I’m Back, Baby!

Hey everyone! Well, I already screwed up blogging on my own! HA! Whoops. The post was supposed to go up yesterday, but life has that funny way of stepping in and getting in the way. Hm, I guess it’s better than the alternative though, huh?

Anyways, my first post “I’m Back, Baby!” is up on my site. Check it out!

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Lazy Days

While I am still working on my new site, I did just put up my first post.  It is not what I had in mind, but check it out… Lazy Days.  🙂

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BUY ME! READ ME! REVIEW ME!…Talk to me.

It’s no secret that I didn’t want to do this. I just wanted to write the stories in my head and be done with it. I thought there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I was going to write a blog or tweet. Eric has been pushing me to join Twitter for months but I resisted. But THANK GOD I changed my mind. No, wait, thank Susi. I had my doubts and she had her stubbornness and thankfully for me she won out. 😉

I learned a lot about myself in the past 5 months through blogging and tweeting. I’ve learned that I don’t need to wear pants in order to write a blog post; which is good to know since doing the laundry keeps moving further down the list as my writing journey continues. I learned that it’s not hard to talk about my thoughts and ideas as I had originally feared and that I’m more open and honest then I had originally thought.

I’m no longer afraid of that anonymous “you” that is reading this. Quite the opposite, actually. I want to know you. I want you to know me. Want to know why?

Because you’re a person, just like me. Twitter and this blog taught me that.

I know what you’re thinking. “WTF! This woman is insane if she needed to start a blog to realize that we’re people.” Just bear with me here; I swear I have a point.

It is way too easy to get caught up in ourselves. Even though we converse on all the social networking sites and do what we’re supposed to in regards to building that all elusive writerly platform, most times we become robots.

Buy my book. Buy my book. Buy my book. 

Read my book. Read my book. Read my book.

Review my book. Review my book. Review my book. 

I’ll say this right now – You deserve to be more than your latest work. You are a person with thoughts, feelings, ideas, wants, needs, desires and wishes. Blogging gives you a chance to let people in, share your thoughts, your opinions, all in a safe place. (I say safe, because if it’s your blog, you can control the comments.)

It shows people that there is an intelligent person behind that latest work. That this book you’re pushing just didn’t pop up out of nowhere. Your time, energy, blood, sweat and tears went into it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t push your book, you should pimp the hell out of it, what I’m saying is don’t forget to be a person, too.

When I pick up a book the first thing I do is read about the author. I want to know more about them, where they came from, how their mind works. If they have a blog I read it. Learning about the author helps me understand the novel better, makes the author real. Now granted, I’m not going to call up Nora Roberts and say “Nora,” we’d be on a first name basis, of course, “let’s do an interview about your latest work next Thursday on “Writing On The Rocks dot com” Have your people DM me.”

But luckily for me, I know plenty of indie writers out there that are more than willing to step into the spotlight for me.

Ask any of my friends in #pubwrite. If I read their book they know it because they’ll get random questions from me craving information. It’s amazing that someone like me can create new and exciting worlds with the same words that I have in my vocabulary. It’s a beautiful thing; but what makes it so great is that I know that these are real people, most with day jobs, that are making this dream come true amongst other “real life” commitments. Inspiring.

Now a quick note on Twitter. Join Twitter and use it properly. Don’t just bombard me with tweets about buying your book or visiting your blog. You become spam to me that way and I’ll unfollow you.

Be more than your work. Be you. Don’t just schedule tweets about your latest blog post and be done with it. Get out there and connect. There are hundreds, thousands of people out there just like you, who want the same things you want. Connect. Support each other. We’re all striving for the same goal, what fun is it if you reach the top but have no one to share it with?

That’s what I mean when I say that I have learned about being a person through this blog and through Twitter. Anonymity is a security blanket that I threw off 5 months ago. What you see is what you get. The words I post are me, my voice, no one else’s. When I tweet and have conversations with people who I have come to consider friends I’m talking as Karen. I don’t have to try to be funny, flirty, cautious, intelligent, whatever, I just have to be me. Something that I was afraid to be before I started this.

So, thank you followers of this blog, my Twitter followers, fellow #pubwrite patrons, Eric, Susi and everyone else that supported me in my journey to find my voice. I think I found it and I’m looking forward to using it.

…You guys should be scared though. Because if you thought I didn’t shut up before, wait until you hear what I have in store now that I found my voice! Woo-hoo!

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Thank you!

After much discussion and over seventy-five emails back and forth between households, we have made some more changes to the new site. Rather than say anything, I am going to let you wait it out until the new site goes live. 🙂

One thing I will address today is the plan to separate the new site from Karen and my blogs. What does this mean?

Writing on the Rocks (WotR) will focus on reviews and interviews, but will not be home to our thoughts, ideas, struggles and triumphs on the road to publication. (Until, of course, one of us gets published. Then we can review and interview each other! 🙂 )

Rather than maintaining this site, the new one, and our own personal sites (which we have tended to neglect in the past), we have decided to move the blogging portion onto our individual sites.

I am not exactly sure when this split will take place, but we had discussed the possibility of it happening as early as next week. Since today is Thursday, and Karen will post tomorrow, that would make this my last post on HCWW. (Is it bad that I am crying as I write this?)

Is it possible we are back here next week? Absolutely. But, just in case, I feel it is only appropriate that I share what HCWW, and my amazing partner in crime, Karen, have meant to me the past few months. (Bear with me; this may be a little long.)

When we started this site, I was terrified. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t want anyone to read it. I read over and over how important it was for writers to blog, but I really didn’t want to.

To be honest, Karen didn’t either. The solution? We joined forces and HCWW was born.

At the time, Karen’s husband told us not to worry too much about what we write because no one will read it anyway. As much as we give him a hard time for saying that, it was exactly what we needed to hear. We approached our posts as emails to one another, figuring that we would be the only ones reading it anyway.

That piece of advice was one of the best we got, because it gave us the confidence to just write. While it may not have been what we wanted to hear, but it was what we needed.

When I wrote my first post, it was done a few days in advance, and it went back and forth with Karen (at the time Kaye) several times before I was ok with posting it. When I did, my hands shook as I clicked “publish”. I tweeted it to my approximately 30 twitter followers, terrified that someone may actually listen and click the link. I refused to post it on my Facebook page, for fear that those I know if “real life” would read it.

Fast forward four months (and 1 day) and you will find a different person sitting here. I typically write my posts the same morning they are posted. Why? I like to put out there what is currently on my mind. I tweet my post to my 500+ followers and post it to both of my Facebook pages. Now, I even hope some of them listen and click the link. 😉

I have a new-found confidence in my writing, and a lot of that comes from Karen. When we first started this site, she would give me great feedback, saying she loved a section of the post and why or telling me if something needed work. She would put up with my eighteen follow-up emails asking about subtle wording changes and begging for reassurance that it was good enough for the original ten people we had reading (and sometimes commenting on) our posts. (To you I am also extremely grateful, and I am glad you have stuck around for the sometimes bumpy ride.)

When I had a rough day, Karen would send me amazing pep talks. If I was afraid to put something out there, she would do it for me. Karen is the queen of Twitter (and Twitter jail), so she would tweet my posts multiple times a day. She still tweets asking for more followers for me as I approach new milestones in followers.

She had the confidence in me that I lacked, and, over time, it rubbed off.

Without her, I would have quit blogging (and likely Twitter) after a week. Even when I wanted to give up, I didn’t because I had made a commitment to her. She pushed me, and I am more thankful for that than I know how to express. (Crap, there go the tears again. I can be such a girl sometimes!)

Without Karen’s support and understanding, the great followers we have here on this site, and the amazing friends I have made on Twitter, I would never be where I am today.

Instead, I am excited to be moving forward to build a platform of my own, in my own name, rather than hiding behind a pen name. I am thrilled with the opportunity WotR will give us to be able to weigh in on the awesome books we have been reading, and humbled that the authors are willing to take the time to talk with us about their books.

I can’t finish this post without a shout-out to Al Boudreau, who originally suggested the Karen and I start a review site; the rest of the #pubwrite, who crew quickly joined in, quickly convincing us that it was a good idea; and, of course, Mike Pallante, for coming up with the awesome title for the new site.

I am infinitely grateful to all of you for your continued support, encouragement, and confidence as we take this exciting next step in our writing journey. I love you all!

SQ

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Paying It Forward: Blog Award Style

It’s been five months since I started on this writing journey and Twitter is by far the best part about it. Well, other than finally getting the voices out of my head and onto paper, but having an awesome Twitter experience is very close second.

Two weeks ago I received tweets from two very lovely and supportive friends. Shawna Railey and Mary Baader Kaley both sent me “The Versatile Blogger” award in regards to my posts on this site.

Thank you kindly for your support and for visiting us here at Have Coffee…Will Write. I hope you join us when we switch over to our new blogging/reviewing/interviewing extravaganza “Writing on the Rocks.”

If you guys visited my personal site last night, you know that Jack Flacco was nice enough to send me the “The Stylish Blogger” award. Stop laughing. I have some style. Well, I at least brush my hair before leaving the house…even if I do forget to put pants on. 😉

The rules for this award are the same as that one, but in case you didn’t read my post last night *gasp* here they are:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.

2. Share seven random facts about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.

4. Contact the winners to congratulate them.

I’ve decided to only list 7 random facts, not 14, because it’s really tough to come up with random things about me. I’m a pretty open person and random facts are usually shared within first meeting me. 😉

OK, ready? Tough. Here we go:

1. For most of my life I thought pigs were adorable. Don’t ask me why, I just liked them. And I swear they can smile, which added to their appeal for me; I’m a sucker for a smiler.

2. When I was younger my brothers and cousins would set up a boxing ring in my grandparent’s basement and pit me and my cousin Steven against each other. Steve is exactly one week older than me and for some odd reason my family thought it would hysterical to see us fight. I don’t know how it started, all I know is that I used to kick his butt until he started biting. Then we had to call it. Ah, family fight club.

3. In order for me to consume cheese curls I need to open the bag and let them sit for at least 3 hrs – the longer, the better. I need them somewhat stale.

4. I love thunderstorms. Wait, love isn’t a strong enough word. It’s getting late so I can’t think of a stronger word, but know that I really, really love them. I’ve lived in old homes all my life and I love listening to the howling wind as the old house begins to sway. I love when the thunder crackles and booms so loudly it causes me to jump and giggle nervously. Now, with that said, I live in eastern PA, the most damaging storms I’ve seen involve some lost shingles, downed trees/power lines and rising rivers. If I lived where they are being riddled with tornadoes or hurricanes I may have a different view on the subject.

5. I injure myself when I clean. When I was first married I would suck up the vacuum cleaner cord almost every single time I vacuumed causing the thing to smoke and the one belt to break. Twice while doing the dishes (no, we do not have a dishwasher) I dropped a plate and cut myself enough to leave nasty scars – one of which is on my elbow. Don’t ask. I’ll look like a bigger dork than I already do if I explain myself. Just know that when I tweet asking if anyone wants to clean my house, I’m not doing so because I’m lazy, I’m asking because I want to live to see another day.

6. When I get happy, like when I’m super excited about something….I hit. Yep. So be warned, I’m happy often. And it’s not like a little tap on the shoulder, I put full brunt force behind it. It’s like all my energy channels into my arm and I let loose. Sometimes it’s a punch to the arm, other times it’s a slap on the back so hard I’ll knock the breath out of you. I’m not proud. Most people worry about others aggression, my friends and family worry when I’m happy.

And quite possibly one of the more embarrassing things about me …*sigh* the things I admit to for this blog

7. I didn’t know pickles were cucumbers. I honestly and sincerely thought you grew pickles and I thought this up until last year. *Shakes her head in disgust* It wasn’t until Eric wanted to make pickles and I asked him “Well, why did you plant all these cucumbers instead?” That was last year, he still laughs. He will probably always laugh at that and I really can’t blame him.

Since we were lucky enough to receive this award twice I’m going to pay it forward to 10 very lucky ladies. Check out these great, talented and very creative women, and who are also fellow #pubwrite patrons:

Wren Emerson

K. Victoria Smith

Ann Mauren

Carolyn Arnold

LM Stull

Leah Petersen

Tess Hardwick

Alison DeLuca

Aden Penn

Tracey M. Hansen

*And just two more – these two don’t have a blog, but they are super talented ladies and you should check them out:

Jennifer Gracen

Janelle Jensen

That’s all for now ladies and gents. I encourage you to leave a random fact or two about yourself below. I love learning about people and random facts are a good way to break the ice and share a laugh. 🙂

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And We’re Back…

Our week-long hiatus is done, and Karen and I are back to work this morning. 🙂

While we took the week off from this site, we were hard at work planning the new one. And writing, reading, and catching up on sleep, of course! 🙂

Personally, I come into this week feeling refreshed and more disciplined moving forward. As a team, we are excited about the new site and what it will bring.

To bring you up to speed, here is some of what we are thinking:

  • We will maintain our current posting schedule on the new site, with Monday and Thursday being my days and Tuesday and Friday being Karen’s.
  • We will be adding two new sections to the site, one for reviews and one for interviews. Until the new site goes live, we have added a new tab, Writing on the Rocks, to this site. In it, you will find both interviews and reviews. (Check out Karen’s interview with Todd Bush and her review of his new book, Rick Frost and the Alaskan Adventure.)
  • Each Wednesday, one of us will post a review, alternating weeks. When possible, we will also post an interview with the author the same day. This will start next Wednesday (May 25).
  • We had discussed both of us reviewing the same book, but decided that our opinions were often essentially the same on many books. Having two reviews with the same opinion doesn’t add much, so we are going to avoid doing so. Should one of us have something to add, we will post it in the comments of the original review (as I did with Todd’s book). Of course, we will still post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble as well. 🙂

As time goes on, we hope to be able to add more reviews as well as guest commentators. We may find that we are able to post more often than this, but we wanted to make sure we were setting realistic goals while still allowing time for our own writing.

Speaking of which, I guess I should go do some of that now. 🙂

Do you have any questions or comments about the new site? Leave them below, we would love to hear from you!

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And the winner is…

We would like to thank all of you for your awesome suggestions for the new name of our site, as well as everyone who voted for your favorite. There was one entry that blew the others away, with fifty-two percent of the total votes.

The winner is Michael Pallante, with his awesome name, WritingOnTheRocks.com. Look for the new site to be rolling out in the next couple weeks.

As many of you know, Karen and I have had a crazy few weeks. Now that Willy Wonka has closed (after entertaining approximately 2200 people in six shows), we will be looking at getting back into our writing (and reading) routines.

In order to do that, we are going to take this week off from our blog, returning next Monday. We will spend this week recuperating, catching up on all those things we have missed in the past few weeks, writing, reading, and, of course, working on the new site.

Hopefully, this will allow us to come back better than ever next week with some more info on the new site.

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