Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Author: Jane Isenberg
Publisher: Avon Books, PBO
Third in this series about an English teacher in the New Jersey college system. Bel Barrett teaches for a community college in Hoboken, a great platform for a variety of stories, because she'll encounter older students, some with families, and some withjobs, both of which can give rise to problems not usually encountered by more traditional, full time, students.
The previous books are "The M Word" and "Death in a Hot Flash." Author of this series, Jane Isenberg, is a veteran urban college teacher and she writes with authority, wit and a sure sense of her environment. She also understands the processes of female aging. Her protagonist is Bel Barrett who finds it impossible to ignore student problems outside the classroom and who also spends a lot of energy worrying about her two grown children. She is abetted by two women who seem to have more time on their hands to deal with Bel's murder cases than is usual. One is a fiery private investigator which solves one continuing problems for any amateur sleuth, that of access to various agency records and actions. The two provide Bel, who has a pretty full schedule, with assistance and reassurances. With a pregnant daughter in Seattle and a son on the East Coast, both of whom seem to be less than fully settled--in their mother's view, anyway, the two women offer a level of sanity and judicious advice.
This story has an unusual plot line. It concerns the murder of a Frank Sinatra impersonator, one of several who seem to litter the Hoboken landscape. Bel, her friends and other hangers on, including Bel's mother, are swept up in Bel's attempt to figureout who killed Louie Palumbo and why. One of Isenberg's strengths is the clever and logical ways she involves Bel in murder investigations. In this case, she and lover Sol, out for a romantic stroll literally stumble across the body.
Two sub-plots are nicely handled. Bel's relationships with her sometime-live-in son and her now pregnant daughter have no bearing on the main plot but they do add dimension and reality to the characters. All in all, in spite of an abundance of angst and soul-searching in place of action and suspense, this is another worthy outing, an American cozy with a little bit of bite mixed with mystery and eccentricity.
Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!
Friday, June 25, 2010
Good day to everyone. I hope your summer is panning out okay. I have been able to go swimming for the last week. Which is good for my fibro. Though probably no swimming tonight since I will be out late. Here's to the hope of writing tomorrow.
Put some mystery in your life.
Friday, June 11, 2010
First I add ice to my blender. Not much, just a bit in the bottom. (sorry, I don't measure) I happen to have a fridge that makes crushed ice, but you don't have to. It just makes it faster. If you don't have crushed ice, crush it in the blender.
Next add a bit of juice, about two inches. The more you use the thinner your smoothie will be, use less juice for a thicker texture. I usually use apple, but you could use anything. Maybe some of the newer blends would be good, like blueberry or pomegranate. Apple just happens to be the cheapest juice and unless you add a ton, it's hard to taste.
After that, I use one or two individual containers of yogurt. I like yoplait light, fat free. They come in good flavors and I usually have them in the house just to eat. They even have banana strawberry, or I used white chocolate strawberry yesterday.
Then I add my bananas, usually three or whatever is too soft to eat. This will not be enough fruit, so I add whatever I have, strawberries or blueberries are good, but you can use what you like. If I don't have any fresh fruit in the house to add I have used canned pineapples and I always have these on hand.
Last I add some honey to sweeten. Local honey is best as it will add an immune boost to your system to help fight allergies.
Finally, blend until desired consistency and taste.
And there you have a healthy drink and a new way to use those ripening fruits in the summer. I had banana, blueberry tonight. Yummy! (Sorry, I drunk it before I thought to take a pic. Maybe next time.) I'd love to hear if you try this out, what you used, and how it came out. Or if you have your own recipe, I'd be happy to hear that too.
Put some mystery in your life
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Reason: I lost my puppy, Bogey.
That little guy was the world to me. I even wrote a blog about him on the blog tour. He wasn't like any dog I have ever known and I have had a few dogs. To start with, Blacky, a stray that I feed, but passed when someone poisoned him. Then came Minnie and Cocoa. They came from the pound. They actually let us take those dogs home without getting fixed and a few weeks later Minnie had eight puppies. We found homes for them, but kept one, Princess. Well, Cocoa had to be put down because of cancer and Minnie ran away as we were moving. So that left us with Princess. One day when my husband was walking her, a little guy, Yorkie mix, followed them home. After we found the owner, they said they really didn't want him. So we took him in. I didn't want to because I'm not a dog person. But this little thing refused to take no for an answer. He sat on my doorstep in the rain and waited until I let him in. And that is how we got Bogey.
Bogey. He was outgoing and the funniest thing ever. He loved everyone, people and animals, even cats. He played with everyone. And if you didn't like him, he never gave up, insisting you'd love him. The cats thought he was funny.
He followed me around, babysat the kitties, slept with me, chased golf ball with my husband, you name it. Looking back, I see how he was a mischievous puppy. He tried to get out all the time, he chewed things, even my underwear, he perused the litter box for "treats", he stuck his butt in your face, he licked himself until his friends shined, he got in the trash, he marked territory...The only thing we really got onto him about was chewing the carpet.
And he took bad pictures.
But that was my good, bad baby. He didn't listen to anything and he ran in the street. I loved him more than I ever thought I could love a dog. I'll never forget him or stop missing him. My house felt so barren without his spirit. We lasted three days before we got another Yorkie. I'll never be able to replace Bogey, but my heart was so broken I had to have another little guy.
So here is Mulligan! My cute, full blood Yorkie. He's not as bad as Bogey, but maybe he'll get there. lol.
Put some mystery in your life.
Friday, May 21, 2010
A Journey to Die For
By Radine Trees Nehring
Wolfmont Press, trade paper
296 pg., May 2010
Here’s a good example, if readers still need one, of a crime novel that fits comfortably into the fine tradition of fiction that relies on good writing, a fine plot, odd and usual suspects and an interesting setting. The author relies on a good story rather than tortured or crass language, logical development rather than constant physical action.
Carrie King a neighborly, bright, woman of late middling years and her husband, Henry King, a retired cop from Kansas City, are making an exploration into Arkansas history with a trip on a restored train to a small historic community on the shores of the Arkansas River. At the halfway point passengers leave the train to enjoy a brief sojourn in the town of Van Buren . When Carrie and Henry reach the river and a large historic mural to study, the possibility of encountering a dead body of the farthest thing from their minds. But alas, there it is and then there are the buttons.
A charming and delightful mystery ensues. Nehring’s unerring ear for dialog and her sense of what constitutes a well rounded character serve the reader well as the Kings travel between home, Van Buren and Kansas City where Henry had a solid career as a police officer. There have been allusions in the past to Henry’s rather abrupt retirement and in a powerful emotional scene at the Van Buren police station, Carrie and readers will receive serious and deep insight into Henry’s secret.
In the fine tradition of traditional American mysteries, A Journey to Die for is an excellent and satisfying entry in this author’s “to die for” series.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Put some mystery in your life
Monday, May 17, 2010
This is only takes up the very last part of the book, but of course it had to be accurate. I found myself completely fascinated by the complex character of Napoleon, in fact am just reading a book saying that Napoleon’s hemorrhoids might have been responsible for the disastrous delay of the final battle which determined the outcome of the war. According to this account pain kept him from mounting his horse and so he spent hours reviewing his troops in hopes he’d feel better. This gave Wellington time to join forces with his allies and possibly allowed him to win the battle. Certainly Napoleon fled the scene in a carriage, not his horse. Interesting to speculate, isn’t it, and an example of what you can find when you start digging.
Another interesting thing about Napoleon is how differently he’s viewed. I have a French friend who thinks he’s the greatest hero France ever produced, so I tred carefully around her.
My Druid and Mage books all required extensive research into mythology and history and the powers these fantastic people were alleged to possess. My characters in the Mage books are direct descendants of Merlin and Lady of the Lake and inherit their powers. In the first series the Druids are descendants of a Druid priestess. I’m just finishing book seven in the Mage series and each of those series books have been fun.
But I LOVE reading and writing historicals.
Had a little leeway in my paranormal books, but in Third Rose I stuck strictly to history. Had to put my rather active imagination into the sex scenes. I’m now polishing another historical, called For Love and I are New, which I like a lot.
When Sara Coverly hides in Lord Wolverton’s bedroom to avenge him for the rape of her friend, she is determined to shoot him so he can never ruin another female. Instead she finds herself wondering if she’s picked the wrong man! Wolf decides he needs a token fiancée to cover his tracks as he searches for a spy, and soon Sara finds herself helping him. And falling deeply in love.
Wolf’s espionage duties bring danger to them both. When he
decodes a message threatening the assassination of Wellington at Waterloo, they both set out for Brussels to catch the villain.
Can their growing love endure through war, a desperate villain who is out to stop them, and Wolf’s determination to save Wellington at any cost?
At last. The bastard had come home. He must have lit more candles, as the room became brighter. She could see a large man, elegantly dressed, stride across the room. Double drat! He moved out of her vision, and she did not dare part the draperies any further. She waited, breath suspended, as he re-appeared and sat on the bed. He arched one long muscled leg, bending over to tug at his boot. His face was in shadow, but his build was powerful, that of a more than adequate sportsman. His size didn’t worry her. A gun was a great equalizer.
He meant to take his boots off himself? She was surprised he didn’t require his valet to wait up for him. An unusual bit of consideration for a servant, one she’d not expected. She’d thought she’d have to stay hidden until the valet had come and gone. Perhaps this was better, since at least he was decently clothed. Not that she’d let any missish tendencies deter her. Actually seeing a large nude male might be educational.
Now was the time.
She cocked the gun and stepped out in front of him, the barrel pointed directly at him.
“You will please rise, my lord. I do not intend to shoot a seated villain.” She felt pride in the composure of her voice. She’d worried a little about that.
Wolverton did not appear unduly upset, although his eyebrows arched upward. He bent the long leg stretched on the bed and clasped both hands around his knee.
“A woman. How interesting. I admit you make a very fetching young man dressed in those breeches, but your voice is definitely female. Might I inquire why you have your gun pointed at me?”
She had to give him his due. His tone seemed as cool as hers, and she certainly must have been a nasty surprise. Although come to think of it, he probably often found women accosting him in his bedchamber. But surely for more pleasurable purposes, cad that he was.
“Stand up, my lord.”
Neither her voice nor the hand holding the gun on him wavered, as Joshua Sinclair, Earl of Wolverton, slowly placed both his boots on the luxurious Aubusson carpet and rose to his feet.
“Is there anything I can do for you, madam?” he inquired, as politely as if he were asking her if she took milk with her tea.
She shook her head slowly, carefully lowering the gun a trifle. What a shame he was such a handsome devil, but then she should have expected no less from a despoiler of virgins.
She was pleased to see him blanch a little as he realized where she aimed.
“Can I persuade you to raise your gun a little? I don’t mind being shot in the chest nearly as much as if you hit the most valued part of my anatomy.”
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I'd love to hear what everyone is doing (or did) for Mother's Day. My hubby is cooking dinner. Tonight, the family is going to sit down and play a game of spades. (Yes, the teens have to stay home today.) And I'm hoping to get dishes done from them too. We'll see.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Do I have to?
I live on the East Coast, in a somewhat rural town, but close enough to the big city to have to trek there each day for work. I do work full time (to support my writing habit) and write every spare minute I can. I’m married.
When I’m not writing, I can be found walking, hiking or jogging, or now, occasionally knitting (as I am teaching myself to knit.) I love going to concerts, reading (of course) and working crossword puzzles.
My favorite food is homemade lasagna, and nothing beats a tall cold glass of brewed iced-tea with lemon, except (after a long, torturous day at work), when only a vodka martini will suffice.
2. I see from your website that you were a reporter. What made you want to dive into the non-fiction world of writing?
I didn’t really dive into non-fiction. I knew I would always be a writer, and somewhere along the line one of my parents said (and I’m paraphrasing here...) “You should write for newspapers. You’ll make more money at reporting.”
It sounded good at the time, so, I decided to be a journalist.
I worked for the high school paper and I became a stringer at a local weekly before I graduated from high school. I wrote for my college paper. I won awards. I’d found I really liked being a journalist. I graduated from collete, and continued to work as a reporter.
At first, it was exciting, there were murder trials and land development scandals and always an election to cover somewhere. I found I was juiced enough from work to go home and write fiction, too.
But the hours got longer and longer and the pay didn’t get any better. It turned out that when you took my salary and divided it by all the hours I worked, I could have done better at McDonald’s. So, I quit reporting and found a job in the tech industry…and still write fiction at night.
And yet, non-fiction still calls to me, so I freelance whenever I can.
3. Your latest book is Blood Soup. Tell us about this book and how it came about.
Blood Soup is a story about murder, betrayal and comeuppance.
The story opens with a heavily pregnant Queen Piacenza. Her husband, King Theodicar naturally hopes for a male heir. The Queen is from Omera, where the first born rules, no matter the sex of the child. This causes no end of friction between them.
The Queen’s nursemaid, Salvagia, casts runes about the birth. Over and over, they yield the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women are convinced the baby will be a girl.
When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised, and Theodicar is faced with a terrible choice. His decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?
4. Would you share a bit about what you are working on now?
I’m working on two novels concurrently. The first is a story of an honorable man who falls into the company of a dishonorable woman: a thief. I force them to work together to complete a job. It’s not a love story, but they become strong friends. He unbends a little, and learns that there is a lot of gray between black and white. She loses a large chunk of the chip on her shoulder, and sees that a man can be honest and bending, too. It’s a fantasy, full of magic, corrupt politics, encroaching armies…
I’m in the final edit stages now.
The second is a dragon tale. Once again, there are politics involved—a sand kingdom—dragon burial grounds, mayhem, mischief, and death. There’s more to it, but to describe it I would have to know the ending….which yet confounds me. I’ve got a forked path to trod, and I don’t know which way to go. (This is what happens when you plan for something, and your characters decide you’re wrong.)
5. I hear you are a book collector with a large number of books. Do you think you will ever transfer your collection to ebook or do prefer print books?
I don’t see myself transferring my entire collection over to ebooks, but I will probably transfer my favorites. I war with myself over this, because transferring everything to ebooks would enable me to de-clutter the house in a single weekend. (And that’s HIGH on my priority list.)
But…I love traditional books. I like the heft of a good book in my hand, the smell of ink on paper, beautiful bindings, etc. I love sitting in my office with hundreds of books within easy reach. I like them surrounding me. It’s as if they emanate some pheromone which leaves me feeling pleased and satisfied. (Sad, I know.)
But on the other hand, I love the ebook experience. I’m always reading more than one book at a time…so being able to carry around five, or a gazillion, books at a time is the epitome of efficiency. I like being able to make notes while I’m reading and having a handy dictionary, too. And the search capability of ebooks far outstrips that of their paper brethren.
I know the market is still volatile, and pricing is being worked out, but one of the best things going for ebooks right now is how inexpensive they are. I’m trying out all kinds of authors I wouldn’t have even looked at before: just because the price is right.
6. Can you tell us about your fascination with spiders? Do you a have book planned using them as a major character?
I’ve always been fascinated by creepy, crawly things: spiders, snakes, insects. I might have made a career out of that if I hadn’t caught the writing bug. Of all the creepy-crawlies, I find spiders the most fascinating.
Is it because some are so deliberate: you can watch them for an hour as they step gingerly—One. Foot. After. The. Other—in a sedate waltz across the floor? Maybe it’s because I wonder where those large, hairy spiders are racing off to as they zoom across the carpet. Some spin beautiful webs, resplendent in dew drops on a summer morning. I love the sight of a spider web prism casting tiny rainbows on the sidewalk. Others are deadly.
I think I like that dichotomy. It’s clever. And sinister. I’d be willing to write a story like that.
I haven’t planned a book using spiders as a major character yet. They do turn up in several short stories I’ve written.
7. I’ve enjoyed having you on my blog today. Thank you so much for stopping. Is there anything else you would like to say our guests before you go?
If folks want to learn more about me or my writing, they can always check out my website/blog: http://kellyaharmon.com/.
I’m also on Twitter: @kellyaharmon. I love hooking up with folks there.
Thank you so much for having me!
Monday, May 3, 2010
My book, Pieces of the Star, is a story about an ordinary man who survives unusual circumstances and finds himself developing extraordinary senses. It’s like the beginnings of a superhero where we met the nemesis and learn how they are connected.
Who are these heroes? They are the men and women of the military forces. Your local police force and firefighters. They’re the child social workers and the foster parents who do it because they care about abused and neglected children.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
A few years ago, I decided that I’d had enough of that life. Although I’d been highly successful as a consultant, I felt like a failure. I felt like a failure because what I really wanted to do was write.
So I quit consulting and, with the support of family and friends, devoted myself to do what I really wanted to do -- writing and teaching.
And here I am.
2. Wow, you've held some very interesting job positions and have a number of degrees. What made you want to write a novel?
3. Your latest book is Havana: Killing Castro. Tell us about this book and how it came about.
In Top Secret, my main character, Miami surgeon, Raymond Peters is lured to Havana under false pretenses to perform plastic surgery on an ailing Fidel Castro and his friend Pepe…and switch their respective identities. While in Havana, Raymond, a recent widower, rekindles his romance with his childhood sweetheart Sonia and meets the son he never knew. Despite untold complications of extreme danger, the resourceful Raymond manages to carry out the double surgery and escape Cuba on a speedboat with Sonia and his son.
No. Each of my books is self-contained. There’s enough backstory in Killing Castro to understand the plot nuances without having to read Top Secret first.
5. I hear that Havana: Killing Castro has been made into a screenplay. Can you tell us about the process you went through to get a screenplay for this? Did you start the process or did someone contact you?
6. Well, I’m sure everyone will be waiting to see what you come up with next. Would you share a bit about what you’re working on now?
7. Now something a little more personal. Would you give us a peek into a typical day for you?
In spring, summer and fall I typically get up around 6 AM to exercise and go for a 2-3 mile jog around a lake nearby. In the winter I stay inside and run on a treadmill inside the house. After breakfast, I go to work at the community college where I teach, usually until noon. After a quick lunch at home, I sit down at my computer to answer dozens of emails, phone calls, work on various projects and write – usually until 5 PM or so. At that time, I rush to pick up my 7-year old daughter Sophia at her school. Then it’s Sophia’s time. I work with her on her homework, play checkers, or hang out. I get back to writing, and my computer, around 8, sometimes till beyond midnight.
Weekends are different, of course, except for the exercising and the long hours working at my computer.
8. You are one busy man, and everything sounds very interesting. Thank you so much for stopping by today, and good luck with the screenplay and the next book. Is there anything else you would like to say our guests before you go?
Monday, April 26, 2010
Hard Cover, 230 pgs.
For me, a mildly awkward title, but the story is anything but. Author Joanne Dobson has written another fascinating insider tale about the machinations of the very private and often arcane world of higher academia. The novel, sixth in the series, is set in the rarified world of Enfield College, a private high priced and high minded institution of higher learning.
While college and collegial are from the same root, and college administrations and faculties try to project an aura of patience, calm and reasoned discourse, we all know, when we stop to think about it, it ain’t always so.
Karen Pelletier is six years into her faculty position in the English Department at Enfield.. She is beset by an incompetent department chair and a colleague who gives her the willies. It is tenure decision time. In the academic faculty world, one’s position is essentially temporary until the faculty, deans and ultimately the college administration, makes a proffer of tenure. Tenure usually means one has a life-time appointment, so it’s a pretty big deal. What’s more, if you aren’t awarded tenure, you have to leave the institution. Pelletier is in the midst of collecting and refining her tenure materials for timely presentation. There are two professors up for tenure and only one position available. Then her competition is murdered. With law enforcement looking intently her way, the intrepid professor has to deal with a raft of odd characters, out-of-the-norm students, political incorrectness and most of the other ills that occasionally beset college campuses.
Author Dobson is peerless in her depiction of the nuanced atmosphere and language of the college. Readers will be quickly drawn into campus life. Readers might want to have a modern dictionary at hand, but the quick pace and logical development ameliorates the dense language. There was, for my taste, a bit too much detail at times about a particular decor, or the details of dress where there was little need.
A fine novel, well-plotted, thoughtful, and filled with many amusing bits about the academic life.
Case of the Greedy Lawyers, Bloody Halls, Devils Island
Friday, April 23, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
release ISBN 0-425-16641-4
Monday, April 19, 2010
To start with, I have partnered with Goddess Fish Promotions. What that means is, I have agreed to host bloggers who have booked a blog tour through Goddess Fish. So be sure to watch for some interesting upcoming guest bloggers. I'll post names and dates on the sidebar.
Second, Carl Brookins will be a reoccurring guest writing book reviews. So welcome Carl. I'm looking forward to seeing what he's been reading.
As for the rest of my blog, I'm keeping it the same. A bit about my writing, a bit about my personal life, nothing too formal.
Put some mystery in your life
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I live in Mississippi and if you don't know much about this controversial state, let me explain a couple of things. First, we have what is called red clay instead of dirt. If you dig, you'll find clay instead of dirt. Second, the winter and spring here is mostly rain. Third, driveways in the country are made out of red clay and pee gravel. It should look like the picture below when it has set up and if you have enough gravel in it.
But when you put the above three factors together with a new driveway, you get mud. My driveway stands in mud for months. Huge pot holes have formed and are getting out of control. it's pretty costly to get a truck load of rock, but we had to do something, the music instructor keeps getting stuck in the drive.
A few months ago, we got a couple of bags of rock at Home Depot. Not that much, but we had a few big holes and need wanted to do something. We left the rock in the plastic bags and threw them in the hole. After a few months of driving over them, they have stayed in the same place. The clay getting soaked and then drying out again has rooted the bags to their spot.
However, we have plenty of holes to patch. We grabbed a few more bags of rock at the store. But the plastic bags of rock stuck in the ground gave me an idea as we started to patch another hole. We were going to shovel some of the gravel/red clay drive material that had been washed into the side ditch and add back to the holes. But if the plastic bag around the rock had held the rocks in place, and people add plastic lining under flowerbeds then layer with dirt, they why not do that to the holes? So I grabbed a ton of my Walmart sacks and lined the holes before my husband shoveled the clay and added the rock. A few weeks later and the clay is still holding.
Now we still need to do more work, add more rock and clay. But one of the holes might have swallowed a small car before. Now it is manageable. Sill filled with water, but workable.
Yes, I buried Walmart bags in my driveway. But what is American doing with them now? Throwing them in the landfills to be buried. At least I have a good use for them and a reason to do it. (And yes, I do use them for other things. One year I made a white Christmas wreath out of them instead of buying one.)
What do you use Walmart bags for?
Put some mystery in your life.
Monday, March 29, 2010
You just have to answer a few questions and they give you your risk. They also give you tips to lower your risk. Some of these tips I have never thought about before. It says it works better if you are over 40 and have never had cancer before. But you can still take it if you are under 40
Monday, March 15, 2010
Put some mystery into your life
Monday, March 8, 2010
Riveting! I couldn't walk away. Babbage is one scary fellow, but the guys he tracks are far worse. One can't help but understand why he does the things he does.
Put some mystery in your life.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Every Author sets out with high hopes of publishing their book and seeing it on the shelves of the big chains. They deserve to be there. After brain-sweat and sacrifice, the reward should be wonderful book signings and lines of buyers waiting for an autograph.
That's the carrot that keeps writers pounding away at the keyboard. It happens to a lucky few. But sometimes the author published by a major publishing house is a one-book wonder and left to contemplate why the publisher deserted them. Sometimes they can't meet the sales expectations of their publisher on the second book and get pushed to the sidelines. Sometimes the economy downsizes them right out of their career as big publishing can't balance cost of putting out a book with a frugal public. Authors never fantasize about that aspect of the industry.
Then there are the small press authors. We're the ones who looked at the slush pile and the long lines in front of agent's doors and said, “I can do better.” We rolled the dice and took a gamble on a small outfit, a one-man-(or woman)-band. We were impatient and wanted our work out there before we were too old to travel and promote.
I started my career by joining with two girlfriends and putting out a regional mystery anthology of our prize-winning short stories. Anthologies are tough to get published, but nobody told us. We found a reluctant publisher, designed the cover and each paid $2,000 dollars to co-publish. The publisher put in a thousand dollars. Soon it was apparent that no store, not even the independent book stores in our city, would carry the books. It was also apparent that we had a public delighted to read about the San Joaquin Valley. We had published the first mystery anthology in this region.
I'm lucky to have such a rough start. It banished my own illusions of the publishing world. I actually had to learn everything from the ground up. I knew when my first novel was published that my success would happen under my own steam. I love having a big say in how I market, it makes me feel in control of my career. I didn't hand my work over to corporate strangers and trust that they would have my best interest at heart. I bounced off the contacts and savvy I'd learned from the first books I published. I had a readership in place salivating for the next book in the series. I also delved into Internet promotion and invited several of you to join me.
What I love about being with a small publisher is that I feel nurtured. I know my talent is respected. I still get to be a player in the literary world. Some may feel they are too big for small publishing. I feel you can't promote what doesn't exist, so while some authors spend time looking for an agent and a publisher and hoping lightening strikes, I'm out selling my next book.
Small publishing is a choice. My career is what I make it, not what a faceless committee decides. I choose to enjoy the freedom, explore the possibilities and reap the fruit of my labors.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The house turned out to be a nightmare. Sort of like the movie The Money Pit. Only I think Tom Hanks got a better deal than we did. Everything you could think of went wrong with this house, even though we were told it was in great shape. The flooring, the roof, the heating and AC, plumbing, electric, foundation, wooden siding, termites, mold... Where to even start on a project like this?
We lost three computers, a TV, two microwaves, a toaster, countless light bulbs and I can't begin to tell you how many times I had to have my flat-top stove repaired because it kept blowing the motherboard. And this one stupid drawer in the dinning room kept coming open and wouldn't shut right. Nothing ever worked. You'd fix something and it would break in a couple of days. After so long of this, we decided it was time to move. I have a chronic illness and quite frankly, I didn't have the strength or energy to live through a complete remodel. I really just gave up trying with this house. I also became afraid it would simply burn down due to the electricity.
Like I said, I had given up.
Somewhere along the way, my daughter had somehow managed to place her dirty hands on her upstairs window. I could see these hand prints from the driveway everyday as I left or came home from work. She had a knack for painting on the walls or really putting anything on the walls. And I hated climbing the stairs. With my illness, it just wasn't something I wanted to do. Or even could do for that matter. So I let the hand prints go. I don't even think I told her to clean them. Why bother when she was in grade school. You know it wouldn't have been done right.
Well, we saved for a down payment on a new place because we knew we'd never sell this crappy house. And as we loved the area, we bought a piece of ground across the street and set up a double wide in the middle of a tree farm. We were all moved in our new place and somehow this window in the old house was broken. We went inside the old place and stuff had been thrown everywhere. Okay, we thought, some people must have seen it empty and riffled through things. But nothing was stolen. I even had a jar of coins, but it was still there. Maybe they missed it, who knows.
Finally we got out from under this heap of crap. The buyers have gone in to flip it. New paint, siding, flooring, and replaced the broken window.
So I'm taking my daughter to ballet a few weeks ago and she says to me, "Remember the window in my room that was broken?"
"Remember how it had hand prints on it?"
"No." Then I think about it. "Oh yeah, I remember. I wondered why you did that."
"I didn't do that."
Of course not. No child ever did anything, right? "You didn't do that?" I really don't believe her.
"No. I didn't. And Mom, that window got broke and they put up a new one, but the hand prints are back. That scares me."
"Oh, stop it."
It's dark when we come home from ballet, and I didn't think anymore about it. But the next day I had to go somewhere. So when I drove by, I looked. And there, in the same spot as before, are these two hand prints. I swear to you, this is true.
I used to joke to my family that a ghost was playing with that drawer in the dinning room. But I'm not so sure it's a joke now. I'm just glad we don't live there anymore.
Put some mystery back in your life.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
"This free, live WEBcast takes place on Tuesday, February 16th @ 1pm EST // 10am PST, and will include a Q&A session, and all registered attendees will receive a PDF handout of Best Practices for eBook Design." DBW
Sounded like a cool thing to know, so I signed up. I might not be able to hear anything or take part due to my web provider, but we'll give it a try anyway.
Check it out here for more information and registration.
Put some mystery back in your life.