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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sometimes It Starts Like This

We were on our way to the book fair in Ben Wheeler. Jean driving with Evelyn beside her and I in the back seat. Along the country road, we passed a farmhouse set back among the trees. I caught sight of a family cemetery as we drove past. The image of a tilted stone marker remained for a moment and, in my mind's eye, a young woman stood beside it, Her back was to me as she gazed down toward the ground. Gently-curled brown hair draped below her shoulders over a tan trench-style coat tightly wrapped at the waist. That imaginary image stayed with me for some time before I was able to chase it away.

On our way home, I asked Jean if we could stop long enough for me to take a picture. All three of us kept a look-out for the small group of grave markers. Jean was gracious enough to make two turns to enable me to take pictures; first time of the cemetery itself and after Evelyn pointed it out, a return stop so I could walk closer to capture an image of the historical marker so it could be read.

I have no idea where this is leading. For the moment, these notations and the pictures will be filed away...possibly to never see the light of day again.

But, somehow I have a feeling this woman will be visiting me again. I suspect she wants me to write her story.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

How Do We Maintain a Balance?

The holiday season is approaching with the speed  of a flash of lightning. And that signifies a deluge of opportunities to sell books. Everyone agrees books make wonderful Christmas presents, so every author knows you've got to get your books out in the public's eye so they can grab them up to fill their Christmas present-buying lists.

The holiday season also brings an upswing in social activities with personal family gatherings and special church and community events. We authors find ourselves stretched tighter than a guitar string trying to cover all the bases at this time of year.

For instance, as I peruse the opportunities to meet-and-greet the reading public over the next few weeks, I could obligate myself to being as some public function for every weekend. And quite possibly, more than one location in a weekend.

There are so many opportunities available to sell our books at this time of the year, that it gets harder and harder to make choices. And all the while, juggling the added family...and possibly work...responsibilities that occur at this time of year.

For myself, I'm going to be making very judicious choices. After all, I don't want to enter the joyous season totally exhausted and unable to enjoy myself. Do you?

I'd really like to get your thoughts on this dilemma.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Did You Miss Me?

Good Morning!
Life got in the way and it's been some time since I've posted here.

The holiday season is upon us and that means book events popping up all over the map.
This Saturday I'll be in Winnsboro at the Cultural Arts Center as a representative of White Bird Publishing. If you're in the area, stop by and say Hi to a great bunch of authors.

It's also National Novel Writing Month but I'm passing up participating this year. Last year was a first-time experience for me and I was astonished at how much writing I accomplished. Didn't know I could write to deadlines! The story I completed, tentatively titled Mai Lin, is nearing the close of its critiquing stage and is headed for publication some time next year.

Mai Lin was sold as a child in China and comes to San Francisco, California at the turn of the Twentieth century...just in time to experience the earthquake. My story chronicles her adventurous life in those turbulent times and gives the reader a glimpse into Chinese life in that city back then.

Recently I committed to writing book reviews with a group of author friends. They've been posting some complementary reviews for Second Time Around. Hope you'll go here and check them out.

This year's project, a fictionalized biography of Harriet Tubman, is on its way to the first reader. I await comments and suggestions.

Been reading lots of great books; I came across one I highly recommend: A Walk On The Beach by Joan Anderson.

Until next time, happy reading.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What Happened To George?

A funny thing happened to George Washington, Surveyor, Soldier, Leader on its way to publication.

For some undisclosed reason, I found it necessary to purchase my own proof copy after the book had already been released. Upon reviewing the print issue, I discovered some serious errors. Well, to me they were serious. Correctable errors in formatting like incorrect page numbering and incorrect placement of objects on the cover. Most disturbing was a Publisher's Note inserted at the front of the book. In it, my book was described as fiction and stated all people, places and incidents were the work of the author's imagination. This notice came at quite a shock since I'd spent months in research, even purchased a copy of George Washington's own diary to be certain what I wrote was historically accurate.

I contacted my publisher at Dancing With Bear Publishing, listing the needed corrections and even offering to send directions for making the corrections. Since the services of CreateSpace was used to produce the book and I was familiar with their procedures, I knew all it would take was correcting the manuscript and re-submitting it.

Her response? An offer to allow me to buy out my contract at a substantial sum. I turned down the offer, replying that I wished only to produce a book that reflected professionalism.

That was when I received a second offer of release from the contract stating a list of charges I would be responsible for. I won't go into the ludicrous details.

When I turned that down, her reply was an expansive email canceling of my contract and accusing me of being an "author diva."

So, unfortunately I've requested that Amazon remove the print copy of the book from their shelves. I have a couple copies to sell as long as they last and have already gotten a request for one. But there's just a few and they are going fast.

Meanwhile - to those customers who purchased a copy through Amazon - I'll be happy to sign what may turn out to be collector's items some day. George's story will have to go back on the shelf for a while more.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Special Project for Wounded Warriors

I'm yielding this space today to fellow author Diane Rinella who wants to share with you her special project for some very special folks.

Love, Honor, & Hope- A Benefit for the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation
Eight authors are joining forces to support one fantastic cause. Beginning June 24, 2014, Love, Honor, & Hope,an anthology of eight full-length novels, will be available for 30 days at the low price of $0.99. That’s right, just 99 pennies. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation.

PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects approximately 19% of the military men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq—and that’s just those who have been diagnosed. The percentage is expected to grow as more of our military members seek treatment. It’s a heartbreaking trend for the men and women who sacrifice so much for our freedoms, especially with benefits being cut and promotions being threatened.
The United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation is a non-profit charity that focuses on providing FREE care to combat military members, both active and veterans. They can’t do it alone, which is why we’ve made the decision to step up and do something. All eight of the authors have their personal reasons for supporting this cause.

Cherime MacFarlane, author of Heart of the Hunter said, “For me, it’s the way a very quiet man, my uncle, receded into the background whenever a family function took place. I did understand he came back from WWII that way. A young man, easy going and quick to laugh became a recluse. My father also served in WWI, as did a second uncle who returned far from the mischievous young man he was before the war claimed his youth. I was a young mother during the Vietnam era. I had friends who did not come back from Vietnam. I had other friends who did come home but were permanently damaged by the things they saw. For me, this is an opportunity to give back something to the men who served their country when the call came. My uncles and father are gone now, but I do hope, in some small way, to pay it forward for them. This is a tiny step, but as the man once said, every journey begins with that first step.”

It’s easy to sit back and talk about helping our veterans and active military members. To step up and help is something altogether different. We are answering the call for help.

Will you answer? All it takes is for you to log on to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and spend 99 cents, and then hopefully share the great news on our labor of love. Not only will you receive eight full-length novels for your enjoyment, you will also tell our men and women who suffer from this terrible and debilitating illness that we’ve got their backs.

Love, Honor, & Hope is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from June 24 to July 23. It includes the following full-length novels:
Out of the Box Awakening- Jennifer Theriot
Early One Morning- Aubree Lane
Lost and Found- Jennifer Yarbrough
Scary Modsters- Diane Rinella
Tropical Dreams- Kelly Cozzone
Sisters of the Night- Linda Lee Williams
Heart of the Hunter- Cherime MacFarlane
Piece of Heaven- Sammie J

And here are the links to some great reading for a great cause:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Some Thought on Small Presses

I just happen to have two books being released within eight days. Didn’t plan it…just happened.  Both George Washington, Surveyor, Soldier, Leader and Troubled Times are being published by a small press. And that’s where the similarity ends.

I’ve worked with White Bird Press a number of times in the past. They are doing a re-release of Troubled Times, a historical novel set in Civil War times that first saw print in 2005. It’s been out of print for a number of years and such a good story, I felt it needed to be re-introduced to the reading public. So, with three new chapters and a smashing new cover, Troubled Times is available today, June 17th, through Amazon, Kindle, and Nook.

Part of my promotion program is to present it in serial form on Venture, a site where I’ve been a weekly blogger for some time. So far, I’ve gotten some great response and even garnered a super review. (

The George Washington book is a fictionalized biography about our first president. I went with a different small press after hearing a presentation by one of its acquiring editors. Through no fault of the publisher, my book’s release took a lot longer than I anticipated. Without naming names, I will say through the whole process I felt quite discouraged by the lack of response to my inquiries. The communication was dismal. 

Even though its release date was June 11th, I had to go looking for it on Amazon and a week later, it is still not available in e-book format.

So what’s my point? Just this…don’t be so eager to get your work into publication that you don’t take the time to do your homework beforehand. If you’re considering a certain publishing house, go to their website, read what others who have published through them have to say about their experience. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Our First President's Amazing Arm

Myths surrounds the memory of Washington that earlier generations of children were taught in the classroom...I know I learned it there. For instance, the untrue tale about how he once threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River. 

First we have to set aside the fact that silver dollars didn’t actually exist when Washington was young. The first U.S. Mint building didn't begin operations in Philadelphia until 1793, and the first silver dollar appeared the following year – the Flowing Hair dollar of 1794-95. According to the official mint report, just 1,758 dollars were struck the first year.

Next, the Potomac River is over a mile wide—it would be impossible to accomplish such a feat without the aid of some serious wind.

That being said, his step-grandson recorded a story that Washington once threw a piece of slate roughly the size of a silver dollar across the Rappahannock River, which was only about 250 feet wide near the Washington homestead; this is obviously significantly more doable.

If you want to get insight into our first president's life between the ages of eleven and twenty, I suggest you pick up a copy of my soon-to-be-released book, George Washington Surveyor, Soldier, Leader.