Friday, February 28, 2014

Good Karma Opportunity

I'm not sure if it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes one to launch a book.

(Carrie, stop cringing at my miserable attempt at custom graphics. Just slap a Post-it note on your screen. :P)

For those who don't already know, I plan to publish my debut novel this spring. Cover teaser activities are tentatively planned for the last week of March, cover reveal is the first week of April, and the release is tentatively set for early May.

As one of my coworkers says, you don't ask, you don't get. So, here goes...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

E-books...They're Getting There


E-book format is improving, but it still has a ways to go.

Most of the e-books I buy now have linked tables of contents. Thank you! That makes going back to find something much easier than the gazillion page-turning clicks one had to do before. A few even have the back cover blurb included somewhere near the beginning. Yay. Finally!

I don't know about you, but I have a HUGE backlog of books waiting TBR. By the time I get around to some of them, I've forgotten what the story is about.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grammar Police Monday - Bovines, Bods & Blue Ribbons

Vein vs Vane vs Vain
Vein (n.) is one of many vessels forming the path for blood returning to the heart; tissue forming the framework of a leaf; a clearly defined stratum of ore, etc.

Phlebotomists draw blood by puncturing a vein.

Vane (n.) is a blade, fin, or plate on a fan, turbine, etc., that moves or is moved by water, steam or air.

A weather vane indicates the direction of the wind.

Vain (adj.) excessively proud of one's self; conceited; without real value or importance; worthless; futile.

You're so vain, you probably think this example is about you
(Ha! Couldn't resist. :P)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Degrees of Separation

Sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting a movie review. This post is about point of view & filter words.

There are several things I'm a stickler about when it comes to editing. Eliminating filter words (or at least seriously scrutinizing each and every one) is at the top of that list.

I didn't used to feel this way. In fact, CPs used to mark my mss up worse than a toddler with a crayon, chiding merepeatedlyto get them out. Now that I've been writing and reading fiction longer, I've moved over to their camp.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IWSG - February: My Writing Retreat

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for February.  
For more information about the group, see the bottom of this post. 

Alex's awesome co-hosts for February are:
Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, Jamie Ayres, 
and Mike Swift!   
 Please stop by their blogs and say thank you.


For Christmas this year, hubby gave me a two night stay at the Omni in Houston. He dropped me off and picked me up--even encouraged me to order room service. Needless to say, I took that gift and ran. *grin*

I holed myself up in the spacious, king-size room and wrote. No laundry. No dishes. No screeching my WIP to a halt and leaving a scowling muse glaring at my back to go cook supper. Let me tell you, it was heaven. I kept whatever hours I wished and only left my room to fetch ice.

I took a few pictures while I was there. Wanna see?


Nice, right?


 


 This chair was as comfortable as it looks.
And all the lamps had dimmer switches.



The most important thing. :)


This was the view from my window.


(I cropped and enlarged the Houston skyline a bit.) 


 That's not all smog. It's dirt on the outside of the window, 
the only part of my room that wasn't spotlessly clean.





The bathroom.


Swoon. Yeah. I know.
But wait...



 No, you're not seeing things. 
The dark spot on the wall is a phone.



This was waiting for me (as well as a stocked mini bar in the cabinet). 
Still, I'm glad I brought my own beverages and snacks.



I don't travel much and, I'm not ashamed to say, was on a budget. That's where the 'insecurity' part comes in.

This was a *nice* hotel--the nicest I'd ever stayed in. I was definitely out of my league. I made sure to take plenty of small bills, and I Googled hotel tipping before leaving home to get a clue of what was expected. I may not have done everything right, but I don't think I made a total fool of myself.

And--finally--after two long years, I finished the first draft of my current WIP! :D

Of course, that led to other plans, which led to even more insecurities. I won't have any trouble coming up with post content for IWSG anymore. In fact, there aren't enough first Wednesdays.

Anyhow... 

Thinking of going on a writing retreat of your own?
Here are some tips...
  • Choose off-season times of the year. It can save you money on reservations. 
  • You won't get much writing done on check-in or check-out day, so take that into consideration when planning the length of your stay.
  • Unless you like writing in your lap, you'll be spending lots of time at a desk. Make sure the room has one, as well as a comfortable chair.
  • Wi-fi is a nice amenity, too. Be clear on whether it's available in each room or just the main lobby. Sometimes it's available by request, for a fee.
  • That said, be careful what you use it for. Treat it like you would guest wireless at Mickey D's. (I wouldn't log-on to my bank there.)
  • Be sure to take all your necessary gadgets and their charging cords.
  • Have a plan and set some ground rules for yourself. You're there to relax--true--but you'll feel better if you also get something done. Make a list of things you'd like to accomplish (even if it's only in your head) and keep social media to a minimum. Close tempting tabs in your browser if that's what it takes.
  • If you're on a budget, pack some beverages and snacks in your bag. For this trip, I ordered breakfast and supper, then snacked on my stash of goodies during the middle of the day. Heck, when I write, I lose track of time and forget to eat anyway.
  • And (though some of you may laugh at me for including this) be sure to take your hotel key card with you when you set so much as a foot outside your door. The first morning, when I bent down to pick up my knock-and-leave-it-outside-my-door breakfast tray, the door closed behind me. I was way thankful for the key card in my pocket 


Thanks for stopping by. :)

To tweet about this post, click the little blue birdie. 

Tweet: A tale of one writer's hotel writing retreat, complete with pictures and #tips. via @MelissaMaygrove http://goo.gl/slDxfY #IWSG


IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link at the top of the post or go to the IWSG website. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

I'm baaack! Grammar Police Monday - On The Farm

I'm back amongst the cyber-living with GPM and an announcement. 
I missed a lot while I was gone, even though I lurked a bit. That's the downside to a hiatus.  : (

Wanna know what the upside is?

I finished the draft of my current WIP, Come Back. Woot! :D


Of course, we all know that's not really THE END. I still have a long way to go. But I'm stoked.

Why?

I don't want to jinx it, but... *squinches eyes shut*  I've set a tentative release date. God willing and the creek don't rise (and a million other things that couldand probably willgo wrong), I'll publish my debut HR sometime this spring. *sqweeee* ...*faints*

Over the last few weeks, I've discovered what all is truly involved with self-publishing. I'm serious when I say, to any of you who've done it, I stand in awe of youwide-eyed, mouth-gaping, hero-worshiping awe.

I'll tell you more as things go along, but for now, please, wish me luck. 
I'm gonna need it.

Now for GPM...
:)

###

He’s got a tough road to hoe
...should be a tough row to hoe.

Hoeing garden rows has nothing to do with 
road construction.


He killed them all in one fowl swoop
...should be in one fell swoop.

The word fell actually has an adjective form, however antiquated, that means fierce, cruel, dreadful, destructive, savage. This idiom may evoke the image of a hawk swooping in, but the word to use is fell, not fowl.


Toe-headed
...should be tow-headed.

This compound adjective refers to someone with very light hair, the color of ‘tow,’ a light-colored rope. What the incorrect form of the word brings to mindum. We don’t need that visual. :P

###

One last tidbit before I go... I've been doing a little farming myself. These are cuttings from my mom's mulberry bush that I managed to root. 
(I started out with six. Four sprouted leaves; two lived.)


Can I keep them alive long enough to plant outside this spring? 
Or will they be sacrificed to the time-sucking gods of self-publishing?
We'll see...

###

That's all for today.
Thanks for visiting. :)