Monday, October 31, 2011

Tricks and Treats

What a weekend this has been.  I'd set goals, which normally results in disappointment which is why I avoid them, and true to my past history, I didn't get much accomplished.  Let me explain:

I've been stalled for months on my current WIP, Hattie's Hero, because Hattie turned into a snot and wouldn't talk to me.  As I'm a pantser, if my characters turn mute, my fingers freeze.  Hate that, but plotting has never worked for me.  Can't do it.  So, Hattie, with a little brainstorming from some friends and members of my group, decided to play nice.  About the same time, I got the rights back to a book that deserves a second chance.  So...

I put Hattie aside, which will probably tick her off and make her pout, but I've got about three weeks to re-write Embezzled Love and apply all the new rules I've learned since the first publication, get it proofed, and submit it to my new publisher.  Since I have a history with Books We Love, they accepted the book without much more than my query, so I'm thrilled to be that trusted in this industry.   Oh, you probably are scratching your head and asking why is she re-writing.  I have to type the entire book all over again since my thumb drive broke in half.  Hey, if you spend $10.00 for backup, you get what you pay for.  Another valuable lesson learned. But I digress...or whine, whichever applies.

Cover by Dawne Dominique
Then I wandered onto my website and made a startling find. (Described in next paragraph.)  That was right after I tried to change the template and utilize a new banner I'd created.  No, I do not have attention deficit disorder, I just get distracted easily.  *lol*  My idea was good, but my new banner screwed up on all but one page by overlapping the link buttons. After I frustrated myself beyond belief, trying to repair the damage without success, I fired off a "help me" email. If I'd been drowning, I would have been dead by the time they replied.  Suffice to say, the problem is fixed and my new design is stunning, if I do say so myself.  I feel accomplished with respect to the fact that I know absolutely nothing about web design, but my new site is so easy even a caveman can do it.  Well, unless he tries the banner thingy.

I'm sure you realize when a contract expires, you're stuck with a cover and video trailer that are no longer are useable.  Well, I had to redo two videos, and luckily, I have connections to an awesome cover artist who never disappoints me.  You can see her work if you glance to the right. 

After I finished recreating the first video, the site encountered processing problems, so I didn't get the finished product until seven hours later.  It's up on my website now, but the important one...the trailer for Embezzled Love, somehow got erased right after I received word I could view it.  By the time I saw the "undo" button, the whole thing disappeared, so now I have to do it all over again.  I'd throw a tantrum, but there's no one here to see it but my husband, and he just ignores them.  :)  But on the good side...

I have a wonderful and "punctuation correct" friend, who agreed to proof for me if I returned the favor.  I jumped at the chance.  She didn't pressure me with a time limit, so I assumed I could get to her manuscript when I finished my daunting tasks.  I was shocked when she returned the first half of Embezzled Love in one night.  Of course, she'd applied  her amazing skills. Sadly, because we don't both use Macs, the formatting is screwed up, so when I apply changes, I'm going to have to fix all the littles zeros which have taken the place of " and some little squiggly sucker who took out all my 's.  I never realized how many closed quotations and apostrophes you use in a book. Oh, and did I mention that on some pages the opening quotes are now capital A?  Did I need another challenge?  Don't think so.  Okay, so I'm whining again.

Anyhow, last night, when I was supposed to be working on my re-writes, I took a peek at Roseanne's Secrets, Lies and Love.  That was big a mistake.  Once I started reading, I was hooked.  Honestly, I can't say I didn't contribute a ton of suggestions, because that's my nature and this first draft echoed like the grand canyon...in terms you might understand, I'm a stickler for word echoes.  Can't stand the same word used more than once in a paragraph.  I know, sometimes you have limited choices, but most of the time you can substitute with another.  Don't mind the duplication in instances where tension is called for, but...

Despite my internal editor being on high alert, I couldn't stop reading this book.  The title is so appropriate, and I can't wait until Roseanne gets this published.  Number one:  to see if she used any of my suggestions, and two, so you can get the opportunity to agree with me.

So, I'm cutting this blog short because I have a ton of things to do, I slept too late because of Roseanne and her awesome story, and now I'm really behind.  Can't believe today is Halloween...egads, my birthday is coming again and I've barely gotten used to admitting I'm a senior citizen.  I guess the trick is on me because except for Ro's book, this weekend wasn't much of a treat.  :)  So, back to writing, I go, that is if I can stop myself from working on that blasted trailer again.   Was you weekend as sucky as mine?

Hope ya'll don't get toilet papered tonight.




Sunday, October 30, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome back.  Today, I'm sharing six sentences from an upcoming release, Embezzled Love.  This story was actually published and offered in print, but since I've regained the rights from the publisher, I'm contracting with Books We Love and offering EL as an e-book.   The story is based on a non-fictional accounting of my sister's misfortune.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  *I always wanted to say that.*  At the end of the book, I've offered some valuable insight as to how the story is written, so if you want to know, you'll have to download it when it becomes available in December.   Gotta run...I have lots to do before then.  OH...and don't forget to click back to Six Sentence Sunday and read other titillating sixes.


In my scene, Cassie is meeting with her brother and sister, who don't approve of her new-found Internet romance.  They've done a little research and called her over to share their findings.  Clearly, she's not impressed.  Without further ado...here's my six sentences about my sister's roller coaster ride to hell:

Frank slid a piece of paper in front of her.

“This is from Maricopa County, Arizona. You’ll notice the name on the complaint is Evan Dennis. This person embezzled over three hundred thousand dollars from customers under the guise of landscaping contracts.” 

She pushed the paper away, annoyed by Frank’s smugness and not impressed with his investigatory work. “There must be a million people who share Evan’s name.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

Welcome Kerri Nelson...


I have the distinct pleasure of hosting today's guest as she weeds her way along on her book tour.  Please notice her generous offer of giveaways at the bottom.  I didn't realize she was so cute...or so active.  WTG, Kerri, and welcome to Dishin' It Out.


Author Bio:
Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers. 

A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats. 

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.


Read more about Kerri’s books at her website:  www.kerrinelson.com
Follow her on Twitter here:  www.twitter.com/kerribookwriter
Visit her industry blog here:  www.thebookboost.blogspot.com


Blurb:
Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.
First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.
After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.
But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.
“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” --Bestselling author, Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend



Are You a Mood Prude?
It is no secret…I’ve been described as “moody”.  Just ask my husband.  Or my children.

I have quite a few mood swings (some days more than others) but mood swings are often described as a bad thing.  Even listed as potential side effects for common medications.  Now, of course, there are some moods that can be dangerous but I’m not talking about those.  I’m talking about the typical…happy, sad, pensive, melancholy, followed by ecstatic.

That’s kind of a typical week for me.  I think it can be attributed to all the emotions that I’m constantly siphoning through my characters on a daily basis.  At any one time I might be working on two or more different projects.  One book might be a comical historical with bosoms bulging while another might be an action packed thriller with violence and edge of your seat suspense.

And that’s just what I’m writing.  At the same time I might be editing yet another  novel—sexy adventure on the high seas—and still yet I might be reading a book about parenthood and angst of coping with my toddlers’ tantrums (yes, I have more than 1 toddler).

As you can see, my daily dose of reading and writing could lead me down any one of many different emotions.  How is a girl supposed to just turn those off and on in the blink of an eye?  Some folks might be able to but I know I can’t. 

But is this necessarily a bad thing?  I mean, people often connotate “you’re moody” with you’re being a royal pain in the “you know what”.  That’s not necessarily the only mood a person can be.  And I think that being moody makes my writing more interesting.  So, I’m going to state today that I’m moody and proud of it. 

Kinda wish there weren’t so many mood prudes out there, though.  What’s your attitude toward moods?  Do you think you’re a moody person?  Do you think an author who is in touch with their multitude of moods creates more realistic characters?

Today I’m in a very nervous and anxious mood as I have a doctor’s appointment coming up later this afternoon.  But hopefully all will be good and by tonight I’ll be all smiles.  If not, there’s always tomorrow.

Thanks for hosting today, Ginger.  Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s mood attitude!


©  Kerri Nelson 2011


Buy Links (print and e-book versions available 9/15 wherever books are sold but here’s the publisher link—free gift available with purchase of print copy—while supplies last):
or
Amazon.com

Giveaway for the day:
Leave a question or comment to be entered to win today’s prize: 1001 Books for Every Mood (Autographed Copy)!

Then, enter to win my book tour Grand Prize Kindle by following me on tour and e-mailing me the answers to each question of the day at the end of tour.  The more questions you answer, the more entries you gain.
Question of the Day: 
What is the name of the book that Paisley is holding on the cover of Courting Demons?

Details on how to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE Kindle at the end of my “Dark Days of Demons Tour” located here:


Excerpt link for Courting Demons: http://www.jupitergardens.com/excerpts/kn_cd.html




Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's Blog Hop Thursday


Thursday, 27th Oct: 
QUESTION: Being a writer means that you are also an entrepreneur: have you set business/financial goals for this year and how are you going to achieve them?  Question provided by author: Clayton Bye

Strangely, I don't consider myself an entrepreneur...never have.  I started creating stories because writing is something I've always enjoyed.  I suppose I consider it more a hobby than anything else.  Like other favorite pastimes, being an author costs money, so I've viewed my expenditures a normal part of life.  If I skied, I would have to buy lift passes and equipment, instead, I purchase items to help promote myself such as pens, bookmarks and pocket/purse calendars.  I enjoy giving them to perfect strangers.  I'm much safer at my desk than plummeting down a snowy hillside on two thin pieces of wood...trust me.  :)

The time spent networking is how I've garnered relationships that have filled the void left by real flesh and blood friends when I moved from California.  I enjoy blogging, chatting, and emailing, so to me, it's not a job, but a pleasure.

I don't set goals because I've learned from past experience that failing to meet them causes defeat.  I do what I do, and if my efforts result in a sale, the money doesn't mean nearly as much as the fact that someone thought enough of my work to buy it.  I don't see writing as a means to wealth, except if I measure those I've met and treasure.  I'm going to write until they pry my dead fingers from this keyboard.  Let's all hope that's not anytime soon.  *smile*

 

Monday, October 24, 2011

When is Enough Enough?



Becoming an author did nothing to enhance my joy in reading.  In fact, as I've learned rules to apply to my own style, I find glaring examples of said faux pas in the writing of other's.  What used to be an enjoyable pastime has now become a struggle to turn off my internal editor and stop looking for problem areas.

I know other authors suffer the same dilemma, but I have to ask, how do we stop that infernal red pen that lives in our head?  Does it ever run out of ink?

Funny, I can't seem to self-edit with any degree of accuracy, but if another author uses passive voice, head hops, or duplicates words within a paragraph, I'm on it like white on rice.  *smile*  New rules crop up every day, it seems, so I always have new things to seek and bitch about.

The biggest complaint I have recently, is when is enough enough?  Do we really need to tell the reader our character clenched his teeth IN FRUSTRATION, or is the fact that he's clenching his teeth a hint to his emotions?  Authors tend to ignore the rule...one I did even know existed until it was explained to me...RUE=Resist the Urge to Explain.

Stories are fraught with more information than readers need to figure things out, but is that a bad thing.  Does it really distract them from the story...do they come to a skidding halt and widen their eyes at "slowly limped" when no one really limps fast?  As writer's we are encouraged to avoid "ly" words and use stronger verbs to show action...example, "she excitedly said" might be "she yelled.  Instead of having her raise her hands in frustration, I might decide to have her clench her fists until her nails dig into her palms.  There's always a variation, and some call it style or voice.  Often, there are times when an "ly" word lends clarity to the situation, and in my opinion, enhance the story.  You can't always find that right word that convey your meaning.  Do readers actually keep count?

The biggest dilemma for me as an author is keeping up with the never-ending rules that continue to crop up everyday and then decide which ones work for me and which don't.  Of course, writers are also governed by house rules.  Some publishers limit the number of exclamation points you can use, some forbid internal thoughts, some encourage them.  Life just keeps getting more and more confusing.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  If you really want to be confused, join a critique group and be exposed to the rules everyone has learned.  How does one decide which suggestions merit thought and which are which coming from someone who hasn't been around long enough to know better?  Don't use "she," use the character's name, "don't use the character's name, use a pronoun.  Geez Louise!

I can't remember where I put my car keys at any given moment, but I'm supposed to recall which publisher allows what, who wants twelve point fonts as opposed to fourteen, when to use "Chapter One," or just "One", or if it's Tuesday, is it alright to post to Romance Cafe or Coffee Time.  Honestly, no wonder dementia strikes so many seniors.  It's protection from all these blasted rules.

Just to test the water...here's an excerpt from my latest WIP.  Did I tell too much, did I confuse you, have I mastered anything at all in ten years of writing?  Trust me, I know better than to expect everyone to see my style as their cup of tea.  No matter what you write, some will gush over it, some will hate it.  There's just no making everyone happy.

Excerpt from Hattie's Hero:

Hattie rode until the rocking wagon lulled the children to sleep then slid over the tailgate, intent on walking a while.  The sun beat down with relentless heat, making her thankful for the wide-brimmed bonnet from Abby.  An occasional breeze rifled the knee-high grass and brought momentary respite, but sweat adhered her gingham dress to her like cloying hands.  How the children slept inside the stifling confines of the wagon puzzled her. At least, outside the air moved, and she enjoyed the break from care taking. Lost in thought, she trudged onward.
A horse’s snort blew moist air on her neck, and she jumped.  She gazed up into the warm brown eyes of Tom Wainright.
He doffed his hat.  “Good day, Miss Hattie.”
At the deep timbre of his voice, goose bumps peppered her arms despite the midday heat.
“Good day, Deputy.”
“It’s a mite warm to be walkin’, would you care for a ride?”
As inviting the thought of being cradled in his arms or sitting behind and hugging him might be, she was warm enough already.  Besides, she probably didn’t smell like a budding rose at the moment.
“No, thank you.” She smiled up at him. “I enjoy walking.  I don’t get much time away from the children, so this is my opportunity to reflect.”
“Oh…then I’m sorry to intrude.”
She stumbled on a stone, but kept her balance.  “N-no, you aren’t intruding.  I simply wanted to explain why I wasn’t accepting your generous offer.”
“Speaking of offers, I wonder if you might like to dine with me this evening.  I’m not much of a cook, but I can whip up some bacon and eggs, and the fellas I’m travelin’ with tell me I make a mean cup a joe.”
Her heart hitched.  She scanned the area for Billy.  Would he be upset if he saw her talking to Tom?  Probably, and that concerned her.  Then, Abby’s words echoed in her ears, reminding her Billy hadn’t actually asked for her hand. Stood to reason she wasn’t spoken for. So why did she feel so awkward?






Friday, October 21, 2011

Medicare aint' the only one goin' broke...

Hi my friends,
I'm happy that yesterday is over and the dilation procedure is passe.  I'm sore, my throat hurts, and I feel like someone used a garden hose to fill me with gas, but I woke up, and that's a good thing.  My friend, Mike's, favorite saying is:  Any day on this side of the grass is a good one.  I agree.

When they do an EGD, they fill you with air to lift your organs so the camera can see, and as I told my good friend,  Karen Cote, I could probably inflate all the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  :)  Despite having two EGDs last month, the doc at Vanderbilt says the opening to my stomach was so constricted the camera (which is tiny) didn't fit through.  He dilated the opening to 16 centimeters and injected steroids at the site to keep the scar tissue from reforming.  If this doesn't work, then I have to consider a surgical procedure that would insert a stint in my stomach that would force the silastic ring that's been there for twenty years to fall out.  He's never done the surgery himself but says a doctor in Texas has written many papers on his success with it.  Who would guess so many people have this problem.  In case you don't know what caused all this brouhaha...I forget who I've told what... I had my stomach stapled twenty years ago and this is the end result.  Being fat AND miserable.  *lol*

Thank you all so much for you prayers and good wishes.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can stop doing up close inspections of the inside of my toilet bowl.  *lol* Now I just have to wait for all the doctor, hospital and other medical bills to pour in.  20% of one isn't a lot, but as many as I've incurred...if I was better looking and younger I might have to consider hooking.

Yes...even with medicare, the co-pays are killing me...especially when you amass so many from the tag-team doctors play.  For instance...during my first hospital stay I was admitted by the ER doc, who contacted the on call doctor for my doctor.  So now I'm being billed by those two.  The on-call doctor, handed off to my doctor the next day, so add in another bill.  My doctor called the Gastro guy who came to tell me he wasn't on call and his partner would do the procedure.  (He carried in my chart and sat next to my bed, so he gets paid).  The on-call partner did the procedure which included the gas guy and his assistant (two more)  but questioned why I was on warfarin...he called in a cardio guy (another bill) who referred me to a special cardio guy (yet another bill) who had me sent a heart monitor ( I'm expecting a whopping bill for this) which I'm currently wearing for 21 days.  Add in the people who monitor the monitor, and I'm going to kill myself.  *lol*  Oh yes, let's not forget all the hospital charges...blue footies, Kleenex, and every time I asked for a pill or they gave me one.  I slept on the same sheets for five days because I was afraid of the charge incurred if I ask for clean ones.  Yep... good health is important for more reasons than I can count.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Hop Thursdays - Writer's Block

Click on the link below to get to this site.
Okay, you want to write, but you can’t. Every time you sit down to it, you freeze or else write badly. Maybe you’ve always been prolific, but suddenly it’s as if the well has dried up. Is it really writer's block? Question provided by author:MEGAN JOHNS

The allure, for me, in doing the blog hop, is the thought-provoking questions provided by the affiliates.  Thanks to Megan for this one, since being muse-less for a few months has driven me to distraction.

Writer's block for me really isn't the correct term, although it does describe what happens to me.  I prefer to think that my characters turn mute.  *lol*  When I say, I hear voices, there's no need to call the men in white coats.  Without the chatter in my head, I wouldn't have written 99% of the novels and stories I have published.

 I've often blogged about the imaginary revolving door in my head through which my characters pass.  It has no lock, and sometimes, it spins so fast, it makes me dizzy. However, recently, I think my current character put a wedge in the door and then decided to stop leading me on her journey.  Usually when a character pops into my head, they come with a title, cast in tow, and a story they tell that leads me to an unknown conclusion.  I view each novel I've written as a fun experience because I've not known my final destination until I arrive.  Writing for me is sort of like telling myself a long bedtime story.  I'm excited as it unfolds, and I can't wait to see where I'm headed.


Thankfully, Hattie is speaking to me again.  I have no idea what made her turn silent, but through some brainstorming with friends, I was able to jump start her story again and now I'm posting chapters to my critique group.  When the voices in my head turn mute, I start to worry.  Without them, I'm lost.


If you'd like to read more responses to Megan's question, please return to Alternative Read's website and click on links posted for those signed up to participate.  See you next week.





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why oh Why...

That's the question I ask whenever I learn a new writing rule, and believe me, the woods are fraught with them.  In case you don't know what "fraught" means: Filled with or destined to result in (something undesirable).  In this case, the undesirable is my obsession to notice each and every instance in anything I read, or fear I'll use the wrong word or phrase in my writing.

First, I learned "that" I used too may instances of "that" in my writing.  I've improved and discovered if you read back what you've written and omit "that" and the sentence still makes sense, you probably didn't need to add the word.  Of course, now I notice "that" in every book I read, and realize "that" there are still a lot of authors who haven't been clued in.  "Just" is another offender. It's a great word, but editors hate it.  How many times have I received back a first draft with each instance highlighted.  So, I "just" try to avoid using it now.  *grin*

"To phrases" bug the heck out of me.  Editors constantly pound into our brain the need to keep the story in the present and active.  "To do" something indicates intention, i.e., he reached out "to touch" her hair.  If the story is active and happening in the moment, how about "he touched" her hair.  Unless her head is dangling at his fingertips, the reader figures out the hero has "to reach", and removing that and showing what happens, makes more sense to me.  Of course, I notice that most English authors love "to phrases."  They aren't a personal favorite for me, but if the story is good then I'm able "to overlook" them.  I normally would have said "I overlook" them, but in this case I am showing intent.  *lol* RUE= Resist The Urge to Explain is another good rule.  Don't treat readers like idiots.  They don't need a lot of redundancy in facts to drive home a point. 

The latest and greatest new rule for me makes the most sense of all.  I'm sure people skim past "that" and could give a crap about "to do" phrases, but since having someone point how many times we use "she heard, she felt, she saw, she listened," in each scene, I had no idea how much I'm detracting the reader when I include information not needed.  If I have established the character's POV clearly, then the reader is safe in assuming that "she" is the person involved in all the feelings, seeing, hearing, etc..  I've also been pummeled by my publisher recently for using too many "she" starts to my sentences.  This helps eliminate them.  I offer as example:



Evan brushed his lips across her throat.  She heard herself moan.  She felt her body warm under his ministrations and ached her body forward.  She listened to his heavy breathing and knew he wanted her in the worst way.  (OKay...so it's a crummy example, but let me show you a better way.)

Evan brushed his lips across her throat.  A moan escaped her, and her body warmed beneath the fingers creeping along her ribcage.  His heavy breathing and the hardness jabbing into her hip showed his desire.  She arched toward him, wanting him just as much...

Whatta you want from me in two minutes?  *lol*  I think you get my drift.  Next time you read a story, mark how many times the author tells the reader who is thinking, feeling, sighing, moaning...  This is news that needs to spread.  Establish whose POV  the reader is in and let you writing lead the way.  Easy, smeasy, lemon squeezy.  *lol*

I'm sure I'll be back before long with more new "rules."  The longer I write, the more they crop up."

Oh, did I mention "it."  I also try to avoid starting any sentences or using "it" when "it" isn't clear to the reader what "it" is.  Okay, that's confusing.  I can't count how many times I've been reading something...sometimes my own work, and discover a sentence something like:  She wasn't sure she liked it. 

I generally pause and have to go back and re-read to discover what it is she perhaps doesn't like.  A lot of times, I can't figure it out.  So, instead of using "it" as much, I try to find different phrases to clue in the reader.  Example to change:  Tim thrummed his fingers along the back of the couch.  She hated it when he did that.

New example:  Tim thrummed his fingers along the back of the couch.  His nervous habit annoyed her...

This might not have been the best example, but just remember, if you use "it", make sure you've clarified what "it" is.

Ta ta!






Sunday, October 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

I apologize for not reciprocating visits last week, but I wasn't feeling well again.  I promise to do my best today.  I'm going to share another six sentences from my western historical WIP, Hattie's Hero, as it encourages me to write more, and faster.  I need to finish this story and get it published.  Hattie's wasted time by being silent and she's finally talking to me again.  Yippee!

Remember, Hattie is young, naive and experiencing new feelings around boys.  She's grown up in a orphanage and has always been the older child.  Now, striking out on her own as caretaker for the three Franklin children on a wagon train to California, she's attracted to Billy Monroe, the young man  Mr. Franklin has hired to accompany the family for extra protection and help.  Enter another handsome young man in the form of Deputy, Tom Wainright, and Hattie is even more confused...especially about why she is drawn to Tom when she likes Billy so much.  Here's one of the latest scenes between her and Billy after she's met Tom:

 
Billy side-stepped away and removed his arm from around Hattie.  He flashed a sheepish grin, wondering if she would say anything about his bold move.  The redness in her cheeks and the manner in which she shifted from foot to foot showed her uneasiness without her muttering a word.  He steeled himself and gathered his nerve.
“I thought he was payin’ a little more attention to you than he should have.  I wanted him to know that someone is lookin’ out for you so he didn’t get any notion that you’re…."

For more snippets from other authors, click back to Six Sentence Sunday and enjoy yourself.  I'm number 125 this week, and the number is still growing. You'll get addicted, so watch out.  :)  Want more?  Come back next week.



Friday, October 14, 2011

That Which Does Not Kill Us...

Before I even started Hattie's Hero, I had an stock image I'd cherished for quite some time that I'd purchased for use.  Years ago, I had a mishap with a publisher, and in the blink of an eye,  my new cover, featuring that image, was stripped from me, and I was banned from the group.  I still can't tell you what happened except that my name was mentioned in an email that was sent to the loop by mistake.  Nothing big...just nice support from other members who realized the moderator didn't set a welcoming tone.   I was new to the group and hadn't had much experience, so the whole thing left a really bad taste in my mouth, and that of the several others who got caught up in the whole mess.  Luckily, the phrase, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger," is true.  I almost threw in the towel, but I didn't.  I'm still here.  :)

Last year at the Muse It Up Conference, I used that awful experience to conduct a one-day workshop on the Pitfalls of Publishing.  I urged, and still do, all authors to research their publishing choices before they sign on the dotted line.  Getting out of a bad contract can be more work than getting a divorce,and there are some publishers who aren't really ready to work on behalf of those they sign.  At best, making a bad deal can make you question your own worth. Thankfully, today you have even more choices because the world of e-readers has encouraged many talented writers to self-publish, and the stigma involved with doing that has faded.  I'm considering that option for Hattie's when I've finished.

I've had three bad experiences.  Not because I'm a bad risk, but because those who contracted me didn't have their ducks in a row and should never have gotten into the business. I fault myself because I should have done what I'm urging you to do. I'm not naming names, just warning new authors who are considering going the contracted route to talk with those in the know--the authors who have gone before you.  If they signed, are they happy?  Would they sign again?  Authors who are involved with the publisher are you best source of real information. They probably won't offer, but when asked, I've never been denied "the scoop."  Don't rely on a second-hand gossip; there's too much of it circulating.

Another helpful venue is using your search engine.  History really doesn't die.  Google (Chrome, IE, or whatever you use) the name of your prospective publishing company and the people involved.  You can find tons of information, good and bad.  I've found that places like Piers Anthony and Preditors and Editors can be just as harmful as they are helpful because they often carry reports from disgruntled authors or very little information at all, as evidenced by Muse It Up Publishing on the P&E site, which is one of mine and seems to be thriving. No matter where you go, you'll find at least one, so don't  rely on talking to just a solo person...expand your horizons.  It's your life, and trust me, you want to be in control of it.

After ten years, I'm still learning the process.  I don't know everything, but I've certainly learned a lot, and there are things I definitely would have done differently.  Number one...I wouldn't have let myself be bullied about using an I-Stock photo that anyone can purchase.  Threats of a lawsuit turned me timid, and I gave up something I loved...not once, but twice.  Well, not again.  I'm happy to share the beautiful cover my talented friend, cover artist, and fellow author, Dawne Dominique, created for me. She's amazing, talented, and reasonable, and probably really busy since she's done all the majority of my Eternal Press Covers and those of others there.

  Presenting with great pride and anticipation... imagine a drum roll.  Now all I have to do is finish the book.  *lol*  Yes, it's another western historical, this time using YA characters who grow into their own through the experiences they share.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blog Hop Thursday

This week's question comes from author, Amy Romine

QUESTION: Character physical descriptions, do you like a lot or a little? How do you make sure your readers see your character they way you want them to? 


What a great question, Amy.  I really lose patience with authors who go overboard with descriptions.  Depending on whose POV you're in should guide you.  Readers like enough information to get a visual image of the character or locale, but if you're in the heroes POV, it's very doubtful he's going to make note of the lace cuffs, pearl buttons, and pattern of a woman's dress.  I edited for a time and tried working with a new author who just didn't get "it".  He wanted to describe every single tree on the property, tell the reader what was in every drawer in the kitchen, and add needless information that did nothing to move the story forward.  I explained the drawers were only important if the heroine moved to one, opened it and withdrew something, or if the tree outside her window cast a shadow that hid the sun, or held a singing bird that woke her.  There is a purpose to descriptions and, as I said, if they aren't helping put the reader into the story, they should be propelling the plot to the next scene or bringing things to a satisfying close...as with a final kiss.

Check out  An_Alternative Read for more fun like Blog Hop Thursday.  I was the first to sign up this week, so hopefully you'll find more links.  I always find the questions to be thought provoking and give me an opportunity to share my opinion.  Remember, what you read is generally just one person's opinion, and here, they're mine.  *smile*

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Farewell, Common Sense

Due to lack of interest, Ask Miz Ging is being discontinued.  Evidentally, other than the two questions I saved from the original posts, no one has any burning issues they want to discuss. *lol*  In light of that, I share the following...which makes a lot of sense...Common Sense, in fact:


 An Obituary printed in the London Times.....Absolutely Brilliant !!

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable
lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies such as don't spend more than you can earn and reliable strategies like adults, not children, are in charge.

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports like that of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fun on the Square

Saturday was a beautiful day in Sparta, TN.  The annual "Fun on the Square" celebration was well-attended, and my son's MIL invited me to join her in her craft both.  She had set up a little space for me to "hawk" my copies of western historical Sparta Rose.  I didn't expect to sell anything because it really wasn't the venue for books, but I was surprised when I autographed and sold five copies. I'm still amazed when people want my signature.  Feeling like a celebrity, if only for the moment, is a great feeling.  I'm pretty sure the title drew interest, but I consider that five more people will sample my work and hopefully use the additional promo items I gave them to check out my website and blog.  Anyone who missed the fair can still get copies through the publisher or Amazon.

I took a few pictures to share.  My DIL made greeting cards of all sorts to sell, and her mom made endless crafts.  Both are very talented ladies...so if you're looking for greeting cards or great Christmas gifts, I can point you in the right direction.  The cards are blank inside so you can write your own greeting, and I only wish I knew someone having a baby because Jean does awesome gifts for youngsters.  Spencer has one grandmother who has showered him with lots of homemade presents...I on the other hand, can only buy him things, but when he's older, I'll write him a book.  *lol*

One of the best parts of the day was being interviewed and photographed by a Sparta Journalist who invited me to join their Facebook group and attend a miner's reunion next year to present more about my Sparta Historical Romance.  Sparta is rich in history of coal mines, stages lines, and Indian ancestry.  In fact, one of the historical sites, "The Rock House," a stage stop resplendent with memories of many famous people of the past, has been restored and available for visits.  I miss living there and it was nice to return for the day.

Here's the few photos I took:

Hubby modeling Jean's "shirt saver."  Bibs for adults that look like shirt fronts.  He needs one...or several.
DIL Carrie setting up her cards among other crafts.
My little corner of the world.  I was showered with leaves day. Fall was definitely in the air. I later turned the table the other direction and faced the crowd.  


Folks enjoying the day.  It got three times more crowded in the PM.







Sunday, October 9, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Comments in my blog the other day indicated I might have made a boo boo in identifying today's blog as SEX Sentence Sunday.  It surely was a slip of the finger, but I decided to leave it since the majority of the snippets I've read are laced with desire, sex, and lots of heat.  Me, I'm better at sweet romance with a hint of allure and desire, so with that said, I'm sharing six sentences from Hattie's Hero.  Until very recently, Hattie and I weren't speaking, and finally, after way too long, she and I have restarted our journey together to end this novel.  I feel confident the storyline is going to be one to hold your interest. 

Let me set the scene:  Hattie is traveling with a family to California via wagon train.  She's grown up in a local orphanage and nabbed the job of helping out with the three small Franklin children as her way to escape and get a life of her own.  Billy Monroe has also been hired by to accompany the family, adding extra security and assistance for the mister.  Of course, Hattie is naive and inexperienced, and Billy has been on his own for quite a while.  Right when they are discovering the pleasantries of keeping company, another young man shows up and threatens to stop their romance dead in its tracks.

Here are my six sentences:

He sauntered into camp, rivaling Billy in every way. Sun kissed skin, dark hair, broad shoulders, narrow waist…even the rugged good looks.  Rather than sky blue eyes, sparkling chocolate ones peered from beneath the dust-powdered brim of his hat. The light reflected from the gold star pinned to his shirt. Hattie slid Zachary off her hip and stood him on the ground.  She smoothed her skirt with dampened palms and flashed a nervous grin.  “H-hello.”
 If you want to read more, visit Six Sentence Sunday and click on the authors' links.  You're bound to get addicted.  Thanks for coming back this week and I hope you'll come back again.  I can't wait to finish Hattie's store and share it.  I already have a stunning cover and I'll be sharing that too as I get closer to completion.


Friday, October 7, 2011

More Pictures of New Beginnings

I hope you don't mind that I'm using my blog to share pictures of my new home with my mother.  If I download them here, my brother can show them to her.  She's eighty-six and the thought of even touching a computer frightens her.  Heck, she won't even use her ATM card, but we love her anyhow.  So, Mom...come visit me.  I have plenty of room.

Before I go on with the photo sharing, I'm so proud to announce my Muse has returned.  Thanks to some good friends on my loop who stimulated my dead brain cells, Hattie's Hero is back in progress, and I've even started reworking Embezzled Love. There will be some major changes in this fact-based story, and I'm sure to complete an improved version of an awesome novel.  I'm predicting more people will know about this book when I'm finished.  :)  Oh...and if you live near Sparta, TN, please come see me at the street fair tomorrow where I'll be featuring my western historical, Sparta Rose.

On with the show...  This is my basement bedroom.  It's spacious, cozy, and I love it. Oh...the hose on the nightstand...hubby's CPAP machine.  Two armories are at this end of the room.  The next shot is taken from my side of the bed looking toward the walk-in closet and the step-up half bath.  Ignore the fat woman in the mirror and my robe peeking from behind the door..  *lol*





The next are two views of our downstairs basement...one looking from the step-up into the rest of the rooms and one from the doorway.



This shot was taken from the stairs leading up to the kitchen...back down to the laundry room.

We've arrived upstairs in the kitchen, and then a shot from the living room into the kitchen.  The open door is where the stairs are..

The following are the living room, my office, the guest room and Spencer's room.  As you can see, we're shaping up as we go, but still have things to do and pieces to acquire.  This is a whole lot more room than we've ever had and it's awesome.  To think our house payment is only $57 dollars more than our rent on a measly two-bedroom condo.  Whew!

Thanks for taking a virtual tour with me.  Now I can get back to writing.  Woo Hoo.  Hattie's story is taking a nice twist.  I'll be gone all day tomorrow, but check back on Sunday for sex sentences from Hattie.  Joy is taking a hiatus from sharing her tale.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aging Ungracefully




It's a well known fact that age takes a toll.  Even if you have money for plastic surgery, like Cher, Joan Rivers, and some of the other senior citizens who have altered their looks, there comes a time when you can't disguise the fact that you're old.  Here's some proof that even those who call Hollywood home, face wrinkles, fat and gray hair, just like we mere mortals.  :)

 Chevy Chase, then and now.





               Tommy Lee Jones, then and now.





Bridgette Bardot, then and now...Hey, the woman is 75!














 Kathleen Turner, then and now





Ryan O'Neal, then and now








Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ask Miz Ging

It's Wednesday, and time for another session of Ask Miz Ging.  I saved some of the questions I received last week so I'd have some to use today, so please...please, ask me more.  I need fodder for next week.

Michele has two questions:

1) what do e-authors do to gain publicity since we can't have traditional book signings.


Good question, Michele.  Anything we do to keep our name in the limelight is publicity.  Since many of us don't have print copies to sign, there are other ways to attend book fairs, festivals, etc.  I have used Vista Print to create postcard-sized copies of my book covers.  You can either leave the backside blank or personalize it with a blurb, tag or excerpt.  This still leaves room for you to autograph the card.  It's always a good idea to put the url where the book is available for download and your own website.  If you get promotional copies from your publisher...I received ten...I put them on business card CDs, made labels using business cards that displayed the cover, and I can autograph and sell those.

2) what age do you think is too young for an author to expect their readership to be in the e-publishing world? In other words, I have a MG book that I'd like to publish. Is it something that would do well in an e-publishing format? Or, since it is for children, would parents lean more toward buying traditional paper books?


Another good question.  Kindle, Nooks, IPADS, etc., have opened the reading world a lot wider.  Many young people received e-readers as holiday gifts, so it's up to us to join loops and groups that target their attention.  Even young children picture books are hot items these days with the e-readers that display the pictures in color at the touch of a finger.  I recently wrote and contracted a YA novel which I hope to promote through the local schools as soon as I conquer my current health issues.

 Larion aka Larriane Wills asks:

Miz Ging,why is it every time I'm in a hurry, the guy ahead of me in a no passing zone insists on doing the speed limit?

Lar, this happens to all of us.  I think it has something to do with Murphy's law...anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  If you weren't in a hurry, you probably wouldn't be as annoyed.  You can't change the stupid habits of others, but you can alter your own.  Leave earlier so you aren't in such a rush, enjoy the ride and smell the roses.  Then flip the creep off as soon as you pass him.  :) 

Diane Wylie asks

Miz Ging, why can't other people do what I want? After all, aren't I always right? LOL!

Gee Diane, we all like to think we're right all the time, but for everyone to agree with that would mean we would have to relinquish our rights to be right.  That ain't happening anytime soon, so just keep on thinking you're right and don't expect people to agree with you.  :)

Gail Roughton Branan asks:

Miz Ging, please elaborate on Barbara E's question, why are men so stubborn? Why are men men and couldn't there have been a better way to propagate the species?




Barbara E (Lionmother) asked this question last week, and I thought I provided a stunning answer, but I'll happily harp a little more on the topic.  Consider Larion/Larriane's question above.  Men are stubborn because it's their way of asserting power, even though it might be as minimal as driving slow in the passing lane.  We've created the monsters they are by always taking care of them.  Unfortunately, God in his wisdom decided we need two genders in order to procreate. Some believe God is a woman, but this decision alone provides a big shadow of doubt on that for me.  I think a female higher power would have made sexual encounters much easier, less time consuming, and eliminated the need for the headaches for which females have become so familiar.  Consider sex organs in the palms of our hands.  We could clasp palms wherever and whenever we wanted, and voile...the whole thing would be over and done in moments...no fighting, no fuss, no muss...and no need for lubricants.  I think you get the idea.

Heather Haven asks:

Miz Ging - I am suffering. I just saw Sex and the City II and realized I am deprived and fashionless. Is this true? or am I being too hard on myself? Am I 20 years too old and 60 pounds overweight? Help me! 

Oh, Heather, Heather, Heather.  Don't let TV be your fashion guide.  How many friends do you have that look like anyone you see in something like Sex and the City?  I think perhaps you might follow my lead and settle for something like the Golden Girls.  *lol*  True, they are all dead except for Rose (Betty White), but Blanche proved you can be older and sexy, and look at Rose...she's still going strong at 89.  What are a few pounds and extra wrinkles?  It happens to everyone.  Don't be depressed by something you can't change.  My mother used to say, "Clean your plate, kids in China are starving."  To you, I alter that.  "Cheer up, you can't throw a stick without hitting a fat and wrinkled woman in Tennessee."

Again, I apologize if your question didn't appear today.  That just means I'm saving it for next week.  Keep on posing these stimulating questions.  I love coming up with the answers.  Ask Miz Ging...if you dare.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Beginnings

As most of you know, we bought a house here in Tennessee.  We rented for years, thinking we might move out of state, but as long as our grandson is here, we're stuck like glue.  :)  I wanted to post these pictures long before now, but I've only just discovered the cord to download them to the computer.  I assumed it was lost, and never took the time to look at the end of the one in the camera bag.  I'm a dunce...what can I say.

Anyhow...Kelly took these pictures while we were in the process of buying.  Since then, all the beautiful shade trees along the driveway have been cut back to nothing, the flowering plant in the front has been trimmed, we've had a two-car carport installed at the end of the long driveway, and we've actually moved in, settled, and love it.  We still have a laundry list of things to do but those will happen when money accumulates again.  We've sort of run through what we had, but thank God for blessings that we could manage to buy a home for a payment only fifty dollars more than our rent on a small condo.  Life is good, now maybe I can get back to writing.

Hope you enjoy my husband's photography...and his new barn.

Of course, what is a country home without a wild turkey or two?

The barn is a long way from the house:

Gotta love that wrap-around deck.  It should be great for BBQs come spring.

The next one is taken from the end of the drive, and the front of the house.
and...finally, this is the entrance into the basement and the workshop Kelly is calling home these days.  It's already a cluttered mess.  *lol*



Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Manic Readers

Manic Readers

She Writes

Historical Fiction Books

Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction