Earthquake, Winery, and #BadMoonRising

Hubby and I spent the weekend with his younger brother and his family in the mountains of North Carolina over the weekend.  The weather was fantastic – much cooler temps and lower humidity (woo-hoo!).  On a lazy Sunday morning yesterday, I was reading (duh) while my BIL worked on his laptop, when everything started to shake – vibrations in the floor, ceiling, everywhere.  We looked at each other in shock – earthquake!  But seriously, with what 2020 has brought already, we shouldn’t have been surprised.  It was brief, no injuries, but the largest earthquake NC has experienced in over 100 years – so that was exciting.

This is a picture of my niece’s ENO hammock – which is hung on the balcony of a second story condo.  It was a long drop to the ground.  Watching her get in it had my heart racing – but she did it just fine.  Reading in a hammock sounds like a perfect day – only closer to the ground.

Sunday afternoon, we went to a local winery where my BIL was performing – he’s a physician by day, but sings, writes music, and plays guitar in his free time.  Being outside, the event was well-attended – folks were just anxious to get out of the house.  It may not look like it from the picture, but social distancing was in effect and masks were aplenty.  Wine, food, music, and friends – a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.

If you’re a horror, thriller, or paranormal/supernatural author and would love some free publicity, I’m still taking signups for Bad Moon Rising – more information HERE.

Have a safe and healthy week!

Moving and #BadMoonRising

We are so done with moving.  Finally.  We started packing the youngest son on Thursday, he stayed with us a couple nights, and then moved him in on Saturday.

So. Much. Stuff.

He and two roommates are renting part of a house and luckily, he has a large bedroom.  Besides the usual furniture, with one of his majors being music, he also has electronic drums, a keyboard, and a guitar.  As a tea lover, he has a wide variety (I’m talking drawers of tea bags and boxes), and being a foodie, he owns more spices, various vinegars, condiments, and marinades than I do.  The house is close to campus, it’s a nice place, and he’s rooming with two good friends – now we’ll see how the in person/virtual classes work out in a few weeks.

Get those horror, paranormal, and thriller books ready – it’s almost time for Bad Moon Rising signups!  This will be the sixth year (can you believe it?), and it’s something I always look forward to.  Then again, anything involving books is exciting, right?  If my week goes as planned, signups will open Friday, so stay tuned.

Have a great week – stay safe and healthy!

Moving, More Moving, and #AmWatching

One move down, one to go.  Hubby and I got the oldest son moved into his new apartment over the weekend.  It’s a fantastic place in an extremely convenient location – restaurants, grocery store, movie theater (when they open), gym, etc. – all are within two miles.  And more importantly – his cat, Sora, has given her pawprint of approval.  The windows in his old apartment didn’t give her much of a view, and she chewed off part of the blinds to express her disapproval over this gross oversight.  In the new apartment, she has french doors and a big window in his office to keep her happy.  She hasn’t even discovered the one in the bedroom yet.  As you can see from the picture, she’s one happy cat.

Move number two begins on Thursday evening.  The youngest son has to be out of his current apartment by 10 AM Friday.  Between the current tenants in his new apartment and the landlord needing to deep clean after they leave, youngest son and his U-Haul will be parked at our house from Thursday until Sunday, when we have access to the new apartment.  At least we’ll have him home for a few days!

I’m in the middle of The Morning Show on Apple+.  I’m a fan of several actors on this show, but most of the characters  they portray are extremely unlikable.  The show offers a lot of scheming and coverups, but also a look at journalists who are still focused on getting to the truth.  It’s not for everyone (hubby quit watching after the second episode), but I’m interested in seeing where it goes.

Have a safe and healthy week!

Finding Readers, Publisher Rocket, and #AmWatching

I’m always looking for more readers – aren’t all writer?  Writing YA books, you’d think I’d be marketing to teens (not an easy thing to do); however, I came across a statistic not long ago stating about half of YA readers are adults.  It’s something I’d read before, and I tend to agree with the statistic.  Early last week, I was tagged on Twitter by a friend alerting me to a webinar her agent was presenting – How To Find Readers – and I immediately registered.  There were no great epiphanies, but she did offer some ideas I plan to follow up on – offering a few chapters for free or scenes cut from my books.  Being active on social media is important, but choosing which platform works best for you is imporant.  She also mentioned not just promoting your own novels, but helping other writers – something I’m a proponent of.  Coincidentally, she brought up a topic I’d been looking at last week – categories and keywords on Amazon.

Which brings me to Publisher Rocket (formerly known as KDP Rocket).  A couple of my publisher siblings mentioned this in our Facebook group and how using it had helped their rankings and sales – all good things, right?  After investigating further, I downloaded it last week.  I’ve been through the tutorials and played around a bit, and there are some areas I still haven’t gotten to, but plans are to go back through the tutorials again.  Lots of info is included, and I want to take full advantage of eveything it has to offer.

I started watching a new series.  For All Mankind on Apple+ has completely and utterly hooked this space nerd.  I’d seen it advertised last November when it was released, but at the time, we didn’t subscribe.  Last week, I was offered a 7-day free subscription, so I took it.  It’s an alternate history storyline that begins in June 1969 – when Russia beats us to the moon by one month.  Other changes (and I’m not giving anything away with this) include women also entering the space program and after Nixon, Ted Kennedy becoming president.  Highly recommend it!

Have a safe and healthy week!

#WritingGoals, Book Sales, and #AmWatching

Met the writing goal again last week – woo hoo!  Things are really coming together with this sequel to Subject A36.  While brushing my teeth (I swear I have the best ideas when I’m doing totally mundane things), a few different pieces just fell into place in the span of a couple seconds.  Don’t you love it when that happens?  Kind of makes the job a little easier.  I’m hoping to continue with the streak this week.

With so many author events cancelled this year, does anyone have brilliant ideas on how to sell more books?  If so, please share them.  I’ve been reading articles I’d hoped would miraculously introduce some new technique I haven’t tried, but they all seem to say the same things, just packaged differently.  I miss those in person events where I could talk to readers.

Last week hubby and I watched one movie that wasn’t so great and one that was okay.  The not so great was Eurovision.  I’m usually a Will Ferrell fan (except for Anchorman – by every mathematical concept, I should love that movie), but this one didn’t work for either of us.  I will say Dan Stevens seems to have a knack for comedy and gave me a few laughs.

We also watched Greyhound with Tom Hanks on Apple+.  Tom Hanks in anything immediately elevates a project in my opinion.  If you enjoy historical movies with a lot of action, I’d recommend it.  Not a bad way to spend ninety minutes.

Have a safe and healthy week!

 

#WritingGoals, #AmWatching, and Fireworks

Last Monday, I set a goal for adding 3K words to my WIP.  I’m excited to say I exceeded that goal!  I’m not in a writing group, so I think being accountable to you guys gives me that push I need.  This week I’ll add 500 words to my goal and we’ll see how it goes.  I have another five scenes in mind, and I had an epiphany last week while putting on makeup (that seems to be when they occur) about something that needs to occur.  Other things need to be put in place first, but I’m really excited to write that scene.

A couple weeks ago, hubby and I watched My Spy on Amazon Prime.  After Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m a Dave Bautista fan and with the sparse selection of new material out there, we took a chance of this one.  Yes, it’s predictable (tough guy CIA agent meets smart, cute kid) and inspires eyerolls in some parts, but it also has some sweet and laughable moments.  The young actress is a scene stealer and holds her own against Bautista, and their developing friendship is adorable and fun to watch.

Hope everyone had a fabulous and safe Fourth of July.  We spent the day with friends hanging out by their pool drinking margaritas and eating burgers.  When we got home that evening, we drug chairs into the backyard and watched fireworks.  Plenty of neighbors were setting them off, so we had quite a colorful show.  The cat wasn’t as crazy about them, so he stayed under the bed until the wee hours of the morning when all was quiet – then jumped into bed and slept on my head the rest of the night.

Have a great week and stay healthy!

 

#AuthorLife, Moving, and #WritingGoals

Not much going on around here.  Last week was a blur of unpacking from vacation, washing clothes, apartment hunting (more on that below) and trying to sneak in some reading and writing time.  With all of my scheduled author events cancelled, I’ve been working on some new Canva and Bookbrush images to try and sell some books.  The good thing is that my fall writing retreat is still on – yay!

Looks like hubby and I have two moves coming up later in July.  The oldest son is moving into a different apartment along with starting his new job.  This one includes a small office, which will be perfect since he’ll be working remotely.  His cat, Sora, will be thrilled with all the windows and a balcony where she can go outside – assuming she’s smart enough not to try jumping.  The youngest son and two friends have been searching for a new apartment before the fall semester, but they haven’t had much luck.  His current lease expires at the end of July, so time is running out.  We’re just hoping the new apartment isn’t on the third floor (like his current one) and it’s not a thousand degrees outside with 100% humidity the day we move him (like it was last summer).  Good times.

An author friend has inspired me to make some weekly writing goals (thanks, Staci!).  My goal this week is to add at least 3K words to my WIP.  I think that’s pretty doable and I’m hoping to exceed that number.  I have about four scenes planned out in my head – I’ll update you next Monday.

Have a great week and stay healthy!

Vacation and the Griswolds

I’m back from vacation!  Polen family vacations have a semi-disastrous history.  Trust me – you don’t want to travel with us.  The first cruise we took resulted in a hurricane.  Then there was the time we were stuck in an airport for hours because as near as the airline could tell, someone from California cancelled our flight reservations – we didn’t even know anyone from CA.  But what about that memorable week we spent in Hawaii for our honeymoon with temps in the low 50s and nearly constant rain which, of course, led to the roads flooding on the day we were headed to the airport to leave.  Those are just the highlights that come to mind right now.  We’ve concluded we must be related to the Griswold family.  After years of just talking about it, we’d finally made a decision to go to Italy in the fall and had just received a tentative itinerary from our travel agent in early March, so we’re halfway convinced we might have had something to do with the coronavirus.

So why should last week be any different?  While it was wonderful to spend time with our family and have both sons with us, the beach was cold and rainy every day except one – the last one.  We were able to get on the beach for a couple hours one day, but the last day was mostly sunny at least.  It was also the only day I even put on a swimsuit.  Other days, we played board games, went to an escape room, and I read two books.  We’ve also had our share of vacations with glorious weather, along with wearing heavy coats and gloves in Florida, but the important thing is that we spent time together, and that’s always a plus.  Here’s a pic of a gorgeous sunrise – the morning we were leaving.

As far as restaurants, with the exception of one, all staff wore masks and gloves and tables were spaced far apart.  Folks on the beach also kept their distance for the most part, but the majority of people we encountered at grocery stores and tourist attractions didn’t wear masks.  Here in KY, our numbers are going down, so I’m hoping people don’t get too comfortable and let guidelines fall to the wayside.

Update time – several weeks back, I mentioned my oldest son had been interviewing for new jobs after losing his due to COVID.  I’m thrilled to say he accepted one last week which doesn’t require him to move and is completely remote.  Thanks so much for all your positive thoughts, vibes, and encouragement sent his way!

Have a great week and stay healthy!

 

#AmWriting, #AmWatching, and Vacation

Last Monday I mentioned the final planning and plotting had commenced on the sequel to Subject A36.  This past week, I finally started writing.  I set a timer for thirty minutes and just took off.  Maybe it was a fluke, but writing in thirty minute segments worked for me.  I didn’t worry about editing, word echoes, choosing the perfect word, etc – I just typed.  My word count wasn’t in the stellar range (not C.S. Boyack level, lol), but I was happy with my progress, and I’ll use the same technique this week.

A friend recently loaned us the Band of Brothers series.  We’d never seen it before, but I remembered it winning several awards.  We were hooked from the first episode.  And what a cast!  Many of them weren’t well known or known at all when it was released in 2001, but you’d recognize several now.  We reached the last episode, eager to see what happened to these characters and their lives – and the disc hung up.  I tried another DVD player – no luck.  Tried going straight to the scene – nope.  I checked Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu – all were a bust with streaming unless we wanted to pay.  Our only option is to get the last disc from Netflix.  Instant gratification has totally spoiled us.

I won’t be online much next week, other than the two book reviews I have scheduled to post.  Hubby and I are taking a vacation and maybe the planets aligned or our horoscopes were good that day, but both sons can go with us, and we’re really looking forward to it.  I’ll be in my happy place on a beach with my umbrella and books (social distancing from folks at neighboring umbrellas), hopefully getting caught up on some reading.  Restaurants there still aren’t at full capacity, and that’s fine with us.  We have reservations with a couple of favorites, but also plan to take advantage of local seafood markets.  Masks will be packed along with the books!

Stay safe and healthy and have a great week!

#BookConline, #AmWriting, and #TenetTrailer

Over the weekend, I spent Saturday and Sunday watching several author panels at BookConline.  I’ve never been to BookCon in NYC (but it ranks right up there with ComicCon in places I’d love to go), so it was a treat to see so many YA authors together.  World-building, fantasy, epic YA, paranormal – I watched all of them and more.  There were plenty of ARC giveaways, but I figured the odds of me winning were slim, and I’ve got enough to keep me busy for quite a while anyway.

The writing has commenced!  I’ve been working on the sequel to Subject A36 – finally.  Right now I’m putting together character arcs and figuring out some plot points.  The number of POVs may be a challenge – everyone wants to talk, but some of them will just have to settle for letting their story be told through the eyes of another character.  Breaking the news won’t be pretty, I’m thinking.

Have you guys seen the trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet?  Inception (one of my favorite movies) was mind-bending and Memento wickedly twisted.  And his Dark Knight series?  You get what I’m saying.  When I first saw the preview for this movie months ago, I had no idea what it was actually about and honestly didn’t care.  It was a Nolan movie.  This new, second trailer goes into more detail and I’m stupid excited to see it in July.  Assuming the theaters are open.  Keeping fingers crossed!

Take care and stay healthy!