, Yay! The pulled muscle still hurts, but I can deal with that and will still fly to Tampa on Wednesday. The only thing that will stop me from getting on that plane is either getting distracted by a herd of adorable puppies, or Wizard getting sick. So far Wizard seems fine, but we’ll see.

Now for a sad and somber moment, most of you probably know the wonderful and kind romance author Carrie Ann Ryan’s husband suddenly passed away last week. He was only 32 years old. My heart bleeds for her, and all his family and friends. What a sad tragedy. I can’t even image that her heartache. Here is the link to the funeral obituary and information. Carrie Ann is so very kind and positive, she’s been lovely to me any time I’ve talked to her online, and she once wrote a business focused blog for us here. Please keep her in your thoughts as the days, weeks and months ahead will be difficult.

Okay and a little book news. After getting so ill, I knew I had to step back from my book so I reached out to my editor to discuss it. I had two options, I could give her what I had which is over 350 pages, or deliver later. It turned out to be the perfect timing for her to delay my delivery so it’s a win-win, and I’ll deliver the book in another month. We’re both excited for this book, and she’s been wonderfully supportive as I’ve struggled to write around health issues.

Oh!! The shots…they are helping! I’d say I have about a 20% improvement and while it may not sound like much, it’s an excellent indicator that the full three-session series will provide real relief. The medical staff told me the once the burn on the right sight eased up, I’d probably start feeling it more on my left side and they were absolutely right. The intensity of the right side pain was masking the left–all very interesting. Which tells me they know what they are talking about. Again, all the burning is coming from my cervical spine, but this is all moving in a positive direction. There’s other issues with my rotator cuff we’re working on in PT. And one day, I will make it off the injured list!

I’m going to tell you all about my secret, fun news (non writing or grand baby related) when I get back from NINC. I’ve babbled on enough for today. Just for fun, here’s what happens when I get a bright idea during a pedicure. I saw the pretty blue polish and said, “Can you do a starfish?”

The girl looked up a picture on her phone, showed me and I didn’t love it. But I figured I’d try it. I was right that I wouldn’t love it, but it’s fun :-)

Okay if you made it through this long chatter fest of a blog, how was your weekend?

JenniferLyon.com