Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I haven't done much in the way of advertising my novel, "Escape from Second Eden."  I've been busy doing what most author's do...writing, editing, and researching possible plot lines.  So the result was two books sold since I sold 100 copies in forty-eight hours.  No biggy, right?

Today, I spent decompressing after editing and rewriting, "The Sacrificial Lamb."  I had edited it so tight I was short about about 10K words from the standard 50K-word minimum for a novel.  I spent the past week developing a subplot and threaded it in and throughout the novel.  I finally wrote "The End" and meant it last night. At least I completed one of ten goals I had set for myself for Spring Break from college.

Now comes the rush #1.  I was web surfing today and noticed that I got a five star rating on my book in Smashwords.  I was pleasantly surprised.  You think you've got a good novel, but really aren't sure until you read the reviews how much of a good book or stinker it really is.  Family telling you is great is just family telling you it's great.  They love you.  They are supposed to say nice things about the things you do...aren't they?

Rush #2- I found my novel on  While I understood the book was available in all formats, I didn't understand it would actually appear on their website.  It was truly a DOH! moment. I really should spend more time researching.  Even better yet, the novel will be available at in a few days.  Both are electronic formats in Kindle, Nook, Sony and a few others.

Well anyhow, that was my decompress day.  Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Hats

I've spent the last few weeks juggling family and life like a madwoman.  I've run the gambit of wearing all my hats at various times.  I put my mother hat on when my daughter called me and told me she was four points shy of graduating from college.  She had worked hard and juggled her family, job, college, and children.  What do you say when your child cries and is heart broken because her best wasn't good enough.  I could have been flippant and said get back up on that horse and ride it, but I couldn't.  This was my child, while not actually a child but a young woman.  A very disappointed one.  I couldn't reach across the phone line and hug her...drat the distance between us.  All I could do was console her and later encourage her to try again. (Big time Momma hat)

I also faced the earthquake and tsunami in Japan knowing I had family there (The niece and cousin hat).I've had another daughter be audited by the IRS and because I was an accountant in a previous life...guess who she called. (CPA hat)Another child, I call them children but they are adults, call me in desperation because she was having problems with her algebra. (Teacher's hat).  I faced final exams in college (Student hat) which I Aced, yeah me! Prepped final exams for students (teacher hat).  My husband had a couple of medical emergencies like not breathing (Quick grab the RN/EMT hat). Another daughter dislocated her knee (RN/EMT hat). I tilled my garden for fresh herbs and veges( gardening hat). I catered two weddings, four major functions, and small dinners(chef's hat). I did four drug interventions (pastor hat).  Are you dizzy yet?

I picked up two new authors, added to the ten I already had, who need editing help and a good swift kick in the rear to keep them on track.(Editor cap). Now add in the regular everyday hats of (dishwasher, laundress, personal chef, personal shopper, correspondent, chauffeur), and we must not forget author/writer (Creative hat)...never forget the writer. Who completed the final final editing on "The Sacrificial Lamb" <pat myself on the back. yeah me!>

 As I sit here writing this blog (the blogger cap)I'm exhausted just reading the list.  There are probably a hundred hat switches I've done in March alone.  I remember the old saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb...I'm ready for the lamb.  So how has your month been?

As always keep writing and loving the Lord.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Backing Up Your Backup

Is it just me or does everyone else have a backup to a backup of their novel or book?

At times I can get quite anal about it. I've got stories on zip disks, cd-roms, thumb drives, and an online backup site, as well as my hard drive!  Yeah, maybe this is over kill, BUT I speak from experience.

Have you ever worked on your novel and had the power go out?  Two seconds earlier you thought about hitting the save button but didn't. While quite  a few computer word processors have a recovery system in place, did you opt-in on it? Okay, I hear you,  power outages are an easy fix.

What about your hard drive crashing and the repair service can't recover the data on your hard drive? What about a house fire that consumes every password you have written in your paper notebook beside your computer.  Yes, I see y'all looking right at it, checking to see it's still there.

I also hear you out there who say I write all my stories in long hand and then transfer it to my computer.  Have you ever seen the mess fire hoses cause putting out fires? I have.  If you have anything on paper it's gone. And really if your house is on fire what's the most important thing on your mind, quick grab my backups? No, it's probably make sure you, your family and pet goldfish are safe.  The last thing on my mind was my backup files.

I had one of those nifty 16 mg thumbdrives.  It was even on a keychain so I could carry it with me always. I didn't count on the plastic eye the metal part of the keyring breaking. Bye-bye thumb drive.  Zip drives get corrupted. CD's get scratches, and I can go on and on.

So online backup seems to be the way to go right?  Maybe.  Monthly service charges can be quite high.  The free services limit the amount you can store.  But for your piece of mind it's worth it.  Your hometown is struck by a tsunami, but your information is safe.  Don't laugh one just struck my relatives in Japan...that was after the earthquake and before the nuclear fall-out.  How likely are you going to remember your password to your account? 

Quick grab your password notepad. Opps, it's gone. Besides on the news today a hacker has erased files galore and crashed their system.  Those sneaky little devils. No, this didn't actually happen, but it could have.

You replace your computer.  Fine, now you download your data, except you have a different operating system with your new computer or it's a Mac and you had a twelve-year old PC.  You didn't remember to save your file under a txt format so any system could read it.

Yeah, yeah, I hear you. All this stuff won't happen at the same time.  Just remember one's Murphy's Law! You know it, repeat after me...whatever can go wrong-will go wrong! I'm a Murphey so if anything I do believe in it and this is just some St Patrick's Day wisdom humor to chew on.

As always...keep writing and keep loving the Lord.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

100 Copies Sold in 48 Hours!

I was shocked, amazed, stuptified and a few hundred other adjectives that I can't think of right now.  Pretty bad for a writers to be left with her mouth hanging open, flapping in the wind, and without words.  This may not seem like a large number to some of you, but to me it's fantastic!

Smashwords was running their e-book promotion this week and it was coupled with a spot in ereadernewstoday promoting "Escape from Second Eden." Both promotions ended today.

I had checked my sales Thursday night and figured the whole thing was a bust as far as my sales went.  A bit disheartened, but then I really didn't do much in the way of advertising either. Five copies...wohoo, yippee! I could have done that at a local indie bookstore.

I mentioned it prior to the sale on Facebook, and a couple of other online sites, but nothing huge.  Although Facebook touts over half a million members, they have to be your "friend" to get announcements unless you pay to advertise on their site. I posted the e-sale on myspace, mentioned it to my writer's groups (compuserve, linkedin and twitter).  I don't have a huge following in any of those places mainly because of my newness to all this internet stuff.  It's only a couple of lines and a link.  My fingers didn't even get cramped typing it out...a copy/paste deal.

When I checked my sales last night out of boredom.  I wasn't really expecting much at all.  I had to pull off my glasses and look at the screen for several minutes, and then I ran into the bedroom to tell my husband.  We did the Snoopy dance of happiness, you know the one I mean. Talk about a reaffirmation to an author!  I was so hyped up I awoke this morning and banged out four chapters in one of the novels I'm writing.  Now, whether I keep any of it or edit it away will have to wait until next week.  I tend to wait and edit ever ten chapters or so.

Now, I'm just waiting on the reviews.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Guest Blogging and My Partner in Crime

Imagine my surprise when I was asked to guest blog on another site.  But it's true.   Tomorrow's blog at the  will have been written by yours truly.   My old partner in crime, Mary Barfield, asked and I happily agreed.  I feel honored beyond belief at the confidence they have in me.

I have called Mary my partner in crime for over a dozen years...since we met at my first Southeastern Writer's Association Conference on St Simons Island.  It was first time and her umpteenth.  We bonded in seconds. 

At the welcoming ceremony were all asked to introduce ourselves and make it memorably.  Imagine, I'm in an auditorium with a hundred plus  strangers and was a wee bit nervous. (I stopped counting at 100)  Although I have given seminars and things to groups before, this was different.  I wasn't the expert.  I was a novice at fiction writing. It didn't matter that I had been published in nonfiction for years.  I ran through a couple of things in my head but nothing seemed to stand out.

Mary was an old professional at conferences and was sitting next to me.  She got up and did her memorable line of crime and passion with a devilish sparkle to her eye, and then sat down.  Those who have met Mary know what I mean.  Then It was my turn.  I stood and told everyone my name and that I lived on the mainland, Brunswick. Then said the first thing that popped into my head.  "I've got 'Made in Japan' stamped on my butt."

I was thinking of the little dolls made after WWII with the little stickers which said that on the bottom. (now they say China) Well, I am Japanese. I'm short...five foot nothing, at the time I weighed about 120 lbs (which now I resemble a squat little Buddha).  It seemed to fit.  The room exploded in laughter and nobody forgot me.  Even to this day, several members from my first time will see me and point, and say "made in Japan" and laugh.  They may not remember my name, but they remember my introduction line.

Mary had the same attitude as I do when going to one of these things...if you can't have fun, why bother. Since then, we've become side kicks, hammered out details for novels, swapped family stuff, writing, critiques, run away for writing huddled weekends, had water gun fights in hotel hallways after midnight, etc, and even though she lives across the state from me, she is only a phone call away.

Oh, in case you were blog is about breaking free of Spring runaway desires and writer's block.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I spend more time with a red pen in my hand writing in margins with other people's work than my own works in progress.  Most writers ask what I charge for my services.  Free to most or a low fee.  It doesn't get any cheaper.

Why am I doing this?  Don't I know I could earn some serious $$ doing this?  I am not a book doctor.  I am not attached to any publishing house. I do this because writing is a craft and an art form. I believe in nurturing arts and crafts.  Yes, I could be earning money.  New novelists are a dime a dozen, no slur intended.  Everyone wants to be the next Diana Gabaldon, J.K. Rowlings, or Dan Brown who makes millions.  The reality is they probably will not be.

My reason is two-fold altruistic and it help me learn.  Most mistakes writers make is purely grammatical, while others are more style or just not looking at the problems in their work. 

As a writer, your novel becomes your baby.  You write it for nine months, you nurture it, edit it, and tweak it.  You feed it your creativity by the spoonfuls and then someone like me comes along and rips it to shreds. I put ugly red welts on it like a sadist with a whip. I'm hurting your child and any self-respecting mother will fight to the death to protect their child, right?

Wrong!  This is a piece of fiction.  Yes, you've written every word. It may need some help to come to life.  Every mother wants their child to be the best and sometimes it takes clear unbiased eyes to see.  That's what an editor is. A personal trainer and a teacher.  Slim down the fatty areas, show you another way to look at things, and make it the best.

I'll ask rhetorical questions you regard as stupid because it's right there in black ink.  Or so you think.  I read stories as a lover of reading. I have eclectic tastes where my consumption is.  I'll read everything and anything.

But think...if I am having to ask questions, something is not clear.  I'll make comments like "nice imagery, why, and don't tell show." I want you to succeed.  I want to become invested in your character and your story.

While most editors will prefer to tackle a whole novel at a time, I choose the first three chapters. By that time, I will know how much time will be involved in helping you tighten up your novel, to make it a page turner, and possibly even make it sell able.  Usually an author will make the same mistakes over and over again throughout their novel.  By the first three chapters, you are set in your ways.

I use my own writing as a marker.  Having said the last, I am not perfect.  As I edit I see mistakes in my own works.

I have a contract with each writer and it goes something like this...
1) This is only my opinion-take it leave it.
2) I cannot guarantee publication
3) I might make you angry by my slice and dice techniques
4) I will not rewrite your novel-that's your job.
5) I will ask rhetorical questions- I do not expect an answer they are asked to have you take another look at a section.
6) I will read you chapters line by line and as a whole, which means reading it twice. Once for context and once for errors and suggestions.

I can't count how many authors I've made angry by slicing and dicing their babies.  Many do not return.  Those that do stay on until the end learn how to edit their own work. That is really my purpose.

Keep writing and love the Lord.