My Shirt Isn’t Inside Out, But I’m Not Sure About the Rest of Me #MondayBlogs #SINCCW2018

Well the good news is I haven’t worn my shirt inside out all week. Mind you, that’s only because it’s one of the three things I focus on every morning.

Launching my podcast, Blood, Sweat and Words, is frazzling. When I complete one task, five more appear. Some items are easy. Others , not so much. Imagine editing the sound of paper turning. That’s my life right now.

My First Recording Goes Wrong

It was the first day of recording for me. My very first. I had everything set for 9 a.m. my time. I went on Skype early and stared at the screen, willing it to be kind to me. I had my notes ready and a glass of water.

What could go wrong?

I thought about that. We had over 500 wild fires raging in the province so the air quality was deteriorating by the moment, but I figured I could handle that. It would only be a ten to twenty minute discussion and I had cough drops.

My nerves were frayed, but I had picked my daughter (aka J.C. McKenzie) for my first interview, so I expected it to be okay. Not only would she forgive me for whatever mistakes I made, she would make me laugh about them later.

So … what could go wrong?

At five to 9 I dialed J.C. on Skype. It rang once, twice and then …

Kaboom!

Skype boot me out and told me to go see Microsoft. What the heck! The house phone rang. It never rings. I picked it up. My husband told me a new hose wouldn’t do, the mechanic said we need a thousand-dollar radiator. My cell phone rang. J.C. asked me why I hadn’t called her.

It’s now 9:00 a.m. I have my landline phone in one hand, my cell phone in the other and I’m staring at my computer screen which said — go talk to Microsoft. How could the universe deal me so many things at one precise moment?

I wanted to scream, but I had no time.

If I wrote this scene in a book my beta-readers would wince. No one would believe it. Too many aliens, as they say. It lacks believability. But yes, it happened to me.

End of story. The radiator is in the van. It took me twenty minutes to make Microsoft happy. And J.C. and I did record that day. As usual, she was funny, entertaining and informative. It’s the Sept. 28th episode: Science Geek to Author, btw.

What have I learned from this? To stop asking myself what could go wrong.

15 days … and counting.


My Mystery Weekend

On Friday I went to Victoria with two writing friends, Judy Hudson and Jodie Esche, to attend a “Summer Retreat” hosted by the western Canadian chapter of Sisters in Crime (SINC).

It was fantastic.

The night before the event we met downtown for a casual get-together at the famous pub, Swans. The room that was booked wasn’t available due to renovations so our group was cast out into the main pub with the blaring music. I nodded my head a lot:) as it was difficult to even get people’s names, in the noise. But we still had a good time.

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Organizer and writer S.G. Wong with Jodie Esche
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Famous mystery writer Laurie R. King with Judy Hudson

We stayed at the Chateau Victoria.

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We travelled by car, not horse, but I had to take a picture of this scene.

Our room was amazing! As I drank my morning coffee on our fourteenth floor balcony,  I watched cruise ships in the harbor and people strolling around downtown. In the distance I could see Washington.

Here’s a bunch of us having a final breakfast together at the restaurant “Vista 18” at the top of the hotel, which overlooks all of Victoria.

 

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Judy, Glen Jodie, me (and yes I do have eyeballs) and Marjorie
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I’m not sure who ate all of this, but when I looked down it was all gone. That’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The one day SINC retreat was held in the  plush-beyond-words Magnolia Hotel. There were five sessions and they were all good. I’ll tell you about my favorite three:

Janice MacDonald

“Inclusion Rider: Populating the 21st Century Novel”

A mystery novelist with an academic background, MacDonald gave us a lot to think about. She talked about the history of the genre, the slow acceptance of it in academic circles and the dynamics of the basic structure. While there is a well-worn mystery formula, it is constantly evolving. The writer needs to play with the conventions and inventions. The reader knows the conventions well and expects them. She waits to see what the writer will do with them. The world within the mystery story is defined and inclusive. It gives the reader a feeling of belonging and  promotes: integration, inclusion and tolerance.

Things to avoid: tokenism, bandwagon tailgating, painful dialect, stereotyping, product placement and virtue signaling.

S.G. Wong

Tinker & Tailor: Author Marketing That Suits Best

An Arthur Eliis Awards finalist,  crime and speculative fiction novelist and speaker, S.G. Wong, fearlessly took on the beast in the room: marketing. She talked about targeting “the reader,” not a demographic group or “everyone,” but “the reader” who will love your book. She discussed strategies and tactics for effective marketing. I appreciated her calm, practical advice to develop your own strategy that fits  you and your career goals

Laurie R. King

Sustaining a Series

“Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories. She is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology.” (from her website)

King is an amazing speaker. I could listen to her talk about anything. She told us about her mystery series and how she sustains the reader’s and her own interest in the stories as they go along.

It was an honor to hear her speak, and I’m downloading her books right now.

Sisters in Crime (SINC) 

rock! This was the first time they had a conference in Canada and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The organizers and one volunteer were friendly and helpful, and the sessions were informative and inspiring. I hope they’ll do it again.

I got the pin. Needless to say I’m thinking of becoming a member.

That’s my Monday chatter. I hope it reaches you in good spirits and health.

 

 

 

My BS and Words Podcast is Coming Together #Mondayblogs

Weeks into the process of developing my first podcast, Blood, Sweat and Words, I’ve come up for air. I can see launch day approaching and my initial fear is morphing into a giddy-excitement.

The turning point came in Costco. I know great epiphanies are supposed to take place on top of mountains or on deserted beaches, but mine came in a big-box store. I was standing in line for a cheap latte, craving caffeine to fuel my frantic state, or whatever you want to call the buzz that takes over your body when you are about to take a creative leap, and the woman in front of me turned and said, “You realize your shirt’s on inside out.”

Everyone turned and looked my way. I laughed, excused myself and fixed my darn shirt. Once again the universe reminded me to not take myself too seriously, and to get things straight.

“One episode at a time,” I tell myself.

To bring  you up to date: I’ve made a home for my new baby, scheduled everything but my breathing and covered the walls of my office in sticky notes. For me, these are good signs. The love and support of fellow authors has been tremendous, and I can’t thank everyone enough. Writing buddies, near and far, rock. I’ve also had a lot of support from the Podcast Paradisers.

This is my schedule for the first two months. Have a look and see what you think.

Tuesday September 4th – Launch!!!

I’m launching with 2 episodes: All About Jo-Ann Carson, and The Digital Revolution (or, A Virgin at an Orgy and a Really Big Fish) a monologue by me.

Then, the interviews begin:

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Tuesday Sept. 11th – Stephanie Spicer, A Voice Actor Talks About Audiobooks

Tuesday Sept. 18th – J.C. McKenzie, Science Geek Turns Author

Tuesday Sept. 25th – Abigail Owen, An Author Helping Authors

Tuesday Oct. 2        – Suzan Tisdale, #GetLoud #StayLoud

Tuesday Oct. 9        – C.J. Hunt, In the Business of Helping Authors

Tuesday Oct. 16      –  Bonnie Edwards, Sex on the Page

Tuesday Oct. 23      – Willie Nikkel, Why We Need Thrillers

Tuesday Oct. 30     – Eileen Cook, A Writer’s Coach

Blood, Sweat and Words is about writing today. I want to create a community where we discuss the ups, downs and “crazies” of the publishing environment we work in. The podcast will be weekly and can be downloaded from Apple, Google, Stitcher… all the regular pod spots as well as from the website, www.BloodSweatandWords.com.  You can subscribe to it from any of those places as well.

In addition, it has it’s own weekly newsletter that offers writing tips and information on upcoming episodes.


My latest audiobook release!!!

Narrated by Stephanie Spicer, who adds her own special magic to the story.

It’s available on ACX, Audible and Amazon.

Or … I have a deal for you …

I’ll send you a free copy in exchange for an honest review (but you have to be a member of Audible.com (the U.S. one) for the code to work). Contact me at connect@jo-anncarson.com.

Blurb:As the janitor in a haunted house, single mom Abby Jenkins has many contacts with the living and the dead in the small Pacific Northwest town of Sunset Cove, which puts her in a perfect position to solve local mysteries. Or so she thinks. Hired to find diamonds hidden in a haunted manor she gets help from a Viking ghost with existential issues. Will she survive? This book contains bad-boy ghosts, mischievous magic, and a woman who knows what she wants in a Viking hayloft.

 

Why are Most Podcasters Male? #Mondayblogs

My short answer: I don’t know.

I read somewhere (and of course I haven’t been able to find the spot again)) that 80% of podcasters are male. I can’t find any stats to support this claim, but looking through the lists of podcasts, I have to say there does appear to be more men than women behind the mikes.

Why?

Is it the topics? … the tech involved? … an identity thing? Do we prefer to hear male voices? What’s the deal?

Topics?

You can find a podcast about anything, so it can’t be a topic issue. I rule that one out.

The Tech?

I have to say, setting up a home for my podcast, Blood, Sweat and Words took way more tech-savvy than I expected. Being married to a programmer, I’ve had a computer since the eighties and I’ve set up several websites and blogs, so I thought making a cozy home for my baby podcast would be easy.

No, just no. It’s not.

I had to marry WordPress, GoDaddy and Blubrry to get the result I wanted. It took time, patience I didn’t have, and time. There’s a reason it’s called, Blood, Sweat and Words.

I’m now working with a support group btw, called Podcaster’s Paradise.

Getting back to the issue of whether the reason there are more male podcasters than female, I have to point out that there are lots of tech-savvy women out there, so “tech issues” alone shouldn’t be the problem.

Identity?

Is it “cooler” to be a podcaster dude, than a podcaster gal? That sounds so ridiculous. In an age when we’re finally recognizing identity is larger than all that. But still, there are cultural norms that are pushed on us that make us think weird things. I wonder if podcasting doesn’t have the same draw to women, as it does to men.

Voice?

Voice matters. Ask Siri. She always sounds sincere.

Voice matters.

I have a favorite story about that. I used to commute to work on a provincial ferry. Every sailing an announcement would come on telling passengers in a boring voice, where they were going and warning them  the ship’s horn was about to blow. One day they put on the same message spoken in a female, sultry voice. I loved it. Everyone I talked to loved it. It made us all smile. Brightened our commute. It was pulled within a month. Yes, voice matters.

But I doubt that podcasts have failed to start, or failed afterwards, because of voice. Furthermore many major communication voices are female. Just ask Siri.

Taking the Leap

Is it a leaping issue? Are men more willing to jump off the cliff and try something new than women? Ew, I hate to think that would be the case, but I wonder.

My Best Guess

I’m going to be not politically correct here. I think it’s a combination of the tech challenges and willingness to leap.

What do you think?


Up for pre-order for 99 cents

Death by Tarot

When the cards are stacked against you, run.

Who would be crazy enough to send death cards to people in Sunset Cove, a small, Pacific Northwest town famous for things that goes bump in the night? Single mom, Abby Jenkins is hired to find the culprit, and while she is a witch and private detective, she hasn’t a clue about who would deal such a gruesome hand.

Unease settles into the town as tarot cards arrive on doorsteps. No one knows who stacked this deck. Everyone waits for the next card to drop. That is until the first recipient drops dead.

Are all the death cards harbingers of murder?

With the help of a Viking with existential issues, a Casanova man-witch and Spark her snarky familiar Abby unravels a deadly deck of secrets. Can she catch the murderer before the dealer turns another card?

www.Amazon.com link

Not in the US? Not to worry. It’s available on all Amazon sites.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you Believe in Magic?

A great blog post from Marion Ann. Check it out.

My Name Is Marion Ann

I believe in magic. Creativity is magic and I definitely believe in creativity.  Creativity is an alchemy of words, paints, clay, music, energy and any medium brought together to tell a story. If that’s not magic I don’t know what is. I also believe in muses, angels, any form that brings the story and whispers it in my ear. There are many stories from writers who share that the idea popped into their mind. Maybe their muse had been planting the seed over time and then all of a sudden something clicked and the story was clear as day.

As I refer back to Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art, I am reminded of my muse. Steven shares how he envokes his angels of creativity. He refers to a passage from Homer’s, Odyssey, the T.E. Lawrence translation. Pressfield also shares one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do, or…

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My Summer Newsletter

I don’t know about you, but I find life goes along on an even keel for the most part and every so often kicks up, or down, and then returns to its calm, somewhat predictable, meander through time. My creative life is much the same.

Except recently it exploded.

Check out my newsletter for the details. 

Why Podcast? #Mondayblogs

I’ve been asked a lot of questions since my last blog post and I’m going to try to answer them today. First things first …

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is a digital audio file available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. Once published it can be streamed for free at any time from providers such as Apple (formerly iTunes), Stitcher, Android, Google, Tunein, etc. or can be downloaded directly from the podcast website. Podcasts are usually created as a series of episodes. Subscribers receive new episodes directly, and non-subscribers can download an episode at a time.

Why are Podcasts so Popular?

They are free, informative and entertaining.

What more could a consumer ask for? There are podcasts on every subject you can imagine, and more are being developed every day. They are slick and sexy.

People listen to podcasts as they drive to work, jog through the park, vacuum the stairs or lie in their sick beds. They are easy to access.

How can They be Free? Nothing is Free.

There are costs to the developer. Most either monetize their podcasts by adding ads or asking their listeners to become patrons. Others off-set their costs by other business enterprises.

Podcasts are Wildly Popular

Check out this infographic from podcastinsights.

2018 Podcast Statistics

Here’s another stat for you 50% of American homes listen to podcasts. That’s 50% of 60 million homes!

But … the Competition Must be Unreal?

There’s always competition in the Art world, but how much you run into depends on what you’re talking about. In March 2018 there were over 550,000 podcasts.

But if you’re starting a podcast about being a cat lady (which I’m not, btw) I bet that number would go down to less than 10.

Why Podcast?

As you can imagine the call to Podcast draws creatives as surely as bears to a honey pot. Each of us has our own reasons.

Here are my top ten:

  1. Podcasts are a slick new medium that enables me to increase my reach.
  2. It’s exciting to be moving on the cusp of a new medium.
  3. It’s challenging, because I have a lot to learn.
  4. It’s creative. I use my writing, speaking and sorely-lacking marketing skills.
  5. It ‘s a perfect fit with my writing life.
  6. I can do it from home.
  7. The technology is manageable.
  8. The costs are manageable.
  9. It introduces me to a new world of creatives, the podcasters.
  10. I get to talk to a larger and diverse audience about writing as if they were at my kitchen table with my writing buddies. 

 


Check Out My New Podcasting Website

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The site is not finished, but it’s getting there.

I posted my welcome episode this week so that I could link into all the podcasting providers and I set up a Mail Chimp account to start a newsletter. Come have a look and tell me what you think.

PS: I know the “m” drops down a line on my graphic. It’s not intentional. The problem, I think, is that it’s a few “bites” or whatever too many and the gods of technology are slapping my hand. The graphic, which I created on Canva is perfect on it’s own, but not when it’s uploaded to Apple etc.

Website: http://www.bloodsweatandwords.com

Regular episodes begin on September 4th.


Sources:

Feature Image: Pixabay and Canva


Next week: I’m going to look at why 80% of podcasters are male.

Getting Ready to #Podcast #Mondayblogs

Remember the joy of learning something new?  I swear there’s nothing like it. I’m thrilled one moment and terrified the next. I can’t stop ideas flowing through my head.

Why?

IMG_20180719_133308I’m launching a podcast, Blood, Sweat and Words, in September.

Right now I’m learning how to record and edit audio using Audacity and studying everything I can find on creating podcasts. It’s thrilling and a wee bit scary.

Persistence is paying off, though. I’d like to say it’s brains or talent, but I’ll be honest, it’s relentless persistence.  After a week of pulling my hair out I can  do the basics with the audio software, my concept of the podcast is solidifying and my duckies are in a row for a new website dedicated to the project.

Welcome

Here is the welcome message I’ve created for my new podcast website (which is under construction).

Transcription:

Welcome to the home of Blood, Sweat and Words, a podcast about writing today.

My name is Jo-Ann Carson. I’m a fiction and non-fiction author, blogger and podcaster.

There’s never been a better time to be an author, because the opportunities to share our work is growing exponentially. But it’s not easy. The constantly-changing nature of the publishing world is difficult to navigate. If you’re like me, you worry that your stories will drown in the rising tide of new books.

This podcast aims to make sense of the writing world today. Some episodes will be monologues. Others will be interviews with other authors or experts in the field. Episodes run weekly, on Tuesdays, and they are absolutely free.

Imagine, a weekly podcast about writing today. Current. Relevant. And above all honest. Let’s talk it to the bone. That’s what Blood, Sweat and Words is all about.


shutterstock_104723360 (1)Your Turn

I’d love feedback.