Linda G. Hill

Life in progress


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6 Things I Learned from my First Book Signing

As you might be aware, I had my first ever book signing event last weekend in Kingston, Ontario–the city where The Magician’s Curse takes place. The lady in the shop where I bought my rose asked me if I was nervous. I said without hesitation that I wasn’t. And I really wasn’t–I’ve worked in retail many times throughout my life, and selling my own book didn’t seem that different. Besides that, I feel at home in a book store. I lurve them.

But like most things, the first time we do something is usually a learning experience. Right? Here are the things I learned:

  1. Smile at people and don’t be afraid to take the initiative to speak to them first. Otherwise, chances are they’ll just pass you by.
  2. Chocolate Kisses™ may seem like a good idea to have on the same table as a romance novel, but make sure to stress the “chocolate” part when offering one to a man who’s standing beside his wife.
  3. Bring something to take the lint off of a black top hat.
  4. Do what you can to advertise ahead of time. This is particularly difficult when you’re signing books in a store that’s a long way away from where you live: be inventive.
  5. Don’t do a book signing when there’s another major event in town that features a bunch of authors whose names are more popular than yours. (I’m looking at you, Kathy Reichs.)
  6. If you’re going to spend hours sitting beside a book written by an offspring of Stephen King, make sure it’s Joe Hill (particularly if your last name is Hill).

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be getting ready for my second ever book signing event. If you’re in the area of Belleville, Ontario today (October 8th, 2017), please stop by Chapters between noon and 3pm. And get a Kiss. A chocolate one.


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#SoCS – Make Me

There are times when motivation to see results is enough to get me to do the things I need to do, like dishes, or cooking for my kids so they don’t starve (okay, most of that is complaining, but whatever), or writing something so other people can read it. But other times, procrastination has a louder voice in my head. Facebook taunts me to see what the next thing on my newsfeed will be, and all the while procrastination is screaming, “Make me! Make me sweep the floor!” like an errant toddler.

Because really, procrastination is like a stubborn child. Think about it. It does what IT wants to do, not what’s gotta be done. It only cares about itself. It’s greedy and doesn’t like to share us with its grown-up counterpart, Responsibility.

It’s no wonder we need nice, shiny things to keep us motivated a lot of the time. In our everyday lives, when all is well and we’re stuck in our daily routines, something shiny is what we look forward to. To reach for. It’s no wonder I get more writing done during NaNoWriMo, what with that lovely graph to reach the top of. Something you might be able to relate to as a blogger, if you’re not an author, is the stats page. Who doesn’t want to get to the next level? Get more views than the year before? (Yes, I know some of you don’t pay attention to stats. Weirdos.) Goals. We all need goals. Otherwise, life is static.

So I’m off to do something I’m supposed to do. And not feed the screaming toddler. (Procrastination–I don’t mean my kids.)

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you by the letters “S,” “O,” and “C,” and by the Procrastination Television Network. Come and play! Everything’s A-OK! 😉 https://lindaghill.com/2017/09/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-917/ Click the link and join in!


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#SoCS – I’m actually nervous

When I started writing books, I thought, Bah! This is easy! And it kind of was for me. It was like writing a short story but not stopping at the short part. It was like writing a really, really long short story. Not really rocket science.

Little did I know the rocket science part was coming.

It started with the editing. First I had to figure out how to do that, so I read a gazillion articles, blog posts, advice columns, took courses … you name it, I did it. I still often consult the wise advice of others. That kind of learning never stops if you know what’s good for your novels. Then, finally, I decided after much intense deliberation to self-publish. I was told I’d have to market myself even if I went with a traditional publisher, so why not do it and keep the royalties to myself? So off I went on a new learning curve.

Articles, blog posts, advice columns … I haven’t taken the courses yet, but I’d be tempted if I wasn’t still learning the editing stuff. Yet what I read in these marketing columns, over and over, is that the most important part of marketing is a newsletter. Which brings me to today.

And why I’m nervous.

I have a newsletter. So far I’m the only one who’s signed up, but I have a “welcome” letter all ready to go for the next person who does. The next bunch of people, in fact. This is brand new territory for me and I’m kind of beside myself, because if you sign up and you read it–or worse, if you don’t read it–we can’t talk about it because it’s a one-way street.

I’m actually more nervous than I was when I released my first novel. Crazy, isn’t it? Ah well, here we go. Worst case scenario, I’ll close up shop and go back to the easy stuff: writing novels.

Click here – the signup form will open in a new tab. Thank you!

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to read all the other entries (you’ll find them in the comment section) and join in yourself! https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/25/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-aug-2617/


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#SoCS – High Times

High time I got around to writing my SoCS post, eh? I have 24 minutes ’til Sunday. I finally have time to myself. Got my glass of wine and my brand new container of Pringles that I just opened but suspect are somehow already stale. The expiry date is on the bottom of the tube, but it’s too dark here on the couch to read it. I can get up and hold it over my head near the light – I just sat down though. Time to be lazy. High time, in fact.

High time too that I changed my Gravatar picture. It’s now a selfie I took (hey, selfie isn’t a typo according to my spellchecker!) a year and a half ago in my hotel room in Akihabara. (Spellcheck doesn’t like that word.) I figure I’ve been depicted as a mannequin in a Santa hat long enough.

Update: the further down I go in my tube of Pringles, the fresher they get. And I’m out of wine. Be right back.

Miss me? Of course not. I wasn’t gone long. Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, highs and lows.

I’ve been measuring my days, of late, in terms of productivity and I don’t like it. My best friend (hi John!) always says that it’s a good day if he’s been productive and it kinda bugged me when he said it. Because good days should sometimes consist of doing nothing. (I almost wrote something rude – something my dog probably wouldn’t have appreciated.) The reason I feel this way is because if I do do nothing or get little done no matter how hard I try, I get stressed. And what good does it do to get stressed out about something I didn’t do in the past? There’s nothing I can do to change it.

I talk about this now because I have an entire week to look forward to of having Alex, my youngest, home with me. I’m going to get fuck all done (thanks, wine) and I don’t want to get upset about that because I know me, and I know I’m going to take that upsetness (thanks again, wine) out on my poor innocent angel. (Ha! I’ve gotta stop drinking. Oh look, Pringles!)

Okay, so my kid can get downright obnoxious when he wants to. But he mostly does it when I’m trying to ignore him and get my own work done. I know, I know, I can’t expect him to behave and do his own thing if I dote on him. He needs to learn to play and do things independently, and respect that I can’t always pay attention to him. But there’s a fine line there, I think. I’ll just have to be happy knowing that productivity, this week, is gonna be low.

This late and tipsy post is brought to you be Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to find everybody’s posts in the comments! https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/04/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-aug-517/

P.S. The Pringles aren’t supposed to expire until Sept. 2018, so the top must have been open. I’m gonna die!!
Waiter! More wine! I wanna go down happy …


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#SoCS – Setting a Ceiling

When we’re kids, we think we can do anything. Sky’s the limit. As we get older we realize that reality dictates differently. There are some things we thought we could do that we can’t. Flying by flapping our arms, for instance.

Putting on a cape and being a superhero may be one of the other things we might think we can’t do, but is that true? We might not be able to save the world, but I believe we limit ourselves to what we are conditioned to “know” of the world and how much we can change it. Sure, we may not be able to singlehandedly solve world hunger, but good deeds tend to roll downhill and gain momentum as they do. What we do today might have much farther-reaching effects than we can ever know. And if not, at least we tried.

It’s the same with personal goals. We humans tend to sabotage ourselves with our ideas that we can only go so far and do so much with our lives. I have a friend who was complaining (and with good reason) that he was stuck in a place of poverty, unable to fight his way out. Therefore, he is unhappy. I can fully understand that. Yet there are avenues – ones completely free of monetary cost – that he could pursue if he chooses to. I suppose that also depends on the depth of his unhappiness… I know what it is to feel completely unmotivated.

But I’ve learned one thing over the course of my life. The sky is the ceiling if you never go out. And the breadth of my imagination make the walls of my dreams. My belief that I can do just about anything I set out to do is only limited by my health and my ability to find ways around the barriers that inevitably come up. Yes, some barriers take years to navigate. But it’s only in those moments when I give up that the sky drops to eight feet above the floor.

… if this is what vertigo does to me, maybe it’s not such a bad thing …

This wildly philosophical post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link and join in today! https://lindaghill.com/2017/07/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-2217/

 


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#SoCS – Romance – Caution! This post has nothing to do with romance.

I never wanted to be a romance writer. That is, I never set out to be one. I’m more of a relationship writer. And let’s face it, romantic relationships are something most of us strive for, at some point in our lives.

Being interested in behaviors and the thoughts that make us all tick makes it a bit of a no-brainer that I’d write about relationships. Behaviors were explained to me in a course I took, for whatever reason, to learn about what makes my Autistic son do the things he does, and to learn to curb some of his inappropriate and unwanted behaviors. The most interesting (to me) thing I took away from that course is that we all engage in social behaviors, whether positive or negative. All the time. Every time we communicate with another human — or I suppose any living thing — we exhibit behaviors in order to get the response we hope for in return.

Smiling at a stranger, for instance, is a positive behavior. If I smile at someone, I hope for a smile in return. Okay, stay with me on this – these are just examples. If I stand in the middle of a crowded street and start crying, it might be because I hope for someone to try to comfort me, or ask me what’s wrong. This can be seen as a negative behavior. Manipulative, perhaps. Or maybe it’s a genuine cry for help.

The most important part of this is that our children do things like the last example, all the time. Whether they’re Autistic or not. Knowing, as a parent, what is a genuine cry for help and what is simply a manipulative behavior bent on getting our attention can be tricky, but discerning the difference can be a valuable tool.

Go back to the smiling thing. If I smile at, say, ten people I pass on the street and not one of them smiles back, I’m going to give up. My behavior is obviously not giving me the response I’m going for. Rather, it’s being ignored. Now take the screaming, crying child. What is yelling back at them going to do? Encourage the behavior, because it’s giving them exactly what they’re seeking. Attention. No words, and no amount of negative behavior back at them is going to stop their crying. But if we ignore it… and sometimes it can take ten times before they get it… their behavior will stop.

In the ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) program I was taking, it’s called “planned ignoring.” It’s very simple, and it works. I can attest to that.

Ah, romance. How the hell did I get here? Relationships. Right. All birds of the same feather. And this is why I’m a multi-genre but single-minded author.

This insanely all-over-the-place post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Find the rules and the prompt here: https://lindaghill.com/2017/03/17/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-mar-1817/ and join in. It’s insanely fun!


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#SoCS – Spring Forward and other ridiculousness

Well, I missed the deadline for my own prompt.  What a loser!! In my (self) defense, I was extremely busy playing Wii Party today, and basically trying to distract the kid long enough for him not to do all the things he does when he wants attention. Ah, what I’d give to have a sixteen-year-old who stays in his room and wants nothing to do with Mom for just a day.

So now that it’s Sunday, it means we here in North America (at least) are into our shortest day of the year. Not because of sunlight, but because we’re “springing forward.” We’re losing an hour of sleep… or are we? When I was kidless, I would have said yes. But kids wake up at the same time, regardless. They don’t look at the clock and say, ‘well, time to wake up because it’s 7 am already!’ No, they get up with the sun no matter what the clock says. So for us parents, it can mean a shorter day tomorrow instead of a shorter night tonight. Which means we can put them to bed an hour sooner and get more time tomorrow… or at least until the sun starts co-operating.

I’m probably not making an ounce of sense at this point. It’s 12:40, which means it’s 1:40… which means I should probably be in bed.

Yeah, let’s go with that.

This post is brought to you by yesterday’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Check it out at the following link and read all the posts! You can even join in… late, like me! https://lindaghill.com/2017/03/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-mar-1117/