Daily Tao ☯ 5.22.17

It's so nice to be home! Darling Husband and I had a lovely afternoon yesterday, the kitties were super excited to see me, there was even a block party (not for me, but fun to catch up with everyone.) Today I got up, poured my tea (oh, the joy of having the tea already made when you arise) and settled in to work. I haven't been alone for a few weeks, and as cool and fun and everything has been, the travel and interacting for days on end has gotten to this introvert. 

Nothing fixes me up like a nice day puttering around cleaning, doing laundry, and listening to podcasts, then writing! After a fun call with CC, in which we refined a bunch of the ideas I worked on last week, I am cleared to start writing this book. Which is good, because I'm antsy to create.

Speaking of creating, I received a cool email this morning from Chapter 16, Tennessee's premier online literary magazine, which you really should be reading, because they review all the best books. Here's a link! Chapter 16 came into existence when all of the local newspapers dropped their book coverage (boo-hiss!). Sponsored by Humanities Tennessee, and run by the indefatigable Margaret Renkl, it's a veritable treasure trove of book info. Today, she did a roundup of the upcoming workshops and conferences that are great for writers of all stripes, and I asked for permission to share. Get thee writing, people! 

Editor's Note

It's summertime and the living might be easy somewhere else, but here in Tennessee summer is the time when writers flock to conferences and workshops to hone their craft. Here's a list of upcoming opportunities across the state, the location where each is held, and the dates of the event. Please keep in mind that registration deadlines for many of these workshops are right around the corner, so take a moment now to click anything that looks interesting.

Sundress Academy for the Arts summer writing retreats (Knoxville, dates vary beginning 5/26)

Classes at The Porch Writers' Collection (Nashville, dates vary beginning 6/2)

Clarksville Writers' Conference (Clarksville, 6/2-3)

Mountain Heritage Literary Festival (Harrogate, 6/9-11)

Manifest Voices, a free workshop for teens (Chattanooga, 6/12-24)

Humanities TN's Appalachian Young Writers' Workshop (Harrogate, 6/18-24)

Utopiacon (Nashville, 6/22-25)

Humanities TN's Tennessee Young Writers' Workshop (Lebanon, 7/9-15) 

Crosstown Arts' Zine Workshop (Memphis, 7/15)

Belmont "Writing for Your Life" conference (Nashville, 7/18-19)

Tennessee Writing Workshop (Nashville, 7/22)

Killer Nashville International Writers' Conference (Nashville, 8/24-27)

I'm off to a retirement party this afternoon, and then the week stretches before me, unformed, perfect for diving into a new story. I can't wait!

Sweet dreams!

Sunday Smatterings

Happy Sunday, and SURPRISE! It's me, The Kerr! 

While J.T. is frolicking in snowy Colorado, I thought I'd join the rest of us whose faces melted off this week (why is it so hot in May!?) and talk about fun things I saw online. 

Guys, I'm not ready for another Tennessee summer. To be honest, I never am. Never been to the South? Everything they say about the humidity is true. Oh, the humidity!

This is how I plan to combat the heat June–October (because let's be honest, the temps stay sky high until Halloween).

oh, the humidity!

All right, all right, you came here for links. And links you shall get.

Many things captured my interest last week, so instead of my usual format, I'm piggybacking on J.T.'s instead. Because she is a smart lady.


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:

Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Summer Reading Guide. The forecast for good books this summer? Bright and sunny. (Place a ✔︎ by your Corny Joke of the Day)

Meet Mr. Frank, Nashville's 91-Year-Old Substitute Teacher. A WWII veteran subbing in public schools? I'd call that inspiring. You should read why he does it.

Shipt. You're an introvert's dream. And I love you.

Amazon Prime Now. I love you, too. Even though you introduced me to an unhealthy obsession with these maple pecans, and I can't find them anywhere else.

RIP, Chris Cornell. Thanks for producing most of my high school soundtrack.

The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir. I'm a sucker for a good memoir, and this one didn't disappoint. I read this book in fifteen hours—only breaking for sleep and work. It's that riveting.

Um. American Idol is coming back. But it won't be on Fox...

2017 Netflix Premiere Schedule. Because summer TV shows are important. 


And closer to home:

Bargains! There are still a couple of contests up on the Bargains page (including a 200-copy galley giveaway for LIE TO ME). Check 'em out!

Grab a Three-Chapter Excerpt of LIE TO ME! What!? Yes. You're going to hate me because you'll want to read more. But trust me, friends—this book is worth the wait. 


Folks, that's all I have for you. Stay cool, drink lots of water (and make sure your pets do, too), eat an ice cream sandwich, and we'll chat again soon!

Warmly,
Amy/The Kerr

Daily Tao ☯ 5.19.17

Back in 2016, when I was working on the book now known as LIE TO ME, I was struggling with my work. I knew I wanted to really tap into the creative universe, try something new and different, but something was holding me back. I have been doing this long enough to know that fear is resistance. 

I decided to really hit back at this resistance that was proverbially tying my hands behind my back. I printed three labels with the following reminders:

WHAT YOU SEEK IS SEEKING YOU

DON’T TRY TO STEER THE RIVER

WRITERS WRITE

I taped them on my laptop so they could inspired me daily, and put a starred reminder in my To Do List: Be willing to take one more step with TMA...

Today, I gifted my dad the laptop that wrote the book, as I have a new one that’s smaller, faster, and easier to write on. After we got it all set up for him, I peeled off the labels and put them in my bullet journal, so I’d never forget the inspiration they gave me. 

We writers take inspiration wherever we can get it. My Instagram account is dedicated to this sort of inspiration; that’s me trying to spread it out to the universe (remember, what you seek is seeking you). But I receive inspiration from you, daily. You read my work, you share it with your friends, you tell me when you love (or hate) something, you cheer the successes and comfort the failures. You are as important a part of my daily writing process as the little reminders I leave for myself.

As I sit here today, plowing through a synopsis, watching the snow-capped peaks and the flitting hummingbirds, I am struck by how much you help me on this creative path. So thank you!

Have a lovely weekend, and I’ll see you Monday. 

(Also, see our gorgeous new branding for these little dailies? Big kudos to The Kerr for keeping everything so gorgeous around here! She's up for Sunday Smatterings this weekend, too!)

Daily Tao ☯ 5.18.17

A MUCH better work day today. Solid planning and outlining, editing some cool stuff for a project y’all will hear about shortly, and, of course, a mega-storm that as of this writing has dumped nearly a foot of snow on us, with more to come, which spurred me on to great focus and energy.

I am worried about the goslings, and I saw a hummingbird, so we put out some food for them, so they have enough energy to stay alive in this. Other than that, it’s a stunningly gorgeous winter wonderland. It snows in May a lot out here. Growing up, it always snowed on or around my birthday. This is a nice treat, considering we came out for the snow in March and ended up in shorts. 

As much as I accomplished, I forget how hard it is to start a book. It’s super strange to have the ideas bouncing around but not be getting up in the morning to write them down yet. Such is the annoyance of the outlining process for me. I spent so many years just diving in and figuring it out as I went that this whole planning a book stuff isn’t my forte. But planning I am, and with luck, I can start actual writing next week.  

Amazon launched their new bestseller list today, which is a very interesting set up and a clear shot across the bow to the NYT. One list is for actual sales, and one tracks which books are being read. In doing that, Amazon acknowledges how we buy books but don’t read them right away. I’m guilty of buying books that I don’t read for months, and we’re conditioning readers for a sale, which is rough on front list, but a boon to our backlist titles.

Case in point, I’m curious to see which, if any, of my books ever show up on either one of these lists. 14, Taylor Jackson #2, is a Kindle Daily Deal today for .99 — will those sales be enough to push me on? I have no idea. Will this help tap into the zeitgeist, as they claim? Perhaps, though the Reads list is limited to digital, so it’s not a fully comprehensive look, because there are still a lot of people only reading print. But as far as I know, it’s the first of its kind trying to measure what people are actually reading, and so warrants watching. 

Will you be paying attention to Amazon Charts? Do you pay attention to any bestseller lists?

That's today's food for thought. I’m off to watch the snow and keep dreaming up plot points. Sweet dreams!

Daily Tao ☯ 5.17.17

Lousy day for concentration, as I’m sure y’all felt too. I spent most of the morning getting the folks settled. Had a nice trip into town, even treated myself to a rare latte, and came back raring to go. But it was not to be. I needed to do a spot of research, and the next thing I knew, I'd lost an hour.

Here's the thing about research. It creates black holes of interesting information that lead to galaxies far, far away from what you really need for your story. I tucked five or six articles away for future work and dragged my brain back to my current story, only to find it just wasn't happening. I was starting to get mad at myself until I realized I’d somehow disabled my Freedom. Argh! No wonder I was lost in internet space.

What's Freedom? It’s the program I use to keep my Internet turned off so I can’t get distracted, and it really does work. I use it because if I don’t, I really can end up in another galaxy online.

These hours aren’t really lost, if you look at it from the writer’s perspective. You never know what little tidbit, story, or picture will spark an idea that turns into the next novel. But you also have to be careful you don’t spend ALL your time on the “research”.

I’m going to cut myself some slack, since I haven’t really stopped moving for a few weeks now, and I probably need a day off. I’ll be back at it tomorrow with vigor (she says, hopeful!)

In the meantime, for fun, I give you a little something I stumbled across whilst in the black hole… it really is quite literary, if you think about it...

Sweet dreams!