Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31

Happy Memorial Day. I would like to remember all those who died serving their country. I send off prayers and positive thoughts for those who are disabled, giving life and limb so that others may remain free makes you a hero. That is what this weekend is all about--not summer sales or BBQ's. So take a moment of silence to day to remember airmen, soldiers, sailors and marines. God bless and keep you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 28

I cannot believe another month has flown by. Yikes! It's a long weekend and the official start of summer here. We celebrate the memory of all the fallen soldiers who kept this country safe. (Although many people also take this weekend to remember family and friends who have passed on.) The cemeteries sparkle with fresh flags and silk and real flowers.
It is going to be a warm one and I think grilling and picnics will commence. I'm not sure I'll be out swimming in the lake. The water is still too cold, but the sights and smells of summertime are a welcome thing.
Have a safe and happy holiday. Cheers~

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27

The thing about the suburbs in the summer is the constant noise of the lawn mower and weed whacker. I swear as soon as the sun comes up someone it out manicuring their lawn--before breakfast. The last two nights it's been 9 pm and still we have the sound of mowers going. How do they see in the dark?
Don't get me wrong. I love warmer weather. I love to take walks and smell people grilling. Watch the kids in swimsuits running through sprinklers or using slippery slides. I love the splashes of color from flowers and bushes and the green- good lord- the green is so lovely in tone. Then there is the hum of frogs in the lake which will be shortly taken over by the hum of the cicada in the trees. Everything is so alive.
Except the darn lawn mowers, I have no patience for that annoying rattle and hum. There should be a law. Only mow on one or two days a week between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm. Maybe I'll write my lawmakers. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26

It's a quiet day today. We all need quiet days to rest and think about what has happened and what is to come. It's the same with characters in a book. They need quiet time to reflect. A book can't be all action. It's best if you think of a story as a roller coaster. Yes the trip down is exciting but every now and then, you need to have that slow anticipatory climb to allow the reader to catch their breath and process what has happened and what may happen next.
So, yay for quiet days, even if the dogs got out of their yard and rolled in something they shouldn't. It allowed me to see that my clematis, which has been over taken by the grape vine is blooming bravely. So I have lovely flowers peaking out between the grape leaves. I'll try to get a picture to post. Cheers~

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25

Do you sell yourself short? Would you publish for a bag of cookies? Or a ten dollar gift certificate? Or do you take a stand and say no I should get a reasonable advance of X. (Reasonable after doing a boat load of research and figuring out what is "real" and right for your publisher and what is "fake" and over reported.) Have you ever said no to a book contract because the pay was well under what others at the same publisher are making? Or do you simply say- yes! yes! Publish at all costs. Offer me a glass of wine and I'll sign a contract!
It makes me feel sad to be low balled. Do I accept the terms or do I not? Some people who stand their ground get more. Yet I fear if I try that I'll be left with nothing but ground and a manuscript. I hate negotiation. I can never seem to buy a car without getting stiffed. It goes along the same lines as the customer is always right, unless I'm the customer. Then it's "too bad, you lose." sigh.
I bet a lot of people feel this way. But sometimes if you stand your ground, you get what you deserve. I just hate to have to do it. Are you good at it? If so, do you have any tips you can share?

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24

Happy belated birthday to my writer friend Carrie who celebrated on Saturday. May this be your best year ever.

It is officially warm out. The air conditioner is on because the humidity is so high. Allergies abound. When I woke up with allergy pressure, itchy eyes and stuffy nose, I knew it was time to close up the windows and turn on the air-conditioning. It is sad that having the windows open only happens for only a few weeks in the Spring and Fall. But, I am lucky to have AC and central heat. Can you imagine how miserable life would be without it? We are very lucky indeed.
Spring flowers are every where filling the world with color and scent. The lilacs are in bloom. They are so sweet smelling. I cut some and brought them in. They are better than any form of canned scent or candle. What's in bloom where you are? Don't forget to add these observations to your seasons notebook to help ground your setting in time and place. Now to write a book set in May. :)


Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21

Wow- what a day yesterday. I was offered and signed a contract with Erin C. Niumata at Folio Literary Agency. She loves my thriller and is ready to pitch it. (Fingers and toes crossed that it sells.)
Then once I printed, signed and got the agent contracts ready for the post, I got a call from Lia Brown Editor at Avalon Books. She raved over the revised version of "The Counterfeit Bride" I sent her last week. They want to buy it. Contracts are in the mail and the book will be on the 2011 schedule. :D
I had to sit down and remember to breath! LOL. Morale to the story? Hard work does pay off~but it takes it's time. So patience is key. Cheers~

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20

I saw this and thought someone here might benefit:

Deb Worksman from Sourcebooks is taking on-line pitches today- Thurs 20th- on her blog- and critiquing pitches, too.

Here's the link:

So- take a deep breath and throw out a pitch. You never know. My dear friend Carolyn Brown has been very successful with Sourcebooks- her Lucky series has sold over 40,000 books to book clubs and her Honky Tonk Series will be featured in People Magazine's Country edition this summer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19

Are you into popular culture? What I mean is do you watch shows like American Idol, Bones, Fringe, NCIS, Parenthood? Do you listen to top 40 songs? Do you read gossip rags or see all the latest movies? Some people think it is best to watch only PBS (which I happen to love); read only the classics or the latest award winning books, listen to classic film and only watch Academy Award winning movies. It is fun to be pretentious and bohemian and educated in only the finest arts, but I think if you are writing genre fiction-popular fiction-you have to immerse yourself in popular culture. It is the soup where ideas come from. It is the joy and sorrow of the masses from which the best genre fiction is born.
I consider myself a story teller, a writer of popular fiction, one of the masses. I'm proud to be that and not concerned at all that I've never read "War and Peace" and only a handful of titles from the top 100 best works of fiction in the 20th century. It gets me in trouble sometimes. But popular culture fascinates me. It is the human condition of today. I like it. Even if I can't recite it's motifs, metaphors and tropes. It is the story of the man on the street and who is more important than that?
(I'm pulling for Lee and Crystal in American Idol. ;) Can you tell?) Cheers~

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18

We have breaks in the clouds today and every time the sun pokes out I turn my head and stare out the window. The lake is still and deep green, reflecting the thick trees at the banks. Algae has grown up around the edges due to the recent heavy rains and high water. A fish jumped. I'm told there are small mouth bass and bluegill among other fish in the lake. Yesterday I spotted a big ugly muskrat in my brand new garden. I watched as he chewed off a branch of the forsythia I had planted last month. The little dog started barking and I agreed. We won't be having any of that in my garden. So, I put on Wellies and marched out to face the big rat. It ran away, ducking under the fence and slipping into the lake. I then sprinkled the garden with cayenne pepper. Hopefully it will deter any further marauding. We will see. But for now the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and I turn back to my computer to write. Cheers~

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17

One of my lovely facebook friends posted on my wall that she had no idea I had so many books published, congrats! sigh. I am marketing daily and trying to walk the fine line between the annoying "look at me--buy my books!" and "wow, I didn't even know you were published." It's a difficult line. We have all been annoyed by the author who is about nothing but "buy my book" or "new book out" or "new review." I mean, we get it. We'll buy the book if we're interested. If we haven't added ourselves to your fan page by the 10th or 50th time, well, we're not going to. Social media is great for getting your name out there but should not be a 24/7 infomercial.
Still, it is clear that I don't announce my sales, reviews and contests enough or I wouldn't get lovely surprised posts. *head bangs on desk* In my observation, building a community around your author name is the best way to build sales. People feel a part of your life and are not afraid to comment, ask questions, talk about your work and most importantly remember your name when they want to buy a book. So, community building has been my goal in blogging, tweeting, facebook, myspace, bookblogs, goodreads, etc. Perhaps I need to work a little harder or be more obvious.
Please tell me, as a reader, what annoys you the most about marketing through social media? If you are a writer, what tips can you share that will help prevent lovely surprised posts?

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14

The month is almost half over. Gah! I'm mailing off a book today that I really like and I hope they pick it up so you all can read it, too. I discovered a very nice review of one of my old books, "The Bettin' Kind" this morning. Her only complaint-which I get a lot with my Avalon Books-is that she wished it were longer. Yes, me, too. LOL Avalon has a set size that their writers must adhere to. Funny thing is that most of my books are longer-much longer- but must be cut and scaled way back before Avalon buys them. I am not complaining. It's one of the rules of publishing. Make your work fit the publisher's model. Sometimes it makes the book stronger as there is no room for a sagging middle or redundancy. Sometimes I am sad to cut what I think are really cute scenes. When this book sells, maybe I'll post deleted scenes on my website. Would you be interested in that?
Thank you to the reader who gave it such a great review and thank you to Avalon for publishing my stories so that I can share the fun with you. Happy weekend my friends!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13

Deadline day for the MA program and I hit all my marks-whew. I've also finished the revisions on the western. All that needs to happen now is to read it through for continuity and then print it out. My goal is to mail if off tomorrow.
My daughter is studying earth science and talked to me about how scientists know that the other planets pull effects the earth depending on how far or near they are to us. That said, Astrology friends are happy to report that the tough Mercury retrograde is over as of the 11th and that things are going to pick up and cheer up now. So far they have been right. In the last two days one friend has sold her first book to a YA publisher, another announced that her books would be featured in People Magazine's Country edition and a third sold to a new and major publisher. Happy news all around. Goodness knows we could all use a little happy news right about now. Feel free to share any you may have. Cheers~

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12

It's been cold and rainy here. I'm plowing through the work on my desk, hitting deadlines, wondering where time goes. The peas in my potted deck garden are coming up but it has been too cold for the beans. I read that it is too early to plant beans and tomatoes here. sigh. I have both struggling with the cold. If they don't make it, I'll try again next month. But I'm hoping to baby them through this tough time, as I baby my work through busy times. What it takes is thought, care and gentleness with myself and my work and my newborn plants. So, are you finding yourself in a tough spot? did you jump the gun or are you behind. If so, be gentle with yourself and your work. It makes all the difference in the world. Cheers~

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11

Do you link your blog to Amazon? There is much talk among multi-published authors of selling their out-of-print books as e-books on Amazon and Smashwords. It seems they can set the price and soon their royalty percentage will be 70 percent of that price. Amazon has all kinds of programs for authors, an author page, blog spots, chat boards, connect and you can self pub the works you have rights to. I haven't done any of this. I've been watching this marketing giant for a long time and don't agree with or support some of their marketing methods. Most people would say it's cutting my nose off to spite my face. Perhaps it is. Perhaps I will eventually give in and set up shop there--I'm closer to doing that then I want to think about. But it is an ethical question. What is more important to me? Getting my work out at any cost and making money? Or my own personal opinions and morals. We all face these questions no matter what we do. Do we buy the cheaper milk even though we don't like the way the dairy treats it's employees? Do we do something at work for a promotion even though we know it crosses an ethical line? People who have no strong ethical ideas get ahead, but if I followed their example would I be happy with myself?
I watch the Amazing Race on TV. This time the two guys who won cheated. But they won a million dollars. The two guys who came in second could have cheated but didn't. They said that they were happy to reach the end with their integrity intact. It was worth more to them than money. We face these kinds of questions every day. It's a gray line that, truth be told, I waffle over. As a writer, these are the kinds of internal conflicts that create great stories.
So, would your characters cheat to win a million dollars?

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all my friends. I hope your day was great. I spent mine doing yard work. It was nice to get outside in the sun and muck around in the garden for a bit.

Today is picture perfect from my window. The sky is a pale, pale blue. The lake is calm reflecting the greens, reds and yellows of the trees along the banks. The blue heron flies by at window height. They are huge birds and lovely to watch in motion. The red-winged black bird calls back and forth interrupted only by the sound of the robin. It is lovely from the window, but the weather man tells me it is chilly outside and indeed, my heater has turned on. So the warmth from the window is a fake out. The air threatens frost. Meanwhile I sit in the sun like a cat surrounded by the aroma of coffee from the mug next to me.

Happy Monday~ Cheers!

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7

Happy 50th Anniversary to my Mom and Dad, who have eloped for a three week honeymoon to some secret place. :) Fifty years is indeed an achievement. May you both find happiness and joy in your next fifty years. Yes, you must live forever. lol. I love you both and look forward to seeing you soon. Enjoy your honeymoon.

Have a fab weekend, everyone! Cheers~

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 6

There is all kinds of news going on. The horrible flooding in Nashville has caused the RWA national conference to be moved to Orland Disney resorts. Oh, I want to go, but the original plan was to drive to Nashville which is only a half day's drive. Now I would have to fly. Orlando would offer me a chance to see and meet some great friends in Florida whom I haven't seen in years, but the cost is out of my league in these tough economic times. Sad.
I am swamped with work for the MA program-procrastination at it's best. And, of course, they are prepping for next semester so there will be two books to read, ten more pages to write and other stuff to ensure gets done before the next residency in June. That's next month.
I still have the two requests for revisions sitting on my desk gathering dust. My dd (darling daughter) is stressing over finals and everything looks a go for her to get her AA degree next weekend and move on to complete her BA next Fall. I have family invitations to parties that I would love to go to but they are a four hour drive away and I share my old car with two other people in the house who have to work. And as everyone around the world knows money is tight right now so you work when you can. Still, I want to go to everything and see everyone. Probably to procrastinate from the work at hand. lol. I know that many of you are swamped with the same issues right now. I find the best way is to write down everything, then prioritize it. Take it one small goal at a time or I get frozen by the sheer volume. What do you do when things get busy? And writer friends, are you going to Disney World? Can you stuff me in your suitcase? lol Cheers~

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May 5

Happy Cinco de Mayo! (did I spell that correctly? LOL) My Spanish is rusty. Spent the morning out and about running errands and people back and forth. It made me late to the blog. The wind is blowing hard and, since I have windows open, has been slamming doors and knocked the Christmas Cactus right off its stand. So, I've been cleaning up after it. It is cool but the fresh air is nice.
I have finished another book for school. Now to write the report and get going on the last book. Hope you are finding time to get stuff done, write if you love to, and enjoy the sunshine. Cheers~

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4

Wow, I was able to get right on to the blogs today. Yes! Then I realized that I missed saying happy birthday to my niece Kelly, whose birthday was yesterday. Sorry Kelly, I hope your birthday was happy! May you have the best year ever.

I posted a new craft blog over at if you are interested. I think I need to get out more. See a movie. Talk with other writers. I've been a bit insular this Spring due to the general amount of stuff going on and it has left me with little to say craft wise. The idea disturbs me a bit because it means I'm not learning as much as I could be. The only way to learn is to get out and take in what is going on. So, my goal for this month is to get out a bit more and try my best to learn something. :)


Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3

Happy Birthday to my niece Carissa, on May 1. May you have a blessed and happy year!

Wow- I could not get into my blog today. So you get a late update. It figures a Monday would start the week out this way. I hope you had a great weekend. I did yard work and planted garden veggies in pots on my deck. I did this in hopes of keeping the rabbits and deer out of the garden-only to discover I have to worry about the dogs. Big dog George has already stuck his nose in the dirt. sigh. I did get one of those crazy upside-down tomato planters. So now I have a tomato plant hanging from my deck top. So as of right now we have tomatoes, beans, peas, onions, chive, basil, strawberries and grapes. I still want to add radishes, leaf lettuce and carrots but need more pots. Spring always makes me itch to grow stuff. How about you? Cheers~