On the Topic of Book Trailers

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In case you’ve missed it, the book trailer for Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)  is below. Go ahead, watch it. There’s a good chance Aunty Ida won’t actually do anything to your brain. Maybe.

In making book trailers, some people decide to tell you what the book is about, which is definitely one way to do it. You might catch the attention of people out and about where they’re not actually in the context of books, and no doubt it can be effective.

Instead of that, though, I tried to capture the essence of the book, its flavor, the tone of it. It’s supposed to give you the sense of what you’re getting into, and with Aunty Ida, that can be a lot more than you bargained for, given her tendency to get involved when you haven’t actually bargained for anything.

In this digital age, it’s a bit of a calling card, a handshake and a hello. A book trailer can give a sense of who you are as writer, and what you have in store for your readers. Well, in this case, what Aunty Ida has in store. I claim no responsibility.

If you share the trailer, you can be entered to win a $25 gift card from Amazon. Just tweet it using my handle, @IsaLeeWolf, retweet this tweet, or share on your blog or website. Make sure to post your website shares below so that I make sure you get your entries, or enter directly using this link at Rafflecopter.

Enjoy!

 

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed, and The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management as well!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Time Is a Slippery Thing

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Don’t forget about my ongoing blog contest! You could win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Time is strange. It can tick so slowly away, moment by moment, each dragging longer than the last, a phenomenon best known while waiting in line at that one place you really didn’t want to go but couldn’t put the errand off any longer. Then clumps of it mush together, and just when you’re getting used to not bundling up to stick your head outside, suddenly we’re staring at the end of summer.

How can the small parts go so slowly and the large so quickly? It seems as though it must defy physics. Yet it happens, again and again, where you suddenly look up and it’s just not when it used to be.

You can try to be mindful of it, sure, carve it out into blocks, dole it out bit by bit, crumb by crumb. But time’s indifferent to such shenanigans. It moves as it wishes, which, coincidentally, always seems to be the opposite of the way we wish it would.

Perhaps it is one of those things we need to give the room to do what it will, behave as it will, because it’s not as though it listens to us, anyway. It should remain constant, but it bends and shapes itself as it wants. Best that we can do is smile, nod, and play along.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

What if You Don’t Feel Like Writing?

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As per the last couple of posts, share Aunty Ida’s book trailer, post the link here in the comments, or tweet using my handle @IsaLeeWolf, and you’ll be entered for a chance at a $25 Amazon gift card. Nice, huh? Here’s yesterday’s post for more info.

So one of the problems with writing is that it’s one of those things that seems impossible to do if you just don’t feel like it. It requires the full attention of your brain, and if your brain is somewhere else, the blinking cursor can feel impossible to tame.

You can give yourself a break, sure, but at some point, you are giving yourself so many breaks you’re not doing a whole lot of writing. So then what?

Writing is a discipline, and like any discipline, it means keeping at it even when it’s not what you feel like doing. When you’re serious about something, you have to assume that it will involve work; writing is no exception. Great words, but what good do they do practically?

You have to decide, on any given day, if you are going to write. And then, despite the other things going on, despite the interference of life and all the things that come with it, you have to sit down and do it. If your fingers aren’t on the keyboard, the work never gets finished.

And no, I don’t always take my advice.

When I am really having problems with focus, I set a timer. You can do anything for a discrete amount of time; usually when it goes off, I want to keep going. But the thing is, with writing, no one can do it for you. Either you get it done or you don’t.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Haven’t Entered the Contest Yet?

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So on Friday, I revealed Aunty Ida’s brand new book trailer (which is below) and a contest. If you share the video, you could win a $25 Amazon Gift card, and today, I’m making it even easier to enter.

Share the video on Twitter, and make sure to use my handle, @IsaLeeWolf (feel free to follow me, I follow back) or post a link to the video on your blog and share that link below in the comments. That’s it! I’ll take care of the rest. It’s like taking a $25 Amazon Gift Card from a blogger. As before, sharing on Twitter is one entry; posting on your blog is another entry; and posting your link in the comments below counts as a third entry (post your Twitter links, too, if you want). Right now, your odds of winning are excellent, so what are you waiting for? Get sharing.

The contest ends at 12 a.m. on September 6, 2014, and the winner will be chosen in a random drawing. If you prefer, you can still enter via Rafflecopter.

Aunty Ida Contest and Announcement

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As promised, I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway! And, finally, here’s the Aunty Ida announcement: Aunty Ida has escaped the bounds of fiction and has her very own book trailer. It’s premiering (ooh, fancy) with this post! So share the video on Twitter, share it on your blog, and leave a comment below with your links for another entry. You’ve got a chance at a $25 Amazon gift card, so get sharing!

You must share this book trailer to be eligible for the $25 Amazon Gift card. If you Tweet it and blog it, you’ll have two entries. Leave your links below in the comments, and you get another entry. Those are pretty good odds. Sorry, comments without a link sharing the book trailer won’t count toward the contest. Make sure you use the Rafflecopter link above to enter the Tweet and blog post urls showing your sharing and to get your entries. You have until 12 a.m. (U.S. Central time) September 6, 2014 to enter.

Now here’s Aunty Ida’s attempt to get herself over into the real world. We should probably be worried.

 

 

An Open Window

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Well, I’m pretty excited. That Aunty Ida announcement is coming tomorrow, and so is the start of a contest, complete with prize! So yay! Visit tomorrow and see what I have in store. It should be fun, I think. Come back, and bring your friends.

On an entirely different note, I opened my window today, something I haven’t been able to do much during the day with the facade work, but this morning it rained, a serious kind of rain, with thunder and lightning. Eventually it tapered off, but the platforms stayed grounded, so there are no saws, no drilling.

The traffic is amplified by the water under the wheels, the roads are still wet, and it looks like it will rain again, as though it’s only a matter of time. It’s soothing, though, the noise, unlike that I’ve had to get used to, it’s like white noise, the kind you never quite hear.

The air smells clean and fresh, and the day seems unhurried, unconcerned whether more rain comes or it doesn’t. The breeze isn’t as strong as I had hoped before I shoved the sash upward, but it seems like a wind that’s waiting for further instruction, not yet clear if it needs to pick up or not.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Editing is an Opportunity

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Once again, a reminder that a contest relating to Aunty Ida starts later this week, with a prize and  everything.

And now on to other things. Let’s talk about the magic of editing.

When I put it that way, it makes it sound like I love editing, like it is a time when butterflies flit around my head, and small, furry creatures make their way to my windowsill where they serenade me as I cheerfully wave my hands and make my work better. Yeah, right.

Editing can be brutal.

But if you want your work to shine, you’ve got to be ruthless, and you’ve got to be ruthless time and time again, pass after pass. Does a section catch you every time you go past it, even if nothing, technically, is wrong with it? Rework it.

Have sentence you love just for the way it sounds? Is it advancing your story or your characters? No? Might be time to chop it.

Editing is a seemingly endless series of decisions, some small, like word choice, and some huge, like the effectiveness of a scene. I think of my first draft as making the block of granite. After you’ve done that, it’s time to start carving.

Now it sounds all doom and gloom, and I started out so promisingly, calling editing “magic.” That’s because it may have its rough side, but it also allows something life doesn’t always give us: a second chance.

Reading through, you realize there’s a missing element of life, and you need another character. You can invent one, and make sure he’s seen at all the necessary spots to integrate him. Your way out of the corner didn’t quite work, you need to invent something. Fine, go back and make sure it doesn’t come out of nowhere.

With editing you can add, you can take away, you can fix the mistakes you didn’t even know you were making. Editing is an opportunity. Use it wisely.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

Dark Side to Loving International TV

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Just a reminder, there will be an Aunty Ida-centered contest launching this week! Keep coming back for the details and to find out what you can win.

So if you read this blog, you probably know I’m a fan of international TV. And if you don’t, then you know now. But there’s a dark side to watching shows from other parts of the world, even as near as Canada.

All seasons aren’t always available.

You cruise along through episodes. You may even check online–carefully, of course, to avoid spoilers–to see how many episodes there are. And then you hit the end of the line of your source, without the numbers matching up. It’s frustrating, that’s what it is.

You know that out there, somewhere, the episodes wait to be watched. Maybe you can pay for them, through streaming or DVD, but that can get expensive, and that only works if the DVD is the right region for your DVD player. Often, you can’t, and you have to sit with the frustration of knowing it’s just out of reach.

They say patience is a virtue, but whoever “they” are, they started saying that long before we grew accustomed to having anything we wanted the moment we wanted it. BBC got it right with “Doctor Who,” which returns this Saturday (!) with the premiere of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, and all the world gets to enjoy it at once. Well, nearly at once, given the wibbley-wobbleyness of time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the mini-trips and cultural snapshots I get from my international TV shows. I just wish I could get all the seasons of them.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

Dealing with Slow Brain Days

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So as I said last week, this week I’ll be launching a contest, complete with a prize, relating to Aunty Ida. And along with that, there will be a big Aunty Ida reveal! So come back, you just may win something.

I had a bit of a slow period last week, and it was tough to focus on my work. Some of it was uncontrollable and external, with construction noise and then the overwhelming din of the Blue Angels. But some of it was just me. When everything comes out of your head, it’s tough when your head is acting more like a doorstop than a doorway.

So what do you do?

Of course, if I knew the answer to that, I’d be the most productive person on the planet. For me, it depends. If it’s an external issue, you can try to cope with it as best as you can–earplugs, music, change of scenery–and get on with it. But when it’s an uncooperative self, it’s trickier.

I at least try to get the non-negotiables out of the way, and sometimes just that little bit of forward motion is all it takes to get you going. And other times, when you’ve finished them, the rest still seems unlikely.

Now and then, your brain is telling you it needs a chance to regroup, it needs a little time to be blank, and to let things percolate. And other times, you’re just feeling plain lazy, which may just be a more indulgent version of the first one.

When things really aren’t working, take a break. If it’s really, at its heart, procrastination, start doing something that needs to be done that you want to do less. You’ll be back, full of ideas, to the first thing before you know it.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

One More Way to Deal with Distractions

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So remember how I said there would be an announcement about Aunty Ida? Here we go! We’re going to launch a contest related to that slightly-off-balance scientist with a nifty prize. So come back next week for all of the details and to find out when, what, how to enter. Interest sufficiently piqued? I hope so!

Now to the blogging. I’ve written a lot about distractions, mainly because I’ve had a lot of distractions lately. There’s been drilling and hammering and concrete saws and other fun noise creators, but yesterday’s source of noise was just not something I could work around.

The Air & Water Show is back in town.

I don’t know if you have ever heard the sound of a F/A-18 Hornet (yes, I looked up the kind of plane the Blue Angels fly, because I had no idea besides them being blue and yellow and incredibly fast), much less the sound reverberating off of buildings as it flies what looks like 200 yards away, but it’s loud. Like “Oh look, my bones are rattling” loud.

Usually it starts with a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye, and then there’s the thunderous roar of the plane ripping through the air. The sound always comes after the plane is long gone.

I’ve tried working around noise, I’ve used headphones and earplugs. But the sight of these highly skilled pilots barreling past in finely-tuned feats of technology is not something I can ignore. No matter how I feel about their real purpose.

So I went outside to watch the practice. Sometimes the old adages say it best, even when it comes to distractions: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!