Finally, Friday! Before and After…blurbs

Blurbs! Ack! Kill me now!

I hate to write book descriptions–or, blurbs most writers call them, which we all know are key to selling a book.

Blurbing (not a verb, but it is in my mind) should be an Olympic event. Think about it. You take several long, meaningful, and carefully thought out paragraphs that describe the story you just spent weeks or months, maybe years, writing then you mince said paragraphs into bite-size fragments designed to tantalize, tease, tell the reader just enough about the book to make her slap down her hard-earned money to buy it.

I’m terrible at it. Really bad. So, I signed up for a BestPageForward Webinar on the subject. (I’ll share the replay link below in case you’re interested.) I learned a lot. I learned that this process is really hard, completely subjective and brutally tough on the ego. You have two choices: develop a split personality or hire it done.

Since all my “pin-money,” as my late mother-in-law would say, is earmarked for my website remodel,  I’m going with split-personality. Writer-girl is hiding under the covers while blurb-girl gets out her erase key and thesaurus.

Here’s my BEFORE and AFTER. I consider both works-in-progress and will take any/all suggestions gratefully.


Here’s the link if you want to learn more from Bryan Cohen and Abigail Dunard. * Want to see how Abigail Dunard and I write book descriptions? Click here to watch the webinar replay!

Have a great weekend!


Tips 4 Summer Writing

Yesterday was my granddaughter’s birthday. I offered to host a little “family” party since her mother is putting on a much bigger “kid” party–complete with pony rides–this weekend. A dinner party is not a big deal, but there was also the delivery and set up of the new washer and dryer to replace the one that died with a full load of sopping wet towels in it, the reading of directions for operating a new front loader, then playing catch-up with all the laundry that had accrued between death and delivery. There went my morning.

Then, there was the weather forecast: sunny and hot. This meant it was time to set up the pool. Thankfully, my hubby stepped up to take on the bulk of this, but there were the occasional consultations. “Where does this go? How does this fit together? Etc.”

Factor in the time spent on business–catching up since my bookkeeper/DIL had been on vacation for a week.


Sound familiar?

If you’re a writer working at a “day” job, summer means juggling the usual demands of work and family, with the added problem of childcare and/or providing a fun summer experience for your kids/grandkids. I include the latter because that’s my situation. I work at home–fulltime–but that time is greatly tempered by the fact that I love to have my granddaughters around and we put up a pool every summer specifically for that reason.

So, how do you work AND play?

Here are a couple of tips, but I’d gladly take more:

1. Time Out.
Our pool is available to the grandchildren any time as long as there’s an adult present. That doesn’t mean I drop out of my story to join the fun every time the kids show up. You can’t do that in the “real” job, you can’t do that if you have a deadline–self-imposed or contracted.
But you can and should factor in breaks when you’re sitting for long periods of time. A little splashing, the high-pitch squeals of delight, a refreshing slice of watermelon might mean all the difference in actually hitting your intended word count vs suffering in exclusion, pouting, distracted and feeling sorry for yourself.

2. Before and After
I just heard a report that the middle latitudes of both hemispheres are expected to experience record high summer temperatures over the next few decades. You know what that means: siestas. On those brutal summer days, I get up early, walk, water plants, get those pesky household chores out of the day. I’m free to write, take those breaks mentioned in Tip #1, and if the day catches up with me, I take a siesta. (Or in my case, I do a yoga pose called Feet Up The Wall, with an eye pillow. Restorative!)

3. Eat less and more often
Huh? Cooking heats up the house. Healthy snacks make great, simple, petite meals. My favorite summer “lunch” is almonds with fresh blueberries (or any kind of fresh fruit). I keep my chocolate in the fridg. A piece with a glass of iced tea is sublime. Try lemon and/or lime slices in your water. Peligrino and orange juice=less calories, and it’s bubbly. Yogurt with granola isn’t just for breakfast. It makes a wonderful mid-day snack. And I slice my big, fat watermelon into wedges and store in a sealed plastic container in the refridgerator. It’s amazing how much faster it gets eaten if you don’t have to find a knife, make a mess, etc. And don’t forget SMOOTHIES. Add a healthy spoonful of protein powder and you’re good to go.

4. Read aloud and leave bread crumbs
Say what?
I’ve started reading the first few paragraphs of my WIP aloud when I sit down to start writing. I don’t know why, but my brain seems to work a little harder when I do this. Maybe it’s a throw-back to grade school when your teacher made you read your work out loud. Don’t know, but it seems to help get me focused.
My writer pal, Susan Crosby, told me she never leaves her work for the day without sprinkling a few “Whatifs” or  a “Maybewecoulddothis” at the bottom of her page. I agree that those hints seem to serve as a fast pass back into the writing queue.

That’s all from me, but I’d be happy to hear any tips you all have on mixing summer fun and writing responsibilities. Remember, any post enters you in my contest.

Have some summer fun and get busy writing…or reading. That works for me, too. 🙂