Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

book cover

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?
Man of the House_300dpi(1600x2560)
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!
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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 ~ 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over ~ Friends and Writers Celebrate!

“That’s what friends are for…”   Celebrate copy

Can you hear Dionne Warwick’s voice in your head?  In good times, in bad times…at all times, and at all ages and stages of life, I find myself making new friends while maintaining the old. New folks enter into our lives at work or in our neighborhood, in a classroom or when pursuing a common dream. In my case, in pursuit of the writing dream.

I received “the call” in May 2000. A phone call from an editor with an offer to buy my manuscript, Love, Money and Amanda Shaw, which turned out to be my very first published work.  After talking to me about the manuscript, my new editor’s next big question was, “Are you attending Romance Writers of America’s conference in Washington D.C. this summer?”  This particular conference is the big kahuna of conferences for those of us pursuing a professional career in the romance genre.

“I hadn’t planned on it,” I replied, “but I will now!”  When I hung up the phone, I bought a ticket–in fact, two tickets–to D.C. Mike wanted to go, and my son drove down from NY to meet us at the hotel. A great idea. He kept my dh busy the entire time I was busy.

One year earlier, author Debra Salonen received the call from the same

Deb Salonen Yoga, anyone?

Deb Salonen
Yoga, anyone?

publisher, in fact, from the same editor who’d made an offer to buy her manuscript. Debra accepted, and this conference was Deb’s first one, too. We both wrote for the Harlequin Superromance line and met each other in person through our mutual editor. I have a picture of us together that summer under which I wrote: Debra Salonen, a new friend who also writes for Superromance. She’s 2 books ahead of me! 

BLMPhotoLinda

Barbara McMahon

From that conference and others, I met Barbara McMahon, Karen Sandler and Rogenna Brewer – all creating stories not only for the Superromance line, but for other Harlequin imprints as well. We reconnected regularly at other RWA events. Some of us also joined Novelists, Inc. and attended their conferences, too. We talked business and had a lot of fun while doing it. And then came the Internet. Whee! Nothing can separate us now.

Karen Sandler

Karen Sandler

Rogenna Brewer

Rogenna Brewer

 

 

 

 

After more than ten years of friendship, it seemed natural for us to dive into some projects together when we decided to Indie authors. Now we write and publish books on our own. And thus, the Celebrate! anthology was born. I knew it would be a pleasure to work with these gals. And it was. Here’s what you need to know about this anthology:

TODAY is the release day!

Celebrate! Five heartwarming stories celebrating the sweet gift of romance on Mother’s Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas with five of your favorite authors: Linda Barrett, Rogenna Brewer, Barbara McMahon, Karen Sandler and Debra Salonen.

Celebrate! is available for $2.99 at all venues where electronic books are sold: Amazon, BN, Kobo, Smashwords.

These women have become more than simply writing friends. They have become friends of the heart. And I think that’s the secret for staving off loneliness throughout life. If your heart is open, new friends are invited in.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope to see you at 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 into a drawing for two of the books shown below and a $25 gift certificate to either Amazon or BN.  Your choice!

[Authors Jean Brashear, Dee Davis and Day Leclaire are other friends I’ve made through the years. We’re all part of On Fire Fiction, a group of award winning authors who’ve come together to support each other–the way friends do! I’m happy to offer their books as prizes here.]

Texas Danger, Brashear

 

 

 

 

 

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ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting Over ~ Speaking and Listening

With a microphone in hand…

Available October 3rd

Available October 3rd

I’ve had a busy month since the release of HOPEFULLY EVER AFTER on October 3rd.  In addition to my usual writing and on-line activities such as this blog and Facebook posts, I was part of several programs in the Tampa area which focused on breast cancer and other diseases that tend to “run in the family.”

Most people dread public speaking. They list it right up there with death, divorce and relocating homes. The thought of being in the spotlight and being coherent in front of a filled auditorium makes their heart race and their sweat glands work overtime.  Fortunately, I am not one of these people.  My heart rate may go up a notch, but that’s just excitement.

I credit my teaching background where I considered myself “on stage” whether in a room with children or adults. I also credit my mom, who dreaded making professional presentations on her job, but did it anyway. She managed her fear by being prepared. She practiced in the house behind closed doors. Except when she wanted a little critique from my dad or me.  I don’t think she memorized every word, but became so familiar with the material that she created her own comfort zone. Despite her prep techniques and the number of presentations she made, however, she never loved doing it.

I can’t say the same!  Although butterflies dance in my stomach beforehand, I become energized around the crowd. I learned from my mom, however, to be prepared. And I practice the same way she did. The difference between us comes from personality. She was much more introverted and appreciated my dad being “the mayor of the block.”

Each event I attended was different. One was sponsored by a hospital to honor breast cancer survivors — a big crowd showed up. Another was a panel discussion on hereditary genetics with a mid-sized audience.  A third was an intimate gathering of a cancer support group. I have yet to appear at another scheduled event where I’ll be telling my story and reading from the memoir at a community center. Interesting observation – the only time my husband was asked questions was at the support group. I guess intimacy builds trust more quickly.

A radiologist preceded me to the mic at the survivor event. I’m glad she did because she confirmed what I’d already suspected:  implants for cosmetic purposes and implants for mastectomies are placed in the body very differently. One of her PowerPoint slides showed a cancerous mass next to an implant. I have an implant. So that mass stole my breath away until I realized that the amount of breast tissue surrounding the implant was large. I suspected this patient had not had a mastectomy. During a mastectomy, almost every speck of tissue is removed. I raised my hand to ask her to clarify and was told that this woman had had breast implants put in for cosmetic reasons. I breathed again. Sometimes, it’s wonderful to be right! I thanked the radiologist profusely and when it was my turn, I almost danced to the mic, eager to provide hope to other women.

Mom would have been proud.

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

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HEADS UP!  This week five authors, including moi, are releasing Celebrate_BackCELEBRATE!  Five stories, five holidays in one volume. Watch for the announcements here and on Facebook, Twitter and all social media. It’s also one of the books you can choose this month for the contest.

OCTOBER CONTEST!  We’ll have two winners this month to celebrate the release of Hopefully Ever After. Post a comment and your name will be entered into a drawing for two of the books below plus a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or BN. Your choice!

DeeDavis_MatchMadeinManhatten_200px

 

 

 

 

 

ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrate copy

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Danger, Brashear