Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mid-Week Rude Awakening: Beware the Green-Eyed Monster

Spend any amount of time in this business, and you'll encounter professional jealousy. Sometimes, you're the target. Other times, you're the sniper. As a parent, I've always told my children that envy is a wasted emotion--unless it spurs you to improve something about you. This advice is doubly appropriate in publishing.

Writing is not a foot race: there is no real winner, no clock that winds down, no finish line. We all arrive at our goal via different methods, at different times, and in different ways. Yet, every time a new author hits it big, writers around the Internet indulge in the Why Not Me game. Why did she get that big publishing deal? Why not me? Why did that agent like his work? Why not me? Why is she on the NY Times bestseller list? Why not me? Why does he have so many books published? Why not me? Why are his books in the brick & mortar stores? Why not me?

This is a natural reaction and will occur any time someone else wins the lottery, gets his/her big break in the majors, or receives that promotion you wanted. It's part of our genetic makeup: our competitive edge. When used to spur improvement in yourself, envy can be a good thing. Play the Why Not Me game with an eye toward figuring out how you can propel yourself to that vaunted status. What did that author do differently that you can emulate (NOT plagiarize!) Figure out how to improve your odds by strengthening your weaknesses.

Envy becomes a problem WHEN YOU LET IT. How? By minimizing someone else's success through insults or full-frontal attack. If you find yourself saying things like, "That writer sucks and doesn't deserve that new book deal," or, "Only morons read his stuff," take a step back. Worse, if you use your energies to sabotage, insult, or impede another's successes, take a good long look in the mirror. Why on earth would you expend time and attention on someone else? Are you so lazy that you prefer to drag someone else through the muck, rather than admit you don't have what it takes? Do you feel better by diminishing someone else? If so, your ugliness is showing.

So what should you do if you find yourself the target of such destructive envy? Don't sink to your attacker's level. Remain true to yourself, keep your eyes focused on your goal, and continue to succeed. That'll shut 'em up.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Baby Boy is 15?!

How on earth did that happen? Last I remember, I was holding him for the first time while my obstetrician and the delivery room nurse argued over who won the bet regarding his time of arrival. Okay, I do remember other events after that: the way he used to call his sister "Orti" instead of "Tori," his first word (cat), stories from moms in his preschool about how their daughters used to fight to marry him every day, his trip to the ER for stitches when the kid didn't even cry despite the blood soaking his bedsheets... His younger days were filled with smiles and laughter, amazement, and a few panicky moments.

Nowadays, there's a lot more laughter, a lot less panic. The Boy is scary smart, with a wicked sense of humor, a political razor sharpness to his insight, and a strange Vulcan mind-meld with animals. He also has an addiction to his Xbox, and though I tease him about it, I do appreciate that if he's going to be hooked on something, there are a lot of worse things than COD. Next year, he'll learn to drive--a fact he often terrifies me by mentioning.

Happy birthday, Nick. The world is poised to offer you great things. Don't be afraid to grab them all!

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Five: 5 Reasons I Love Writing

Face it. Somedays, we all wake up and want to quit our jobs--even writers. So, why don't I give up this craziness and go back to a normal life? Because deep down I'm insane and a glutton for punishment. No, really. Here are five things I love most about writing.

1. I can torture my enemies. Yes, sad but true. Burn me and you might find yourself in the pages of my latest novel. Oh, don't worry. No one will know it's you. But you will. And I will. And that's good enough for me.

2. I get to play God. A fly-by psychology analysis in a bookstore one day brought me to this conclusion and I have to admit, the doctor was in. I can toss my heroine into crisis after crisis, then write her out again and again. Or I can kill her off if she gets under my skin (see rule #1).

3. It's cathartic. All those bad memories from my childhood can become a character's backstory, which makes my tale richer and more real to the reader.

4. Readers appreciate my work. There is nothing sweeter than reading an email or a review from someone who loved your story. It's the ultimate high and the greatest compliment.

5. It silences the voices in my head. If I didn't write some of this stuff down, I'd be in a padded room by now, bleary-eyed from surviving on two hours' sleep a night and babbling to myself about people no one else knows.

So there you have it. Sound familiar? Or did I scare you away?

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Interviewing!

Hop on over to the Avalon Authors blog today to read my interview with Carolyn Hughey, an author with real flavor!

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Five: 5 Fun Facts About February

How's that for alliteration, kids? We all know the basics about February (black history, football, groundhogs, valentines, and presidents) but here are five things you might not have been aware of:

1. Legend claims Augustus Caesar took a day from February in the Gregorian calendar to add to August so that "his" month would have as many days as July (named for Julius Caesar).

2. February is derived from the Latin word, februa, which meant to purify, deigning the second month of the year the time for pre-spring cleaning!

3. Due to its short length, February is the only month in a calendar year that can go without a full moon.

4. The name February is only about 100 years old. Prior terms for the second month of the year were Februeer and Feverell.

5. Forget the first Monday in October. In 1790, the Supreme Court met for the very first time on the first of February.

BONUS: The third installment of my Nobody series, Nobody's Perfect, is available this month from Avalon Books!

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gadget Thursday: StatCounter

Oooh, a new feature on my blog! While I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of technology (I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Facebook and Twitter) I *do* know a good thing when I see one. And over the last year or so, several fledgling writers have asked for my help in designing their website or blog with questions like what features they should have, how can they make the site user-friendly, etc.

So I'm going to share some of my favorite online gadgets on Thursdays. Don't get excited. This isn't going to be a weekly feature since I honestly don't have that many gadgets to discuss. But as new items pop up that I've found helpful, I figure I'll post them. And if you know of a gadget I should check out, share! I'll give you full credit!

Today's gadget is If you've checked out my blog or website, you'll see the little numbers button that shows how many visitors I've clocked. That's courtesy of StatCounter. But it's oh, so much more! If I go to the dashboard they've set up with me, I can get all kinds of details about my visitors.

For example, I can see that in these past two weeks in February alone, a major organization has visited my site nine times. I have no idea what they're looking for, but having been cyberstalked before, I can tell you that I keep an eye out for anything suspicious. In my previous case, thanks to StatCounter, when the stalker actually threatened me, I was able to provide my local police with the IP address when I filed a complaint. Luckily, that incident and the stalker lost interest in me once the police showed up at her door. I wonder if I'll need to do that this time, that would be silly. Why on earth would a major organization stalk l'il ol' me?

But I digress. Other helpful facts my StatCounter shares with me:

1. Most popular search entries. In my case, my name is always in a dead heat with "sayings on Dove candy wrappers" (from a Thursday 13 post I wrote years ago).
2. Location of visitors. For fun, you can check how many countries and even how many visitors from each country have popped over to your website/blog.
3. Search engines used. Google, of course, always wins. But Bing is gaining speed and Yahoo and sites like pop up as well.
4. Most popular blog entries. Let's say you write a quickie blog post about dogs and suddenly your visitor numbers spike because dog fans are flocking to that post. You might want to consider writing more entries about dogs, increasing your traffic.

There are oodles of other things, but these are my favorite features. StatCounter is free for basic use, but you can upgrade for a nominal fee.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Interview Is Up!

In honor of my latest release, Nobody's Perfect, I've been interviewed over at the Avalon Authors blog. Stop by and leave me a comment!

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Five: Five Colors of Roses and Their Meanings

It's baaaaack! Yup. Valentine's Day is just a few days away. Whether you're a traditional red rose kinda person or prefer something unusual, roses are the go-to flower for Cupid's day. Here's a few options and what they'll mean to the recipient.

1. Yellow with red tips: I'm falling in love with you.

2. Coral: I desire you.

3. Lavender: It was love at first sight.

4. Yellow: I care about you.

5. Orange: I'm thrilled you're mine.

Whatever color you choose, be sure to include a statement from the heart to make your valentine feel special!

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Five: 5 Simple Steps to Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is one of my most requested snacks and for Super Bowl Sunday, you might want to add it to your menu. The best thing about it (besides the taste)? How easy it is to make. Look!

1. Soften an 8 oz. brick of cream cheese and beat in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add 1/2 (16 oz) bottle of buffalo wing sauce, 1/2 (16 oz) bottle bleu cheese salad dressing, 1 (12.5 oz) can of chicken (drained), and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese into cream cheese and beat some more until well mixed.
3. Spoon into serving dish and top with additional 1/2 cup shredded cheddar.
4. Bake at 350 until hot and bubbly (about 30-40 minutes) or cook on Low in slow cooker for 3-4 hours.
5. Serve with tortilla chips and fresh veggies for dipping.

Voila! Be prepared to make this A LOT! And, of course, feel free to experiment.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: