Sorry, Barnes & Noble


The other day I received an email from one of the writer’s groups I’m a member of with info about a young adult book event at a nearby Barnes & Noble.  Seems they are having a big event at their store geared toward young adult readers and want authors to come in, sign, and sell their books.  Cool, I have a young adult novel…with dragons. Everyone likes dragons.

So, I call the guy, leave a message, and wait for him to return my call. Which he did yesterday.  After we got over the “No, it’s not self-published.” hurdle and the “No, you can’t order it from the publisher and return unsold copies.” hurdle, things were looking up.  I have copies here which I could bring.  They’d have a place for me to sit, sign books, and I wouldn’t even have to worry about the money because the books would be paid for upfront and B&N would send me a check.  For 40%.

He was in the car, but took my book info and promised he’d get back with me real soon so we could start the paperwork and get everything in place.  Awesome! I was going to be a featured author at a B&N event.

But then I got to thinking…40%??? Really?  They were going to get 60% just for setting up a table, doing a bit of advertising, and what???  I got my calculator out and did some figuring…..

Since I’ve already paid the printing costs on my books, at 40%, I’d be getting about $1 a book.  And B&N would be getting almost $10.  Then I figured in a tank of gas, the two hour drive time, plus the two hours there, and I’m really in the hole. I’d have to sell a LOT of books to even come close to breaking even.

I emailed the guy, told him I wouldn’t be taking part, and why. I haven’t heard back yet and I really don’t expect to.  But, my time and writing are worth more than that.  I’m kind of sad because I’d really love to take part in a “big” event such as this, get my book out to new readers. But, I have to realize the true cost.

Sigh…I need chocolate.


** Just a short update…  He never called back. Or emailed. Guess he didn’t like my reasoning.:-)

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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Writing


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Tick, tick, tick…

It’s funny what you get used to. There was a time when I needed silence to write. And I mean no TV, no radio, no one talking to me. It was hard to find that kind of silence in a house with three kids so I learned to write amid the chaos. TV on, kids playing, and so forth. It got to the point they could come ask me something and I’d answer then about 15 minutes latest I’d have to go find them and see what they asked and what I answered ’cause I had no clue.

As they got older, there isn’t as much chaos but there is still noise and distractions. Especially with two Dobermans who need attention along with a crazy cat. Beth and I sometimes go to the library to write to get away from it all… and it’s really nice. Quiet, but not too quiet. And the brain seems to know it is writing time.

Tonight though, I’m sitting at the kitchen table of the “host” of our critique group. We decided to write tonight. Thing is… it’s SOOOO quiet.  I can hear the clock ticking that’s about 10 feet away. Across the room, someone is turning pages. And of course, there is the clicking of keys on the keyboard of those typing.

I’m not really feeling inspired tonight. Too much distraction I think.  But, I did get a blog out of it so you never can tell. I left the magic fedora at home so that could be part of the problem.

So, what about you? Do you need quiet or can you write in the noise? Do you have a special writing hat or totem? Do tell… enquiring minds want to know.:-)

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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Misc.


Once upon a time…

Do you remember when those words stirred your soul, caused you to shiver with excitement?

Beginnings are so important to a story. They introduce the main character, set the scene, and give us a problem. They make us want to read the next line, and the next, and the next. That’s a lot of work for a sentence or two.

I’m working on several projects now and just started another last night.  One, I had to cut off almost a page and a half because I started in the wrong place. One beginning I have to tweak a bit, my character needs better identifying. The one I started last night, I think I did good on.

It’s going to be a mid-grade chapter book, mystery series.I was inspired by a fedora my daughter bought me. It’s magic.:-)  The series is the “Magic Fedora” series and the first book is “The Will That Wasn’t” – I just love that title. We have some other cool titles picked out too.

Stay tuned. I’ll share some here and there.Words-Have-Power

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Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Misc.


Throwing Rocks

DSCF0001“The writer’s job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.”
—Vladimir Nabokov

I read this quote a long time agon and had sorta forgotten it. My editor, (in a roundabout way) reminded me of it. But have you ever noticed this? A great example of this is the movie Dante’s Peak. Especially the last half.

The volcano is about to erupt, ash is falling like snow in a blizzard and the mayor’s kids have taken the truck and gone up the mountain to bring stubborn grandma to safety. Personally, I was with mom, if grandma doesn’t want to come down…then stay up there and get lavafied. But now, mom and our manly hero Harry, “have” to go up the mountain also. We see them headed up the mountain ash falling so thick they can hardly see.

A helicopter crashes right in front of them; rock slides threaten to knock them off the road. Trees are falling left and right. They barely make it through a rock and tree slide that blocks the road behind them. Grandma is upset, mom is upset, and the road behind them is blocked. What will they do now?

Moments later, lava starts pouring down the mountain and into the back of her house. They run out the front door, lava flows around the trucks so they run to the boat that just happens to be there. Motoring down the lake to safety, they notice the dead fish. Seems the lake has turned to acid and has started to eat the metal boat. Talk about throwing a rock. Here they are, in the middle of a lake of acid, surrounded by dead fish…in a leaking boat. What could be worse than this?

Again, the writer throws another rock. The propeller on the boat motor has been eaten away and no longer is useful. And to make matters worse, the water in the boat is rising fast. Grandma saves the day by jumping into the lake and towing the boat to safety. As they run down the dock to land, it crumbles beneath their feet but they do make it to shore. Naturally, Grandma dies before they reach the ranger station and another truck. But at least she’s redeemed herself.

As our characters drive cross country, things seem to have swung their way. Until the lava blocks their path, front and back. Driving through is the only way to go. As they head into the lava, the truck tires begin to burn and then, the writer throws another rock. They get stuck. Lava is heading toward them, tires are on fire and they are stuck. Heroic effort gets them out and going again when what do they see, Grandma’s dog on a boulder. They can’t leave him…

Eventually, they make it to town and the safety of a mineshaft. As they settle in to rest, Harry realizes he forgot to turn on the NASA GPS device that will tell the world they are alive in this mineshaft. Returning to the truck, Harry is injured in a tunnel collapse but manages to struggle onward. Climbing in the broken windshield, the tunnel collapses more, crushing the top of the truck. Finally, Harry is in the truck, broken arm and all. What else could go wrong? The roof is creaking and groaning and sinking lower and the GPS, won’t turn on. Eventually, he gets the GPS turned on and they are rescued.

Our characters need to be challenged also. The reader needs to care about what happens to our hero or heroine. If they don’t, the reader won’t finish the book. When you are writing, think about what could happen next. What rock can you throw and increase the risk or raise the stakes for your main character? Then, let it happen. Let your character be tested and have to struggle. Put him/her in a situation that causes them to grow and change, to test their limits and moral fiber.

I need to throw some rocks at my characters. Hope they can dodge.


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Posted by on April 29, 2016 in Writing


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Show, Don’t Tell

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Anton Chekhov


When I started writing seriously, I had a hard time with show, don’t tell. I think most writers do. I mean, we are telling a story. Thing is,  we have to realize we want the reader to be able to see the story as they read it. As I said, I struggled with the concept for a while. So much so, I actually dreamed about it and in my dream, I figured it out. I was so excited that it woke me up.  And, once I figured it out, I never really had any trouble with it again.

Which is why I was so shocked when my editor told me to “show” instead of tell.  I mean, I don’t tell when I should show.  Except, yep, I did. I fell back to the much easier telling things to the reader instead of showing them.  Sigh and head to desk.

So, one thing I’m working on while rewriting is showing. It’s not so much scenes and setting, but expressions and emotions. For example, I wrote something to the effect of he had a serious look on his face.  My editor said to show.  So, I googled just what does a serious look look like. I got quite a few pictures that didn’t help but I also got some that did.

Rewriting is work. But I’m looking forward to the finished story ’cause I know it’s going to be great.

What about you? Got problems with telling?

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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in Writing


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Blogging About Books

DSCF0946Some of y’all know I’ve been working on a mystery novel for quite a while. I finished it but decided to send it to an editor for a professional going over. Thing is, it took me some time to get the nerve up to send it. I mean, this editor is scary awesome. And I mean that in the best way. Once I got it back, I received so much feedback it was a bit overwhelming. Plus this editor pointed out things that, 1 – I didn’t want to admit I did, 2 – Things that I should have caught, and 3 – Plot holes, Character weaknesses, and (I hang my head in shame cause I know better.) too much telling, not enough show.

I set it aside so I could figure out how to fix some of the issues such as just who my bad guy really was and why. Well, it’s been another long while and I finally figured out some things and pulled it out to work on it.  The solutions to the problems are awesome. Wish I’d thought of them before. I’m zipping right along, rewriting a big chunk of it but it will be so good when finished. Can you tell I’m excited?

So, what does this have to do with the title of this post? When I finished the first draft, I saved a blog in the name of the book along with a Facebook page. I haven’t done anything with them but I have them. So here’s the question.  Do readers want to know about the process of writing an individual novel? Do they want to know things about the characters that might not end up in the book but are interesting and part of the character’s history?

Or, will just putting info out on my personal Facebook page be enough? I kinda think a fan page for the book could be fun.  Cover reveal, maybe some contests to win ARCs,  So what do you think? Is it worth the time and effort? I really do want to know so comment below!

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Posted by on April 27, 2016 in Misc.


“Great Novels…

…are not written, they are rewritten.”

I did do some searching and discovered it was Michael Crichton who said, “Good novels aren’t written, they’re rewritten.”  However, I like my version better.  Especially since I’m in the rewriting phase.

I wasn’t terribly thrilled at all the rewriting I have to do, until I realized just how much better the book will be when it’s finished and probably rewritten for a third time.

How do you feel about rewriting? What process do you use?

Right now, I’m typing the manuscript into the computer and making changes as I go. My editor likes a paper copy, which is cool, so I have pages and pages of suggestions and corrections to take care of.

I will say, I’m really excited about the rewriting process. I can see where the story is so much better. So, I’m back to rewriting.

Y’all have a great day!


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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Writing


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