Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Friday, March 30, 2012

Writing for the Market vs. Writing for Art

Some writers find it easy to decide what to write about; it just comes naturally to them and flows onto the page. Others (and perhaps the majority) find that it takes a little longer to decide exactly what they'd like to write about; this stage could include story plans, character studies, and much more. The story may grow and evolve many times before a final version is settled upon. Another influence may be what is currently popular with the book-buying public: a fact that brings us to our main point here - is it ever OK to choose your subject matter and genre based on what is selling at the time, or is that nothing more than 'selling out'?

It's the age-old debate between Money and Art. For more on this discussion go here.....

(This is the final serious writerly post before I get really STUCK in the ALPHABET, pursuing the theme of the Making and Selling of Books.)

Sunday, April 1, is THE DAY, and that's no fooling hehe

Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Ways to Give Your Self-Published Book the Best Chance of Success

Writing an entire book is a huge achievement in itself, but as you likely well know, promoting it and making it a success is a whole different ball game. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can ensure your book has the very best chance when it hits the virtual bookshelves.  

Follow a few simple tips and you’ll be able to have readers all across the globe glued to their leather sectional, just to get a glimpse of what happens next in your tale. Let's take a look at three of the easiest ways you can give your book a helping hand before and after you complete the writing process.....

(Please go here to read the rest of this article.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Becoming a Full Time Writer

It's a common dream -- the time and means to be able to write full time. I used to fantasize about it, and then one day it just kind of happened. And I realized I was living my dream.

Of course I do other stuff too-- my husband and I have a little cookie business but that only takes a few hours a week. I maintain my online presence-- again just a few hours a week. Editing for WiDo takes a lot of time, but it's rewarding and stimulating, not exhausting and demanding like a full time, 40 hour a week job would be. Plus it's flexible and can be worked into my schedule. Then there's housework, laundry, bla bla bla I'm even boring myself now....falling asleep....

Still, I am not a full-time writer. Not yet. And it's nobody's fault but my own.

My biggest obstacle comes from within. I have the time, desire and opportunity to write, but I don't put even twenty hours a week into doing it. I spend a lot of time NOT writing and telling myself I SHOULD be. Really, some days I can hardly stand myself for the evilness of  my procrastination habits.

My second obstacle is the lack of social interaction. At a "normal" job, you have coworkers, people to talk to, bounce ideas off, new friends to make, a gossiping buddy to make the time go faster. But the full-time writing job is quiet, oh so quiet. The only other people who get what I do are here on the Internet, blogging about it like I'm doing right now. Sometimes the solitude of the writing gig gets to me and throws me off.

I'd like to claim full-time writer status but I'm still a hobby writer. Unfortunately, that's what I'll remain until I learn how to overcome my two biggest challenges-- Evil Procrastination and Too Much Solitude-- and just put in those hours. My goal is to spend a minimum of twenty hours a week on the actual writing.

Are you a full-time writer? A part-time writer? A hobbyist? A wanna-be? How many hours do you figure you spend writing? And what obstacles stand in your way?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Houston, we have a theme

First let me say that I LOVE Houston! I want my husband and me to just up and move there. Maybe someday we can. There's something about that city that just called to me and made me feel at home. And yes, I did come up with my A to Z Challenge theme!

It will be The Making and Selling of Books. Big surprise, ha! I am so predictable. The biggest problem I'll have with that is keeping the posts short since it's a topic I think about practically all the time. There's just so much to say about the making and selling of books.

Seriously, I could post about that topic every day for the rest of the year and not touch on all the words I have in my head about the subject.

And now it's time to unpack my suitcase, do laundry and eat soup. Because that's what I do when going from 78 degree Texas springtime to a 40 degree Utah March.

Beef and Barley Soup

One lb of ground beef, browned with fat drained
Large onion, chopped fine
6 carrots, peeled and cut in small chunks
3 stalks celery, chopped
Quarter-head of cabbage, chopped fine
Other vegetables you might have in your fridge or freezer,
such as frozen peas, zucchini or summer squash, green beans, etc.
2  16 oz. cans tomato sauce
10 cups water, more as needed
1 cup barley
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
3 beef boullion cubes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Brown ground beef in large stock pan. Drain off fat. Add vegetables, water and seasonings. Water should just cover the meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about thirty minutes. Add barley, more water if needed, and simmer another hour or two. This soup can cook all day on low and be ready whenever you are.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A to Z Themes

As I've been visiting signed up blogs, I notice quite a few are choosing themes for April. As an unorganized pantser, I'm rather impressed by this. My theme was going to be the alphabet.

There's a few ideas swirling around in my foggy brain. Last year I did literary terms, which was fun and simple, lending itself to short posts. (one of my requirements for A to Z'ing it)

What do you think of A to Z themes? Yes? No? Do you like blogs that stick to a theme for the month, or do you find it tiresome? And if you're participating, do you have a theme yet for April?

I'm leaving for Houston in two days, and when I return next week, I hope to bring back a theme!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Change: A Permanent Condition

Just when you expect things to settle down, something happens to kick it into high gear. Lately there's some changes going on over at WiDo Publishing that are moving and shaking the organization.

Among other things, our managing editor Kristine Princevalle is leaving, and I will be taking a larger part in the day to day operations of the business.

A year ago, we took on an intern, who is now working as a paid editor. With all of this, I am looking to find one or more new editing interns.

This is a part-time, unpaid internship, with the work and communication done electronically, requiring skills in proofreading, copy editing, formatting a manuscript for typesetting, and familiarity with Microsoft Word's editing features.

Anyone who's interested can email me at and we'll talk from there. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the publishing business and to possibly work into a paid editing position with an up and coming small press with big plans.

I'm excited about these changes. Feeling a lot of pressure some days, but that's what keeps us kicking, right?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Anyone else having Blogger issues?

Why is it that the one day I set aside a few hours to go blog-hopping, I get Blogger issues? Grrrr! The dashboard won't come up. When it does it's empty and says I don't currently follow any blogs. Yeah, right. When I do get to a blog, the pop up comment form won't pop up. Grrrr again!

During the latest round of complaints that I noticed from Blogger bloggers, I happily went my rounds, free of any trouble. Ha! Now I'm paying for it.

Ah well, maybe later this weekend Blogger will be nice and let me do my visiting....Meanwhile, thank you to all who so faithfully keep coming back to my blog. I'd like to return the favor, and I will, just apparently not today....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Made My Peace with Marketing

If anyone wants a quick education in how writers should market themselves online, go to this post. But it's not the post, it's the comments. When I posed the questions, my awesome, amazing and incredibly good-looking followers gave over fifty intelligent, well-thought out opinions on the conundrum of online promotion.

Seriously, whatever marketing answers you need are in these comments. I've pondered them at length and have finally made my peace with marketing.

It's my blog and if I want to talk about my books, my writing, my editor, my publisher, my pet projects like Celery Tree or the maple trees I planted last summer, then I can and I will. However, I like to consider your feelings. After two and a half years, I've got a pretty good idea of what you like and what you don't, so I try to respect that.

My author website contains plenty of information about my books, so I don't need to use my blog for that purpose. It simplifies things, and I like the arrangement--having my website for my book information and my blog for random whatever. I maintain the Celery Tree blog but this one gets the most traffic, so I'll occasionally write a post here featuring Celery Tree. Why should anyone care if I do that?

I'm involved with day to day operations with WiDo Publishing, and from time to time I post about publishing/editing/submitting information. I think writers enjoy those kinds of posts. Not that I'm promoting WiDo. A publishing company doesn't really need to be promoted. Submissions pour in just by the fact of its existence.

I no longer believe that blogging sells books. WiDo has authors who blog endlessly and others who don't at all. People buy what they want to read whether the author is blogging or not. It's more the cover, title, genre, quality, themes and story that sell a particular book, not the writer's online presence. I'm not saying blogging hurts, unless the blogger comes across as a big jerk, and it MAY help, but it certainly is no guarantee! It may not even be necessary.

This relieves a huge amount of pressure. I can now blog for fun and enjoyment and camaraderie rather than for promotional purposes. I've worked hard to develop an online presence and have benefited in countless ways, but selling books isn't top on the list.

Really, the way to sell books is to write the absolute best books you can write. And then write some more and more. I believe this with all my heart. One of these days, I'll write a novel that shoots to the bestseller lists and stays there for a really really long time. And it won't have anything to do with my online presence. It will be simply because I happened to write something that resonated with a whole bunch of readers and the word spreads and the rest is history. Or rather the future. Because it hasn't happened yet. But when it does, it will be about the writing not about the marketing.

Have you made your peace with marketing?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Where Did all the Bloggers Go?

I scroll down my Blogger dashboard to click on new and interesting posts, since I've got a couple hours and just want to blog. I visit a few. Not everyone, because let's face it, sometimes the opening lines don't appeal. Other times, if the title and first lines really intrigue me, I can't click fast enough.

After ten minutes, I'm already down to posts I hit yesterday, published 12 hours ago. What? Ten minutes of blogging is all I get?

I remember a couple years ago when it would take all morning to get through the new stuff. There was no way I could get to every appealing post of every interesting blogger I followed.

But now it seems like people are posting less frequently (I know I am), with more blogfests (not interested if I'm not involved), and perhaps we get too casual, (remember the intention is to attract readers, right?) maybe a bit sloppy about subject matter? "I just picked my nose and guess what happened......"

Which is why I'm enjoying my journey through the A to Z Challenge sign up list. I'm up to #300 and I've found a few really awesome new blogs to follow.  I don't comment on each one, or follow either.

What I look for is: a design that appeals (don't like too fussy or too hard to read or automatic music playing), and intelligent or entertaining or clever posts that 1. make me think 2. engage me somehow 3. have a voice I like and 4. subject matter I can relate to.

I'm not addicted to blogging, (I used to be but got over it), it's just that sometimes blog-hopping is what I do. And I need blogs to hop to! So if bloggers are disappearing or posting less often, one needs to find new ones to take their places, right?

The A to Z Challenge List has 898 blogs signed up, plenty for any discriminating blog addict reader to choose from. Only 600 more for me to look at! Away I go!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sneak Peek into My Next Novel

The opening chapter of "Lighting Candles in the Snow"(to be released by WiDo Publishing, Fall 2012) is now posted on my website. What's this novel about, you ask?

Newly divorced Karoline London needs to find her normal again, as older sister Suzie keeps reminding her. But what does Suzie know about normal? After all, she has Rob, the perfect husband, and seven gorgeous children, while Karoline had six years married to a man tormented by addictions
When Karoline meets handsome Zac Kline, things just might be looking up. And then she discovers something about ex-husband Jeremy that changes everything.

Lighting Candles in the Snow is a story of hope and redemption, about new beginnings and fresh starts. It is about the weak finding courage, and how tragic events can create unbreakable bonds within families. Above all and despite everything, it is a love story.

Curious at all? I hope so! I invite you to go here and preview Chapter One. The comment section is open, meaning feedback is welcome. *grins happily*