Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Support your local library update #5

I forgot to post last month, but I read "The Day the Music Died A Mystery" in February. For some odd reason, I didn't really check out a lot of books from the library last month. It comes and goes in spurts for me.

I checked out three books a couple of weeks ago (or maybe just last week, can't remember for sure) - Quest for a Maid (really difficult to get into), Charlie and the Chocolate Factore (again difficult to read since I've seen the movie and to me the movie was great) and The Chocolate Cat Caper (finished; it was an enjoyable book). I have three more coming, two more in the Chocoholics series and one in Deborah Sharp's series - Bauer Mysteries but I can't remember the main character's name.

So two finished to add to my list and two not finished this go round. I'll try to do better and keep my postings up-to-date for the library challenge - lol - E :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Foothills Writers' Guild Workshop and owls?

This weekend was the annual Foothills Writers' Guild workshop. Keynote speaker Friday night was Richard Speight and Saturday lunch was Edie Melson. Guest speakers included Pam Zollman (Children's author), Jill Jones (Therapist who uses poetry in her therapy), Christopher Branch (musician), and Jane Freidman was supposed to be there but apparently there was a problem with her flight on Thursday so she didn't get to make it this time (she's pretty awesome as she speaks about ways to market and network on the internet). So what do owls have to do with the Foothills Writers' Guild workshop?

We have owls on our property and I've heard them many times "hoot-hoot-hooting" but I've never seen them. The kids have made claims of seeing them before. When I was putting my stuff in my car Saturday morning to head to Anderson University (the place where we hold our conference every year), I heard several owls. Didn't really think about it until I was near the end of the driveway and one flew over my car. I looked to my passenger seat to get my camera and take a picture but had forgotten my camera. I turned my car around and came back to get it. By time I came outside, the owl had flown to a different tree. I saw him and snapped the following picture of him: . Glory be. My first owl. After I snapped a second picture of him, he flew to another tree and lo and behold, a second owl flew up to the same area he was. They hoot-hoot-hooted at each for like 2 seconds and then they squawked like crazy birds. The second one flew away from the first one but in the same tree, just a couple of branches over.

Then the first one took off and flew to a tree closer to my driveway; the second one followed and I tried snapping a picture of the two of them on the same branch in that tree but I wasn't steady enough. While tryng to snap the two together, I heard another one to the side and glanced over and sure enough, a third one had flown into a tree but he was hidden; I didn't get to see him.

So my excursion to participate in the Foothills Writers' Guild workshop this past weekend was well worth getting up earlier than I'm used to as I got to finally see the owls on our property.

The workshops was awesome too. I sat in Richard's, Edie's and Pam's classes and then during Pam's second workshop, I wrangled my adopted daughter who is a student at AU to help me practice my workshop presentation I'll be doing at the homeschool conferences. She brought her boyfriend so I got to do it for an audience of 1 plus her since she had already done part of my presentation before (she's played the game before). After we had our refreshment break, they called some more friends in (four young ladies), and so I did my workshop presentation again for them. I found out that I was incorrect in my "Road Trip" game as there are possibly many more routes than the eight I had originally figured. Now I need to go through the game again and come up with all the possible ways to make it across the United States without entering any state more than once. Thanks to Jess and Vincent and all the young ladies at AU for helping me out.

So now you have it - Foothills Writers' Guild workshop and owls! - E :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A glimpse into my life

For more on what I've gone through over the past year and what's coming up in the future, stop over at Stephen Tremp's blog and leave a comment. I'd like to know what some of you writers go through during a typical day or month or whatever - E :)

Monday, March 08, 2010

From NaNo to published - A Gift From Above -

Heather Paye is my guest today. Let's find out how she went from a 30-day novel challenge to published. (Of note, Heather refers to NaNo as a contest, but it really is a challenge of oneself to prove you can write 50,000 words in 30 days. I've participated in NaNo as a cheerleader for my friends and actually did write a YA novel a couple of Novembers ago, which I'm hoping to edit and publish one of these days, but working on my 50-state stories is my main objective for the time being.)

So Heather, please tell us about your experience with NaNoWriMo that led to you becoming a published author:

When I heard of this contest called "NaNoWriMo" I decided to participate and write a 50,000 word novel in one month's time. After all, how hard could it be? I wrote a novel before, so writing another one wouldn't be too hard. Well, I found out it was no walk in the park, you'd be surprised at how often life hits you, and you spend every waking moment working on producing words that make sense. Anyways, I emerged victorious. At the beginning it was understood there were no prizes, just a little printable certificate and your rough draft for your novel. It turns out that the year that I participated each person who managed to write 50,000 words or more were to receive a free proof copy if they decided to self-publish their book. I had nothing to lose, so I went for it. I had six months to get this all done (there was an expiration date on the free proof copy coupon), so I worked away, and four months later we welcomed "A Gift From Above" to stores, a self-published gem. Today, the first novel that I wrote "The Jewel of Onsolot" is being prepared for publication at a traditional publisher. So you can see, I'm not so one-sided when it comes to publishers. Age has never really been an issue for me when it comes to publishing, as long as you're serious and you maintain a professional tone publishers will - and do - take you seriously.

I think that the publishing process is the same for both traditional and self-publishing, at least up to a certain point in the game anyways. Write the book, edit until your eyes fall out, put them back in, and edit some more. After that, you should search for publishers, either traditional or self-publishers, beware of vanity presses though, not that they're bad, but they require that you pay money (usually thousands) to get your book published. After deciding on a publisher then things take two different points. For traditional publishing, you just read the submission guidelines, gather everything you need, edit EVERYTHING, and then send it in. Traditional publishing takes patience and you should be a team player, even if you're not. For self-publishing, it's not quite so mellow, being the editors, illustrator, layout and design, marketer, it's all very time consuming. Never a dull moment though with so much to do. Either route you choose be sure to have a great marketing plan, in this economy, you'll need it. Get out a calendar and mark on each day what you'll do to promote your book, it does help.

"A Gift From Above" is doing alright swimming in this economy, but it could be doing better. Some months there are plenty of purchases, while others are quieter than empty fields. These days, people just won't buy a book that costs even $5 when they could buy some essential item they need to survive, like a loaf of bread. Unless you're doing really well, and there is a lot of buzz about your book, then your book won't be seeing so much buying action. Marketing is one of the hardest parts of publishing a book, because it is the longest, it is forever on going. I have found that "A Gift From Above" sells MUCH better in the public eye. I haven't found out why this is yet, possibly just because of the convenience of having the book right there and being able to take it home right away rather than waiting for it to ship or download.

For more on Heather and to order her books, you may go to the following:

Heather's blog
Heather's fan site
Heather's Createspace store
Amazon purchase link
Amazon kindle purchase link

Saturday, March 06, 2010

"Tritium" anyone?

The word that was challenged (team spelled it "tridium") and the pronouncer said they were correct; our team challenged and the judges allowed them to get a new word to spell. The difference between winning team and tied for 2nd place. (If the team that got this word had not won, Anderson County Library table would have won.) We did score 18 points and two other teams scored 18, with Anderson County Library scoring 19 and the winning team, Wachovia Bank reps with 20 points. So you can see it was close.

The hors d'oeuvres were really good, and dessert was wonderful too. I'm glad I got to participate in this event and hope to do it next year.

Here are the tables before people started coming in:

- this is the table where I was sitting along with a doctor, a volunteer and two other members of the Foothills Writers Guild. We could snack on the M&Ms sitting on the table if we wanted to - lol

The winning table - as you can see, no one told them they could decorate their table. Maybe next year they will have something fun on their table. Of course, they have to defend their title.

This is the Anderson County Library table, which as you can see I moved when I snapped the picture so it is a little out of focus. I would have liked to see them have some bookmarks and some fake books on their table - make it worthy of a library table - lol.

This is the Cardiologist table and they had a player come in late (who apparently was their speller), but when you get level 2 words like "eulogy", who needs a good speller on your team?

This group came in decorating. Another bank sponsored table. But when a group of women call themselves "The Wild Bunch" you know you are in for some fun.

This is the Anderson University table. They were pretty good. They did try and I think may have been one of the teams that was tied with 18 points.

This is one of the other bank people present. Do you think they are trying to tell us something by putting all this pirate stuff on the table? The People's Bank are pirates? Only kidding. This made the table fun and they seemed to be having a good time. Very good spellers as well.

From the pictures, I'd say this was advertisement for an old movie. With a name like "Spellbound," they were headed in the right direction to a spelling bee. How appropriate.

Last year's winning team. Simple and no decorations. I believe they came in 8th or 9th this year (only 9 tables total). As they say, the luck of the draw?

I think everyone had a good time. I hope to participate next year. Judith and Hugh can be at the same table again with me. They were both pretty much on target. The biggest problem was that a lot of the level 3 words being thrown out there were like German or Italian or some other origin that with a slight mispronounciation can cause a decent speller to become a poor speller in a heartbeat.

This was a successful night for the Anderson County Library in conjunction with Anderson University raising money for the Storyteller's Festival which is held in October for rural students in our county. With all the sponsored tables and the guests and other donations, I heard that they raised $8750 (only about $7000 last year), so I would say it was a very successful event. Way to go all participants of the 9th Annual Starburst Spelling Bee. E :)

Friday, March 05, 2010

From NaNo to published at the age of 15!

Find out how one NaNoer (that's what participants in National Novel Writing Month are called) went from challenging herself to write a story in 30 days to publishing her novel. Visit Monday, March 8, and read Heather Paye's story on becoming a published author at a young age.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Genealogy - can you trace back?

If you click the title of this posting, you will see the Eldering webpage created by a relative of my husband's. My father-in-law has been doing a lot of research on the Eldering family tree. This relative, Hink, put a webpage together. He did get some information from my father-in-law. Funny thing is that since the Elderings are from Holland basically, the webpage is in Dutch - lol. Now if you can read the language, you might know how to navigate around the page. If you look at the genealogy page go down to the Boisvert (my maiden name) and find the Eldering name and then find William W., you will see my little family listed in there. According to the top of the page - something like 2397 names and 800 something family groups - astonishing numbers.

And the coolest part is that in Hink's research, he found a town in Germany called Eldering. Took some pictures of the town too. I think that's pretty cool. Thanks to Paul Eldering for all the hard work on finding his family tree. E :)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Anderson County Library Spelling Bee

The Foothills Writers Guild members were invited to participate in the Anderson County Library's 9th Annual Starbust Spelling Bee. A few of us responded and will be at the M&M's table (all things to do with the candies since the sponsor of the table loves M&Ms).

You are invited to come support the local library raise funds for the Starburst Storytellers festival, which over 2800 students in Anderson County benefitted from. This is sponsored by the Friends of the Library in cooperation with Anderson University.

WHAT: 9th Annual Starburst Spelling Bee
WHEN: Saturday, March 6, 2010
TIME: 6 p.m.
WHERE: Anderson County Library, main branch, 300 N. McDuffie Street, Anderson, SC
COST: $20 per person (gets you heavy hors d'oeuvres and desserts; helps support the Starburst Storytellers' Festival)

Come support your local authors and other friends of the library. See you there - E :)