Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shiloh's in the House!

About Shiloh:
I was born in Kentucky and have been reading avidly since I was six. At twelve, I discovered how much fun it was to write when I took a book that didn't end the way it should have ended and I rewrote it~and I've been writing since then.

About me now... hmm... I've been married since I was 19 to my high school sweetheart and we live in the mid-west. Recently, I made the plunge and turned to writing full time, quitting the day job, so I can devote more time to my family- two adorable children who are growing way too fast and my husband who doesn't see enough of me.

I like to read. There's a shocker! Personal faves include Nora Roberts, Lora Leigh, Mary Wine and Mercedes Lackey, but my all time favorite is SL Viehl. She writes sci fi and romance, but my favorite of hers is the sci fi series Star Doc. If you haven't read them, I think you're missing out.


GINGER:
I'm really happy to have Shiloh visit me today. I wish she was actually here, having a cup of coffee and sharing her answers in person while I type them, but since that isn't possible, you can picture it in your mind. I'm thankful that the internet allows us to connect and exchange information that we can share like we've always been the best of friends. So with that said, please welcome Shiloh and enjoy finding out a little more about her, up close and personal.

Shi, you have quite an impressive backlist. I know you've mentioned in other interviews which one is your favorite, but I wonder if you could explain to us, what makes a book your favorite? What did you accomplish in writing that one story that was missing from all the others?

SHILOH: But my favorites change! LOL. Right now, I think my favorite is the book I turned in back in the winter, titled The Missing. What makes it a favorite, it's hard to say. I generally think most of my writing sucks.

When I finish one that doesn't suck in my eyes, then that makes it my favorite. For a while. ;-)

GINGER: I know that you went to Nursing school then worked in a pediatric office. You mention recently that you've stopped working outside the home to devote more time to writing. Do you miss you interactions with other people, and if so, in what way? Remedy?

SHILOH: I quit working outside of my writing back in 2004. Nursing was just getting too hard, emotionally. It's easy to get attached, especially to kids. But that doesn't mean I don't miss it. I miss seeing the kids I've known since they were infants, but I still help out from time to time. Only a couple times a year, but that helps.

It's not a remedy, per se, but unless I want to dive back into nursing full-time, there isn't a remedy. So I'll just content myself with visiting with them during the times I do called in to help.

GINGER: I met you several years ago and thought you were a fun person. I remember walking away and thinking, I'd really love to have her as a friend. What is the longest time you've been friends with a special gal pal, and what about that relationship has made it last.

SHILOH: Oh, geez. That's hard to say. There's a friend I've had since high school, back in the early 90s but we don't talk as much as we used to. Time just slips away, we grew in different directions. I still love her dearly, but we just don't see each other as often as we used to.

Most of my closest friends now are writing friends-sometimes I think writers just connect better with other writers. Our brains work on a different tangent and it takes another writer who understands that tangent. Get that, and a friendship can really click.

Friendships, just like anything else, take special attention-since I'm constantly talking, bouncing ideas, venting to certain writing friends, one in particular, those friendships had thrived better than others.

GINGER: There is so much talk about mainstream publishing among e-published authors. Everyone sees that big advance as the answer to financial prayers and a stepping stone to fame. What are your feelings about the future of e-publishing? Is mainstream publishing the answer to achieving one's goals in writing?

SHILOH: Mainstream isn't going to work for everybody. Just like epublishing won't work for everybody. Is epublishing a stepping stone to fame? For some, it certainly has been. Others are content to stay epubbed. It's just going to depend on the individual. There is no hard and fast answer to that, because every single one of us have different goals, different ideals, different plans for their careers.

GINGER: There was recently a very long thread on DearAuthor.com about a particular person and her association with a small press. I was so surprised to see how many people chimed in. Many remained anon for fear of retaliation. I noticed you were among those identifying yourself and speaking freely. What gave you the courage to speak out without fear? Would you have done that, say... five years ago?

SHILOH: I've always had a big mouth and a tendency to voice my opinions regardless of whether it's asked for or not. ;) Since I've always been like that, I can say, yeah, I probably would have done the same five years ago, although chances are, I would have been less diplomatic. If nothing else, my career has certainly taught me the need for diplomacy.

GINGER: In another interview, you revealed you married your high school sweetheart at a young age. What has kept the romance alive for you?

SHILOH: *G* The same thing that had me marrying him. I adore him. He adores me. We understand each, mostly, and we do what we can to have time just to us. Not always easy with three young kids, but we make it happen.

GINGER: You and I both seem to share a passion for Native Americans. I believe I was one in a previous life. If you could travel back in time and speak with one, who would that be and why?

SHILOH: Hmmmmm....I don't know. There have been many, many...many Native Americans who had a wisdom that people today are just now beginning to see-the need to protect the earth, the need to preserve our heritage-I wouldn't need to have a specific person, just because it would be too hard to narrow it down to one.

GINGER: What types of hurdles have you had to overcome as an author to get where you are today?

SHILOH: My own ability to procrastinate. *G*

GINGER: Have any of your stories been rejected and how did you handle it?

SHILOH: I'm a writer-I think that means I've definitely had something rejected. I do what most writers probably do. Sulked. Steamed. Stewed. Then I started working on something else. I've been lucky in that I only had a handful of rejection letters before I stumbled onto EC, but rejection is just something a writer has to face, has to deal with, and if they want to keep writing, they just have to put it aside and move on.


GINGER:
The number of authors submitting manuscripts continues to grow each and every day. In just the past five years, even e-publishing has become much more competitive than it was. What suggestions or guidance can you offer that might help someone get a 'foot in the door'.

SHILOH: I'm probably the worst person on earth to ask that question. I've happened into where I am mostly through blind luck, I think. I hit EC right when it was exploding and because of that, it's opened a lot of doors for me that I don't think I would have had any luck with if I tried a year earlier, or a year after.

Publishing is every bit as much hard work, in my opinion, as it is luck. Getting your story in front of the right person, at the right time-that depends a lot of luck. But if you write the best story you know how, if you believe in it, and if you keep trying, hopefully it will pay off the way it has for me.

GINGER: Thank you, Shi, for spending time with me. I'm putting away the 'virtual' coffee pot and cleaning up the crumbs from our danish. I always enjoy learning more about my favorite authors and I'm hoping my readers do, too.

You can check out more about Shiloh on her website, and if some of my jealous drool marks are still there, please wipe them up for me. *lol*

Shiloh Walker

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words

When you are faking a pose for a camera photo opportunity, at least you can get the phone turned in the right direction.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Wow, what an exciting day I spent. Today I was scheduled for a stress EKG. I reflected back to the day when they hooked you up to a machine, made you get on a treadmill and if you didn't have a heart attack an die, they deemed you healthy. Boy, things have changed. Although I had one just last year, I must have been in a drug induced stupor because I didn't quite recall all the steps. Let me see if I can give you an accurate recounting of my day and prepare you should you have to endure the test.

First off, I was instructed to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Normally, I can get up and go for hours without food or beverage, but why is it when you've been told not to have anything, you immediately wake up hungry and feeling like you've just crawled across the Sahara desert? I savored brushing my teeth, if for no other reason than the moisture.

I arrived at the Doctor's office at 9:00 AM and sat for about twenty minutes before they called me back. I was taken immediately into a little room and had an IV inserted into my arm. I was impressed. Things appeared to be moving fast, until... the technician, who appeared to be about twelve, directed me to another waiting room, filled with people bearing the same IV set up. Everyone smiled, all six of the men who were well in their 80s, and one little old lady who admitted to be eighty six. I felt like a teenager.

There was a lot of talk of death which made me extremely nervous. They discussed their bypass surgeries, strokes and enlarged hearts while I sat there and prayed my jaw ache and neck pain was associated with my Fibromyalgia. It seems even hangnails are these days so, I was hopeful. Nothing like sharing how everyone they know has died from heart-related issues. I'm not a hypochondriac, but I am susceptible to suggestion. I swear my condition worsened while I listened to them. I went from FMS to having a full-blown heart attack...at least in my mind. :)

Of course, the air conditioning was on full blast and it was freezing in there. I think it was ploy to give us all pneumonia, but I can't prove it. Next time I go, I'll take a parka, but I settled for requesting a blanket. My cardio doc has just moved into a new and swanky office building, and I looked around the room and figured that just the people in the stress EKG waiting room would probably cover the cost of all the new furniture.

A nurse came in and took a vial of liquid from a metal container marked, 'radioactive' and injected it into my IV then left without another word. I'm sure I flashed a puzzled look at my roommates but they only smiled and said it was step two. Were we all going to glow?

Step three, an hour later, the same nurse came and took me back so I could shed my bra and accompany her into the 'picture taking room.' The idea is to image your heart at rest. You lay on a table that isn't too uncomfortable... until you have to put your hands over year head for the entire process. The directions, 'don't move' immediately made my nose itch and drove me crazy the entire fourteen minutes it takes for the camera to move around your body. Of course they leave you there longer than necessary just to punish you. :)

Back in the waiting room for another thirty minutes. Finally, the twelve-year old came and got me and took me to the EKG room. Now, I'm not a prude, but I was seriously hoping he wasn't the one to hook me up with all those wires. There's something distressing about having a young guy lift my less-than-perky boobs. Luckily, the nurse came in and took over. I guess I assume women will understand it's a matter of gravity and not neglect.

So, I'm wired and ready. My instructions are to get on the treadmill. I have wires hanging all around, a blood pressure cuff on my arm, and I'm wondering how much more they can hang on me to increase the stress. I'm to walk until my pulse reaches 134, which I figure might take about ten seconds since I'm so out of shape. WRONG! That was the longest walk I've taken in a long time. Of course they keep increasing the incline and cheering you on. "You're doing fine. Keep it up. Almost There." Sure, then why am breathing like I just ran a marathon, feeling dizzy, and slipping to the back of the treadmill. Stupid things come out of my mouth when I'm in uncomfortable situations, and I think I said something about needing to have sex more often to increase my stamina. I think I also mentioned not to increase the speed to jogging as without a bra I could possibly harm myself or anyone standing close by. I have no idea why I become incoherent.

I felt like my heart was going to explode, then at 134 they injected more radioactive stuff, took my blood pressure and make me walk for an additional minute. Oh...deep sigh of relief when that stupid treadmill slowed and finally stopped. My reward was a carton of apple juice made in Mexico. I savored it like an alcoholic having a beer after having been in lock-up for a month.

All the angst about who was going to do the wiring was lost when the adolescent started fishing beneath my blouse to undo the leads. Oh well, I'll probably never see him again anyhow, but I can imagine what went through his mind.

Back in the waiting room. The same crowd is there, minus one man who has finished and left. One by one, the crowd thinned until I was alone. I talked non-stop because it's the first time in months I've had a captive ADULT audience. Remember I spend my days with a five-year-old and Spongebob Squarepants. I'm sure they thought I was pathetic. I could tell by the look of relief on their faces when the nurse came to fetch them. I felt pretty pathetic after thinking about it. :) But, I doubt I'll see them again either.

One more time for pictures of my heart after it was stressed...another fourteen minutes with hands over the head, and I'm done. I drove through Taco Bell and got myself something to eat and drink and headed home. I get the results tomorrow, but I'm optimistic that things will be fine. My greeting when I got home. My son asked, "What are you cooking for dinner?" Well, I showed him. I didn't cook. I went to bed and took a nap. Now I'm sitting here in the dark at midnight, blogging about my day, and you know what? Despite the radioactive dye, I'm not glowing. That's a relief. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Nothing Surprises Me


I spent twenty-odd years working in an institution of higher education. One component of my responsibility was accepting doctoral dissertations and master's theses as a final degree requirement. In checking the formatting, etc, I was constantly amazed at the types of things people spent a good part of their life studying. While most seemed worthwhile and contributory to furthering mankind, there were some that totally escaped logic. I wish I could recall some of them verbatim, but that would probably only lead to a lawsuit I can ill afford.

It was then that I started questioning, of course only in my mind, why the government provides grants to fund such ridiculous research. I never got a satisfactory answer, but I recently stumbled upon a website that re-kindled my belief that our government throws money down the toilet every day. I offer the following examples of proof:

1. In 2002, in California, a congressperson asked for and received a $50,000 assistance program for tattoo removal.

2. In 2003, somewhere in Iowa, one of their elected representatives convinced the government to allocate $250,000 to establish a program to assist THREE-YEAR-OLDS to handle their anger management. I can't even get my five-year-old, slightly autistic grandson into a program aside from children with severe mental retardation. The school districts lump them all together so his peer group are people with disabilities that far exceed his own. I need some anger management but I don't qualify...I'm long past three.

3. In 2006, The National Wild Turkey Federation based in South Carolina received $234,000 from the feds to further their turkey hunting program. You've got to be friggin kidding me!!!

*The resource for the above information was found at askmen.com by Craig Mazin.

I borrowed the following from www.heritage.org and an entry on common sense cuts by Brian Riedl:

In 2001, the government buried $17 billion dollars for which there was no accountability. It was labeled "unreconciled transactions" and filed away. No one has any idea who spent the money or how. Good job, don't you think? Think we could do that with our tax returns. RIGHT!

More than $12 billion in Medicare payment errors were made this year, along with more than $1 billion in the food-stamp program. The department of Housing and Urban Development makes financial boo boos equaling ten percent of its total budget. I think it's time to hire some new bookkeepers.

Aha...I remember reading about the $400.00 the military was spending per hammer, along with lavish amounts on toilets, etc. Evidently the careless spending continues. According to Mr. Riedl, a recent audit showed that military personnel use travel cards allocated to them by the government to the tune of $293.000 for entertainment, gambling, cruises, strips clubs and prostitutes. Me thinks this isn't just the regular GI Joe having all the fun. Those poor, poor generals and admirals. Tsk, Tsk.

Someone please stop my head from spinning. We have people starving, children in need, middle class American families struggling to keep their homes, and these are listed as pork-barrel expenditures: $725,000 for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia; $90,000 for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas; $273,000 to help Blue Springs, Mo., combat teenage "goth culture"; and $1 million for Birmingham, Ala., to build a statue of the Roman god Vulcan. Elimination of such frivolous causes could save billions.

Mr. Riedl also went on to explain Washingon's duplication of efforts: For example, there are 342 separate economic development programs, 130 programs serving the disabled, 130 programs serving at-risk youth, and 72 safe-water programs. This overlap not only wastes billions in administrative overhead, it confuses those needing federal assistance who must navigate through the morass of programs. What is wrong with this picture????

I had no idea there was such a thing as corporate welfare. $90 billion has been spent on a program that shouldn't even exist. To quote Mr. Riedl, "There's no justification for taxing waitresses and welders to subsidize Fortune 500 CEOs. Furthermore, most corporate welfare programs, such as the Advanced Technology Program, provide little or no economic value to justify their enormous costs." This just pissed me off more after seeing Bill Gates arguing with congress to issue more visas to bring in third world country people for him to employ at a cheaper rate. I suggested in another blog that he use some of the trillions he earned here in AMERICA to train and employ some of the over 80,000 who lost their jobs so far this year from countries going abroad.

The $200 billion per year saved by eliminating these ridiculous programs and expenditures would go a long way in restoring some faith in our government. Their show in good faith that the American public really does matter. If this frivolous waste continues, will our children have anything at all for their future? Most of us have tried to set up savings and insurance to provide for them, but as things continue to escalate to point that we live paycheck to paycheck, that good intention has fallen by the wayside in most households, I imagine. It has in ours.

I had to laugh when I heard John McCain's income tax disclosure the other day. He filed separately from his billionaire wife, claiming only his $400,000 plus. Included was the approximately $22,000 or so he received from Social Security. See, even he's getting his share before the government squanders it away.

What can we do? The people we trust and elect seem to be the very people who betray us. 'Drunk with power' seems to make a whole lot more sense to me these days. I want someone who's 'on the wagon.' With another election right around the corner, who will we send to the oval office that won't continue the tradition? I have no idea. I can't help think that those billions garnered for campaign contributions would go a long way toward cancer, aids, or other disease research. I'm trying to do my part by spreading the informed words of those in the know.

For the sake of brevity, I'm providing a link to show you some more of the ridiculous ways the government wastes your tax dollars. It's shocking:

Pork Barrel Spending


Note: Brian Riedl is the Grover M. Hermann Fellow in federal budgetary affairs at The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org), a Washington-based public policy institute.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Color Me Happy

Emerging from days of frowning, I'm so excited to say that today I received the final PDF version complete with ISBN for Sarah's Journey. It's going to be officially released on May 7th...yep, that's next month. I cannot say enough about the blinding speed of the editing staff at Eternal Press. I think it only fair to say that the 'nearly polished' copy submitted is due to my critique partners on the HisFic group: Miranda, Anne, Diane, Jessica, Lisa, and others who jumped in when they had time to lend a hand and opinion. I'm so very thankful for their help.

This book is a very special story for me, one that is based on a heroine with strengths and characteristics I hope others see in me. When faced with mountains that seem to high to climb, she perseveres, and when witnessing the unfair treatment of others, she speaks her mind. The ending of Sarah's Journey is bound to surprise you. It's not your traditional HEA (happily ever after) ending, but one that I wrote to fit the circumstances, showing faith, hope and possibilities.

Sarah is being released in ebook format, but will be offered in print as soon as Eternal signs with a printer. I'm hoping that won't be too far in the future, because I can't wait to add a copy to my growing collection of personal accomplishments. It's a wonderful feeling, and in a few months, I get to celebrate all over again when Sparta Rose and Embezzled Love debut in both e and print format. Hooray! My long dry spell has ended. Celebrate with me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Today, I had a nine -month follow-up with my heart doctor. I can't believe time flew by so fast since my scary episode of hospitalization for atrial fibrillation. Whenever I'm in a stressful situation I always try to find something to laugh about. Unfortunately I was the only person in the exam room when I needed a chuckle. As I sat with that crinkly exam table paper sticking to my behind, waiting for the doctor and trying to come up with a good reason why I hadn't lost any of the weight he told me to, I realized I was freezing. The old saying, "My headlights are on" came to mind, and I peered down at my chest. Sadly, I realized I no longer have headlights...they've shifted to 'fog lights'. I was dying to share that with someone, so there you go. I came up with that all on my own. *lol*

When I got home, I started reading back through my old newsletter file. It's like a diary of sorts where I've captured two or three years of my life. Although this was previously shared and might look some familiar to some of you, I decided to post it again to show my last year's April. Thank God, things are looking better...at least in some aspects. :)

April 2007
Last month I complained about the mundaneness of my life. Trust me, you shall never hear me complain about that again. I woke up one morning last week, gasping for air, with my heart racing like a thundering herd of buffalo. After trying to stay calm, which is a big feat for me, the woman who can turn a headache into an immediate tumor, I decided to call the doctor. Of course, my mother's shrill voice echoed in my head..."don't leave home with dirty underwear on," so I took a quick shower and shaved my legs. That's a female thing. You just can't have anyone touch bristly stubble. Of course, I was in such a hurry, I didn't have time to change blades and I virtually scraped the stubble off while still attached to skin. Geez, I almost forgot about my racing heart when I put lotion on the nicks and cuts. But I digress. Where was I. Okay, I called the doctor, and her nurse told me I should be in the ER. I'm set, I've showered, shaved and changed undies. I calmly told my husband, "I need to go to the Emergency Room."

He had just taken a shower and was putting on his shoes and socks. He looks up at me and says, "Go get in the car, I'll be right there." So, I sit and wait, my heart pumping for all it's worth, and not in any sort of rhythm, and watch him, go from the house to the trailer, come out, go back in the house, re-emerge, but he snapped his fingers, telling me he'd forgotten something, and went back in. I finally honked the horn. God, I could be dying here!

We started off calmly, I wasn't saying much, trying to concentrate on keeping my breathing even. We're on the main road now, and the hospital is maybe 8-10 miles away. We're behind a line of cars that is going slower than the speed limit. My husband joins the pack. I finally look over at him and say, "Could you please hurry?"

I guess the look on my face told him I was distressed, so he punched it (the gas, not my face) and passed all the cars. We got there in record time, and I was immediately taken in and hooked up to monitors. It was evident that my heart was doing strange things.

I was remarkably calm. That in itself was almost scary. They inserted an IV and after the EKG, gave me medicine to stun my heart back into sync. The doctor issued a threat that if it didn't work, I would have to be shocked. I think his threat did the trick, because my heart rate slowed and became normal. Still, they admitted me for tests.

I haven't been in a hospital for a very long time, so it was a strange experience. Of course my insurance would never pay for a private room, so I was placed with an elderly (I say that out of respect because she was older than me) woman who was hoping to go home. Her darling little husband was there right at her bedside holding her hand. He drifted over to my side of the room and gave me her whole prognosis, not just once but at least five times before they finally left. I don't know her name, but I do know her entire health history.

I enjoyed the privacy for at least an hour before they brought in another patient. Needless to say, there was no rest for the remainder of my stay. I'll share part of my blog with you to save on my fingernails:

A quick trip to the ER found me admitted and wired to monitors. While my life passed before my eyes, I realized the greatest fear I had at the moment was what this fiasco would cost me.

I'm used to an HMO and have never had to figure out expenses. Since moving to TN I've been forced to become a Blue Cross/Blue Shield care carrier at 80/20 split. I started calculating things in my mind instead of counting sheep to try to sleep.

A box of Kleenex - probably $5.00

Each vial of blood: $100 each probably to pay the technician who drew it, then $700.00 for the lab to analyze it. They took about 6 vials.

An extra blanket when I got cold - probably $25.00 for the nurse who brought and spread on my bed and another $25.00 for the extra laundry charge.

Six Meals - probably $10.00 per meal but because I was on a no-sodium diet, add another $10 for leaving out the salt. I also had two extra cartons of sherbet--let's see, probably about $2.50 each, plus carrying charges.

Then of course there is the round the clock nursing that allows them to come in and take vitals after you've finally fallen asleep.

Don't forget the tag-team doctors. One half of a cardiology team to consult, my own doctor who came and used her stethoscope twice to listen to my heart, and then of course the second half of the cardiology team so he could get his share of the pie.
That doesn't even include the tests I had, the technicians who gave them, and the people who read the results.

Of course I also have to pay for the plastic dishpan they gave me, the small tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush that wouldn't remove plaque if it was attached to a grinder, and some body shampoo in case the nurse convinced me to let her give me a $500 sponge-bath. I figure that little hospitality package was around $200.

Now bear in mind these are all estimates, but I probably estimated on the low side.

So upon my release the words of wisdom I received were, "don't stress" because it can be the cause of your condition. Sure, why wouldn't I stress? I'm thinking that my 20% wouldn't even be covered by my life-insurance if I died. I already live in a travel-trailer, earn royalties for my writing that wouldn't buy a band-aid, and use my retirement to pay my other bills. I guess I shouldn't stress. They'll either take payments or they won't. You can't get what I don't have.

To bad I can't seek reimbursement for the snocking and snorting room-mate with chronic emphysema and asthma who was dying for a cigarette. She was more worried about here next smoke and upset that the hospital had adopted a no-smoking policy. I've never heard of a hospital where patients smoke, but I'm sure I'll somehow incur some of the expense for her around-the-clock breathing treatments because by her own admission, she had no health insurance.

I don't mean to minimize her suffering, although it was apparently self-induced, nor do I infer that she doesn't deserve care, I just wondered why I roomed with someone who could pay nothing when I have insurance. Something about that didn't seem right. Okay, now that I read that, it sounds downright mean. I didn't mean to infer that they should put her in the basement next to the boiler. I just wanted some sleep.

In TN, very few people have health or dental insurance. I've never seen so many toothless people with hacking coughs in my life. They're usually the ones at the tanning salon, keeping their regular appointments.

Seriously, I'm just happy it was only Atrial Fibrillation and that medicines can control it. I have an appointment with the doctor (yet another charge) and he's going to earn his money for the hundred questions I have for him. I'm just happy to be here plunking out my monthly newsletter for you folks. I am indeed blessed.

TODAY'S NOTE: YES, I AM!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Previous Interview I Came Across

Name: Ginger Simpson

Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)

I’ve always loved reading historical romance and was inspired to try my hand at writing one of my own. In 2002 I sat down at my computer and started typing. I felt as if I was telling myself a story and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. That’s when I discovered that I write by the seat of my pants. My characters drag me wherever they want to go and I never know the outcome until I’ve written it.

What inspired you to write your first book?

As I said, I was inspired by my love of reading. I ran out of books that had ‘savage’ in the title and decided to write one of my own.

How many books have you written?

I currently have six books and five novellas published with two more contracted and soon to be released. TODAY'S NOTE: This has changed as some of my contracts have expired. Eternal Press is re-releasing three of my novellas, and I'll be adding two more to the lot to create a book. I'm just moving a little slower than I'd expected.

How do you decide on their topic?

I don’t really decide. Storylines come to me from no where in particular and I name my characters and let them run with the idea.

What works best to keep you focused and on track?

Finding quiet time when I can sit without interruption and get in touch with my characters. I try to have coffee with them occasionally to ask the questions to which I need answers.

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

I’d love to make money writing, but since my royalty checks barely cover the cost of a McDonald’s happy meal, I do it for the love. It’s actually a stress release for me. I can let my characters act in ways that I don’t dare. TODAY'S NOTE: If I wrote something today, it would turn out to be a Murder Mystery because I'd have to have my heroine or hero choking someone to death. Too bad virtual fingers don't work. *lol*

What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?

Many of the same that all authors are advised to utilize: personal website, participation in writing, publishing and review loops, handing out promotional materials such as personalized key chains, bookmarks, pens.

What are some unique methods?

For my first release I prepared a trifold containing an excerpt. The front displayed the cover, ISBN and ordering information, and I left these wherever I went. I also included them in things I mailed. I created a book bag with pictures of all my book covers and an invitation to "ask me about my books." I carried it when I went to car shows and public places. Anything that stirs interest is helpful. I also started a newsletter group that has now grown to over 500. Every month I share information, personal and professional with my fan base. One of my favorites was ordering business-card-sized CDs and downloading excerpts from several books and offering them as a reward for those who enticed others to join my newsletter. TODAY'S NOTE: I gave up my newsletter in favor of blogging. It seemed a much better way to connect with people on a more personal level. I don't have the subscription rate that I had, but my numbers continue to increase. I'm hopeful that most people who read my blog enjoy it.

Do you sell through a website?

I can only do that with one book since I exclusively hold the print rights to it. My other contracts stipulate that I can only sell through the publisher’s site or my own.

Do you plan on writing additional books?

Of course. Writing is my life and I’m not happy unless I have at least two works-in-progress. Now writing has become a challenge. Every new work is my hope for achieving a little more notoriety than I did with the previous one.

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, Author of Book Promo 101 - www.nikkileigh.com/promo.htm.

TODAY'S NOTE: Not much has changed. I'm still plunking along, following my characters and hoping someone will stand up and take notice of me. I have some new releases coming very soon and I'm excited about being back in the 'newly-released' category. It's been a long dry spell. Here are my new covers, and I'm hoping no one takes exception to any of them this time.





Sunday, April 20, 2008

We're Having a Baby (Not really)

I was searching through some old papers and I came across this story that I wrote thirty years ago. I brought back some funny memories, so I thought I'd share it.

"We're having a baby." That's what he liked to say to everyone we met. "WE'RE having a baby." WE? I don't remember seeing him throw up in the morning. I can't recall his feet looking like Fred Flintstones, and I know for sure he wasn't the one using Preparation H all those months. When WE went to the OUR doctor's appointments, why did only one of us get yelled at for gaining weight?

Somehow as OUR pregnancy advanced, one of us tended to get cranky and out of sorts because of the freedom our partner still maintained. One of us felt sort of cumbersome. It was hard to remember that I'd been a willing participant in what caused this condition when my back killed me and heartburn climbed into my throat. I wanted to make him strap a ten-pound bag of sugar to his middle and walk around with his back pushed forward like someone had their foot planted firmly in the middle of it. I craved having him assume that posture while trying to sit down in a chair--better yet, try to get out of one. After all, WE were having this baby!

While WE carried the child, one of us had to get up frequently during the night to potty while one of us snored all night long. And when time came to give birth, one of us laid in bed and moaned and groaned while the other sat and read a magazine. One of us was constantly prodded and poked to determine the position of the baby WE were having, and I think it was me because I clearly remember thinking someone was outside my door handing out rubber gloves to whomever passed by. Matter of fact, I'm almost positive I recognized the custodian at one point.

How hard it must have been on hubby while WE were having this baby. When WE got ready to go to the delivery room for the C section that we didn't expect to have, I only had to lay on a gurney in pain, but he had to hide from the hordes of nurses looking for him to witness the birth. I'm not sure when he actually disappeared...I just remembering hearing his magazine hit the floor.

After they abandoned the search for him, they informed me of all the terrible things that can happen when you are under anesthesia. I was scared to death, but then WE had to have this baby. I had no choice, and no one to hold my hand. Going 'under the knife' is a scary thing in itself...especially when everyone else in the delivery room (about 45 people by my last count) were all laughing and chatting like they were at a cocktail party while I lay, cold and naked, with my gown flipped up over my head. The last thing I recall was someone saying, "Let's get this baby out of there", and I tried in vain to scream, "Not yet, I'm not asleep." I woke up in the delivery room with a little note tucked in my hand. "It's a boy!" It looked like WE had our baby. But how come I was the only one sporting stitches?

I don't mean to infer we weren't a team in this effort. It definitely was his baby and he did suffer at times. I never saw anyone with more pain reflected on their face than my husband when the doctor announced I would also be having a tubal ligation at the time of delivery. You see, hubby had just recovered from his recent vasectomy. He'd also suffered with all my nagging and whining, when when you're pregnant, you're entitled. I'm glad this was OUR last baby. I don't think HE could have withstood another pregnancy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why Aren't We Screaming?


I rarely have a chance to listen to the news, and when I do, I realize why I avoid it. The fact that a few days ago, I ranted about a stupid book cover and a small publisher who has been a thorn in my side, pales in comparison to what's really important.

What is happening to America? I had no idea that over 80,000 people lost their jobs in just the first three months of this new year. Happy New Year...NOT! Our government signed a contract with a company in France to build planes for us, BYPASSING our own Boeing company that employs US Citizens. One of America's richest, Bill Gates, has a vested interest in how many visas we issue so he can continue to bring in workers from third world countries to employ as computer techs. Hey Bill, how about actually using some of those billions earned here in AMERICA to actually teach some of the unemployed masses a new skill. Put them to work for you. At least when I call a help line, I'll get someone I can understand. Of course, you really don't have to bring them here, you can follow the lead some of the biggest lending institutions and outsource the work. Just send all your client's information overseas and set up 1-800 or 1-866 lines so that you reach someone in Pakistan or India to discuss your bill. I had to call and find out out why my eighty-three-year-old mother had Air Malaysia tickets and rental car charges on her statement when the only place she goes is to Walmart. There are dishonest people everywhere, it seems. Someone abroad was selling credit card info to their friends. Wouldn't you think that these American financial institutions could find disabled people here in our country who would love to work from home? Oh, but that would take time and effort.

Take a look around at all the empty buildings that used to house businesses that have moved abroad to save a buck or two. How does that help our economy? I personally knew a woman in Sparta, TN who was expected to travel to Mexico to train someone there to do her job...the one she'd been doing for years and expected to retire from. Talk about a slap in the face. Sparta is a beautiful place to live but we had to move because there are so few jobs there, and those that exist pay minimum wage.

All the businesses moved abroad means we have to transport the inventory that comes back into the US. This has created a need for more truck drivers to move the freight. Accordingly, "puppy mill" truck driving schools are thriving and people without resources are going in to debt to pay thousands of dollars to earn an "A" license that classifies them as a professional driver. I personally believe truckers are disrespected and wrongly categorized by the public, but that's a blog for another day. Ever see how much Truck Stops charge them for everything?

But back to my rant... So, to accommodate the increased trucking need, fuel prices have risen to an all-time high to drive out the independents who can no longer afford to remain in business. Think about it...how many 'mom and pop' businesses do you see these days? Practically none. We're doing our best to drive everyone into conglomerated corporations. I remember when diesel was a lot cheaper than gas. I believe it's actually less expensive and easier to make so where is the rationale in charging so much more if it isn't to gouge the trucking industry? I don't get it.

If we continue as we are, who will have a paycheck to buy all the goods that were once made here. Instead of worrying about the Olympic Torch, I think we have bigger issues to worry about. Do we really have a candidate running for president who will actually address what I see as obvious problems. I don't think so. If the government is paying a foreign country to build our planes, that sort of speaks to my question. If you really want to be depressed, take a look at the money the government spends on stupidity. We have people starving, unemployed and homeless but Hilary and Obama have raised billions between them for their campaigns. Where has logic gone? I'd love to sit down with them and outline a normal working class citizen's financial picture. You know, elementary school teaching. Dick earns $8.00 an hour while Jane can't find a job. Spot needs dog food, but since gasoline is $3.50 a gallon, and the electric bill has soared, food costs have increased to cover the cost of trucking our now imported goods to the store, we can't afford a pet. Sally has to take priority. I guess Spot will have to go the the pound and hope someone who can afford to feed him will adopt him. Sad but true.

I'm glad my children are grown, but I worry about the world my five-year-old grandson will grow into. No amount of romance fiction, suspense or fantasy I write will change what I see happening, and it scares the hell out of me. What can one person do to make a change? I have no idea. One thing I'm sure of is that my opinions will stir controversy and piss off a few, but these are my thoughts and I'm entitled to them. I have nothing against any race or religion, but I don't understand why being the 'playground monitor' in other countries is more important than taking care of our own tax paying citizens first.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interview with Sarah Collins


INTERVIEWER: Today our guest is Sarah Collins, the heroine in Ginger Simpson's new release, Sarah's Journey. Sarah, it's very nice to have you with us.

Sarah: Thank you. I'm actually glad to be anywhere after the harrowing journey I had.

INT: Oh, do tell us about it. Our reader's love historical romance novels.

Sarah: Ginger's latest book isn't a romance per se. It falls more along the lines of an "Americana". There's a romantic faction involved and it's peppered with historical facts, but it's really more about me and my struggles--trying to overcome the hatred and prejudice that existed in the old west.

INT: Unfortunately, we still have some of those problems even today.

Sarah: That's very true. The roots of unkindness run very deep, and often for no real reason. I got a very good dose of unfounded hatred in Sarah's Journey.

INT: How so?

Sarah: Let me start from the beginning. *cups her chin and sighs*. My parents both died from Typhoid fever and I had no relatives left in Hannibal. Let's just say the banker wasn't at all helpful, and tried to barter to make me his wife in order to save Papa's land. I decided it wasn't worth it, so I sold everything in the barn and a large part of what was in the house. I kept only what I thought I'd need to make a new start. I used the money from the sales to buy a wagon and team then joined a train set for California.

INT: That seems brave for a single woman. Handling a team isn't an easy feat much less traveling such a long way.

Sarah: I guess I should have mentioned I found a very nice man to be my driver. Actually, I very little thought to danger; I was more excited about seeing a new place and letting go of bad memories.

INT: Tell us more, please.

Sarah: The wagon master and the other folks traveling with him seemed very nice. I felt safe traveling with the group, and I quickly became fond of Molly. We spent lots of time together, walking alongside the train and talking about our futures. We had such great plans and I never suspected *pauses and wipes a tear*...

INT:
Suspected what?

Sarah: That Indians would attack the train and kill Molly, and everyone else. I don't know how I survived. *lowers gaze to the floor*.

INT:
I can see this is very painful for you. Don't feel you have to continue.

Sarah: Oh, it's all right. I'm very lucky to be here. I tried to save Molly, but I didn't have enough medical knowledge or even tools. It was bad enough to lose her friendship, but then I realized I was truly all alone in the middle of no where with no idea what to do.

INT: Oh my gosh, what did you do?

Sarah: Luckily, I kept my wits about me. I realized that going back the way we came made more sense than heading in an unknown direction. The problem: The Indians took all our livestock and food.

INT: How in the world did you survive without food.

Sarah: My Ma taught me a lot about roots, berries and such. I had no doubt I could find plenty to eat, and eventually, water. I filled what canteens I found and took just enough to keep me warm at night then set off. I had to leave in case the Indians came back again. Dealing with the coyotes and buzzards was more than I could handle.

INT:
So, did you travel all the way back to where the train started?

Sarah: Ginger will have my head if I give away too much of the story. Let me just say that after everything else I'd been through, I got bit by a gol-darned rattlesnake. I thought for sure I was a goner, but a very handsome, and I hate to use this term, 'halfbreed', saved me. You'd think I would have been overcome with glee, but I was eaten up with guilt because I realized he was the same person I'd left for dead when I tried to steal his horse. It's a long story, but you'll have to read Sarah's Journey to find out more.

INT: Well, I'm going to have to read it. I can't stand being left hanging like that, but I understand you can't share more. Can you just give us a hint what happened after he saved you?

Sarah: One more little tidbit and that's it. Wolf promised to take me to Independence and introduce me to a friend of his. That's where I ended up. Wolf, too. Now, that's absolutely all I'm going to divulge. *giggles*

INT: Well, I won't press for more. I do thank you for being here and taking time to share a little about your journey. I can't wait to read it.

Sarah:
It's being released on May 7th by Eternal Press (http://www.eternalpress.ca) in download format only. As soon as EP locates a printer, it'll be available in book format. I do have to warn you, it's not your typical 'happily ever after' ending. Don't you just get so tired of predictable endings?

INT:
Now you have me hooked for sure. I'll be looking for it on May 7th. Thanks again, Sarah.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My son 'photoshopped' my picture. Hey, look. No more wrinkles. I think I like it.

The Amazing World of Commercial Television

The almighty dollars overshadows everything we see and hear, but do you imagine that there are really people in this world that believe the stuff that commercials try to feed us? Do women really believe if they buy that 'special lubricant' that shows a sex-starved pair of lovers doing it all over the house, that their husband can suddenly maintain an erection for longer than ten minutes? Do girls really believe if you use Tampax, you can swim, even if you never learned how? Do groups of women really get together and dance around in their underwear in a celebration of 'just my size'? I was never invited to one of those gatherings. Should I be upset?

I'm sick of hearing about medicines that prolong erections, elongate a penis, how someone with genital herpes is taking special precautions to protect his girlfriend, despite the risk of liver failure, seizures, heart attack or stroke. I don't want to see a bear telling me I should wipe my butt with Charmin or a lizard telling me which car insurance I need. How would they know? Show me a fat woman eating Special K and then show me her in a month and prove the results you say will happen if I indulge in that horrid cereal for thirty days. Then show me the women who really wear a bra for Eighteen Hours because that's the name of it. If my maxi pad isn't a mini, is it a fashion statement, and if it has wings, can I fly? Is nothing sacred anymore? I preferred when we didn't publicly discuss hemorrhoids, jock itch or feminine discharge. Who decided we needed all this information?

I, for one, am sick to death of the crap we are forced to view between programs. I'm so thankful for DVRs so we can record programs and speed through the ridiculous stuff. Someone needs to tell the advertisers that they are insulting the American public. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

THE DAY FROM HELL

What a day I had yesterday. We had horrible thunderstorms, and at one point, it rained so hard I could barely see the end of the driveway. Of course it all opened up about the time I was due to go pick Spencer up from school. The rain gage said we got 3 1/2 inches. I was working on my current WIP, First Degree Innocence, and had gotten side-tracked. I was finally starting to make some progress after being side-lined for a few days. I'm trying really hard to get this one finished because I have a 'veiled' interest in seeing the completed story after a publisher read my first three paragraphs. NOT chapters...paragraphs. So, I'm excited, but my muse keeps taking naps. I happened to glance up at the clock and panicked.

Anyhow, I was on my way to get Spencer, running late and made even later by having to continually pull over for Emergency equipment. They were headed in the direction of where I live, but I wasn't concerned because Spencer was at school He's always my main worry and priority these days.

I picked him up and headed home. When we got our street, I recognized the flashing red lights that I'd stopped for on the way to school. Evidently, a power pole had fallen across the road and live wires were dangling to the street. It happened just shortly after I went through there. I whispered a silent prayer to God for letting me pass safely.

After we sat for some time, I got impatient, plus I chastised myself for not going potty before I left home. I decided to backtrack and take the next street over and around. Bad move!

Hilton Lane is the street that the tornado hit and removed most of the trees and destroyed homes. It never occurred to me that there would be flooding. Yikes. Lots of rushing water collected and streamed alongside the road, but it wasn't I until drove through a pool halfway up my tires to get on the bridge that I realized there was a raging river on the other side of the road. Logs were floating by, and there was no way I was going to risk continuing on. You'd have to have a death wish to do that. Really, it was horrible and scary at the same time. Here we were, on a narrow bridge, in a small car with the turning radius of a Mac truck, and the water behind us was rising too.

Spencer sensed my fear and started to cry. I wanted to cry with him because driving through the first pond of water was scary enough. My husband had warned me many times, and common sense tells you not to drive through water crossing the road. But I was on a narrow road with other people with the same bright idea behind me. Now what?

The young man in the truck behind came up and assured me that driving through the water ahead was not an option. I told him I was old...not stupid. Noah had an ark, I had a PT cruiser. *lol* The nice fellow offered to turn my car around and drive it back through the rising water, so I took Spence out of his car seat and held him on my lap as we ventured back through. I have to say, I'm sure the water was up past the bottom of the door this time, and the car floated a tad, but we made it safely.

So, we went back and sat , waiting for the lines to be repaired until my DIL called and reminded me of yet another country back road. I had to choose, go behind the utility box on the side of the road and pee or risk another road. I decided to be brave.

It was ten miles out of the way, but we only had to ford one small creek over the road, but at least I could still see pavement. We got home safely, only to sit in the dark for three hours, but at least we weren't in the car, waiting in line to get here. Ah nothing is as sweet looking as the commode when you need it. Flashlight for ambiance. :)

After telling my son of my experience, he drove his big utility work truck over and blocked the flooded road so no one else got into the same predicament. Using Hilton as an alternate is common knowledge, but yesterday it wasn't such a hot idea.

The poor people left on that street after the Tornado suddenly had lake front property. I think they've suffered more than enough.

By the way, I'm not trying anymore shortcuts from now on. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Peace Would Be A Welcome Change


Judging from the number of hits on my page during the past few days, it's evident that people are checking for some sort of reaction to what's happening and what part I play in the controversial exchange at Dear Author .

When I posted on my blog about the upsetting turn of events dealing with the loss of my book cover for a second time, I truly meant I was through with mud slinging and hateful behavior, however, I've now been classed as a 'disgruntled ex-author' who is at the root of problems with the press mentioned in the thread. How that came to be, I have no idea. I took my book, left, and never looked back until the most recent communication from them to my new publisher was shared with me. I didn't wage a war, nor do I want to be part of it. BUT, because I seem to be caught in the fray, I posted to tell my side of the story.

Although I'm not an HP author, I've felt the sting. No one should ever be treated disrespectfully and dismissed as though they were nothing more than a stepping stone on the way to the top of someone else's career. And...what's to gain if an author signs a contract with a publisher and then seeks to tear down the very structure they hope will launch them into the public eye? You do the math. There is no sense to that whatsoever. So, I defend my friends' right to stand up against what's wrong. The sad side is that innocent authors are caught in the middle. They did nothing to warrant the bad press that will ultimately affect them, yet there are too many secrets being uncovered to blame the authors who are speaking out in their own defense.

The discussion at Dear Author coincided with other ongoing threads at Amazon and other sites that dealt with removing unfavorable reviews and harassing a reader for posting her honest opinion. I play no part in that. Actually, I would have played no part in any of this if I had been left alone.

Like my friends who are fighting the injustice, I want nothing more than to be an author; I want to write and have fans who enjoy the fruits of my labor. I have nothing to gain in throwing stones and making myself look like an idiot. I'm an adult, and I resent that I've been put into a position by self-serving individuals who are trying to cover up their own bad behavior.

My association with the now infamous press was a disaster from the get go. The best thing that happened was the blow up that led to my asking for my contract rights back and getting them. I'm no longer affiliated with that house, nor do I care to be. So all I ask of them is please leave me alone. I've had my say at Dear Author, and I also responded to a hurtful email sent to one of my author friends that portrayed me as a main player because of my use of a stock photograph. Trust me, I was minding my own business. Until I dared use a cover featuring the same model as the cover that my former publisher recycled to an anthology group there, things were just fine. If you read my blog, you know my stance. It hasn't changed, but I once again relinquished a cover to appease them. So, I'm done, finished-- so over this and sick of it all.

You won't see any more posts from me at Dear Author or here about this. I have nothing left to say except to those who want to keep hurting people: You reap what you sow, so if you are planting bitter seeds, you'd better be prepared to pucker up. What goes around, comes around.

So, I'm focusing on my three new books coming soon from three different publishers. I'm happy in my new homes and I'm being treated with professional respect and courtesy. That's the way it should always be. Despite all the recent negative press concerning various e-publishing houses, rest assured there are some wonderful ones out there. Just do your homework and look for red flags before you sign anything.

Have a wonderful day. I'm going to work on First Degree Innocence and see if I can put all this behind me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Much More Moving Video

Early this morning, I posted the new video I created for my upcoming book. Today, I received a link to a video that makes mine pale in comparison. It was created by my niece, Austin Simpson, in memory of , Brianna Denison, a friend who was recently kidnapped and found killed in Reno, Nevada. I'm sure you may have seen the story in your newspaper or on TV, and even though I didn't know her, Austin's tribute brought tears to my eyes for a beautiful young woman whose future was so brutally taken from her, and for her family that grieves her loss. I can't begin to imagine how horrible this must be for them and those who loved her. I'm warning you, get a hankie before you push the start button.

My New Video Trailer

I have a very close friend at Trailmix video, and she stayed up late last night redoing the trailer for Sarah's Journey. I absolutely love the music, and of course, the new cover fits the story perfectly. I'll be at the Eternal Press April Launch this morning, so if you get a chance, stop by and chat. Sarah's not coming until next month, but I'll be talking about Paging Dr. Jones.

Eternal Press Readers Group

Enjoy Sarah's Teaser:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Second Amendment

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

I'm afraid of guns. Even though I spent a stint as a Correction's Officer and had to qualify with one, and at times even wear it, I can't deny, they scare me. My youngest son, on the other hand, follows in his father's footsteps, and is enchanted by them. Luckily, the collection is kept in a gun safe upstairs.

Many times, he and I have argued over how having a weapon in the house makes you more safe. He's not a hunter but feels a need for protection, believing that eventually the world will progress to the point where we'll need one (or twenty). He claims a revolution is coming and we must be prepared. I imagine next we'll start stockpiling food, water and batteries.. Maybe I should go on eBay and shop for a 'flack' jacket. I joke about it, but I shudder at that thought that we're going to be our own demise. I think it's inevitable. I pray it happens long after I'm gone.

This morning, I was saddened to learn that Charlton Heston had passed. For some reason, it always bothered me that one of my biggest heroes was president of the NRA for so many years. Evidently, he shared my son's views: A constitutional right to bear arms. Somehow, I believe we should concentrate our efforts on other things, like recognizing that we are ALL truly created equal and should be treated thusly. I was reminded as I submitted my tax return that's not likely to happen in my lifetime. :)

While pondering the loss of a great star, my son sent me the following email. I thought I'd share it in honor of Mr. Heston whom I just watched for the umpteenth time in The Ten Commandments. It's so hard to picture Moses toting a gun.

The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.

As John Steinbeck once said: (note from Ginger: I'm not totally sure he said any or all of this.)

1. Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.

2. I carry a gun cause a cop is too heavy.

3. When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

4. A reporter did a human-interest piece on the Texas Rangers. The reporter recognized the Colt Model 1911 the Ranger was carrying and asked him "Why do you carry a 45?" The Ranger responded, "Because they don't make a .46."

5. An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

6. The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. "Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?" "No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my rifle."

7. Beware the man who only has one gun. HE PROBABLY KNOWS HOW TO USE IT!!!

But wait, there's more!

I was once asked by a lady visiting if I had a gun in the house. I said I did. She said "Well I certainly hope it isn't loaded!" To which I said, of course it is loaded, can't work without bullets!" She then asked, "Are you that afraid of some one evil coming into your house?" My reply was, "No not at all. I am not afraid of the house catching fire either, but I have fire extinguishers around, and they are all loaded too." To which I'll add, having a gun in the house that isn't loaded is like having a car in the garage without gas in the tank.


While I'm not so sure I agree with the contents of the email, many do believe it is their right to bear arms. My son keeps reminding me that it isn't firearms that kill people, it's people who kill people. He's pretty certain that if they didn't have a gun, they'd find another way. He may be right. I'm still afraid of them.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

PROUDLY PRESENTING THE NEW SARAH....

My awesome friend and cover artist, Julie D'arcy has once again risen to the occasion. I truly owe her for all she's been through with me, and I'm so proud of the new cover for Sarah's Journey. Hopefully this will put to rest all the controversy over me using the other IStock.com image for any book that bears my name. I can only hope this one meets with everyone's approval. I know for certain I'll not buy another promotional item until the book is published and available for sale. *lol*

Hopefully all this hoopla has created such an interest that Sarah's Journey will be a big hit. *big smile*

Hi all - is the Dishin' It Out week over, or can I sneak in under the wire and just say Hi and Happy Weekend to you all?!

It's been a busy week on this Blog - many great posts, lots of exciting fiction news and delights for readers. Some drama too, and a huge supportive, well-deserved HUG for our host Ginger in all those things.

I just wanted to remind anyone who's dropping in that both Ginger and I will be at the Eternal Press Readers Loop on Monday, to celebrate the batch of new, taste-tingling releases.

Eternal Press Readers

Oh, but I may not be who you think...

I'm launching a short story called MY OWN WINGS under my pen name Ava Merrick. I hope you'll find it a gentle, life-affirming story.

Sara's life has been such a struggle recently, with problems from her work and family and boyfriend. It's only the memory of the man in her dreams, with his friendship and tender care, that keeps her spirits high. But who is he really - and can he do anything for her in this world?

Come and join us there, maybe buy a book, maybe win a contest, maybe just pull up a chair and have a great chat.
A Contest, I hear you cry?! Anyone who joins us on Monday and posts a message on the Group to me (Ava) stating both my Eternal Press pen names, will be entered in a draw for a free download of My Own Wings.
Find any extra writing names I use (clue: all on my website!), and win some London souvenirs too!
So you're one step ahead of the crowd by visiting this Blog! :)
Enjoy the weekend everyone!!
Clare/Ava :)

Friday, April 4, 2008

A New Day, A New Attitude

Yesterday was not a pleasant day for me, and I blogged about it, released my anger and let it go. I urge everyone else to do the same. Releasing hurt and frustration is a healing process and I feel so much better.

The past is the past, I prefer to look to the future. A book cover is such a small thing when you put your life into perspective. Old grudges, bad feelings, and sad memories do nothing but weigh a person down and keep them from optimism, healthy karma and progression.

I once went to a meeting of a organization called "Astro Soul." I was very leery at first but tried to remain open-minded. The members of this group have dedicated themselves to freeing spirits trapped here in time and leading them to the 'white light' so they can move on. It's believed that spirits cling to human form for various reasons, one being familiarity with you in a past or present life. Their energy is a drain on yours. It was hard to tell from the 'healings' that were taking place, because I was only an onlooker, so I decided to become a participant. It turns out that one of the people that unknowingly rode to the meeting in my car, (along with several others) knew me from a life when we were both stone masons working on a castle turret. I was a man at the time and fell to my death because of this person. He remained behind to try to make amends with me. The silly thing is that I was plagued for years with a mysterious neck ache, and one he went, so did the pain. I've never had it again.

Okay, so my credibility is in question. Sure, I had to stop watching Marcus Welby because I always seemed to wake with the symptoms from the previous evenings program, but I swear the other things I heard that night made sense too. One can only hope there is a "bright light" at the end of this life, and not that proverbial train that seems to hit us head on from time to time. So, today, I'm being my own bright light and walking through to something much more positive than that upon which I dwelled yesterday. Join me, won't you.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

NEW CONTRACTS

Hi Readers,
As usual, when I sit down to blog I never have a solid idea of what I'm going to blog about, I'm one of those write by the seat of my pants kinda persons. But I decided I'd share my latest, exciting new with everyone. I feel I've been blessed by my publisher, Eternal Press because they just recently sent me six new contracts to sign. I was WOWED when I got the email. I was expecting two contracts for the two books we'd agreed on and I have coming out this year. I know six contracts probably isn't a world record or anything, but it's a record for me. So, readers, through the coming months, I look forward to see my novels, new book covers and my name going up on my website and the website of my publisher and anywhere else my books are sold. It's always thrilling to see your new book cover for the first time. I don't know why, maybe it becomes a reality when you see that cover with your name upon it. Presently, you can find my name (Tabitha Shay) on two novels: Witch's Brew and Witch's Heart, the first two books from the Winslow Witches of Salem Series. Later this year, the third book, Witch's Moon will released, not sure if will be Oct. or Dec. yet when it comes out. Also this year, two of my contemporary western romances under my other pen name (Jaydyn Chelcee) will be released. In the Arms of Danger and No Holds Barred, are the first two books of a five book series I have planned known as the Montana Men Series. The six new contracts cover three novels each in both series, so I'm definitely going to be busy for awhile. I hope you'll pay a visit to my website at www.tabithashay.com or my space site at http://www.myspace.com/tabithashay
OR my publisher's site www.eternalpress.ca
I'm off now, with one last word, "Thank you, Miz Ging" for having me as a guest blogger this week. May you have lots of sales and good luck with all your future book covers. You're a very special lady who deserves only the sexiest, hottest book covers for your many wonderful novels. I'm proud to call you my friend...Tabitha Shay

DEJA VU

Boy, does the subtitle of my blog apply to this one. "You never know what you're gonna get." I don't even know how to begin this looooong explanation, but when you post a cover for promotion on several sites and it suddenly disappears, questions arise. This is not the first time, but the second time, so rather than have people question my sanity or stability as an author, here is my best attempt to explain what has happened to my new Sarah's Journey Cover. I'd like to add a caveat that this my own personal blog and the opinions and experiences are my own and to my knowledge, true and accurate. I have copies of all emails on file.

If you'll recall, over a year ago, I signed with a certain publishing company to release Sparta Rose. I was assigned a cover, spent countless hours posting it on various author and reader sites, ordered promotional material, then had it yanked because of one particular person who managed the loop. Imagine how humiliating it was to request that the cover and trailer be pulled from the Covey Awards. I'm not going into details, but suffice to say, I'm not the only person who encountered problems with her. I'm sure deep down she has a very nice side, but in witnessing her responses to me and others, I view her as confrontational and always refusing to take ownership of her part in any problem. She maintains that she is a co-publisher, but my contract showed no evidence of her authority to take any action, but, because of the unprofessional way I FELT authors are treated on their loop, I requested that rights to my book return to me and they were. Within just a few weeks, the cover that had once been mine was reassigned to an anthology by that same publisher. I would have thought the authors would have preferred something more original than a cover that had been vigorously promoted by someone else, but I was wrong.

Here is the original cover assigned to me:












I was very fortunate to be picked up by another publisher who found merit in my work. Before they even assigned a cover to me, they were contacted by the previous publisher and 'warned' not to allow me to use the same image. I was puzzled, but not surprised. Mind you, this is an image available to anyone on IStockphoto.com and can be used thousands of times with one purchase agreement.

Here is the image:











Rather than create problems for a new publisher, I let go of the idea of using the image to match the promotional material I'd purchased. I was fortunate to receive this awesome new cover, designed for Sparta Rose by Enspiren Press. It's equally as beautiful and eye-appealing.





So, assuming my problems were over, I went on to write another novel. I signed a contract for it's release and when it came to discussing cover art, since I still had the picture I'd purchased from Istock.com, I decided to utilize it for Sarah's Journey. Julie D'Arcy, a fantastic cover artist for Eternal Press who contracted my book, and is a good friend, agreed to design a cover for me.
Here is that cover:



Sarah's Journey is about a western woman who survives a wagon train massacre. It seemed to fit my book fine. As you can see, the bottom in no way resembles the original, nor does the font. Julie did an awesome job. I was thrilled, and once again ordered postcards, t-shirts and labels. I also posted it in several places on the net.

A few days ago, I posted my first promotional email on an author's loop. The book is due for release in May so I'm scurrying to get reviews and feedback. I was leery, because the co-publisher from the original house was also posting there, but she posts everywhere as most good authors do. Almost immediately afterwards, my current publisher received an email from one of the anthology authors who accepted the re-assigned cover, inquiring whether it was known I was using one similar to theirs. When Julie responded, saying she designed the cover with no knowledge of their book and using the art I proposed, she also explained the IStock.com copyright. Almost immediately an email came from the original publisher to my current publisher expressing that she is "saddened that she (Me) keeps trying to use a version of the cover for her we designed when she was under contract with us."

Rather than cause further problems for yet another new publisher, I sent an email telling the 'saddened' person that I will not use the image even though I don't understand why they feel so threatened by my use of it. I offer the following as proof that the same photo art is often used over and over:


I'm sure the fact that these books all share a commonality, does nothing to diminish the talent within the covers.

Although I wanted to write a long, scathing letter, protesting the continued harassment and question what I ever did to deserve it, instead I decided to use my blog to explain to my fans why I keep having to remove my covers. I feel it necessary since this is the second time I'd had to pull a cover to appease someone else. I assure you that I've done nothing to warrant the continued stress, and I can also assure everyone concerned that I'm done with the cover image in question. The promotional materials on which I wasted money have been burned along with any memories of this whole sad event. I want to put this to rest once and for all.

But, one last thing. In my search to find the cover I previously had that was re-assigned, I came across a series bearing a familiar title.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I Survived


Monday is a blur and Tuesday wasn't much better. Whatever they used to knock me out at the dentist's office had a lingering effect. I barely remember anything Monday after sitting in the dental chair, and Tuesday, I sort of roamed around in a haze, napping, waking and napping some more. But today, I'm alert, sore on both sides of my mouth, and trying to play catch up.

My special thanks to Sloane, Tabitha and Clare for being here this week. The timing was great and I'm enjoying their posts. I imagine you are too.

I recently found yet another promotional site for authors. Do they never run out? Manic Readers offers authors their own personal pages to showcase their books. I've entered my covers but haven't yet added the excerpts and blurbs. So much to do and so little time. Check it out if you get a chance.

Well, I'm off to pay bills. Probably my most unfavorite chore in the whole world. I usually let our paychecks sit for a day or two and pretend I know what it's like to have money. *lol* I'm still trying to wrap myself around the concept of paying $3.17 a gallon for gasoline when there used to be gas wars and I got it for a quarter a gallon. What happened???

Later,
Ging

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hi there from Clare London - here to say hello from a sunny spring morning in the UK, and to read up on all the news you fellow bloggers and visitors have!

I'm a permanently exhausted mother of 2 teenagers, working full time, and creeping about in my spare time (when's that, then?!!) to write stories. I write mainly in the m/m genre, with MASQUERADE published by Eternal Press (www.eternalpress.ca/masquerade.htm) - a gorgeous, erotic, exotic collection of short stories, as evidenced by my cover here! Anyone who implies that I'm more than a little in love with this cover would, of course, be right *lol*. Don't tell Hubby. Actually, don't tell the teenagers either, though they'd only roll their eyes heavenward.

Work for me has been all-consuming at the moment and I've had very little time to write, ever since the year began. But I've got exciting news, I have a very different short story out at Eternal Press this month called MY OWN WINGS. It's women's fiction, about a period in Sara's hectic, not very rewarding life when she begins to notice being shadowed in her dreams by a mysterious, yet benevolent man. I'll post again later in the week about it, if that's OK with you all.

Is this a new development in the Life of London (Clare, that is LOL)?!! ^__^
Keep an eye on this blog to find out!!!

What I love about these blogging days is the wide range of styles I come across from other authors - although as an author I like to write in mainly one genre, I will read almost anything. I love to hear what other people are working on.

Talking of which, I ought to go back and spend some part of my lunch time leisure on deciding where to go next. I've just finished the edits on a sequel to my first novel, THE GOLD WARRIOR ( with Dreamspinner Press www.dreamspinnerpress.com) , it'll be called THE TWISTED BRAND and it's been very rewarding to take established characters even further on their life journey.
I notice other authors contributing to the blog have their own novel series - it builds a great communication between author and reader, so we can all share in the fun!

So what's next for me?
Try to bully, sorry persuade, my publisher to consider a #3 book in the series?
To dust off and bravely submit that bodice ripper novel in 18th century Devon, the adventures and loves of a trio of friends from very different backgrounds?
To continue the contemporary, mildly humorous m/m novel that I'm enjoying writing but is staggering rather slowly on the keyboard?
To eat my sandwiches??

To be continued....
Enjoy your week, everyone!
:)

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