Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How Do You Spell Integrity?

Something came up today, and it was another lesson-learned kind of incident. I've always hoped to lend something to others in life. Not because I think I'm some experienced guru, but because I believe everything happens for some reason or another, and if you can't grow and learn from the experience, then there was no point in having it. Both good and bad incidents are memorable. I've learned to love the good because God was kind enough to share them with me. I've learned to mature from the bad, because He brought me through them with a lesson in hand. If I don't share the knowledge I gain from both, I'm taking it for granted and it was a wasted effort all around.

Now, because it's important to know: I'm not an overly emotional person; I tend to be snarky and somewhat sarcastic, though never in a malicious way. But overall, I'm a decent person by rational standards.

The thing that happened today (which I hope turns out to be a misunderstanding, though I suspect otherwise) really upset me. Someone I had a fair amount of confidence in, made a very negative remark about something I hold dear. My intent was to send information about something I thought the commenter would find interesting. So not only was it passed over with criticism, it became an attack on a path I'd chosen for myself.

At first I was shocked and hurt that the commenter would say something so low and rude...then anger crept in. It took every part of my will not to light into the commenter and say what I had to say because he/she not only offended me, but many of those I hold very dear! But after a few dozen times of hurt feelings, arguments, and moments of regret, I've learned to shut up until I'm not mad anymore. I kindly passed on a message of, "I made made in mistake in thinking you'd be interested," and left it alone.

But my anger hadn't subsided. So I sucked my wonderful friend into the mix, (sorry, girl ;) and polluted her day with it. Maybe I shouldn't have done that, but I needed an out, and she's always so willing to listen to my rants and raves. You don't know how much I appreciate your virtual shoulder, Trish :)

After I thoroughly talked it out though, it dawned on me. Why do I even care? What does this mean-spirited person even mean to me? Suddenly, I found myself feeling sorry the commenter. Clearly, he/she is either having a bad day, or they're not happy in their own existence. This isn't a condescending remark on my part. I'm not trying to seem holy or better-than by making a nice statement when my intent is to "be more mature" about it. It's a sad state.

I will, however, make this distinction because it involves more than just me. The route I and others choose in Indie publishing is an admirable one. We are making our own futures. I'm building my own platform, which is absolutely no different than what commenter has done! When choosing to be independent, the author shoulders everything. We're the ones paying for editors and cover designers. We're the ones doing the leg work in marketing and distribution. How others see this as rolling over or an easy way out is beyond me. I've never worked so hard at anything. So to be fair and speak as a group of entrepreneurs: WE, my friend, are the dedicated ones. And if anyone has a problem with that, feel free to walk away now. We don't infringe on your turf, so show the same respect and leave ours alone.

Always remember, people come and go in life. Some, like my wonderful writing family, are meant to build you up and encourage you. Others, they're only purpose is to tear you down and become a stumbling block or snare.

Cherish those you love. Walk away from the rest.

Learn from the darkness--just don't become part of it. Because at the end of the day, I can hold my head up knowing I didn't give into my flesh and say something cruel and mean-spirited. When it comes down to it, integrity is more important than the last word.

***Please note: This is isn't meant to serve as an excuse to assault anyone else. It's lesson in forgiveness and walking in love. Just saying. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

See Bob Shoot Himself in the Literary Foot.

This has been a hot topic for a couple of weeks now, but seeing as it hasn't necessarily become the blog-heard-round-the-world matter, I'm going to take my own crack at it.

Pimping Yourself Out or in better terms: What Not to Do.

There's been quite a bit of debate lately on how to market yourself without being obnoxious and pushy. The source of the problem lies in overzealous writers with no sense of personal (even virtual) space OR lack of know-how. I'm more than willing to admit I'm learning the marketing game myself, and I don't pretend to be the end-all of end-alls when it comes to promoting your work. It is pretty obvious, though. No one likes to feel used. Ever. Especially not the people writers look to for support: potential readers.

Here's the issue. The author, we'll call him Bob, befriends you or vice versa. You're excited to meet Bob. He's a fellow writer and he seems like a generally knowledgeable and responsible fellow.

But this is how it plays out in a private message between you and Bob:
Hi! I'm Bob. I want thank you for friending me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc. I'm looking forward to getting to know you. Please stop by my blog, website, blah blah blah to find out more about me...because I'm awesome. (Okay, so I added that last part myself. Still, it's how it comes across, right?)

Now, why don't we see a problem here? Oh wait. You do? Does Bob sound like a total d-bag with an overinflated sense of self--like Bob thinks he's some unimaginable gift to the masses and the people who friend him are so incompetent that we don't see the link under his name leading to his site?

Bob, Bob, Bob, you're acting like a tool.

Does this sound harsh of me? Yeah, maybe a little. Bob probably doesn't mean to be pushy or sound like an arrogant jerk. Likely he doesn't know better, which is why, for the sake of all, I want to reiterate the problem with this.

It turns people off.

Bob, I friended you because I like you. You don't need to peddle your wares to the literary masses. When you do, they either A) un-friend you, or B) hide your feed so they don't have to see your incessant posts about yourself. Neither of these things are desirable, Bob. Now, because you've irked your new friends, they won't see what you have to say when it really is something cool. That great giveaway you're hosting, I have no idea because I hid your feed. (I'm the nice one who doesn't block you) You want to ask if anyone has a solution to the writerly problem you've been having? We may have the perfect solution, but you'll never know. Sorry, Bob.

This is where Bob *should* say: Well, Hope, I didn't mean to be a total wanker. How do I go about a thoughtful introduction that allows you and I to be well-informed friends? I can't pick up followers for that all-important marketing game if I don't introduce myself properly.

This is my answer: I'm glad you asked, Bob! I really thing we could learn from each other if you'd be willing to just step off for a minute. (Naturally, I'm smiling through this as not to make Bob feel bad)

Here's the solution in my humble opinion. Are you ready?

Show some interest, Bob. Go to my blog, website, or other venue. Pick out something specific to comment on, and introduce yourself. It also doesn't hurt to follow my blog or site so you can say so. Do you see what you've done differently? You've impressed me, Bob! You've stroked my own desire for recognition and appreciation. This leads to me returning the favor. Not only do you have a friend who listens now, you have a friend who cares because you're being considerate! Way to go, Bob!

I do want to add a couple of side notes here. Bob is my generic friend. If you happen to share the name, please don't be offended or think I'm talking about you :)

The second thing, if you litter your feed with tweet after tweet announcing the sale of your book, I stop looking or take you off my frequently-viewed list. I really don't like doing that either. You've made a list because you're cool. I'm not saying don't tweet about your sales, accomplishments, etc. But perhaps limit it to less than 20 times a day :) You can't learn from others when you're always talking. You know what you have to say--listen to them for a change. You might just grow!

As always, keep writing, guys!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 30--30 Day Music Challenge

Day thirty: your favorite song at this time last year

This time last year, I was just going over my first round of edits for Haven. I had my little playlist going for the book. I've listened to this one a thousand times! Of course Silversun Pickups is the Best. Band. Ever. It seems appropriate that, even now, this is still one of my favorites. Love the stringed instruments.

Catch and Release--Silversun Pickups

Day 29--30 Day Music Cahllenge

Day twenty-nine: a song from your childhood

I'm going to have to go with a new WIP (work in progress) for this one too. I can't share much about it because it's kind of my "top-secret" project, but this song is super important to the plot!

Beautiful Dreamer--Bing Crosby **Not my favorite version, but it works ;p

Day 28--30 Day Music Challenge

Day twenty-eight: a song that makes you feel guilty

This is an odd question. I kind of feel bad for the person who came up with it. I can't think of any songs that make me feel guilty. Ohh! But I can think of one that I could apply in my current MS I'm working on. That'll work! My character is feeling bad for betraying her (guy) BFF... dum-dum-duuum.

***This video is basically an homage to Alex O'Loughlin--which is a whole different post! Enjoy ;)

The Kin--Together

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 27--30 Day Music Challenge

Day twenty-seven: a song that you wish you could play

This could be any number of songs. It's hardly a fair question. In short, anything by Coldplay, The Fray, and all those other piano-heavy artists. Though, for now, I'm going to have to shoot for straight instrumental.

The video is different. I think this guy likes horses...


Day 26--30 Day Music Challenge

Day 26: a song that you can play on an instrument

This is a fun one! Yay! Again, this is a personal post more than a writing one. The songs my character play aren't exactly "real" yet, so, I gotta go with what I have ;)

I haven't perfected this one yet, but I'm close...


Day 25--30 Day Music Challenge

Day twenty-five: a song that makes you laugh

Okay, this is a personal one. I can't help but chuckle when I hear this song. I get this image of Johnny Depp as the mad-hatter, doing the futterwackan, as the Queen of Hearts yells, "Off with your head!!!"


Yeah Yeah Yeahs--Heads Will Roll

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Life Transparent giveaway WINNER!

Thanks everyone for your support and enthusiasm! I really enjoyed chatting with Todd and learning more about his novel A LIFE TRANSPARENT. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel!

Now, for the exciting news! The random.org winner of a digital download is.... Vivien!!! Vivien, Todd is emailing you with the details and instructions on downloading your ebook!

Thanks to all for participating! You guys are the best :D

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 24--30 Day Music Challenge

Day twenty-four: a song that you want to play at your funeral

This is depressing, and I don't like depressing things that offer a chance at being real. So, I'm cheating. See Day Four for "a song that makes you sad." It involves a funeral scene...

Sorry for the cop out. It's the closest thing I can manage. There needs to be a wider variety here. Perhaps I should make my own questions.
Day twenty-three: a song that you want to play at your wedding

One of the greatest songs ever. So glad to finally have an excuse to YouTube it!

***Side note: The French version is so much more romantic. Just saying.

Beautiful South--Les Yeux Overts (Dream a Little Dream of Me)

Day 22--30 Day Music Challenge

Day twenty-two: a song that you listen to when you’re sad

Sadness isn't fun. And really, who wants to wallow? Well, my characters at times.

This song is super easy to list. Chi, imagine a four page bath scene with this playing in the background.


Day 21--30 Day Music Challenge

Day twenty-one: a song that you listen to when you’re happy

Who really needs a "happy-song" explanation? It makes one happy! You can't help but love something that makes you wanna move.

The Black Keys--Howlin' for You