Just Get Over It!

Pulltight Hill
Pulltight Hill…on a CLEAR day!

Since I’ve been cycling a lot more than writing, I thought I’d take time to share my recent ride and how it’s comparable to writing.

But first, let me give you some back story. This coming Saturday, I’ll be riding with a bunch of other crazy folks who think that grinding gears for 100 miles is “fun.” Well, it is if you adhere to the adage “misery loves company.” And the main reason I’m doing this is so I’ll be in top shape for the 100 mile fundraiser I’m doing September 21st. If you’re curious about the event and would even like to contribute, then please go to JDRF.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s refocus on last Saturday’s ride. The goal was 75, which I’ve already done, so this was simply to maintain endurance. However, at our refueling stop at mile-marker 40, my riding partner, James, announces to some local farmers that we’re doing 80. I cringe. I know 5 extra miles doesn’t sound like a big deal, but that wee bit can usher in disaster and misfortune. Fortunately the weather was overcast and cool by Tennessee’s standards, but we still had 2 big hills to climb, one of which–Pulltight Hill–we’d never ridden before.

Not being one to back down from a challenge, even one from a zealous friend, I set off with James in the mist. We joke how we have to do 80 or else those farmers will hunt us down with their 4×4’s or Tweet snide comments.

At around the 55 mile mark, we reach Pulltight and start our ascent. James, who is a much stronger rider than I am, makes some upbeat comment about taking it easy while scooting up the incline with the ease of a mountain goat. I’m more like an old mule plodding, groaning and making funny noises as I breathe.

When I reach the top, James is snapping pics and blabbing stuff like, “THAT wasn’t so bad!” I was too busy coughing up lung and sucking my water bottle to reply.

We roll on and the mist turns to rain, which makes drafting a nightmare. When we hit the 65 mile mark, we’ve ridden out of the rain and discuss route options in order to reach our goal of 80.

At this point, I’m not feeling so good. At the time, I just thought I was having an off day. But as this is Tuesday and I still have a sour tummy, I think I had a stomach bug. All of which is important to what happens next.

As we head up the last big climb of the day, I get light-headed, lose focus and wreck. James races back and is horrified at the sight. I’m sprawled in a rocky ditch near a metal drainage pipe. He told me later that he expected to see blood spurting everywhere and having to dial 911. As for me, I was just relieved he didn’t have to do mouth-to-mouth!

Thankfully, no, actually miraculously, my helmet and left hip took the blunt of the fall, and aside from some cuts, strawberries and my woozy head, I was okay. Even my bike survived; only the front wheel needing to be trued.

I steel myself, climb back on, and we finish the ride. No, we didn’t reach 80 (I ended up with 76) but it would indeed be the ride, or wreck, to talk about for some time.

All of that to say that writing books is an endurance event. It takes a ton of hard work, a boat-load of dedication, some days suck, and you will wreck. But you don’t quit and you hunger to be better, and the only way to improve IS to write (bike) with those stronger and better than you.

So you climb back into the saddle, grind over the next hill, and hope the downhill leads to a better tomorrow. And despite the misery and frustration, the setbacks and rainy days, there’s one truth that keeps you spinning along.

You really do love it.

Three Rules To Writing

If life is a river, then I’m body surfing white rapids!

Work is SO busy that I hardly have time for anything else, but has that ever slowed me down? Of course not. I simply pick up the pace, sleep less and wonder why everyone is so irritable (after all, it ain’t me!)

Crammed into the work week is my training for a 100 mile bike ride to raise $$ for juvenile diabetes (JDRF) I log 150 miles a week which takes a ton-o-time and energy. And yeah, that was a plug to see if you’d consider donating or at least cheer me on.

That would be enough, right? BUT NO! I’m also working on Book III of my War of Whispers series. When? Well, that’s a silly question! Naturally this is done before sunrise. DUH!

So it’s little wonder that blog and Twitter posts have fallen by the wayside.

Nevertheless, I’m squeezing one out this morn and wanted to share a quest post I did for Jill Edmondson’s Blog.

I shared my experience with characterization and referenced Tears of Min Brock. Yeah, it’s a shameless plug for my book, but ‘ya gotta do whatcha gotta do! I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. Kinda bummed she posted the old cover for Tears and not the new one, but those things happen.

That’s it for now. After all, it’s 4AM and I’ve gotta pack my lunch before I bike @ 6 so I can run to work and get to Saturday in order to bike which leads to Monday when it starts all over again and…and…and…

Writing, Tips, and Reality

Today’s post could be filed under ADD Blogging as I’m going to hop from topic to topic like a frog on espresso. Ready? Let’s get hopping!

I’ve befriended a fellow writer, Karen Wooward, who posts really helpful tips for authors.  If you have time, check out her posts like this one, 7 Interesting Links for Writers. She has zeroed in on creating very informative, short posts that I can skim much like a news feed. Great blog model to follow!

I received a flattering review of my book, Tears of Min Brock, from Pure Jonel (a blogging friend) that went along with an e-book giveaway. For what it’s worth, I’ve found the most effective means to gain reader awareness is by connecting with fellow bloggers that do reviews, giveaways and interviews. I’m not saying this translates into sales, but it has increased “likes” on my social media sites. I’m also using Tears as a kind of business card, if you will, and give it away as often (within reason) as I can. The hope being they’ll like it enough to buy the sequels.

Writing. I dove back in to re-writing Book III. The reason this is news worthy is that I needed to get back to basics, which is the joy of storytelling, and set aside the sadomasochistic treadmill I was on trying to sell, sell, sell, sell…. Always a good thing to remember why we do what we do. Satisfies the soul!

Next week, I’ll be with my family for a beach vacation (yeah, I know, rub it in!) Aside from logging some serious beach time and dunking my grandson a time or two, I look forward to writing with the only interruption being “time to tan.” Sorry, I couldn’t help but rub it in, much like suntan lotion! Ouch, there I go again!

Thanks for joining me today. I truly appreciate you taking time to read what I write. Honest.

But now I’ve gotta run. Need to find my beach chair 🙂

“Let’s Get Visible”-My Thoughts

Let's Get VisibleI’ve been following David Gaughran’s blog for some time, primarily because he is experienced, straightforward and insightful.

So when his marketing book came out, Let’s Get Visible, I grabbed it.

David’s writing style is crisp and conversational, making this book easy to read and comprehend.

As far as content, the book is packed with useful information and isn’t just re-prints of past blog posts. You’ll also get a good understanding of Amazon’s algorithms along with links to helpful sites/resources. My only gripe is that if you’re not planning on going with Amazon’s KDP, which I’m not, then there are sections that won’t be applicable.

Nevertheless, Let’s Get Visible is a great resource to have as an indie author. In fact, I’m excited to give some of his suggestions a whirl.

What have you tried to promote your books?

Where’s My Antacid??

Performing on Prime Time Country; circa 1995.
Performing on Prime Time Country; circa 1995.

I’m often asked, “Did you get stage fright before a concert or performing on live TV?”

“Nope,” would be my answer.

Sure, I got butterflies and cited my “just-don’t-screw-up” mantra, but all-in-all, I thrived in such settings. Honest.

Now ask me the same question in regards to being in my own videos! I’m proud of how they turned out, and I’m eternally grateful to Matt Giesler who donated his talent, but now I’M the focal point (gulp!)

I can’t hide behind my bass and sunglasses!

So here they are. I wanted them to be short, entertaining and informative.

The Storyteller

Story Behind the Story

Bass, Tours & Castles

Feel free to share, throw tomatoes, snicker, etc.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go find my antacid!