Writing

Learning to Keep Your Balance

Did you ever have a moment where a challenge you’ve known of for a long time seemed seemed to suddenly, magically resolve?Susan Mermaid

My lovely, talented, rapscallion son, Skitch, graduated from college two years ago.  He needed five years to complete his studies in engineering.  I was happy to give him that extra year – he chose a very affordable state school and I had (at the time) sufficient funds to help out.  We were thrilled when he was ready to fly the coop, get a job and spread his wings.

squidolin6But the graduation gift…  what to give this only son, who spread himself among so many interests and passions?  He suggested, and hubby liked the idea of, an electric violin.  But the best electric violins cost many thousands of dollars.  They need accessories, expensive ones.  We don’t know anything (much) (nothing) about electric…
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Authors Want to Find Readers? Well, Say WATTPAD?

imgres-4Wattpad.com is a website that claims 15,000,00 monthly users and has a tag line that calls itself – The Future of Reading. If you already know about Wattpad, please share your experience, thoughts, opinions. But I didn’t know about them, so I did some reading and am summarizing my findings here.

My headline is a bold statement that sounds as if  I’m endorsing WattPad, but no, not endorsing, but I got curious. And if you already know all about it – and have experience with it, positive or negative, or found it wasn’t quite ready for authors – please comment below – because WATTPAD has potential as a place to find romance readers IMHO.

True to my last-to-know world, I was introduced to Wattpad at RWA National Conference 2013 at a workshop called Marketing Outside the Box with Darynda Jones, Angie Fox and Kieran Kramer and Stephanie Dray. It was an excellent panel, got smart insights…
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Unwind…

Image How can it possibly be August already? Vacations are winding down, and before we know it the kidlets will be back in school. Orientations, school supply shopping, and Back to School nights are right around the corner. As well as soccer/ football/ cheerleading/ field hockey practice/ symphony rehearsals/ robotics and homework. But this year my children aren’t the only ones preparing for a change in schedule and workload… Due to furloughs and the skyrocketing costs of college (I have two teenage daughters) I will be returning to work full time in the very near future. In addition to writing, this summer I have been taking online classes to increase my marketablility in preparation for this eventuality. I don’t mind returning to the workforce. In fact, most writers have a “day job.” But this summer, between the kids, the online classes and certifications, preparing and shopping my resume and trying to…
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Writing the Synopsis with Diana Cosby

Dana MermaidNot so long ago, I was certain that no one on the planet despised writing a synopsis as much as me. I would rather have put my beautiful, complete manuscript in a drawer, and moved on to write another entire book than to condense a 100k story into the 3-5 pages necessary to submit my work to an editor or agent. I always found it difficult to know what to put in and what to leave out, or how to convey the ever-important backstory that makes the hero and heroine who they are, without overshadowing the story actually being told. And then, I was fortunate enough to win a synopsis and three chapter review from the fabulous Diana Cosby, an international bestselling author who also happens to teach a class on writing the synopsis. Besides being one of the nicest people on the planet, she did such a wonderful job of helping me to understand and conquer my fear of the…
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Who You Calling Crazy?

My love for Mary Jo Putney grew exponentially this month when I heard her speak at RWA Nationals. She received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award and gave one of the best speeches about the writing life that I’ve ever heard. My favorite line? This one:

You don’t have to be crazy to be a writer, but it sure helps.

*Cue lots of knowing laughter.*

Ah, the writing life. It makes us all a bit batty even if we weren’t before. Why? Well for us planners it’s because we work things out in our heads (or our forrest-killing line of Post-It notes) and then this happens:

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If you’re a freak like me that makes you do this:

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But that never gets the job done, so I suck it up and make a new plan. This is what I tell…
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RWA Nationals, Research, and I Think I’m Writing a Book about Firefighters:)!

One of the things I enjoy about RWA Nationals is that each year I not only meet new people and connect with old conference friends, but now I’m joining RWA Chapters and actually know why I’m joining them. And yes, it has taken me a while to get with the program.

Today, I’m writing about the RWA mystery/suspense chapter, Kiss of Death – KOD. Where have you been all of my life?

I joined KOD a couple of months ago after fellow Waterworld Mermaid Avery Flynn (the organization’s President-Elect) suggested I check them out since I was polishing my contemporary romantic suspense, CHASING DAMN. Well, I spent yesterday with the gals and guy from KOD, participating in the first leg of the KOD Conference – the TOUR (which was spectacular) and attending the annual meeting and dinner last night.

DSC_0284I believe I may be in love with RESEARCH – as well as…
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#RWA 13 National Conference in A.T.L – Day 1 (A Day Early:)!

Denny's MermaidsReporting from Atlanta and the RWA 2013 National Conference – it’s Mermaid Denny! Here we go, people!

Okay, I was supposed to post yesterday, but after a long drive (started our Road Trip Saturday from DC to Greensboro, NC to Savannah, GA to Atlanta), we did dinner and went down! I did, however, take a couple of iconic shots (yes, I am labeling them as such), which you will see bunches of (I’m just betting) online. Those shots – the hotel lobby ceiling (space ship futuristic and wonderful) and the cool elevator promotions – last year’s signage inside the elevator has given way to a whole new bag of book/author promotion that I just LOVE (the marketing girl in me Salutes RWA for this very cool signage).

Even this early in the AM, I give you the unexpected:

I won’t be able to share these photos because CRAZY Instagram doesn’t give you access to your own photos after you’ve uploaded…
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RWA Nationals Road Trip: Are You Prepared for Awesomeness!

Denny's MermaidsI’m taking off for Atlanta this weekend to attend the RWA National Conference and I’m super excited. I’m going to spend a week with 2,000 other romance writers – sounds like heaven, right? In a hotel with an entire floor/lobby dedicated to mingling (okay, there is a really big bar at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis), and I guarantee I will be informed, inspired, surprised and exhausted within 30 minutes of checking in. And no, I’m not trying to make anyone who is not going jealous – but I’m excited and want to share.

Speaking of sharing, I volunteered (two years in a row:) to serve as the official Waterworld Mermaid reporter blogging LIVE daily from Hot-Lanta! But expect some of the other Mermaids to pop in, too. A bunch of us will be in town, and will either post here or on our own blogs – so stay tuned.

But I said ROAD TRIP in the headline  – so yeah, I’m…
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Guy Day: Firefighter Marcus Swims with the Mermaids!

Someone call 9-1-Fun because we have got a hot one in the lagoon today!  He’s taken ladies, (sorry) but I haven’t laughed this hard or sighed this much in a long time.  Please give your warmest welcome to Marcus, Oklahoma son, Firefighter, and our resident Mer-man for the day!

Marcus

 

Carlene: Hi Marcus!  Thank you so much for hanging out with us today!  Let’s get right to it!  Please tell us about your decision to become a firefighter and how long you’ve been doing it.

Marcus: Looking back when I was growing up I found myself looking at what was considered to my dad as work yet he never once spoke bad about it. Visiting him at the fire station and seeing the guys act as a family did when at home together was interesting to me for I had friends’ parents complaining of their own work and coworkers. I’m not so sure…
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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Susan MermaidThe joy of being a school librarian:  I’ve made it all the way to summer!  Yippee!  Twelve weeks of nothing!  No commute, no kids, no bells, no bag lunches!  Nothing! What could be better?

What could be worse?  I have twelve weeks of nothing, and I know exactly what can go wrong:

Summer  can be wasted.  On Twitter, Facebook, shopping (especially shopping!), lazing by the pool, etc. Friends call it “the time to relax that you need/want/yearn for.”  I call it “time wasted.” Time can be stolen, even though I agreed to the theft.  I will fly to Saint Louis next week and listen to several days of educational conference material.  But I want to learn something, so that’s good.  And I am happy for the bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, and other celebrations.  Still, it is theft. I will need additional time, once I return, to recover my writing mojo.  So far, I’ve started well, but I’m aware…
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