My Write Road - SL Baum

... MY WRITE ROAD - S.L. BAUM ... I am a mother, a wife, a former teacher, and a writer! Crafter, baker, taxi driver.......

Friday, October 3, 2014

I have no hot dogs... my smart phone wants my daughter to know that.

My phone wants my daughter to know that I have no hot dogs...

Strange but true.

The suggested words feature on smart phones has always amazed, confused, and entertained me. Today I let it run wild to see what it would come up with. My kiddo #1 had just sent me a text to let me know that school was almost out - to remind me that it was a 1/2 day because I had mentioned that I hoped I didn't forget and end up late to pick up my kiddo #3. I went to type "OK" and got as far as the "O" when my phone suggested "Ok" so instead of pressing on the "K" I just pressed down on the suggested word.

Then I thought... I wonder what my phone will suggest next? So I just kept selecting the first word (out of the 3 it suggests - even when you are not in the middle of typing one). I clicked and clicked and clicked and clicked. Amazingly, it even suggested punctuation marks when it figured I was at the end of my sentence. I would love to know that type of programming that goes into this... well, maybe I wouldn't (just in case there is some sort of mind-meld in there somewhere - kidding - I know my Samsung is not seeing into my brain - or is it).

So here is what my phone decided I wanted to say to my teenager today... I stopped when it started repeating itself (and yes - it was going to keep going). There must have been a scratch in the record (sorry, young people, you may not be able to get that reference... sadly).

I have not hot dogs - but hey - apparently I have transportation!

In defense of my phone... it is aware that my daughter and I have had the conversation below (without any suggested words). It does know that we talk about strange things in the Baum house.

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Release - CRUSH

I'm happy to announce the release of CRUSH… the final novel in the LUSH trilogy.
Available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords,
and soon at Apple, Kobo, & other various e-book outlets.

During Bluebell's Lush Ambassador tour of the Concords, Three was attacked. The Council imposed a mandatory curfew, suspended nonessential travel, and ordered her back home to One. Before leaving for home she receives a cryptic message telling her, "Make your father remember. It's the only way." Will Bluebell be able to find the truth before someone discovers she knows more about Concord than any Citizen should?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

30 days of "Making an Effort" - #OOTD

So... after a couple of days of forgetting to take a picture I've decided that I proved my point to myself, and I realized I was taking somewhat longer to get ready because I actually thought about "have I taken a picture with this shirt on already?" Dumb thought, because who goes 30 days without wearing the same thing two or even three times!? That's when I decided that continuing to document my outfits was no longer something that I wished to do. But I will say... I am still taking the time to put on something nice (most days), and doing this made me think about my wardrobe. I even went through my closet and made a pile of give-away shirts that I no longer wear. Purging a closet is a lovely thing!

DAY #21
That cello will be there all week ;-)

DAY #20
Happy Monday! 
That's my cello from HS getting ready to go up in the attic.

DAY #19
Super Bowl Sunday - simple black dress & jean jacket.

DAY #17 & #18
I have no pics... I have no excuses.

DAY #16
Headache... and another Youth Symphony board meeting.

DAY #15
I am still feeling a bit off... but with an early morning
ortho Appt for my #2 - an early school day - and an
Induction ceremony for my #1 ... I just need to get over it.

DAY #14
Still feeling like yuck... yoga pants and
old sweatshirt (got it on my honeymoon).
I had to cancel my dentist appt.

I'm documenting my #ootd for 30 days - because sometimes a girl needs to prove to herself that she is worth the effort!

Today, I forgot that the kids were getting out of school an hour earlier than usual (it's a Wednesday thing). I was a sweaty mess from the treadmill, when the realization hit me, so I took a quick shower. Thankfully, I didn't need to wash my hair - that would have doomed kiddo #1 to have to stand outside of her HS much longer than usual, waiting for me to finally get there.

When I got out of the shower, I glanced at the clock and saw that I had no more than 20 minutes to get my butt (okay - my whole body) ready and out the door, so I could begin my daily round of offspring retrieval. So after drying off, I stared at my closet for a moment before deciding to wear a simple black dress - one piece of clothing, a time saving decision. A belt, a necklace, a pair of flats, my rings, and a watch were quickly put on and then I started on my make-up. After that, I ran a curling iron down my hair (I use it more or less as a flat iron, with a bit of a wave at the ends, on most days).

A quick side note about make-up: About 10 years ago, after the birth of my 3rd kiddo and after I'd been (more or less) a stay home mom for three years, I started doing a quick 5 minute make-up job to myself on most days. It just made me feel better about myself. I remember once when my younger sister was over my house - I had to leave to pick-up one of my kiddos from school so I ran into the bathroom to slap on a  little bit of make-up. She asked why I would bother, unless I had somewhere to go afterward. I told her that those 5 minutes make me look better outside and then I felt a little better inside. Maybe it is stupid, vain, whatever - I don't really care. I do know that when I put a little bit of effort into how I look, it improves how I feel.

20 minutes later and... Success! I was ready in time. As I left my closet, I glanced in the mirror and thought, "This ended up being a pretty cute outfit, and I am wasting it." I was only going to get the kids from school. After driving to all 3 schools and retrieving all 3 kids, I planned to walk up to the Dutch Bro's window (a treat for the kids - plus I recently discovered that I love Chai latte from there)... and then later tonight I'm going to get take-out for dinner (school fund raiser). No one important was going to see me in my cute outfit. But then I thought, "I'm going to see me. My family is going to see me. That's important!" And maybe my attitude about spending 5 minutes on my face needs to be expanded to spend a minimum of 20 minutes (more if I need to dry my hair) on my whole self.

I saw an article on the internet lately about a man "dating" his wife (putting some extra effort into their marriage)… an then another one where a woman noted that particular article and stated that she could spend more time and effort on her appearance (just to please her husband)… but I think I could put more of an effort into myself, just to PLEASE MYSELF… to remind myself that I'm worth that effort! And guess what… when I put that effort into myself I bet Hubs will end up noticing, and in turn that seems like it might have a positive effect on our marriage as well. Who knows? But I'm doing it either way. So here is day one.

DAY #1
Side note: I am 43 - so this whole "taking a good, posed picture of myself" is not a skill that has been cultivated. I am also not promising to keep a clean closet for 30 days - lets not get crazy. And I fully realize that this blog has a whopping 37 followers (and only 36 on my Instagram), so I know I could get away with slacking off on this promise to myself and no one would call me out on it.  So this really is just for me! Here's to the next 30 days of #ootd (outfit of the day - for those who don't know - I just figured it out myself last year)!

DAY #2
I have a board meeting tonight for the East Valley Youth Symphony... 
I figured this would be comfortable enough to wear all day. 
Thursdays are my crazy day. I'll be going until 8:30 tonight.

DAY #3

It's headless, but it's me!

DAY #4
After a long evening at Barrett Jackson.

DAY #5
Forgot to take a pic... So here it is (the next day).

DAY #6
Wet hair... don't care :-)

DAY #7
An outfit fit for the doctor's office...

Criminny - I need a tan!

DAY #9
This is called… I'm writing and treadmilling today
and will only be wearing this!
Yup, I even drove to the kids' schools
to pick them up this way.

DAY #10
Lunch with a friend...

DAY #11
Furniture shopping... new couch... yay!

DAY #12
Lounging around the house day...

DAY #13
Not feeling good today...
stuffy head=comfy clothes

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Concord Road Blocks

I've been pretty darn good at putting myself on a writing schedule for the last year. I give myself a goal month and try my hardest to finish the writing, editing, beta reading, and revising periods of each new novel in a timely manner... but things do not always go as planned for me.

After releasing LUSH in April of 2013 - I promised HUSH in October, and I delivered!
But between those two novels, I said that The Eve of Destruction (The Immortal Ones - book four) would be finished in June... I had to push to July.
I'm doing it again. I'm giving in to the creative voice in my head that says, "Not everything can go as planned!"

I promised CRUSH in February... I even put it in writing... I was planning on a Feb 28th release (in my head - I hadn't made the actual date public yet). But I woke up this morning and realized that I would not be able to deliver. There are truths about Concord that I didn't even know about until I woke up this morning, and in order to get those truths into the novel I will have to work them in and change some things... because not everything can go as planned. So, I am sorry to have to make you wait longer. My new date is March 28th... I'm giving myself another month to make sure that I am able write the story that wants to be written (and not just a story that will make it out in a timely manner).

In advance, I thank you for your patience. Bluebell has some things to figure out...

MARCH 28th 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I surrender - I am no good at updating a blog!

With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a Website as well... the blog suffers. Not sure why, but probably for the same reason that I have a bunch of half filled and/or empty journals. The idea is wonderful. I'm just no good at the follow-through.

But... I've seen these word-count-thingies (yes, that is a technical word) on other writer's sites and thought... "What a great way to hold yourself accountable for your work." And if nothing else, it will at least keep my readers informed of my progress while I work on future stories.

So, they are installed; here, on my blog, and also on my website < --- one of these days I'll just combine the two.

Now you can help with my accountability and yell at me to, "hurry up and get that book done on time!" I may not respond well to the yelling though... just an FYI.

Cheers to the New Year!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Good Cover... and the Importance of Branding!

When I self published my first novel in June of 2010, I jumped into the deep end of the pool with no floaties on and I had no idea how to swim. It wasn't the best idea, but somehow I survived.

A Chance for Charity (The Immortal Ones) was released to the eBook world with a crappy cover, which produced a barely audible whisper. I didn't know much - I just knew that after sitting on my computer for a year, it was time for Charity to get out there. Thank goodness for the Amazon Kindle Forum. Somehow I stumbled upon the numerous threads and landed in the right one... no... the best one! The other authors and the readers I met in the forum taught me how to swim.

I think one of the most important lesson I learned was that I wasn't just writing a series of novels, I was creating a BRAND.


JUNE 2010 - Cover number one. I will start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE the photograph that I used on the cover of this first one. My husband took it during one of our many trips to Telluride. But I can look back now and admit that there is NOTHING about it that says it is a YA Paranormal book. It doesn't speak to anyone. The design looks childish and very few copies were sold with this cover. But this first cover lead me to my next one - which was only slightly better...

AUGUST 2010 - Cover number two was designed to look like the one that I created using the Cover Designer at CreateSpace (the Print on Demand website that I use for the paperback copies of my novels). It is a slightly different font than the one I created there... but the design is the same. I still used the photograph of Telluride, because, like I said, I love it. This cover was more successful for me but only slightly. It didn't take me long to realize that it had to go. I needed to appeal to the Young Adult audience.

JANUARY 2011 - Cover number three came about because I knew a change had to happen or I would never reach the audience I was striving for. Charity was steadily increasing in sales, but as I worked on the sequel and experimented with covers for Book#2, I just couldn't see the "Setting Photographs" working toward a brand. I searched stock photo websites and decided that this faceless girl reminded me of Charity. So I went with it. I designed it on my own, getting many opinions as I experimented, and ended up with this one. It worked well and sales continued to rise.

MARCH 2012 - Cover number four is a result of learning that a series must be branded. The 3rd cover did a great job - it grew the fan base of The Immortal Ones. But as subsequent books were released, I wasn't happy, they just didn't feel cohesive to me. You must have a uniform look when marketing a series of books. I attempted to stick with the illustrated covers and released 2 novels and a novella with illustrations... but they just never felt quite right. It was while I was in Telluride during a ski-trip with my family that inspiration hit me once again and I went in search of a recognizable brand. This is the final cover I created for Charity...

People do judge a book by its cover... it took me six months to realize that I was putting out a product that didn't appeal to my intended market. That was a bad idea. And while my first attempt to design covers specifically for the YA audience was more successful than my covers with a photograph of Telluride, I still wasn't hitting my mark.

It took me almost two years to realize that creating a consistent and recognizable brand was exactly what I needed for readers to immediately know that the product they were looking at belonged to me...
SL Baum.

My unsuccessful attempt at branding...
This is why I needed a change. The covers were not consistent... they were not a BRAND.


a clearly recognizable brand.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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