Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Debate....Prologues

Happy Halloween Everyone. Today is kind of a mish-mashy post, but I will try and keep it together to form a cohesive essay.

Yesterday morning, while listening to "Flashback" on the radio, they played Elton John's Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding. The Monster Child was with me and as we pulled up to my mother's house, I remained in the car. Funeral for a Friend was still playing and I wanted to hear the opening to Love Lies Bleeding so I would have a good song in my head for the rest of the day instead of the stupid deoderant commercial. The Monster ran down to the house, went in, and then came back out two minutes later very upset that I still sat in the car. "I'm going to be late," she yelled. Funeral for a Friend was just ending.

"No, you're not," I replied. "Here's what I've been waiting for." And the opening chords to Loves Lies Bleeding struck. I began singing the song, beating my fingers on the steering wheel, while she just rolled her eyes and ran back down the driveway.

And it got me thinking...

Back in the 70's, rock bands would have these long musical introductions. Some of them were good, some not so good, but you'd have to wait to get to the real "song". Think Lynard Skynard, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull. (I'll bet half of you have never even heard of these bands.)

Any-hoo, it got me thinking...

Those musical introductions were prologues. Depending on the composition, some evolved into the song lyrics, some were of a different nature altogether and didn't make any sense. (Perhaps the composer smoked a little too much gange and thought it would fit, I don't know.)

But it got me thinking...

About the great debate of prologues. Depending on how they're written, they either serve the book well by giving us a piece of the story we wouldn't find in the natural progression of the plot line, or is just something the author wanted to throw in just to keep us guessing.

I had a prologue in THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. It was one page, 263 words total. It was a snippet of the villain's character from his POV that allowed for a bit of intrigue before the story began. I always liked it, I thought it was wicked cool. But then, I took it out because I found while querying, prologues weren't in fashion anymore.

Having gotten back into revisions on MASQUERADE again, I think I'm going to put it back in, because up until page 256 out of 260, we don't see or hear from the villain. We don't know who he is until he makes his very short lived appearance. And you know what, not having to deal with an agent, editor, or publisher, I can do whatever I want.

Tell me -- Do you write prologues? Do they leave your readers guessing, or are they an intregral part of the plot that needs to be told, but not in the story?

And now for your viewing pleasure, as it is Halloween, some pictures I dug around for last weekend. Dressing up on Halloween was not one of my strong suits, but these pictures are proof that I did.

Halloween 1992. Me and Lawrence. My true soul self harking back to 1973 (incidentally the year Good-bye Yellow Brick Road was released).

Halloween 1998. Me and Jed. That, my friends, is a fake tattoo, but the boobs are real.

Have fun and be safe tonight!

Oh, and PS, on my author blog I discuss how I came up with my series if you'd like to take a peek.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why I Chose to Self-Publish

I'm over at Tara's blog today, spilling my guts about why I chose to self-publish. I hope you will all stop by. If not for me, then for Tara. She's such a cool cat, she writes in Polish and Russian, loves race cars, and knows her way around a throwing knife.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Aversion to SemiColons

Happy Wednesday Everyone. Back in the swing of things, as today is a writing post day, I decided to do a post about punctuation. Or more pointedly, semicolons.

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't use them. First of all, I don't know what they're for. According to Strunk and White

If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single complete sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.

Yeah, okay.

Gallagher's romances are entertaining; they are full of love and desire.

(My own play on the example they give.)

It is, of course, equally correct to write each of these as two sentences, replacing the semicolons with periods.

Gallagher's romances are entertaining. They are full of love and desire.

Which is what I do. As I'm typing along in Word, sometimes, when I complete my sentence, my little green squiggly line will appear and then I will go to my Spelling & Grammar tool to see what I've done wrong. (God I love Word.) And it will say, "replace with semicolon". And I do not. I always separate the sentences.


The semicolon is used in ways that are similar to those in which periods and commas are used. Because of these similarities, the semicolon is often thought of as either a weak period or a strong comma.

Now in this chapter, Mirriam and Webster throw out phrases like independent clauses, coordinating conjunctions, grammatical construction of the second illiptical clause, and my favorite, conjunctive adverb. In this chapter, there are ten rules to learn before you can use a semicolon.

My question -- Why?

Why would anyone want to torture themselves learning how to use a semicolon when most of us have enough trouble with a plain old comma?

Why would you want to use a weak period when a full stop will do? Or a strong comma? How many beats is a strong comma anyway? Two? Three? Enough to take a sip of coffee?

Tell me -- Do you use semicolons? Or am I the only one who doesn't? Any other punctuation you want to diss today?

PS In rereading my latest work in progress, I found not one, but two semicolins. My bad. But I still don't like them.

PPS I hope you'll swing by on Friday when I explain my reasons for self-publishing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

There's a Book Fair Today

There's a book fair today hosted by M.A. Leslie, and I'm involved, at my new author website as well as 90 other authors which you will be able to find here at M. A. Leslie.

Please take a look-see, you might be able to find something you like. Genres are extremely well represented. The links at M.A. Leslie are up and running.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Millionaire Matchmaker

Good Morning My Darlings. Have you ever been fixed up? Have you ever had well meaning friends, business colleagues, your Aunt Grace say to you -- "I know the perfect man for you. You have just got to meet him!"

Ugh. Yes, I'm sure we've all been there. How'd it go? Did you take them up on the offer? If so, how'd it turn out?

I've been fixed up on many occasions. Always to disastrous results. Now, mind you, all parties involved knew what we were getting into. Sometimes it was a blind fix up, other times it involved double dating. Where, during some part of the night, I would drag my friend in the ladies room and ask, "How could you possibly think that man and I had something in common?"

Now, I don't doubt the sincerity of these people, they truly believe they know us better than we think we know ourselves and according to them we are so blind to know what we want, we'll take a look at someone who would not be on our radar at all.

Yeah. I know my own mind. I know what I'm looking for in a man. My list of prerequisites is pretty long.

The other night I was trolling through cable tv (the bane of my existance -- 92 channels and not a thing to watch) when I came upon the show The Millionaire Matchmaker. I had never seen it before, although had heard of it and decided to watch just to see how a millionaire went about finding a date.

Well, it's the usual tv trope, interview the guy, find out what he wants in a woman, interview the girls (notice that's plural), have a big meet-and-greet where the matchmaker introduces each man to about 15 girls the matchmaker thinks he'd like to meet, and see who he picks.

O.M.G. Can I just say this show is almost as bad as The Bachelor/ette series.

Now on this particular episode, one of the men was a real jerk. Wanted a woman who would basically give up her life and dreams and goals to fulfill his every desire. Yeah, I'm not kidding. He wanted a June Cleaver sort, although he wanted her to look exactly like Jessica Simpson. (his words, not mine.) So the matchmaker found him 15 women who fit his list (his list was longer than mine, and extremely detailed).

And it got me thinking. One of the things the matchmaker kept telling him was he had to let go of his list. He had to think outside the box because he probably wouldn't meet the "woman of his fantasies". And I agreed. This man wanted several things that to me, just weren't possible. But he insisted. He would not give up his list. He wanted a woman who --

had a 36 - 40D bust size (no bigger, no smaller)
would bear him twin girls (huh? how can you think that that's what you'd get?)
would give up whatever it was she was doing and live with him (her family, her life, her career)
was a great cook (like a professional chef kind of cook)
was a church going woman (which is important, however he demanded that she be of his faith only or convert)
had long blond hair (but not dyed)
had a devastating smile (but real teeth not teeth that had been worked on)
and the piece de resistance had an IQ that was not higher than his (I almost threw up in my mouth when he said that)

Guess what. He found one. Yup he did. I could not believe it. To me, this man was a narcisstic, egotistical a$$hole, the kind of man women fought in the 70's. Can I get an "Amen for Gloria Steinam" here? But somehow, he persevered through the matchmaker's discouragement and got exactly what he wanted.

Question -- When finding your significant other, were you fixed up? Did you have a list of prerequisites? Is he/she your ideal partner? Or did you just meet someone and "know" they were perfect for you?

Second question -- If anyone knows a guy who looks like Tom Selleck, has the tenderness of Denis Leary, is as smart as Tom Brokaw and the money of Warren Buffet, could you send him my way.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brunch at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Eggs Benedict, Fresh Fruit, Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, and Potato Pancakes.

I haven't had Potato Pancakes in awhile. With warm chunky home-made apple sauce. Yum!

Having never done a brunch before, I'm not sure what I'm doing today other than sharing my random thoughts about things that have happened to me lately in the writing world.


On October 9, I recieved a rejection letter from an agent I had sent a query to on April 11 for THE LADY'S FATE. It read in its entirety -- "Nope. Not for me."

Yes, that was all it said. AND, it wasn't even signed. I had to look again at the sender name in my inbox to find out who had been so rude. I've had better form rejections. For two seconds I wanted to write her back and ask her why did she even bother sending me a rejection. Within the six months I waited, the book went through 3 more revisions, two more beta readers, was published and is now making money. Yeah, I wanted to write her and say, "No, thank YOU for rejecting me." Glad I wasn't waiting with baited breath for her reply.


Recieved another rejections of sorts last week in my inbox. I've tried to keep up with old friends in other parts of the country, so I sent out a letter informing them of my latest news in the publishing world, gave them the links to my new website, sent off pictures of the covers, and one of The Monster from first grade.

I have recieved one reply. It read -- "Great to hear from you. Good luck." That was all. Haven't heard back from the other four yet. Now I realize I've not been the best correspondant, but I expected to get at least an acknowledgement. And "good luck" is, well, what is that? Sounds like "glad you finally got what you wanted but never want to hear from you again" to me.


Monster and I were in the car the other day when she asked why I had so many books in the box on the front seat. I explained that I had just bought them all from the library book sale (saving books, helping libraries).

"Are you going to read them all?" she asked.

"Of course," I said.

"Which one are you reading now?"

I picked up THE REMAINS OF THE DAY. "This one today. This one yesterday." I showed her WOMEN IN LOVE (D.H. Laurence). Then I picked up DANCING IN THE SHADOWS OF LOVE (Judy Croome)(Which had already been in the car). "This one two days ago." Then reached for THE BEND IN THE ROAD (Nicloas Sparks) "This one I just started, and this one is from last week." I picked up STRANGER IN MY ARMS (Lisa Kleypas)

I watched her face in the rearview mirror take it all in. Then she said,

"Doesn't your brain hurt?"

Gotta love The Monster.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Now for the Plan...

My heart is full. So full, it has burst at the seams. I cannot thank you all enough for coming to my new author website opening on Monday. It was so wonderful to see all your shining faces in the comments. I wish, how I wish, we could have all met in person. What fun it would have been.

I wanted to say, because people have asked, what my schedule is for the new blog. Truth to tell, I have no idea. I'd like to say once a week on Monday, but even that is tentative at this point. I have this blog too, which I will keep up on M-W-F.

I'm diving back into THE DUKE'S DIVORCE today. I got a great piece of advice from Mr. Bailey, and so have to incorporate that into what I've already written. (I swear that man is Hemingway reincarnated!) I'd like to get that out and published before Christmas. And I'm also trying to reformat REMEMBERING YOU for publication, hopefully before Thanksgiving. And then there is THE LADY'S MASQUERADE that's been waiting for my attention since last April. And my latest SECRETS ON THE BEACH which hit me upside the head the other morning at 4am.

I have a lot on my plate, I know. But isn't that what we, as writers, are supposed to do. Have a writing plan? Know what we are supposed to be writing, revising, drafting every year. Of course, barring any unforseen circumstances.

Truth to tell, I had a writing plan when I was still searching for an agent. But that went out the window with this whole self-publishing thing. I guess I should write another one. Probably be a good idea. Keep me on track and all that.

Tell me -- Do you have a writing plan? Do you know where you want to be next year in your writing career, five years from now, ten? How many books will you have written? Will you still be searching for an agent? Will you self-publish?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Part Two The New Website

Sorry about all the craziness this early morning. I think I've got the problem solved. I hope.

If you would care to take a gander, here is the link (please God let this work)

If you find nothing there, please let me know.


Could someone please go here and tell me what you find?

I can't access my account properly. It's supposed to be my new website. If you find a girl sitting in a chaise with my name across the top could you leave a comment here. Or if you find a plain white background. I made a huge mistake this morning and now find I have two websites with the same url. Ugh!

And if anyone knows how to fix this problem it would be greatly appreciated.

Today's Post My New Website

Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties on my part, (because of my only having one cup of caffeine) I made a serious serious mistake in trying to get my new website up and running. I'm really sorry for this, and am crying now in my tea.

I wanted you all to see it, I'm so proud of it and can't get it to show. I'll be working to fix the problem, and hopefully by the end of the day, it will work.

Thanks for your kind understanding.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward Blogfest

Today is not my usual venue, but this is something I've been thinking about for a long time and couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Alex and Matthew have come up with this great idea and I just had to participate.

Keeping it short and sweet, here are the three blogs I think everyone should read.

I Think; Therefore I Yam by Susan Swiderski. Every time I go there I learn something new. I am never disappointed with the font of information this woman has, from states, to shoes, to billboards. Her laws from the states, and weirdest news stories of the week are just a few highlights I enjoy. Go on over, you won't be disappointed.

Laws of Making by Deren Hansen. From the Hero's Journey, to the Virgin's Promise, Deren shows us how to break it all down, and write from the bottom up. A little philosophy thrown in for good measure, I love the way he makes me think about what I write.

R. Mac Wheeler. The best crit partner anyone could ever ask for. He knows more rules to writing and how to break them than anyone else I've ever met. Crits back from Mac make the St. Valentine's Day massacre look like a parade. So much redline, you might go blind. But well worth the horror. If you can get through one of Mac's crits without giving up writing all together, any New York editor will seem like the Easter Bunny in comparison.

So those are my picks to Pay It Forward.

Have a great weekend everyone, and don't forget about my big cocktail party on Monday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The New Blog

Well, as I'm sure you've all seen, I've added a couple of new things to this blog. Being sick last week made my eyes crazy and as I couldn't read on the computer, I decided to fool around. Pretty cool, huh?

I made all the changes I wanted to, getting up a header of pages instead of keeping them buried on my sidebar. Some of you may have noticed that THE LADY'S FATE is gone and in it's place REMEMBERING YOU. Yeah, I've been wanting to do that for a long time. I love that story and want it told. It makes me homesick when I read it though. I'm hoping to get it out within the next couple of weeks. It's done and ready, the only thing I'm balking at is the formatting. It's still in a messy word.doc and formatting to Kindle is going to be a nightmare. Not only do I have headings, I have sub-headings, in different font sizes. lol. Can I just say Extra-Strength Tylenol.

The plans for the unveiling of my new author/website blog cocktail party are all set for next Monday, October 17th. It's going to be held in an English garden so please dress appropriately. Sweaters and shawls would be just the thing to keep handy. I do hope you'll all stop by. And as it is an all day affair, the alcohol level will be low, champagne, I think, for the most part. No hard liquor. I am trying to be civilized after all. Here's a little sneak peek of the venue, just to entice you to come.

AND, not only is it the unveiling of the new blog, there is also a secret (well, several secrets actually) I'm keeping until then. So if that doesn't entice you to come, well, I don't know what else to do.

I'm not sure at this point if I have anything ready to post for this Friday. I've been working so hard on everything else, I'm kind of out of ideas, so maybe I'll take a break and relax. Try on my little black dress, see if it fits.

Hope to see you next Monday.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Love In The Time of Cholera

Good Morning Everyone. I hope you are enjoying a beautiful autumn day where you are. As we are discussing love today, I'm afraid the title of this post has nothing to do with the book LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA. It is, I'm afraid, a misnomer.
(Although I have heard that book is fantastic.)

You see, I've been sick. Very sick, as a matter of fact, since last Monday. It is that time of year when the weather changes, and living in the foothills of the Piedmont, the temperature goes down at night, and then during the day it gets hot. However, when the breezes blow, they whisper cold.

And that is what I got. A cold. Only I never get the common cold, where one can function normally, albeit slowly. NOOOO, I get a cold, then a sinus infection, then an ear infection, then either bronchitis, or pneumonia.

I knew it was coming, I could feel it last Sunday night, that little tickle in the back of my throat. I immediately called my mother to make me a pot of chicken soup, which she did. But it didn't help. Monday morning, I woke to a scratchy throat, funny eyes, pain in the head, and an all-over funky disposition.

I hate being sick, I mean, really, who enjoys snots, aches and pains, and coughing til you puke. I hate it though because I can't do anything. And because of my inability to remain in bed, I push myself to do the things that need doing, therefore getting sicker.

Tuesday morning, barely able to move, I called the doctor, who thankfully had an opening at 11:30. I stumbled into her office, plead my case for a Z-pac, which she sympathetically bestowed upon me, and I made it back to my house and into my bed where I remained for the next four days.

I haven't been quite this sick in a very long time. My mother thought I had contracted the flu. I refused to believe that, but suffered through flu-like symptoms for 2 days. I could not move. I won't bore you with the details of my illness, but I will tell you, at least the flu is good for something. I lost eight pounds.

Now, The Monster was sick as well, though she only had a cold, so she pretty much had the run of the house while I was down. My mother took her for the first part of my malaise so I was left alone to fend for myself. I did nothing but remain in bed, too sick to even watch tv.

When The Monster came back, so did her father. He stayed with us while I was down, which was a blessing. I could at least be assured she was eating on a regular basis. However, he did not once offer to feed me. Or get me water, or Tylenol, or even do the dishes.

When I emerged from my sickroom on day four, only wanting to take a shower and crawl back under clean sheets, I found the kitchen a dumping ground for every single dish, pot, pan, and glass from the cupboards. I then made my way downstairs to the laundry room to put the dirty sheets in the washer and found a pile of clothes on the laundry room floor a mile high.

What is it about men and their inability to do anything when someone is sick? He said, "But I didn't want to mess up the laundry. You know how I shrank all your stuff the last time." Which was true, but no matter how you try, you can't shrink towels. And the dishes? "Well, you hate the way I load the dishwasher and I didn't want to piss you off on top of being sick." And I do hate the way he loads the dishwasher, but I think I might have let that one go as I was on my way back to bed.

What is it about men, that they do not seem to possess a compassionate bone in their body? Or is it just my particular man? Come to think on it though, I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of any of my former men waiting on me when I was sick. Not one glass of water, not one Tylenol, not one hand brushed against my forehead.

And now, he's sick. Yes, I knew he would get it eventually. He's upstairs in the guest bed, fever, chills, coughing his lungs up. I've given him Tylenol, cough syrup, chicken soup, orange juice, water, cough drops (the good kind), checked his temp -- 101.9, gotten him another blanket, another pillow, a box of Kleenex.

Now I know why women are nurses.

Tell me -- Does your man help when you're down and out? Or do you get up and deal with the family because you know he won't? Is he a total baby when he's sick, or does he grab a couple of pills and head off to work?

PS I am feeling much better now, thank you very much. Getting ready for the cocktail party which I hope you will all attend. Details coming soon.

Friday, October 7, 2011

On The Grille -- Book Review South of Charm

On Today's Menu -- SOUTH OF CHARM by Elliot Grace

I thought this book was about baseball. It wasn't. It was about human frailty, a ten-year-old's dreams, and unfathomable courage.

Danny Kaufman is a normal kid, with a baby sister, and a loving relationship with his parents until the day his mother finds a Playboy air freshener in his father's truck. On that day his whole life changes.

Watching this boy's life spiral out of control as his family negotiates the unfamiliar and terrifying waters of mental illness got to me. Stuck me right in the heart with an eight inch blade and twisted it until I couldn't stand it anymore. Truthfully, half-way through this book, I had to set it down. (And I never do that.) Danny's pain, along with his father's confusion over his wife's actions, and the stubborness of his mother's religious family tore me apart.

I found myself screaming at Danny's father to take his wife to a doctor. I wanted to slap his mother for torturing her children and husband and for not realizing and accepting that she needed help. I so wanted to take Danny and his sister Katie home with me and keep them safe, hug them and feed them, and just love on 'em enough to make the pain go away.

Of course, this is a book, so I couldn't. But such is the profundity of Elliot's writing. Beautiful, compact, and precise, it leaves no room for misinterpretation. My emotional response to these characters was such that I felt completely helpless. Tears coursed down my cheeks on more than one occasion. I cursed Elliot for writing this. (Sorry El. I really didn't mean it.)

SOUTH OF CHARM is an uncommon read, revealing facets of human endurance beyond the scope of my reality; that a child (children) would have to live in constant fear, that a family would have to live this way is beyond my ken. But such was the period that the book was set. Back then, diagnosis for the mentally ill were almost non-existant. And I must add that some of the actions in this book are hideous to read, and scary to contemplate. It's not for the faint of heart (even if you do read Stephen King on a regular basis.)

When all is finally revealed in the end, you do get a sense of closure for Danny and his family, yet the images Elliot penned will haunt me for a good many years to come. I felt for the characters, as if they were real people. Such is the gift of a master story-teller.

Questions for Elliot --

I have to ask if this is autobiographical in nature? Not to get you to tell any family secrets, but you write Danny's experiences with such first hand knowledge, it's hard to tell what's fact and fiction.

In every book we read, every dysfunctional plot or life altering mishap, the inspiration for that moment was borrowed from memory, an experience that eventually led to a story. Perhaps it was something simple, an oriole fluttering overhead, or the way your next door neighbor limps to the end of his drive in order to fetch the morning paper at the same time every day. Or maybe it was something that changed how we felt about this world we live in. In this case, I was able to hold young Danny's hand and guide him along his journey, having already experienced much of the same during my childhood. As a boy, I saw firsthand the debilitating affects of mental illness, and what it means to perhaps not forget, but to at least forgive. As for those baseball scenes in the story...the trophy still sits atop a shelf in my basement ;)

I know you have foster kids as well, did any of their experiences end up in the book?

Every child whom my wife and I have accepted into our home, brings with them a best-seller, their very own family trauma. Some have been open about their lives, expressing a need to share some of the horrors they've experienced. Others keep it bottled up, releasing snippets of pain through their grimaces at the dinner table, the remains of tear streaks, long dried, upon their cheeks every morning. For the most part, I'm forbidden to speak on their behalf, many of their cases still hinging on a judge's whim, and therefore was unable to include any of their stories in the book. I'll be closing out my tour with a blog post of one child in particular, however. The one I call The Girl. A young lady whose story will bring the perfect ending to this Charming Endeavor.

Lastly, is the cat real? Or is he simply metaphor?

As for that my first ever book signing, I found myself enjoying the many interpretations surrounding its occasional presence throughout the story. If memory serves, the majority of readers felt that this mystical feline was indeed a metaphor, representing the boy's guardian angel, or simply his imaginary friend, called upon when needed. Emails have been sent my way, not stating whether they enjoyed the book or not, but demanding more information about the tabby. I think it best to say that perhaps the cat represents something different to each of us. And to each of us, the cat's quite content being exactly that ;)

Thanks so much, Elliot, for the honor and privilege of reading SOUTH OF CHARM.

And what's a tour without prizes along the way...from Elliot...

At month's end, I'll be giving away signed copies of my book, "South of Charm," two $25.00 gift cards from Barnes & Noble, and upon it's highly anticipated release, Stephen King's new thriller, "11/22/63," due out on November 8th.

and to win...

-All my current followers have already earned themselves 1 point.
-Any new followers I meet along the way will be awarded 1 point.
-All who comment on any of my blog stops in October will earn 2 points.
-Anyone who leaves reviews for "South of Charm" on either Amazon or GoodReads will earn 5 points.
-At months end, my most behaved foster child for that particular day will be choosing the winners, (trust me, that's a win/win for the entire family ;)

So good luck and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy News

Good Morning My Darlings. As you have been witness to my posts of late (in the wrong place, the wrong date, the wrong subject on the wrong day) it is safe to say I have been busy in the brain. Trying to get my book(s) ready for Kindle is like trying to thread the eye of a needle with a camel. (Look Linda, it's Wednesday and I have a camel reference, yay!)

Okay, maybe not impossible, but really really hard. For me. And I appreciate a certain someone's telling me it would be hard and I should probably find someone to do it for me, but being a stubborn wench, if you tell me I can't do something, then I absolutely have to try.

And as you saw from Monday's post, I made a few mistakes along the way, but like with everything else you try the first time, there's bound to be one or two. (I'm not going to tell you what my first souffle looked like, suffice it to say, over time I can kick a souffle's *ss!)

So anyway, this is just a little happy news I thought I would share with you. On Friday I have the honor and priviledge of doing a book review for Elliot Grace's SOUTH OF CHARM. He's got prizes and give-aways so you better stop by and see what's what. Fantastic book, and that's all I'm going to say.

My new author web-site/blog is almost ready to be unveiled. Waiting on two more thingy-things to come to fruition before it can be revealed. Also, I'm this >< close to launching my own book THE LADY'S FATE to Kindle so I hope you'll come by for that. And if I throw a major cocktail party you guys will come, right?

I also wanted to give a giant shout-out to all my new friends who've followed me on my side bar. I'm so thankful for your shiny happy faces. I've been crazed the last few months, which is why you probably haven't seen me on your blogs, but let me reassure you, once I get my book(s) out and I'm over this hump, I'll be by. (Look Linda, two camel references.) Your support means the world to me.

And for those of you who've been kind enough to present me with awards, thank you so much. I know I haven't done anything with them, but soon, I promise.

I'd also like to say, there are a few more changes coming to this blog in a few more weeks, so it'd be swell if you stuck around. I'm so busy lately, and with there only being 24 hours in a day, it's hard to get some things done in a timely manner.

So, anyway, that's all the news I have. I hope you'll stop by on Friday for Elliot.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tips on Publishing to Kindle

Good Morning. Some of you may have noticed I published a post on Saturday. Well, it wasn't supposed to happen like that. As I'm in the process of actually publishing to Kindle now, my brain is getting fried and the simplest tasks (like remembering a date, go bye-bye.) So before I forget all these, I'm going to share a few more tips with you on how to publish to Kindle.

Now these are after you've done all your formatting on your word.doc correctly, reviewed the manuscript, and are ready to upload to the Kindle process.

1) Be sure to read all the Kindle "Help" pages before you even start.

2) Make sure you have a "small" and a "large" cover. Your cover designer should already know this. You need the small one for the thumbnail print (where it says "upload your cover" (I believe this is step 9 on the first page). My small cover was around 250 x 350 pixels. The large should be at least 700 x 1200 pixels. (This is when you upload it for the book itself.)

3) Also, download the MobiPocket Creator and the Kindle Previewer (not Kindle for PC but the Previewer) before you begin the process. It will save you boatloads of time and aggravation. (They take a few minutes to do therefore should be done beforehand because once you get started on publishing the book, you really don't want to take time out to wait for downloads.) You can get the Kindle Previewer if you go to Amazon and plug that into their search engine. The page pops up and you have to scroll down to find it, but it's there. I believe you can get the MobiPocket Creator just by googling that.

Okay, and this next step was hard for me, I had to do it three times before I did it correctly so I suggest you pay attention. (Because I didn't read what I was supposed to read first.)

4) Before you can upload to the MobiPocket Creator you have to save your word.doc to HTML format. Click on File > Save > Web Page > (a box appears) click Web Page, Filtered. (A box will appear that says "Saving this material you may lose information." Ignore it and continue. Trust me. It will save you the panic. And three different uploads.) Now also make sure the name of the file is the title of the book. (Because I didn't and the whole thing got so messed up.) Click Save and it should appear in your files as an HTML doc.

When you upload to the MobiPocket, these steps are very straightforward and if you've done everything correctly, it should "Build" your book in record time. Also if you've already downloaded the Kindle Previewer, you can see what it will look like before you hit "Save and Publish". Don't get all freaked out if you don't see the page breaks, they don't show up. And the cover will be in black and white. If everything looks normal, you're good to go.

5) Also, another important thing to remember, when you're writing any of the information on Page 1, Title, Description, Contributors, etc. there are two little boxes in the bottom right hand corner of the page. One says Save as Draft, the other, Save and Publish. DO NOT TOUCH the Save and Publish key until you have filled everything out, looked at the book, and are really ready to go to page two. While you're writing your stuff, and filling out your fields, hit Save As Draft after every field. Especially the Description. I didn't realize you should because I blinked and it was all gone. Three times. Yeah, learn something from my mistakes. It'll save you a sleepless night and a migraine.

6)Make sure you take a good look at the Pricing and Royalty page. If I read it correctly, you can only get 70% on certain countries. Austria, Canada, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom (also check Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man), United States. *Belium, *France, *Monaco (***As of late October). You'll have to check off each of these countries separately. If you're only doing the 35% you can hit World Wide Territories. And also, that has to do with your price point. It's the difference between 99 cents and $2.99. If you hit World Wide Territories on a $2.99 book, you'll only get 35% royalties. (That's if I read it correctly.) Which is why you need to put in the single countries themselves for the 70% royalty rate. (Math is so not my strong suit so if anyone knows any different, please jump right in and let me know.)

7) Now this last thing should be a no brainer, but for me, it was late and I was crazed from doing all the downloads. When you find the field that says "Contributors" put your name there as author. I didn't and I got a nice letter informing me I had only listed the illustrators. So don't forget about you. (And by the way, they don't have a listing for "Cover Designer" so I used "Illustrator".)

And so, I think that's that for all my fumbles and bumbles along the way. I have some more tid-bits of information to share, but you'll have to wait for next time. Hope these help. And if anyone has any other input to share, PLEASE feel free to jump in in the comments. I am no expert.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Bachelorette

Good Morning. With my travails into the never-ending question about love, I'm going to share another secret with you. I watch The Bachelorette on tv. I know, I know. It's kind of nauseating sometimes, but I watch it to get character ideas. (Ha, yeah, if you believe that, I've got some bottom land for sale, cheap.)

No, really, I do. I always watch the beginning episode and pick out the guy I think the girl will eventually fall in love with. Just on first impressions. And then I skip the next few episodes until she gets to around 10 or 12 guys. That's when the real fun begins and they go to exotic locals.

On this last season, Ashley fell hard for a scoundrel, a rake, a big fat jerkface who broke her heart when he left the show. Now we all knew his reasoning behind it -- he thought he was going on the show for a different woman and he was disappointed with this girl and he couldn't fake affection -- but she didn't know any of that. He told her he missed his child back home and he couldn't stay there any longer.

And she fell hook, line and sinker for his BS. It made me cringe that he was such a low life scum bag to break her heart like that. I wanted to yell at the tv I was so mad. (And of course this is reality television so there are always moments like this.)

It took a week, but she got over it, and they went to Thailand. She and 11 other guys. Woo-hoo. She had a couple of good dates, and then lo and behold, Scumbag was brought to Thailand. And this time I really did scream at the tv. Because she wanted to see him. She wanted to see if he really was the true man of her dreams.

And he wasn't, thank the Goddess, but the guy she eventually picked, was not the guy I would have picked for her. Needless to say, I was disappointed in her choice, but you know, she's not me, and I'm not her, and we all have different ideas about who we eventually fall in love with.

Tell me -- Have you ever been in a relationship that all your friends told you was bad for you and you didn't listen? Have you ever loved a guy who was so out of your normal comfort zone your friends thought you were on crack?