Saturday, October 06, 2007

Two Down, One to Go

Woo hoo! Another Indians victory over the Yankees!

Last night's game was about as different as it could be from Thursday's, a pitchers' duel rather than a home run parade, but the Indians came back from losing 1-0 to tie it up and force it into extra innings, and then they pulled it out in the bottom of the 11th. I'm so excited!

Of course, I'm sure people are going to be talking about the fact that these gnat-like bugs (guess they were called "midges"?? they breed around lakes, apparently) came out after dark and started distracting all the players big-time. Guess they've shown up before, in Cleveland, and once earlier in the season, the umpires suspended play because they got so bad. Yankee shortshop Derek Jeter said, "Just when you think you've seen it all -- that's home-field advantage..."

I did feel a little sorry for the Yankee pitcher. He was covered with them, and of course the TV camera had to zoom in on his neck and face to show us, about every 90 seconds. The bugs definitely threw him off. In the 8th inning, he threw 2 wild pitches (Indians scored on one of them), hit a batter, and walked 2 more. But you know what? The batters had to deal with the midges, too.

Now the Indians have to come to NY and win one more game, which won't be easy. I'm not chilling the champagne yet. But my fingers are crossed!

Friday, October 05, 2007

It's Playoff Time!!

And I'm doing a happy dance because the Cleveland Indians beat the Yankees last night, a whopping 12-3. One game down, two to go!!!


Here's my Friday Feast. I'm so glad it's the end of the week!

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you look forward to your birthday?
Oh, I don't know...maybe a 5-6? It's in December, around Christmas, which is such a busy time of year that there are a hundred other things taking up my attention at that time.

What is one word you don’t like the sound, spelling, or meaning of?
I'm a writer...I love all words!

Do you wear sunglasses when you’re outside? If so, what does your current pair look like?

Well, if it's sunny, then yes, at least most of the time. I have a big, oversized pair right now that I love. I also have a great pair of Nike sports sunglasses for when I run.

Main Course
If you were to write a book, to whom would you dedicate it?
Ooh, I love this question most of all! I just published my first novel, and this is the dedication:

"For my parents, who taught me to love language, and for my Mrs. Stokoe, my fifth grade teacher, who was the first person to tell me I'd be a writer someday."

Name a beverage that you enjoy.
Starbucks Grande Nonfat Latte. Oh yeah!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Of Googlegangers, Cute Promo, and a Couple More Contests

So a few days ago, Marianne mentioned Googlegangers, which got me to thinking...

I chose my pen name, about a year ago, because there was no other "Allie Boniface" out there. And as of right now, there still isn't. I'm the only one! But my given name? Let's see...I have many Googlegangers, including a minister, Scottish author, professional photographer, "life coach," psychology professor, and advice columnist.

Might be interesting to get us all into a room together, hmm?


A couple of neat writing contests that I thought I'd mention here:

The Reader Views Annual Literary Award - This one is open to authors published by small presses OR self-published. Looks as though there are a wide range of awards being given, by some really prestigious sponsors, so make sure to check this one out.

Hook, Line, and Sinker - This one is run by my local RWA chapter, and it's a nice contest because you only enter the first 3 pages of your manuscript AND it only costs $10. Plus Brenda Chin of Harlequin is the final editor, and word is she often requests full manuscripts from the finalists she reads. First prize is $50.00!!


And in other interesting news, one of my publishers posted this on a loop, earlier this week:

"I attended the Central Ohio Fiction Writers Conference this past
weekend. Thank you to these wonderful authors for having me and
allowing me to listen to so many pitches from some really fabulous
writers. These ladies were gracious and kind and oh so much fun.
Lori Foster is a member of their chapter and very active. She gave
the keynote speech and was just a pleasure to speak with time and
time again.

I came back from the conference with a couple things to share with
all of you and one is about promotional items. Those little things
we spend our money and time on to promote our books. Things like
bookmarks, charms, pens, or sticky notes, etc.

Lori Foster remarked in her keynote and also in a side conversation
with me that she doesn't understand why authors spend so much time
and money on cutesy promotional items. She said that 99% of the
stuff is going to be tossed away as soon as we get home from the
conference and if we do end up keeping anything out of the goody
bags, it would be something we'd use, but even then, would never
matter to us what author had her name on it.

She was right. Back in my room, I tossed out everything that I'd
collected except for two things; one was a tiny stuffed animal that I
gave to my son when I got home and the other was a keyring with a
horse on it. I kept the keyring merely because I have a thing for
horses. I will never visit the author's web site or buy her book
simply because of this keyring.

Think about that next time you are doing a booksigning or going to a
conference. I think that as a publishing house, the items we put out
in the goody rooms, etc. have a good chance of driving folks to the
web site because we are promoting something entirely different than
one author's book.

Lori remarked that what is important is possibly having an item at
your table when you are doing a booksigning to draw peoplet to your
table. For example, one author had a funny stuffed dog that everyone
wanted to touch. It drew people to her table where she could talk
about her book and why she had the dog there, etc. I would think
something gimmicky like that, that you cuold use time and time again,
makes more sense than a stack of bookmarks that will simply wind up
in the trash.

The other thing to come out of the conference was the editor at
Berkley as well as the owner of Samhain and the agent from Three Seas
all said your web site is your most critical promotional item. All
the editors there said that when someone submits to them, if they are
interested, they immediately check out the author's web site. If its
outdated by more than a year or its obviously not kept up, it makes
an impression. The web site doesn't have to be expensive but it
shouldn't be one of those freebies that has pop-up ads and other
annoying features.

So that's my big tip. Skip the money you spend on little
cutesy things and spend the money and time on your web site. It'll
get you farther in the long run."

Hmm. I've got to say, I agree to a certain extent. I mean, how many times have you bought a book because of a pen or a bookmark you picked up on a goodie table? I don't think I ever have. What does make me buy a book? Word of mouth or reviews. Now, I'm sure those bookmarks and pens do help with name recognition (what is it, like 7 times that someone has to see your name before they remember it??), but how much time and $$ do you want to spend on those things, when you could be writing instead?

I'm going to think long and hard before I spend a lot more money on promotional things. I'm curious - what do you think??

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Laura Obiso

Welcome to another Writers' Wednesday! Today we have an interview with Laura Obiso, a nature writer who has authored "...articles, books, blogs, web content, and information materials on the environment, natural history, birds, animals and pets, local history, wildlife, alternative health, metaphysics, health and medicine, gardening, and several other topics..." Whew!

Laura has some great things to say about her experiences writing, so enjoy her words of wisdom, and please leave her a comment when you're through!


Hi, Laura!
Can you tell us a little about your background?

I’ve been writing a long time, though I haven’t been seriously freelancing until the last six months or so. It’s actually a very new aspect of writing for me. I’ve done two books (a long time ago) and I’m now working on one that will be published early in 2008, so I’ve been more of a book writer. I’ve fallen into a comfortable niche writing chapters for a medicolegal client, but that’s changing too, so freelancing is the logical next step. Isn’t it?

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

I’m writing Images of America: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area for Arcadia Publishing. It’s a fun book to do, and I love local history and live in this area. I’m writing more articles too, and focusing a lot on online writing. I think the worst thing about freelancing is the wait time!

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Have a plan, stick to it, and never give up. When I started freelancing, I was all over the place for the first week or so, then I realized I was so scattered in what I was doing that I was accomplishing very little. Now I have a plan of what I want to accomplish, and set a few tasks that need to be done to get there. As I do them, I revise my list and keep going. Keeps me more focused on the goals.

What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

There are two most difficult things for me. One is choosing the topic, because everything has been done at least 100 times. So, based on that premise, I find it rewarding when I can come up with a new slant or idea or spinoff and actually turn it into something decent. Worse than that, though, is the marketing part. I really dislike promoting myself, but without that, you don’t get very far in this business.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

It is very much part of my life. I’ve given up a few times, like all writers do, but then I find myself buying that new journal, or jotting notes for ideas. As I’ve become more focused, I find I’m looking at things differently, and thinking how I can write about that thing I’ve seen or experienced or read about.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?

That I could actually do this. Funny thing now is when I look back on that first book, published in 1987 and now out of print, I’m amazed it got published at all. It’s not bad, it got good reviews and was in print until 2000, but it seems amateurish to me and I would do it so very differently now. It shows how we grow and improve if we stay with it. I have much more confidence in the book I’m working on now.

When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?

Let me tell you – I’m old enough to have been writing before computers! I just don’t know how it’s done anymore without a keyboard. I journal by hand, but write articles and books by hand? Egads!

Thanks, Laura! For more information about this author, visit her website or her blog.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Contests Galore!

Well, it snuck right up on me: Buy a Friend a Book Week! And to celebrate, both Marianne and Judy are holding contests at their blog sites.

Also, don't forget that the Raven Halloween Hunt is taking place all this month...over 60 authors are participating, and there are some terrific prizes up for grabs.

Finally, I came home from a long Monday yesterday to find that I had won my choice of a book from Diane Craver's library, just for posting on her blog last month! I chose Seducing Simon, by Maya Banks. Maya writes for Samhain, so I thought I'd support a fellow author and give it a try. Plus the cover didn't hinder my decision any:

Anyone read it? I'm hoping I'm in for a treat :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Why I Teach

Happy October 1!

So first off, I'm happy because I worked through about 4 chapters of my WIP yesterday and actually had time to devote to making changes and writing new stuff. Titled Summer's Song, it's about 95K words now, and though I plan on making some major changes, I still love the fact that I have a lot to work with and that I like a lot of what's there. It's easier (for me anyway) to revise something that already exists than come up with something brand new. Maybe I'm just weird that way.


Last Friday, I was setting up an activity for my students when I overheard a piece of their conversation: "Man, I love this class. It's like - remember when you were in kindergarten, and you loved going to school every day because it was fun? That's what this class is like."

Me, smiling (well, except for the really high blonde hair and the weird purple shirt...I don't think I own anything quite that color):

Of course, this particular class is a dream to teach: super-achieving seniors who are interested and motivated and exploring the field of education. I also teach English to high school seniors, and on most days, they' little less enthusiastic about seeing me. But they're all still teenagers, so if I can hear a few of them say that school and learning is actually fun, then that's all I need.

And by the way! It's Borders' annual Educators' Savings Week, through tomorrow, October 2. Anyone who's a current or retired educator (and this includes those of you who home school or teach Sunday School) gets 25% off everything in the store. I'm going after school today to stock up!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Writing Vs. Promoting and Why There are only 24 Hours in a Day...

Hmm...well, it's one of those Sundays where I'm up earlier than I wanted to be. I have a lot of writing I'm hoping to get done today, but that will be in between grocery shopping and helping hubby with the siding and doing some promotional work as well. I've discovered in the last few weeks, though, I that I'm spending WAY too much time on promotion and not enough writing.

It's tough when you have only one book out: you want to promote so people will buy it, and so your publisher will see your worth to the company, but then again, if you run out of time to write your next book, then you don't have that much to offer your publisher anyway. Frustrating.

A quick reminder:

It starts tomorrow, and should be a lot of fun, so join in! And now I'm WRITE, dammit. :)