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Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, January 23 2021

Rhobin is putting us on the spot this month asking: What is on your writing to-do list for this year? Do you have any long-range goals or just wrap-ups?

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Where to start? Considering it’s already the 23rd of the month and my goals for the year, prior to writing this blog were kind of vague wishes, it really was time to get serious. I used to make New Year’s resolutions for all aspects of my life and most of the time kept them, but the last few years I’ve slacked off. I don’t want to admit it might be my age, but if I’m honest, it probably is. I’ve been retired for ten years now and finally come to a point where I’m happy just to enjoy each moment of my day without feeling like I have to accomplish something. There’s always tomorrow, isn’t there? Of course, we all know that eventually my tomorrows will run out, but for now, life is pretty good. My personal life, anyway. We won’t get into the contentious politics and outright hostility in my country, or the devastating effects of Covid 19. I’m just thankful to be healthy, active and enjoying life, even if parts of it are via various online entities.

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But back to my writing goals. Sort of related to my writing is my reading. As an author, I know how vital it is to have reviews for your books, so my first resolution is to read a book a week and write a review. So far, I’m up on that, having posted #3 and soon to post the 4th.

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I got derailed last fall halfway through FRAMED, the second book of my new mystery series. First it was a problem with plotting – I’m a pantser so plotting is a major challenge. Then it was the final days of my furry buddy’s life and his passing that left me feeling lost and aimless. I did a lot of walking and a lot of missing my dog. At first, I said I wasn’t going to have another pooch, it was too hard saying goodbye, but before long I realized this house and my life just felt way too empty. Duffy had been a great dog and his paws will be hard to fill, but I needed to try. So, the hunt was on at rescues and online. I finally ended up on a waiting list for a Golden Retriever puppy that was born on November 30. I will pick her up in two days and I’m eagerly anticipating her becoming part of my life, although I admit Jessi is going to be a serious distraction for a while. But in spite of housebreaking, training and playing with Jessi, I am determined to get FRAMED finished and off to the copy editor now that the holidays are past and I have no more excuses. I have faithful readers asking when my next book is coming out.

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I am also noodling on story ideas for another book in my Camerons of Tide’s Way series. Many of my readers have asked if I’m ever going to write another, but my original plan was for 6 books, and that’s how many I put out there. However, in KEEPING HIS PROMISE a secondary character walked on stage about two thirds of the way through the book. It was a character I suddenly realized I needed for the story and hadn’t created before the book began, but here he was, demanding my respect and a place in the story. At the time, I didn’t think too much about where he would go in the future, only what his place was in that book, but since then I’ve begun to wonder how he made out with his project. And, since the series itself is contemporary romance, I’m going to have to find him someone to fall in love with. So, that is another of my goals for the year. Once FRAMED is off to the editor, I’ll start working on Lucas Trevlyn’s story.

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I am also entering a short story for the first time in the contest to be included in the annual Florida Writer’s Anthology. Every year, they put one out with 30 or so short stories, the best of all that have been submitted. There is a theme to the anthology and this year, that theme is Footprints. I’ve got my first draft of that and will be working on polishing and getting it submitted.

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Then comes the marketing stuff. I am horrible at marketing. I hate it and manage to procrastinate on all the stuff I do take on, and dismiss a lot of options I might do, but choose to ignore. This year, I want to try putting some of my indie books on sale via Amazon. I’m also going to look into Goodreads options. At the start of last year, I planned to walk into shops downtown here in St Augustine that carry books by local authors (both book stores and shops that cater to tourists.) But Covid happened and walking into any place was totally out of the question when BULLSEYE, my first book set right here in St Augustine came out in late February. I kind of thought by fall I might follow up on that, but the next wave of cases and tightening of precautions got in the way. So, now I’m planning to take FRAMED, as soon as it’s out along with BULLSEYE and see if I can make that happen. Hopefully the vaccinations will be well under way and life getting back to normal again on main street here and all across the country.

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Lastly, I am going to make a better effort with my newsletters. Last year I totally slacked off after the announcement of BULLSEYE’s release. In the past, I’ve showcased other authors and their new releases as well as my own, had “interviews” with characters from my own books and others, as well as just touching base with my readers.

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Those are my goals: two new books written and released, a short story I hope will make the cut in the FWA 2021 Anthology - Footprints, 52 book reviews and a more aggressive marketing effort, including a return to writing newsletters.

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Check out what the other authors in our Round Robin Blog Hop plan to do this year:

Victoria Chatham 

Beverley Bateman 
Connie Vines 
Dr. Bob Rich 
Anne Stenhouse  
Diane Bator 
Fiona McGier 
Judith Copek 
Rhobin L Courtright 

Marci Baun 

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 12:01 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, January 15 2021

Just released ...

Liz Johnson single-handedly raised an exemplary daughter—honor student, track star, and all-around good kid—despite the disapproval of her father and her small town. How could that same teenager be responsible for the death of the high school’s beloved football coach? This is Texas, where high school football ranks right up there with God, so while the legal battle wages, the public deals its own verdict.

Desperate for help, Liz turns to a lawyer whose affection she long ago rejected and attempts to play nice with her ex-husband, while her daughter struggles with guilt and her own demons as she faces the consequences of an accident she doesn’t remember.

Available everywhere - find Buy Links at: CaraWrites.com/blind-turn 

Skye: Today I am pleased to welcome Liz Johnson, the main character in Blind Turn to Blogging By The Sea. Nothing better for getting to know a new character like meeting them in person.  Liz, it's such fun to have you here today. I'm wondering what your life was like before Cara decided to plop you down in this book, Blind Turn. 

Liz: My life was okay—not exciting, but okay. My only daughter, who I basically raised by myself since her father was too busy with his fishing boat, his hunting dogs, and a rotating cast of girlfriends, was just beginning her junior year of high school. Besides being an all around great kid, Jessica had excellent grades and was a stand out track star. Based on my income working as a nursing home day manager, we had high hopes for her to get a scholarship to a good school which would lead to a successful career and a great life, somewhere beyond this tiny Texas town where most of the time we feel like we live in a fishbowl. I was solely focused on Jess, and hadn’t begun to think about what my life would be like without her. Being her mother had defined my life.

Skye: I was a single mom for a good part of the years when my four kids were growing up. I know what you mean about they kind of define who you are and it really is hard to figure out who you are without them. What do you see as your strongest characteristic?

Liz: I’m determined—I set my mind to things and don’t let circumstances or people get in my way. When it came to Jess, I was willing to sacrifice my own happiness and dreams to be sure that she had a good life and a chance at something more.

Skye: So, before Jess, were there any secrets in your past that make you blush?

Liz: Doesn’t everyone have secrets? In our tiny town, it’s hard to hide them. My biggest secret became obvious to everyone when I got pregnant the spring of my senior year. Until that point, I was the smart kid headed to Baylor to study biology, but once my secret was out, my whole world changed.

Skye: I can only imagine. Becoming a mother is a life changing experience at any point in your life. But tell me, Do you ever argue with your author? Like maybe you didn't want to be an unwed mother.

Liz: I argued a little with my author, only because I wanted to share my side of the story. For a while, she planned to tell Jessica’s story and mine was only backstory, but eventually, she let me have my say.

Skye: As it should be. So, what is your biggest joy in life?

Liz: My daughter has always been not only my biggest joy in life, but the focus of my life. After the accident, finding joy in anything was much harder, but in the end I think I expanded not only my definition of joy, but my openness to it.

Skye: Is there anything about yourself you’d change if your author listened to you?

Liz: That’s a hard question—I don’t feel ashamed about anything in my life; I have no regrets. Sure I wish a few things had been different, but if they were it might have changed the outcome and I love my happy ending.

SkyeTell me about a couple your fellow characters that you think make this book engaging.

Liz: Well, I already mentioned my daughter Jessica- the light of my life and also a typical teen struggling with who she is and who she wants to be. But there’s also a quirky kid next door named Dylan, who despite some questionable wardrobe choices and being several years younger than Jess, proves to be a real friend who helps her when she needs it most by being honest and available. I probably have to mention my ex-husband Jake who lives in a falling apart housetrailer with two smelly hound dogs and fixes cars for a living. Jake has never had any trouble finding fun, in fact, that’s probably what drew me to him but also what ended our ill-conceived marriage. There’s another guy I’d love to mention, but I don’t want to give too much away. Plus a high school guidance counselor, my sister in Minnesota, and the victim’s widow who shared their wit and/or wisdom at just the right moments,

Skye: Well, I'm looking forward to meeting these folks. I love quirky characters - they add such color to a story. And, as you say, support and love often comes from the least expected places. And now that your story is out there for folk to dive into, tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?

Liz: Cara writes all sorts of things beyond novels—blogs, freelance articles, and two memoirs about her experiences fostering dogs. She also co-founded a non-profit called Who Will Let the Dogs Out to raise awareness and resources for shelter dogs. She has three of her own dogs, plus two horses, a barn cat, and a dozen chickens in addition to a rotating roster of foster dogs and cats. Readers can find information on all of that (and lots more) at her website: CaraWrites.com

Skye: Thanks so much for joining me today, Liz. It's been a real pleasure. 

Readers - you might also want to check out Cara ßue Achterberg's book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting

A challenging foster dog invites an experienced foster mama to explore where the endless stream of unwanted dogs is coming from and how it will ever end.

After welcoming her one hundredth foster dog (and her puppies), Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate. What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world. Cara fosters her most challenging dog yet and she and her husband are pushed to the brink of what they will do to save a dog. Cara wonders why the need seems endless. She hatches a plan to head south on a Thelma & Louise-style road trip. Each stop exposes more of the realities of rural animal shelters. The hopelessness seems unsurmountable until they discover one shelter, deep in South Carolina that has found the answers and is truly a ‘no-kill’ shelter. One Hundred Dogs and Counting will introduce the reader to many good dogs, but also to inspirational people sacrificing personal lives and fortunes to save deserving animals. It will offer not just the entertaining stories of plenty of loveable good dogs, but the real problem of unwanted animals in our rural shelters, and how the reader can be part of the solution.

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 03:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida
    skye@skye-writer.com

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