Thursday, June 30, 2011

Website posts free press releases

Check out this site that allows you to submit press releases for new books, book signings, awards, events and special announcements for FREE.

AKAer  Chip MacEnulty told me about the site. Here's the link to his book.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quote of the day

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures,

but of the success that may come tomorrow.

You have set yourselves a difficult task,

but you will succeed if you persevere;

and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.

Remember, no effort that we make

to attain something beautiful is ever lost."
--Helen Keller

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A child's imagination

I love the way kids see the world.

I see a stick and think trash. My son sees the same stick and sees an alien blaster. Wow! What an imagination.

I always thought that the best part of childhood is imagination. Often children who are imaginative grow up to be creative thinkers and writers. Despite not recognizing the stick as an intergalactic weapon, I think I have a pretty decent imagination. How about you?

Can you think of some things you heard kids say or describe that showed their imagination? Here are some to get us started on a list.

1. A kid describes a crescent moon as the tip of a fingernail.

2. Why does the sky cry? Asks a child when it rains.

3. I want to see the bouncing lights. (Lightening bugs)

4. I picked you some pretty yellow flowers, Mommy. (dandelions)

Perhaps if we looked at the world through a child’s eyes we might rediscover its beauty.

Now, you're turn.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dropbox can simplify writing life

I must admit, I was a little leery about Dropbox when I was first introduced to the online storage solution by a fellow writer, but it's come in handy and has simplified my life.

    Here's how it works. Dropbox stores synchronized files in a cloud so they're available on any device I've installed this tool. So if I save a file to Dropbox, I can access that file via my smartphone, iPad, laptop, etc. And if I make a change to this file on any of these devices it is automatically synchronized  on all of them.

 So if I'm waiting in the doctor's office (and waiting and waiting and waiting) I can use that time wisely by working on my story by accessing it on my smartphone.  I can even invite my agent to a folder and she can access the same story.

     Here's a video that explains how it works much better than I can in writing and an article from PC Magazine. Do you use Dropbox?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Harry Potter going digital

Author J.K. Rowling announced today that her seven Potter novels will be sold as e-books starting in October— ending the boy wizard's status as one of the highest-profile holdouts against digital publishing.

"You can't hold back progress," Rowling said. "E-books are here and they are here to stay." 

Book prices will be announced closer to October.

Meanwhile, Pottermore, which Rowling created in partnership with Sony, will include an interactive reading experience of her books.

So what do you think of the ditigal announcement? Did it surprise you?

Here's the video in which Rowling talks about Pottermore.

This WIP is exhausting

I'm working on something that is extremely challenging for me in a number of ways. The book can be emotionally exhausting at times. It angers me, shocks me, makes me cry and yet I push on because I must tell this story.

I've been praying a lot about it, too. Asking God for His guidance and to give me the strength I need to pull these threads together. I'm a double-rainbow-kind-of-girl, so fitting the dysfunctional pieces of one life with that of another life has been my most challenging work yet.

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love this work. The characters are people to me and I want them to be happy and it bothers me that I can't make them happy. Now I know what you're thinking. Well, you're the writer. Make that happen. But that's not how it works for me. The characters show me the way and sometimes, well, sometimes I don't much like where they take me.

Do you ever feel like this? Please tell me I'm not the only weird one out there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh the wisdom of Calvin and Hobbes

“-You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
-What mood is that?
-Last-minute panic.”
Do you agree or disagree? Does the pressure of having to get something done help or hinder? And does it matter what the task is? For example, cleaning the house is different than writing. Maybe you need last-minute panic to clean the house but it would be detrimental to your writing, draining you of all creativity. Thoughts friends?

Monday, June 20, 2011

New agent open for submissions

Lauren Ruth is the newest addition to BookEnds and she's open for submissions.

She's looking for a slew of stuff, including literary fiction, romance, women's fiction, chick lit, young adult, middle grade and much more. Good luck to those who query her.

A minute list: summer day

Let's do a minute list. You know the drill. Use one word (or two)to describe the following. Mine is in ()'s. Copy and paste list into comments and add yours. Should only take a minute.

Firefly (bouncing light)
Grass (scratchy)
Garden (dry)
Pool (inground)
Beach towel (colorful)
Ice-cream cone (melting)
Yard sale (busy)
Bike (10-speed)
Hotdogs (grilled)
Sky (threatening)

Can't wait to see yours.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harry Potter vs. Voldemort Rap

Wow! This Deathly Hallows trailer is powerful

Here's the latest trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. The movie hits theaters July 15. Do you plan on going opening day? I can't wait!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I wish I could go to college...

My son and I went to his college advising day recently. I attended the parent sessions while he attended the student ones. After listening to all the speakers, I wished I was the one who was going to college. He has so many more opportunities than I had when I was his age. Tons of countries from which to choose a study abroad program, lots of cool clubs and classes.

OK, so I know that I'm dating myself (but you're only as old as you feel and I feel like a 12-year-old), but here's a list of some of the things I can remember using in college, some of which my son has never seen in his lifetime.

1. Smith-Corona Electric typewriter
2. Hot pot (good for making Ramen noodles)
3. Electric popcorn maker (Good for making Rice-A-Roni)
4. Rotary wall phone (Don't know how I ever lived without a cell phone)
5. Floppy diskette

What about you? Are there things from your college years that today's college student wouldn't know what to do with?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When your golf game sucks...

The other day, Hubs and I went golfing. Well, if you want to call it that. It was more like a game of let’s-see-if-we-can-hit-every-sand-trap. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I was frustrated and mad that my game sucked so much.

Wouldn’t life me great if all of our shots went straight (One of my balls stayed in a tree!), if we avoided every sand trap and never got in the rough? Yes, pure bliss.

Or would it be?

Part of life is failing and trying again. In many ways, I think we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. We learn (hopefully) what not to do. We practice until we get it right. We improve over time as we hone our skills.

Sounds a lot like writing, eh? It would be great if everything I wrote was golden. If all of my books sold and were huge successes. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. Dang! But that doesn’t keep me from trying. And it shouldn’t keep you from trying.

Tom Krause said: There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.

It’s so true.

So when Hubs and I go golfing this week, maybe I’ll avoid some of the sand traps I ended up in last week. Maybe my balls will go straighter and no trees will be stupid enough to get in my way. And maybe, just maybe, my game will be better. And that’s something I can live with.

And, who knows, with enough practice I might even get a hole in one – some day.

Rea my column: We learn from our failures

Quote of the day

“Your purpose in life is to use your gifts and talents to help other people. Your journey in life teaches you how to do that.” --Tom Krause

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chip Scanlan offers revision tips

Some people hate revision. Me? I love it. I love everything about it. Finding a more perfect word. Tightening. Strengthening the verbs. I love taking a not-so-bad piece and making it better.

On Thursday, I watched a webinar led by writing coach Chip Scanlan. I love this dude. Very down to earth. Anyhow, here are some of his tips. I think they apply to fiction writers as well as journalists.

1. Your first draft is going to suck. That's just the way it is. Chip says it's OK if it sucks. You can write badly because you're going to write well.

2. Read your story out loud. If you don't have a person to read it to you, use text-to-speech technology. If you do have a partner, let them read it and you mark up the hard copy with changes you need to make.

3. Use the "find and replace" key to search for all the "ly" adverbs and make your verbs stronger, more active.

4. Watch "to be" verbs. Instead of "was strolling" say "strolled."

5. Become the reader. Often when you allow some distance from your work you will see things you didn't as the writer.

6.  Learn by studying what other people write. Notice how they construct sentences, what works and doesn't work. Learn from their mistakes and apply these lessons to your own work.

7. Embrace revision. It's an important step in the writing process and one that shouldn't be rushed.

8. Never give up. Ever.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DC comics unveils plans

DC Comics is turning to its young heroes, unveiling new lineups and looks for the Legion of Superheroes and Teen Titans, among others.  

Also slated for a relaunch is Static Shock, one of the publisher’s African-American heroes created by late writer Dwayne McDuffie who championed more minorities in the pages of comic books.  

The titles announced Wednesday include “Legion Lost,” “Legion of Superheroes,” “Teen Titans,” “Static Shock” and “Hawk and Dove.”  

DC is launching 52 titles at No. 1 in late September featuring scores of its characters, including Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Justice League. 

--Associated Press

Cycle, er, write hard

I used to teach an indoor cycling class. They'd call me Buffy the Cycle Slayer. (Yeah, I know, the jokes never stop!) I wasn't above getting off my bike and standing in front of a rider and encouraging him or her to push their limits. Might sound a little extreme, like something a Cycle Slayer would do, but dang it if you were in my class you were going to work hard. Let me rephrase that. We were going to work hard. I was going to help you, encourage you to get through the intense workout and we would finish together.

I tell you this because the writing journey can be like a cycle class. It's grueling and there are times when you think you can't possibly push past the pain. But you can and you will. Your eyes might burn from your sweat. Your throat might be dry and your lips caked with goo. But you will not give up because I will not let you.

So the next time you're writing and you feel like you just can't pedal any more, visualize me standing in front of you, encouraging you to keep pushing, keep going.

So much of the writing life is the journey. Yes it's damn difficult. Yes, there are days when you'd rather eat that family size bag of kettle cooked chips. And, yes, there are days when you wonder if you have the talent to travel with the best.

When these doubts and fears creep into your life, push them aside like you mean it and keep pedaling. Once you get to the top of the hill, coming down the other side, with the wind in your face and the sweet smell of victory thick in the air, life is great.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Places to people-watch

On Monday we talked about finding character names in various documents (graduation programs; newspaper listings of honor rolls, births, divorces, obits, etc.) Today, I wanted to talk about places to go people-watching.

Since we had to arrive at the stadium 10 hours before my son's graduation to ensure we got a seat, I had plenty of time to watch people. So ceremonies of any kind are great places.

The other night I was volunteering at the concession stand for a Willie Nelson concert and let me tell you, I saw a lot of "things" from behind that counter. It turned out to be a great place to people watch, when I wasn't fixing nachos or chili dogs or pouring beer. (Just for the record, I turned out to be a really great beer pourer. I worked that tap like I was born to do it. I think I might have missed my calling.)

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to list places that are good for people-watching. Of course, the places on the list will work for some characters and not others. For example, a bar is not the type of place you go to people-watch kids and storytime at the local library is not the place where you go to people-watch beer-drinking idiots. With that in mind, I will start the list and you add your places in comments.

Movie theater
Fairs and carnivals
Coffee shop
Bowling alley
Sporting event
Snake hunt
Easter egg hunt
End of marathon
Yard sale
Grocery store
Lingerie store
Senior center
Electronics (game) store
Soup kitchen

Where's your favorite place to go people-watching?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wall Street Journal article about YA books

So what are your thoughts about this recent article in the Wall Street Journal about YA books?

Places to find character names

My son graduated last Friday. There were 388 kids in his class. As I read the program, in which all of their names were listed, it occurred to me that it would be a great source for character names. There was a lot of diversity -- from Indian to Asian to American. I pitied the poor soul who had to read the names during the presentation of the diplomas. I totally would have butchered many of the names.

I went to my niece's graduation the following day. There were only 34 kids in her graduating class. She graduated from a small Christian academy. But there were some really unusual names in her program as well.

So here's my tip for the week. Lists of graduates are a great place to find character names. And, you can also use the lists of students on the distinguished honor and regular honor rolls. Many of these lists are published in your local newspaper or available on your local newspaper's website or on the school's website.

Other places to find names in the newspaper:
Wedding and engagement announcements
Divorce listings
Marriage license listings
Crime reports
Birth announcements

Can you add to this list?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I love the e-edition on my iPad

My York Sunday News column for June 5, 2011

Hubs surprised me with a 25th anniversary trip to Key West. Yeah, I know. Got married when I was 10. One of the best things about the trip -- well, besides the awesome seaplane adventure to the Dry Tortugas, seeing where Hemingway penned some of his greatest work, visiting the house where President Harry Truman enjoyed spending time away from the White House, watching the interesting characters, enjoying the tropical climate and dynamic nightlife and nightly sunset festival in Mallory Square (Whew!) -- was getting the York Daily Record/Sunday News E-edition on my iPad.

I know. I know. But once a news junkie, always a news junkie. And my trusty old iPad -- that Hubs bought me (wink) for Christmas but had no idea how much he paid for it until after the bill arrived -- made staying connected and up to date on hometown news a breeze.

If you own an iPad and you subscribe to our e-edition, you definitely should check out the presentation on your tablet. Just go to the App Store and search for "York Daily Record" and install. Use the same username and password you use to access your e-edition online.

The e-edition replicates the print issue and the iPad delivers an enjoyable viewing experience. For iPad users, it's intuitive. Touch the page number at the end of a story on the front page to go to the jump page to finish reading it. Touch URLs to go to websites and email addresses to send emails. Use the pinching method to reduce or enlarge type. Touch a story with two fingers and the screen splits, putting the replicated page on one side and the story on the other, which you can then enlarge if you need to.

I know that I'm raving about this e-edition on my iPad, but I'm in love with it. It's convenient, easy to use and truly allows me to know what's going on at home anytime, anywhere I am.

I hope that if you have an iPad you give this a whirl. I'd love to know what you think of it.

And just to make sure you're in the loop, here's the skinny on some of our other great apps.

-- We have a really cool free (emphasize free) smartphone app for those of you who love going to yard sales. And I know there are a lot of you. Just download the Yardsalespa app for Android or iPhone and you're in business.

This totally sweet app lets you find yard sales by street address and gives you GPS directions to each sale. Plus, you can save your searches and map out your day. Seems like a gotta-have tool for bargain hunters.

-- Our York Daily Record smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone. And it's free. Get the latest news on the go. Unlike the e-edition, it's constantly updated with the latest news and information.

-- To get live high school sports scores and more, download our free GameTimePA app. It's available for both Android and iPhone.

Social media and the newspaper

As the newspaper industry continues to evolve, one of the many ways we connect with our readers, in addition to print, is through social media.

Some of you we see regularly on our Facebook page or on Twitter or the Exchange or one of our many blogs.

We understand that social media is an important tool for citizen journalism, and it's my job, as social media coordinator, to make you aware of all of the ways you can get the news and information you want.

Chance to win tickets to Hersheypark

Comment on my "Don't Miss" post of June 3, 2011, on Buffy's World blog ( and you'll be put in a random drawing for two tickets to Hersheypark.
Deadline to comment is June 9, 2011.

Some of my posts

Dear Social Gaming, I'm just not that into you. Sorry. You're too needy and, well, I just don't have time to raise crops or expand franchises or build armies.

I don't know how I ever wrote without a computer. I mean, the dang thing is like an appendage.

Waiting for coffee to kick in. Come on, joe. Get your act together.

I don't understand why my computer can't keep up with me. I swear it's slow on purpose. Ugh!

Why did I just down a Hershey's bar when I have carrots sitting on my desk?

I wish writing was like eating chocolate. I never have any problem eating chocolate and it always tastes great.

Follow me online

Twitter: @Buffyandrews

Smartmamapa (
Flipsidepa (
York Daily Record/Sunday News (

Buffy's World (
Buffy's Write Zone (

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Minute list: Graduation

Let's do a minute list. You know the drill. Use one word to describe the following. Mine is in ()'s. Copy and paste list into comments and add yours. Should only take a minute. In honor of my son's graduation tomorrow, graduation is the theme.

Tassel (orange and black)
Gown (flowing)
Diploma (framed)
Speech (humorous)
Party (wild)
Gift (handmade)
Card (musical)
Scholarship (academic)
Family (loud)
Weather (hot and humid)