Monday, March 2, 2015

Hi, my name is Karen, and I'm a Social Media Addict


As you know, my latest novel, A Groovy Kind of Love, has been on two book tours for the past month and a half. These promotional opportunities were supposed to provide me with the freedom to write while others did the work.

Instead, however, I was sucked into a vortex of checking each spotlight, review, interview, guest post, and mention like some crazed Pavlovian dog awaiting the electric shock of positive reinforcement.

Multiple times a day.

Blogs. Facebook. Twitter. Google Alerts. Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords reviews.

If I didn’t check for a few hours, I’d get jumpy, like I was missing out on something. It was all so readily available on my phone, iPad, the computer, I lost control.

Once you get caught up in the promotional cycle, it’s difficult to get out. There’s always more that can be done, you see, whether you are traditionally published or self-published. More reviews to court. More guest posts to write. More interviews to give. So many blogs, a seemingly infinite amounts of possibilities.

More. And more. And more.

I tweeted so much, I even got sick of myself. I’ve checked Twitter more in the last two weeks than in the entire four years I’ve had an account. Don’t even get me started about all of the other platforms.

Sigh.


I became one of those crazed self-promoters the experts warn about. You know, the ones who render themselves useless by constantly pitching their books? In my case, it was constant retweets from the blog tour and giveaway.

This is not me.

I’m an introvert. Sure, I can be the charming life of the party, but most of the time, I’m happy sitting in the corner observing. Small talk and Twitter’s 140 characters don’t come naturally.

On Facebook, I had been making a conscious effort to post once a day during the book tours, sometimes twice if it’s really newsworthy, aware of not glutting anyone’s newsfeed.

But Twitter? It’s so easy to retweet every item that has your name in it. Besides, the tour stops send out posts that mention my book. It would be rude not to retweet, right?

I can’t switch back and forth from writing to promoting. Such different states of mind, they don’t gel well for me. All of this promotion whipped me into a frenzy like some whirling dervish tangled in virtual internet cables. I even started sniffing fresh lavender from little sachets to relax.

My poor WIP sits among a pile of manila folders packed with research and scene fragments. A query letter for a completed novel jets out from another stack on the other side of my desk near my headless Shakespeare statute from Stratford-upon-Avon. I dropped it once while dusting and the impact lopped his head clean off. Now, every time I slam a drawer shut, the Bard’s noggin tumbles across my desk. It’s sad really.

I return this morning, a bit muddied by the experience, but happy to have overcome the pushy, brazen addict and settle into me again.

The one in the corner.

Keen on observing.

And writing again.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Mishmash


Happy Monday! I'm borrowing an idea from my blogger friend and YA/middle-grade author Kelly Hashway this morning. Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. My thanks to Kelly for this great idea and for the graphic. Feel free to grab it and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind this morning.

1. Trivia Tuesday doesn’t seem to be catching on. That’s okay. Not everything works. Besides, usually I blog on Monday and occasionally Wednesday or Friday, so Tuesday feels strange, off kilter. Consequently, I’m moving Trivia Tuesday to Twitter and my Facebook page and will resume my old blogging schedule. Click here to join me on Twitter or here for Facebook.

2. What are you reading? I’m halfway into Joyce Carol Oates’ Carthage, which has already taken a twist I didn’t expect. She never ceases to amaze me.

3. Can you believe this is the last week of February already? These first months of 2015  have flown by. I seem to have a difficult time writing amid the inevitable organization that comes with the turn of the calendar. The planning and coordination of our family schedules. Assembling everything for taxes. All of the busy work. Once my younger son’s practice schedule for high school lacrosse is sorted out, things will resume their natural flow. As of now, very little writing has been done, and I’m getting jittery.

4. This week, my second blog tour for A Groovy Kind of Love wraps up. I plan on finishing the query letter for my chick lit novel for those who hate pink. Fingers crossed as I start pitching it.

How about you? What are you up to this week?


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Music and the Writer


Last week, I contributed to British author and journalist Roz Morris’ fascinating series “Undercover Soundtrack,” which explores the symbiotic relationship between music and literature. My piece discusses how music inspired many parts of the Bibliophiles series, including all three of the titles.

Here's a bit of it.

"The chance to delve into the '60s and the Pearsons’ background was too much fun to resist. Only a small child when the Hippies embarked on their psychedelic journey, I was drawn to their sense of freedom, something I had never felt growing up as an only child.

Every day while writing Spring’s childhood, the velvety smooth vocals of Jim Morrison in The Doors’ classic "Light My Fire" showed me a window to their world and explored quintessential sixties sounds. I mean, does anyone use an organ like that anymore? "Aquarius" belted out by the 5th Dimension and originally from the musical "Hair" signified pure freedom. Anything was possible if you opened your mind and let the sunshine in. That bass line underscores the funkiness of the dance. You can’t help but move.

That’s how I felt about the Pearsons. Sure, they might be potheads who left their eleven-year-old daughter in charge of their juice bar, but you can’t help but like them.

In contrast, Thaddeus’s family is traditional, and he, himself, is more formal. The Brandenburg Concertos played on repeat while writing his chapters. They helped me focus on structure and complexity. While driving, Thaddeus puts on the local classical music radio station hoping for Handel or a medieval madrigal."

Click here to read the entire Undercover Soundtrack.

Undercover Soundtrack offers a unique insight into the creative process. To read Roz's own piece for her critically acclaimed novel My Memories of a Future Life, click here.  


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Trivia Tuesday: Polish Style



Today, millions of people around the world are celebrating indulgence. For some, it's Mardi Gras in New Orleans, while for others it's Carnival in Rio. 

For me, it's all about this. 



Being of Polish descent, my family and millions of Poles around the world have these delectable treats as a last fling on Fat Tuesday before Lent begins. 

But I certainly don't let the fact that I am no longer Catholic get in the way of a good sweet treat. I mean, who am I to pass on dessert?

So, here's your trivia question. The answer is below in smaller print.

What are these yummy Polish donuts called?

Na zdrowie! (Polish for "Cheers!")








Answer:

Paczki, pronounced "poonch-key" 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Groovy Kind of Valentine's Day Sale

Wanted to let you know about a special, limited-time Valentine’s Day sale. 

This weekend, February 13-15, all A Groovy Kind of Love ebooks will be priced at $2.99. 

That’s $3 off the regular price for all Groovy ebooks at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, and Kobo.

The reviews have been pouring in, and I’m happy to report a 4.5-star average on Amazon and a 4.22-star average on Goodreads.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's Trivia Tuesday on Bibliophilic Blather


I've always loved trivia games. As a kid, I was a game show junkie. The awesome Trivial Pursuit was the official game of the Wojcik household since its origins in the early eighties. Before that, my father used to quiz me on pretty much anything he could think of, stuff like music, state capitals, singers, or U.S. presidents. He'd always preface the question with "For one million dollars…" So, it's only natural that when I brainstormed for new features on Bibliophilic Blather, trivia popped right into my head. I know it's already a meme on Twitter, but it's new to me. I hope you'll join me every Tuesday for questions on a variety of topics, including books (of course), music, movies, sports, history, or anything that strikes my fancy that week.


First up? Love. Since Valentine's Day is Saturday, from which classic lit novels do these declarations of love flow?

1. “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you.” 

2. “I ask you to pass through life at my side—to be my second self, and best earthly companion.” 

3. “Well, my dear, take heart. Some day, I will kiss you and you will like it. But not now, so I beg you not to be too impatient.” 


BONUS QUESTION:

“I don't think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.” 

Scroll down for the answers. How did you do?














Answers


1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
3. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

BONUS:  Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak

Monday, February 9, 2015

Talking Writing, Books, and Barry Manilow




Good Monday morning, dear readers.

Today, I'm happy to be featured on Platypire Reviews.  I must admit, before doing the piece, I was woefully uneducated about the existence of the platypire. But now, I gotta say, I'm starting to grow fond of the little thing. Here's a bit of the interview.





When did you start writing?
My first book was a limited-edition, hand-bound volume entitled “The Car.” I was 8. Needless to say, it only sold one copy. To my parents. I strayed from the writing path for many years, and instead focused on my future singing career. I was convinced I could break into the industry as a back-up singer for Barry Manilow. Hey, it was the late seventies, and I was still in grammar school. I cannot be held responsible for pre-adolescent tastes.

It was high school before my love for writing truly reared its head again, but instead of fiction, it came in the form of the high school newspaper. In college, I majored in English with a writing concentration and communications and began freelancing until I got a position with a magazine. I stayed in magazines for several years until I took some time off to raise my children.

While I was supposed to be taking that time off, I had an idea for a book that was too good not to write, so I did. Oops. So much for taking time off.

Do you ever feel frustrated with your work?
Every week.

What makes you keep writing when you get frustrated?
Pure stubbornness. I’ve threatened to quit writing fiction every month for years now, but I realize it’s too much a part of me to let go. Then I have a good cry and get on with it.

Click here to read the entire interview.