Friday, February 21, 2020

Projects and Processes


As you know, DH and I own our own business. We utilize a very complicated application to manage clients, our schedules, time entries--pretty much everything that happens is supposed to happen or be tracked in that software.

It also has a feature that allows you to plan large projects. You can break projects into phases and then create tasks/tickets for various steps of each phase.

Anyway, I've been less than diligent about most self-publishing related tasks. At least in terms of maintaining and refreshing previously released books. Other things too, such as better planning and plotting. But not things like advertising or promotion. I do very little of that by choice, although there are some things I do do and other I should do. I'm not getting to the level of several writers I know because that's just not me or part of my plan.

But we've been talking a lot in the day job about utilizing the application to more of its fullest, about following procedures, about creating project plans to stay on track, and the subsequent tasks/tickets in order to not only schedule them, but keep track of the time worked on them.

In addition to that, I have online friends with whom I hang out pretty much every day. A couple of them are full-time writers and they talk often about planning out various aspects of being said full-time writers that aren't the actual writing. Newsletters and blog posts and admin stuff. They plan that stuff, put it on their calendars.

So between the two conversations, I keep thinking that I need to be a little more proactive about things and sooooo...it's my intention and hope that I can make those plans in advance. If that's the case, I might need an application similar to the one at work...

Remember my bullet journal? Yeah, that lasted all of two weeks. The composition book is back to being just a composition book. Sigh. At first I thought a physical book would work better for me, but I've really been leaning in to being virtual and/or going green and reducing my paper usage. Maybe an online/electronic/virtual helper will be better. I did a quick Google search, read some articles with pros and cons. But will have to test some out I guess.

Anyway, it's Friday--hope you have an awesome weekend.



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The gift that keeps on giving...



Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Happy Mother's Day, 
Happy Valentine's Day, Merry Christmas
TO ME

After discussions about cost and whatnot with DH, it was decided that we could be Dallas Stars Season Ticket Holders for at least one more year.

One of the reasons he gave for agreeing is because that's my gift for every holiday I could possibly expect one. And I'm perfectly happy with that. Along with tickets to every home game, there are also other events and perks that come along with being a STH.

One of those is first dibs on playoff tickets. And since we're going to make the playoff this year--that's handy. Another is attending the STH event each year right before the season starts where you can meet & greet the players. There are a couple other goodies you get, too, like last year we ended up with two large Dallas Stars branded cooler bags.

I do have to share--we are using one set as a prize for marketing purposes and one set as an employee perk... But I can't go to all of the games anyway, so it works out.

Have a great rest of your week!


Monday, February 17, 2020

A Night of Romance




Participating in "A Night of Romance" at a local library for the first time was a lot of fun. Didn't sell any books because I didn't have any, but I learned some things about this event and what to do better for next time.

Namely--have some physical books. I'll try to squeeze that herculean task into my schedule between now and October. It'd be nice to have physical books at my conference as well. I might need a little help from my friends, however, as I didn't do so well the last time I tried get physical books printed. I'm missing a trick somewhere.

I tried creating a matching game of my covers with printable business cards...only no one realized it was a game and wanted to take the cards. So note to self...print up a set of cards for each cover, but have a QR code and the URL to my website on the back instead of my logo. And come up with a more obvious game and have a cool prize, like maybe a free book.

Overall, it was a fun night of hanging out and visiting with author friends as well as meeting library patrons.

On another quick note...my Dallas Stars won their game Saturday evening and the two teams ahead of them in the Central Division standing lost--meaning we moved into second place in our division and into sixth in League (out of 31 teams). Holy smokes!!! And we have the best record in the League since the end of October, until which time we had one of the worst.

Have some more sprinkles...


Friday, February 14, 2020

Winners Get Sprinkles


Darryl "Razor" Reaugh -- color commentator for the Dallas Stars
 
I was originally thinking of some intellectual topic for today's blog post, but after Tuesday's game and then last night's game, I decided my Dallas Stars needed some love. Not only because they won both games, but because it's been a week of really good things, so let's celebrate!
 
1) Andrew Cogliano played in his 1000th game last night. There are "only" 82 games a year, so this can take a while. Sadly his Iron Man streak (meaning consecutive games played; he got all the way to 830) was broken a couple of years ago due to a suspect penalty call and subsequent suspension.
 
* On a related note, Cogs is the third Stars player this season to reach the 1000th game milestone.
* On another related note, all three of those players have been with the team for a year or less. Cogs came to us this time last year and the other two were signed over the summer.
* And for those two summer signings, Dallas is only the second team for each of them. They'd played their whole careers and most of those 1000 games with a single team (although not the same team).
 
2) Jason Robertson played his first NHL game last night and earned his first NHL point with a secondary assist on Tyler Seguin's drought-breaker...
 
3) Roman Polak played in his 800 game last night.

4) Tyler Seguin finally scored a goal, breaking his career long drought of 17 games. He did it in his home town of Toronto. In front of his parents and tossed the puck to his mom in the crowd.

5) Denis Gurianov, our young rookie sensation, scored his 17th goal last night and is tied for second on the team with another young stud, but only behind our captain who...

6) Captain Jamie Benn scored a hat trick during Tuesday's game, earning him that 16th, 17th, and 19th goal of the season, leaving him at 299 career goals...so #300 is on the horizon.

7) The Stars have the longest win streak in the Western Conference right now at 3. They are tied for second in the League with a New York team and trail behind the Tampa Bay Lightning who have won 9 straight games.
 
8) Now this point isn't just this week, but we have the best goalie tandem in the League with Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin. We made it to the playoffs and to the second round of the playoffs last year because of these two. Three years ago, the team couldn't buy a win streak to save their lives.

Okay, I'm done gushing about my team. But they deserve it.

Have a love-filled Valentine's Day and a wonderful weekend. I'll gush abut tonight's event on Monday.







Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Night of Romance


Friday is Valentine's Day and I'll be celebrating romance novels with fellow authors at a local library.

Last year I went to support my chapter mates and friends who were participating. It turned out that almost all the authors participating were or had been members of my writers group at one time or another. This year looks to be the same, but now I'll be among them.

This is my first local event. I'm careful about revealing exactly what I write. Not because I'm ashamed, but because male male romance, much like queerness in general can incite negative reactions and I don't want to put myself into an unsafe position.

But, as all the other participants are people I know, I feel confident they'll have my back should the need arise. So...

There's nothing like a last-minute event to ratchet up my stress-level. My down time this week will be spent pondering and planning my table presentation. I'm pretty sure everyone else had physical books. I don't. Everyone has swag. All I have right now are pens. But I do have cover images in stand-up frames (a trick I learned at the second GRL I attended) along with book blurbs and QR codes.


I need to buy some orange Lifesaver mints--these are the bomb and I will never do an event without them at my table/space.

Next week, I'll let you know how it goes.

Have a great rest of your week.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Getting old stinks...


I'm referring to my eyeballs...

I've had to wear magnifying glasses for many years in order to read and cross stitch--basically anything that I need to see at about a foot from my face.


In October of 2018, I went and got my eyes officially examined and walked away with two pair of prescription glasses, one pair for working on the PC as my monitors both at home and the office are about two feet from my face and one pair distance/driving. I didn't wear the distance glasses for a super long time, until driving at night a while back. Things were blurry. Not enough to cause trouble, but enough to make me nervous that it could happen if I couldn't differentiate between a car and my car's upright when checking to change lanes. So I dug those glasses out and have been wearing them to drive ever since.

And up until a few weeks ago, I've been able to watch live hockey and any kind of TV without any glasses, but now...not so much. The distance to the TV from my normal seat is about 12 feet, and the distance to live hockey from my seats at the arena is at least 100 feet, but these days my view of those two thing-- blurry!! So now...? I have to wear my driving glasses to watch TV and hockey... *sigh*

Also, I was out shopping this weekend and really struggled to see the clothing right on the rack. I'd worn the generic magnifiers over my prescription glasses and until recently they had been good enough. But not now... *heavier sigh* I don't like wearing those ones, because the are not quite wide enough to rest on top of my head when I don't need them to see. But too bad, so sad for me, I guess. I'll be carrying around that clunky plastic glasses case with me everywhere I go for a while.

I do admit I need to go back for an updated exam and probably a new prescription--and definitely new frames for at least one pair. It will have to wait, but I'm looking forward to getting that taken care of in March. I have much too much going between now and March 9th...

Hope you had a great weekend. Let's chat on Wednesday...


Friday, February 7, 2020

Slow Motion Multi-Tasking




I listened to a TED Talk the other morning on the way into work. We all multi-task. Some tasks are easy to do simultaneously: walk and chew gum, pedal an exercise bike and watch TV, cook and chat on your cell or with your family. Some things are harder to do at the same time as doing something else...

But what we're really talking about here is not really doing two things at the exact same time, but juggling multiple projects over the same time frame or introducing new ones as you finish others in a revolving process of creating.

The speaker of this TED Talk, Tim Harford, references Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin as some of the greatest slow-motion multi-taskers of all time.

So when Einstein came up against some roadblock in his research or experiments, he would switch projects--to something he was equally excited and passionate about--allowing the issue in the first project to take a back seat and give his brain a chance to noodle on it subconsciously.

That kind of multi-tasking, Mr. Harford says, is why people like Einstein and Darwin were productive and successful through the whole of their lives.

An interesting concept and I'd encourage you to have a listen for yourself.

I don't know if it's a process that works for writing multiple books. Book 7 remains stalled and I have a second short I'm planning on publishing in time for my conference. I'd love to get Book 7 done and published too. I have a schedule in place for the two, but one is scheduled after the other, they're not intertwined. But maybe, just maybe, I can schedule days for working on Book 7 and try to make progress...

I hope you have a great weekend.




Wednesday, February 5, 2020

St. Louis here I come...


It's official. I have signed up for GRL 2020. As the blog post title suggests, it's in St. Louis. A city that I can drive to and that has a hockey team. Had it not had both of those things going for it, I might have opted to not go this year.


I also decided to up my attendance tier...only that tier sold out within 11 minutes and now I'm on a waiting list. The tiers are for readers, authors, and featured authors. I've been a "mere" author for the last two years and decided to up my visibility.

As a featured author, I'll be able to participate in one of the hourly panels (there are 2 options, Q&A or Storyteller Series), I'll get a second lounge slot, and I'll get to participate in the Saturday book signing as opposed to the Thursday morning book signing.

"Lounges" are time slots where you set up shop at a table in the areas outside the rooms the panels are being held in with books and swag in order to visible and to meet people and get your books in the hands of potential new readers / fans. I learned that I get more visibility if I sign up at certain times and get a slot close to a more well-known author.

Either way, I get to see and room with my good friend Char who introduced me to this conference in the first place.

Now, if I get a slot as a featured author, the question becomes: do I do a Q&A or do I attempt to submit a proposal for a Storyteller Series presentation? I'll be brainstorming possible topics which A) I know something about and B) would (hopefully) be of interest to enough people. I'm leery of the Q&A as I don't think well on my feet, but do I have any sort of pertinent knowledge of interest....?

The good thing is...I have time to ponder / brainstorm. The conference isn't until October.

Hope you're having a great week.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Nine ways to Sunday...


I meant to post Friday, but I was churning through so many tasks, I just didn't. I opted to take sanity breaks instead of thinking up a topic and writing about it.

But over the weekend I finished a huge phase of a project I'm in charge of, so I'm feeling all sorts of WHEW.

I'll be blowing and going most of February, too, so no rest for the wicked, but the really stressful, time-consuming thing is done.

I hope you had a good weekend and here's to a quiet, but productive week.