Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ahhhh - The Holidays

Well, I may have been one of the very few individuals that didn't partake in Black Friday. I don't like the crowds. I didn't even partake in Cyber Monday! Don't like Cyber Crowds either. Plus, I'm rather turned off by the whole concept of waiting in line in the wee hours of the morning on the off chance that one might get their fists on one of the few of "whatever-was-advertised" special item. Retailers often hype a hot product but only keep four, maybe six, maybe a few more in stock. Not very good odds for a whole lot of freezing fun waiting in line.

This holiday season I've turned to more of the homemade and regifting mode of celebration. No, it's not tacky and given the economic realities these days it's actually a better path and one that was used over the centuries quite successfully.

One of the best things to pass along is a favorite book and given the explosion of ebooks a physical book just might become a treasured gift to receive. The news recently reported that hardcover books are down 40% and ebooks are up about the same amount.

I bought my Kindle before the recent model was released and have to say that there are certain types of reading I prefer via electronic means to include newspapers and some blogs. However, sometimes a physical book is the best way to read.

What's important here is having choices.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Holiday Season

Well, the holiday season is upon us. I haven't even finished my nice four and a half day Thanksgiving weekend and I'm already dreading the week ahead and the busyness it will bring.

I love this time of year. The decorations. The music. The shopping. But there always seems to be so much going on, it's hard to really enjoy the season. In an already busy life, things seem to get even busier.

So I've been thinking about what I need to let go of to give me some peace. It's hard to choose. My writing's already suffered. I can't remember the last time I sat down and was able to put some quality and quantity on the screen. I don't see my husband enough as it is between meetings and practices and basketball games and countless other things. There's not much I can cut out of my day job...those hours are pretty much set in stone.

There have been recent articles and presentations about managing your time during the busy holiday season. Trouble is, I've been too busy to really sit down and take any of that in.

So, how do you do it over the holidays? How do you fit it all in - jobs, writing, family, friends, etc. - and still have time to enjoy this most wonderful of seasons?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! by DL Larson

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? I have trouble narrowing it down to one. It's a combo type of thing ~ mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravey, yum! Sweet potatoes, squash with tons of butter and brown sugar, a refreshing raspberry or cranberry salad? Then just when I think I'm about to burst the desserts are served. What a day!

My question is, how do folks manage to pull themselves out of the turkey stupor to shop on Black Friday? I've never understood that. I'm much too content to stay home. I usually pack harvest decorations away and drag out the Christmas ones. I can hardly wait for lunch to dig into the leftovers! I enjoy the transition time. The house is soon a collective mess of boxes and tubs full of two seasons worth of decorations.

No matter how you spend your Thanksgiving time, I hope you have a chance to be with folks you love and do what you enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

P.S. Do you say stuffing or dressing? I heard on the radio yesterday, stuffing is what cooks inside the turkey, dressing is the one baked in a bowl!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do you have a Christmas story coming out? by Morgan Mandel

Believe it or not, November is almost gone. Many stores have Christmas decorations up in the hopes of making holiday  sales.

Also, many authors have been preparing for Christmas as well with short stories and books ready to be read.

I don't have anything Christmasy in the works, unless I can think up a short story very soon.

What about you? Do you have a Christmas novel or short story coming out soon, or maybe one that's already been published? If so, please leave the title, link and description in the comment section here so readers can add it to their shopping list.

Or, maybe you know of a good one by someone else. Let us know, please.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Week by June

In honor of this being Thanksgiving Week I want to share some of the things I am grateful for.

My family, they are happy and healthy
My friends, they are always there and very supportive.
My critique partner. Margot what would I do without you!
Chicago North RWA, the best group of ladies, (and the occasional man) who let me share my writing war wounds, rejection letters and disappointments, but always encourage me to keep trying.
The Wild Rose Press, who gave me my first writing contract.
And of course I can’t forget all the wonderful readers out there who bought Ordinary Me and all the reviewers who have praised my story.

Thank you all!

Have a wonderful week and enjoy!



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Live and in Person


Today I am out and about with Margot and Morgan doing a book signing at the Prospect High School Snowbird Craft Show.

If you're in the neighborhood, we'd love to have you stop by. We'll all have books for sale, and we'd be more than happy to autograph them for you! I'll have my latest release, This Can't Be Love. Our booth is number 76.

Prospect High School
801 W. Kensington Road
Mount Propsect, IL 60056

Hope to see you there.

Happy Reading!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Season by Margot Justes

With the approaching holidays we’re all scurrying to get ready, we shop for food, we shop for gifts, we clean and cook; all the accoutrement that go with the season

I wonder, if amidst all that clatter, do we really take time to spend with family and friends. That marvelous dinner that we shopped for, cooked and prepared, do we spend it together or are we eating and listening for the latest sports scores.

Is the TV on so that no one will miss the latest and greatest, is it simply turned on for noise? Or is it turned off, and an actual conversation is taking place at the dinner table?

Who knows what world problems you can solve...of course it won't go beyond the dinner table, but you'll feel so much better having voiced your opinion about what is wrong with the world today.

You can discuss the latest scientific thrills coming from CERN, and the capture if only for a brief moment of an antimatter proton, that is certainly exciting, of course you have to understand it first, for me all of that is magic and beyond comprehension, but I recognize that it is a magnificent discovery, and brings us one step closer to an understanding of our beginning.

By the same token, that TV being on, and everyone listening to whatever game happens to be on, isn't that in itself a tradition? A form of relaxation and togetherness as family and guests gather around the TV and discuss the latest events, while nibbling on goodies.

This time of year is for family and friends and a slowdown from out every day lives, we certainly work hard all year and deserve this release during the holiday season.

I’m just curious how we enjoy celebrating it. How do we spend that precious and short time we have during this season? What do we do that is different from the rest of the year?

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Signings, Past, Present, and Future?

This week at Acme Authors the discussion has been on book signings. Do we? Or don't we? Is it worth our time? Our money? Our effort?

My first book signing was at a Barnes and Noble in a nearby college town. I was so excited; my promo material had just arrived, so I had posters to display, post cards to hand out as well as business cards. I had my easel, I had my press release and sent it to the bookstore a few weeks in advance. It included a display poster for promo purposes to advertise the day and time of my book signing. I had also included professional looking hand-outs to be used at the registers. I had read how to make a book signing a success and I was ready. The book store had ordered twenty books. I prayed I could sell half of them.

I arrived early, a big feat for me who is always running late. I clamored through the door looking for my display poster and noticed a small smudged picture that resembled my book cover with a hastily written notice about time and date. I couldn't read it and wondered if anyone else had bother to look at it.

The store manager greeted me and we set off to the book signing table. Once I set all my stuff down, I looked around and wondered if there was some mistake. I was in the cookbook section which would have been fine had I even one recipe in my historical. But alas, my book did not include food preparation of any kind.

I sold three books that day, one to my husband, and one to each of my daughters. The store manager returned my press release packet, saying she hadn't had time to display it, but didn't want to throw it away in case I needed it for another book signing. Since all was dated for the event, it was pretty much useless at that point.

I learned many things at that book signing:
1. No one cares about my book's success as much as I do. The sooner I accept that concept, the sooner the pain of reality will diminish.

2. No sales does not mean failure.

3. Success should not be equated with money earned. SUCCESS SHOULD NOT BE EQUATED WITH MONEY EARNED. success should not be equated with money earned ... repeat as needed.

4. Diversify!

5. And most importantly: To pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again!

I've been at book signings with dozens of other authors and enjoyed every moment chatting and networking. I learned not to expect much in the department of sales and have been surprised when things went great and have learned to accept it when the sales were not there. I've stood in the cold and heat at bazaars, been to craft shows where someone forgot to promote the event and hundreds of vendors were disappointed. I've been the lone book seller at an airport and giggled at the many ways folks can ignore a person. I've received numerous notes, not just emails, from people who told me they bought a book because I looked friendly and then were delighted to have enjoyed my book. I've attended many library events, knowing full well library patrons do not generally buy books, they borrow books! But they are avid readers and all I need is a chance to entice them to read mine. And most libraries treat authors GREAT!

Book clubs continue to amaze me. I've attended probably a half-dozen for each of my books and am always surprised when the members have read one my books and want to talk about it. I LOVE THIS! Discussing my plot, my characters and the consequences of their actions is a high-light I treasure. That's when I know I've hit the SUCCESS mark! I know I should care if they bought one book or a dozen, or if they got their book from the local library. The important fact is they read my book, they readily discussed it and hopefully urged someone else to do the same.

Book signings in the future? Sure, I'll participate as I'm able, mostly to reach my goal to educate book store managers on how to run a successful book signing. I've attended book fairs in Kentucky and big book signings in Phoenix and Chicago, plus American Library Association luncheons. All book events have their quirks that drive authors crazy, but beyond that they have what all authors crave - folks who love books!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What About Book Signings? Do you do them, or go to them? by Morgan Mandel

If you're in the area, three of us Acme Author List members will be over at the Snowbird Craft Show 2010 at Prospect High School Field House on Sunday, Novem ber 21, 2010, from 10-4pm, signing our books. Free parking, raffle, concessions, bake sale. I, Morgan Mandel, plus Debra St. John and Margot Justes would love to say hello to you.

On one of the egroups I belong to, and also on Facebook, some of the members confessed they disliked doing book signings. I admit they can be discouraging. With the economy the way it is, often the public is attracted to the big name draws, not us midlist authors.

I do lots more online promotion these days, but I do like to get out every once in a while, like I'll be doing on Sunday,  to spread the word. I know it's hard to believe for some of us, but there are people out there who still don't use computers, and still enjoy reading printed books.

What about you? Do you participate in book signings, at bookstores or other venues, either as an author or as a reader? What's your take on the best place to sell a book?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career, a romantic suspense, now 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why’d you write that book? By June Sproat

Newsflash: I did not like high school. At All.

Whenever I step into a high school my stomach starts to turn a little bit and my palms start to sweat. High school anxiety rushes back and all the years since graduation just melt away.

So when my daughter made the basketball team she asked me if I thought I would still be able to go to her games, since they would all take place IN A HIGH SCHOOL.

“Of course!” I said, my smile so tight I thought my face would snap.

But then I realized hey, this is a perfect research opportunity for my future YA books.
While I was watching her practice game I started talking to another parent who, like me, didn’t like high school so much. And then it happened. I told her that was why I wrote my book.

ME: “When you were younger and something happened at school did you ever feel like it was the end of the world?”

Other parent: “Oh yeah”

ME: “And when the whole thing settled, it wasn’t the end of the world, was it?”

Other parent: “nope”

ME: “Well, that’s why I wrote it. I wanted other young people to know that things happen, and it’s not the end of the world. It’s tough to be a teen, but they will get through it. I did, you did and they will too.”

So, in a nutshell, that’s why I wrote my book.

Have a great week!



Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Review

My first review showed up for "This Can't Be Love". Emily over at Single Titles gave it four stars! And I love that she thinks Zach has charisma. (Now I only hope the reviews continue to roll in...)

Review: This Can't Be Love by Debra St. John
"Wanting to escape to somewhere familiar, Jessica Hart shows up at her Grandfather's cabin only to find a naked man in the tub."
Wanting to escape to somewhere familiar, Jessica Hart shows up at her Grandfather’s cabin only to find a naked man in the tub. Out of touch with her family and reeling from a recent breakup, the last thing she needs is another man her life but Zach Rawlings won’t leave despite her attempts to kick him out.

Zach agreed to stay and work on Jessica’s grandfather’s home while he was vacationing. Zach knows Jessica wants him out, but having sublet his apartment he doesn’t plan on leaving despite her attempts to get him to. Zach finds himself attracted to Jessica and her stubbornness; after a kiss is shared she misunderstands his remarks and begins to self doubt her ability with men.

Often hilarious, This Can’t Be Love is a delightful story that takes a vulnerable Jessica and puts her out of her element when she has to deal with Zach. I really liked the oozing personality of Zach, he ignites each page with his charisma. A wonderful story for a rainy day.

Happy Reading (no matter what the weather is like!)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fabulous Fall by Margot Justes

The murky overcast sky and the colorful leaves on the ground were a perfect reminder that the holidays are approaching. I love this time of year and have already started shopping for my Fakesgiving.

Okay, I have to explain that, since her marriage, my daughter Solonge hosts Thanksgiving every year. When the girls were growing up we always had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and I couldn't give up the holiday. So, I started having our dinner with family and friends on Saturday after Thanksgiving. My 'step-sister' Miriam (we've decided we're sisters) coined the Fakesgiving holiday, and it stuck.

This morning at 7am, I was on the way to my favorite European grocery store, Shop & Save. The time was perfect, the traffic non-existent and the store almost empty. I made a serious dent in my holiday grocery shopping.

The scent of freshly baked bread and cakes wafted throughout the store, it was a temptation, and I never say no to temptation. Well almost never. I bought bread.
And got some of Dina's favorite sausages, and a kiszka. For those not familiar with kiszka, it is a sausage filled with barley and beef blood, seasoned and stuffed in a casing.

Dina is coming home this afternoon to drop off her finicky feline. She's going out of town and I'm cat sitting till after Thanksgiving. I will be hearing midnight meowing discussions, my spoiled kitty does not take kindly to visitors, and Lilly is very territorial, hence the many discussions.

Happy Fall everyone, so far it's been glorious.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rejecting Traditional Publishing & Rejectionists Policies via Ebook PubbX

I am going to keep this short and sweet and to the point. If you are like me and sick to death of having perfectly good work rejected or a series character killed off by your publisher(s) due to nothing foreseeable or reasonable (had two series cut that were both earning good money via one phone call to my agent once), then you may want to join me in Indie Publishing via Amazon.com kindle bookstores. You will find a kindle bookstore in just about every home in the country now...a kindle bookstore near you.

But you say publishing in hardcover with Random House or Penguin is so prestigious. Fine, then go seek your prestige while I sell books, far more books than I ever sold in either paper or hardback with Penguin, working out of their bargain basement line--Berkley Books. The same foolish folk who killed off my Jessica Coran Instinct Series and my Lucas Stonecoat Edge Series same day. Cut me to the quick they did that day. For no apparent reason, and none given. Nothing that held water at least. Myself, I believe it was in-house politics and I had a guilty editor to scaffold my suspicions.

But like a terrible, rending divorce, in the long run it may have been the best thing to ever happen to me as since have discovered how to publish my own work at my own pace in my own time with my own title attached along with getting to make all the decisions involved in publishing work in a professional manner. In essence, although I was rejected by traditional publishing, perhaps even black-balled (certainly felt so), I can now say without impunity that I REJECT them...and reject their whole way of doing business. You know the type of business wherein you are expected to be professional, to be ethical, to be loyal and such but the company owes you no respect, no professionalism, no loyalty, no ethics as they don't need to be honest with you, despite thier expectation of all of the above from you. Sound familiar? That's cause it is not just in publishing but in a myriad of businesses across America.

The sweeping upside of all the accumulated rejections I have gotten over the years is that now I am the only one in a position of such authority over this writer (employer) to reject or fire me as I am also the boss (as kids say, "The boss of me!"). In my other life as one of the stable of mid-list authors for NYC publishers, I was held accountable for the win or the loss while not given any of the responsibility to make that win or loss a reality. In other words held accountable for actions I could not be a party to. Not so with Indie publishing with Amazon.com/Kindle books. Win or lose, all decisions will have been made by me, and I cannot tell you how freeing up that is, being my own boss, running my own book show. I feel like Barnum and Bailey at this digital platform age of publishing.

Rather than even attempt to read a publisher's royalty statement now I read a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute sales report telling me precisely how many units have sold with returns already figured in or out as it were, with returns hardly worth mentioning as to number, and a readable report at that. I can tell at a glance what titles sold how many in a given day, week, or month. It is the opposite with the infamous author's royalty statement which one sees only six months to a year depending on publishing house, and even then the numbers are unreliable and downright confusing.

In addition, in Indie publishing with Amazon.com/Kindle the percentage on every book is seventy percent to the author, thirty to Amazon. Amazon is not acting as publisher but rather giving you--as publisher--the wherewithal to distribute and or display your wares on a platform seen by millions. The dynamic is absolutely new and different and has traditional publishers crying in their pillows at night.

If you have thought of placing up an ebook, first go with Amazon.com -- as this is where all the action is -- but by all means do it yourself or hire some expert to do it for you for a one-time fee. Turning it over to a publsihing house to do for you, or giving it up for your agent to do for you is tantamount to asking these others to rob you for the duration of the life of the book. In a two-step process made as simple as it can be, anyone can put up a book at http://www.dtp.amazon.com/ for ebooks and http://www.createspace.com/ for P.O.D.'s...
so let no one baMboozle you; do it yourself.

Look at how lovely my Children of Salem came out, or more recently my Titanic 2012 looks on the Kindle Shelf. You can have a sneak peek at:  http://ningit/97tRIE

Please leave a comment, ask a question, wave a flag, correct a typo under comments!


Lyric Mania! by DL Larson

Sometime in the past, most of us have had to write a term paper or some other important piece where we sited resources and gave credit to others when quoting another. I've always enjoyed research and finding the exact knowledge I needed to prove my point, I considered part of the writing process. In my first book, Memories Trail, I did a plethora of research and have a bibliography at the end of my book. I gave credit where credit was due.

But the music industry doesn't think that is enough. We can't simply state who the lyrist is, or give credit to a group for their song if we wish to use a line of their song in our work. We can't use anything of any song except the title without written permission. Copyright laws prohibit anyone from using a familiar line, even with credit to the songwriters. In essence, songwriters, vocal artists and others in the music industry do not play well with others!

I'm sure it's because they have extensive degrees and have studied music from famous composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and were given personal permission to steal, er, excuse me, use their fundamental melodies in contemporary music.

So, let's see, songwriters string a few words together to a great beat not always their own, and then throw a fit when someone wants to use said lyrics in a book and give them credit for the ten word line? Yeah, I'd be upset over the free publicity too. I'd run to my lawyer and cry, "make them stop!" I wouldn't want anyone quoting me, using my hard earned work and telling others about my song.

Please understand, I don't wish the music industry ill, but I'm tired of catering to certain "cultures" and being forced to conform to unrealistic standards. No one wants to be ripped off. I get that! But if someone is willing to give a songwriter credit, is respectful of the content of the song, then where or where is the harm in that? How is this different than when writing a term paper the writer gives a scientist credit for his life-long work? Or crediting a historian for documenting a series of events? Or quoting someone famous, "ask not what your country can do for you ..."

The music industry needs to wake up to the fact that not everyone wants to abuse them. Some of us actually want to do good by sharing a line or two of some great song and thereby enhancing a story and educating a reader. Whether the songwriters want to admit it or not, we writers all live in the same sandbox, using the same words, over and over and over. The difference is, most writers comprehend the fact that once a book is sold and money is exchanged, we don't know if our words, our book will be found in a library, resold at a garage sale, quoted from or swamped for another book. It doesn't matter how many copies are out there, it doesn't matter what happens to them. We've been paid. It's done. What happens after the sale is not our business.

Why is this so difficult for songwriters to comprehend?

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Holiday Writing by Morgan Mandel

Monday night's program by Jerilyn Willin at our Chicago-North RWA meeting was about "Writing during the Holidays." Jerilyn mentioned there are habits and traditions we tend to do that put pressure on ourselves. Some of these can still be done away with, or maybe delegated to someone else, and we may be able to enjoy the Holidays more.

She made a lot of sense. I'm determined to keep my writing going and not fall into the trap of making everything perfect for the Holidays. I'll not haul all the decorations up from the basement, just enough to make the house look festive.

My husband and I already made the decision a few years ago to use a small fiber optic tree that fits on our end table instead of a huge one I have to decorate and ponder over where each ornament goes. Well, actually that was done out of necessity, since we still don't trust Rascal not to live up to her name and do something crazy with ornaments. Also, there's just no room for one any more. The fiber optic tree looks beautiful when the lights are off and we enjoy watching it.

The jury is still out about whether or not I'll cook for my side of the family or opt to go out to the Chinese restaurant, the only place open in my area on Christmas. I kind of like giving everyone a home-cooked meal, but there's a lot of time and energy spent doing that when I could be enjoying myself and relaxing instead, and not only that, fitting some writing and reading in.

What about you? Will you go all out, or are you cutting back so you can enjoy the Holidays more?

Morgan Mandel
And now for a commercial break - Killer Career on Kindle is now 99 cents at Amazon and also at Smashwords in multi-formats.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Going with the flow

If you haven't noticed how many changes have been happening in the world of publishing, well you've either taken a really, really long nap or you just don't care. For those of us who do care, the changes have been monumental and eye-opening. Most of the changes revolve around the proliferation of e-readers and e-books. NOTE: You don't have to have an e-reader to read an e-book but many of us do.

So, what's a writer to do! EMBRACE IT!!!!

Charles Dickens was known during his day for serializing his stories/novels. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens), many of which dealt with social reform issues. I can easily see a return to serialized novels with the e-book format. In fact, many publishers have seen a spike in sales of novellas and short stories with e-books.

So, instead of becoming a serial killer, become a serial novelist.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Gift of Time

With the end of Daylight Savings time this weekend, Americans were afforded the luxury of an extra hour last night. (Well, technically in the wee hours of the morning...)

So, what did you do with yours?

I'd love to say I used that extra hour to write something profound, to be prolific, to crank out an amazing scene in my WIP. Heck, I'd like to say I used that hour to write anything at all. These days, when there are not enough hours in the day, an extra one is certainly a gift.

So what did I do with mine?

I slept. I've been feeling under the weather, so I used this year's "gift" to get some much needed rest. I do feel a tad bit guilty for not using it in some other meaningful way, but this worked for me.

And since I woke up at the crack of dawn (Well, not really, it just seemed that way for a Sunday morning when I could sleep in.), I'm going to grab my laptop and put my fingers to the keys this morning. At least that's something.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Heavenly Saturday by Margot Justes

What a blissful Saturday, I've been up since six, drank a few cups of coffee, and had a delicious slice of Panettone (a big slice of Panettone) and I will spend the rest of the day writing. It doesn't get much better than that. Panettone and coffee are perfect together.

If you don't know what a Panettone is, I'll be happy to tell you. It is a delicious cake, not overly sweet, aromatic filled with raisins and orange peels. The one I just bought at Costco is made by the Bauli family in Verona, Italy. There are many brands readily available in the US.

For me just smelling the Panettone evokes the approaching holiday season, and after all we are a mere three weeks away from Thanksgiving.

All in all, other than my paying job, it was a good week. Thanks to my critique partner June Sproat, I will take my short story and included it in my novella-and voila, my novella will become a novel. It was such an obvious thing to do and I missed it until June said, 'why don't you just include it in the novella?'

And dare I mention it, I received the most wonderful rejection letter ever. I knew Amanda (an editor) didn't handle my genre, but since I pitched it to her at RT, she was gracious enough and asked to see A Hotel in Bath. She warned me it would take a while for her to respond. And respond she did. She offered advice on the conflict between the hero and heroine and then said, "with some revision and refining, this story could be a strong contender for NY Publishing houses." She urged me to pursue an agent.

To complete a great week, I received another batch of Eyvind Earle posters from Guy.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Titanic Book Launch & Teachable Moment

When in my classes, I plead, beg, urge, encourage my students not simply to write but to re-write, many have no idea how much the rewrite means to me; they've no conception of how many rewrites I do to get a page, a scene, a chapter right. Not just right but perfectly right to my final perfect LIKING.  Of course, it is not always easy to determine when it's as good as it's going to get, but there comes a moment in the many rewrites of a scene or chapter that screams at you--you're DONE DONE.  But then you turn it over to a number of editors, and guess what?  You're not done.

However, you've now been away from the story long enough--or that chapter long enough--that you can be objective with it and yourself, so that when suggestions anew are made, you can deal with them without freaking out (as the younger generation is want to say). The story or scene or chapter is not correctable inside your head, and so the first and rough drafts have to be produced before you can ever get to the process of rewriting and revamping and reorganizing and re-this and re-that. Once it is out of the gray matter and on the white page, you now have product to work with...to mold and shape, to hammer and saw...and you see it and feel it as a product rather than nebulous, foggy thoughts and voices careening about your mind's deepest recesses and corridors.

Some authors say they hate the rewrite and this is understandable because once a story's been told (the plot is put on paper), it can't help but get old; it gets older as your rewrite, too. However, in my own case, I get my best lines and most inspiration and insights into character(s) and best plot twists and the occasional ingenious idea or "movement" in the action or situation during the laborious rewrites. Whole incidents not there before worm their way in, insisting on being a part; whole new characters crop up insisting on being in the story. Layers develop and the once straightforward story takes on a character of the onion needing to be peeled away so as to get at the core. Themes emerge that were not there until that sixth, seventh, or tenth rewrite.

This certainly has been the case with my Children of Salem, a purely historical novel set in Salem Witch Hunt days wherein our hero is trying to conduct a courting of his childhood sweetheart when her mother is excommunicated and locked up as a witch....and this was certainly true of my 11-book medical examiner series begun with Killer Instinct and predating Bones and Silence of the Lambs.  This was definitely the case with my recently completed and gone on sale Kindle Original entitled Titanic 2012 - Curse of RMS Titanic.  The thing grew and grew with each successive rewrite, and I believe and feel with all my heart that it grew for the better and not the worse.

Chapter 30 - wow, OMG....how many times did I have to rewrite Chapter 30, far more than all the other chapters, and why? For one, it needed a great deal of attention from the get-go and a lot of rewriting even before I turned it over to early readers/editors. Knowing I need all the help I can get and not shying from that fact, I had as many folks read the early, ugly drafts as I could manage to find. The book was torn from limb to limb, as my early readers did not spare the rod or spoil the child/book...nor did they spare the slings and arrows for its author. "How couuuld you?"/ "Call yourself an English Professor, do you?"/ "What were you thinking?"/ "Are you sure you want to be a writer?"/ "Ever et raw meat?" ---OK, I exaggerate and none of my early readers are that blunt or harsh, but I KNEW what they were thinking.

Chapter 30 - as with other chapters just required so much attention in large part due to the fact I had NO idea what I was talking about. I knew what I wanted to say, what I wanted to accomplish, but as my final editor pointed out, he being a genius with special effects of the science fiction order: "You'd be laughed off the face of the Earth had "THAT" gone to press." Fortunately, Robert Farley Jr. was tough on me and blunt. It would have been the equivalent of a street cop using a frilly girly-girly gun on the job had I not had this friend's help in the sci-fi areas of the futuristic scenes. As I said, I knew what I wanted to get across, had it all sketched out in fact--but man was it was damned "rough" until my friend and early reader/editor got hold of it. Together we went back at it again and again as it was not so easy for any of us either to get this scene across and keep all of its surreal dream aspect intact along with the floating dead, zombies in a true Dead Zone. I needed help with the sub, with the breathing apparatus, the liquid air--its scientific name, with how men might find a dead zone and how it would look and feel, a zone inside Titanic where no life, not even microscopic, lived--where only my hero alone becomes the sole life form. While having fun with the discovery of the 1912 cargo of automobiles. Final writing was a matter of many honings.

So never discount the power of the Re-Write and what it does for your story, scene, chapter, novel. With that, I leave you with a buy link for a novel you can have in your hands in ANY format thanks to Kindle store philosophy of not being exclusive. Find Titanic 2012 at: http://ning.it/97tR1E - A Titanic book launching it is, too. Amazon Reviews are up as well!

Please do leave a comment....would love to hear stories of reWrite that saved your scene!

Robert W. Walker (Rob)

Making Time Count! by DL Larson

With the holidays fast approaching, it's all too easy to put my WIP in a box and let it rest until the new year rolls around. Setting aside my writing sounds reasonable, practical even, but I've learned over the years just because I'm not physically working on my plot and characters' problems, doesn't mean I can switch off my brain. My mind is still churning, conjuring up twists and changes. It's so aggravating! I don't want to think about plot just now, I want to decorate my home, do a little baking, search through catalogs and stores for great presents for my kids and grandkids. I have outings to attend. I don't want to be a writer just now!

Unfortunately my brain can't stop, it's addicted to problem solving, with or without paper and computer. I discover answers I've been searching for - for months! I don't want to be a schemer right now, I want to enjoy the holidays, peacefully. My characters never take vacations, never leave me alone. They never rest.

So I've come to a consensus; I turn on the computer every day. I sit in my office or at my dining room table to appease my cantankerous characters marching around in my head. I write, I scheme, I plot, I do what needs to be done. Then I sneak away.
I slip out of the room how one eases away from a sleeping baby. Don't want to stir things up again. Best to tip-toe from the chaos of scattered papers, frantic notes and spent pencils.

All will be well until tomorrow and I'll have to do the same routine all over again. It's quite immature, my characters nagging me, but our system works, sort of. I've learned over the years, ignoring them creates a disasterous muddle. It's easier and more productive to give in and get words on the paper than to struggle weeks later and wonder if I've missed something along the way.

So how do you deal with your writing during the holidays? Do you face time constrictions that you don't normally have the rest of the year? Please tell me I'm not the only one with this dilemma!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Price War by Morgan Mandel

How low is too low? There are tons of books on the Amazon Kindle for very small prices, many even for free. I  know for a fact I've been reading a lot more since I bought my Kindle 3 than ever before, and I've noticed more people with Kindles everywhere. People are noticing I've got one and asking about it, so there's still a lot of interest in them. Also, Christmas is coming up, which means more Kindles will be around.
Smashwords is also a very popular site for buying books because they translate them into many formats. The prices there are quite reasonable as well.

There's lots of competition out there, and that's for sure. To compete with the market, I've reduced Killer Career today to the low price of 99 cents at both sites. The new price should be showing up in a day or so, if it hasn't already. Is that too low, or is it a smart market move?

What's your take?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career at SmashwordsAmazon

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jeffrey Deaver

In yesterday's edition of USAToday the following profile of Jeffrey Deaver was a highlight:


It was exciting for me to read because Jeffrey Deaver was one of our headliners for the 2009 Love is Murder CON. At Love is Murder we pride ourselves on being a close and exiciting CON where all of us can mingle up front and personal with New York Times best selling authors such as Jeffrey Deaver.

I have to say that he gave an extremely entertaining talk to our audience and afterwards he graciously waited around to talk with everyone who approached him, including me.

The article link above addresses his place as the author of the new Bond novel. A regular at Love is Murder is author Raymond Benson who has authored numerous Bond books.


So, come out to Love is Murder this Feb and rub elbows with some of the most amazing authors, readers and fans on the planet.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween by June

I did the typical parent thing yesterday and took my youngest daughter trick or treating. She had a ball, except everyone was getting her costume wrong. Now I didn't really think it mattered, but she kept correcting them. To her advantage, most of the people felt bad they guessed wrong and gave her an extra piece of candy!

This is a picture of her in costume:

This is what everyone guessed was her costume:

And they didn't guess that she was going for this:

Yes, she was my little Southern Belle!
Well, she enjoyed Halloween, even if they didn't know who she was. All she cared about was that her costume was really pretty!
Have a great week,