Archive | November, 2013

And now, a word (or six, or maybe a thousand!) from our sponsor. ME!!!

19 Nov

After some three and a half years of writing this blog, here’s the commercial! You did realize there would be one someday, didn’t you?

I’m not very good at pushing myself, but if I don’t do it at least once, why should anyone else? It took me a lot of years to accept that I was a good writer. Not that I had a ton of rejections, I mean, you can’t very well have rejections if you don’t submit something to someone. The first time I wrote a query letter (to a major MAJOR magazine in 1982) there was an immediate response asking for the complete piece along with some clips. Eeekkkk! I didn’t have any clips! So I did nothing. Just ignored the letter, which is still in my box of memories. And yes, I do have several such boxes, by now.

Then came an eye-opening experience. I was hired to do publicity for a local community theater. I could let my creativity out to play in producing press releases. So I really did just that. I thought they were clever and attention getting – and a big no-no (supposedly) I even used colored paper! I soon discovered that the local newspapers were printing them word-for-word as I’d written them. I was very upset by this, until some wise person told me it was a compliment! Duh. That had never occurred to me. What a dumb bunny I was at that time. But at least, and at last! I realized I could write. I’ve never looked back in the succeeding nearly thirty years.

I had always wanted to be ‘a writer’. Whenever asked, that was my answer. It took me over half my lifetime to realize that you don’t just want to be a writer, you have to write, in order to get there! That’s how you gain experience, and hone your skills. Of course, you have to figure out what you want to write, and what you can write, which are not always the same thing. In high school, I determined to be a sports writer. Except that in those years of the early 50s, women weren’t allowed in men’s locker rooms, and that’s where all the good stories come from. Or at least that’s what a sportswriter for the Detroit Times told me.

But you know that old proverb – ‘she who laughs last, laughs best’? Well, that dream did come true for me FIFTY years later when I was appointed as ‘staff writer’ for the Cleveland Fusion, a women’s full-contact, tackle football team. For five seasons I went to every game, travelling with the team. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven!

But, in the meantime, I had achieved some degree of success as a writer. I’d written five full-length books, and two of them were commercially published: Secret Shores in 1993 and Windsong in 1994. Of course, they’re long out of print, thus I’ve re-issued them through CreateSpace and Kindle. Since not everyone has an e-reader, I strongly believe in print, and large-print, which at least for me, usually outsells the regular version.  So, here are the links for Secret Shores:

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003ZUYT72                                     Image

Secret Shores (regular print) https://www.createspace.com/3462382

Secret Shores (large print) https://www.createspace.com/3462682

And Windsong: Kindle  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FN1USEEImage

Windsong  (regular print)  https://www.createspace.com/4468771

Windsong  (Large Print)   https://www.createspace.com/4468881

(Psst!!  Big secret here. This code will save you 25% off the cover price of any of my print books from CreateSpace:  DGADJVGH  Don’t tell everyone – okay? This is just between us!)

In 2006, I heard of a rather new publisher who was looking for Regency novels. Cotillion is an imprint of Ellora’s Cave, located in Akron. The first book I wrote (in 1988) was a Regency, so I sent it off – and they accepted it! Whoopee.  Bertie’s Golden Treasure is in print and e-book versions.  http://www.ellorascave.com/bertie-s-golden-treasure-1.html   At that time, I had no other Regencies, but they did have a line of non-erotica, known then as Cerridwen, but which is now Blush. So I sent off the other two stories, and they, too were published. Ardenwycke Unveiled:  http://www.ellorascave.com/ardenwycke-unveiled.html

But Not for Love:  http://www.ellorascave.com/but-not-for-love-1.html

I wrote plays: More than Strangers (2003) and Not to Be Alone (2012) were both given staged readings at Cleveland’s Karamu Theater. In addition, an early shorter script was presented at the 1989 Richard III Society’s Annual General Meeting held in Boston, and then a longer script about the life of the opera composer Giacomo Puccini consisting of ten short scenes interwoven with arias from each of his operas. It was presented twice in January, 2008 by Cleveland’s Opera Per Tutti.

In 2011, my Regency novella Wagered Kiss was accepted by Cotillion and in addition to the e-book, http://www.ellorascave.com/wagered-kiss.html   it was part of their anthology for that year —  Christmas Kisses  http://www.ellorascave.com/christmas-kisses.html.

This summer, I published two novelettes on Kindle:  as myself, The Writing Class   Kindle  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E254EZQ   and as my Regency self, The Elegant Runaways   Kindle       https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EBWRCQ8

They don’t accept everything that I send them, which is perfectly understandable, I think, but I still like my stories, so I decided to publish them myself this year at Kindle and CreateSpace. The three novellas in e-books are: The Duke’s Christmas Gift —  Kindle   http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FJQFA7S  : A Cramlye Castle Christmas —  Kindle http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G1VRWUI : and Pongo Guthridge Finds Love —  Kindle    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FW6WO9C

Together, they comprise A Regency Christmas Collection  (regular print ISBN: 978-1492861935) https://www.createspace.com/4463896   and large print ISBN: 78-1492863700  https://www.createspace.com/4464175

Image

By the way, the print books are also available at BarneandNoble.com, but not yet for NOOK. Unless, that is, you have one that utilizes Google Play apps. You can then download the Kindle app, which works wonderfully well, a fact to which I can happily testify! My NOOK is the HD+, with the bigger screen, and I may very happily download Kindle books to my ‘Android device’.

Or, if you’d like something other than a book, please take a look at my Laughing Duck Cards. http://wp.me/PSmlk-4G  During the months of November and December, I’m offering a special deal – two boxes for $25. and I’ll pay the postage! Please write to me at laughingduckcardsATgmail.com, and specify which sets you’d like (you may choose two of the same, if you wish).  I’ll send you my address and when I receive the check, your package will go to the post office immediately!  You may also order any of my print books from me, too, if you wish. Write to me at bookmechanicATgmail.com I’ll be most happy to autograph them, if you like, and I’ll even pay the postage to send them to you. Please write for specifics first, okay?  Many thanks!

And you should be prepared – I plan to finish some of the 30-plus incomplete books in my computer during 2014. I’ll let you know about them as they happen. You’ll never again (I don’t think) get such a compilation as this one, though!  I’m hopeful for two titles for next year:  a book of short stories (Brief Interludes) and my ‘how to write a book’ book.  Or, maybe, something entirely different! Please stay tuned!

The moral of this entire story is threefold:  You need to believe in yourself;  keep plugging away at your dream –and never – EVER – give up that dream!

Happy Holidays!

Happy reading! And, happy writing to you all!

(And please accept my apology for not knowing HTML or something sensible to get the pictures to stay put once I get there where I want them!) 

Advertisements

The Joy of Finishing Something! — Redux

7 Nov

I decided to revisit this topic, more as a reminder to myself than anyone else. I need to pay attention to myself sometimes. You probably do, too.

It’s so easy to lose focus in this busy world we live in, which gets more fragmented every day.  I was reminded of this again last night, while I was stumbling through old files looking for something in particular. I did find it, eventually, but in the meantime, here was a file not quite a year old that didn’t look at all familiar. So I opened it and read the page it contained (a full page, single-spaced – 881 words) and thought to myself, ‘where on earth did this come from?’ I couldn’t recall ever having seen it before.

It was indeed mine, as the ‘properties’ told me I was the creator of it, last December. As I read it, it didn’t immediately ring any bells, but then, slowly, a few fragments started to make sense, and I could recognize some of it. But the question still remains – where was I going with it? At the moment, I haven’t a clue, so I’ll just leave it to nap where it is. Maybe someday, I’ll have another flash of inspiration or something, and go back to it

If I’m looking for something else to work on, there are close to 30 incomplete books in my computer. I’ll choose one of them. Some of them have between 20K and 30K words to them, and some are part of a series.

Ah, well. Next year. After all, that’s only seven weeks from now!

So, I hear you ask – why didn’t you finish any of these stories? Numerous reasons, actually, other than just laziness or distraction.

When I first started writing romance novels, the submission protocol was ‘first three chapters and synopsis’. So you hurry up and do that, and hopefully continue working on the book while the proposal makes the rounds of editors or agents. After a few rejections, however, the glow fades a bit, and you begin to doubt yourself. Is it me? Is it the book? The story? The characters?  You never think – maybe that editor (or agent) is having a bad day and won’t like anything at all. And believe me, that does happen!

Or, I never made this mistake, but tons of other writers have, so I’ll mention it. You carefully type up your manuscript according to the instructions, and then, send it to the wrong editor, the wrong publisher, the wrong agent. I’ve never been able to figure out why some people simply refuse to read – and follow —  the instructions! If the publisher doesn’t publish romance, why send it there? Or if the editor prefers science fiction, why send a techno-thriller? Such obvious mis-matches don’t gain the writer any points at all, and frequently don’t even garner a response, as the work goes straight into the circulating file.

It’s very easy to discover the type of books the publisher wants. If they make their wishes known, you should pay attention. I mean, why would anyone want to send an erotic romance to a publisher of inspirational books? Or vice versa?

There are so many reasons a book might not be accepted, it’s really cause for celebration when you finally make it. And let me tell you, it never gets old. Never.

It’s always a thrill to hold your book in your hands. So, keep after that elusive dream. Finish that book! Set realistic goals for yourself, and don’t lose sight of the dream!

Happy writing!