Monday, December 29, 2008

Catching up is hard to do

My blog is late... a day late. So, now it's Monday not Sunday. What happened? My niece, Alisha, was married Saturday. So, I drove down for the ceremony. It was a lovely service. They looked so very happy. I wish them all the best.

To get there we drove six hours on Christmas day-only to discover that there are no restaurants open on Christmas day-at least along the highway. Thank goodness for gas stations. (After driving for six hours, we arrived to see that even the Perkins with the big sign that says open 24 hours was closed. Sigh.) We ended up in a Walgreens and picked up a couple of microwave dinners to take back to our hotel which thankfully had a microwave. Then we drove five hours on Friday. Saturday we drove 2.5 hours down to the wedding. Had a really nice time-visiting family and sharing a dinner/dance reception with the bride and groom who were grinning ear to ear. Then it was 3 hours back to the hotel in ice and snow. Sunday we got up early and drove straight back home. The 9.5 hour drive took us 12 hours due to traffic. There were two spots where everyone went from 70 (or faster) to zero...and then we sat...then began to crawl for miles...only to discover wreckers clearing away semi's from the ice storm the day before.

So, today I'm home and behind in everything. But it was worth it to see how happy they were and to hug my older brother-with tears in his eyes-as Daddy's little girl got married.

Happy New Year! May 2009 find you happy and healthy!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Personal Rules

I've blogged before about social networking, but I thought I would update you on my experience. It can be intimidating to dip your toes into myspace and facebook. But after three months, I've discovered it can be a lot of fun to meet new people and follow them on-line.

It can also be a bit scary.

There are cyber stalkers out there. I've had people become down right angry if I don't chat with them or answer their messages. So, as with everything I do on-line, I have developed a few private rules for social networks.

1) I don't make it a habit of chatting up men I don't know from foreign countries. (I have a suspense writer's mind and don't want to have my computer confiscated for being in touch with possible tangos.)
2) I don't make it a habit of chatting with men I don't know. (I'm in a relationship and don't want to give anyone ideas.) I add male as well as female writers/readers to my friends. I may make a comment on their wall to congratulate them if they make a sale, or tell them happy birthday, or that I enjoyed reading their published work, but for the most part I'm networking not looking for a date- that's what and other personal sites are for...right?
3)I can't take the time to answer all queries on how to find an editor, where the publishers are, and would I read unpublished work and polish it. (Some have asked very nicely, but the answer is still no reply. It's not personal. It's a time constraint. I have my own research and polishing to do.)
4)I will remove anyone who consistently comments on inappropriate pictures I don't want to look at day in and day out. (When you comment on a photo it appears on my home page.) I'm not here to search the web for funky photos.
5)I don't play with all the wonderful apps available. So if you send me flowers, or candy or pets-thanks but I won't click on them. Again not personal, just squished for time.

What do I do? Meet new people, discover new blogs, join new groups and promote my website and my books.

These are hard and fast rules I've had to put into place to protect myself. So, please, don't take it personal if I don't chat with you or message back when you ask me to help you find a decent editor. It's not personal, it's business.

On that note...What are your personal on-line rules?

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Random thoughts on surviving the book business

This week a quote went around one of my writer's loops that got me thinking. I'll paraphrase because who said it and how they said it is not as important as the thought. Here is the thought: each book written is a new product and in a business model something like 90 percent of all new products fail. Thus every book put on the self has a huge potential for failure.

Why? People like their old brands. They like what they know. This is why the most successful people "seem" to write the same book over and over. It's called a brand. People are afraid to take a chance on something that is too new- too out there, no matter how good. Think about it. When was the last time one of your favorite authors wrote something that surprised you? Did you wonder if they were headed in a direction you didn't like? Did you think twice about buying their next book?

People like sameness. I've known several very good authors who tried to branch out to different styles of books and failed. Some quit. Others went back to the type of story that worked for them.

In essence-the industry prefers to typecast writers. I hear this all the time, "Oh, you write sweet westerns." Well, no- I write all kinds of books. A sweet western was simply the first book I sold to a publisher-they loved it so much I sold six more. But that is not all I am. This year I wrote a sexy single title contemporary romance and a straight up thriller. But I sold two romantic suspense stories.

But hoping from genre to genre and line to line can be a problem. The problem becoming what to label you- all writers need a label or it would be chaos in terms of marketing. Think of it like this- you have a friend who brings home a new guy/gal every night. You don't have time to get to know them or even care. It's all too dizzying to matter. Now you have another friend who has been with the same guy/gal all her life. You know what to expect. You become invested in his/her friendship and their life together. You are comfortable and should they ever break up you will be horrified. This is how people like to think of their writers.

Unfortunately- book types go in and out of fashion-stranding those writers dedicated to only one type of book. So, even knowing the brand expectations, you have to be versatile enough to survive these trends. So, I've learned to nurture two or three different types of books in the hopes that one will keep my career afloat if another goes out of fashion. Think of it as serial monogamy. Instead of a new type of book every time, write consistently in two genres. The idea is to keep your product from being too new and yet maintaining a place in more than one market. It keeps your odds favorable and boredom at bay.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December Movie Reviews

You all know that I'm a huge movie buff. After being in the book business for so many years, I can't pick up a book without seeing craft and all the other work that goes into the story. So, for entertainment I go to movies. A lot of movies. Once a month I like to review one or two that I have seen. December is always stuffed full of releases-gearing up for awards or just plain family fun. So this month I'm reviewing two very different movies.


Okay, truth? I picked this movie so that I could post a picture of Hugh Jackman on my blog.
Plus the movie was big fun. I enjoy Nicole Kidman as well. This movie is cheeky fun with romance as its core. (As a romance author, I could not resist.) Still there is enough action and adventure for the guys. Australia made me smile and had just enough emotion to keep you going. I plan on buying the DVD when it comes out. In these economic times you need a little fun in your life.

My second movie pick is The Boy in The Striped Pajamas.

IMO this movie is Oscar worthy. The review I read before I went said it was a good family film-um- NO- unless your kids are 13 or older, then take them. It is a great discussion tool. This movie is poignant and spot on. The acting is superb. The characters fleshed out with actual arcs that take your breath away. All from the spot on point-of-view of an 8-year-old boy. Innocence in a world of madness. See this one if you love good film making, wonderful acting and a story line that does not back down.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Christmas Story...

Or two girls, a peppermint mocha, and a Christmas tree, a tale of perseverance and determination.

On Friday the boys left to go deer hunting. Ashley and I decided we would go get the Christmas tree without them this year. It would be a fun start to the Christmas season. Before we went tree shopping we stopped at Starbucks for our first peppermint Mocha of the season. Flavored coffee in hand, we stopped at the Christmas tree shop. We got inside to discover the trees were lovely and reasonably priced. So we wandered down the isle. It smelled of fresh cut pine. Christmas carols played on the loud speaker. I picked up the first un-netted tree in the isle and stood it up. “What do you think?”
“It’s perfect!” She declared, mocha in hand.
“Do you think it’s too tall?” I looked up at the eight foot tree and tried to picture it in our living room with 9 foot ceiling.
“Nope, perfect.”
“Then we’ll get this one.” We were so proud to have picked a good tree right off the bat. So easy. I looked at her sipping her mocha. “How about you take the top and I’ll carry the bottom.” I lay the tree on its side and she positions herself at the top. I pick up the bottom. We lift…and grunt. An 8 foot balsam fir weighs at least 60 pounds. We get it to the check out. So proud of our accomplishment. Neither one of us are exactly gym rats-and I have a bad back.
The check out girl checks us out and asks if we want help to the car. I look at Ashley-she looks at me. “No thanks,” we say. We are women hear us grunt as we pick up the tree and walk it the short distance to the car. We lay it down and decide the best way to transport it is inside our 2001 PT Cruiser. So we open the car doors, lay the back seat down. Our goal? To shove an 8 ft. fir tree-un netted- into the back of the PT Cruiser. I take a hold of the bottom and lift. We shove. The tree gets as far at the back seat. Ashley puts her mocha down and grabs it from the second seat and we shove. The scent of pine rises. Needles fall. Bottom branches bend and splay out like a cat trying not to get into the bathtub. Almost there…
We are so clever.
Ashley races to the open front seat for the final shove and doesn’t quite make the opening slamming her forehead on the edge of the car. I pause at the loud thunk. She stands up and blinks.
“Are you okay?” I ask, tree in hand, back strained.
“No…” She says weakly. We both laugh.
“Are you concussed?”
Tree is growing ever heavier in my hands. “Can you help?” I hope so because I don’t know what I’d do if she couldn’t.
“Yeah,” she says bravely and gingerly pokes her head inside the car. One final shove and the tree is in as far as it will go. Ashley comes around to the back. “You need to close the back hatch.”
I’m skeptical. We’ll probably have to get twine and tie the door. But I reach up and give the door a good push. It closes! Wow! I can’t believe we got that tree in this little car. We both pop into our prospective seats. I can’t see out the back at all. I move the tree to see Ashley in the passenger side.
“How’s your head?”
“Hurts,” she shakes her head and laughs.
“We don’t live far. When we get home, you need to put ice on it. But right now I need you to help me see.” We drive home. Happy Christmas music on the radio. My back strained and screaming with each breath, lump forming on Ashley’s head, mocha forgotten.
Yea! We’re home. Ashley gets out to go put ice on her lump. I open the back hatch and survey the damage. Tree looks a little worse for wear. I muscle it out of the car and stand it up in the garage. Then go inside.
Ashley has a giant white towel filled with ice on her forehead. My back is protesting. We might be a little worse for wear, but we got the tree! I check her pupils, they look normal. She tells me the world went black when she hit it. I wonder if we should go to the emergency room. She tells me no. We soldier on, setting up the tree skirt and stand inside.
I read the tree instructions. “Cut an inch off the base and place tree in a gallon of water.” Cut an inch off the base… hmmm, do we have a saw?
After much looking we discover a thin tree saw. I lay the tree down and study the base. It’s about six inches wide. I’ve watched the guys saw the base off the tree every year. How hard can it be?
Holy mother of pearl! I’m sawing and sawing. Sweat is pouring down my face. I am currently a quarter inch into the base. Wow! Ashley looks on, ice pack on her lump. She is not going to let me saw alone. I will need a witness in case I accidentally saw through a finger. After twenty minutes, I decided that the best thing is to attack the base from all sides, so I turn the tree and saw though a quarter inch. Turn it again…saw through, turn it again, saw through. By this time, all my arm muscles are shaking. I take off my coat. I study the tiny cuts in the tree. I glance over at my neighbor’s house hopeful. (He’s the one with the snow blower and other man tools.) No, I think, no. I can do this!
I look down at the saw which now looks as thin as dental floss. “I’m trying to cut through a tree with dental floss for goodness sakes.” Ashley laughs. There has got to be a better way. I go looking for a hammer and chisel…I’ll chisel through that thin cut, right? Found a hammer, but no chisel. Found a rusty old hand saw. It’s thicker. It’s got to work better.
I go back to sawing. Half an inch all around. Then an inch. It’s growing dark out. I’m cursing all men for their arm muscles. Ashley tells me that things like this might take us longer, but we can do it. Men on the other hand can never give birth. Small comfort in my time of need. I study the tree. All the wrestling has led to more broken branches. At least those I can cut off with relative ease.
“Here, mom, let me help.” Ashley puts down her ice bag and has a go at sawing. I’m sweating and shaking, my pulled back has gone numb. I glance at the neighbor’s house. Is he home? Does he have a chain saw? No, I’m going to do this!
I take the saw from Ashley and attack the tree with all my frustration and pain. Finally, finally the base pops off. We shout and celebrate and high five each other. Sweating, muscles trembling, we look at each other. Now for the hard part…
We pick up the tree and take it around the house, up the decks steps to the patio door, leaving a trail of needles in our wake. I laugh that by the time we get it in the stand it will have one branch left and a handful of needles. We open the patio door and move the kitchen table aside. I leave a chair strategically under the chandelier so no further head bashing will occur. We pick up the tree and wrestle it inside. All we have to do now is get it in the stand.
I lift the tree, wobbling while Ashley settles the stand underneath. I put it down. It sinks bravely. She tightens the screws. “Okay,” she says from her position on the floor. “That’s it, let go.”
I let go, the tree topples. I grab it.
“I don’t know what else to do.” Ashley blinks at me-large purple bump on her forehead. I laugh, tree needles and sap embedded in my hands and shirt.
“We’ll switch places.” I get down and eye the situation. There are three thick branches at the bottom- one is hanging up on the edge of the stand. “We have to turn the tree.” I unscrew the screws. Hands cramp and tremble. “Okay, turn it.” I hold the stand. Ashley turns the tree. The branch goes lower. I eye the situation again-worried. Those three branches are below the stand lid. I don’t think it will work, but I try anyway, screwing the screw into the tree trunk. “Okay. Let go.”
The tree tips-so does the stand.
There is only one thing left to do… take the tree out and cut off the lower branches. I whimper as I unscrew the screws. Ashley is too weak to lift the tree. We trade places. I pull it out and place it on its side. Then I get the saw and cut off the bottom branches while Ashley puts on Christmas music. We laugh.
One more time, I grab the tree and lift it. She positions the stand under and the tree sinks down with a pleasant pop. YES! I tell Ashley that this is the kind of relief you feel when you give birth. The “Thank the good lord that’s over” kind. She screws in the screws. I let go. The tree stands.
We cheer. Then lie prone on the floor exhausted.
Ashley turns her bruised head toward me. “I suddenly see the appeal of an artificial tree.”
I can barely move. “If the boys ask, tell them it was easy. A piece of cake. We have no idea why they struggle each year…” We laugh.
A hot bath and a glass of wine later, I come downstairs and study the giant tree. The top is an inch taller than our ceilings. I’m going to have to get up on a chair and clip it. The tree is also leaning…But leaning can be a look, right?
I smile at Ashley. She smiles back.
“You know, the boys put the lights on.”
Her smile disappears. “Tomorrow.”
I agree. We reheat our mocha’s and rest on the couch. The air is filled with the scent of pine. We are women…hear us roar…

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mr. Charming

I am please to announce that my first romantic suspense, Mr. Charming, from the Wild Rose Press has a release date! Mr. Charming will be available in paperback and electronic format July 31st, 2009.

Following is an excerpt. Enjoy!

“Why do you keep touching me?” The words were soft and breathless. Jennifer wanted to take them back the moment they were out.
“I’m a tactile guy,” Kane said simply. “I like to caress what I find beautiful.”
Surprise filled her, scattered across her face. She was thirty five with a kid. Definitely not the type of person he usually dated.
“Yeah,” he said, breaking her stunned silence. “I find you beautiful.” He stepped as close as he could without touching her. He took the mug away from her trembling hand and planted it beside them on the counter. Then he held her face in his hands and smiled down at her. “I’m the kind of man who appreciates beauty in its purest from.”
“I told you, I know what kind of man you are,” she whispered. “Don’t you see? For my own good, I have to reject you.”
“Then I’m afraid we’re at odds, sweetheart, because I have to have you.”
She had promised herself just moments before to do her best to stick to the truth. “I’m not playing games with you,” she said. Her whole body shivered in traitorous anticipation. He drew her to him, surrounding her with male heat and strength.
“Me neither,” he replied.
She put her hand out to keep him away. Her palm hit silky warm skin spattered with just the right amount of hair to make it intriguing. She swallowed a gasp and kept her hand firmly planted on his bare chest. The last thing she wanted was for him to know how electrified she was by the feel of him. “Just keep your distance. I know you’re bored and I’m simply a distraction. It isn’t fair.”
He took her palm and raised it to his lips. His dark gaze captured hers and sent shock waved through her body. “Haven’t you heard? All’s fair in love and war.”

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just for Fun

A friend of mine posted on her blog (Thanks to:
)a website you could go to to see what/who you were in your past life. Now, I'm open to fun and interesting things. (Keeping in mind it's all for fun.) So I went to the site

All it asks for is your birthday. Now I was suspicious. I mean millions of people share my birthday. So I read the section on "more information" in which the site owner copes to the fact that it is merely a numbers generated code... and the equivalent of an electronic fortune cookie to be interpreted by you as you will.

So, shrugging I said, Why not? and entered my birthday. Here is what it said:

"Your past life diagnosis:

I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern Wales around the year 975. Your profession was that of a entertainer, musician, poet or temple-dancer.

Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
You always liked to travel and to investigate. You could have been a detective or a spy.

The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
Your lesson is to conquer jealousy and anger in yourself and then in those who will select you as their guide. You should understand that these weaknesses are caused by fear and self-regret.

Do you remember now?"

How fun is that? To imagine myself as a male temple dancer during King Arther's time... hmmm, there's a story in there somewhere. ;)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A little update

I'm on the road this weekend but I wanted to keep you updated. On Weds, I got an e-mail request for the first fifty pages and a synopsis based on the query letter I sent out. So, I know the query letter itself was a success. :) Here's hoping the partial leads to many requests for a full.

Have a good week!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Shot in the Dark

Last week I said there were only four publishers who took unagented work. I had the math wrong. There are eleven New York publishers on the RWA list who will take an unagented query letter or proposal. Curiously one said to send in a full proposal (Which consists of the first fifty pages and a synopsis) but then added that they do not work with unagented writers. I sent them a full proposal anyway. You just never know. There are only two publishers, Grand Central Publishing, and Ballantine, who aren't taking unagented work in romance.

This week I sent out three query letters and three proposals. In a few months when I start getting requests for more, or rejections, I'll know what to tweak for the final five.

Sending out query letters is a bit like cold call telemarketing. You just never know how the other party will react. There are secrets to being successful in cold calling and queries.

The first is to do your homework. Target your query to the editor who is looking for what it is you write. In this case, I wrote a contemporary single title with hot but not erotic sex and paranormal elements in the form of a fairy godfather not werewolf or shapeshifter. The sell for this manuscript begins in the title of the book- If The Shoe Fits, sometimes the last thing you need is a fairy godfather.

Once I have my targeted audience- and yes, this does narrow down your field of publishers even further-you begin your letter with a bit of your background-I have published seven novels, four of which received Starred reviews from Booklist- you add a complement- I have always wanted to write for X. Or I love your author Y. Or I have heard great things about you and publisher X.

Then you use your sell sheet-I blogged about sell sheets earlier- to give them a short paragraph or two about your story.

Here's mine:

AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN… Joella St. John vows to be successful to prove to herself and her family that she can do things on her own. The last thing she wants is a fairy godfather telling her he can magically make everything all right.
A MAN ON A MISSION…R.J. Sinclair has only one job and that is to protect the Bennet family at all costs. When Wade Bennet decides he wants to marry Joella, R.J. does everything in his power to convince her the match is right-even though his heart is demanding that he keep this one for himself.
A FAIRYTALE GONE AWRY…There’s a fairy godfather, a handsome prince, a ball and a crystal shoe. But what happens when it’s not the prince who captures your heart?

If The Shoe Fits
is a completed 95,000 word contemporary romance. Convention services manager, Joella St. John has something to prove but two things stand between her and goal, her employer's bulldog lawyer...and a fairy godfather. R.J. Sinclair has been promised a two million dollar bonus to ensure his employer's needs are met, but the sexy Ms. St. John isn't falling for his intimidation act. Aidan McKenna is a fairy godfather on a mission, but for the first time his client isn't cooperating. Battling two towering male egos isn't easy, will falling in love lead to Joella's downfall?

Finally you tell them what you enclosed, for example-the first fifty pages, a synopsis, my bio and the all important SASE. Thank them for their time and sign.

This kind of query works well with agents, too.

Now, I know some of you are thinking, what about e-mail queries? I see a lot of places going to e-mail queries. You can use the same approach in e-mail as you do in snail mail, except you cannot include enclosures-unless they request them. Most do not want attachments.

With e-mail queries that do not include attachments, it becomes all about how well you write your short synopsis. Remember, editors and agents are bombarded with queries- think of a presidential press conferences-where there are a hundred people in the room waving their hand and calling the speaker's name. You have to stand out from the crowd-think fireworks and sparklers.

Now, was my query sparkly enough? I'll let you know in 60 to 90 days (accounting for the holidays) when the SASEs start showing up in my mail box.

Fingers and toes crossed, I'm moving on and planning my next book.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Agent vs. Literary Lawyer

I get asked a lot to recommend an agent. I'm really loathe to do that. Here's why: I've been on the agent hunt for 15 years. *shudder* I signed with my first agent in 1994, before I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America.) I thought I was smart. I did my homework. I went to the library's reference desk and I borrowed The Literary Market Place. Then I went through the listings of agents. Targeted agents who were looking for what I wrote at the time-single title historical romance. I dismissed any who charged a fee. Then I picked my top five picks and sent out queries or partials based on their listed preferences.

One of these agents turned me down but suggested I join RWA-an organization I had never heard of, but was happy to join. After several rejections, and a spattering of requests for full, on a happy June day I signed with an agent. There was much jumping up and down and excitement. I knew I would be published any minute. She told me she had five readers read the manuscript and all loved it. All I had to do now was wait... and wait... while she moved offices-three times, lost my manuscript twice. I wrote two other 500 page manuscripts during the time she sent me three rejections from publishers. When she lost my manuscripts for the fourth time, I fired her. No, she never sold the book. But I was now part of RWA and I was learning a lot.

After two or three more years and six manuscripts, I tried again to find an agent. (After all who doesn't want to be able to say I went to lunch with my agent. Glamourous, isn't it?) This time armed with an RWA approved list and a LMP current list. I once again got a "love it" call from an agent. Before I signed I asked her some serious questions. Her answers were-shall I say- disappointing. She was not above underhanded tactics and felt they were common place. I couldn't do it. So, I did not sign. Surely, I thought if she loved the work, someone else would...

Three years later, I sold seven books on my own. No need for an agent.

Still every couple of years I think I could sell to a "bigger" publisher if only had an agent... (If you look at the RWA list, there are only three or four publishing houses that take unagented work.) So I send out queries.

Two years ago I was called by a very famous NY Agent. We set up a meeting at the RWA National conference. I was so delighted. This was my shot. She *loved* the book. She was talking auction! She wanted my photo full size on the back- every writer's dream. Then reality set in. While I signed my agreement and sent it right in- I never did get a copy of the fully signed agreement-even after a year of monthly reminders. It took her seven months to send the book out to publishers and after four rejections...she simply quit returning my calls. I fired her on the one year anniversary. Sigh.

Since then I've sold two more books on my own and listened to other multi-published authors tell their tales of agent woes. (Now, don't get me wrong, for every tale of woe there is an author who *loves* her agent. She has an agent who really sells her, looks out for her best interest and grows her career. Lucky...)

A multi-published author I know has quit looking for agents. She simply sells her own books to editors. Then she pays a literary lawyer to read the contract and negotiate the fine points in her favor. The lawyer is paid by the hour-not a percent of the royalty. This appeals to me. After all, so far in my career I've been the only one able to successfully sell my books. While it would be seventh heaven to have an agent who is a career coach, a lawyer, and an advocate, that just hasn't happened for me. Maybe, just maybe that's okay.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I just realized that this week's blog-"Interesting Findings" (See below) completely negates my earlier rant on social networks and joining reader groups to "friend" someone for publicity's sake.

Now to be fair, I have only "friended" people I know or am in a group with-so no massive "friending" going on. And I do not send out "read my latest book" bulletins, and other advertisements as some authors do. But- I have to admit the advice was right. (Yes,shudder I've gone over to the dark side.) Social networks-used responsibly-do work as a way to draw readers to your website and ultimately your books.

Interesting Findings

There are plenty of so called "marketing experts" in the writing business, who give advice especially when it comes to web or word of mouth marketing. I've gathered up a lot of their advice and have been applying it to my marketing efforts- with some results that my interest you.

First off-experts agree that you should have a blog so that people can find you in the blog-o-sphere-listen to your writing voice and ideas and to build a community of readers around you and your work. This has proven successful for a couple of very famous authors. Also, if you comment on other people's blogs you get more hits in the search engines. In other words if someone types your name into Google-there are more positive results. The theory is that the more positive results, the more people talk; the more people talk, the more positive results until everyone knows your name or wants to know your name.

Second you should join as many social networks as possible so that people can find you if they are looking for you, friend you, and you can easily notify people of your book announcements, reviews and accomplishments.

I decided early on that my goal is to build a community around my website. ( I moved my daily blog to my website. I want people to keep coming back to my website for daily blogs, writing articles, reviews and free reads (I have the first chapter of my latest book posted there if you are interested.) I found this successful as the number of daily hits on my website grew. I kept this Sunday blog so I could travel about the blog-o-sphere and read what others were writing and post comments-thus increasing the number of search engine hits on my name. (That said, I have seen no correlation between increased search engine hits and increased website hits.)

Recently I joined Myspace- a social network originally for young kids but now expanded for the world. I am proud to say I have 15 real friends there. It was a couple of days work and a daily on-going search to add friends. But I keep that page as a door to my website-in other words I don't post blogs or reviews or daily musings, instead I ask people to check out my website. Interestingly enough, hits on my website have jumped by a third-just from my efforts in Myspace. Check me out at

Thus, from my early results, it appears that having a page in a social network is more productive then commenting on blogs or increasing the numbers of google hits.

For those of you wondering what works and what doesn't when it comes to book marketing, it appears social networks may be the best place to start. Now I know your next question-does any of this actually sell books?

Time will tell. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Marketing 101-sell sheets

Sell sheets are a single page device that every company's marketing department creates to focus their marketing plan. It occurred to me a few years ago that sell sheets are a great tool for writers.

For writers, sell sheets are single page flyers/brochures that sell the audience on their book. I learned a few years back that sell sheets are my friend. I use them to focus my writing and my marketing efforts.

A sell sheet is helpful whether you are published or unpublished. It can be used to focus your plot and help with a sagging middle. It can be used to frame your synopsis and query letter. It can also be used to sell a published work-to readers and book buyers. Blogging? Use the material off your sell sheet. Chats? A sell sheet keeps your message focused. Announcing a new sale or a book release or contest? Use the information off your sell sheet to provide a uniform message.

Even better, a sell sheet can be helpful when making an editor/agent pitch. A proper has all the elements you need to give your sales pitch in any situation.

What do I put on my sell sheet?

To begin with I include the following four written elements:
1) A single sentence describing the story using 15 words or less. (Think NY Times blurb.)
2) A five sentence paragraph where the first sentence gives the background. The next three sentences give worsening conflict and the last sentence asks the story question. (Think back cover blurb.)
3) A Goal, Motivation and Conflict sentence for each of the main characters.
4) A short-less than 250 word- excerpt from the book.

Then I arrange them on the single sheet using eye catching graphics-book cover if you have it and fonts. Be sure to include: your title, subtitle if you have one, ISBN, retail price, number of pages, and availability. Finally-have them professionally printed on high-quality paper.

Taking the time to create a professional sell sheet can help to focus your work, your editorial pitch and your marketing plan into a cohesive message that helps the readers/editors/agents understand your unique story point of view.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Hero's Journey

Every story- whether literary or popular fiction follows a similar path. This path has been defined as "The Hero's Journey." I have been writing for 15 years and I had quite forgotten this little piece of plotting fun until it was mentioned at a writer's critique I attended. I smiled inwardly because I could identify all 17 steps in my current work in progress. The Hero's Journey has become innate in my story telling process.

If you are a beginner or simply haven't heard of this journey you can find a simple list at

Or you can simply google or Yahoo search hero's journey and there are millions of places to find it.

Why bring it up? Because sometimes it's good to refresh your knowledge of the foundations of story telling. I was please to note that my story did indeed start with a 'Call to Adventure" and end with the "Freedom to Live." Not to mention the 15 other steps in between.

People have an idea that story telling-particularly romance stories is easy. These are people who don't understand the work that goes into the structure of the story. Romance stories have twice the work of other genres-for instance thrillers. Why? Because they have twice the plot. First you have to plot what happens to the hero/heroine in their daily lives. Then you have to plot what happens in their romantic lives. Then you get to weave the two plots together to create a romantic story. Yes, it's a lot of work and huge attention to detail. But for me and other romance writers-its actually fun. That's why we do it.

If you are a writer-take a moment and review the hero's journey, you may be surprised at what you do instinctively and what you may have missed. If you're not a writer, but wonder what it takes, look up the hero's journey, read the 17 steps. You just might be impressed at how much work and thought goes into the craft.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

CRS Disease

I had this great title for today's blog. I could riff on it and really impress people...if only I could remember what it was...sigh.

I sat down at my desk, window open, breeze blowing, settled a throw across my lap, pulled out my keyboard tray, pulled up my software and...the dogs started barking and carrying on outside. It's early Sunday morning. I don't like to let my dogs bark any time but especially when others may be sleeping. So, I holler out the window-yes, I know, who can sleep with me adding to the mix-but the dogs of course did not listen. What was I going to do to them from upstairs? So I had to push the keyboard tray in, pull off the throw, run down the stairs, go through the kitchen and out on the deck where the dogs sat wagging their tails. Needless to say I was miffed. I let them in, came back up, resettled in and poof- I have no idea what that great title was or what I was going to blog about...

My father calls it middle-aged CRS disease...(Can't Remember Stuff)

I'm sure the idea will come back to me-in the dead of night-when I'm tired and then I'll think-huh- it wasn't that good of an idea to begin with... :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'll be there for you

It's Sunday and I'm thinking about ethics. Mine are strong and to some people's thinking-too puritanical-ridiculous in today's world. I mention this because on one of my writer's loops a new author asked about publicity. She was told to go on the social networking sites and make a page, then contact groups of readers. Reader groups are simply people who ban together and make friends because they all like to read. She was told to make "friends" with the people in her group-then let them know she had a book coming out-when and where. She was told her new "friends" would buy her book-out of loyalty I suppose. I don't know. This doesn't feel right to me--to extend your hand in friendship with the pure purpose of selling something. Seems wrong to me. But others say-this is how it's done. It's called networking. It's called building a community. It's called public relations. I call it fraud. Friends, real friends are people you come to know through shared experiences. Shared interests. Friends bond to promote each other, to make lives better. I guess some would say the above example is helping each other-one likes to read, the other sells them a good book and both win. Perhaps, but to me that's not friendship. It's capitalism.

Don't get me wrong. I believe there is a place for advertising, a place for public relations. Consumers can't buy your stories unless they know your name and they know your work. Which is why I have a website and a blog. I'm more than happy to talk business or stories-I LOVE to talk stories. But I promise you, should I ever call you friend, its because you really are one.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Virtual Book Tours

This week I read an interesting blog ( . Morgan invited Angela Wilson to talk about professional on line book tours.

Angela Wilson is an author, freelance Web content director and Book Blog Editor for Pop Syndicate, a pop culture site with more than 8,000 hits per day. Each week, Pop Syndicate hosts authors on virtual tour.

I am always interested in new ways of promotion. Angela says in this series of short blogs that even virtual tours are time consuming and take work. Reading over what she advises should happen for a book tour, I agree. Sounds like a lot of work. But then I realized that there is lag time between books. So there is time to produce a short essay, or a character interview, etc. every once in a while-not all at once. Save these up and that part of the book tour will be ready. Then there's the research that goes into picking the right that takes time and recommendations from friends. Again- some advance leg work-say five to ten minutes a day-spread out well in advance might ease the pain.

The real cringer for me was when Angela suggested you keep an Excel file with all the numbers and results of hits, etc. so you know which blog or site really worked and which didn't. Sounds like good advice-but I know myself too well- by that point I'll have my nose into another story...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September Movie Review

Instead of writing diligently on my current work-in-progress, I ran off to see a movie. It wasn't the title that drew me--"Bottle Shock." Nor was it's impressive lack of a PR campaign. No, dear readers, it was the very fact that this movie had both Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman in it. Be still my little heart!!! (So what if these guys are older, the humor, pathos and just plain fun of watching them on screen was good enough to make me cry-more! More!)

I'm not going to tell you about the story. The story didn't matter. What matter was Bill Pullman playing a man with a dream, who attempted to make it come true against all odds and darn near failed. A man with a hippie son who was brilliant and lazy all at once.

Then there was Alan Rickman- the movie is worth the price of admission simply for the thirty second scene when Alan Rickman's character bites into a piece of extra crispy Kentucky Fried Chicken...

Oh, the pure joy of sitting in a movie theater- watching two of my favorite actors on the same screen. Yeah, I can't wait for it to come out on video so I can add it to my collection. Bravo!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A True Love Story

Yesterday I had the privilege and the honor of witnessing a real life love story. There was no music…no big white dress…no flowers, no cake, no party. Instead I went with my grandmother to see my grandfather as he struggles for every breath in a nursing home. On September 5th 2008, they will be married seventy years. Right now he is doing his best to survive long enough to see that date.
We walked into his room, a small cinderblock room with a curtain partition for a second man and his family. There was music playing from behind the curtain.
Grandpa’s face lit up when he saw Grandma. “I knew you were coming.”
Grandma asked, “How did you know?”
“You told me. My sweetheart.” Grandma cupped his face, kissed his mouth, stroked his chest then sat down and took his hand. They talked about being together forever. Grandpa would close his eyes and smile as Grandma told the tale of their first date. How there was an early snow storm. The snow was up to the hubcaps. Grandma lived with her parents in what she called a shack way out in the country. Her parents had just moved to the area and stayed in the shack looking for a house to buy. Grandma said she watched for him by the window. Her mother shook her head and said he wouldn’t come.
“But I did come,” Grandpa said, interrupting. His speech was slow and deliberate as he struggled for each breath.
“You did come,” Grandma smiled and patted his hand. “I knew you would.”
She told us he arrived looking so handsome in a suit with a black felt hat and spats!
Grandpa opened his lovely deep blue eyes and smiled. “I knew what I wanted.”
“And you got it,” Grandma said, patting his hand. “You got it.”
Grandpa and Grandma grew up in the depression. With very little education, they worked hard together to create a comfortable living. It wasn’t easy. It’s never easy. There were disagreements, but Grandma tells us Grandpa never swore. He refused to fight. He said there is no fight if the second person doesn’t argue. He is a gentle man who lived through a terrible childhood-as did Grandma. Things were different then. But they found each other and loved each other in spite of it all-doing their best. Nope they aren’t perfect. But there is love and forgiveness and trying. Neither wanted anything else. Love was enough in their relationship, enough to keep them together.
Grandpa hasn’t been well for nearly twenty years. Grandma has cared for him-sometimes over done- to keep him with her. She said it was her privilege. But at age 91, after one too many strokes he now has a very high fever and pneumonia. Grandma can no longer care for him at home. So, they made the hard decision not to run any further tests, not to put him on a feeding tube, but to tuck him up safe in the little room with the yellow painted cinder block walls. Where big strong men can lift him when needed and young nurses can see to his comfort.
They don’t talk about their upcoming anniversary. Grandpa isn’t making promises to hang in any more…but he calls her sweetheart…and kisses and squeezes her hand and you can see in his deep blue eyes his joy, his privilege and his hope to be there on that day. To tell Grandma… We made it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

I've been checking out a lot of blogs lately and have discovered something interesting.

I am attracted to blogs with pictures, videos and general eye candy. A friend of mine has been adding photos to her blog as a way of drawing people in.

But here is the catch...I'm a writer not a photographer. If as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, then I'm in trouble. Adding photos to my blog can put me out of business.

I have been assured that people like words too much to give them up. That books and stories are still important to people. Thus the popularity of text messaging. The thing is that text messages are generally heralded by music or pictures designed to catch your attention. In today's busy world, the message- words- would be ignored if not for the ring tone.

Let's face it people have so many options that time gets crunched and things are reduced to their bare minimum. Thus the attraction of photos. How many times have you picked up a book because you like the cover? Or read a magazine for the pictures? Or stopped a blog because there was a handsome man/woman or cute pet staring at you under the title?

A blog is supposed to be a web-log: a place to write about subjects of interest. If you add pictures it becomes a scrapbook-doesn't it?

So I'm taking an unscientific poll- should I add more pictures to my blog or are words enough?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thoughts on the "Right" journey

I am always interested in finding out other people's points of view on the writer's journey. I'm on several writer's loops, a member of several writer's groups and read writer's blogs. The interesting thing is that no two writer's journeys are the same. Some gush about how great there editor is. Others talk about how bad their editor is. The same with agents. There are reported agents who help "doctor" manuscripts to take them to the bestseller lists, agents who walk writer's through their career goals and agents who supposedly call back and e-mail you more than once a year. I'm always amazed at how different other people's experiences are from mine. And, after twelve years in the business, I have come to understand that no one has the "best" experience. There is no right or wrong. All you can do is the best with what is presented to you and clearly the differences are as varied as finger prints.

I try to educate myself as best I can on contracts, agents, publishing houses, etc. Still two other writers, starting off the same as I, (same house, same print run) can end up in vastly different places. They might have an agent that plucks them from the masses and tells them-write this- and voila they are getting amazing print runs (numbers of books produced by the publisher). Or they may get a call from an editor who asks for such and such type of book-bam, they hit the best seller lists. Or they sell one book and are discouraged by the lack of notice and quit writing all together. (Some of these people are the best writers in the bunch.)

It's a crazy business filled with "helpful" people telling you what you're not doing right and how, if you follow their advice, you'll be rich and famous within the next six months. Or worse, bragging about how rich and famous they are because they are superior writers..of course... cough, cough.

All you can do is gather as much information as possible and make decisions that are best for you. Allow your own journey to develop how it will and try not to get run over when some one hollers there's a fire sale on paranormals and every one rushes to publish that.

Remember, writers sell stories for a living. Don't let their stories discourage you from living your own.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic thoughts

I'm following the Olympics. Is it bad to root for other countries? I catch myself rooting for individuals. For example: Swimmers, yes, I root for Michael Phelps as I enjoy watching Tiger Woods. But I found in the race without MP, I rooted for the Korean boy who fell into the water four years ago and was disqualified. Only to return this time and take the first ever gold medal in swimming for Korea. The second place winner of that race won the first ever medal in swimming for his country. So I was very happy to see the American take third place...we win medals all the time. I suppose this is unpatriotic. I also suppose it is hard on the American who spent a lifetime preparing for his shot at gold an only got a bronze medal. Still, how can you not enjoy the other countries and their stories? How can you not root for them as well?

Something else... Ms. Torres...age 41 with a well trained body...don't look through my television set and tell me that anyone is capable of being middle aged and doing what you are doing. That puts too much pressure of those of us not living a lifetime of training. There is no way I could spend ten hours a day training and race the way you do. To begin with I'd have to learn how to do a swimmer's flip. I'd have to figure out how to perfect the strokes- things you've had thirty five years to perfect. My body isn't your body. My brain is not your brain. Ugh. Nothing worse than seeing another impossible ideal grinning on the television telling me that if I only worked hard enough I could achieve the same thing. It's a falsehood meant to sell gym memberships and diet products. Everyone of us is limited by our own personal choices, background, environment and physical limitations. The honest truth is not every dream can be reached. Don't get me wrong- I believe that if you have a dream or a talent you should pursue it. But everyone is different. There are thousands of other well toned, well trained swimmers out there who never made the Olympics... telling us we can all do it just shoves their faces in reality. Stop it. Better to say you are lucky-you work hard-but luck has a lot to do with it as well.

Those who say, "Dream big or go home" are missing the point. A dream no matter how small is there to play with...not to show off about. So, my motto is dream. Its that simple and yet that achievable for everyone...even non-Americans.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Romance Writer's Awards

This weekend was the annual Romance Writer's of America conference. This culminates with Saturday night's RITA awards. The awards are the Oscars of the romance world as thousands of books are narrowed down to a handful of finalists. All entries are judged by their peers-fellow romance writers. If you are looking for the best of the best-according to their fellow authors then go to the link below (copy and paste in your browser) and see who won.

Remember- these are not readers picks, but romance writers picks for the best in their category. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Looking for Meaning

I read an article about creative people recently. A psychologist stated that creative people look for meaning in every moment of their lives. My reply to this statement is: doesn't everyone?

We look for answers in our tea leaves, in the moon glow, in prayer. We look for meaning in cards, and the pattern of moles on our arms. We look for meaning in God, in family, in friends. Love comes we ask, why? Love goes we cry, why? Someone is born. Is that a sign? Someone dies. Another sign? Does the fact that my potato chip looks like a dead president mean I'm going to come into money? When you find a penny do you pick it up and know that all day you'll have good luck?

The point of the article was to relax on the hunt for meaning. Sometimes a duck is just a duck. But sometimes it means you should duck because a foam pie is headed toward your face. The fun part comes when you have to decide whether there is meaning or not.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Changing World

Two very interesting articles crossed my inbox this week.

One was an alert from the Authors Guild letting us know that Simon and Schuster, Inc. was trying to change it's contract language regarding electronic rights. It wants to own the author's electronic rights-and pay them only 15 percent royalty. This is important for a couple of reasons: 1) electronic books do not carry the over head and production costs of printed books. Thus authors have demanded their fair share of the monies. Average royalties on electronic books should run 30 percent. 2) Electronic books do not ever go out of print. An author contracts with a publisher to publish their books until the book goes "out of print" - in other words the publisher has moved on and the book is no longer available. After this agreed upon period of time that a book is "out of print" an author can re-sell the book to a new publisher who will see the book gets into new readers hands. If a publisher keeps your electronic rights, you can never re-sell a book and income for the author is lost. For example- a collection of books written for Harlequin gets 6 weeks of shelf time each. If after say 5 years, an author regains the rights to these works because they are "out of print" and unavailable to the public. She/he can resell them as a group to a single title publisher and gain longer shelf time. This gives readers a chance to read older works they might have missed. And gives good stories new life. But -you say- with electronic books they will always be available to the public. My question to you is-will you as the reader go out of your way to discover lost titles? Isn't it more likely you are waiting in line at the store- and see a book from your favorite author-pick it up- and joyously discover three stories you've not read yet? Hmmm- in fact a recent study on book buyers habits revealed just that. Buyers are more likely to impulse buy. I know, I do.

Now to make things even more interesting-an article on also appeared in my inbox. This article talked about how Amazon - the biggest on-line bookstore in the world- is positioning itself to become the biggest publisher. They have recently acquired a print on-demand publisher. And could be poised to bypass publishers, agents and editors and simply deal straight with authors. The article suggests that Amazon could give the author 30 to 40 percent royalties and still make 70 percent of the profits. Hmmmm

With the idea of bypassing agents, editors and publishers and going straight to the public-an author's potential income can double. It makes a writer think twice before signing with New York. Especially with New York doing their best to take away your rights.

Will we see this brave new world soon? I'm not certain. Self-publishing-even with Amazon-is a huge risk. Right now, publishing with New York holds a certain cache. It means you have arrived. Sort of like owning a high end designer handbag. It only works as long as authors buy into the idea. As New York ask authors to do more of their own editing, marketing and publicity-then cut their income- cache might just lose its appeal. Authors may just turn their backs on an ancient system and start earning a living wage.

It's a brave new world. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Procrastination-the secret to publishing

I have begun using procrastination as a sales tool. How does that work? I based my idea on Murphy's law. If you don't have it, they will want it. So far, it's worked.

Before I would write an entire 500 page manuscript, polish it, polish it, polish it, then send off partials and queries only to have the story end up in what I call my "dead baby" drawer-a morgue for all the completed works that weren't marketable at the time and will never see the light of day.

Then one day an editor wrote that she thought the manuscript I sent her was okay, but she really loved the title. Could I write a different book to fit the title? After a few minutes of thought I wrote a couple of different ideas down and sent them off to her-to see if any of those ideas better fit her idea of what the book should have been about. Lo and behold-two weeks later-she picked one.

Did I write it? No. I was in the middle of another book and I figured she wasn't serious-so I put it off.

Yes, you guessed it. After 5 months, she e-mailed asking to see a partial. Now, not wanting to appear to be a complete brainless loser, I promised I'd send it to her by the next business day-and ended up writing 20 pages a day over the weekend.

Will I then finish the manuscript in case she wants to see a full? You guessed it...I'll probably procrastinate. With any luck she'll buy the book.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July Book Review

I'm the first to admit that I'm critical of books. Having been in the business for nearly 20 years, I've heard all the "rules" and dos and don'ts. The thing about the rules and such is that it can steal the life from a book. You can edit the magic right out of a story...and yet, I'm the first to throw a book at a wall if I see too many rules broken or if it appears as if the writer is so ignorant as to be careless with a story. Or an editor too lazy to do a proper job of copy edits. I can be vicious when I read- condescending and filled with such evil feelings as envy, resentment (as in why this book and not mine? Why this author and not me?) bitterness, pique, incense, exasperation, etc. (Yes, I can go on and on. It's all part of being human and being an artist.)

So, as a rule I don't critic the books I read. It's not fair to bring my own self pity into the equation. Unless I read something so extraordinary that I have to talk about it. A story that envelops me in it's magic and destroys the envy with the sheer joy a good story can create. "Garden Spells" by Sarah Addison Allen is just such a book. When it was recommended to me, I sighed. Here was an author who-if the hype is true- made the NYT Best Seller list with her very first book. (Up flares the envy, etc. My thoughts turn to why her? What's so special about this story? It would feel so good to toss it against the wall and think evil thoughts about who she could have possibly slept with to make the best seller list...)

Then I read it...

MAGIC. The story is pure unadulterated southern magic that filled my heart with joy, my eyes with tears and the sweet story magic pushed away all evil thoughts- filling my artist well with bliss.

What's so special about this story? Simply put it's charming. The author is clearly a story teller, drawing characters who are rich and full and a community that is imperfect and inexplicably real. Then she put a little magic in the brew-a touch of love and pulls the reader right into that other dimension, that special place where good stories live.

I recommend this author and this book. Buy it if you can. Get it from the library if you are cashed strapped. Bring a little magic into your world.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lightning in a Bottle

“That’s why they call it a Best-seller…not Best-written.”

I heard these words today from a marketing guru-not another author, but no truer words have ever been spoken. For a writer hitting the top of the NYT Best Seller List is the pinnacle, the end all, be all, the sign that you have made it. You are someone. Complete validation that you are the best at your craft…

So much rides on this that virtually every writer at some point or other has thrown everything they can think of at the goal. They research the market, chase trends, learn all the so called “rules” of the craft, go to college, go to more college, network, meet people, throw money at publicists and web masters, join groups, schmooze agents, send editors love notes and lie awake at night tossing and turning and hoping that their story-this story-is that ever elusive lightning in a bottle story that will surge them to the top.

Unfortunately, all that effort is futile. You can’t deliberately recreate what happened with “The DiVinci Code” or “The Bridges of Madison County.” To use a cliché, all the stars were aligned. Even if your publisher thinks you’ve got it- even if they produce 150,000 books, if those books are all sitting in a warehouse next to a river and a muskrat eats through a levy your story just lost its place.

Writing is art and art is culture. Culture is as predictable as the weather- bring an umbrella just in case.

“But,” you say, “all I want is a career as a writer.” All a publisher wants is a branded product that will jump off store shelves and bring in revenue. Getting there in today’s market can be as tricky as capturing lightning in a bottle, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell your story. All it really means is that stories can’t be judged based on whether or not they are a best seller. As a writer you can’t let numbers validate your craft, your story- because they will never be good enough. So, take joy in the writing and in the revising and in the small notes readers send you. Let go of the rest. Let yourself off the hook. Remember the term is “best-seller” not “best-written.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The King's English-or The Prodical Tongue

Ah, language... I have lived in many parts of the United States and several English speaking countries and I have always been fascinated by the variations in the so called "English" language. For example, I was speaking to a gentleman on the phone this week who told me to "axe" the receptionist for directions. My son swears he will live to be "a hunred." Then he asks "wo'if"-pronounced woof-it rains? Should he bring a jacket? A recent visit to Maine taught us about Americans who do not pronounce their "r"s. For instance they ate "lobsta" at a "dinea" in "Ba Haba."

English professors and teachers pull out their hair and mutter at the loss of the King's English, but Americans have always melted our language into regional tongues. Then we add Spanglish to the list, Englasian and Eubonics. Now we must worry about cyber speak for instance; LOL, OMG, TTYL, BFF and CU.

What about rules? What about grammar? What about pure language and educated writing? While it's true that polished language shows education, intelligence and forethought, it is also true that no one writes or speaks the way they did in 1776...when American language really did stem from the King's English. Language is a living entity, growing in new directions and dying in old directions... (Remember when everyone said, "swell" or "tubular?") I would argue that language is ever evolving and holding it back is counter to it's growth. Like a kaleidoscope, language is colored by the time and space it inhabits. As a writer, I love to listen to the way people talk and sneak some of the accents and color into dialog to show character and setting.

Always a purist in a professional setting, I think there is a time and place for every type of language. It's deciding the right time and place that really shows your intelligence. And don't 'cha think that's just awesome?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Great Men of Today

It's Father's day and I've been watching all the memorials for Tim Russert the journalist and "Meet the Press" Moderator who died on Friday. He was so much a part of my television viewing, so much a part of my politics and my news that it is strange to find him gone. I never met him, or his family and yet he shared his stories and asked the tough questions and changed my tiny world.

It made me think about how they say all the good men die too soon. Then I thought about all the good men-quiet men, unknown to you and me-who died on Friday with Tim. I think he would want us to think about them and their families as well.

Which lead me to think about all the good men in the world today. You don't hear about them because living a good life is not headline making news. Being a good father, being a member of the community, being an example for youth, a good boss, a tireless worker, a person with an open wallet and just as open a mind and heart- is not news...unless they die.

Let's not wait until they are dead. Let's take this Father's day to celebrate, think about, appreciate all the good men God has put on this earth. Let's thank them for their help, their wisdom and their comfort. How do we find these good men? Look around. Right now they are in line filling sand bags against the flooding. They are out fighting wild fires. They are at home grilling and playing with their children. They are sitting in church, volunteering with rummage sales, coaching sports, mentoring street kids. They are in your house. They are on your street. They are men who do their best every day. Go out and hug them, shake their hand and let them know that you see them...celebrate them now. The world wouldn't be the same without them.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I'm reading How-To books-you know- How to get a job over 40...How to be gutsy and get what you want from life...How to get people talking about your work.

The crazy part is that I've read all this stuff before. As they say-there is nothing new under the sun... But I think we all need to be reminded sometimes. There is so much information in our lives that it's easy to get lost. Sometimes a good How-To book will pull us back on track.

The biggest thing I'm taking away this time is to write a mission statement. A mission statement is not a dream statement. It's not how we want the world to be, but instead what we can accomplish to get us closer to where we want to be. For example- it is unrealistic for a writer's mission statement to be: "It is my mission to become a number one NYT bestselling author." There are too many uncontrollable variables...right down to a fire in the ware house that stores your books the day before they're shipped. Instead, a good mission statement is: "My mission is to complete two quality manuscripts a calendar year and to market them in the best possible way." or "My mission is to continue to produce quality work in an interesting way." Although the last one is a bit vague.

Why a mission statement? When you get swamped by other people's ideas or requests you turn to your mission statement and ask yourself- does this idea or request further my mission? If so- go for it. If not-smile and let it go. Letting things go is one of the toughest and yet most powerful things we can do in our lives.

What's your mission statement?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

His and Her Movie reviews

I love (not) how they label movies boy movies or chick flicks. As if all women like is crying and romance and all men like is to blow up things. (I know you're thinking-but that's true...) It's cliche. Let's give each individual the chance to make up their minds on their own. Otherwise you're saying that a woman who enjoyed Indiana Jones is not a real girl and a man who enjoyed Sex in the City can't be a real man.

Ummm, yeah, they can. I went to see both movies. I enjoyed Indiana Jones for it's every man hero fun and it's campy look at the 1950's. A woman can like tongue in cheek and improbable nuclear explosions. I also went to see Sex in the City and I'm here to tell you I really believe men will enjoy it- there are numerous scenes with naked women and men in various sexual acts-

That said both movies had things I enjoyed and things that could have been left out. For me Indiana Jones lost me in the opening scenes when a Russian convoy appeared in the middle of Nevada in the 1950's and took over a government installation. (If you read my daily blog on my web site you know how much this upset a veteran like me.-improbably, unlikely, unpatriotic hogwash.) As for Sex in the City-I think the same story could have had the same impact without all the porn. It was unnecessary-embarrassing since I went with my daughter- and as far removed from real life as the clothes, shoes and wealth of the characters.

Yes, I understand the reasons behind the Russians in the US. I also understand the reasons behind the sex scenes-doesn't mean I have to like it.

My opinion- rent both- or see both with a member of the opposite sex and discuss the cliche of guy flicks and chick flicks. There are more to come in both categories. I look forward to further discussion.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wrapping your mind around the big "R"

My editorial calender--remember I said I'd have one?-- tells me that this week I am supposed to write an article on tips for aspiring writers.
In my opinion the biggest hurdle between a writer and their dreams is the big "R." The big "R" is rejection. Some people can't write a page because they are concerned people will reject their story. Others can write a page, a chapter but can't finish the book because they fear some one, some where will laugh at them...reject their words, their work...their soul. Still others finish book after book and hide them away under the bed, in the closet, in the attic without ever letting anyone read them. Why? They are afraid of the big "R." Still others will write a book, send it out and when they get their first rejection-they feel so horrified, so humiliated, they never do it again.
The thing is people assume famous writers never get the "R." I'm here to tell you that rejection goes hand in hand with creativity. I have over 600 pieces of paper- some 7 pages long, telling me why my book isn't "right for them." Each piece hurts like a laceration to the soul. I've been told you have to have a tough skin. I'm here to tell you that I don't have a tough skin. I don't. I whine. I cry. I hurt. I tell my friends- some of whom tell me to "get over it" or "suck it up and quit whining." These are usually people with one or fewer rejection letters. These are people who don't finish books or don't send them out. They imagine that to be successful means you shrug off rejection like a gnat and move on. Then there are those who say- celebrate each rejection with chocolate and champagne. A rejection means you are out there-trying-writing, revising and sending out stuff. Celebration doesn't make it easier either.
I've written 25 full manuscripts-published eight and revised, rewritten and scrubbed so many it hurts. Don't listen when they tell you the fable of being able to sell all those old manuscripts once you are's a fairytale. What those manuscripts are is learning, loving pieces...right idea, wrong time... kind of relationships. They are there to teach you how to wrap your mind around rejection.
So, what about the big "R?" It is the price we pay to walk in the sun. Like a shadow that sticks to your feet, it never goes away unless you stay out of the sun. Sure it's scary. Sure it's painful. But like a shadow is only made in the sun, rejection comes only when you are creative. Bravery is living creatively anyway.
Don't let anyone tell you how you should feel or act or be when faced with rejection. Go your own way-cry, whine, kick, scream, pout, put the work away if you must knowing full well that soon you will write something else and send it out. Pat yourself on the back every step of the way. It's the only real reward...for once you're published, you still get rejections from your agent, your editor and reviewers and readers alike. If you don't, then you're playing it far to safe. So, go ahead, stretch and grow and try and bravely face the hurt and humliation of the big "R" and know at the very least you are living in the sun.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Marketing a fact of life

Self marketing is a growing trend that many writers dread. It was okay when books got smaller and we had to self edit. But so many writers cringe at the idea of hawking their own wares. To the point where they don't want to go out and sit at a book signing and say, here's my book. buy it. I promise, you'll love it. Instead they sit at home and worry that they aren't any good at this. That it takes too much work.

Truth is marketing is a human condition. From the time we are born, we "sell" ourselves to family and friends. We label our selves as "the bright one," "the pretty one," "The oldest," "the youngest." Marketing is finding out who you are and interesting people in keeping you in their world. You market yourself to your best friend as someone who is loyal, understanding and important to their world. You market yourself to your boss as a good worker in order to keep your job. You market yourself as a mate in order to keep your spouses interest. The idea that you are "in this together" has kept many family groups going. Marketing. It says I'm useful, important, necessary. It's a natural drive.

As creative people, writers shouldn't shun marketing. It doesn't have to be left to "business experts." In fact, writers make better marketers. We have a natural talent for paying attention to society, people, the human condition. It's as simple as using your natural gift to your own advantage. Something you've done since you were born. It all begins with an introduction, then you find a way to get noticed, become a part of someone's life. You've just marketed yourself and your book.

But wait, there are people who tell you it can only be done this way or that way. If you haven't done x then you're not doing it right. Hmmm, the people telling you that are merely marketing themselves as those "in the know." It's up to you to allow them that power. Turn it around and tell them how they need you and your work in their life. Remember, marketing is something you're naturally good at. Tell your story. Share your story. Enjoy the rewards.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

General chatter

This week is about reviews, popular culture and general chatter. First of all, Happy Mother's Day! Hugs to all the women out there who nuture.

I went to see the movie Smart People with Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker. It was not funny, there was no action. It was, in fact, a character study. These were real and mostly unlikeable people who didn't change much, although the ending implied that they did. From the viewpoint of a writer who loves to watch people, it was an interesting movie. From the viewpoint of a movie goer, don't waste your money and I wouldn't even bother renting. There isn't anything entertaining going on here.

In my spare time I love to read. I just finished J.D. Robb's, Innocent in Death. I have been hooked on this murder mystery series from the first book, Naked in Death. I enjoy the gritty, edgy feel; the futuristic vibe; the relationships of the characters. Lately the series has grown a little stale, less grit, not so sexy, but Innocent worked for me. If you're a fan, pick this one up. It's an interesting read even if the killer is easily spotted.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Conference day II

Friday at Spring Fling was a huge ego boost. Then came Saturday... I did enjoy a hot breakfast of cinnamon pecan french toast casserole. Then the breakfast speaker was wonderful. I didn't go to workshops because I had a pitch interview with an editor. She was great but said she thought my story was too "big" for her line. I told her I understood...but she said. Send me a partial and let me look at it. I thanked her and went off to find my lunch partners. After another wonderful speaker at lunch were more great workshops and a pitch session with an agent. The pitch session tanked. The agent didn't even look awake. She kept saying, "I don't do that." In a monotone voice and I was taken aback by her sheer lack of interest in me, my career and why I would want to pitch to her. After the initial shock of her weird/rude behavior I realized I had only set up the interview to meet her and see if we were a match. That goal was reached. She is definitely not a match for me and I doubt I would recommend her to others.
After this disappointing afternoon, I was set to volunteer in two places at the same time. Funny how that happened. I thought one session was after another-so it was my own fault. I chose to work at the book signing. Without a book out at this time, I volunteered to help manage Debbie MaComber's line. She is a NYT bestselling author with a huge fan base and this was her first signing of her latest book. The line snaked out the door. I enjoyed chatting with people, preparing them by spelling names on a post-it and placing it on the signing page, handing out promo goodies and in general agreeing with each and everyone how amazing Debbie was a blast. I've been lucky enough to do the same thing for Julie Garwood at her signing.
I finished this after two hours and ran to my other volunteer post where I helped with the finishing touches on the silent auction set for that night. Then it was time to change into party clothes. They had a conference dinner, drinks, dessert was banana's foster and Debbie gave a wonderful inspiring speech. The silent auction progressed through dinner. We earned over $8,000 for literacy. After that a jazz band played and we danced the night away. I hit my room by midnight feeling like it had all been worth it. Good friends, good food, great music and money for literacy what more could you ask for?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fun, fashion and writer's conference

I spent the weekend at the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling writer's conference. It was a fast paced, fun filled time. I was able to check in the moment I got to the Deerfield Hyatt. The staff was outstanding. The service was great. I registered and received a thick packet with lots of goodies from the conference sponsors, Office Depot, Pepsi, Quaker Oats, Books by SourceBooks, Harlequin and Avon.
I met friends I've known for years from all over the country and ran into Barbra Vey from Publisher's Weekly and five of us went to lunch together. You can get Barb's view of the conference at her blog
Unfortunately, no pictures of me, I was too busy volunteering to do any drive by videos. Sigh. But she is a wonderful person, outgoing and super smart.
It was fun to dress up and wear my name tag stating that I was a published author and a committee chair. (I was in charge of the audio visual.) We taped the entire conference so that if you missed anything you could purchase the tapes for later listening and inspiration.
Great workshops started at 2:30 p.m.. By 5:30 p.m. we had a family sit down meal with editors and agents. The food was to die for. The company lovely, I sat with author Patricia Rosemoor and Daniele Egan Miller from the Brown and Miller literary agency. Following that were more wonderful workshops, a reception for local librarians and booksellers and the grand finale a chocolate reception with a menu entitled Death by chocolate!
I went to bed late and could barely sleep. I had run into Erin Niumata who was my Editorial director at Avalon Books-she was the wonderful editor who let me keep the first naked man in an Avalon romance. (If you remember, it was a scene from A Wanted Man. If you haven't read it yet go to or and order it. You'll be glad you did.)
It turns out that Erin is no longer editing but has become an agent at Folio Literary Management. We had a drink together and discussed my work. It was one of those kismet moments.
Next week, I'll blog about all the great stuff that happened on Saturday. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pantsers vs Plotters

In the writing world there are two kinds of writers. Writers like to split themselves into pantsers and plotters. Pantsers are the writers who see a scene or talk to a character, sit down and start writing a book. In other words, they write an entire novel by the seat of their pants. Plotters are writers who like to have an entire outline done before they even begin a book. They like a plan. They enjoy structure. They want to know where they're going before they get there.

There are pantsers or sometimes they call themselves into the mist writers, who stumble on a plotting method and suddenly convert to plotters. But I've never know a plotter to try writing like a's simply not in their nature.

Personally, I prefer writing by the seat of my pants, but I've found that often leaves me with a completed book and trouble boiling down the message into short marketable pitches. My solution? Once my book is done, I take Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Plotting Method and plug in my new book. Doing this plotting exercise after I finish the book "feels" better to me because I know where the book goes. Often when I write, what I plan to write doesn't come out that way. Doing the exercise after helps me to see the clear cut theme in my book. Goals, motivations and conflicts pop right out. It also helps me to understand when a revision is needed because a conflict isn't strong enough.

You can find his method on his website www.advanced There are people who love to use this for plot. I enjoy using it for marketing. Either way it's an interesting method for any novelist to look over and see how it works for them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Market, To Market a five year plan

As I wrote before the burn, I hope to blog once a week using a proper editorial calendar. I'll post said calendar as soon as I create it.

My goal is to blog every Sunday on Author Marketing, Writing Tips, Book/movie Reviews and Just for fun.

Let's begin with author marketing. I sat down with a couple of marketing friends who bemoaned the fact that authors don't know how to properly market themselves. I agreed, nodding my head wisely. But knowing all along that I, too, do the things they were complaining about. Missed opportunities and inconsistent marketing abound in a writer's life.

Let me tell you why...

With brands such as Pepsi and Coke, you have long term consistent products. All colas are not alike and consistent branding is essential. You brand by getting the product name OUT THERE-and keeping it in the forefront of people's minds.

But in today's current market, an author, writer, novelist needs to stay flexible in order to work. A writer may start out writing sweet historical romance-see my seven Morgan family novels by Avalon Books. (Saving Samantha, A Wanted Man, Lovin' Lana, Wyoming Wedding, The Marryin' Kind, The Bettin' Kind and The Lovin' Kind. All titles can be found on,,, and Even if their work is critically acclaimed, (A Wanted Man, the Marryin' Kind, The Bettin' Kind and the Lovin' Kind were all given starred reviews by Booklist Magazine.) the particular kind of story may no longer be in vogue with publisher's marketing departments.

So, in order to keep selling an author has to switch to say romantic suspense,(as in my up-coming novel, Mr. Charming) or paranormal or even contemporary romantic comedy. These switches are done usually without publisher sponsorship. So books are written in advance of selling and the author can have complete novels done with years between publish dates.

In other words, unlike Pepsi or Coke, the product is off the shelf for years at a time.

Facing this sort of market, it's difficult to keep your so called "brand" going. Why should readers care if it takes three years for a new publisher to discover you? You've lost your audience. You have to start your marketing plan all over again. It can be disheartening.

It was suggested that you combat this with a five year plan- a plan to sell certain flavors of books over five years...(Example-plan a series of five paranormal books.)Great-except your books were written at the tail end of a trend and the publisher only bought no one in the book biz wants to publish any more of those kinds of books...suddenly you need a new five year plan...and all that marketing goes to waste.

The solution is to base your brand on something that won't go away for three years...YOU- be active in groups, blogs, contests. Give talks. Write newsletter and magazine articles. Put out a twice yearly or quarterly newsletter. Keep your face and name OUT THERE.

If you think of your brand as a pyramid-the foundation should be your family, friends and loyal readers. Give them something to read like a daily blog (See mine on my website The next level should be writers groups and local librarians, booksellers and community work. Followed by national groups, conferences and speaking engagements. Leave the bookmarks and pens for the very tip.

Staying involved is a good way to keep your marketing base during periods of drought. It's a five year plan that works.

Finally, don't give up. The key to good marketing as an author is to write consistently good books. (I know, I know, you always write good books, it's why you're published...) It's still the key. No matter what you write or when, people will know you always deliver.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

OMG It's April

So, I had plans. Plans to write a new cool blog once a week. To somehow find a hipper-edgier-cooler me. Or, hey, I could write a useful, marketing blog, since that is what I do in my "real" life. What? You mean you can't support yourself after publishing 8 novels??? Bwahahahaha-

Okay, back to reality. Like I said, I set up an editorial calendar to really bring readers to my blog. The new "me" was to begin today...

Then it rained...and--this will tell you how utterly uncool I really am--I burned my entire right hand. Scorched. Fried. Swollen up. Red. Shiny skinned. Still burning an hour later...soaked in ice water every five minutes to numb it...sigh.

How did I manage this terrible deed? And even more important--how am I writing this after such an adventure? I am typing left painful letter at a time. I'm getting pretty good at it too...

As for the burn-sigh- I pulled my boiling bowl of Malt-o-meal out of the microwave--yes, I said Malt-o-meal-- when my arm jerked...the scalding hot, fresh from the boil, thick pasty liquid poured over my hand. I dropped the bowl, flung the burning brew off my hand and all over the kitchen as I went screaming to the sink and poured cold water over my hand-sheesh.

Stupid, stupid, stupid...ever have a day? Well, mine is today. Especially since Malt-o-meal is famous for turning into concrete when it cools-so, I numbed my hand in ice water and did my best to clean up the puppy happily took care of the floor...sigh. I'm lucky- no real blisters...just swollen, shiny, red...took the top layer of skin off...I'll survive.

But, so much for being cool and hip...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Movies, Books, TV and more

I am updating the movie list from my last blog...since then I have seen: "The Third Man," "Rebbecca," "Double Indemnity," and "Cinema Paradiso." I enjoyed the last one the best. That leaves only 28 films from the IMBD top 100 I have yet to see... (although I have the distinct feeling these are all "boy" flicks....I think women would have a different idea of good cinema...don't you?)
I'm also working on reading the TIME top 100 books of the 20th century. I have about 30 of those books yet to go..."Augy March" burned me out... but I need to get back at it.
I'm currently enamored of David Cook and Brooke White on American Idol. No, I don't want them to win-that would ruin them...but I'd like them to stay as long as possible as I love to watch them do their things.
Okay- off to read blogs, view widgets and keep up on all the latest trends in technology!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stolen Ideas are the Best!

I stole this from Carrie ( who stole this from Nicholas...ain't it fun? Take the top 100 movies from IMBD and bold the ones you've seen.

1. The Godfather (1972)
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
6. Schindler's List (1993)
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
8. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
9. Casablanca (1942)

10. The Seven Samurai (1954)
11. Star Wars (1977)
12. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
13. 12 Angry Men (1957)
14. Rear Window (1954)
15. Goodfellas (1990)

16. City of God (2002)
17. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
18. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

19. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
20. The Usual Suspects (1995)
21. Psycho (1960)
22. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
23. Fight Club (1999)
24. Citizen Kane (1941)
25. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
26. North by Northwest (1959)

27. Memento (2000)
28. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
29. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
30. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
31. The Matrix (1999)
32. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

33. There Will Be Blood (2007)
34. Se7en (1995)
35. Apocalypse Now (1979)
36. Taxi Driver (1976)
37. American Beauty (1999)

38. Léon (1994)
39. Vertigo (1958)
40. Amélie (2001)

41. American History X (1998)
42. The Departed (2006) (LOVED THIS ONE)
43. No Country for Old Men (2007)
44. Paths of Glory (1957)
45. M (1931)
46. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
47. Chinatown (1974)

48. The Third Man (1949)
49. The Lives of Others (2006)
50. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
51. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
52. Alien (1979)
53. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
54. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
55. The Shining (1980)

56. Spirited Away (2001)
57. The Pianist (2002)
58. Double Indemnity (1944)
59. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
60. Forrest Gump (1994)
61. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
62. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

63. L.A. Confidential (1997)
64. Das Boot (1981)
65. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
66. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
67. Downfall (2004)
68. Aliens (1986)
69. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
70. Raging Bull (1980)
71. Metropolis (1927)

72. Rashômon (1950)
73. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
74. Modern Times (1936)
75. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
76. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
77. Sin City (2005)
78. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
79. Rebecca (1940)
80. The Seventh Seal (1957)
81. All About Eve (1950)
82. Some Like It Hot (1959)

83. City Lights (1931)
84. Amadeus (1984)
85. On the Waterfront (1954)
86. Life is Beautiful (1997)
87. The Great Escape (1963)
88. Touch of Evil (1958)
89. The Prestige (2006)
90. The Elephant Man (1980)
91. Jaws (1975)
92. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
93. The Sting (1973)

94. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
95. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
96. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

97. The Apartment (1960)
98. Braveheart (1995)
99. The Great Dictator (1940)
100. Blade Runner (1982)

I have to be honest. I'm really not this cool. I live with a movie buff and watch most of these second hand. Carrie-I think I've watched more than you.

Spring has Sprung

There was a silly dittie from my childhood.
"Spring has sprung,
the grass is ris...
I wonder where the burdies is?"

After the world's longest winter with record amounts of snow, today is a blessing. The first day of spring and the birds are back, singing and marking their territories. There are still thick piles of snow on the ground, but the sun is out and I see grass. Never mind the forecast calling for seven inches of snow. It's Spring!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Web Marketing

For those of you kind enough to follow my Sunday words on talesofthetrade.blogspot. Thank you. But I am no longer doing the Sunday spot. It was simply too much in my already hectic world. I hope to try again later, but for now this was the right choice for me.
Someone asked me if I was on Facebook. The answer is no. Why? (For those of you who don't know, Facebook is a social networking site originally started for college students, but recently opened for the general public.) Places like Facebook and Myspace are great for finding friends and people with interests in common. Savvy PR people have invaded these sites to build on their Internet presence and sell their products.
Personally I believe Myspace is geared toward 13 year olds. Facebook geared more toward 10 to 23 year olds. While I would love for people from these age groups to read my books-you know you want to read my books, they're cool- I'm not sure I want to befriend them. That's just a little creepy. Besides, if I spend all my time on two or three blogs, myspace, facebook, this website, chat rooms, forums, etc. When would I have time to write books and live my "real" life?
The biggest thing in Internet marketing is having something to say. Something besides buy my book. Most of what I have to say is in my books. the rest is on this blog. But that doesn't mean I won't visit a chat room or two...because what I really want to know is what you have to say.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Success comes in baby steps

What I learned from my last blog is that I have a long way to go before this blog is successful. First I need to post my blog. Then I need to let people know where to find me. Then hope that someone takes an interest in what I say or do and makes a comment. Hopefully more will join us. All of these things are baby steps toward success.

My friend Jerri Corgiat-author extraordinaire- has a lovely blog about midlife. (You can find her at started her blog with a wide audience and a cool point of view. She is naturally interesting. She is the "cool" kid at school.

Meanwhile I feel a bit like Molly Ringwald in "Sixteen Candles"...hanging out on the sidelines and wondering how it could possibly be that everyone forgot my birthday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What I know so far...


With so many blogs out there now, what brings you to a blog? Is it the title? Is it because you have a friend who blogs there? Do you look for your favorite author?

I'd love to hear from you. Tell me how you read, why you read and what draws you in.