Starting Over~ From Barrett’s Garret

hands on keyboardA Year in this writer’s life~  

As romantic a vision as it may be, I don’t really work from a freezing writer’s garret. My little old office does nicely. Today I have some writing news I wanted to share which will partly explain why I’ve been quiet these past few weeks.

I’m working on a brand new romance series called Sea View House, and I’m about halfway through the first book. The working title is The Perfect Wife, but that may change. So many things change from the conception stage to the final product that with titles, we always call it a working title until the final choice is on the book’s cover.

Funny how things come about. As the new year approached, I did NOT want to make any resolutions. Most resolutions fail. They fail after a week or two because most are tied into losing weight. As we all know by now, losing weight doesn’t happen by magic or by starving yourself for a week. Good stories don’t get magically written either. They need a lot of planning and a lot of time reserved only for thinking. Or dreaming. Thinking is not overrated. It’s a must.

By last November, I felt blah. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just didn’t have the energy for new projects. I’d lost my joy, my mojo, not only for writing, but for family fun. My golfer guy and I planned a cruise with friends, but honestly, I didn’t care one way or another if we actually went. With writing, normally, my hands start to itch for the keyboard. My mind drifts off, daydreaming about new characters and what they want and why they can’t have it. Now my mind was just blank. Burned out. So I looked back over the year to figure out the reason. I thought if I couldn’t, then maybe it was time to cover the keyboard and call it a day. Or a career.

Exactly one year ago, in January 2013, I officially started my journey as an author-publisher.  During the year, I released two full-length new works: a novel (Family Interrupted) and a memoir (Hopefully Ever After). I wrote over 60 short pieces for this blog (Starting Over), and participated in Facebook posts many times per week. I arranged for a blog tour, made personal appearances at several groups and was featured in a newspaper article here in Florida. I also gave as much support to other writer-friends as I could by sharing their FB posts or highlighting them in my blog.

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I kept up with industry news through writers’ magazines, blog posts by agents and authors as well as through group discussions with my own lifeboat of author friends and professional author loops. But by the time I boarded the cruise ship on December 30th, I had no idea where my writing was going next or if it was going anywhere at all. I was ready for a vodka tonic every night. And ordered them!

I enjoyed cruising with my friends. I learned how to snorkel and was thrilled to see the gorgeous fish swimming in front of my eyes, their bright colors flashing through the water. On the ship, if I was hungry, I ate. Without having to cook. If I was tired, I slept. Without having to make the bed. If I was in need of a shower, I took one. Without having to launder the towels. I played a Team Trivia game every day. I window shopped jewelry and other pretties. I arrived home relaxed, still undecided about the next step on my career path, but not worrying about it so much. Yes, I was born a worrier.

About three days after arriving home, after food shopping, laundry and cleaning the house, I sat down at the computer and continued working on The Perfect Wife. Time flew. It took me a week to get back on Facebook.  So what? I waited a few days to reconnect with my author friends, but I didn’t worry about it. They’d understand.

I found the joy again. As always, it lurks in the writing waiting to be rediscovered. Truly a gift that keeps on giving in the best of ways. After publishing  fifteen full-length books, you’d think I’d know that by now. That I’d remember it when days are gray. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget when  a long list of “should’s” and “have to’s” obscure it.

So my resolution this year is to be mindful of the joy. The stressors of writing must remain in a corner to be addressed when I can. Hmm….? Maybe I am shedding weight after all–from my mind, not my body.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

Linda

P.S.  My short story Man of the House will be available soon for 99 cents at all ebook stores.

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Starting Over ~ Riding the Wave or Not

hands on keyboardOBSERVATIONS FROM AN INDIE AUTHOR AFTER ONE YEAR

If your timing was right and you were lucky enough to ride the wave of independent publishing a year or two ago, you’re probably gung-ho about this new world of publishing. Riding the wave meant: 

1) you had a backlist to promote,

2) you were adept or quickly learned to be adept at social media,

3) you understood how to promote on book selling sites and blogs and had the shekels for paid ads you deemed necessary,

4) you had a nice handful of other authors at your side to support each others’ efforts by cross-promoting,

5) you believed in yourself enough to shell out some additional bucks for editing and cover design services,

6) you had enough money left over for technological services for uploading and distributing books to all the big electronic book stores,  OR

7) you had the innate ability to conquer whatever technology you needed to learn

8) you had the temperament to jump into the deep end of a new business with not much but your own chutzpah and a lot of discipline related to time and money management

9) you were ready to work 24/7 and lucky enough to have an understanding spouse

I am here to tell you that Items 2-9 on this list are the gravy items. Without Item 1 – the backlist – don’t count on your career sky rocketing. Not even if you are a multi-published author who’s won awards. Not when your books are still owned by a traditional house. Without appreciable on-line content for sale–content that’s in your control—significant income or any income is a long shot.  

Everything’s an experiment during the first year of going indie. Assuming you have a nice backlist but sales are slow, you can change covers, promote at different sites, ride the freeway or offer big “deals,” such as 99 cents permanently for a book. If one idea doesn’t work, just try another. Sooner or later, you’ll hit the right note.  Proof will be with your income.

Most author friends have told me that during their first year as indie publishers, they worked exclusively with their backlists and didn’t write any new work. Getting those older books up and out is hard work that consumes your time. But it must be done. Think of it as the building block to your new work.

For the author without a backlist, like moi, that first year is a whirlwind of trying and learning. While you’re writing new books, you’re also trying to have an Internet presence: Facebook, Twitter, Blogging – Tribrr, Goodreads.  The goal is “getting your name out there.” I’ve heard that phrase so much, I say it in my sleep.  So I spent eight months writing two blogs a week with pictures, and posting them on my website. I loved writing them, and my readership grew from about 450 to 2000. Little did I realize, however, that maintaining that pace sapped my energy and creativity for writing new books. I didn’t expect to earn anything with my blog—I was “getting my name out!”

Lesson learned:  Take care of the muse!

I’d written thirteen books in the romance genre before my indie adventure. The rights are still held by my traditional publisher, so I started fresh. Different. I wanted to stretch my writing chops, so I wrote a women’s fiction novel called Family Interrupted. Put it on sale in April 2013. It received wonderful reviews from both professional reviewers and readers.  I promoted it, even gave it a blog tour.  The money I’ve earned so far could perhaps cover the cost of a steak dinner. One dinner. One time.

In October, I released a work of non-fiction.  A memoir of surviving two bouts of breast cancer called Hopefully Ever After. Again, the reviews were terrific, but sales so far…not so good. Maybe a chicken dinner.

Also in October I participated in an anthology with four other authors. Romance stories celebrating holidays around the year.  Price: 99 cents. I’m not counting on steak here either.

My current work-in-progress is a romance – the first book of a new series. I guess my writing chops were stretched enough. At least for this year.

Lesson learned:   Have the patience of Job, and give readers what they want.  

As always when writing a blog, essay, or opinion piece, I speak only for myself. These observations are my own. I based them on my true life experiences. I didn’t conduct any surveys – scientific or otherwise. I have a broad-based network of author friends who share stories. I read blogs written by others in the industry, and try to keep up with what I need to know. Will I ever know enough?  Will you?

This new wave of publishing is still an industry in flux. I don’t see it settling down yet. There are times I feel I’m running on empty. At other times, I can’t wait for a new day to begin. One thing I know for sure – I’m never bored.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I look forward to seeing you for the next edition of Starting Over.

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P.S.  Shh-h…here’s a little secret I’m sharing with you first. Hopefully Ever After will be only 99 cents next week, from Monday-Saturday at all ebook stores.  Regular price is $5.99.  Make a note and enjoy. Happy holidays!

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I’m very proud of the reviews and comments I’ve received about Family Interrupted. This novel is excellent for book clubs. In fact, the conversation lasted over an hour at my own book group. Hope you’ll pick up a copy.

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Starting Over ~ A True Thanksgiving Story

file0002043695191Where’s the drumstick??? 

When I was a child, Thanksgiving was considered sacrosanct. It was the only time of the year when my mom’s family got together. To me, it was a big party with lots of cousins, aunts and uncles. The visiting relatives contributed specialties for a buffet table of hefty hors d’ouvres. Aunt Madeline’s stuffed cabbage and Aunt Ethel’s mushroom & barley, not to mention a hot dog casserole Aunt Gladys made because she wanted to try a new recipe–these favorites can still make me salivate. After digging into those dishes, no one really needed turkey and sweet potato pie and cole slaw and a million other sides to the main meal which the hostess provided.

After many childhood years enjoying wonderful Thanksgivings, I got married and immediately was assigned the role of hostess. (I’m sure my mom and aunts loved having a year off!)  That first Thanksgiving dinner I prepared stands out clearly in my mind today… and not because I was a great cook!

There I was, not yet twenty-one years old, making my first turkey. I stuffed it, basted it, wrapped it in foil and set the oven for 350 degrees (I made everything at 350). When I took it out of the oven several hours later, the bird looked wonderful–nicely browned–and smelled delicious. I set it on top of the stove to cool and rejoined my relatives in the living room.

When I returned to the kitchen fifteen minutes later, the turkey was on the floor, the drumstick gone, while my Shepherd dog sat there with a shit-eating grin on his face.  My heart raced, my jaw dropped. I could feel myself panic, but kept silent. I didn’t want anyone else to know what happened. But what to do…what to do…? I had a beautifully set table in the dining room with twenty people gathering around it, a loving crowd expecting to see a lovely browned turkey. And entire, whole lovely browned turkey. Oy.

I changed the rules. When I called everyone to dinner, I served the bird already sliced up nice and neat. I didn’t say a word about the little mishap. And if we were one drumstick short…well, no one really noticed. Some secrets are meant to be kept :)

So whether your turkey has one drumstick or two, whether you’re roasting your hundredth bird or your first, whether you’re celebrating with a special someone or a crowd, I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings.

And a special happy Hanukkah for my friends who celebrate that awesome holiday! It will take another 70,000 years (no kidding) for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah to collide like they do this year in 2013. Hanukkah is based on a lunar calendar, and since there are only 28 days in a lunar month, every so often the calendar is recalculated. That’s why Jewish holidays have floating dates. But never before and never again in our lifetime will Hanukkah and Thanksgiving be celebrated on the same date. So Happy Thanksgivukkah!

 

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

LINDA

P.S.  Don’t forget to celebrate with Celebrate Romance!   Only 99 cents at Amazon, BN, Kobo and Smashwords.

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Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

ONE WRITER’S BLOG… a day late and a  dollar short!  hands on keyboard

Change is in the air and in my fingers. I love writing this blog. I love connecting with readers and writing friends. I haven’t even run out of ideas yet. However, with a brand new book in the works, I’m running out of writing time. I’ve had to rethink my writing priorities which also affect the quality of my personal life. So, change is coming.

I began the Starting Over blog last April and have posted twice a week since then, every Tuesday and Thursday. The posts have usually run between 400-700 words or more with pictures! Everyone loves pictures :)   I’ve discovered, however, that writing and organizing so many essays conflicts with the time needed to work on new books. So, I’m starting over again, trying to figure out what makes sense for me. The first change I’m making will be to post less often now. Perhaps once a week. Maybe only when I think I have something important to say!

Br Ca Blog icon 1So let’s consider what we talk about here.  Starting Over was and is about a journey of many new beginnings. I’ve shared my health issues and information about breast cancer. We’ve discussed books and writing. We’ve laughed about my life in the day camp and making new friends after my golfer guy Golf Clubs 2and I moved a thousand miles away from our old home. I talked about these topics because I suspected I wasn’t alone in my experiences and hoped I’d connect with others. I’ve heard from so many of you here, on Facebook and by email that we do have a lot in common. These subjects are still relevant. So, what changes am I making with content?

I’ll be inviting more guest bloggers to share their news and views with us. Mostly other authors who’d like to connect with folks who read. That would be YOU. My author friends write across all genres from sweet romance to thrillers. You’ll be getting a taste of the reading and writing world. You’ll also be getting info on book pricing deals. In fact, my own book, Family Interrupted will be on sale for .99 in December. I’ll let you know more as the time draws closer.

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Celebrate copyIn the meantime, Celebrate! is available at all ebook stores except Apple.  Only 99 cents and it’s already garnered a reader review of 5 STARS. I’m psyched!  (But we need more reviews! If you’ve read it and would consider writing a line or two at Amazon and BN, it would be wonderful and appreciated). By the way, when you look up Celebrate at the ebook store, please type in the title and one of the author’s names. It’s much easier to find with an author name.

Change is in the air – it’s always in the air – because the only thing in the world that’s constant is change.  You’ve heard those words before. It’s a truth we may not like at times, but we adapt as needed. Thank you for understanding. I need to adopt a new schedule, and we’ll adapt to it together. (Okay, I’m stretching word play here, but can’t resist!)

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Stay tuned. Stay connected. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

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Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

Celebrate?  Why, yes. I think I will!  Celebrate_BoxedSet

In earlier blogs I’ve written about my excitement as part of the Celebrate! anthology with four other authors. One of my goals is introducing myself to new readers in the hope they will become new Linda Barrett readers. Of course, each author has the same goal. We all agree that a little story buffet might be a wonderful method of introduction. So, here’s the news that will go viral next week:

The price for Celebrate! is now 99 cents!!  And it will remain so. Here’s a peek at the stories themselves:

CELEBRATE! Five heartwarming stories celebrating the sweet gift of romance on Mother’s and Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas.
Man of the House by Linda Barrett  
Bobby’s been the man of the house since his father died, but now his mom is spending time with Steve. Steve makes his mom happy, but no one can take Bobby’s dad’s place. Can Bobby have a change of heart and accept a new man of the house?
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One Star Spangled Night by Rogenna Brewer
Navy Chaplain Lieutenant Lindsey Alexander is not as naive as world-weary Aircraft Carrier Captain Doug Reese believes. When the Top Gun is ordered into counseling, the junior officer is the only thing standing between him and his losing command of his ship.
Love With All the Trimmings by Barbara McMahon
An unexpected reunion at Thanksgiving changes a growing relationship when an old flame shows up just when Juliana has hopes for a future with Matt.
The Eighth Gift by Karen Sandler
When widow Sarah Meyer’s house is broken into and her son’s Hanukkah gifts stolen, her late husband’s best friend comes to her rescue. But as the friendship between Sarah and Jake Goldman blossoms into something more, it takes a Hanukkah miracle to lead to a new and lasting love.
My Christmas Angel by Debra Salonen
“Little Dickie Daniels is a Christmas angel.” So, 8-year old Abigail believes…until she meets the scruffy child her mother brings home on Christmas Eve. But looks can be deceiving Abigail learns, and some encounters leave an indelible mark. Thirty years later, Abby–author of the children’s book “My Christmas Angel”–receives a call that proves holiday miracles really do happen.
I do hope you’ll pick up a copy and enjoy these multi-holiday stories. Celebrate! is available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and at iTunes. I also hope that if you do enjoy them, you would post an honest review at any of the these sites. Reviews help spread the word. So, thank you.
Amazon direct link:
BN direct link:
As always, thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope you’ll join me for the next edition of Starting Over.
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CONTEST this month is for books written by the authors of Celebrate!   Winner will choose two!
BluebellsBlowout
ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1
Available October 3rd

Available October 3rd

 

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bn Love Be a Lady






Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

RESEARCH?  WHO, ME?                   hands on keyboard    

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you depend on the author to provide an accurate setting for her story. Whether it’s England in 1215 at the signing of the Magna Carta or American soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy over seven hundred years later, an enthusiastic reader will slam the book shut if mistakes in geography, dress, cultural mannerisms, scientific inventions are found. Readers expect to be drawn into the story completely. They want to be a part of that distant time, and they can be — within the pages of a well written book.  Historical fiction devotees often have favorite time periods they enjoy reading about. Regency England comes to mind. Or the Viking period. Or Colonial America. Or the settling of the American West. Authors are expected to have expertise in showcasing the attitudes and conventions of the times as well as the physical setting.

This is not a novel but a reference book about everything Regency – clothing, clubs, royalty titles, entertainment, food…etc.

What about authors of contemporary stories? The general perception is that they–myself included–get away easy.  We don’t have to bother with research because we live during the time period we write about, and therefore, we know it through osmosis and observation. The things we take for granted — television, computers, airplanes, rocket ships, supermarkets–are obvious. Who needs to research? Well, let’s see…

Try writing a police procedural and getting the crime scene wrong. Readers will condemn you forever, as well they should.

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Try writing about a health condition without getting your facts straight, and you’ll hear about it. Try writing about a career…let’s say air traffic controller, hospital administrator, or bakery owner…and not understanding what goes on behind the scenes…fugeddaboutit! You’ll have lost your readers forever. They simply won’t trust you to tell a story they can believe in. So, authors of contemporary fiction do a lot of research before writing the first paragraph of a new work.

A few years ago, I wrote a four book series set in the fictional town of Pilgrim Cove, MA. The town was modeled on a real town south of Boston along the Atlantic coast. I spent hours figuring out the tides and weather patterns in all seasons. I discovered the existence of a commuter ferry service to Boston. I researched the businesses a town that size could support. And then began the particular research regarding each main character’s background including their careers.

Moffitt Walk for the cure & Pilgrim Cove 007

In the first book, The House on the Beach, the heroine was a voice-over announcer doing radio commercials. What does a recording studio look like? Who would be with her? Does she have an agent to help get assignments? Her background in speech and linguistics helps her connect with the hero’s young son, a boy who stutters. My research included the causes and types of stuttering and how those around the child should react to him. The hero of the third book, Reluctant Housemates, was a marine biologist. I have a fat folder on that topic! And when trouble on the ocean came calling, I discovered how a Fresnel lens works, the kind used in lighthouses.

Recently, I had the idea to return to Pilgrim Cove and catch up on what’s happening. There’s a veterinarian, a single dad, who wants nothing to do with romance. If I proceed, I see tons of research ahead regarding veterinary clinics, common illnesses of dogs and cats. How about birds and bunnies? This vet happens to be part of the local greyhound rescue association. So, now we’re getting specific, from dogs in general to greyhounds and the characteristics of that breed as well as the effects of living the life of a top notch canine athlete. I started browsing this material and was blown away at the tough adjustment these wonderful dogs have when adopted by a forever family.  Of course, a romance is also brewing despite what our hero thinks. So more research awaits on the background of the heroine.

Almost all authors find the research part fun! It challenges us to learn about stuff we never knew before. And it’s interesting. But here’s the bonus:  good research might provide plot points for the story, plot points that the author wouldn’t have thought about on her own. You know how you want to look up something on Google? And how that one search can lead to ten more searches?  Well, that’s what it’s like for a writer to throw herself into her job. I love it!

So now, as part of my research, I need a favor:  can you comment on whether you’d be interested in visiting Pilgrim Cove with me? I’m thinking about setting several new romances in that town. Each romance would stand alone, but the townspeople and the town remain constant. You could jump right in, and it wouldn’t matter if you hadn’t read the first four books. Would readers believe that?

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

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NEW CONTEST FOR NOVEMBER:  I’m celebrating my co-authors of our Celebrate! anthology which was released last month. The winner of the November contest gets to choose two books from the list below. All are other works written by Rogenna Brewer, Barbara McMahon, Deb Salonen, Karen Sandler and moi.

Available October 3rd

ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

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bn Love Be a Lady

Starting Over ~Fingers on the Keyboard

Hitting the Pause Button….  hands on keyboard

Every so often in a writer’s career, she’s reminded of why she’s writing in the first place. Last night was such a time for me. So I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled post today to share the email that brought me to tears and then turned my tears to sobs:

Review: HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER by Linda Barrett

“This book is non-fiction. A courageous true story…”

HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER is a book that must be read by everyone.  It is a story of encouragement for all cancer patients, it a story of  affirmation for families and friends of someone with cancer and it is a story of celebration for cancer survivors.  But it is more than that, it is Linda’s story, a story of surviving breast cancer not once but twice in ten years.  Through her ups and downs, life continued for Linda and she faced it all in a very human, “let’s do this” kind of way.

Battling cancer is a team effort that is made bearable with support.  Ms. Barrett allows her readers a glimpse into her journey and all the twists and turns and bumps along the way.  Her Knight in Shiny Tinfoil, aka her husband, played an indispensable part as did her team of doctors, surgeons, oncologist, radiologist, and nurses.  Although fighting cancer does take a huge chunk of time and effort, Linda Barrett did not let it rule her life.  She continued to teach adult literacy classes, write novels and fulfill her roles as mother and wife while preparing to move from Texas to Florida.

HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER contains information about breast cancer and especially about the BRCA1 gene mutation of which Linda Barrett is a carrier.  But it also describes a life being lived to the fullest with love, persistence and encouragement.  Talented Linda Barrett has always been a favorite author, I have followed her career from her first published romance novel, but HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER is her greatest love story to date.  Thank you Linda, for telling your story, one that is all too familiar to a number of people, and for putting a face to this frightening disease.

Donna Zapf,  Reviewer — CataNetwork/Single Titles  Star Rating:  5 Stars
Not only do I want to thank Donna Zapf for her thoughtful and well-written review, but more important, I want her to know that I cried because she “got me.” She understood what my journey was really about.
Communication from the heart is what every author hopes to do with every single reader. That is why we write.

My very best to each of you. As always, thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over when the pause button will be released, my regularly scheduled blogging will resume and the winners of the October contest will be announced :)

OCTOBER CONTEST:  Two winners in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Post a comment and your name will be entered in this month’s drawing for two of the books shown below and a $25 gift card to either Amazon or BN. Your choice!

Texas Danger, Brashear

 

 

 

 

 

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ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard…

THAT DESERT ISLAND QUESTION…

I’m in the middle of a blog/book review tour which will last through kitts3_016November. This means that lovely websites run by lovely bookaholics will be posting about my two  most recent books: Family Interrupted and Hopefully Ever After.  [In fact, Hopefully is a featured book today at Bibliotica - just Google the name if you want to see what this is all about.]

Sometimes, these websites simply post an excerpt of the book and my bio. Sometimes, they read and review the book. Sometimes, they ”interview” me by sending me questions in advance. Then they post the Q & A.  This is the first time I’ve jumped into the blog tour world, so I’m learning as I’m going. Yesterday, I received about two dozen questions from which I was to select six and respond. I always love the creative questions best. Even if I’ve heard them before (and some have been around a long time), they still intrigue me especially if I’ve never given them a lot of thought. I found one such familiar question on the current list, so familiar you’ve probably all heard it in some form or another…

If you were stranded on a desert island…what one book would you bring with you and why?  There are variations on this question of course. For example, with whom would you like to be stuck with on desert island?  But we’re talking books.  So which story would you choose?

It only took me two seconds to come up with mine. Except that my vision of the story is beyond what Victor Hugo imagined when he wrote the magnificent Les Miserables.

 

So on my desert island, I have a tablet or a CD player. I have seen the stage production of Les Mis several times. I taped the 10th Anniversary PBS choral rendition of it years ago and watch it once or twice a year. I bought the updated version of the same production – fancier camera work and a little editing – and I own the music on CD.  Of course, I’ve seen the recent movie with Hugh Jackman.

No matter how many times I watch or listen to this story, I am NEVER bored. The many themes and conflicts in this powerful work criss-cross each other and resonate deeply: God. Faith. Hope. Idealism. Loyalty. Politics. Honor. Hypocrisy. Greed. Sacrifice. Redemption. And of course, love. Love on many levels: Parent-child. Close friendships. Unrequited love. Romantic love. And as though that weren’t enough, wrapped around these storylines is a stunning musical score. It soars, weeps, and then makes you laugh. It shadows the story, rising and reprising itself as the events unfold.

The musical retelling of Les Miserables is the story that touches my soul. Words, music and exposition of life. Of the human condition. The strengths and the frailties. If a young person were to ask me about the meaning of life, a subject young people often ponder, I would direct him or her to Les Mis and say, “start there.”

If you have never seen this play, check out the PBS listings especially during their fund raising weeks. The “big” productions are often run at those times, Les Mis among them. If you’ve seen this play, let me know and share your reaction to it. I can think of worse situations than being stuck on a desert island with Les Mis.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

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OCTOBER CONTEST: Two winners in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Post a comment and your name will be entered in this month’s drawing for two of the books shown below and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or BN.  Your choice!

Texas Danger, Brashear

 

 

 

 

 

 

DeeDavis_MatchMadeinManhatten_200px

 

 

 

 

 

ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

 

 

Celebrate copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over ~ Check-up Time

A cancer survivor never forgets anything that has to do with her medical

Available October 3rd
Available October 3rd

experience. This includes discovering the lump, the gasp when receiving the actual diagnosis, the crappy treatments, and most important, the support of friends and family.  When all of that is in the rear view mirror, she never, ever forgets doctor appointments.

I had my regular six month appointment this week on Tuesday. You may have noticed a FB post about it. Once made, I never change the  appointment. This year, I gave up a tour and luncheon at the Moffitt Cancer Center’s main campus in north Tampa because of my appointment at their smaller facility across town. I didn’t know about the tour when I scheduled my appointment. Just too bad for me. I didn’t change the appointment. I wouldn’t change the appointment. Perhaps I’m superstitious. Ya’ think?

I was NEVER a superstitious person before I became a writer. Shortly after beginning this career, I began noticing my ”rituals.” First, I close my office door. Against who? I don’t know. I’m usually alone in the house. Second, I drink coffee from the same mug every day. Written on the mug are the 011words: Working on a Best Seller. I hand wash it daily so it’s ready for the next morning. Thirdly, no radio, iPod, television or any aural distractions allowed. Other authors must create a playlist for each book before they start writing, but I need silence. In addition, I can’t begin a book without first thinking up a title. Even if it’s changed later on, the manuscript MUST have a title before I begin Page One. I also can’t begin a new story without arranging the research folders on the table next to me…and arrange them just so. I have to begin each day with the piles exactly the way I want them.

Once at the computer, I check email first. Then Facebook. Sometimes a game of Spider Solitaire. The truth is, I’m procrastinating the real work–writing the book! Creating something out of nothing is hard. Very hard for most writers. But here’s another truth: once you sit down and jump back into the story, the writing becomes easier. It’s the thought of starting again that’s worse than the actual doing. In any case, writers have developed a load of ways – rituals – to procrastinate the work.

Which brings me back to medical appointments.  My check-up this week was fabulous! My doctor is fabulous. I gave her a copy of HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER and she immediately started browsing it and laughing out loud. “I love the chapter titles. Oh, look, the Rolling Stones.”  And then, “I have a lot of breast cancer patients who’ve had the disease twice.”  Just like me. I gave her bookmarks to share with others.  She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in the chapter called, The Search for Dr. Wonderful.  She’s also in the Acknowledgement section.

FORCE LOGO

FORCE LOGO

I mentioned FORCE – Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered–which is the only non-profit foundation in America that focuses solely on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. It’s located in Tampa, and my doctor knew about it! Some of her other patients…the two-time survivors…must be aware of it, too.

It’s almost three years for me now, and my luck is holding. I’m not taking any chances whether rituals or superstitions make sense or not. I don’t walk under ladders, but I do keep original appointments.

Anyone out there have their own rituals or superstitions? Come on. Tell all. Curious minds want to know :)

As always, thank you for stopping by.  I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over.

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OCTOBER CONTEST:  Two winners in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Post a comment and your name will be entered in this month’s drawing for two of the books shown below and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or BN. Your choice!

Texas Danger, Brashear

 

 

 

 

 

DeeDavis_MatchMadeinManhatten_200px

 

 

 

 

 

ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over ~ Fingers on the Keyboard

Toot the old horn…or not?  Warning: blatant self-promotion coming up!hands on keyboard

Writers live in a cave of their own making. Caves are necessary because writing is done alone. Sometimes, it’s lonely work. At other times, the characters are so alive, so in your face, filling the cave with chatter, chatter, chatter. Perhaps too much of a good thing :)

My goal as a writer is to come out of the cave’s darkness and into the light of day. I’m talking about PUBLICATION. What satisfaction!  What accomplishment!  What j-o-y….  Oh, yeah? Not so fast, my friends.  After giving birth to the baby, what happens next? How do we cave-dwellers know if anyone likes or appreciates or cares about our beautiful labor of love?

We don’t know. Except for two things: reviews and sales. Personal emails are nice too, but we live for reviews. They are the only feedback we get after sending our child nekked into the world. So, now I’ll share with you what some readers and reviewers are saying on Amazon about my newest babies starting with the novel, Family Interrupted:

This one's also on my shelf! And in my e-reader.

This one’s also on my shelf! And in my e-reader.

Barbara, a reader, says:  Read this book! Amazing book. From beginning to end it keeps your interest.

Bookaweek, a review site: I’ll read more by Linda Barrett.

Sue, a reader, says: I loved this book. I was so hoping for a happy ending, and it was better than I had hoped for.

Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews: An emotional roller-coaster ride

Allison, a reader, says: Great story! Ms. Barrett’s writing is engaging and her character’s are very real.

FAMILY INTERRUPTED  received 4 and 5 star reviews from these readers and others. Nothing less. Just check the reviews on Amazon and see for yourself.  So, I’m happy and proud. And hope that you’ll help me spread the word about the book.

Available October 3rd

Available October 3rd

HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER was released two weeks ago, so it hasn’t garnered as many reviews, but I’m very pleased with what’s been said so far:

Joni Rodgers, NYT bestselling author says: Linda Barrett’s frank, funny memoir delivers an honest account of her difficult journey…Highly recommending for the newly diagnosed.

Jane Perrine, author and reader gave it 5 stars!  She says: Emotional tale beautifully told. …Linda’s strength and wit kept me reading. She’s completely honest and shares intimate details of those years but not in a way to make the reader uncomfortable.

 

Celebrate copy

And now we come to Celebrate! my youngest offering, an anthology only five days old:  Welcome to the world, baby!  You’re beautiful. Sweet. Romantic. And full of second chances at love. Not to mention a great line up of writers starting with NYT Bestselling author, Barbara McMahon who’s accompanied by award winning Rogenna Brewer, Deb Salonen, Karen Sandler and moi. No reviews yet. But I’m sure readers who love the stories will jot a sentence or two on the Amazon and BN boards. It’s just a matter of time. Who could resist a beautiful face like yours?

So today I’m spreading the word that this cave dweller yearns for some honest feedback. Am I tootin’ my own horn?  Let’s look at it another way. Do moms brag about their kids?  You can be the judge!

As always, thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you for the next edition of Starting Over–and on Facebook, too.

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OCTOBER CONTEST:  Two winners in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Post a comment and your name will be entered in this month’s drawing for two of the books shown below and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or BN. Your choice!

Texas Danger, Brashear

 

 

 

 

 

DeeDavis_MatchMadeinManhatten_200px

 

 

 

 

 

ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate copy