Friday, August 30, 2013


If you remember Orange Crush in bottles, bike rides away from home, slingshots as fine entertainment and Good 'N Plenty's as a way of filling your stomach on a hot summer day, you might be able to relate to Pure Trash by Bette A. Stevens.
Pure Trash can be found at Amazon
If you've ever been offended, judged, spoken to in a way that gave you serious room for doubt about the world and the people in it, then you will definitely relate to Pure Trash.
Shawn is a poor boy, with a mother who makes her clothing out of old potato sacks and a father who spends most of their hard earned money on beer. But Shawn doesn't know that he is poor. He doesn't know his father is a drunkard. This is his life.

What Shawn knows is that he has a best friend and brother named Willie and that gathering pop bottles and turning them in for cash is the next best thing to being rich.
Shawn creates adventure at every turn and enjoys the simple pleasures of life:

"Flying down the other side (of the hill on a bike) gave me the best feeling in the whole world. I guess that's how that old chicken hawk feels when he soars above the pines at the edge of the field out back of the house."
The short story is filled with images and flavor only better provided by an ice cream cone.

"Dad always said that you 'had to hold your mouth just right,' or the fish wouldn't bite."
"Willie's brown eyes looked as big as Mum's pan friend donuts..."

The interesting thing about being poor as a child is that you rarely know you are poor, unless a Christian or two points out some 'obvious' lack. But even then, life goes on, and you make the best of what you've got.
Because it's all you can do.

I recommend Pure Trash to the adult reader and YA reader alike.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Seeing Your Writing

This might sound like an opaque subject, but seeing your writing for what it is isn't always easy. You have a few critics; those that don't like your writing, and a few raving fans, those who say they like everything you've written.

Seeing your writing like it is, is a bit like "looking through a glass darkly." There are times you feel as if you've just about made it, other times you wonder, "Have I been wasting away my life doing something I'm not really good at?"

Photo by: Bohman, courtesy of Flickr
You may have received writing awards of some kind, had a book published, been asked to speak at writing groups...still, that nagging sensation won't leave you alone.

Photo by: Pensive Glance, courtesy of Flickr
For me, knowing where I'm at in writing takes introspection. And while it's nice to get kudos from others and even negative reviews from others, in reality, it's what I think about my writing that really matters. And what I think can help me to make the necessary improvements.

Do I struggle with setting, or is it dialogue? And how can I improve?
Do I use the five senses, easily, just like I do in real like when walking the mountain path, or does this aspect of my writing need work?
What about plot? What about grammar? What about theme?

I don't know about you, but I feel as if I'm always learning something new to help me in seeing my writing more clearly. Sure, a well-meaning critique can help, so can a writing class, but in the end it's about seeing my writing, really seeing it. I need to let go of excuses. I need to let go of feeling sorry for myself. I need to hold my chin up and keep writing. I need to keep learning.

Perfection isn't possible, but improvement is.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Telling the Truth in Writing

I don't know what it is about telling the truth; it's almost like we're afraid we'll hurt the other ones feelings if we do.

Photo by: arimoore, courtesy of Flickr
And maybe we will.

Because, when it comes to writing, I sometimes find myself doing the same thing for my main character. You know, protecting him or her from the ills of life. Instead of having her face the "giant" I have her finding out the truth early on and walking away from "him."

Telling the truth is important, and sometimes, even in real life it comes out bluntly.

You may have a character that is truthful to a "hurtful" fault, and you may have another that cannot see who they are and are always pretending to be someone they're not.  Both of these scenarios work in a book of truth telling; but a character that shy's away from danger just because you don't want him to "feel bad" is not the truth.

The truth is, you may not want your character to have to go through difficult stuff, and this will hurt your story.

You need tension.

Photo by: Leonard John Matthews, courtesy of Flickr
You need trouble.
You need a character who struggles and overcomes.

And you can only do that as a writer if you tell your readers the truth.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Todays guest is author, Zoe Keithley. Learn what instrument she plays and why she sometimes gets "crabby."
Zoe Keithley

1. Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

Well, it was the Honey Bunch books. I was four years old and my mother had to take me for long visits to the eye doctor. She brought a book along and read aloud to me while we waited. One of those times, I realized that I would like to do that too--tell a story in print that would take people into another world that I made up. I told my mother this, and she took some blank paper from her purse and a pen and told me to start telling the story.  That's where it all started. I wrote in spurts, tried publishing with little success until I found a very different kind of writing program in my mid-forties at Columbia College in Chicago called StoryWorkshop. Then the writing became steady. Lately I have published a book of poems, Crow  Song,
A collection of poetry 
Find her book at Amazon
and have put three short stories (3/Chicago) up on Kindle.

A rolling river will follow other short stories, a novella and two novels. At Columbia I earned a degree as a Master Teacher and took my training into Chicago public school classrooms to model for teachers for fifteen years. Now, in Sacramento, I lead monthly writing workshops and am working on two new pieces--one fiction and one autobiographical.  Also I remain a beginning student of the banjo. What a great life!
2. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I have converted the "dining" end of my apartment's kitchen as my writing studio. Tucked into a corner there, I do very well and prefer my laptop unless material is very deep and/or hesitant. Then I resort to a written journal.
3. What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My usual favorite part of writing, like most writers I think, is when the images and ideas come in a big head rush and the writing seems to "write itself." I always take as much advantage of this as possible. After all, there will always be some revision. My least favorite part of writing is cleaning up a manuscript to send out, including having to shorten it for a contest. Of course, this often has good very good effects and then I wonder what I was so crabby about. There's a "lazy" writer in me, I know, that has to be overcome in order to bring a piece to its very best.
4. How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

Characters either come as variations of people in real life experiences, or manifest independently, demanding a story to hold them. That's the same as saying sometimes the story idea comes first and sometimes the compelling character needs a story to come first. I never know if readers will want to know my characters. I figure it's my job to draw them with enough flesh-and-blood and spirit and genuine problems that they will hook the reader as they have hooked me. I count on myself and my readers being pretty much cut out of the same cloth. I'm an ordinary person generally, and think of my audience being more or less like me, human beings with the experience of human life. 

5. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

Other than sending pieces out to contests and for publication, I am just beginning to do marketing by publishing on Kindle and using the services of a "promoter" who is teaching me about marketing. It's a lot of learning to do, but I'm rolling up my sleeves.

 6. How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I schedule my writing by a kind of internal clock and by external demands like deadlines. If I have a longer story or novel going, it stays in my mind and keeps pulling on me so that I get to it nearly daily without trouble. After all, I want to find out how it's going to turn out myself!

 7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out? 

Currently I have two new works started. One is The Woman, The Bear and the Mountain started several years ago up at Mount Shasta and pretty much continuing when I make trips to the mountain. I also have very modest beginnings on an autobiography. To write it, I have given myself permission to make it a hodge-podge of styles and approaches--whatever suits at the moment of writing, whatever comes when I sit down to do it. I take that freedom with first draft, and it feels very good with what might otherwise be a stultifying or boring form.
8. Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it. 

My project-in-mind, on the back burner, is a small book about some spiritual adventuring I have tried over the years and its results.

That's it!

(I am well into March 2014 for author interviews, but if you'd like to be interviewed, or know of a writer who would, drop me a line at:




Friday, August 23, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Memory Lake

What happens when nine friends gather to spend summer camp at Memory Lake?

All the things you remember.


"My body had stiffened into a permanent cringe as we pressed deeper into the muck. Our limbs slicked across layers of soggy sediment and masses of roots so compacted we barely disturbed the leaves above. This gnarled growth pulsated against our scalps as busy inhabitants transmitted waves of vibration into the air. Thousands, perhaps millions of cicadas and crickets insulted us in a cloud of noise..."
"Christie grabbed a handful of marshmallows and squished them to resemble cottage cheese. She pulled repeatedly until the mash smoothed into lustrous taffy. 'Yum!' she announced, stretching the gleaming band..."
"It's a warm rain, though," Lori said, shrugging her shoulders and kneeling on a garbage bag. She took a bite from a cold hot dog and shot it toward me. It wiggled grotesquely like a dead, amputated finger. "Could be worse." She grinned. "It could be snowing..."
Wrapped with everything good you expect from a memoir, Memory Lake, by Nancy S. Kyme, is filled with fun, friends, camp counselors, a smattering of spiritual moments, and the truth about getting your feet wet.
A lengthy book, 435 pages, this reader had to finally put it down and go on to other projects. Though poetically written and visually appealing, I found it a bit long for my tastes.  After 141 pages, I missed the tension and building climax offered in a typical fiction novel.
My suggestion?

Take this book with you on your next sea side vacation. Though captivating, you need time to relax and simply enjoy the pages. Something I didn't have.
Perhaps I'll finish Memory Lake on that dream vacation to the Oregon coast.  

Learn more about Nancy at:



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Don't Tell Me, I Have to Start Over?

I have been working with authors for some time now, and sometimes we learn through the process of editing and improving the manuscript, that the task is really that they need to start their short story over. A book is even worse, and it can be very painful considering all the time and effort put into it. 

But sometimes the task is necessary.

Sometimes, you have terrific characters, a nice setting, but the plot? Well, it sucks.

There is not enough intrigue, not enough tension, not enough (dare I say it) problems in the book to make the reader continue to read until the last page. Or you may have a lot going on in terms of problems, but the problems are all over the place and don't necessarily reflect the main struggle your primary character is going through.

Photo by: @Doug88888, courtesy of Flickr
For example, say your main character's parents are going through a divorce, but the problems your character faces don't specifically stem from the main problem. Perhaps the girl's focus is on friends and getting good grades at school, but she has no problem making friends and her grades are perfect. When a child faces the divorce of her parents, the loss affects every avenue of her life. She struggles to be liked, to prove herself worthy of a friend--any friend. (Who has enough self-esteem to be picky?) She makes mistakes directly related to the divorce, and finds herself searching for answers to fill in the loss of a missing parent.

Yes, I'm well aware that some books don't need that climb up the mountain (such as a memoir, for example) but most books need the intrigue. They need the tension.

Without it, you have nothing but beautiful words that lead the reader to the kitchen for a bite to eat.

Starting over isn't all bad. You have the characters in place. You have the setting. Now, create some problems for the character that continue to get worse (based on the main issue) before they get better.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Marketing: The Tough Part

Today I received another 5 star review for my book, Marketing Your Book on a Budget. It reminded me of how important it is to market my work, because, after all, no one is going to know that my book is in existence, if others don't talk about it.

I wanted to focus today specifically on the reviewer who reviewed this book, and share some good things that she accomplished on her blog that you can do on yours to bring in the readers.

1. The photo of my book is large; probably the largest I've seen on a website. And this is good if you've got the space. There is no missing it.

2. The blogger has included a brief description of the book; something short to give readers a heads-up on what the book is about.

3. She has also included many links. Not only within the copy, but at the end of the article. People love to clink on links.

4. There is also an excerpt of my book. Read the first few pages of my book (including links that I have added in the copy) for free.

5. My book trailer is included; something most bloggers don't add, (including myself). But what I know about trailers is that people like to watch them.

6. Her review is included.

7. The post ends with my own thoughts about how and why I write.

Many writers consider marketing the hard part about being an author, and while I agree, I also think there are many, many things a writer can do to get their work out there that aren't so tough. Here's a link to the post.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back to Reality: What Reality Really Means as a Writer

Yesterday, my daughter, who'd been visiting for a few days, left us.

The void was palatable.

Before leaving she said, "I guess it's time to get back to reality."

Her reality? Raising two girls, working full time and trying to keep up with everything else.

My reality?

Well, it's this, and starting up with my mentoring again, and pretty much doing a catch up. It's what we all do when we return from vacation.

Still, her "well used" comment, made me wonder.

Photo by: nualabugeye, courtesy of Flickr
What do we, as writers, consider reality?

Is it only about the work? Is it only taking care of our children or making a quick trip to the grocery store? Or is it something more?

I'd like to consider those times that I get that "ah-ha" when I'm writing, a reality. I'd also like to think that writing without really thinking, is the best way to write; when I'm really tapped into the best kind of reality, because that's when my writing flows.

Reality. What is it for you?

I hope it's not all about work, but that it is also, for you, about vacation; those times, when you kick back a little and breathe in all that the world has to offer.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Heads Up: What to Expect the Next Few Days

Well, my daughter from Texas is in town once again!

We will be having a splendid time vacationing the next few days, so I wanted to give you a heads-up on upcoming posts.

I won't be writing anything new until next Tuesday, that's that 20th. That means you'll not see an author interview on Monday the 19th, or any of my other lovely posts.

But don't despair.

There are plenty of posts to catch up on if you haven't already, and I expect you'll find at least one gem to take you until Tuesday, whether the post is on writing, publishing, marketing, or simply what I do on a day I have no idea what to write.

My grand-daughter Bekah

Until then, happy writing, publishing and marketing!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What it Really Means to Edit

I know I've spoken on this subject before, but it bears repeating. Editing is probably one of those things you hate to do but feel as if you have to do anyway to put out the best book possible.

And you'd be right.

But there is also that other side of editing, the side called choice, when it's really is up to you to decide how you want your story to go. Allow me to share some examples:

Photo by: the Italian voice, courtesy of Flickr
1. If you have an editor who says they think a particular scene should go the way of "all trash," but you feel differently, and, in fact, most of your "critiquers" feel differently, take a second look before trashing that scene.

2. Editing and editing and editing, for the sake of making something "perfect" will usually ruin a nice piece of writing. Edit. Stop. Pass your manuscript on to someone else. Have them edit. Read your manuscript again. Edit for a final time. You may even want to edit after two weeks of shelving your manuscript, but edit and then move on.

3. Move on! Once you've finished that first chapter, move on to chapter two, don't try and fix chapter one. Move forward. Get at least halfway through your book before going back to chapter one and trying to fix it. This will keep you from staying on chapter one forever more.

4. Incomplete sentences work sometimes. Made up words work sometimes. It's okay to break the rules, but make sure the sentence or paragraph works.

5. If you're going through a traditional publisher, you will have less control of what is edited; so be aware. If you feel strongly about a scene, a phrase or even a word change, mention your concerns to your publisher. You may win them over, but you may not.

Photo by: Sean MacEntee, courtesy of Flickr
6. It's important to keep your eyes wide open to new ideas. These ideas might be presented by someone else reading your work, they might come when editing a particular scene. Listen and make changes. 

Editing is kind of like cleaning out a cluttered room. Sure, you want to get rid of excess baggage, but you also want to keep the natural beauty intact.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Need some assistance with marketing? Then you'll want to read on:
Mark Messick has also dabbled in short story writing
(see end of interview).

~ Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?

Well, I've always liked to read (ever since the 2nd grade, at least) and at the age of 9 or 10 I just natuarallly started writing my first book. I've been writing ever since.

~ How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or do you prefer writing freehand?

I really prefer writing at a desk in a quiet room with a big window and lots of books. And I definitely prefer a laptop.

~ What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I have two favorite parts of the writing process. A) when I first get the idea for a book and B) when I finish the book.

My least favorite part of the writing process is the editing phase. I really don't care for editing that much, even though it is quite necessary to the success of a book.

~ How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

Well, I mostly write in the “Advice & How-To” niche, so I don't have to bother with creating characters that often.

~ What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

There are four main marketing techniques that I believe are extremely effective:
1)      Having A Clickable Title

2)     Having An Amazing Cover

3)     Having An HTML Formatted Book Description

4)     Keyword research
Each one of these things have been extremely helpful to me and I wouldn't trade my knowledge of them for the world.
Unfortunately, some of them are quite complex, so I can't discuss how to do all of them here. However, I have written a book that covers a couple of them. It's titled Secrets To Selling Ebooks On Amazon: How To Sell More Kindle Ebooks On Amazon Using HTML, SEO & Copywriting Techniques In Your Book Description. If you're interested, you can learn more about the book here:

~ How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I write as often as possible but I have found that I'm most productive from 4 to 6 in the afternoon/evening. So, I try to write during that time nearly every day.

~ What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

A couple of weeks ago I published Secrets To Selling Ebooks On Amazon and I'm currently editing a new book, which I have decided to title: Write Better, Write Faster, Write Freely: How To Write A Nonfiction Ebook In Just 24 Days

I'm planning on releasing it in the next week or two, so it shouldn't be too long until it's available for purchase.

~ Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I'm currently working on what I call the “Secrets To Selling Ebooks On Amazon Series”. The writing book is the first in the series and the HTML book is the fourth. (Yes, I am writing it out of order, I know.) I have planned 9 books in this series so I'm planning on just writing a new book in the series every month or so for the next 7 months.

I also have a ton of other ideas but until I finish this series I'm not going to focus on any of them.

~ What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Dang, I wish my writing book was already out there. That book would be perfect, perfect, for somebody struggling with this question.

But, since it's not already published I guess we'll just have to make do.

I firmly believe that nearly anyone has the ability to write a book, even if they don't yet know it. Maybe not a fiction book (I've tried) but definitely a nonfiction book. Nonfiction is really easy to write, especially when the book is about something you know and care about.

I suggest that you just come up with a topic that  you are both knowledgeable and passionate about and start banging it out on a keyboard. Don't worry if it sounds all funky. The important thing is to get it out there as fast as humanly possible and then clean everything up afterwards.
Some great advice, Mark! Thanks for coming in for an interview, and I wish you success in your endeavors!
To learn more about Mark:
~ Kindle Publishing Help Site: 
~ Kindle Publishing Help Newsletter Signup Form: 
~ Secrets To Selling Ebooks On Amazon: 
~ Ebook Publishing Secrets: 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Full Plate? How to Balance Your Writing With Your Life

I have been thinking about this subject for a long time, and may have already written about it in a previous post, but the thought of having a full plate came up for me again last night.

In this life, there are many and varied opportunities; many of them good. But that doesn't mean you must tackle each and every one you encounter.

Like writing, life is filled with these choices. And like writing, you must be open to weeding out and taking in.

Balance is often a difficult place to find. And I think this is because so much of the 'daily' stuff is always vying for our attention. The trick is, not to get overwhelmed with it all but to make time for writing, for family, and for personal renewal.

Photo by: Shira Golding, courtesy of Flickr
Sometimes the dishes can wait.

One of my favorite singers is Hilary Weeks. She's a Christian singer who has a song about this very thing. About not washing the dishes in favor of spending time with her loved ones The song's called "If Only I had Today." Click here to read the lyrics. Listen to the song here.

Do yourself a favor. If you feel as if your plate is full with all you have to do, both writing and otherwise, take a moment and just take the song in.

Have a great day!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Secrets: When You Should Keep Them in Writing

If you're a writer of mystery or suspense, you've probably heard that keeping secrets is the name of the game when it comes to writing in either of these genres. And that's simply because you don't want to spell everything out in the first chapter.

But consider a romance; one that keeps you jumping. Will they ever get back together? Will he ever tell her why he doesn't want to get married?

Sometimes the secret is for the character; the reader knows, at other times, neither the character nor the reader has an inkling of what's going to happen next.

Photo by: @Doug88888, courtesy of Flickr
Why does she come to the park alone?
And that's as it should be.

Consider a novel that spells it all out and never leaves anything to the imagination, or worse, tells you what everyone is thinking and the secrets they've been keeping. Consider knowing it all in the first chapter. Would you want to go on to chapter 2?

Of course not.

Secrets, well kept, still lend themselves to some hints, of course. You want to lead the reader along, probably not by a dog collar, but by a thin thread that keeps them wanting more. The secrets can be between the characters, or the secrets can be between the author and the page. In either case, keeping secrets adds great tension to your story and keeps the interest rising.

Why doesn't he tell her he's been previously married? Why does she act so strangely around cats? What makes him cower whenever he sees a mushroom?

Sometimes secrets are meant to be kept, and when it's time to release them, timing is everything. Like a perfect ending to a less than perfect life, you want your reader to feel rewarded for having spent the time trying to figure it all out.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Keeping Up With the Jones': Staying True to Yourself

Often in the life of a writer you'll find someone with more expertise or more writing experience, and you may find yourself trying to keep up.

Since I married into the Jones name, I often smile when people say things like,

"Just trying to keep up with the Jones'."


Photo by: booyaa, courtesy of Flickr
"I just can't keep up with the Jones'."

Since I am a Jones, I'll be the first one to admit there's not a lot for you to keep up with. I don't write in every genre, I don't make tons of money or drive a new car. I just purchased a house that was built in 1964.

But I think that many writers (myself included) often get trapped into thinking that they need to keep up with it all. A book a year, daily marketing, monthly classes and teaching opportunities... and do everything equally well.

You want to sell books, right?

I'm of the firm opinion that the best thing a writer can do in the selling of his/her books is to take one thing at a time. No one person can be the ultimate writer if he/she is too busy marketing their books. A great marketer needs time to write. There are opportunities to take classes, read books on writing, and even teach a few, but none of these things need to happen at the same time.

Instead of keeping up with your favorite writer, and all you believe he/she does to make his/her books a success, consider what you want to do to make your books a success, and focus in on a few things rather than on many.

While it's true that a good book is essential to success, so is marketing, and so is every other writing opportunity out there. For me, if I make my primary focus writing, and second to that marketing, I don't have to keep up with anyone. I just do what I can.

I may do some online marketing one day, and a week later teach a class. But I try to stay true to myself and what I really want in life. Is it to make the big bucks, or is it to share my writing with others?

Staying true to myself is the bottom line. For amongst all writing and marketing has to offer is life, and this life doesn't always include making it to the New York Times bestseller list.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Keeping Calm. When That Rejection Letter Comes In

Years ago, when I was trying to get published through a national publisher, I sent out many, many query letters.

And while some of these letters came back, "no interest," there were many other things that happened too, both internally and externally. Allow me to share them with you.

Photo by: The D34n, courtesy of Flickr

1. The first thing I learned right away when receiving a rejection letter, was that I needed to have a new query already ready to send to the next publisher. This helped ease the pain of the rejection, and allowed for hope that the next query would be accepted.

2. I also learned that one publishers opinion was simply that, an opinion. Another publisher might like my story idea and accept it. This happened with A River of Stones.

3. I learned that I needed to be patient with a response to my query. Most answers to queries take roughly 3 months, but they can take up to 6 months or longer. So I learned early on to get many queries out there so that I always had at least one publisher that I hadn't heard from yet.

4. This meant I had to be organized. I needed a way to track what I'd sent out. I used Excel, but you can use whatever works for you.

5. I paid special attention to hand writing in the margins of my query letters. I always paid attention to letters that came back that were personalized; that meant the editor, or editors, had actually read my work. Form letters are the standard rule, but if you get something up and beyond this, be grateful and take notice. 

6. I realized I wouldn't be published overnight, and occasionally, a publisher would say, "We like this, but would like you to make thus and thus changes. Then we'll look at it again." Make sure you are up to the changes; make sure that you agree with them. And don't plan on your book being accepted even after you've made the changes. Even after all of this, the changes may not be quite what the publisher is looking for. But then again, with the changes made, your work may just be accepted.

The most important thing when it comes to rejection letters is that you keep on writing, no matter how many rejection letters you receive, and that you continue to write no matter the perceived barriers to your success receiving them brings.

Happy Writing!



Monday, August 5, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Kaiser

How does Elizabeth come up with her characters? Read on...

1. Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

      I’ve always loved books and stories, even before I knew what words were. If an adult wasn’t around to read to me, I would turn the pages of picture books and “read” to my little sister. When I was nine I read an abridged version of Little Women. In the book, Jo started to write. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It’s just been a matter of time, study, and a whole lot of practice.

2. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

I definitely feel that Microsoft Word is my best tool as an author! I’ve actually done most of my writing on a desktop model, but recently splurged on a steal of a laptop, and so am feeling very up-with-the-Joneses now. I know! I’m so non-cutting-edge. That’s okay. My characters don’t care, and they’re some of my favorite people.

3. What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love being held in the sway of the story, the spell it casts on the imagination and the fact that I find out more about my tale as I track it down across the wastelands of my imagination.

My least favorite part would definitely be the writing. Putting those words on paper and having them make sense, come across correctly to the reader… that is such a mysterious, unknowable process, and when it works it’s like magic. When it stalls, it’s like pulling teeth. I hate doing dental work.

4. How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

My characters come to me… it’s like they’re real people and I can’t make them turn into something they’re not. I like to think this is because of my long experience with a vast array of people and personalities, in real life as well as literature. All those memories are just sitting in the back room of my creative brain, and then one of them gets up and walks through the wall to the front desk.

5. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I’m working mostly over the internet, so that would be networking with like-minded folk, researching, and always up for finding new ways to reach readers. I definitely haven’t gotten everything figured out with this, not by a long shot.

6. How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I write when I can… and that is not a scheduled thing. I’ve found my optimum time is from 3:00 in the afternoon onward, that’s when the creativity flows best. But being well rested is crucial, and that is something I’m not always up on. So, I do what I can, when I can, and try to be grateful!

7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I’ve just finished up and released Traitor’s Knife my second novel in the Five Gems series, the follow up to Jeweler’sApprentice. Three more novels will fill out this leg of the series, and we’ll see from reader response what might happen in that world later on.

8. Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I always have several projects on the back burner! It’s almost an epidemic with me. I’m currently working on a Medieval Romance inspired by a friend’s photo in a stunning blue dress she made. Then there are the several YA fantasy tales that aren’t related to Jeweler’s Apprentice/Traitor’s Knife… not sure when these might get finished, but they’re fun to sneak over and work on from time to time.

9. What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

I’m not sure what to say to that. If I knew, I’d tell myself! I think we all have a terrible sense of what “enough talent” is… especially when it’s ourselves we’re judging. So… yes, I have no idea what to say!
Get to know me better at
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Thank you, Elizabeth!
As always, I am looking for other writers to interview. If you'd like to see your interview here and get some free promotion, contact me at: I have an opening for August 26!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our New Cat, Sweetie Pie

Surprise, surprise!
We thought to purchase a tabby.
We thought to purchase a boy kitten.
But this beautiful gem has a sweet face and eyes.
She likes exploring
and sitting on my desk.
Our new cat sweety pie.
Right now she is hiding somewhere in the laundry room.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Getting Your Book Ready for Publication

I received a call yesterday about publication.

One of the questions was, should I get published traditionally or should I do it on my own?

Because I don't believe every author should be self-published just because I am I gave her the pros and cons of each. They went something like this:

Traditional Publisher

Provides you the big-time name. Everyone knows who Penguin is, for example.

Does much of the work including cover, layout and editing. You don't have to pay for any of that.

Gets you in the bookstores (although I have my own thoughts about how important that really is).

An author must find an agent or a publisher on their own, and finding the right publisher might take them years.

The author has little control over the cover (if any) or the layout, or any other aspect of their book.

Pays you little. 20% or less on each book. Royalties for no name authors are slim to none.

Self Published

No big-time name. You might publish under CreativeCommons (Amazon) or Idea Creations Press (My company 3 years in the running).

You do the work yourself or hire it out. You pay for that.

You probably won't be in bookstores. But this is okay in my humble opinion. Most books today sell better online and through author speaking engagements.

Pays you up to 70% on each book.

Some say that you can tell a self-published book from a traditionally published book. Though this may be so, authors are continually getting smarter and the line is getting thinner between the two.

Author has full control over their book, even if they hire the work out. Just check what we do at Idea Creations Press.

Publish when your book is ready. Shorten your wait.

When it comes to getting your book ready for publication, you really need to know if you're going to farm it out or do it yourself. In either case, the marketing will be up to you for the most part.

Yes, even if you go the traditional route.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Writing for Beans: Can You Really Make Money at Writing?

Do you ever feel like you're writing for beans?

I mean, you may make a little money here and there, but it could never support you. But you keep writing. Why is that?

I don't think there's any question about the answer.

You write because you love it. If you write for beans (or for money) you may find yourself running out of steam before you've frankly even got started.

Photo by: goobimama, courtesy of Flickr

When I began writing years ago I made a few beans during the first five years, but this didn't include a published book. And once the book was published, I actually lost money because my book cost too much, I paid too much for the copies and I did most of the marketing. When the rights were bought back for the book, I made a bit more money and got myself out of the red.

But it was still beans...

Today, I actually make a part-time living at writing. I sell a few copies of my books monthly and have taken on some writing clients.

Photo by: snail's trail, courtesy of Flickr
Will I ever make a full-time living?

That remains to be seen, but what I know right now is that the beans add up. Just get yourself a jar and count them up for yourself. Every time you make a sale. Every time you make a new connection that may purchase in the future. Every time you market. Every time you write, add another bean.

Writing for beans may not make you a millionaire, but it will bring you some pretty fine treats. And yes, these treats do add up.