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Posts Tagged ‘About Me’

  1. Xanadu anyone?

    February 9, 2014 by Suzi

    You know what’s coming up? The A to Z Blogging Challenge. And yes, it’s not until April, but I need to plan. No way can I pull it together last minute. Too much stress.

    Boy, isn’t this pretty. I love the color.

     
    I’ve actually known for a while what I’m doing. It has to do with music, and it’ll take a lot of pre-planning, but luckily, I got the idea a long time ago—like not long after last year’s challenge. So I’ve gathered lots of songs. Had to keep a notebook in the car, cause I’d hear one on the radio and go, ahh, that’s perfect for A to Z.
     
    But now I was thinking, maybe I should so something different. Not totally different. Just the way I organize it. Originally, the theme was going to be “Songs that…” then the letter will be whatever. Like songs that remind me of high school, or songs that I wanted for my wedding, etc.
     
    The problem is I have to get very liberal with matching the theme to the letter. Like Q is a toughie. And so I came up: Songs that never quit, but I still love. (i.e. long songs) So obviously, the Q is quit, but it’s buried halfway into the line. Or Songs that make me tear up—for the letter T.
     
    They’re not all like that, but there’s a few.
     
    I’ve got a good list of songs, but I want to re-think this. Will maybe have to play with that list. See if I can use the band’s names or the titles of songs instead.
     
    So for instance, I have 3 songs that make me cry. If one of the titles starts with a G, then use that. And then I can say, this song makes me cry, and here’s two others (that don’t start with G).
     
    Or I can do the same thing with the band name. G is for Guns and Roses, and they have a song that was a remake, and I like the original better. Then have 2 other songs that are remakes.
     
    So I don’t know what to do. I need to work with my song list and see what works best I guess.
     
    Oh wow. I was just thinking how it might be hard to find a song for X. But seriously, one popped in my head right then. Maybe that’s a sign I should go with the first idea. Just in case you’re wondering, the song is Xanadu—and we had it on a record when I was a kid. I can still hear the tune in my head.
     
    Anyway, I guess I have some work to do.
     
    Anyone else doing A to Z this year?
     
    And does anyone else remember Xanadu? (If you weren’t a child of the late 70s and early 80s, you probably wouldn’t.) It’s a great song, especially if you’re an Olivia Newton John fan.


  2. What not to do when having a blog tour

    January 26, 2014 by Suzi

    Just recently I was reading a post by a Kyra Lennon: Blog Tours and Cover Reveals—Are They Still Effective? And I’d already started writing the draft to this post, so I thought I’d do a post today on MY suggestions for what and what not to do on your blog tour.
     
    I’ve followed along blog tours for friends’ books. I do that because they have fun and original posts at each blog. If it was just a blurb/cover reveal, I wouldn’t do that. So for blog tours, these things discourage me from following along.
     
    Some of these suggestions you might think, oh quit being so lazy, but most bloggers know how hard it is to keep up with all the blogs we like to read. So if it takes a lot of work to get to that post, I’m less likely to do it.
     
    Disclaimer: This post is based off my observations as a blog reader. I have no marketing experience, so some of my points might go against what a professional would say, but this is my opinion on what I like and don’t like when I see blog tours.
     
    1. Don’t have the same posts at several stops of your blog tour. If I keep seeing this, I won’t follow your tour. You should have something new at each site. This affects the host blogger too, because if I read your full post, I’m more likely to stick around and check out the host’s site, rather than leave right away.
     
    2. Give the host links in the post that work. Don’t put the whole web address out there, http://website.comebuymybook.com. It looks like crap, especially when there’s a bunch of sites listed, Amazon, GR, B&N… And you can’t click on them because it’s not a link.
     
    3. Have your guest post/whatever first. (I’d maybe make an exception for reviews, because people who are seeing your book the first time probably need that info before the review.) Don’t make us wade through the whole blurb and author info thing. If that stuff is upfront, I’m more likely to skim, especially the author info, then when I get down to the meat of the post, I’m still in skimming mode—which means I’m more likely to skim through the post. (Anybody disagree with this one?)
     
    4. Check the blog you’ll be on (before you ask them to host a stop) and make sure we won’t have to click tabs to find the post. So what I mean by this is when the author has on her blog a link to a host site. And you go to that host site, but it’s not there on the home page. You need to go to their tabs at the top and click on one, maybe the reviews tab, and see if it’s there. If a post is too hard to find, I’m likely not to look for it.
     
    5. This might be a tough one if you want to be on a specific blog, but don’t have a stop on a blog that has 3-4 postings per day, which is usually a blog devoted to only reviews and book information. I’ve often clicked on a blog and then have to wade down 3-4 posts to get to the one I’m looking for, and I’m more likely to leave then do all the scrolling.
     
    6. When you have the links to the host site posted on your blog, have the link go to the post page, not their home page. This coincides with the above suggestion. Of course, you can’t do this right away because that host has not posted yet. But once that host posts, you should go in and update the link on YOUR site. If I go to the author’s site and see a bunch of tour stops I’ve missed, and if I then click on the link to go to the host site and have to scroll through five of their other posts to get down to yours, I’m likely not to do it. (Sorry for the super long sentence there.)
     
    7. Use blogs that are in the same genre/category of your story. If you have a YA novel, don’t go to a site where the reader has to click on the I-understand-this-is-an-adult-blog-and-wish-to-continue button. If you’re contemporary, don’t go to a high fantasy website. Maybe some would say that exposure to people who are not your audience is better than no exposure, but if you want the best bang for your buck, I would stick to your genre.
     
    8. Your own blog should not be a stop on the blog tour. To me a tour is visiting other places. Sure you’ll have stuff on your own blog, maybe directing others to the host blogs, but don’t have a link that brings you to a post on your own blog.
     
    9. On your blog, have the links to the blog tour prominently displayed. If I have to scroll down through a ton of your other posts to get to the one with your blog tour schedule, I’m less likely to do that.
     
    So does anybody else have suggestions for blog tours? Or do you disagree with any I’ve listed?


  3. What do you do?

    January 19, 2014 by Suzi

    I have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to write my blog posts. I’ve got several ideas that I haven’t written up yet, and I really should be doing those, but something else seems to come up. And it’s usually Saturday when I write my post, or sometimes even Sunday, the day I post.
     
    What I need to do is sit down and write up a bunch and have them ready.
     

    Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Most of the time I don’t really know what I’ll post until the week of. If it’s a friend’s book/cover reveal, then I know ahead of time about that, but usually I just write whatever I feel like. A lot of the time, it’s a last minute idea.
     
    Like this one. :)
     
    So I’m curious about what other bloggers do when preparing blog posts. Do you procrastinate and get it up last minute? Or do you get them scheduled ahead of time?
     
    Also, do you have a lot of post ideas waiting to be written or do you just pull them out of the air last minute?
     
    So really, what I’m asking is if you’re really organized or more like me?


  4. Why I’m tougher on my CPs

    January 12, 2014 by Suzi

    So a while back I wrote a pretend letter to my future (and current) CPs about how wonderful a CP I am. Okay, it wasn’t really that, but it was about how I do things… kinda. And it’s funny. Really. Go read it if you want.
     
    But now a year later, I’ve realized something else.
     
    I am much harder on my CPs than I am on published authors. And sometimes I feel bad about that. I can get picky about things when critiquing. Little things. Things that are subjective. Not typos and grammar.
     
    And sometimes I’ll debate, should I write this, especially when it’s so subjective? Usually I do, but I tend to put my disclaimer on there. The I’m not an expert, but…. Or the I’m not really sure, but here are my instincts about this. Or the I don’t remember a reference to this, but I could’ve missed it comment. Just to name a few.
     
    So here’s some examples of what I mean by being harder on my CPs.
     
    1. With a dual POV story. Sometimes I’ll run into a phrase that both characters are using. It’s not exactly an unusual phrase or anything, but it’s something that could be said different ways. (I hope that made sense.)
     
    I know that friends often use similar words and phrases because they’re around each other a lot, but my opinion on that for writing is different. You want to make sure that their voices are not too close to each other.
     
    So was using that phrase wrong? No. Not at all. But my subjective opinion says, don’t do this.
     
    Now when it comes to reading books, either Kindle or real book, do I pay attention to that?
     
    No.
     
    Of course, I have to like the voice to read a book, but honestly, I don’t pay close attention to dual POV voices and see if they’re too similar.
     
    2. Sometimes I’ll see a vague detail mentioned about a supporting character. And then it’s referred a second time, but it’s not fully explained. But since I’m seeing it referenced that 2nd time, my mind starts to wander. Is this important? Why aren’t we hearing more about it? Will something happen at the end that relates to this tidbit of information or is it just a small detail slipped in twice?
     
    So I’ll probably say, “What’s up with this? Why are you holding back? Is this important because you’ve mentioned it twice, and I really want more info here.”
     
    There was nothing wrong with what they did, but my mind is wandering off into directions that might not be important.
     
    But again, would I do that with a novel I read on my Kindle?
     
    No. I’d gloss over it and keep going. So really, I’m being harder on my CPs than I am on published authors and their books. And I kinda feel guilty, bad for my CPs cause there might be a lot of comments in their critique–many of which are just my opinion about the matter.
     
    I have a theory to why this happens.
     
    1. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading it slowly. I’m thinking more about the what and why. When I’m reading for fun, I’m reading quickly. I’m not analyzing characters and things on each page. I’m just reading to enjoy a story.
     
    2. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading on a computer. Which makes things stand out more. When I’m reading for fun, it’s in a book or on the Kindle—once again making it easier to read quickly and sometimes skim.
     
    I have a feeling that if I could take those published books and put them in Word and then go through and critique them, I bet I’d find a lot of things to mark too. It’d actually be fun to do, but I don’t know any way to do that.
     
    So anyways, to the amazing CPs whose stories I get to read, I hope you don’t mind me being so nitpicky. The way I look at it is, I’d rather say my comment, even if it’s totally subjective, than not say it at all. Cause what if it was a mistake on your part?
     
    Well then you’d be eternally grateful for my help. And really, who doesn’t want that? :)
     
    Are you harder on your CPs than the authors of books you read for fun?


  5. Do you like me

    December 16, 2013 by Suzi

    So after reading a post by Christa Desir at her blog about documenting our lives, it got me thinking.

    Do we reveal too much? Too little? Okay, that’s probably not the case most of the time, but it can be hard to find the balance between getting your name out there and getting too much out there. Now this is my take from Christa’s post: that maybe instead of focusing on promotion, we should focus on connecting.

    Which is a great point.

    The thing I worry about is sometimes I feel like I’m not connecting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not promoting, since I have nothing to promote, but it seems like I’m not doing enough on the other side.

    Image courtesy of Master isolater / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    I just noticed something fairly recently. Like within the last few months. A lot of people Favorite and/or Like FB comments, Tweets and Instagram posts.

    And I don’t do much favoriting or liking. Or what feels like like enough. To me, favoriting things is like acknowledging that you’ve seen it. And by not doing that, it’s like you’re not responding.

    And then I feel bad I’m not responding even though I do like what was posted.

    Am I the only one like this? Am I being to hard on myself?

    And if you’re one that always favorites/likes stuff a lot, do you feel neglected if people don’t do that to you?

    I’m just curious about what others think of this whole favoriting thing. If you even pay attention.


  6. Dream Destination Blog Hop

    December 5, 2013 by Suzi


    To celebrate the launch of their books Soul Cutter and The Ghosts of Aquinnah, Lexa Cain and Julie Flanders are hosting the Dream Vacation Blog Hop. Very simple: name your dream destination.

    There are lots of places I’d love to visit, so I was trying to think of something unique for this blog hop. And that’s when I thought of this.

    I would love to spend a week (or whatever) living in a castle. A real castle that is hundreds of years old. I’m not picky, there are many castles I would try, but I can’t list them all. So here are a few. Oh, and I’m not going off interesting history or anything, I’m just going off looks. And I’m pretty sure they aren’t really open for tourists to live in, but I can dream. This is the Dream Destination Blog Hop after all.

    All these pictures came from a website and were taken by different photographers. Go here to check them out.

    One of my top picks:
     
    Chenonceaux in France. Built over a river. Is there anything cooler than that? No! The setting is one of pure relaxation. This place is gorgeous. And I actually got to visit it years ago. Of course that was probably a 3 hour tour. I want to stay at this place for a week. Perhaps a month. Or more.

    Can you imagine sitting under a tree, looking up at this place and writing? I could. And I’m pretty damn sure I’d love it.
     
    Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany comes a close second. This is so totally beautiful, sticking up above the trees. And sleeping up in one of those spires… a dream come true. 

    Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Look how tall this castle is. I so want to go up into those spires, or that little balcony right in the middle. Definitely cool.
      Chambourd in France. Can you say ah-mazing. This place is gigantic. You could get lost in it for days. This too was a place I once got to visit, but I’m sure we saw like oh—5% of the chateau because again… it’s hute!

     

    Alcazar in Spain. This place is stunning. And look what’s behind the castle. Even more stunning beauty. (If you can’t really tell from the picture, it looks like snow capped mountains.) Would love to go here.

     
    Strecno Castle in Slovakia. Sure this place looks like it’s just ruins, so maybe a weeks stay would not work. But look at those rocky cliffs and all the trees. Think of all the ghosts possibly roaming around. I’d love to visit this place.
     
    Bodiam Castle in England. A fortress. Stocky and imposing. Awesome.
     
    What an amazing opportunity it’d be to visit these places and sit and write. And write. And write. They totally fit my definition of a dream destination.
     
    So what about you? What’s your dream vacation spot? And have you ever been to any real castles?


  7. Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

    December 2, 2013 by Suzi


    I’m having technical difficulties w/my blog, so I apologize if the home page looks weird. Waiting for support to return my e-mail.
     
    I thought this Pitch Wars Mentee Bio Bloghop thing looked kinda fun, so I figured I’d better jump right in. Check out Dannie Morin’s site for the linky list of other participants.

    For Pitch Wars I submitted my young adult novel, VARYING DEGREES OF BLAME. And yes, it is complete, around 56,000 words. It’s a dual point of view, told by a boy and a girl. There’s some romance, but that’s not the story. There’s bad parents… and there’s good parents. There’s a girl who is motivated to avoid the mistakes of her mother. And there’s a boy who grows and learns how to forgive.
     
    So if any of the mentors I submitted to stop by, here is why you should pick me.
     
    1. I picked you, so obviously I have good taste.
     
    2. I wrote my story for NaNo. That’d be NaNo 2012, so don’t worry, it’s been critiqued and revised before you. And I so want to add my name to that NaNo page where it shows published NaNo books.
     
    3. I’ve written more than 1.4 million words (in novels) and I’m ready for that next step. (Agent. Publisher. Movie Rights. Becoming the next JK Rowling, except for contemporary young adult.)
     
    4. I am very open to hearing all your comments and suggestions. Even though I’ve written a bunch and have queried 2 other novels, I am quite aware that I do NOT know it ALL. And I’m always wanting to learn more.
     
    5. I hate querying, and I would be forever thankful to you if you help me find an agent via this contest so I don’t have to query.
     
    6. I think it’d be so cool to be a Pitch Wars Mentor. And being chosen by you, and then picked up by an agent and publisher would be the best way to assure an invite for me to be a mentor for Pitch Wars next year.
     
    7. And last but not least, I’ve got a terrific story with characters I love, and I want the world to love them too.
     
    So those are a few reasons why you should pick me.
     
    Now on to the more boring stuff which you can probably find on other pages of my site, but I’ll summarize right here.
     
    -I mostly write contemporary young adult. I’ve also done some new adult/adult, but have always stuck to contemporary.
     
    -I like writing about people with problems. But I like happy endings too.
     
    -I am also a mom.
     
    -I am also a civil engineer. (Hence the Literary Engineer title)
     
    -I have a husband, a dog, and 2 kids.
     
    -I love to write. (Yes, big surprise.)
     
    Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to check out some of the other mentees by clicking on the link above.


  8. Finding what I already had

    October 27, 2013 by Suzi


    First, I’d like to say thank you to YA Fusion. I won a copy of Ellen Hopkins new novel Smoke. I’ve read several of hers and really liked them, and I look forward to this one too.
     
    So, for those who don’t know, I mostly read contemporary young adult. And I didn’t start reading it until a few years ago when I started writing it. Since then I’ve kinda fallen away from the classics, horrors and thrillers that I’d mostly read before that.
     
    During the month of October, I hardly read anything, and finally jumped back into reading this last week. Christa Desir just released her new YA novel, Fault Line and I’d been waiting a long time to read it. It’s a powerful book, and I’d definitely recommend it. And it got me excited about reading again.
     
    After finishing, I decided to go through my Kindle and clean up: remove books I won’t get to and do some other organizing. Since I have hundreds of books on the Kindle, and haven’t read probably ½ of them, I had a lot to go through.
     
    And I found many interesting books I’d forgotten about. One is Night of Knives by Jon Evans:
     
    Veronica Kelly came to Africa to start her life over. Still reeling from her divorce, she is grateful when a handsome stranger invites her to join a tour to visit gorillas in Uganda’s wild Impenetrable Forest. A trip that goes desperately wrong when their group is captured by brutal gunmen.
     Then one tourist is executed.
     And then another.
     This is no random kidnapping: their abduction is only the first move in a deadly strategic game. A game in which Veronica’s ex-husband is somehow involved. Now she must embark on a wild journey across Africa, to unveil a malignant conspiracy before it consumes entire nations – and thousands of lives…

     
    The Congo. Deception. Murder. Doesn’t that sound cool? And I’ve got many others like that I discovered once again. I definitely need to go through my Kindle more often. Or maybe Goodreads. I mean, hello, I can rate my to-read books by number. Usually I just add books to my to-read list and then forget about them.
     
    I really need to be more organized.
     
    So if you’re a Kindle or a Nook reader, do you have way too many books waiting to be read? Do you forget what books you have and then get a nice surprise when looking for something new to read?


  9. The Name Game

    October 20, 2013 by Suzi


    So I’ve talked about the writer Jolene Perry before, but just in case you missed those posts, she’s a terrific author. Which means not only is she a great writer, but also a wonderful person. Always willing to answer questions and help others.
     
    She has a fantastic giveaway going now for her new release (the rafflecopter is at the end of the post) and it kind of got me thinking again about the whole name thing.

    Jolene’s Giveaway


    I watched Jolene as she sorted out through the pen name issues. Recently she got all her different books separated out so that different categories are under different names.
     
    She writes under Jolene Betty Perry for her LDS fiction. Click here
     
    Then she writes under Jolene Perry for her YA fiction. Click here
     
    And lastly (I think), she writes under Mia Josephs for her NA fiction. Click here
     
    I’ve pretty much figured I’d use Suzi Retzlaff as my author name. Which is my married name. The stories I’m actively working on now are mostly young adult. But I just started an adult contemporary too. And I’ve got about 7 others written that are temporarily shelved due to time constraints. But I’m excited about my current adult WIP, and since I feel like it’s got some unique aspects to it (don’t we all think that though :) ), I’d really like to pursue publishing for this one when it’s finished.
     
    Since I’m unpublished as of yet, I don’t need to have the pen name thing figured out now, but I should be thinking of it. Would I use my maiden name? Would I use a whole new name?
     
    Luckily for me, both my maiden and current names are uncommon enough that there won’t be any author confusion, but I just haven’t decided what to do. I’ve got kind of a funny issue with the name thing, but I think I’ll post that next week.
     
    So, I’m curious if any other unpublished authors have thought about this—using different pen names for different types of stories. Or with published authors, how they came up with their pen names.
     
    And now, make sure you enter Jolene’s giveaway because she’s generously offering the three books in The Next Door Boys series and The Weight of Love… all in paperback (plus some Amazon buck.). So register through the rafflecopter and go check out her site too.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway


  10. (Never) Again Blog Hop

    October 15, 2013 by Suzi

    As many of you know, today is the release day of (Never) Again by the fabulous Theresa Paolo. And to celebrate, she’s doing a blog hop where you share something that you swore you’d never do again, but did.
     
    But first. If you’d like to see how I first met Theresa and all the fun things we have in common, go here.
     
    Now on to the blog hop.
     
    Well, I hope I don’t disappoint anyone today because I have nothing shameless or salacious to share. Instead, my example is rather innocuous, perhaps mundane. (Can you tell I went to the thesaurus for interesting words?) But hey, when I try come up with examples to questions like this, my mind always goes blank.
     
    First: I am not a slave to fashion. I prefer comfort over style.
     
    So back in the 80s, clogs were the in thing. I had one pair. I hated them. They were big and stiff. Clunky—wasn’t clog just the perfect name for them? Kinda ugly. And they didn’t like to stay on my feet.

    I said I’d never wear them again.

    But then a few years back, my mom gave me a pair of hers she didn’t want anymore. And because she doesn’t buy Payless Shoes like me, the black pair she gave me lasted over three years of regular use. And I loved them. So now I’ve even bought my own. Something more like this.

    From Zappos.com


    These shoes from Zappos.com are cute. Their $150 price tag, not so much. Oh, and when I said I’d buy something more like this, I meant style wise. I’d choke over paying $150 for shoes. (Remember, I like Payless.)
     
    So even though they’re not the most stable shoe, I now like them. And there are so many cute styles.
     
    Even though I gave in to the clog, I will never… never wear flip flops. I’ve weathered through this fad for the second time without giving in, so I’m fairly confident I’ll keep my word. Flip flops suck.
     
    So check Theresa’s site to see the other blog hop participants.
     
    And congratulations to Theresa on your big debut!