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Lots of things going on in my life right now and once again, I’m falling behind with no hope of ever catching up.  Okay, that’s not exactly true, I think I’ll be able to get caught up this weekend but I fully expect to be behind again by next weekend.  Sometimes, being a writer is more a matter of hanging on to a quickly fraying lifeline as the whirlpool slowly sucks you down…down…down…and you find yourself waiting for that final thread to snap, sending you to your–

Okay, enough drama, the point is I have a lot on my plate right now and I don’t have any idea how I’m going to get it all done.  It probably doesn’t help that I’m writing a blog entry instead of doing one of those many things that needs to be done but…well, that’s the way I am.  When my to-do list gets out of control, I’m often overwhelmed and don’t know which project I should work on first so I put off choosing one and do something else.  Just call it another way I tend to self-sabotage my writing.

Anyway, here’s my top five list of things that need to be done by Monday:

1.  Finish checking the pre-proof file on Winds of Fate.  Yep, that’s right, I received the first round of edits on Winds the other day and it should be releasing early this fall.  Woo-hoo!  Snoopy dances and all that, but first I have to get the file back to my publisher so they can move forward with it.  Hopefully, I’ll get that done this weekend.

2.  Finish updating the links page on my website. Romancing the Legends…  I spent most of last weekend updating the rest of the site and the only thing left to do is the links page–which shouldn’t take too long.  Thing is, I don’t like chasing down all those links, creating them and then going back to check to make sure I got them right.  Still, it’ll only take an hour or two at the most and it really needs to be done so…I need to get busy and do it!

3.   Once my website is completely updated, I need to do some work on this blog, Cait-Tales.  I’m sure when I do, I’ll find tons of broken links, missing pictures, and out-of-date pages.  I’ve already done some clean-up work, but there’s a lot more that needs to be done.

4.  Set up another blog–yes, that’s right, another blog.  This one’s for a small writers’ group I recently joined, Writer’s Guild of Western North Carolina.  At the meeting yesterday, we were talking about blogs and setting up a blog for the group.  Since I’ve had some experience at that, I volunteered to set it up–even with everything I have going on right now.  The way I look at it, it’s something I know how to do and I’ll most likely enjoy doing it so…why not?  It should be a nice break.  I’ll post the link here as soon as we get it up and going and I hope you’ll all check it out when I do.  We have some interesting and accomplished writers in this group and I’m hoping the blog will reflect their talent and maybe be an inspiration to writers who are just getting going.  I know just talking to these people the three times I’ve been at meetings has been an inspiration for me.

5.  Clean my house!  Not looking forward to that but it really needs to be done so I’m going to have to find the time and the motivation–and energy!–to do it.  Blech!

And that’s it, my Friday Five to be accomplished before Monday.  Wish me luck!

My sister, niece, mom, and I went on a mini-vacation last week to Cherokee and Hot Springs.  The whole trip was wonderful but I enjoyed the day we spent in Hot Springs most of all.  It was fascinating to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, so to speak.  And every single person, from the librarians in both Hot Springs and Marshall who shared their wisdom and allowed us to look at records from the late 1800’s where we found quite a bit of information on the Daniels and Henderson families, to the owner of the hardware store in Hot Springs who steered us in the right direction for the cemetary where our great-grandmother was buried–we didn’t find it, but that was no fault of his–to the administrative assistant of the court house in Marshall where my great-grandfather conducted quite a bit of business while he was constable of Hot Springs, was incredibly helpful and friendly.  Whew!  How’s that for a run-on sentence?

Anyway, we have a ton of connections in Madison County, NC, and I’m so glad we found them all.  Our acknowledgement page for this one is going to be long.  I just hope we don’t leave anybody out!

Over the weekend while I was still working to clear out my email inboxes–I tell you, I used to hate getting junk-mail and I hate even more getting junk-email!–I got a bit of happy news; a contract from L&L Dreamspell for Winds of Fate!  Snoopy dances all around! 

Next up for me is the release later this month of the LLD anthology, Romance of My Dreams, with my short story, Third Time’s for Keeps.  After that, late this year or early next year, will come Storm Shadows, the second book in my Eternal Shadows series.  Winds of Fate will be my seventh book–or eighth, if you count Unwilling Angel twice since it was released by two different publishers.  Nah, I think I’ll go with seven.  After all, seven was considered a sacred number by my Cherokee ancestos.  So, seven books!  Can you believe that?  Not too shabby for someone who started writing as a way to deal with depression after learning she had MS.

So now I’m thinking about changing my blog name again.  The last time I did that, I seriously considered using the name Cait-of-Nine-Tales but I only had four–or maybe it was five–books out at the time.  I still like that name, and next year, when my seventh book comes out, I think I just might do it–hopefully, it’ll inspire me to get the next two finished and submitted, which will truly make me a Cait of nine tales!  Providing a publisher accepts them, of course!

 I’m rethinking my decision not to put up a page on Facebook because of this article in the latest issue of the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter:

*Facebook Frenzy 0A

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Are you on Facebook yet? No? Why not? Or maybe you’re on Facebook and not sure what to do now that you’re there. Well, check out these recent stats (courtesy of Marketingsavant.com):

* As of 2/14/09 Facebook has 175,000,000 active users
* Facebook grows by well over 600,000 users per day
* If Facebook were a country it would now be the 6th most populated country in the world
* The fastest growing segment are women over 55 (up 175% according to this report)
* Women dominate Facebook (meaning there are more women than men on Facebook)

Tips for an effective Facebook page:

· Update frequently. Facebook is not the field of dreams, just because you built it doesn’t mean people will beat a path to your door
· Use it to post events, updates on your book, product or message – keep your followers current about what’s going on in your world. Don’t tell us you just washed the dog.
· Facebook is not a way to push a message, but rather communicate *with* your market.
· Make sure your picture is current, don’t use a logo – I tend to think that doesn’t personalize your page enough. People want to see you, let them get to know who you are.

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So…after reading that, yeah, I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and set up a Facebook account.  I’m not looking forward to it, especially the part where I’ll feel like a complete computer moron and get frustrated because I don’t know my way around the site yet, but I’m just going to have to suck it up and do it.  Bleh!

On a happier note, I’m down to the last thirty pages of the final edit of Winds of Fate.  Woo-hoo!  Looks like I’ll make my self-imposed deadline of June 30th.  *crossing fingers against jinx*

BTW, have I mentioned lately how much I like the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter?  If you’re an author looking for ways to promote your book, you definitely should sign up for it! 

*Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.  http://www.amarketingexpert.com

May has been incredibly busy for me, both in my real world and in my writing life.  A couple of weekends ago my mom and sister came over for the Blue Ridge Book and Author Showcase–which was okay, except in the workshops we attended, the authors were more intent on promoting their books than they were on teaching us anything.  But it’s the first year of this event and I’m hoping it will get better in the future.  I’m also hoping I’ll get signed up in time next year to get a table!

The best part of that weekend was on Friday when we went to Hot Springs to do a little research on the book Christy and I are writing about our great aunt’s life.  Hot Springs is an interesting little town and I wish we’d had more time to look around but the weather wasn’t the best–cloudy and rainy and just all-around yucky.  We couldn’t find the visitor’s information center, which used to be housed in an old red caboose near the library so we went in the library to get directions.  The librarian, Deb Linton, told us the caboose had been moved back to the railway station and they were in the process of building a new welcome center, slated to be opened in mid-summer. 

Too bad, but Ms. Linton was kind enough to share some of the local history books and records with us.  She also gave us some information on Dorland-Bell where our aunt went to school way back in the 1890’s.  Aunt Bessie was one of the first graduates and a copy of her diploma, dated 1899, is included in the book The Season of Dorland-Bell, by Jacqueline Burgin Painter, who just happens to be my cousin.  There’s also a picture of the first town officers which includes my great-grandfather, complete with handlebar moustache and shiny silver star, as the town constable.  I’m looking forward to going back and looking for some of the houses Grandpapa built–he was also a builder and a blacksmith–and trying to find the grave of my great grandmother, who I was named for.

Then last weekend, Christy and I met in Johnson City and made the harrowing trek over the rainy mountains once again to attend the May We Write conference put on by the High Country Writers group we both belong to.  That was great and we had a lovely time–well, if you don’t count the drive up to Blowing Rock in the rain.  I swear, I love living in the mountains, but I think I’d love it even more if I lived back in Aunt Bessie and Grandpapa’s time.  You know, back when they traveled by horse and buggy!

So, along with spring cleaning, that’s what I’ve been up to.  As far as my writing world, the anthology, PMS: Poison + Murder = Satisfaction which includes my short story, The Secret Life of Alice Smitty, was released in print and is scheduled to be released in e-book next week.  I have got to get the cover up on my sidebar!  I received the contract for Storm Shadows–woo-hoo!  I’m almost through with Winds of Fate–yippee!–and I’ve started writing the next book in my Eternal Shadows series, tentatively titled Sun Shadows.  It tells the story of Luke, the brother who’s determined not to fall for Jon’s tricks and get snared by the heroine Jon sends up to Eternity Mountain.  I haven’t gotten very far yet, but so far it’s going pretty good.*

*Crossing my fingers that I didn’t just jinx myself!  I haven’t really gotten into the heroine’s part of the story yet, but I’m hoping she won’t give me as much trouble as Betty Sue did in Storm Shadows!

So, that’s whats been happening in my world in the busy, busy month of May.  Oh, and did I mention the Red Sox are in second place in the AL East, just half a game behind the Blue Jays?  Yay!  Of course, the Yankees are only a game and a half out, and we all know the Yankees.   Added to the fact that you can never count them out of the race, this year they have something to prove–mainly that they can spend over a billion dollars on a new stadium then charge outrageous ticket prices and their fans won’t bat an eyelash as they shell over their hard-earned cash.  Hey, how’s that working out for ya’, Mssrs. Steinbrenner?

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams