Monday, June 25, 2018

I'm Officially an Indie Author!



Well, I have taken that first nerve-wracking, breathless step and become an indie author with my first self-published work. The best news for you? It's FREE! You can now download FINDING HOME through Smashwords, and soon, other outlets. Keep checking back as I add them to the book's page.

FINDING HOME is the story of Cecilia Marsh, who has come home after many years to the little town of Langley Mills, Wisconsin. There, she discovers the town hasn't forgotten her ... and it turns out, she hasn't forgotten it, either.

This story is close to my heart, as it is one of the first works I ever submitted to a writing contest, and it went on to win the 2008 Rebecca Eddy Memorial Writing Contest. I was so proud and honored to win this award, which celebrates a young woman to whom the written word was very special. I hope she'd be pleased at how the story turned out. I know I am, and I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Click here to get FINDING HOME for free!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads, uncles, stepdads, and father figures! I hope you have a fun, peaceful day doing what you love with the people you love. We spent yesterday with some old friends pitching horseshoes, and today, a family friend has put together a bowling party for all the dads in our circle. This evening, it's dinner with my stepdad. It's going to be a fun afternoon! Enjoy!

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Learning from the Experts: Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs

A good writing workshop is informative.  A great workshop is informative and timely. Bestselling authors Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs presented the members of CNY Romance Writers today with a truly great workshop, covering not only how to infuse our writing with emotion, but a special presentation just for marketing and promotion.


The first portion of the workshop dealt with adding emotional resonance to characters, touching on the importance of delivering on our promises to the reader, whether it be solving a crime by the end of a mystery, or the happy ending that is a given for all true romance novels. Holly and Susan moved on to how to work with writing a series, including using a master character sheet or "book bible" which outlines all of a book's characters, plot points, and important details. This helps a writer keep everything in order when working on another book in the series.

Finally, they offered a detailed explanation of how to best market and promote our books in today's changing climate. Traditional publishers are no longer the only game in town. In fact, romance authors are leading the charge in indie publishing. We have more options than ever before, and it doesn't stop there. Holly and Susan gave us many possibilities, explaining that while there are multiple avenues, it isn't a "one size fits all" world out there. Use what's comfortable for us, they said. Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub are currently the big players, but new options are emerging all the time. I came home from this portion of the workshop with a few new tricks up my sleeve, and a better handle on the best marketing route for my writing career. I hope to be able to put this knowledge to work soon! If you get a chance to attend a workshop presented by these terrific speakers, I highly recommend taking it.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Parenthood


I've been a parent for a number of years now, and it's a bit like juggling the space-time continuum.

Moms, I'm sure you get this.

I know it's 2018, and that my son is getting so tall he can just about look me in the eye. But sometimes I can't help looking at him and seeing that little baby we brought home from the hospital, with those ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. I remember how his hair smelled and how soft it was. I remember sitting on the couch with him and grinning at him, and my delight when, at three weeks of age, he grinned back. I can also look at him and see that toddler we brought to his first Renaissance Faire in his little kilt. And then when he got big enough to tote around a wooden sword at the Faire. This kid looks So Cool in a kilt. *grin*

And then, once in a while, I look at him and I can see what he's going to be like at 15, or 20, or even 30. That happens a lot more now that he's catching up to me in height.

Is it like this for every parent? I can't say. Do you forget what day it is? Do the weeks go by in a blur until you realize, holy cow, it's spring again? Are you buying shoes and pants because your kid's growing out of them the week after you got him a new pair?

Then yep. You're right there with me.

I love my son at every age. The more he changes, the more I miss that little guy. And then, the more he changes, the more I love seeing the new things he can do. I am with him every step of the way, and at the same time, I am right there with him again when he's a toddler taking his first steps, or in some slightly hazier future where I watch him graduate high school and head for his dreams. It's bittersweet, and still the best feeling I've ever had.

It amazes me every day that my husband and I made this person, this incredibly smart, kindhearted person. Part of me wants to hold onto him forever, but the other part is simultaneously looking forward with excitement to the day he jumps out of the nest and flies. He's a constant gift.

Moms, I'm sure you get that, too.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The End! (Swing, beta, beta, beta...)



I have finally finished the first round of edits for my New Adult book, and I'm happy to say it's pretty clean. Now, I have to begin the arduous process of getting beta readers and critique partners to go through it and poke holes. *grin*

The importance of a fresh set of eyes on your book can't be understated. It's great to have someone come to your manuscript with no preconceived ideas, because they may see something you've missed over many passes. You generally want beta readers and critique partners. Beta readers are voracious readers. They can go through your MS looking for that "wow" factor, and they aren't shy about telling you when they find it. Critique partners are also writers, and they can help you with the nuts and bolts of good writing. If you can find a one of two of each, you will find yourself with a well-rounded manuscript.

That's what I'm hoping for with this book. Since it's a fresh genre for me, it's almost like starting over. Wish me luck, because the fun's just starting!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Writing Life



Feeling grateful today.

It occurs to me now and then how much richer my life has become since I started writing seriously. I have met amazing people, been to spectacular places, and learned some awesome things. Many writers say they write because (in varying terms) they are trying to better understand themselves and the world around them. I have learned that I can be strong, even if I never have to be. I can be stubborn (and usually am). I can show people a beautiful world where people heal each other instead of hurt. Most of all, I have found my tribe, an ever-growing, some close and some far, quirky, serious, shy, boisterous, always fascinating group of kindred spirits who live by the written word because that's where their hearts are.

I want to thank each of you who has come into my life because of this crazy writing life, whether you are like me, chasing the dream, or you read voraciously and happened to pick up one of my books. My writing family is amazing. Stick with me, because the best is, as always, yet to come.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Tax Time



It's that lovely time of year again, when writers get hives and start biting their nails. Yep, it is a deadline, but no, it doesn't involve your prose. It's tax time.

I used to get anxiety about it, too, but it really isn't that hard, with a little organization and some math skills (and a good tax guy to make sure you have all your math right).

Some Basic Organization Tips

At the beginning of each year, I start a file with the year labeled on it. Inside the file, I have dividers marked House, Writing, Medical, Donations, etc. I put all the year's applicable receipts in it, sorted by where it falls. All writing receipts, including those for book purchases (my own and others'), office equipment and supplies, income, 1099s from my publisher, writing-related postage, and domain fees, go in my Writing section. If you keep a folder in your emails pertaining to these incomes and expenses, it helps you sort and print applicable receipts at year's end. This includes mileage driven for the purposes of your writing, such as trips to your writers' conferences and meetings. (The IRS publishes the current mileage rate every year. You can Google it to get right to the page.)

If you itemize, you may also be able to write off a portion of your mortgage, homeowner's insurance, and utility bills. Be sure to save year-end totals for these expenses so that you can calculate your home office's portion of these bills.

Be sure your deductions are sensible, logical, and related to your writing, with receipts showing proof of expense. Your pleasant vacation to Hawaii, while it may become good book fodder, is probably not a business expense. Your trip to the national RWA writer's conference, however, is a verifiable business expense, because you're going there specifically to learn about your craft.

Keep a spreadsheet where you can enter the data from your receipts, and you will be able to track your income and losses each year. If you like the quick answers, like me, you will be able to see at a glance whether your year's effort is paying off, and make adjustments the following year accordingly.

Disclaimer

I am not a tax professional, merely an author who has been doing this for a while. Don't take my words as gospel on the subject, just a rough guide. Seek a professional's advice for what is allowed in your state when it comes to navigating the tax season. Good luck!

Monday, June 25, 2018

I'm Officially an Indie Author!

No comments:


Well, I have taken that first nerve-wracking, breathless step and become an indie author with my first self-published work. The best news for you? It's FREE! You can now download FINDING HOME through Smashwords, and soon, other outlets. Keep checking back as I add them to the book's page.

FINDING HOME is the story of Cecilia Marsh, who has come home after many years to the little town of Langley Mills, Wisconsin. There, she discovers the town hasn't forgotten her ... and it turns out, she hasn't forgotten it, either.

This story is close to my heart, as it is one of the first works I ever submitted to a writing contest, and it went on to win the 2008 Rebecca Eddy Memorial Writing Contest. I was so proud and honored to win this award, which celebrates a young woman to whom the written word was very special. I hope she'd be pleased at how the story turned out. I know I am, and I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Click here to get FINDING HOME for free!
Read More

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

No comments:
Happy Father's Day to all the dads, uncles, stepdads, and father figures! I hope you have a fun, peaceful day doing what you love with the people you love. We spent yesterday with some old friends pitching horseshoes, and today, a family friend has put together a bowling party for all the dads in our circle. This evening, it's dinner with my stepdad. It's going to be a fun afternoon! Enjoy!
Read More

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Learning from the Experts: Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs

No comments:
A good writing workshop is informative.  A great workshop is informative and timely. Bestselling authors Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs presented the members of CNY Romance Writers today with a truly great workshop, covering not only how to infuse our writing with emotion, but a special presentation just for marketing and promotion.


The first portion of the workshop dealt with adding emotional resonance to characters, touching on the importance of delivering on our promises to the reader, whether it be solving a crime by the end of a mystery, or the happy ending that is a given for all true romance novels. Holly and Susan moved on to how to work with writing a series, including using a master character sheet or "book bible" which outlines all of a book's characters, plot points, and important details. This helps a writer keep everything in order when working on another book in the series.

Finally, they offered a detailed explanation of how to best market and promote our books in today's changing climate. Traditional publishers are no longer the only game in town. In fact, romance authors are leading the charge in indie publishing. We have more options than ever before, and it doesn't stop there. Holly and Susan gave us many possibilities, explaining that while there are multiple avenues, it isn't a "one size fits all" world out there. Use what's comfortable for us, they said. Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub are currently the big players, but new options are emerging all the time. I came home from this portion of the workshop with a few new tricks up my sleeve, and a better handle on the best marketing route for my writing career. I hope to be able to put this knowledge to work soon! If you get a chance to attend a workshop presented by these terrific speakers, I highly recommend taking it.

Read More

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Parenthood

No comments:

I've been a parent for a number of years now, and it's a bit like juggling the space-time continuum.

Moms, I'm sure you get this.

I know it's 2018, and that my son is getting so tall he can just about look me in the eye. But sometimes I can't help looking at him and seeing that little baby we brought home from the hospital, with those ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. I remember how his hair smelled and how soft it was. I remember sitting on the couch with him and grinning at him, and my delight when, at three weeks of age, he grinned back. I can also look at him and see that toddler we brought to his first Renaissance Faire in his little kilt. And then when he got big enough to tote around a wooden sword at the Faire. This kid looks So Cool in a kilt. *grin*

And then, once in a while, I look at him and I can see what he's going to be like at 15, or 20, or even 30. That happens a lot more now that he's catching up to me in height.

Is it like this for every parent? I can't say. Do you forget what day it is? Do the weeks go by in a blur until you realize, holy cow, it's spring again? Are you buying shoes and pants because your kid's growing out of them the week after you got him a new pair?

Then yep. You're right there with me.

I love my son at every age. The more he changes, the more I miss that little guy. And then, the more he changes, the more I love seeing the new things he can do. I am with him every step of the way, and at the same time, I am right there with him again when he's a toddler taking his first steps, or in some slightly hazier future where I watch him graduate high school and head for his dreams. It's bittersweet, and still the best feeling I've ever had.

It amazes me every day that my husband and I made this person, this incredibly smart, kindhearted person. Part of me wants to hold onto him forever, but the other part is simultaneously looking forward with excitement to the day he jumps out of the nest and flies. He's a constant gift.

Moms, I'm sure you get that, too.

Happy Mother's Day!
Read More

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The End! (Swing, beta, beta, beta...)

No comments:


I have finally finished the first round of edits for my New Adult book, and I'm happy to say it's pretty clean. Now, I have to begin the arduous process of getting beta readers and critique partners to go through it and poke holes. *grin*

The importance of a fresh set of eyes on your book can't be understated. It's great to have someone come to your manuscript with no preconceived ideas, because they may see something you've missed over many passes. You generally want beta readers and critique partners. Beta readers are voracious readers. They can go through your MS looking for that "wow" factor, and they aren't shy about telling you when they find it. Critique partners are also writers, and they can help you with the nuts and bolts of good writing. If you can find a one of two of each, you will find yourself with a well-rounded manuscript.

That's what I'm hoping for with this book. Since it's a fresh genre for me, it's almost like starting over. Wish me luck, because the fun's just starting!
Read More

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Writing Life

No comments:


Feeling grateful today.

It occurs to me now and then how much richer my life has become since I started writing seriously. I have met amazing people, been to spectacular places, and learned some awesome things. Many writers say they write because (in varying terms) they are trying to better understand themselves and the world around them. I have learned that I can be strong, even if I never have to be. I can be stubborn (and usually am). I can show people a beautiful world where people heal each other instead of hurt. Most of all, I have found my tribe, an ever-growing, some close and some far, quirky, serious, shy, boisterous, always fascinating group of kindred spirits who live by the written word because that's where their hearts are.

I want to thank each of you who has come into my life because of this crazy writing life, whether you are like me, chasing the dream, or you read voraciously and happened to pick up one of my books. My writing family is amazing. Stick with me, because the best is, as always, yet to come.
Read More

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Tax Time

No comments:


It's that lovely time of year again, when writers get hives and start biting their nails. Yep, it is a deadline, but no, it doesn't involve your prose. It's tax time.

I used to get anxiety about it, too, but it really isn't that hard, with a little organization and some math skills (and a good tax guy to make sure you have all your math right).

Some Basic Organization Tips

At the beginning of each year, I start a file with the year labeled on it. Inside the file, I have dividers marked House, Writing, Medical, Donations, etc. I put all the year's applicable receipts in it, sorted by where it falls. All writing receipts, including those for book purchases (my own and others'), office equipment and supplies, income, 1099s from my publisher, writing-related postage, and domain fees, go in my Writing section. If you keep a folder in your emails pertaining to these incomes and expenses, it helps you sort and print applicable receipts at year's end. This includes mileage driven for the purposes of your writing, such as trips to your writers' conferences and meetings. (The IRS publishes the current mileage rate every year. You can Google it to get right to the page.)

If you itemize, you may also be able to write off a portion of your mortgage, homeowner's insurance, and utility bills. Be sure to save year-end totals for these expenses so that you can calculate your home office's portion of these bills.

Be sure your deductions are sensible, logical, and related to your writing, with receipts showing proof of expense. Your pleasant vacation to Hawaii, while it may become good book fodder, is probably not a business expense. Your trip to the national RWA writer's conference, however, is a verifiable business expense, because you're going there specifically to learn about your craft.

Keep a spreadsheet where you can enter the data from your receipts, and you will be able to track your income and losses each year. If you like the quick answers, like me, you will be able to see at a glance whether your year's effort is paying off, and make adjustments the following year accordingly.

Disclaimer

I am not a tax professional, merely an author who has been doing this for a while. Don't take my words as gospel on the subject, just a rough guide. Seek a professional's advice for what is allowed in your state when it comes to navigating the tax season. Good luck!
Read More