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2016 Reading Challenge




I've given up on the official Goodreads challenge, although I have borrowed their logo. I'm going for 3 million new words and the re-reading of whatever fics I decide sound worth reading a second time.

2016 Goals

  • be a better website person for my writing group
  • be a better treasurer for my writing group
  • get physically healthy and well
  • walk the dog/walk to the post office
  • reach that 120lb. mark (for real this time)
  • get the house clean(er)
  • keep cradfting/do a wider variety of crafts
  • create pod fic
  • read and re-read
  • writie 10K to 15K word book for Christmas box set

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Target sighted, full speed ahead...


My Scrivener class has been outlined and scheduled. The online meeting venue has been researched,  and it looks as though it's going to work. I suppose I ought to test it again at home (rather than at the office) just to make sure. The first class is going to have three (maybe four) students.

I do think, though, that I have a lot more class material than an hour's worth, so if I do decide to give this class on a regular basis, I'm going to have to break it up into smaller chunks once a week for three or four weeks in a row.

And if I do a basics class, then at some point, I ought to work on a class for more advanced users. I'll have to see how it goes.

In the mean time, it's Friday. Hope you have a super weekend!




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Batting a Thousand...


Yeah, even though it was on my list of things to do yesterday...I forgot again. I got sidetracked by creating a lesson plan. Heh...

We had a guy come talk about Scrivener at my last writers group meeting. It was disappointing for me as I was up to speed on all the things he shared, except one. And at the moment, I have no use for that new tidbit. Unfortunately several members couldn't make it and Scrivener is a very complicated application. I'm not sure the things the speaker taught nor the way he explained them were helpful to anyone just trying to get started.

So I offered to teach one to anyone in my group who was interested.

Which meant I had to decide what to cover generally and then go into specifics in my lesson plan.

So, yeah, that's what I spent several hours on yesterday. And I'm not done. At this point, I'm not sure how long the class is going to last. Yikes. I'm shooting for a couple of hours. Yeah, forty-five minutes to an hour (our usual speaker time frame) wasn't going to be enough, though he did well staying within his time-budget.

And I had an epiphany...I might could do it online. WOO! Our business utilizes remote software and there's a meeting function. One of my techs is going to help me play with that a little today. Online would be soooo much better for everyone I think. No travel across the metroplex!

Okay, so this has got me a little excited cuz I could offer this for money if it works out!!

Well, time to get to other things.

Have a happy hump day. See you Friday.

And just for something pretty to look at, how about Captain Canada, Sidney Crosby. Team Canada kicked Team USA's butts last night in the World Cup of Hockey, so enjoy...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hockey...


Um, yeah, forgot about a post for today, so have an interesting tidbit about hockey:


And have a little hockey eye candy while you're at it...

Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars.



Friday, September 16, 2016

To Website or Not to Website


I mean, I have this blog. I can add pages to it to list books and share excerpts. I have nine years of blog posting history and that's nothing to sneeze at.

I have a website for the book series, but should I, as a (soon to be) published author, have an actual website?

As a reader, I don't go to other author's websites. I don't check out author's Facebook pages either. I don't follow authors on Twitter. I don't sign up for their newsletters.

Many of the authors I know have websites, Facebook pages, a Twitter account they use, newsletters, and several other types of social media platforms. There's a lot of hype in my author circles about networking and supporting one another. And I get that. I really do. But it's so much work juggling all that, and I dunno, but isn't another good book a better selling tool than just about anything? Plus, this is a fun adventure, and anything that makes it not fun isn't happening. :)

But all those platforms are generally for reaching out to readers. I understand that writers are generally big readers, and if a writer wants to follow a favorite author then by all means he or she should. But sometimes I feel...bad, maybe? about not being part of this huge chain of authors. The reason I'm not is simple...

My writer friends are not my target audience.

Now they may enjoy the genre I write and like my books too, but they are under no obligation to follow me on Twitter or Facebook or anything.

I'm not doing a newsletter either. Too many of my author friends gripe about that chore. I blog three times a week, it'll do for getting out whatever upcoming news I might have. I'll set up a notification list, though. Submit your email address and get a quick email about the latest release when the time comes. That's it.

But back to the question of a website... I was recently turned onto AuthorPage.com which is what it sounds like--a platform for author websites, no domain names necessary. It has themes and many cool features, and I think between the blog here and that there, I'm good. Both are free, too. So bonus.

If you're a huge reader, do you actually visit author websites?


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How Do I measure Up?


Last weekend as well as Monday, I downloaded some books from Amazon that were comparable to what I'm planning to publish. I wanted to know if I was hitting the mark or falling short. Most of them were short, thank goodness, and I'm a fast reader, I'm making decent progress.

I think I'm going to give myself A-/B+. I'm still falling short in a certain area, but that would be the case no matter what I'm writing because I know it's a weakness of mine that working towards shoring up.

Things I don't do...info dumps at the beginning of a book. That's one thing being mentored by RWA and Harlequin teaches you: info dumps in any part of a book are generally not good. Now, I don't subscribe to every "rule" that's been thrown at me by both of these illustrious organizations, but that's a good one to remember.

Another "practice" of the romance genre--well maybe all genres, now that I think of it--is the idea of a big black moment or the point at which all seems lost. You know what I mean. That big scene at the end of a book or film when you wonder how the protagonist is going to get out of the predicament he or she finds him- or herself in. I read recently, "The reader wants to worry." It doesn't haven't to be worry on an apocalyptic scale, but that worry is one of the things that generally keeps readers turning the pages. Will the secret come to light? Will she get the job? Will she get the boy? Will they live happily ever after? That I do...which leads into the next point.

A couple of the books I read had basically no or little conflict. I was mostly bored. A good lesson to learn (or remember) because sometimes I hate making my own characters squirm. But a check of all my books so far shows escalating conflict. Nothing earth-shattering because I don't write that, but hopefully enough for readers to want to know what comes next.

The last little trick I came across that I will never pull is leaving the reader on a cliffhanger and dangling the resolution as bait for a newsletter signup or some-such. Whether my tale is long or short, free or for money, I would never not give the reader the whole story.

I will admit that I've been toying with idea of writing the story of a secondary character from book one in serial format. But it will be clear that's what's going on and it will be available to anyone who wants to read it without having to pay for it with an e-mail address.

I think I measure up okay. Only time and publication will tell. :)


About Me

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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America