Thursday, July 31, 2014

1000 MARBLES

For those who haven't heard the famous story of the 1,000 marbles, you're in for a treat...

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the backyard patio with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning, turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the dial up to listen to a Saturday morning talk show I heard an older sounding gentleman, with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whoever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles."

I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say...

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital."

He continued, "Let me tell you something, Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities."

And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

"Now stick with me Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

"It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.

"So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside of a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.

"I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

"It was nice to meet you, Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again."

You could have heard a pin drop on the radio when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work that morning. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."
"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special. It's just been a while since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Page Straight From Ralph Bland - #apagestraightfrom


Long Long Time
by
Ralph Bland

Our first date was on a Friday night the next week. It was a week before Good Friday and the weather was as perfect a spring night as I could remember. Of course I was just getting to the age where I was starting to compare current moments with those of the past, and this sense of having a personal history was new and strange to me. I didn’t know it so much then, but it was like my first little foray into the land of middle age, and it was unique there at first to be able to say I’d known somebody thirty years or this or that happened to me a quarter of a century ago. I drove to Caroline’s house that night listening to “Light My Fire” by the Doors on the radio, and it occurred to me as a sudden enlightenment that Jim Morrison had been dead for seventeen years. It seemed like yesterday. I was walking around at Waters and everybody who wasn’t dead from the ankles up was in a state of shock.

She lived in the upstairs of a house owned by a preacher and his wife. The house was one of those 1930s barns of endless square feet and multiple bathrooms and balconies and a wide array of bedrooms where the Brady Bunch and their pals would all have a place to sleep. I had to climb a stairway already bursting with ivy and wisteria to make it to her door, which was connected to another balcony at the back of the house, which she assured me was private and peaceful and if it was taken away from her somehow she would never find a way to get over it. I stood at her door and looked for a moment at the wicker chairs and the cloth divan, felt the soft spring night breeze on my forehead and imagined myself here with this girl and the May stars somewhere out there behind the railing and the trellis, and before my knuckles grazed the door I was hooked.

“You’re either the slightest bit early or I’m my usual self who’s somewhat late no matter what circus is coming to town.”

She stood in her doorway wearing some form of jeans that were the deepest blue I could recall, like an octopus had risen from the deep and left its cloak on her, and a white silk blouse that clung to her in precisely the manner I hoped I would. She smelled of something far away, something to the west somewhere I’d never been, and I found myself leaning toward her just so I could breathe her in. Her eyes were green and tiny pearl earrings clung to her ears, and I looked at her and knew she was twenty-two, twenty-three, and I felt the curse of being thirty-eight and the idea that soon it would be all over, this standing here in the spring night breathing in all that was enchanted on a balcony laced with magic, this loveliness within my reach and the beating of what remained of my heart, and I knew if I did not try and catch this dream song and hold it in my head and balance it on the tip of my senses the spring would pass and the summer would wind away into Autumn, and I would look at forty and it would never be the same again. And I said no to the thought, because I looked past the stars and saw what that awful morning would have me be.

So in that moment, on that balcony beneath a Southern spring circle of moonlight and stars, I willed myself to be in love with Caroline. I promised myself the salvation of love and youth and spring.
Amen and farewell, I told myself, to all that had gone before.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WRITER PITFALLS BY RITA KARNOPP

There are pitfalls in every career or job choice . . . so what are some pitfalls for the writer?

·         Do you have a vision of where you want your writing career to go?  You should have an idea of where you’re headed . . . otherwise it’s like taking a trip without looking at a map first.  You’ll never get there if you don’t know where you’re going.

·         That brings us to goals . . . which should be short term and long term.  With short term - schedule daily, weekly, and monthly goals. 
o   Don’t limit them to just writing – personal and spiritual goals are also important.

·         Risk is the catalyst that makes you more productive.  This might sound strange and when I heard this in a conference – I thought really?  But it makes sense.  Risk makes you try harder and it also pushes you to grow. 

·        Are you organized?  Don’t waste time trying to find research notes, to whom and what you’ve already submitted, or even great story ideas.  You’re making it harder than it has to be.  Get yourself notebooks (one for story ideas, one for each book, one for research, etc.) and keep everything in one place, you’ll thank yourself for it!

·        Wasting time can keep you from accomplishing what you want out of life.  Take control of time by logging a two-week diary and take a look at where it's going.  You need to maximize time and make it work for you.

    Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect.  Some writers naturally have to perfect a chapter before moving on – if that’s you – okay.  But if it’s not, you could be a perfectionist at work -and you’re hurting your chances of ever finishing that first book.  Why?  There’s no such thing as perfect.  Every writer learns from each book – and grows – each book getting better along the way.  Try going from start to finish, then do your edits.

·         Have you ever forced your writing?  I tried it a couple of times – it just doesn’t work.  The writing wasn’t any good.  You have to understand your own creative rhythm and trust it’s part of being a good writer.

    Don’t totally isolate yourself.  You truly need interaction with fellow writers and friends.  Without support – it’s easy to get discouraged and just quit.  Don’t let that happen to you.


·        And finally, stay positive even if your writing is screeching to a halt.  Focus on the positive and soon your fingers will by flying across the keyboard. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science by Belle Beth Cooper

This is a great article – and I felt compelled to share it with you.  It’s a bit long so I’ve spread it out to three blogs (22nd, 27th and the 29th).  I couldn’t stop reading . . . it’s all about ‘how to become happier.’  J  Rita
 
Posted on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Written by Belle Beth Cooper

Happiness is so interesting, because we all have different ideas about what it is and how to get it. It’s also no surprise that it’s the Nr.1 value for Buffer’s culture, if you see our slidedeck about it. So naturally we are obsessed with it.
I would love to be happier, as I’m sure most people would, so I thought it would be interesting to find some ways to become a happier person that are actually backed up by science. Here are ten of the best ones I found.
1. Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough
You might have seen some talk recently about the scientific 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. So if you thought exercise was something you didn’t have time for, maybe you can fit it in after all.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:
The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!
You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies, even when they saw no physical changes:
Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 mins exercise and 6 × 40 mins reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.
We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier, as you can see in the image below.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Round Robin Blog with Ginger #RndRbn0714

 How effective do you think book giveaways or contests are? Do you think all the free books through Amazon and the library offered to prime members affect your efforts? What are the best promotions you've participated in?

Wow, I'm torn over the question since I'm with a publisher who has exclusivity with Amazon.  Somehow those free or 99 cent books do parlay into sales, but I'm not sure how.   What I do know is that giving away books also seems to bring "snarky" reviewers out of their hiding places and make them feel inclined to "dis" ones work.  That's even more puzzling to me.  I guess I just don't see the point in ruining the career of someone I know has toiled long and hard over something about which they feel a great deal of passion.  For every one who feels like me, there are two dozen who take pride in just being mean or hope to eliminate their competition.  Yes, all authors, even the mainstream stars, get bad reviews, but when it's evident that your book hasn't even been read, the meanness is hard to comprehend.

In order to compete with freebies, my publisher lowered the prices of our books to try to be more competitive.  The sales didn't increase greatly, but that came about the same time that "self-publishing" became all the rage, and I think the reason had a lot to do with new author's seeing a way to cut out the middle-man and enjoy all their royalties.  Sadly, some of the books released were amateurish attempts at writing a novel, because there is no way you can circumvent the process unless you've already been through it, learned, and know the key tricks to turning a story into a novel.  If there is one thing I've discovered by being an author it's that the learning never stops.  I cannot count how many times I wished I had known "this or that" when I wrote a previous book.  Learning is great, but it can be frustrating at times.  So many rules, so little time.

So in answer to the question...I've tried giving away books as prizes, shared chapters on blogs, share all my posts on FB, Google, and Twitter, and I still haven't found my niche.  I get more likes and shares on jokes and videos than I do on anything "bookwise" that I post.  Even if I share on one of the many topic specific groups on FB to which I belong, I still don't recognize much benefit to my efforts.

I do have a Paypal receipt framed.  It's for $3000 for one book, for one month, but my success was all about "timing."  The book released right after the December that over a million Kindles sold, and I guess my book being promoted at the time was lucky for me.  I consider it a once in a lifetime moment, but  that check sure was a nice one.  :)

 Amazon distributes a large list of books that are free, the lending library allows Prime users to read one book of their choice monthly at no additional cost to their membership, and thousands of authors host contests daily...the yahoo loops are filled with invitations to participate.  I often think giveaways are detrimental to sales because everyone will wait to see if they are a winner and then forget about your book when they aren't. So, in a way, I guess when your competition does what you do, yes, giveaways can be detrimental to sales.

 What I've been reading is the importance of "branding" and marketing to the right audience.  Now if I an figure out the how and who...I just might see my royalty checks increase.  Until then, I keep reminding myself I never started this career for the money BUT...the good new is Jude Pittman, owner of Books We Love, with whom I'm published multi times has just released this statement as part of a press release:

 Of course, any great author would be oppressed without an extensive distribution network for their work. To that end, Books We Love Ltd. has just signed a deal to distribute their books in print in the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Red Tuque will also be handling a portion of the distribution in Canada, with both distributors releasing a combined twenty-five titles this coming fall.
 “This print distribution is a big step for our authors, returning their work to its original format. Of course, we’ve not forgotten about eBooks and currently have over four-hundred titles exclusively available through Amazon Kindle. With each book priced at $4.99 or under, getting some of literature’s forgotten heroes into your hands has never been cheaper,” Pittman adds.
 Am I excited....you bet!

Now, time to see how others responded to this same question.  Follow the links below.  I know I'm going to.

Rhobin Courtright at http://rhobinleecourtright.com
Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
Margaret Fieland at http://margaretfieland.com/my_blog 
Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator at http://dbator.blogspot.ca


Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger Simpson #frifreebits #blogshare

Today, another six from White Heart, Lakota Spirit before I switch to another book.  I hope you enjoy this selection and want to read more:

Set up:  As you've already read, Grace's family has been attacked by a small war party and killed.  In this scene, she's been taken back to the camp of Chief Lone Eagle and his tribe:

 Lone Eagle crossed the compound in search of his son. Nearing his mother’s lodge, raised voices came from a crowd gathered at the far end of the village. He quickened his pace toward the commotion, thoughts of finding Little Cloud lost.

Six young warriors rode into camp—their faces and horses painted for war. Shock and confusion jolted Lone Eagle at seeing his nephew, Little Elk, among them. Where had the group been? He had no idea they’d left the village. He shoved his way through the throng.

His gaze shifted to the white woman tethered and stumbling behind the Appaloosa of his nephew’s closest friend, Black Crow. Each faltering step testified to her exhaustion. She struggled to
remain standing. Her chin lifted momentarily, and she looked directly at Lone Eagle. Long blonde hair hung in matted strands. Her blue eyes, barely visible beneath the dirty tresses, were wide
with fright. One sleeve of her soiled dress hung in tatters down her arm, and crimson chafe marks marred her wrists. Raw and weeping red spots peeked through the veil of dust on her bare feet.

Rage burned within Lone Eagle. He stood in the path of Black Crow’s horse and raised his hand. “As your Chief, I demand to know what you have done.”

The band dismounted. Little Elk came forward, pride shining in his eyes. “My uncle, we rode together to make war against the whites. We have brought a captive as evidence.”

Lone Eagle’s icy glare spanned the young braves. He stepped closer to Little Elk and leaned in until they were almost nose-to nose. “Your chest puffs with pride, but your actions were foolish.” He fought the urge to shake some sense into his nephew and knotted his fists at his sides. “How dare you decide something without advice of Tribal Council! You have no right to put the tribe at risk of war. By bringing a wasichu captive to our camp, you place our people in danger and bring shame upon yourselves.”


Wow....bet you want to know what happens next.  Well, if you do, you can find your own copy of White Heart, Lakota Spirit on my amazon page.

Now scoot on over to my friends' pages and see what excitement they share with you today.  Like what you see?  Let us know, and keep coming back.

Jamie Hill
Tricia McGill
Juliet Waldron
Taryn Raye
Kathy Fischer-Brown
Rhobin Lee Courtright
Margaret Tanner

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WHICH SAMPLE CHAPTERS SHOULD YOU SEND TO AGENTS? BY RITA KARNOPP

The other day a new writer asked me which sample three chapters she should sent to an agent that requested them?  She felt her last three chapters were the strongest, and she was considering sending them.  Is this a good idea or really bad?
Good thing that was an email . . . or she would have seen my jaw drop to the floor and my eyes bulge slightly.  My first response was - you wouldn’t start reading a novel at the last three, would you?  Then you shouldn’t expect an agent to start there – should you? 
I’m a firm believer that you hook your reader with the first sentence . . . in the first paragraph . . . in the first chapter.  If you can’t do this – maybe your book should start somewhere else.  I once read that beginning writers should consider looking at how chapter three starts . . . and consider starting your book there.  Why?  Because when we first start writing – we think we must tell everything up front . . . and the book really starts on chapter three.  Believe it or not – I still just to chapter three and make sure that isn’t true with my books to this day!
So the answer to the question – ‘which three chapters should I send?’ should always be the first three chapters of your book.  If those aren’t the strongest, then your book isn’t ready to be sent to an agent … an editor … or even to your best friend.  You should be editing, rewriting, and reworking your book until you can honestly say, yes, my first three chapters are everything they should be.  If I were a reader – I would be hooked and anxious to start chapter four.
You want that agent or editor to say, “Wow – I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next.  I’m definitely requesting the entire manuscript to find out!”
You might consider sending the first chapter, then choose two others after that (one from the middle and one from the end).  Some believe this is an advantageous approach, giving the editor or agent a clear picture of what your book is about and how your writing style evolves a story. 

The choice is yours.  But if you know those first three chapters won’t get an agent5 or editor to call – you better stop – write until you know it’s the best it can be.  The same goes for the rest of the book . . . because those first three chapters better not outshine the following chapters!  No one said this was going to be easy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Page Straight From Juliet Waldron - #apagestraightfrom

Angel's Flight
by
Juliet Waldron

Angelica and Jack’s sail aboard the The Judik ends when they are caught at a Hudson River port by British warships. The British know that The Judik is carrying powder for the American army. The runaway couple and the Patriot soldiers who are with them have no choice but to “head for the hills”.

The path they followed was a series of switchbacks, a footpath clinging to the rearing promontory. For a moment the entire line stopped while everyone stared with horrified fascination at what was going on below. The ships carrying the British flag were so much larger. They surged toward the rebels.
Streaks of red and puffs of blistering white illuminated the cove while the sun slipped away. The roar of cannons ricocheted back and forth between the high cliffs. One little ship exploded in a cloud of slow motion splinters. Almost before these had finished falling, its broken bow slipped beneath the Hudson’s green surface.
“Get moving, you fools!” This was Captain Van Dam, waving his arms frantically. “We can’t be caught!”
With much stumbling and rattling of rocks, the column moved again. Everyone understood the danger, but it was almost impossible to turn away from the scene on the river.
Clods of dirt and stones rattled from above, startling some of the horses at the end of the line. There was a constant fear of being kicked. Angelica stubbed her toes and staggered, trying not to fall. In the summer twilight, everyone was stumbling and cursing. Sparks flew as horseshoes struck rock.
Fearsome roars and flashes rose from the river. Finally, a rising red tide washed over them and, helplessly, everyone paused to look back. Angelica saw ships sailing fast toward the shore. Behind them, the sails of a two-masted ship too large to escape over the boom made a magnificent pyramid of fire.
“The Judik!” Angelica’s heart thumped her ribs.
“Yes,” Jack said. “Hurry!” he shouted to those who, gaping down at the river, blocked the trail ahead. “They’re coming after us!”
As they reached the top of the bluff, the tempo and size of the explosions on the river multiplied. Flames had reached the powder still stored on board the ship. Angelica, her sides aching from the steep climb, looked back. The Judik was the center of a whizzing, smoke-trailing fireworks display. The entire gorge glowed and rippled red as if the hills were melting into the river. The British were painting the world—Angelica’s world—with fire!
“Run! Damn it—run!”
The time was past for formalities. Jack’s arm caught her around the waist, and he rushed her up and over the final rise. Tongues of fire danced behind them.
Then, with an earsplitting roar, a sound that surpassed any she’d ever heard or imagined, the end came for Vanderzee’s ship. There was a blinding light, while the concussion staggered those who had lingered to watch. Men and animals screamed in fear. Jack threw his cloak around Angelica like a wing, pressed her close against his chest and rolled with her to the ground. When the raging incandescence passed, they were clutching each other in a bitter twilight that tasted of gunpowder.


Buy the Book, read reviews @
http://amzn.com/B0098CSH5Q

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ARE YOU SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING THAT BOOK? CON’T. BY RITA KARNOPP

Yes, rejection hurts.  But you can learn to turn that into a learning experience.  Rejection is will always be part of the writing and publishing process.

The best thing you can do after reading a rejection is to sit down at the computer and write.  Prove you can write the book that will get a ‘yes’ from a publisher.  Wallowing in self-pity will do nothing but undermine your confidence and reaching your goal(s).

Do you watch the trends?  Well, most likely by the time you find out there’s a trend – it’s over.  Not really, but in many ways it’s true.  I don’t follow trends . . . I look for the story that moves me and ignites the ‘what if’ . . . ‘what if’ . . . and ‘what if’?

Editors are looking for a polished story that grabs their attention and is fresh and entertaining . . . whether it be humorous or a serious serial killer drama.  They’re looking for a fresh voice.

With the explosion of e-books and the ‘self-published’ writers, there’s a plethora of books needing serious ‘editing’ . . . and I believe we’re going to see serious repercussions – if not soon – later.  Not everything a person writes is worth putting out there. 

Recently a friend of mine called to tell me his book was just released.  I was so excited until he said, “I know it could use some editing – but I was tired of working on it and just wanted to get it published.”   OMG – right!  I had to ask if he self-published.  I wasn’t surprised when he said yes.  I wanted to take back every congratulatory comment’ I muttered.  Why?  It’s like a slap-in-the-face to the authors who’ve worked umpteen hours to get the book right, who’ve jump through the hoops, spent the time and money to learn the craft, and finally have gotten that publisher’s contract.

Now anyone can publish their own book and make it look like it’s from a publisher.  A reader purchases it and says, “That had so many typos, grammatical errors, and flaws – I was angry I spent money on it.”  Egad, is this the wave of the future?  I firmly believe a self-published book should be required to have ‘self-published’ stamped on the cover of their book.    Okay – let me step off my soap-box and continue.

A note: If you’re going to self-publish, be savvy enough to hire a reputable freelance editor to go over your work.  Believe me, one badly written – unpolished book – is the kiss of death to your writing career. 

One last bit of advice – don’t stop writing.  Keep working on your book until you know it’s ready for publishing – but don’t get so hung up on rewriting that you make it a one-book career.  I have a friend who has written … rewritten . . . and rewritten the same book for the past ten years.  It’ll never be done and she’ll never reach her goal of becoming a published author.

If you aspire to be a successful author you must keep writing, keep working, keep trying, and above all you must keep-believing you’ll reach your dream.


Monday, July 21, 2014

ARE YOU SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING THAT BOOK? BY RITA KARNOPP

Let’s face it – it’s easy to do nothing.  The label we give that is procrastination.  It’s so easy to remember ‘other’ things that need to be done or caught-up on . . . that tomorrow will be a better time to settle down and write.  Yet tomorrow we have the same problem . . . and so it goes.  You do everything – but write.

How can you change that pattern around?  Why don’t you launch a writing quota?  There are several kinds; number of words a day or a block of time each day, or even pages a day . . . or week, whichever you feel will get your butt in the chair writing.  Make it reasonable and don’t start by setting the expectations so high – you know you’ll never reach them.  Always tell yourself – you can do more, this is your minimum.

A habit I’ve gotten into is to review the last few pages of where I left off the day before . . . this gets me right into the mood and flow of my story.  Don’t procrastinate by fixing it over and over – I do correct small typos or sentences that aren’t working, but, I move into writing as quickly as I can.

Each writer has a different style, a process that works for them.  Find yours.  That starts with choosing the best time for you to write.  Some authors swear by the four am burst of energy . . . that would kill me!  I’m the late night – early morning writer – that would kill some other writers.  You see, we all know when we’re most creative.  If you don’t, then I suggest you try writing at different times and find out when you’re the most creative.  You’d be surprised at how much a difference this makes.

Never worry about whether the book is going to be or not be great!  Worrying about such things is only destructive.  Start your book and write it through until you type ‘the end.’  You can worry about fixing problems later.  Get the story done first . . . ignore that inner critic.

If you don’t believe you can write a great, gripping, compelling, moving story – who will?  Don’t create fears that will only keep you from writing or stifle your creativity. 
Believe me; every author is aware he/she might look foolish, vulnerable, or even unsuccessful.  Why would you dwell on such things?  It’ll only keep you from writing the stories that are inside you fighting to get out.

That brings me to a pitfall I had to learn the hard way myself.  You see when I started writing, like every beginner, I knew absolutely nothing about the rules of writing.  So I thought the best thing I could do was get feedback from loveable family, trusted and objective friends, and the oh-so-helpful and caring critique group.  There was also the endearing writer friend who reviewed, judged, assessed, and commented on every sentence I wrote.  

Can you think of a few reasons why this just doesn’t work?  I can – only because I lived it.  Yep, everyone had an opinion – and none of them were the same.  I finally came to the conclusion that in order to please everyone, I’d have to write at least ten different books.  And although the one-on-one critique was wonderful, the book became ‘our voice’ instead of mine.  This is something to consider when writing your story.  In the end the story must be your voice and the book you want to write.

But, that’s not to say you shouldn’t listen to advice and learn from it.  Arrogance and defiance are two things that can stop you from cultivating, refining, and absorbing the process of writing. 

Rejection is a word we often hear associated with writing.  It’s not easy to get a rejection letter saying your book isn’t ‘good enough’ for a particular publisher.  Say what?  This is not a personal insult.  If you’re lucky you might find the publisher took time to tell you ‘why’ they didn’t find your book ready for their house.  This is a great way to learn what the marketplace is looking for, and you should pay great attention to these comments.   Don’t be insulted if you receive the ‘form letter’ either.  Can you imagine the thousands of manuscripts they must peruse in a week?  Again, it’s not personal.

Never slam your back against a wall and start bashing a publisher for not wanting your perfect manuscript on social media.  This is writer’s suicide if you ask me.


Tomorrow let’s continue talking about being serious about writing your book and how does rejection fit into the picture?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Scheduling your Posts - with Ginger Simpson #blogscheduling

Good day to you!  Just a quick blog to let you know that both Rita and I are gone for the week.  She's off panning for gold, visiting some research places, and my hubby and I are going camping in our new RV.  After a somewhat shaky start with a broken toilet and a leaky kitchen faucet, we are facing the wilds again, but this time with replacements working well.  Wish us luck!

Anyhow, the joy of blogger I wanted to share is the ability to schedule your posts in advance so you don't miss a beat.  Rita, bless her heart, has blogged clear into November, while I'm getting there.  So, our blogs will be here, but we won't.  If we don't comment or share posts right away, don't think us lazy.  We're just taking a well-earned (on Rita's part) vacation and trying to do something fun.  Me?  I'll be writing.  Camping is when I do my best.  We'll set the alarm, feed the attack dogs and be on our way.

Be back next week.  Take care and stay safe.  I hope I can come back and brag about all the progress I've made, whether it be on The Well or Yellow Moon.  :)

P.S.  As soon as we get home, hubby has to repack for a trip Hot August Nights.  Nineteen years ago on August 1st, we got married in a fever (to can Elvis' song), and Kelly's off to celebrate and probably try to find a new bride.  This one has gotten old, fat and complacent.  :)


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Friday Freebits with Ginger - #frifreebits #blogshare


I'm continuing with six paragraphs from White Heart, Lakota Spirit, my western historical release from Eternal Press.  In this book, the heroine from Destiny's Bride is present, and although this is a stand-alone story, I suggest you read Cecile/Green Eyes' history to familiarize yourself with her decision to stay with the Lakota as it plays a role in Grace's life.  I really enjoyed researching and writing this book.

Here are my six this week.  Enjoy:

 Realizing her mother hadn’t followed, Grace rose up on her knees and peeked outside. A pack of whooping Indians rode round and round the wagon, their voices creating a din of eerie screams while bullets exploded. The hair on Grace’s arms stood on end. She covered her ears, crouched against the sidewall and prayed the savages would go away.

Shots rang out from beneath the wagon when Papa and Kevin returned fire.  Fretting over her mother, Grace peeked out again. Mama shrieked and grabbed for the tailgate, but a mounted marauder
pumped a bullet into her shoulder. She fell, silenced for the moment, but tried to struggle to her feet. The Indian shot her again.

 Grace’s screams echoed in her own head. “No! Oh God, Mama,” she yelled at the top of her lungs. “Mamaaaa...”

Overpowered by hopelessness, Grace looked on as the painted rider stopped next to Mama’s fallen body and emptied another round into her. A stream of bright red trickled through the dry dirt, and her beloved mother lay motionless. Bile rose in Grace’s throat. She collapsed into a cowering heap, silenced her sobs with her hands, and clenched her teeth to keep from screaming.

God hadn’t intervened so maybe the ordeal was all a bad dream and Mama wasn’t really dead. Still, the shooting and whooping continued. Pounding hooves sent dust seeping into the wagon,
and Grace sputtered. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t awaken from the terror.

The gunfire suddenly ceased. She listened for the awful war cries but heard nothing but stony silence. Terror brought her breathing in ragged gasps. Were her brother and father still alive? And what about Mama?

*****

Available on my Amazon page.  Favorable reviews are greatly appreciated.



Now, please visit the other participants and see what they are offering this week:


Jamie Hill
Tricia McGill
Juliet Waldron
Taryn Raye
Kathy Fischer-Brown
Rhobin Lee Courtright
Margaret Tanner

PRESS RELEASE - PLEASE SHARE - #pressrelease

Canadian Publisher Signs “Neglected” Great Authors of Yesteryear; Rescuing their Discriminating Fiction from Sea of Self-Published Works.

Books We Love, Ltd. has a simple mandate; to provide a publishing and marketing platform for masterly authors who had their careers pulled from underneath them during the big-name publisher “swallow up” of the 1980s and 1990s. Signing authors who have spent the greater part of their lives honing their skills, Books We Love Ltd. is once again turning the spotlight onto quality writers that readers have been trying to find for twenty years.


 For Immediate Release

 Calgary, Alberta – In this day and age, most self and vanity publishing services will take a cheque from anyone willing to hand one over. This leaves critics and readers with the disheartening task of having to sort the literary wheat from the chaff. However, one Canadian publisher is on a bold mission to not only re-connect readers with fiction written by master wordsmiths with decades of experience, but to re-ignite the careers of acclaimed and much-loved authors that readers thought had dropped off the radar for good.
 Calgary-based and independent Books We Love Ltd. is highly exclusive about who they sign; opting for previously-published authors who were left stranded after their small to mid-size publishers were swallowed up by the big guys. Many of these genre authors became bestsellers and literary legends in their own rights, only to find their careers pushed under the rug and readers crying out for their return.
 Authors under their wing include Joan Hall Hovey (known to many as Canada’s “Queen of Suspense”), Juliet Waldron, known for such historical favorites as Mozart’s Wife and Hand Me Down Bride, Kat Attalla who has over a dozen available romance titles and Jamie Hill, who is celebrating the print release of her new romantic suspense, ‘Pieces of the Past’ book one in her ‘Witness Security’ series. With over fifty authors to explore, the Books We Love Ltd. bibliography is a true Hall of Fame.
 “We’re releasing new and re-printed books only from authors who have a solid reputation for quality and credentials to match. They have won awards, dominated the former mid-lists and are often authority figures in their own professional industry,” explains Judith Pittman, Publisher for Books We Love Ltd.. “However, they were literally left with nowhere to turn after their publishers were incorporated into others and their works delisted. Considering many of these authors spent decades refining their skills and had loyal fan bases – it’s a travesty.”
Continuing, “The good news is that they have now found a home at Books We Love Ltd. and we’re passionate about connecting them with their former readers, as well as garnering a new audience. You’ll often hear people asking what happened to that author they were once addicted to; well, he or she could very well be with us!”
 Of course, any great author would be oppressed without an extensive distribution network for their work. To that end, Books We Love Ltd. has just signed a deal to distribute their books in print in the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Red Tuque will also be handling a portion of the distribution in Canada, with both distributors releasing a combined twenty-five titles this coming fall.
 “This print distribution is a big step for our authors, returning their work to its original format. Of course, we’ve not forgotten about eBooks and currently have over four-hundred titles exclusively available through Amazon Kindle. With each book priced at $4.99 or under, getting some of literature’s forgotten heroes into your hands has never been cheaper,” Pittman adds.
 In all, it’s a busy period of growth for Books We Love Ltd., who have long-term plans to continue uncovering supposed ‘bygone’ authors and giving them back the careers they once thrived within.
 For more information on the company and their authors, visit: http://bookswelove.net.
  About Books We Love Ltd.
Books We Love, Ltd. is a publisher of discriminating fiction in eBook and print formats. The publisher gives away fabulous prizes, Kindles spa baskets, books, books and more books in their monthly contests.
Contact: Judith Pittman / 403-695-6696 / judecalgary@shaw.ca

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