Monday, August 8, 2016

The Conundrum


I don't remember how long ago, but possibly 15-20 years ago the publishing world told us authors that BLOGGING would get us more sales, that READERS would jump over to our lovely blogs and READ them.

Really?

No. It didn't really work that way.

Who read our blogs? Other writers. And we read theirs. We became followers of their blog, and sometimes they ours--depending upon who they were. You couldn't exactly expect JK Rowling to follow you, a lowly unpublished author who might have sold 50 books in it's lifetime. But you hoped that readers would somehow find you.

Did they? Even when you told them about your BLOG?

NO!

So, then someone invented SOCIAL MEDIA.

Woohoo!

We hopped on that, didn't we? Now all our real-life friends (those who we either work with, neighbors, family members) could follow us, check out our books, and maybe even check and read our blogs.

Well, that didn't work either.

NOW

They are saying now we need a NEWSLETTER.

Hmmm...

Every time I sit and watch one of my programs in the afternoon, on TV, I get inundated by COMMERCIALS.

I don't really like commercials. Who does? More to the point they are repetitive, and 99% of the time, it's nothing I need. Like a catheter, or a tort lawyer who will help me sue for something...

I've had newsletters sent to me, and along with a lot of other things that come in my mailbox, I will delete them, because A. I have no time to read or go through it. B. It is of no interest to me. C. Sometimes I have no real interest in what the author writes. Maybe I did at one time or another, but I don't now.

Anyway, what I'm saying is it's just another form of commercialization. We sell ourselves like a bunch of book whores. After a while it becomes distasteful. Sort of like the zealot preaching from a corner. Okay. Nice. I'm walking away now.

I still follow some blogs, but I don't always have time to go and read them.

So, the question is, is this NEWSLETTER just another THING TO ANNOY EVERYBODY?

My prediction is it will be no better than the blog. If you actually have found people signing up for your newsletter--[from where? Like your blog??? I don't even know how to set one up, to begin with]--then, who are you reaching? How do you know that you are reaching READERS? I really don't think you know. How can you know who your newsletter is going to?

At this point in the game, for me, I'm not falling for more ideas that will, with time, fall flat because everybody is doing this. I'm within an inch of not doing much at my blog (or facebook), but I do because I do know SOMEONE sometimes reads it. I had over 300 people stop by my blog 2 weeks ago. I don't know who they were, or why they swung by. About 50 hit on MY BOOKS. But I haven't seen 50 sales. Since beginning of the month I've found about 30 sales, but that's because of my PUBLISHER. I don't think I'm getting sales because of the blog or anything I do on social media.

Huh.

Do you see the point that I'm making, where I'm going with this? Do you really want to go to all the trouble of setting up the email lists of people who you really don't know if they are other writers, reviewers, or readers, and go to all that trouble to write your lovely newsletters about when such-n-such book is coming out or when one is on sale? And then wait and wait to see sales that don't come. Or aren't really attributed to that newsletter?

Well, I'm not going to bother with it. It's just another THING to work on. I'd rather be writing. At this date, I've worked on 3 WIP, this year (summer). I hope to publish these next year. I want to work on a brand new series, and a new stand-alone book, next year. Plus, I work outside the home. I don't carry around a techno gadget to keep connected with the world. I don't really like doing that. I want to enjoy life--the life around me--listen to the birds, discover the plants, birds, insects (life around me), I've never seen before--enjoy LIFE--not wasting my time with some little gizmo that's held in the hand. Yeah. I don't do POKE'MON.

ANYWAY...

I'll watch from the sidelines and when that all fails, and everyone says, 
"No, we've gotta go back to blogging again." 

I'll be here.
Maybe.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Irritable Owl Syndrome

image from JK Rowlings on Twitter


In case you haven't heard, there is a brand new Harry Potter book released TODAY, by it's author, JK Rowling.
Here is a link about the book from People Magazine.


I'll be getting mine whenever the new bookstore opens here in town. I'm a big Harry Potter fan. So much that I want to be 11 or 12 again and get on the train to Hogwarts. I've always lived in a fantasy world (in my head), and it's hard for me to live in the everyday struggles of life. Thus, I escape, either though reading or by writing. Writing has been my salvation from times in my life when I could not cope with family, and life. I escaped through pen and ink.

To all of you fantasy fans out there, I want to direct you to the fact that my book Spell of the Black Unicorn was written by me as a form of fan fiction (I guess that's what people call it these days). After reading a couple of the HP books, I wanted to find a book that had more adult themes in it, but similar to Harry Potter, with crazy characters, and the usual fantasy elements that are found in such books. This isn't to say that I copied anything from the Harry Potter series, this is all my own imagination and all characters are mine.

And here's what I do to people who give me bad reviews. Hermione hitting Draco

Thank you to ALL my fans!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lorelei's Enchanted Forest

Today, I wanted to show you my garden/forest/trail, and tell you a little bit about it, and how much work I've done on it for the past 2 years. This year especially I've spent a lot of hours on this woods and expansion of the trail.
This shows the entrance from our yard. It's deeply wooded with mostly black walnut trees, but many other shrubs and trees intermingle.

Two years ago, my husband simply mowed around the tree, which you see behind that brown door, it's nice, up until the mosquitoes emerge later in spring. I like to watch birds from the bench you see in front. Gradually, that first year, I began working on a winding pathway through brush and black raspberry bushes, in order to come out the other side where the forest preserve drive is, and where the property ends.


This is the beginning of a meandering, winding trail that I can only guess as being about 100 or so feet in length. The path is done in wood chips. I, myself, hauled dozens of wheelbarrows of wood chips from at least 100 yards away, doing maybe 4 to 6 loads in a day. In some cases I had a larger wheelbarrow, but I found that even though I could get more mulch into this, it was heavier. It wasn't so much about hauling it, as it was doing it all myself, building up muscles after a long winter, and exercise--which I never like to do, except when I see something as ends to a means. In other words, I don't want to get on a treadmill and go nowhere and have nothing to show for my time invested. I'd rather take a walk in the park and see nature.

I'm not only a writer, but I was always an artist. When growing up my mother must have had a conniption with me, as I drew on walls. I have to laugh. If only she'd have gotten me some paper, I would have been happy with drawing on it.

Anyway, to give you a little taste of my inventiveness, I'll show you some of my art work below.

"MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE"
I love glass especially old glass, which I'll show you in just a moment. The twisted tree which I used to place the bottles on, is actually the root end of a tree. I saw it in a pile of debris, and told my husband I needed it for my garden. I sawed off, by hand, the other end of it, placed it where I wanted, and began adding old, or new bottles. The wine bottle you'll note has an interesting picture on it. "Morning After The Night Before" is the title. If you think about it, you'll get the joke, because mostly these are beer bottles.

I have done crafts in one form or another over the years, and if I ever find another craft store nearby, I'll be working on getting my things into one soon. Below is an old shovel that I salvaged. Anyone else would toss such things. Me, I see potential.


I chose to paint a little sign for the garden section, and tried to think of something that would be an interesting twist of the line "Herein lies the rub", and so "Here In Lies The Grub" worked.


As you can see my old glass canning jar is suspended from a band that went around a whiskey barrel once upon a time. On either side of this are antique blue insulators--you remember when these were on electric and telephone poles? I'm also a rock hound. In front, below the glass jar is a rock that is almost perfectly round. I find such treasures and put them in my garden where I like to display them as a focal point.
If you look behind these things, you'll see an old garden tiller. Believe it or not, I used to use this way back when I was younger, and it still worked, but at that time was probably an antique. Now it is so rusted the wheel won't turn. I'm a collector of the unusual, my tastes run eclectic.


This is a view to the left side of the entrance. Where the photographer stands (and I'll give my sister-in-law, Kathy Bell, the credit for these photos, since I had no way of taking and sharing them myself), behind her is a stand of 4 or 5 mature white pines, which Dennis put into the ground about 20 years ago. Their needles fall every fall, and layer the area. Some needles coat the beginning of this entrance. To the left, further in, grows moss, and I've spent hours pulling the weeds out of the moss in order to encourage its growth as a lovely, spongy walk way.

That's me behind the door, which I also salvaged from a burn pile. The two signs here I also made. The wooden one I used a wood burner and my carving set to make and it reads: "Lorelei's Enchanted Forest". Makes for an interesting focal point, don't you think?

Another shovel below reads "When Life gives you Weeds Pull 'Em!"  A lot of the rocks you see around my garden either I collected myself from either the field across the road, or they were ones I already had. The larger ones, my husband hauled up with a small tractor. I also dug up old bricks in a different area the year before and have used them in various places for my gardens.

This sign is from the park's very beginnings, and they used to have bison - not buffalo - in the park. The story goes that one winter we had something like 70" to 80" of snow (I want to say this was the 79/80 blizzard, and I remember it), and the bison were able to escape their fence. So, they were never put back. I have no idea what was done with the animals.

Anyway, Dennis, as a joke, put this sign up in the back part of the entrance.

Well, I hope you've all enjoyed this tour of my forest/garden, and artwork. I've wanted to share with you what I've been working on during the spring. At this time of summer, when it's too hot and muggy out, I don't do much outdoor work. That's when I like to write. And, looks like I've spent enough time on this, so, I'll leave you all for time being. Have a good rest of the week!