Wasn’t Going To, But… Rant Ahead

This is another post I really battled posting, but it just pushed way too many buttons for me not to say something. I figured this was the best place to do so. This can definitely be filed under the “Don’t Be An Asshole” category.

Continue reading “Wasn’t Going To, But… Rant Ahead”

Quality of Work?

This is a subject that has been rolling around in my head for a while now and I’ve gone back and forth debating with myself over whether I wanted to post about it or not. Are we diluting the quality of our literature with the advent of self-publishing? Yes, I’m actually asking that as a self-published, indie author.

Continue reading “Quality of Work?”

Recital Bouquets – 2019!

I got them finished and they turned out really pretty. I had done the ribbon inserts last night, so all I had to do today was put them together. There are small things I’m not thrilled with, but I was sort of limited by what I was able to get. Working with the large ball hydrangea blooms also limited my options. Considering BG wanted the two different colors… well, it was an interesting challenge.

When we were looking at the flowers last night, I was really frustrated with the quality of my choices. I finally found the colors I wanted, but the one collection (the peachy hydrangea and the purple/white daisy), there were only two bunches and both had issues. In one, the daisies were perfect, but the hydrangea was a little… anemic looking. The other bunch was kind of the opposite. And… I needed to make two because I was making one for BG’s dance friend. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to get two really nice ones out of what I got. Thankfully, the blue hydrangeas were sold individually and I had several to choose from, so that helped. So did the fact that everything filled out overnight after I got them out of their packaging and in water.

And yes, I did say the costumes were all various shades of blue, but two of those blues leaned towards the purple end, so that helped. It isn’t a perfect match, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen with these colors anyway and why I always do the ribbon inserts. I think I did okay.

2019 Recital Costumes
2019 Recital Costumes

Now I’m going to chill out until the kids get home and the whirlwind of getting everything packed up, hair and makeup done, then the race to get dinner eaten and us all out the door without losing my mind kicks in. And all of that is just the trial run because we have to do it all over again tomorrow for the recital.

Showtime!

Well, it’s almost showtime. I have to do recital bouquets first, which is what is on my to do list for the day. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hard time finding flowers for a project. Granted, trying to create a bouquet that reflects this year’s costumes when the costumes all are some form of blue isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. I went to 3 different places last night before I found flowers that would work and that satisfied BG as I let her pick them out.

Now, to see if I can pull off arranging them in a way that doesn’t make it look like a disjointed mess. You’d think that after all the inspiration the pointe costume gave me this year, that it would be easy. Apparently trying to add in the others is blowing that creative streak.

Last Chance!

The sale and promo for any photo prints or my book ends this Sunday! Details below.

 

Original Post –

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m running a sale on pretty much everything. Pricing for everything runs from Monday, April 29th thru Sunday May 12th. If you’ve ever considered grabbing something, but just weren’t certain, now’s the time to pick up my book or a photo print. Either to treat yourself or as a really unique gift. The book would be especially fitting for a Mother’s Day gift.

My book, An Unexpected Turn, is on sale. The ebook is regularly $4.99 and is on sale for $2.99. Paperback is regularly $11.99 and is on sale for $9.99 (Amazon will not show as sale price and will most likely show early). This price should apply to all platforms, so please drop me a note if for whatever reason it isn’t. It is available in all of these locations:

An Unexpected Turn Cover
An Unexpected Turn Cover

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
Barns & Noble/Nook
Kobo
Apple Books
Scribd
Playster

 

 

 

ALSO… On my photo print site, everything is 25% off. All prints, stationery and household products like tote bags, pillows and the random phone case. Everything is included, just use the discount code at check out.

Photography Discount Code: NMHZHV

 

Do Or Don’t? Negative Reviews

I’m looking for legitimate feedback here, mostly because I want to understand other people’s thought process behind this. I have seen several people in the indie community expressly complaining about getting negative reviews on their work. I’ve seen traditionally published authors saying that it is a major no-no to tag an author in a negative review. I have even seen a book blogger or two mention the issue of whether or not to write those negative reviews. What are your thoughts on negative reviews?

I’ve always been for them because I feel like it is honest and, no matter the product, but books in particular, other people should have access to those honest opinions to be able to make a fully informed decision on if they want to buy/read something. As with everything, I feel like there are certain stipulations around that, though. I think it is an asshole move to leave inaccurate or malicious feedback just to be a jerk and because you can and that isn’t what I’m talking about here.

As an artist and a creative, it has always been my opinion that the second you do anything where another person can experience it, you’ve opened the door for criticism. Whether or not that criticism is justified falls into a gray area until you deliberately make that creation available to the public. At that point, as the creator, you have to accept the fact that people are going to feel the need to state those opinions. When you expect people to spend money on your creation, you absolutely are opening that door to criticism and, at least in my opinion, you do not get any kind of say in what that criticism is (again, the above exception being deliberately malicious or hateful). It is kind of like an unspoken social contract that criticism comes with the territory and it won’t always be something you like to hear.

I am truly curious as to why some people don’t agree with this concept. I want to understand the other side of this coin because, at the moment, I only see it as people only want to hear that they are awesome no matter if they are or aren’t. If I were to pick up a book with lots of 4 and 5 star ratings only to find it full of errors and plot holes and horrible characters, I would be pretty ticked off as a reader. I have never hesitated to write a negative review on a book if I felt it was necessary and, at least on Goodreads, those seem to be my most liked and commented on. Especially if it was contrary to many of the other reviews available.

Sometimes, even a negative review for one person can actually be what interests someone else because different people have different tastes and opinions. Some people adore steamy scenes, others want a steam free book, or issues with cussing or drugs or mental health issues. Some people may not want to read a book with a certain theme, but another will have that same theme at the top of the “must read” list. A negative review can bring some of those things to light and actually draw in new readers. A 1 or a 2 star review may not actually be a bad thing. Getting lots of those in an area may even alert an author to a genre placement issue or some other issue that got missed before publishing.

As far as tagging an author on social media platforms in negative reviews… that one may be a little different. Just because I don’t have a problem with people leaving negative reviews, as an author, I don’t know that I’d want those reviews shoved under my nose on a constant basis. Just because they are written, doesn’t mean I’m required to read them. Tagging an author kind of forces that issue and takes the choice away from them. I can only imagine how exponentially huge this could be, especially for a traditionally published author or anyone with a really huge following. It has always been my policy here to try not to link back to an author’s website in a review if it is particularly bad, but part of that is a lack of desire to promote an author if I didn’t like their work. I will link to the Goodreads page for the book, though.

Where do you stand on negative reviews and tagging authors and why?

 

 

Mother’s Day Sale!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m running a sale on pretty much everything. Pricing for everything runs from Monday, April 29th thru Sunday May 12th. If you’ve ever considered grabbing something, but just weren’t certain, now’s the time to pick up my book or a photo print. Either to treat yourself or as a really unique gift. The book would be especially fitting for a Mother’s Day gift.

My book, An Unexpected Turn, is on sale. The ebook is regularly $4.99 and is on sale for $2.99. Paperback is regularly $11.99 and is on sale for $9.99 (Amazon will not show as sale price and will most likely show early). This price should apply to all platforms, so please drop me a note if for whatever reason it isn’t. It is available in all of these locations:

An Unexpected Turn Cover
An Unexpected Turn Cover

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
Barns & Noble/Nook
Kobo
Apple Books
Scribd
Playster

 

 

 

ALSO… On my photo print site, everything is 25% off. All prints, stationery and household products like tote bags, pillows and the random phone case. Everything is included, just use the discount code at check out.

Photography Discount Code: NMHZHV

 

Today’s Project… Painting

I need to preface this with the fact that I don’t normally paint. If I do, it is almost always something small like the faces on my nutcrackers or something like that. I have done a few projects over the years, but I’ve never felt like I was very good at it. When I took pictures of BG in her pointe costume so I could use it as reference for the cake, I fell in love with the entire shot. It just would not let me go and next thing I know, I need to try and paint it, even though that isn’t really my thing.

Continue reading “Today’s Project… Painting”

Thank You Gift Completed

As is so often the case when I work with a project like this, the finished piece is a little different that what I originally pictured. The pictures also NEVER do the finished piece justice, especially when it comes to stones that have any kind of flash in them, and this one is full of flash.

Detail Wire Wrapped Fire Opal Pendant
Detail Wire Wrapped Fire Opal Pendant

I am so thrilled to have this piece done. It really has been a long time coming, but it needed to wait until now so it could be the perfect thank you gift to an amazing friend. It is more than worth the time and seriously achy fingers. It’s been WAY too long since I’ve done any kind of jewelry work and those calluses I’d built up are long gone.

Detail Wire Wrapped Fire Opal Pendant
Detail Wire Wrapped Fire Opal Pendant

This is definitely inspiring me to get back into my studio and do something with all those lonely stones just sitting in the dark. Maybe next time I’ll get my torch out and play with some fire.

And One More Time!

After not being able to work on that pendant yesterday and complaining rather loudly to Hubby, I realized that I was going to be way too frustrated by the time he got home to just borrow his reading glasses to work on it. That and he would need to take them with him when he went to work today so I broke down and we went and picked me up a pair after he got home so I don’t have to worry about stealing his. *Sigh* He and the kids could not let it go without at least a dozen “granny glasses” comments, so it is official. I have “granny glasses”. At least I can see to do what I need to do and I’ll be trying it again today.

It’s funny. I tried to see if it made a difference in what I can read, thinking maybe things really hadn’t been as clear as I’d believed. Uh, no. Not even close. I cannot read with those suckers on. I can see the individual lines of the tiny wires I need to see, but forget trying to wear them for anything else, so I guess I don’t feel quite so bad. Lots of jewelers need to use loupes and magnifiers to see some of that tiny detail work, so I shouldn’t be so upset that I need a little help as well.

Another Busy Day

Today is my day to get my butt back into my studio and work on a long overdue piece of jewelry. It has been a couple of years since I’ve done anything in my jewelry studio and this is not going to be an easy piece because, as usual, I can’t do it the way I already know. I have to do something different. Of course. Because I can’t make things easy. At all. Ever.

Continue reading “Another Busy Day”

Maple Leaf Buds

As if I wasn’t busy enough with book release stuff, I have to throw in my normal, every day stuff, too. That seems to have piled up into a mass of phone calls I need to make for appointments, dealing with problems with my web host, work on the design for the kids’ science club t-shirt, work on designing a jewelry piece (the first in VERY long time), and sketching out a list of about 10 other projects on my to do list. All of that was just yesterday and I didn’t even come close to getting it all done so I’m working on the rest of it today.

Baby Lily Leaves & A Reminder

To say that releasing a book is interesting would be an understatement. I’m doing all the things, no matter how much they grate on this raging introvert, I still do them. That said, apparently, BG, is way better at it than I am as she has managed to definitively sell one book to a classmate and has a second one who talked to a parent about it and now the parent wants to read it. All in a single day. Yes, my girl is peddling my book at school!

I am still looking for reviewers for anyone that is interested. I have 2 people committed, but still have a few spots still open. If you are awesome enough to volunteer, please drop me a note through my contact page, letting me know your interest and the platforms you would normally post reviews along with your format preference. I’ll provide you a copy in your preferred format, ebook for any platform I’ve published on or a print copy that I can mail to you. If you are posting to a blog, I’ll add a copy or snippet of your review to my AUT page with a link back to your blog as an additional thanks once the review is posted. (unless you don’t want that, then that’s okay too!)

 

 

IT’S HERE!!!

IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!! IT’S HERE!!!

Nope. I’m not excited. I’m all calm and cool and not dancing crazily around the house like a little kid at Christmas. Not. At. All. *as I’m trying not to scare the pets with my squeeing like a loon*

Book release goal #2 has been hit. I have held physical evidence in my hands that I did in fact publish a book. It is SO pretty!

Okay, now I’m done for the day. Maybe.

Looking For Reviewers

On to the part of the book process that I dislike with a flaming passion. Pretty much begging for help. As a raging introvert that struggles with most any communication, this part is excruciating, but necessary. That said, I do need some help from anyone that is willing to step forward and volunteer to read my little baby and give me a review. Ideally, I’d like to see reviews spread out in various different places like Goodreads, Amazon, B&N and blogs, but I’m not going to be picky.

I am looking to get between 3 and 5 people willing to write up a review in exchange for a copy of my book. I’ll provide their preferred format, ebook for any platform I’ve published on or a print copy that I can mail to you. If you are posting to a blog, I’ll add a copy or snippet of your review to my AUT page with a link back to your blog as an additional thanks. (unless you don’t want that, then that’s okay too!)

If you are awesome enough to volunteer, please drop me a note through my contact page, letting me know your interest and the platforms you would normally post reviews along with your format preference. This isn’t a contest, but more along the lines of “if you send me a message you will get a copy” unless I’ve hit my limit. If I see a lot of interest, then I may rethink the numbers, but I’d prefer to keep it small to start.

Massive thank you in advance to those that volunteer! I will update this post when/if I hit my numbers.

For those that haven’t seen it… the blurb… (oh, and I thought I’d mention that this falls into the women’s fiction and family life/drama genres)

“When I take a good look at my reflection, I’m surprised that the face looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t look different than the one I’ve seen staring back at me for the last 27 years. I see the same brown hair and brown eyes, the same heart-shaped face, the same upturned nose. I feel like I should look different. That my face should show the upheaval and the weight of the last day, that it should somehow show how much has happened, how the course of my life has changed, but everything is still the same.”

Life is rarely ever predictable. It is rarely even kind. But… sometimes… just sometimes, those unexpected turns that throw you into the chaos and upheaval of loss lead you to the exact place you need to be.

This is a story about love, but it isn’t a romance. It is about holding on when it would be easier to let go, about fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. It is about finding and creating family through the unpredictable, beautiful mess that is life.

One Goal Reached!

I didn’t set a lot of goals when I decided to publish my book. The ones I did set were small and, hopefully, achievable. Today, I reached my first one. I am now officially in my local library’s database and An Unexpected Turn can be checked out by anyone in its ebook form! Today is a very good day.

March Was Good To Me

Normally I’d say you can’t get much better than publishing and releasing a book, but… getting to celebrate 18 years with an awesome man ranks right the hell up there. And for that 18th milestone, that amazing, awesome man got me an upgrade for my camera that I’ve had for over 10 years.

Continue reading “March Was Good To Me”

Sweetness And Love Overload

I shared the above image with some friends, over the top excited that I will be holding physical proof of all  my hard work in my hands in just a few days. A couple hours later, one of my friends commented and posted her own tracking image showing her copy will be showing up before mine. I gave her crap for getting a copy before me, just joking and she, quite seriously said that I should get to hold the first copy of my book and she will be leaving hers in the package until I get mine. Cute melting heart. I may complain sometimes, but I really do have some amazing, awesome, beautiful soul friends.

Had To Share!

I really wasn’t going to book push today, but… I had to share. I’m so excited! I found my book available for recommendation at the library! It was one of the things I really wanted to try and make happen when I decided to go the self-publishing rout. When I found I could, I was absolutely stoked. Now, just because you can recommend it, doesn’t mean they will buy it. I don’t know for sure how my library does it, but the majority of my recommendations have gone through eventually. So, for those of you that really prefer to use the library, see if this is an option for yours. The fact that I’m in the catalog mine uses to order from means there is a chance yours would too. It is only ebook, though, not print. Still, I’m completely ecstatic today!

An Unexpected Turn: Book Birthday!

I am officially live on Amazon with the Kindle version! Happy Book Birthday to me! Please take a few to check it out. The blurb is below. Even if it isn’t a genre you normally read, maybe you have a friend that does and you’d be willing to slide this under their nose. If you are amazing enough to read it, please leave a review! Every tiny bit helps me to get this out there.

Other versions are slowly going live and a paperback version will be available soon! I’ll be keeping track and adding links on my AUT page.

 

Author: TJ Fox (ME!!)
Book Name: An Unexpected Turn
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Family Life
Rating: Excellent/Favorite (because of course it is!)

5+stars

Blurb: “When I take a good look at my reflection, I’m surprised that the face looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t look different than the one I’ve seen staring back at me for the last 27 years. I see the same brown hair and brown eyes, the same heart-shaped face, the same upturned nose. I feel like I should look different. That my face should show the upheaval and the weight of the last day, that it should somehow show how much has happened, how the course of my life has changed, but everything is still the same.”

Life is rarely ever predictable. It is rarely even kind. But… sometimes… just sometimes, those unexpected turns that throw you into the chaos and upheaval of loss lead you to the exact place you need to be.

This is a story about love, but it isn’t a romance. It is about holding on when it would be easier to let go, about fighting for those that can’t fight for themselves. It is about finding and creating family through the unpredictable, beautiful mess that is life.