Happy birthday to us, WANA1011!

In October 2011, I took an online course in social media taught by Kristen Lamb along with almost a hundred other writers. Little did we suspect that one year later most of us would still be in touch, celebrating our successes and easing our struggles.

Happy one-year birthday, #WANA1011! Let’s have another. And another. And another after that.

Back from Dallas

Drove home from Dallas in four and a half hours. Had a great time at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Writers’ Conference. Learned so much, and now there’s so much to digest, plan and do. Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers, and all the people whose presentations I attended:

James Rollins      Jodi Thomas     Lori Wilde     Fred Campos, Jr.     Rusty Shelton      Candace Havens     Kristen Lamb     Roni Loren

Here’s proof that I was there: @alleypat caught me in a photo. At least, she caught my back. That’s me in the pink sweater.

May started out brutal, but it got better.

By S.J. Driscoll

Goal check-in

Just a quick flyover since I’m already going to be late for bed.

These last few days haven’t been bad!

My new iPod Touch was delivered and I found an app that can be set to chime every hour. I used it on Friday and it did help me become more aware of time passing! Now I can also easily record what I eat.

On to my goals:

1) Going to sleep at a reasonable time is becoming more natural. I stayed up past 11:30 only once. I was testing whether a glass of wine with dinner would keep me awake. Looks like it does, since I couldn’t get to sleep after drinking only two ounces! Yesterday I did some heavy gardening and this morning I sat on the back stoop to write, so I have been getting outside more. I’ve also started to use Continue reading

Goals

Adjustment and discovery as I begin to work my goals.

Since one of my underlying goals is to become more aware of time but wearing a watch is too galling when I type all day, I spent some time (too much!) looking on line for a device that would chime softly every hour without constant resetting. Ended up ordering an iPod Touch because some apps look like they may help with goals and time management. If not, back it goes.

1) Sleep started off with a major fail. I went to bed at 10:30 on day 1. Spent an hour staring into the dark, got up, read until 2:30 and was up at 5:30. But last night I slept 9 hours. This must be evened out. Got outside for 15 minutes this morning to check and water garden, which should really be listed as a “fun” goal. It’s snake boot time! And there was an 8-inch centipede in the kitchen this morning, which my husband kindly took care of. Continue reading

I want her car.

Debra KristiToday self-described geek-girl Debra Kristi, who drives around in a 1962 Buick Skylark (jealous!), Debra's Skylarkgifted me with The Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks, Debra! She and I met as students of one of Kristen Lamb’s social media classes.

Versatile Blogger AwardA few rules go along with accepting the award. I have to thank the person who shared the award with me and link back to her in my acceptance post, tell my readers seven things about myself and then pass the award on to fourteen fellow bloggers. Here we go:

  1. I did not want to learn to read. I wanted to run outside and play. (I still do.)
  2. Immediately after learning, when I was seven and in first grade, I read all of Edgar Allan Poe. This may have permanently affected my psyche.
  3. I wrote my first story in first grade and the teacher rejected it (I didn’t want to write it and turned it in a day late). This prepared me for the writing life.
  4. After I wrote the story, I realized I could read it. Stories came from somewhere! I could make them! Since life as a kid was so boring, fiction had to be better. I’ve been writing fiction ever since. (But I still want to run outside and play.)
  5. Hmm, let’s see… My dad wanted me to be a doctor and practice in Africa. I was interested in medicine, but looked down at my semi-crippled left hand and could hardly visualize myself trying to do surgery. Nope. Good thing, because I’m convinced I would’ve been the first white female doctor to die of AIDS. I remember reading the obituary of Dr. Grethe Rask, the Danish physician who was that first white female. I stared at her photo in the newspaper and shivered. That was going to be me.
  6. Time-warp ahead. Recently a cousin I hadn’t seen in decades told me that our maternal grandmother, who’d brought her up, was part Seneca. The Seneca people were one of the tribes of the Iroquois League (Haudenosaunee). Put that together with my dad’s part-Tatar/Mongol ancestry, and my heritage reaches around the world.
  7. My husband and I weren’t born in Texas, but we got here as fast as we could.

Now to pass the torch–I mean, the award–on to another fourteen bloggers:

  1. Jennette Marie Powell: Making the mundane magical
  2. Lena Corazon: Flights of fancy
  3. Annette Gendler
  4. Patricia Sands: Everyone has a story
  5. Mariam Kobras
  6. Elena Aitken: Don’t forget to breathe
  7. CC MacKenzie: Romance with fizz & fangs
  8. Rabia Gale: Writer at play
  9. Carrie Daws
  10. M J Wright: a blog about writing, reason and stuff
  11. Patrick Thunstrom: A digital magician
  12. Julie Kenner/J.K. Beck: Welcome to my worlds
  13. Rob Cornell: Dark fantasy and thriller writer
  14. Cora Ramos

Now it’s your turn, Jennette, Lena, Annette, Patricia, Mariam, Elena, CC, Rabia, Carrie, M J, Patrick, Julie, Rob and Cora. Link back here, tell your readers seven things about yourself and then pass the award on to fourteen fellow bloggers.

Have fun!

By S.J. Driscoll

Inspiring Blogger Award

Many thanks to children’s book author Lynn Kelley (Curse at Zala Manor), who granted me the Inspiring Blogger Award along with fellow writers Angela Orlowski-Peart, Debra Kristi, Susie Lindau and Samantha Warren.

I now pass the award on to five bloggers who inspire me:

Kristen Lamb’s Blog about writing, publishing and social media

The Passive Voice: Writers, Writing, Publishing, Disruptive Innovation and the Universe

Diekenes’ Anthropology Blog

The Art Department, a blog by Tor.com Art Director Irene Gallo

Postcards from Santa Barbara: a daily painting project by plein air artist Chris Potter

Thank you for blogging!

Bye-bye, Plally Jane

Kristen Lamb–The Kristen–is teaching a bunch of us writers about social media. Her voice echoes in my head: Your name is your brand. Your name is your brand.

That’s a tetchy subject with me. My name is the story of my life.

Sallyjjanesjgreenbergdarnowskydriscollrenta

Which part should become my name–my brand?

My poor dad used to tell how he once took me to the grocery store when I was tiny and bragged to the cashier about how smart I was.

“She can say her own name already,” he said. Then he turned to me, sitting in the shopping cart. “Go ahead, honey. What’s your name?”

I sized up the situation. Finally, I said, “Plally.”

The cashier shrugged. Just another new daddy telling a tall tale about his kid.

Years later, Dad would still say, bewildered, “I don’t know why you did that.”

I know why. I HATE my first name. I’ve always hated it. Apparently since the time I learned to talk. Probably before that.

With apologies to all the other Sallys out there, Plally is an improvement.

Fast forward to my first real job. Boss assigned me to write a public relations piece for the New York Daily News. My first professional publication! What name would I use? It didn’t seem to matter that I wouldn’t get a byline. I needed a new persona. My writing persona.

Wilhelmina Euphraisie Sophronia McFrimple Sterling, Fifth Duchess of Norfolk, Jersey and Perth–

Like distant thunder, The Kristen’s voice came rumbling down from my future: Not the name of a purse doggie or a Triple Crown winner or an 18th-century courtesan. Just, you know, a name. You.

But who is “me”? Over the years, I’ve written and/or been published as Sally Greenberg, Sally Darnowsky, S. Darnowsky (maybe–I don’t remember), Sally Jane Driscoll. How many lives have I had, anyway? How many of me are there?

When the time came to get serious and write novels, it was really time to decide.

So I looked at author’s names on book spines. The “k” sound is good. Should be shortish. Helps if it’s euphonious. Rhythmic. Would be nice if it had a balanced shape.

After my long-ago divorce, a Maryland court charged me three hundred dollars for the right to use my mother’s maiden name. I’m determined to get my money’s worth. How about plain ol’ Sally Driscoll?

A quick check on line coughed up a hundred of ’em (hi, everybody!).

The Kristen’s voice in my head, now edgy: This isn’t rocket science, dammit. Just pick a name!

S.J.! Yeah, that’s it. S.J. Driscoll. “K” sound, rhythmic, balanced. Fits on a book cover (if only). No other S.J. Driscolls out there that I can find.

Except Stan Driscoll, who owns the S J Driscoll Company (hi, Stan!). And @sjdriscoll84 on Twitter (hi, Steve!) And my ex used to call me SJ–

The Kristen: Put a sock in it, girl.

So that’s the end of this saga. S.J. Driscoll. For better or worse.

But my friends call me Plally–er, Sally. You could, too.

By S.J. Driscoll