Monday, December 27, 2010

New Ideas, New Year

So here we sit in the offices of TAG Publishing (we being my business partner Liz and myself) pondering our strategies for the new year. Of course in order to know what you want, you have to know what you don't want and there have been many things this past year on the "never again" list. I'll spare you the details, but will share confirmation that hard lessons learned are often the most valuable education you can get. This next year however, promises to be our best yet. We've had several very positive occurrences at the end of this year not the least of which has been a six fold expansion of our business. We will be coming into the new year with over 100 authors, a milestone for us for sure but something that we fully intend to be a stepping stone to our next goal of 1000 authors!

I'm sure everyone ponders their life's progress at this time of year - its hard not to, but do you think "Another one down" (and breathe a sigh of relief) or do you anxiously look forward to the fabulous things this next year will bring? Honestly this year for me its both. There were some struggles, and loss of loved ones which makes me want to leave the year 2010 far behind. But I also know that many of the issues and people we encountered through the year are leading us to a very bright future and that excites me. 

When I was younger I can remember taking a moment each December 31 and thinking back to where I was the year before. I would ponder the events of the past 12 months and measure my growth both financially and personally. Then I'd solemnly resolve to set loftier goals and push myself harder. But I'm not doing that this year - not because it is not a good practice (it always has been) but more because now I realize the importance of not taking myself so seriously! I'm thrilled to have weathered the various storms this year with my humor intact. I'm happy to be doing what I'm doing and so excited I get to keep right on doing it. I have a husband that puts up with me, kids that are self-sufficient and a dog that loves me. It really is a wonderful life and I don't need anyone else to validate that. I know I will have an excellent 2011 simply because I decided to make it so and I hope all of you do as well.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas light Extravaganza!!!

For the first time in a long time, the spouse and I decided to go out and look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Most of the people in our part of town do it up big time so there is usually quite a bit of traffic which is why we don't usually join in, but this time - what the off we went. And you know there were several interesting sights:

Of course the fact that they give holiday hayrides through our streets is always kinda neat...until you get behind the wagon hauling people slower than my bulldog walks. It is a pretty red wagon that hauls probably 25 people and is drawn by mules - who couldn't seem less thrilled. As we rolled along at the speed of smell, I couldn't help but notice how unusual the lights were from years past. Only a few years ago, you'd drive down these streets and see perfect displays with matching lights and colors. Now it seems people are more into the real spirit which is : do what makes you happy. Every house seemed to have a mish mash of colors, flashing lights and Christmas figures. Its kind of like when you let your three year old dress herself - quirky, cute, but wouldn't win any contests. I liked it - perfection is so overrated anyway.

One of the yards was decked out completely in purple which was very unusual but there was something about the lights that made your vision blur - almost like an epileptic seizure coming on. Kind of a "Gee that's pretty, too bad you can't look at it". Down the street from there was a house with some sort of scene on the roof. At first I thought it was just mounds of snow, but it turned out it was supposed to be snowmen...the spouse thought they looked like Ninja turtle snowmen. There was a house up the street from ours that had four huge wreaths hanging in a line at the street - very cool looking.

Of course we also had to swing by Steve's house. He is one of those guys who has the full on, 100,000 light display set to his own radio station so you can watch the lights perfectly timed to the Christmas tunes. When we got close to his house, of course it was like grid lock....spouse used a term with the word 'cluster' in it. I thought it was interesting how most of the houses around him didn't even do lights and I guess I can see why....I'd just enjoy his too!

All in all, I think its proof that people don't really take appearances all that seriously anymore and that, in my mind, is a very very good thing....Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Is the Christmas movie dead?

I saw a report come across the news that said studios were just not making Christmas movies anymore. It stated the reasons to include the fact that there is so much competition from non-seasonal pictures that it doesn't make sense. It also stated that there just weren't any 'new' or different stories out there. This caught my attention for a several reasons.

Of course as a connoisseur of many a Christmas film, I would agree there are lots of crappy ones out there. Invariably, when a great Christmas tale is done for film, aka A Christmas Carol, Its a Wonderful Life, or The Christmas Story, it seems that all Hollywood can do at that point is some knockoff. Of course they want a sure winner so its easy to think that doing a knockoff is safe. But then to complain that there just aren't any good stories out there is pretty much crap and we as writers know it.

Its very similar to the publishing industry professional who tells a group of writers that "humor just doesn't sell" or "no one wants to read memoirs". Yet the success of a book like Sh*t My Dad Says - now a TV series - flys in the face of those statements. It also shows writers that there is more than one way to skin a cat. The guy that wrote that book started it as twitter posts and gathered hundreds of thousands of followers. It was proof people loved it and he thus got a publishing contract.

These days writers have tremendous ways to build their audience and market for any book or style they choose to write in and the public decides what is or is not good and this allows a writer to follow their gut instead of trying to conform to what someone else tells them the 'market' likes. Of course, if you're wrong you know it immediately and that's a good thing too because a publisher can say you're crazy but there's nothing like instant public feedback to confirm it.

I think that the new digital age will user in a whole plethora of genres and books that can't even be imagined now and that includes the types of stories available as Christmas tales. Our job as writers is to stop playing it safe and push the envelope on what we dare.

One other ridiculous aspect of Hollywood and the publishing industry is that they have a memory of about four weeks. So whatever they aren't buying this month, they will start buying next month. The trick is to stop caring what they think and just start writing.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The New Look and New Book!

Well, I finally decided the personal website( was in need of an overhaul so I worked on that this afternoon and it went really smoothly. The biggest reason being that I have a new book out! Liar's Fire has been many years in the making and I'm excited to see the feedback. I'm also organizing a blog tour so hopefully you will be seeing the book in many new places shortly. I have to say I love the cover and the feedback has been that its pretty HOT...which is in line with the content of the book.

In other news, business has been very busy. Our little company has grown tremendously in the past few months as we are absorbing a number of authors from another company in to ours. They all seem to be pretty excited and that bodes well for their books. We are also converting all their books to Kindle so that will be an additional avenue for them to reach new readers.

This month, our advertising starts for our new contest, Eternally Yours. If you haven't already guessed, this is a romance novel contest so any of you who have a romance manuscript you'd like to enter, the online enrty form will be available late next week on our company website, Our other contest, The Great American Novel, closed Oct 31 and we'll be announcing the winners Dec 20th.

On the home front, the tree is up and the bulldog is eyeballing it, but so far no disasters. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.....