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No post yesterday, because Unwilling Angel was released and I was busy with all the hoopla that goes with having a book released.  I tell you, it’s an aweome thing when you submit a manuscript then hear from a publisher that they would like to offer you a contract, but when it finally hits the cyber-space bookshelf–after weeks, or even months, of edits, countless hours spent working with a cover artist to find just the right cover, and days of pre-promotions, it’s a relief.  You get–or I do–a feeling of whew, at last it’s done!  Now I can move on,

The thing is, what do I do next?

I have plenty of options to choose from–five, count ’em, five works-in-progress, seven completed books which need a home, more promotions for my new release, web site to be updated, etc., etc., etc.–none of which appeal to me at the moment.  You see, after yesterday’s whirlwind, I need a break and I can feel my Procrastination Slut persona coming to the fore.

I’ve written about her before in my LJ blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned her here, so I’ll give you a bit of explanation.  I have this tendency to shut down, especially when I have a lot of things I need to do.  It’s irritating, but there it is.  I’ve learned not to fight it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of what it would be like if I banished her for good.

Hmmm…I’d have numerous books either out on the market or awaiting release, I’d finish off those WIPs and get them out to publishers in the blink of an eye, I’d compose query letters and synopses with little or no painful frustration, I’d be a computer-savvy wiz at promotions, and I’d know how to upload a picture to this blog–

 –and that’s another thing, why is it when you click on the “insert image” icon on WordPress, you don’t get a “browse” option like you do on almost every other site in the cyber-world?  Instead, you get seven fields which have to be filled out and most days, my brain is way too tired for that.  Maybe while the Procrastination Slut is ruling, I should present this to her as a puzzle to be solved.  She doesn’t like to work, but she has no objection to sitting on her butt and playing around with the computer.  So, maybe if I don’t classify it as work, but dress it up as an…enigma (she likes fancy words), I can fool her into figuring it out, because I know there’s a way to do it, I just haven’t found it yet!

Anyway, the Procrastination Slut is back–hey, do you think that’s what’s wrong with the Red Sox, they’re putting off till tomorrow what should be done today, or more correctly, what should have been done weeks ago?  I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I have to say it, Boston is through for the season, they may as well pack up their equipment and slink off the field with their tails between their legs.  And I do mean slink.  They have no reason to hold their heads up and I have no desire to give them a standing O.  Come to think of it, they’d better keep their heads down, ’cause I’m sure there are a lot of fans in closer proximity than I am, who’d love nothing more than to toss a few balls and bats at them.  A word of advice, boys; keep your batting helmets handy this winter, it may save you from a hospital visit.  Oh, and during the post-season when you’re not playing, in between watching the New York Yankees win the AL and probably go on to win the World Series, maybe you should hit the Patriots up for some shoulder pads and a lesson or two on how to band together when times are tough–you obviously don’t have a clue.  To put it in lingo you’ll understand…you suck wicked bad!

Okay, that helped a little bit.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…the Procrastination Slut reigns supreme in my world and there’s no telling how long she’ll hang around.  So, while she’s reclining on her chaise lounge (her version of a throne), popping bite-size Heath bars in her mouth (her version of chocolate truffles), and being entertained by her sister’s latest romantic thriller (her version of a court jester), I’m going to present her with a conundrum (I think she’ll like that word):  How many cyber-space imbeciles does it take to post an image on WordPress?

Her answer (I’d bet money on this one):  Ask me later, I’m too busy wasting time right now.

I know I’ve already posted today, but I can’t stop myself from posting again.  I don’t think it’s against blog etiquette (is there even such a thing?) and frankly, I’m too happy to care.  I just received an email from one of my publishers saying they would like to have my short story “The Secret Life of Alice Smitty” for their PMS: Poison, Murder, Satisfaction anthology.  They’ve already asked for my short story, “Third Time’s for Keeps” for their Romance of My Dreams Anthology.  That makes two that will be out next year in print.  Woo-hoo!

That’s exciting enough, but the thing that really has me doing happy dances is the fact that “Alice” was the first short story I ever wrote and it was submitted a few years years ago to not one, but two, short story contests.  It didn’t receive so much as an honorable mention in either one.

A little side note here:  I’ve since learned, submitting to contests is like submitting to a publisher.  Either do your research or suffer the consequences.  By that I mean, read between the lines of the submission guidelines for each contest and try to get a feel for what they’re looking for.  Read the previous winners–if you can find them.  More important, find out all you can about the judges, because they are the ones who are going to be reading the stories and deciding on the winners.

My mistake, well, one of my mistakes, was in submitting to contests with judges that were looking for “serious” literary stories.  “The Secret Life of Alice Smitty” is about as far away from serious as you can get.  It’s a humorous story about Alicia Smith, whose perfect life is turned upside down when her husband has bypass surgery and her live-in maid suddenly runs away with the yardman to live in a commune in New Hampshire.  Alicia’s answer to all this upheaval?  Alice Smitty, an alter ego with a homicidal bent.  Who does Alice want to kill?  Why, Alicia’s husband, of course.

The thing is when the book comes out next year with “The Secret Life of Alice Smitty” in it, I’d love to send a copy to those contests along with a smart-ass little “nyah-nyah” note.

I won’t do it, but it sure is nice to think about. 

Gotta go spread the news and do another happy dance!

It’s a rainy day here in the mountains of western North Carolina.  Not that I’m complaining.  After a winter with little to no snow, a spring that will be remembered for its April cold snap instead of  its April showers, and a summer of unbearably hot, dry weather, we definitely need it…but (you knew there was going to be a “but” here, didn’t you?), but the thing is, I hate rainy days.

Why?  Well, it has nothing to do with getting wet or anything like that, it has to do with the fact that my muse always seems to abandon me on rainy days.  She flies the coop of my brain, catches a flight to sunnier climes, and hides there until dryer weather returns to bless her home terrain.  All of which leaves me floundering in a sea of unwritten words and unfinished manuscripts.

My first line of defense in this case is usually to edit and/or polish one of those many unfinished manuscripts, but that’s dicey.  I usually find that whatever I edit ends up getting re-edited when I re-read it and cringe at what I wrote on a brainless rainy day.  Does that make sense?  I told you my muse was AWOL.

When I lived in Maine, there was the option of turning on the TV and watching a replay of a Red Sox game (there was almost always one playing on NESN) which I loved, especially if it was a game they won.  Can’t do that here, though there’s probably an Atlanta Braves game on somewhere, but I’m not that big a fan of the Braves.  I miss NESN!

I could do some research, but–and I hope you’ll pardon me–blech!  I hate research more than I hate rainy days! 

So, my options today are to do some housework or read.  It shouldn’t be hard to figure out which one I’ll choose.  I love to read.  My “to be read” pile is almost as tall as I am, and my “books to buy” list is as long as my arm.  Before I started writing, I would never have let myself fall so far behind with either my TBR pile or my BTB list.  But, since my fist book came out, I noticed a  drastic fall-off in my reading habits.  I just can’t seem to find the time to read anymore.  Proof of this lies in the fact that I’ve lived in North Carolina now for over ten months and I still don’t have a library card!  Sacrilege!  That’s the first time that’s happened since I learned to read when I was four years old.  Usually the first thing I do when we move is visit the public library and get a library card.  I even got one in Denver, and we only lived there for two months while my husband went through some training in the Air Force.

Hmmm…maybe I should try to find my rusty, unused umbrella, see if it still works, and take myself off to the library.

I now have three blogs, one on LJ, one on WordPress, and a new one I just set up on Blogger. In addition to that, I have a page on Author’s Den (which I really need to do more with), a page on MySpace (which I can’t figure out and don’t like to use because my Internet security program keeps popping up and flashing little warning signs at me about it being a “dangerous” site), and a page on Gather (also which I really need to pay more attention to). Plus, I’m signed up to post on the 20th of every month on the Twilight Fantasies Blog (one of my publishers), which shouldn’t be too much of a chore since I can probably use one of my posts from one of my many blogs. I also have a page on several Yahoo romance sites which I rarely, if ever, do anything with. Last, but not least, I’m trying to re-vamp my web site and learn the ins and outs of creating and maintaining a successful small business on the Internet–and don’t let anyone tell you that being an author isn’t a business. I think any author you talk to, will back me up on that one!

I don’t plan on keeping all the blogs, I’m just trying them out and when I find the one I’m most comfortable with, that’s the one I’ll keep. MySpace is out for me, because I get a serious case of the heebie-jeebies every time I log on to that one. AD, Gather, and the various romance sites on Yahoo, I’ll keep because I think they’ll be valuable–at some point–for promoting my books.

Which brings me to my point in all this; with my second book coming out in less than a week, I know I need to be promoting, but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. All this is taking a major chunk of my time and I haven’t written more than a couple hundred words all week. So, where do you draw the line between promotion and writing? I don’t have a clue, but I think it’s something every author must figure out for herself.

Since this is only my second book, I’m telling myself not to agonize over it too much, just do what you can and hopefully, as I gain more experience, it will get easier. Maybe, some day in the far-off, distant future, I’ll get the hang of all this and then I’ll not only be a multi-published author, but I’ll also be an efficient and productive promoter!

Only time will tell.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams