Category Archives: Speaking engagements

My State of Writing

I’ve struggled a lot these past few months to blog consistently. So often, that’s the writing I push to the back burner when life pops up with tedious little requirements like grocery shopping and feeding the family. 😉  It’s a bummer, putting it off, because while blogging isn’t my favorite form of writing, overall I enjoy it when I’ve had time to think over what I want to say. And like most things, I’m better at blogging when I practice more.

One decent side effect is that though blogging took a back seat, the editing on Treasure Bound continues on a semi-regular basis. I feel slow as a sloth at that, but I can honestly say I’ve kept up with the edits for the last few weeks. I wish I could work faster, but at least I feel the changes are substantial and accurate. I know someone will find fault with something in the book—maybe a detail about the Puente Map, or a liberty I took with the Castillo—but I’m trying hard to make my story as correct and entertaining as possible.

With all this said, then, I decided my December blog would be sort of a year-end recap of me and my writing life, along with a little progress report on Treasure Bound. So here goes.

Some of you may recall I started out on a good writing note this year. I had my blog up and running and produced two pieces a month (my 2017 New Year’s Writing Resolution) for a couple early months. I’m sad my resolution was shorter-lived than I’d hoped for. I’d tried something new this year, a formal editorial calendar and a social-media-post suggestion list. They both worked very well … to the extent I used them. Agh. After a short time, the printed lists became buried on my desk, only to be seen when I remembered to shuffle through the piles of paper.

Still, I have to say the quantity and quality of much of my writing (and marketing) has improved over last year. For that, I’m truly happy and glad. And along the way, I’ve had some fantastic experiences, too. This was a year of fun writing firsts: I guest spoke at a local book club where I discussed Emerald Obsession, answered questions, and read an excerpt from Treasure Bound; I hosted my first EO author signing in downtown Saint Augustine. I’m honored to say my signing was the best they’d hosted, despite being set up on short notice. Thanks again, AnaRosa Burke, for your incredible support! Also, this year saw me make new writer friends when asked to participate in my first Flash Fiction Blast hosted by my friend, fellow author Rita Henuber. Positive reviews and comments on my short, “Bitter,” gave me a lift, especially during the ongoing TB edit process.

And in between that, our Irma-extended trip to the Czech Republic, an extreme poison ivy allergic reaction, Thanksgiving week in a Georgia mountains cabin, still sticking with the crazy-but-interesting part-time job, freelancing here and there for NY, trying to finish the detail work and décor on our house, and taking care of the household and my hub, I’ve squeezed in time for editing Treasure Bound.

CZ Dad Garden
Blood Mountain, GA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you remember, I had that big ol’ cow in June when I realized I’d only half-written the story on my computer and had the other half scribbled longhand in my notebook. In mish-mash pieces, no less. Boy, was that a kick in the butt. But I’m happy to report progress!

Not that I have an updated word count to give you…yet. I’m still working through the whole story, adding scenes and transitions to the original “half” I’d keyed into my laptop. Right now, I’m only three-quarters of the way through. But, I’m fleshing out the secondary characters and subplots, and my critique group’s feedback is very positive. Yay.

Those of you familiar with the “exciting” ways of editing know that once I finish this second editing round, I’ll go through everything again. And again, and likely again. During each round of edits you read for something different. Though this stage can be draining, I sort of enjoy it, because that’s where I polish the story to a hopefully brilliant shine.

I’ll be excited to finish this round, though, because then I’ll reprint the entire manuscript and will read through all the additions in as few sittings as possible to check for flow and consistency. I’m prepared for the likelihood I’ll still need to write more, too. Not crazy about the possibility, but that’ll be an update for next year…hopefully early next year!

So that’s about it from my end. Crazy life, crazy book status, but s’all good. And all manageable.

Before I sign off for this year, I’d like to thank you all once more for traveling this sometimes-bumpy path with me. The company sure helps keep me sane. 🙂

And I wish you and your families, friends, loved ones a wonderfully Merry Christmas and a joyous, festive, peaceful, and loving New Year. May the best spirit of the holiday season stay with you year-round!

Christmas St. Aug

Hugs from me……….

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Book Club Brilliance

Every year, February’s brevity catches up with me, no matter how many times I remind myself it’s a short month. In my effort to keep on schedule, I’m squeaking in my second February blog with a few hours to spare. Whee! I’m lucky, though, because I have a fun topic for this post: book clubs. More specifically, my first invitation to attend a book club and to join the discussion as the author of the group’s chosen monthly read! What a freaking treat for me. : )

Through the most excellent graces of my friend Monika—she talked me up to her friend Melissa who’s part of this club—I was introduced to a wonderful group of authentic, candid readers who are in love with books.

As much as I appreciate book clubs, I haven’t participated in one before, even as a reader. And it hadn’t occurred to me to offer to speak to or participate in a book club discussion as a writer. Those of you who’ve followed my blog from the onset know I feel challenged by marketing and putting myself out there as an author.

And I’ll share this: discussing books and telling stories to friends is one thing, but stepping into the spotlight of this group felt so intimidating. It’s an entirely different experience to sit before a group of intelligent, time-pressed individuals who purchased your book on someone’s recommendation and then be held accountable for your words, creativity and entertainment value. I mean, what if these people hated my book? Or found inconsistencies? Or thought it too simplistic? I’ll say again, a tad bit intimidating.

That was, until I met this group of lovely people. Well-read, well-traveled, outspoken and outgoing, these women welcomed me and treated me like a friend while being honored I, “a local author,” joined their discussion.

And let me tell you, these guys do Book Club right: their once-a-month evening meeting begins with catch-up chats over a welcoming glass of vino and simple starters, is followed by a delicious, no-fuss meal (we enjoyed chicken chili, salad and fresh fruit; I’m hoping Natalie will hook me up with that recipe!), and culminates in the discussion of that month’s selected title. Their discussion format is straightforward and begins with the host opening with a book-related question or discussion topic to get the ball rolling. The conversation is free-form, with members commenting and asking additional questions until by consensus the evening ends. Simple, fun, effective, entertaining.

Vino
Cheese Platter

 

 

 

 

 

Every writer I know struggles with the desire to share stories but not to feel rejected by those who dislike, don’t understand or fear them. And we struggle with how to tell those stories the best we possibly can. The club’s questions were engaging and thought-provoking and even gave me ideas for a couple points I plan to work into the sequel I’m writing now, TB. Though a bit unnerving in the anticipation, in all ways, this experience was fantastic: the welcome, the interest, the engagement, the thoughtful and valuable questions and comments.

Bunch of Books

Though the group said they felt honored by my presence, I have to say I’m the one who was pleased and humbled by their invitation. They welcomed me and my story, Emerald Obsession, into their lives for a time; they allowed themselves to be carried away by my characters’ antics and transported to unfamiliar locales where they feasted on exotic fare. How fortunate am I?

Special thanks to: Melissa, Natalie, Leslie, Carolyn, Sarah, Kathy, Eleanor, Maggie, the fab ladies of (mostly) Davis Shores for their warmth, interest and welcome. Also, for your encouraging response to the vignette I read from Treasure Bound, my work-in-progress sequel.

You guys rock. Read on, ladies!

So, readers, do you belong to a book club? How does yours work? As I mentioned, I haven’t been in one before, but this experience really made me want to start. How about you? Let me know below or by email (carolyn@carolyngreeley.com). Thanks!

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Christmas Presence: My First Author Talk

My heart rate doubled. So many faces stared at me. In my hands, the pages of my speech shook, so I laid them on the smooth white tablecloth. Took a few deep breaths.

Did not imagine the audience in their undies or naked. TMI, for sure.

But the thought made me smile, loosen up, and I dove in. This was it, my first speaking gig as an award-winning author. And my early Christmas present. Huge!

Christmas tree

I’ve done a good deal of public speaking in various forms in my previous life as a Manhattan ad woman. Those appearances had been nerve-wracking, empowering, frustrating. But none compares to the experience of speaking about writing and my indie publishing experience to a group of attentive, non-captive Florida Writers Association members and guests.

In November, I’d been asked by one of our St. Augustine FWA chapter heads (thanks, Nancy Quatrano!) to join a panel of speakers for our December holiday meeting. When she approached me, I immediately said yes, thinking of the honor it would be: The opportunity to speak about my love, writing. I felt the first flicker of nerves later, when I sat to brainstorm the specifics.

But the truth is, writing my short presentation turned out to be crazy easy. Sure, I toyed with a few different directions to start, but once I sat and began typing, the words flowed, the message clear and concise: I took myself from NYC newbie writer to FL published, award-winning author, and I learned a hell of a lot—about publishing and life—along the way.

Author Awarded 2016
2016 RPLA Trophy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My real anxiety didn’t hit until the morning of my talk. But the openness of my fellow panelists, and the welcome of the FWA heads and audience members helped mellow me. After the first couple of minutes, I felt like a million bucks.

One of the best parts? The questions and interest from the group after my speech. Holy smokes! People asked questions, sought my opinion on publishing, wanted to know more about how I handled the pressures, time-constraints, technical aspects of publishing on top of simply writing. I knew I’d learned a great deal over the past years, but I hadn’t truly realized until then how my insights could help other writers, at least in some small way.

So now, at the end of this incredible year of more firsts, I give thanks again for the unique and humbling ways in which my life continues to unfold.

The holiday season makes me as reflective and maudlin as the next person. The new year is around the corner, and that’s soon enough to contemplate resolutions and remedies.

For the last days of 2016, I plan to be grateful for the joys of this year. They are many, though interspersed with sorrows. Though we’ve lost a terrible number of artistic souls this year, my year has ended on a writerly high note. I hope the same is true of yours.

I’m sending all best wishes for a year of betterment, of love, peace, happiness, growth and wisdom. Let’s continue to strive for this.

By the way, if you’d like a copy of my speech and the list of online resources I found useful on my publishing road, please let me know in the comments section or email me at carolyn@carolyngreeley.com. Sharing = caring. <3

Thanks again and Happy New Year!

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