You’re thrilled that your publisher has returned the rights to your books. Assuming you plan to publish them independently, you’ll want to do a quick turnaround once these titles disappear from online bookstores.
I’ve already discussed the process for revising a backlist title that needs a serious facelift. You can read my earlier Reviving Your Backlist Titles blog series for that advice. But what if these books are fairly recent and you don’t feel the need for another line edit? Here are my suggestions on how to proceed:
Booklover’s Bench, Nov. 1 – 18
Enter to win a free mystery novel from Booklover’s Bench https://bookloversbench.com/win-a-free-book-november-2019/
$400 Amazon Black Friday Shopping Spree, Nov. 4 – 23
Enter to win a $400 Amazon eGift Card just in time for BLACK FRIDAY from The No. 1 Site for Reader Giveaways~~The Kindle Book Review. Contest ends Nov. 23, 2019. If you scroll down, you might see my latest book. https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/400-black-friday-shopping-spree/
I was fortunate to be able to attend the Royal Palm Literary Awards sponsored by Florida Writers Association on October 19. I’d not planned to attend since we were waiting on the birth of our first grandchild. But then he arrived early, and we found ourselves in Orlando just in time for the FWA conference. I bought tickets to attend. I was happy to see my friends from MWA Florida Chapter – Janet Little, Sharon Menear, Richard Conrath, Alan Pessin, Ann Meier and Victoria Landis.
First we ate dinner that had a chocolate typewriter for dessert. This treat had a blank piece of paper inserted in the form of white chocolate. We cheered each other on as the awards were announced.
I was thrilled to win the gold award for Writing the Cozy Mystery in the nonfiction – educational category. Many of my friends took home trophies as well. I wished I could have attended the entire conference, but the rest of the weekend was reserved for our kids. Such are the joys of parenthood, and now grandparenthood as well.
Are you thinking about entering a writing contest? See my article on Writing Contests for Published Authors for tips on choosing which competitions to enter.
We returned to Scottsdale via a scenic route, staying overnight at Flagstaff again. Along the way, we admired the fall foliage in the higher altitudes.
We stopped for lunch at Lake Powell. It was just as startling as the first time to see this stretch of water in the middle of the desert.
Then I got a text message from our daughter that made my pulse race. “You have get an earlier flight,” she wrote. “The doctor said I’ll need to have a C-Section within 24 hours.” We knew she’d been scheduled for a C-Section as her baby was breech. But it had been scheduled for Oct. 22. This was Oct. 10.
Once back at my cousin’s house, I changed our flight from Sunday to Friday. Early the next morning, I got a message on my phone. Our daughter was at the hospital waiting for surgery. Hours later, our beautiful grandson was born. And so began our new journey as grandparents.
Nothing can prepare visitors for the majesty of Bryce Canyon in Utah. The power of speech escapes you at the sight stretching to the horizon. Words can’t describe the sense of awe. Although the visitor center offers an explanation for how the canyon was formed, it’s as though the hand of God carved the rocks into these magnificent formations.
Some of them looked like people, making us wonder if a civilization had sinned and God had turned the citizens into stone. Certainly nature alone couldn’t have worked these wonders.
We drove from one viewpoint to the next, each with magnificent vistas.
Our final spot to visit was this Natural Bridge. I loved the trees with golden yellow leaves that sparkled in the sunlight.
An unusual sight was the number of vintage vehicles we met along the way.
We ate lunch at Bryce Canyon Lodge, stopped at the Visitor’s Center, and then returned to Ruby’s Inn to spend the night.Visit Bryce Canyon for a sight you'll never forget #Utah #travel Click To Tweet
Coming Next: Return to Scottsdale
We drove to Bryce Canyon City on Monday. It took us most of the day to get there. Our views along the way were one spectacle after another.
Lots of hotels, gas stations, and eateries populate this town that borders on Bryce Canyon. We stayed at historic Ruby’s Inn and ate dinner our first night in the lodge restaurant. The gift shop at Ruby’s Inn has about every souvenir you could want plus a fully stocked food market for campers.
The next evening, we attended Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill for a country music dinner show. It was a fun evening with better food than the night before.Visiting Bryce Canyon City #Arizona #travel Click To Tweet
Coming Next: Bryce Canyon
On Sunday morning, we began our road trip from Fountain Hills to Flagstaff, Arizona. My cousin drove, while her friend Carol accompanied us. We were excited to see parts of Arizona we’d never visited before. The scenic drive took us through curvy mountain roads and evergreen-lined forests as we reached higher elevations.
Flagstaff sits almost 7000 feet above sea level. It’s a historic town, and we toured the downtown district. Here you’ll find a bounty of restaurants and cafes mixed among gift shops and boutiques. You might have to walk slower if you’re not used to the altitude and get short of breath. The area has many things to do if you’re able to stay. We were passing through, so we couldn’t take advantage. This was merely our overnight stop on the way to Bryce Canyon.
We crossed into Utah the next day at the Glen Canyon Bridge. Unaccustomed to seeing any waterways in the dry desert, we marveled at Lake Powell glistening below our vantage point. Inside the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, we read the history of the region and stared through big glass windows at the dam below. Like the Hoover Dam in Nevada, the Glen Canyon Dam was a sight we wouldn’t forget.Visiting Flagstaff and Glen Canyon Dam #Arizona #travel Click To Tweet
Coming Next: Bryce Canyon City
Our trip to Arizona began in Scottsdale and ended abruptly with an early flight home. When we first arrived, we were met by my cousin Janice who whisked us to her lovely house atop a hill overlooking a mountain. My husband and I had a casita to ourselves where we enjoyed the expansive views.
I couldn’t help marveling at the lack of grass, the tall saguaro cactus, the wildflowers, and the distinctive shrubbery. Here’s a sign that caught my fancy and brought home visions of the Wild West.
We’d been to Arizona before and were stunned by the scenery and magnificent landscapes. I wrote about it in Peril by Ponytail, my mystery novel that won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Marla Vail, my hairstylist sleuth, meets her husband’s extended family for the first time and discovers family secrets no one wants exposed. It was a blast to write with so much material about this amazing state.
On this trip, I planned to take no notes and to completely relax. It almost worked, except for the frantic finale which I’ll get to later. We spent the next few days at leisure, shopping and dining while adjusting to the three-hour time change. One day at lunch found us at CopperWynd Resort in Scottsdale. The view from the terrace was amazing.
Fate led us to dinner at an Italian restaurant where we ran into my cousin’s friends. The talented musician playing there that night was son to one of these ladies. We enjoyed the food, the ambiance, and the music by Scott Hallock.Arizona 2019 - The Journey Begins #Arizona #travel Click To Tweet
Coming Next: Road Trip to Flagstaff
New writers are always seeking feedback for their novels. Who can they get to read their book and give an honest criticism? They could hire a freelance editor who works with authors or enter a contest that offers judges’ comments. Or they can join a critique circle. It takes hard work and dedication to have a successful critique group for writers.
I met my critique partners through Florida Romance Writers. We’ve been meeting for years. We are friends as well as critique partners, and often we’ll celebrate life’s milestone events together.
The six of us meet every other week and rotate houses. While eating a sumptuous brunch, we discuss publishing news, share personal issues, and encourage each other to keep pushing forward. I could not have achieved my current status without my writing friends. In addition, I have to thank them for being taste testers for many of the recipes in A Bad Hair Day Cookbook due out in November.
After exchanging news, we get down to work. We read each other’s manuscripts silently for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time, passing the pages around the table, until we’ve read everybody. Then we share our comments aloud, focusing on one person at a time. We discuss character development, emotional reactions, dialogue, plotting problems, consistency, and pacing. We may catch typos, point out clichés, and suggest ways to restructure for more impact.
How can you get started with a critique group? Here are ten tips on what to do:
1. Join a professional writers group and put a notice in their newsletter that you’re looking for critique partners in your geographical area.
2. Limit your group to six members or less.
3. Seek people with compatible personalities and similar, or more advanced, writing levels.
4. Determine what you will be looking for in your critiques. You’ll be examining content, not line editing. Consider holding a separate meeting on occasion for brainstorming plot ideas.
5. Decide on a procedure for your group that is agreeable to everyone. Some groups read aloud. Others, like mine, pass pages around the table and read silently. Still others may email chapters ahead of time. It’s up to you how you want to run your show.
6. Offer constructive criticism. If you see the need for change, make suggestions for improvements in a positive manner. Give praise where it’s due. We all like to hear what works as well as what doesn’t work in our stories.
7. Be sociable. Relax, chat about the industry, and enjoy refreshments. This personal time will draw you closer together and enable you to accept advice more readily.
8. Support each other on social media by retweeting and posting whenever a member has an announcement about their success. Learn from each other’s experiences. Recommend your published critique partners whenever a publicity opportunity arises.
9. Be committed. Try to schedule doctor appointments and other engagements on days other than critique group. Arrive on time and take your turn at hosting on a regular rotation basis. Critique will soon become the highlight of your week.
10. Even if you haven’t written anything new, show up at the meeting. Your other partners need your feedback on their work. Making critique a priority means you are serious about being a professional writer.
If you’re lucky enough to join a great critique group, it’s like discovering gold. Treasure your partnerships and make a commitment to attend each meeting. You’ll find the incentive to produce increases as your biweekly meeting approaches. Many thanks to my partners in writing—Alyssa Maxwell, Zelda Benjamin, Karen Kendall, Ellen Marsden, and Tara L. Ames. And to our former members who’ve moved away, Cynthia Thomason and Sharon Hartley.
Enter our monthly giveaway at Booklover’s Bench and you could win one of these books! CLICK HERE TO ENTER
We took a trip to Batuu at Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and entered a strange world with lettering in an otherworldly language. The marketplace was awesome, making you feel as though you were on another planet, and the costumed staff played along.
We ate lunch at Docking Bay 7 and thought the food was good. I didn’t try the blue or green milk at the market stand.
Various characters from the movies appear around the site. Keep your eyes open if you visit so you can spot them.
The Droid Depot was a busy store with people putting together their own astromech units.
We didn’t fly the Millennium Falcon this time; will have to return for that attraction when it’s not so hot outside.
A few other sights along the way:Visiting Galaxy's Edge at Disney World #StarWars #Disney World Click To Tweet
If you had the opportunity to take a trip like this for real to the outskirts of the galaxy, would you go?
Our dining adventures in Orlando continue with a visit to Epcot Food and Wine Festival and Magical Dining Month. Now is not the time to reduce your calorie intake.
Since I can never pass up the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, we had to go for a tasting. I didn’t plan to go far in the 90+ degree heat. We killed time until 11am when World Showcase opened by going on the Living with the Land and the Imagination rides. I still love to see the vegetables and fruits growing in their experimental environment and the fish in the aquaponics tanks.
Our first food stop was Flavors from Fire for the Steakhouse Blended Burger, a blend of beef and mushrooms in a slider on a brioche bun with melted Brie cheese, arugula, and a blue cheese potato chip. It was a gooey dish but satisfying and tasty. We passed by a few other marketplaces to stop at Thailand for their Marinated Chicken with peanut sauce and stir-fried vegetables. This was good enough to make at home.
We got no farther on either side of Showcase Plaza, by now being overheated and worn out, so we left at noon. A word of warning – the main entry is under construction, so you have to walk a long stretch to get to the security bag check. Nor does the tram from the parking lot let you off in front anymore. You still have to walk around the construction site. It makes for an extra-long hike before you get anywhere.
We celebrated my husband’s birthday at Vines Grille and Wine Bar on Restaurant Row at W. Sand Lake Road in Orlando. On the Magical Dining menu, I chose the Vines Salad with mixed greens, pistachio, heirloom tomato, goat cheese, and citrus vinaigrette. Next came Faroe Island Salmon with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, confit tomatoes, and lemon-dill sauce. For dessert, I selected crème brulee. It was a memorable dinner with excellent food and service. I’d definitely make a return visit here.
The cozy atmosphere at this country club restaurant with its enticing golf course view in Winter Park invites you to linger with friends and family. However, I’m thinking it might be better for lunch. Prices are reasonable for either lunch or dinner, but our experience at the latter was less than stellar. We asked for the Magical Dining menu. I ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower topped with blue cheese crumbs and served with ranch dressing for an appetizer. Either the topping or the sauce was too spicy for my taste, but I couldn’t finish this dish. As an entrée, I’d chosen crab cakes with yellow rice and asparagus. They were out of asparagus. I selected broccoli as an alternative. It was served raw. Besides asking to replace it with a cooked portion, I had to ask for the rice since mashed potatoes had come with my meal. As for dessert, the Key lime pie came in a jar but looked tasty. My brownie sundae was okay, but I’ve had moister and fudgier brownie sundaes at the Red Lobster. This one satisfied my sweet tooth but wasn’t anything exceptional.
This meal at Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill in Disney Springs was worthy of a return visit. Unfortunately, the items I chose are not part of the regular menu but were among the Magical Dining selections. The Late Summer Tomato Soup with garlic pecorino croutons and basil oil was savory and just the right consistency. The Braised Beef Short Ribs came with sunchoke purée and wild mushrooms ragu. The boneless meat was tender and shredded easily. For dessert, the mango tart with toasted almond crumble and coconut tapioca was lip-smacking delicious. The lively atmosphere and modern décor proved popular as there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. I saw standards like meatloaf on the regular menu that would bring me back. While a bit pricey for a normal dinner, this full-service restaurant is worth a visit on your list.Dining Out in Orlando #foodandwine #Orlando Click To Tweet
Now it’s back to home cooking! If you want to see which recipes I’ll prepare in my own kitchen, take a look at A Bad Hair Day Cookbook, now available for pre-order in print and ebook formats.