Saturday, August 01, 2009

Some Blog Changes...

"When you are through changing, you are through." ~Bruce Barton

Since reaching 1000 blog posts the other day, I've done some thinking and reevaluating, and the result is going to be some changes here at Allie's Musings. I won't get into the question of why-and-who visits blogs, why-and-why-not people comment, why-and-who keeps blogs in the first place. While I think blogs can be useful for authors, you also have to start looking at your content and who you're trying to reach. Is your blog personable and casual? Is it a forum for marketing yourself? Is it a place to share highlights about other authors and books or a way to reach potential readers/editors/agents? All of the above or none?

I have a steady stream of regular visitors, from what I can tell thanks to Google Analytics. However, I don't visit and comment on enough other blogs - nor do I have enough riveting content of my own - to keep growing my readership exponentially, which I think should probably be the goal of a writer's blog. And with my full-time teaching job and my own writing, it sometimes becomes a challenge? burden? to write an engaging blog post each day.

So...that was the long way of saying that I'm going to scale back my blog posts to 3x a week. For a few months, anyway, I'm going to post for Monday Mentionables (anything notable going on with my own writing); Writer's Wednesday (author interviews), and Friday Fun Facts (interesting tidbits for writers). And each month, I'll give something away to one lucky commenter: a book, or a download, or a gift certificate, or a goodie basket...or something to attract those lurkers who visit and read but rarely comment. :)

The official change will begin this Monday, August 3...hope you'll come back and join me!

Friday, July 31, 2009


"It is not down in any map; true places never are." ~Herman Melville

Oh my's my 1000th blog post!! How did that happen? Have I actually been blathering on for close to 3 years here at Allie's Musings? Hmmm..

I'm afraid I don't have anything profound to say today in celebration, except that I'll be running an August contest here on my blog that will begin tomorrow, so make sure and check back.

Spent the last two days with my sister at Mohonk Mountain House, a lovely old resort near New Paltz, NY, which reminds one at every turn of the movie Dirty Dancing (sigh...). It was wonderful, especially the food and the grounds and the hiking. Pictures up here soon, I promise!

Writers, you might want to check out Dayana Knight's blog this week -- she's talking all about getting more exposure and revising your "brand." Also, there's a new bookstore looking for promo items from romance writers, as shared by one of the authors on my Samhain loop. If you're interested in the contact info, email me at

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Annual Sister Trip

"Sisterhood is powerful." ~Robin Morgan

Regular (and long-time) blog followers may recall that each year, my sister and I take some kind of trip together. This year it's a rather abbreviated one, since we both have had incredibly busy years, but we're still doing a getaway tonight - tomorrow to a local resort, hiking and eating scrumptious foods and hitting a spa. So...I'm off to get ready -- probably won't be back here 'til later tomorrow, so have a great couple of days!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This 'n That

"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does." ~Steuart Henderson Britt

Sunday evening I participated in a chat at the Samhain Cafe - my first one, believe it or not, and it actually went quite well. I should probably do them on a more regular basis. Anyone else participate in online promo events like that regularly - and do you find that they increase your sales/followers?

Working on my second round of edits for Summer's Song. I will be so glad when they're over with! I forget how tedious it can be to go through a manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, over and over. Sigh. What did my editor and I find this time? Lots of instances of people turning on/turning off/adjusting the radio in their cars. What the heck? That's a new one for me. Suffice to say most of those scenes are gone now!

50 pages done, 130 to go...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Query Letters - Yet Again

"Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you've made sense of one small area." ~Nadine Gordimer

Well, check one off the list: I've finished the synopsis for Entwined. It's a bit of a mess, but it's finished, and working through it, I actually identified some problems right off the bat. So that's positive.

Then I was trolling online yesterday, looking for guides to writing query letters. Yes, I've written a bunch, but they don't seem to get much easier, and any help is usually good help. I came across this guide on AgentQuery (which, by the way, is a terrific source if you're searching for a literary agent) - you might find it helpful: How to Write a Query.

And I made my first attempt at a query for Entwined. I'm a few months away from sending it out, but I still thought it might be good practice to come up with something. So...what do you think??

When scholar Chase Hatfield travels from upscale California to conservative small-town Iowa to research the recently deceased poetess Maggie Silverstone, he falls for her daughter Natasha, translates a never-before-seen journal, and uncovers a secret that threatens to expose the greatest love story ever told.

Set in two different time periods thirty years apart, Entwined is a 90,000-word literary romance novel that follows two separate love stories while exploring the ideas of soul mates and reincarnation. Maggie Blue and Bruce Silverstone meet as undergrads at Blakely College and fall madly in love, despite past secrets that threaten to keep them apart. Thirty years later, when they perish in a car accident, their only daughter Natasha is left to pick up the pieces of their brilliant academic careers and soldier on.

When Chase Hatfield, an aspiring PhD student, enters her life, it is only a matter of time before these two fall in love as well. But puzzling things are occurring at Blakely, from the discovery of a skeleton in the basement of Silverstone Hall to a spirit that hovers over Natasha day and night. When Chase discovers a journal with a secret that could destroy not only Natasha’s life but her parents’ legacy, he is forced to make a heart-breaking decision and turn his back on the greatest love he has ever known.

Told in both past and present narrative, journal entries, and poem fragments, Entwined is a unique piece of women’s fiction that examines what makes people fall in love, despite the greatest of obstacles or social conventions.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two Recommendations

"The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking." ~A.A. Milne

Movie: Watched "Gran Torino" last night and liked it much better than I thought I would. I'm not a big Clint Eastwood fan (sorry...), but I liked him in this a lot. It's the story of a widower living in a rough LA neighborhood who befriends the Asian family next door. Eastwood plays the rough, close-minded guy with a thousand preconceptions and biases that slowly disappear as he gets to know his neighbors. A Korean War veteran, he becomes a role model to one teenage boy and helps protect him from a gang that's trying to initiate him. It's violent in a couple of spots, but the overall theme is a good one and the acting was great. I definitely recommend it.

Book: I'm in the middle of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli - anyone read it? It's a YA novel that some of my former students recommended. Takes place in an Arizona HS and revolves around a new student - Stargirl - who is utterly different in looks and actions than anyone else the students have ever seen. I'm only about halfway through, but so far it's a nice look at the conformity of adolescence and how individuality is tough to find and keep but priceless in the power it brings one's self and others.

So...there you have it. If you've seen any good movies or read any good books lately, let me know! I'm always on the lookout...