Tag Archives: books

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 ~ 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ARe DEBRA SALONEN 7-1

 

 

Celebrate copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over ~ A Book Club Evening

IN THE SPOTLIGHT–                

From my own book shelves, authors Emily Giffin, Bridget Asher, Barbara O'Neal

From my own book shelves, authors Emily Giffin, Bridget Asher, Barbara O’Neal

“I just love this type of book!”

When I heard those words at my book club Tuesday night, my heart sang. I felt myself smile. The woman was talking about MY kind of book. The kind I read and write. The type that appeals to women, explores family relationships, and provides an emotional ride based on a what-if reality. What if your child isn’t on the school bus at the end of the day?  What if you discover your husband has been having an affair? What if you find out you and your husband can’t have children?  What if a couple decides not to have children but one of them changes their mind? (Baby Proof by Emily Giffin).  What would you do in these situations? You can safely find out in the pages of a book as you struggle along with the characters who are facing these issues.

I love the James Bond stories. But, c’mon. Half the fun of James and his ladies is the eye candy. As for the plot – we  ride in the most nifty cars escaping the bad guys. It’s a hoot to watch, but then we go back to our everyday issues in our ordinary world.

Except sometimes a woman’s ordinary world is rocked, and that is the premise for the genre I’ve been talking about here: Women’s Fiction. In these novels, we follow the female protagonist’s journey through rocky waters as she navigates to her next plateau. Sometimes, a love interest might surprise her. ( Open House by Elizabeth Berg). She might be surrounded by a “cast of thousands,” — relatives, neighbors, co-workers — but it’s basically her story.

More from my shelves: authors Kathryn Shay, Barbara Delinsky and Elizabeth Berg.

More from my shelves: authors Kathryn Shay, Barbara Delinsky and Elizabeth Berg.

On Tuesday evening, I had a special interest in the book club discussion. The group–about twenty participants–had read Family Interrupted. My novel.  Disclaimer: the choice was not my idea. A few months ago, a new book list was being developed and boom! It was included. On the other hand, I didn’t nix the suggestion. As the proverbial fly on the wall, I thought I’d get some insights and discover how readers truly reacted both to the story itself and to the writing. Maybe I’d learn lessons I could apply to my next book.

Well, the fly-on-the-wall idea worked for about the first fifteen minutes. I kept my mouth shut, didn’t make eye contact with anyone, and actually wondered for how much longer I could play the part of a robot. It’s really hard trying to avoid eye contact for that long especially when sitting in a big square formation with people to the right, left and across.

I had wanted to disappear, have the gals to forget I was in the room and just listen as they talked about book. What a dumb idea that was! First of all, it didn’t work. After fifteen minutes, I joined the conversation. We were talking about family issues, after all, and I have opinions, too. I’m used to participating every month. Second of all – and this is more important – I sensed that these readers wanted me involved. This seemed logical to me. After all, how many times would a real, live author be present at these meetings? How many times would these readers be able to ask questions directly to the author of a book they’d just read?

So away we went. Some of the discussion followed the questions I’d provided at the back of the book. Why did the characters do this or that? Questions were raised about the story couple’s marriage. Readers wanted to know how I came up with the idea. And one admitted, “You made me grab for tissues several times!” Good. An author wants to tap into a reader’s emotions, wants the reader to care about the characters.

The question that came from me, the one  I always love to ask is, “What do you think happens after the book ends?” We actually talked about a sequel which amazed me because I’d never had that in mind! As an author who worries about everything, and who knows the issues I had to confront when writing the book, I asked a question that no one else considered important at all. “Did the verb tenses work? Did you get confused as time flashed back and then back again?” Verb tenses ate my lunch as I wrote the book (which is one reason I hire an editor). And yet,  here in front of my eyes, these gals laughed at me.

So I learned once more that a good story wins every time. And that I worry too much. I don’t think, however, that I’ll ever stop.

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

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

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

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P.S.  I’ll be sending out a newsletter on October 3rd.  If you’d like to get it–right into your in-box–you can sign up for it here on the website.

 

 

Starting Over – CELEBRATE!!

CELEBRATE! holiday stories with the authors of On Fire Fiction–

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This month I’m joined by five other authors with Fingers on their Keyboards. Those fingers have been tapping away, helping their creators bring you brand new, never before published stories. Together, my friends and I have given birth–definitely a labor of love–to an anthology of holiday stories plus one stand-alone holiday novella. We’re celebrating holidays throughout the year – winter, spring, summer and fall.

We’re glad you book lovers are here to join the fun. We’ve got first lines–and you know all about that now if you read last week’s blog– and some interesting background info to share. When you combine romance, family and happy endings….what’s not to like?

Karen SandlerFirst up is KAREN SANDLER who describes herself as a genre conflicted writer. She’s interested in so much–romance, mystery, sci-fi, young adult, and horses (definitely horses) –and she’s so good! She’s published 17 romances, a young adult science fiction series, and the soon to be released Janelle Watkins mystery series. Poor Karen. She can’t make a decision.

But wait! I’m wrong. She did make the decision to select Hanukkah as her story’s background. And speaking of backgrounds, here’s a bit of Karen’s and why she chose the holiday she did:

Karen says:

When the idea of a holiday anthology was first presented, I knew I wanted to do Hanukkah. I have very fond memories of celebrating Hanukkah when my boys were young. Although my father was Jewish (as was my maternal great-grandmother), it wasn’t until I married my Jewish husband that we started celebrating the holidays.

Of course, Hanukkah was the boys’ favorite. The loved lighting the candles and saying the prayer. They both wanted to do the last night so they could light all eight candles. We started trading off with them each year so they could get an equal chance of saying the prayer on the last night.

The teddy bears described in the story were an actual prizes my younger son won at one of the community Hanukkah parties we attended. He apparently has one left of the two from that night and my grandbaby plays with it now.

Linda interrupts – Readers!  Do you see the makings of a family story here? From generation to generation?  This is what we’ve talked about and shared examples of recently.

I’ve asked all the authors participating in the anthology to submit the title and first line of their stories.  Here’s more about Karen Sandler’s story:

Title:   The Eighth Gift

First Line:  As Sarah Meyer watched the Greenville County sheriff’s deputy tap on the screen of his iPad, she hugged herself to stave off her fear. 

Now I want to know what Sarah was afraid of…a ticket? Or something more?  And could the deputy be her love interest?  I am a nosy reader, and I bet you are, too.

Karen’s book, TILL THE STARS FADE is also available now.  The genre? Science Fiction Romance!  The reviews are awesome. Here’s one from RT Book Reviews:  “it was action packed, fast paced and most definitely a page-turner.”   And another: “This book has something for readers of both genres. The writing is exceptional…Good job, Ms. Sandler.”  From: Under the Covers.

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 Check out Karen’s website at:  www.karensandler.net

 

 

 

 

As always, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed meeting Karen and hearing about her story for the holiday anthology. You’ll meet another contributing author at the next edition of Starting Over. Hope to see you then.

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POST A COMMENT AND YOUR NAME WILL BE ENTERED INTO MY AUGUST CONTEST. Prizes are a choice of one of the selections below, all stories written by the award-winning members of On Fire Fiction as well as a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or BN. Your choice.  OH, look. Karen’s got a story in Unsuitably Perfect 🙂

Love Me Some Cowboy - 5 book package

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Starting Over ~ Life in the Day Camp–The Book Club

READING AND WRITING AND BOOK CLUBS, OH MY!           LINDA BARRETT (2)

About a dozen women usually show up at the monthly book club meeting in my community. These women, who are becoming friends, are totally engaged in story. They are NOT shy about expressing their opinions on what they’ve read.Or on what the author was doing. Or on figuring out the answer to: What could the author have possibly been thinking? I so enjoy these discussions. After writing professionally for fifteen years, I’m finally eavesdropping on enthusiastic readers. What a treat for me! I hope, too, that I contribute something a little bit extra to the discussions.

Maggie and her Kindle

My friend Maggie and her Kindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

This month, we read The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls. I’d call it a complex romance, search for love and roots. The group enjoyed the story and discussion was brisk. In our new world of publishing, I’m always curious about how people read their books–electronic vs. paper. So, for fun, I took a user-friendly survey of reading  preferences.  Of the ten women who showed up this week, four brought their eReaders with them. Two brought library copies of the book. One came with a trade paperback copy she bought on  Amazon for $6.00–new, not used. Not sure about the others. But I glommed onto the 40% statistic of eReader users.

Here’s what happened next:  We noted the book for next month (Wild Swans) and right there, my friend, Maggie and I downloaded it to our Kindle and Nook. I looked at the others and said, “You just watched me spend $12.38.”  To which Maggie replied, “And why not? It’s just like spending on a concert ticket. It’s entertainment, whether a singer or an author. And I enjoy books.”

As an author, I adore her attitude. I adore her. She spoke spontaneously and with conviction as though saying, how could you think otherwise?

I also discovered that the county library has changed its inventory. There were only two paper copies of Wild Swans – next month’s choice –  in the entire system. More and more books are to be accessed electronically. Many of the women are not happy. They want to hold a book in their hands. Frankly, there are times I want to do the same, particularly at a book club discussion. However, I love reading on my Nook and wouldn’t give it up.

I glanced down the list of forthcoming books for the club:

July – Wild Swans by Jung Chang

August – The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

September – Family Interrupted by Linda Barrett

October – The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Whoa…whoa….back up there. Did you notice that September selection?  That will be a new experience for me. I insisted that someone else is leading the discussion while I hang around quietly, like the proverbial fly on the wall. I’ll keep my mouth shut no matter what they say…unless of course, they turn to me and ask, “Linda, whatever were you thinking?”.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?  Let us know if you think it’s a good choice for a club discussion.

Leave a comment and your name will be entered into a great drawing for the month of June. Prizes are your choice of two books out of the six shown below, all written by members of On Fire Fiction. Plus a $25 gift certificate to your favorite eTailer.

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

LInda

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Starting Over~~Fingers on the Keyboard

TWENTY-FOUR HOURS ARE NOT ENOUGH…

Yes, that's moi. My fingers at my messy desk.

Yes, that’s moi. My fingers at my messy desk.

I’m trying to organize my writing life so I can be as efficient as possible. I make lists. I use a calendar. I bought a tablet so I can connect to the Internet in any room of the house. And I’ve just started a new book. I think I’ve made my environment as user friendly as possible. But so far, it’s not working.  My brain is frazzled. My thoughts jump around faster than my three year old grandson on a trampoline.

Every morning I wonder what to do first. My friend, author Kathryn Shay, advised me NOT to go on Facebook before I’d written my new pages for the day. Her words made sense. A new book will only get written if I sit down and write! I’m talking about new material. But you know…?  Diving into an unfinished work, writing a new scene, figuring out motivation…is so much harder than checking out what’s doing on Facebook.  I tell myself that five minutes is all I need. But as anyone who uses FB regularly will tell you—it’s a timesuck.  It’s fun to catch up with readers, writers and friends. And I certainly want to have a presence and gently remind folks about my latest book, Family Interrupted. But an hour can fly by and suddenly, it’s mid-morning.

LINDA BARRETT (2)

Perhaps I should start my day with email. I check my email accounts several  many times (trying to be honest here) during the working day. And in the evening, it’s a choice between email and Spider Solitaire before I close down for the night. Email includes business and pleasure; my writing life and personal life. I’m part of On Fire Fiction, a writing group that supports each other’s promotional efforts, and we correspond via email. So keeping in touch is essential. Sometimes, we do projects together such as the holiday anthology which will be released in October. So, email is not a waste of time.  But it’s NOT writing new material–except new emails. And the day is flying by.

Kathryn told me that it takes discipline to ignore all things Internet in the morning. She has it. She’s trained herself to write first, then do everything else. I think her advice is sound. Intellectually, I KNOW it’s sound. Without publishing a new book on a regular basis, all the social media in the world won’t matter. In the end, the work has to come first.  As proof, here comes another book in Kathy’s firefighter series.  It’s being released on August 12th as an exclusive from Amazon.

Kathy Shay's latest book to be released August 12th exclusively on Amazon.

Kathy Shay’s latest book to be released August 12th exclusively on Amazon.

So my new resolution is to ignore the Internet in the morning. Starting tomorrow, I will write first. I couldn’t start today because I had to get this blog up. So Tuesdays are out. But from now on, no Internet in the morning for me. Starting tomorrow and every day thereafter, I will work on the new book first. Except, of course, for Thursdays because I post my blogs on Thursdays, too. But definitely starting tomorrow, I will have a new routine. If it works for Kathy, it should work for me. Right?  Hmm…I have to ask her if Saturdays and Sundays count…

So, I’ve taken care of business. And as far as my personal connections go, I’d much rather call my sister on the phone. Yes, the phone. The one in the house, not in my purse. The one we use for talking, not texting. The phone is more important to us than you can imagine because…my sister has never been on Facebook in her life!

POST A COMMENT:  How are you managing to combine business with social media and still produce your work?  Do you have a schedule you can stick to?  Make a comment and you’ll be entered into the June drawing for two fabulous prizes. First up – your choice of two books by  authors of On Fire Fiction. See below for choices.  Second, a $25 gift certificate to the eTailer of your choice – Amazon, BN, iTunes…whatever.

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

Linda

LOVE, TEXAS cover61g61GQfe9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51YO35nvckL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51X0n7QeODL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51VJ6qyXifL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51UL1N2FFVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Over~Fingers on the Keyboard

HERE WE GO AGAIN!   hands on keyboard

There is nothing scarier for a writer than staring at a blank computer screen, unsure where to start. Fingers, type something! Type anything. Truly, anything will do. Nora Roberts said so, and that lady knows a little something about writing books. Paraphrasing Nora here:  you can edit poor word choices, but you can’t edit a blank page.  She is so right. I’d better get crackin’.

I’m starting a new book, I’ve written fourteen other novels and should have the confidence to forge ahead without a second thought. But it doesn’t work that way. At least not for me nor for many other writers in my orbit.

I look at that blank screen and feel my heart race, my palms sweat. Oh, my God. I’ve got to come up with about 300 pages of story. I have to introduce fabulous characters and new conflicts to be resolved. I have to take readers on such an emotional ride that they won’t stop reading until the very last page.  At this point my stomach hurts, too. I visualize a tall, teetering pile of manuscript pages that should emerge at some point and have to take a deep breath. I need a pep talk. So I give one to myself.

My daily pep talk comes with coffee: Once upon a time there was a beautiful and talented writer...

My daily pep talk comes with coffee: Once upon a time there was a beautiful and talented writer…

Calm down. You can do this. You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again. You love to make stuff up. You love getting to know new characters and figuring them out. You love making them work for the ending they deserve. I keep talking and listening. Everything I’m saying is entirely true. But that insecure little devil in me challenges: Aw, come on. It’s hard work.It nags at you 24/7. Do you really think you can do it again?

I’ve got the hero in mind. I’d met him a few years ago in Pilgrim Cove. A widower who’d recently gone through a broken engagement. I’d left him alone with his little girl, and ever since, readers have been after me to give Adam his happy ending. Okay, now is the time. But who would be the right woman for him? A woman who’d challenge him and drive him crazy? A woman he can’t stop thinking about? She has to be the perfect match for Adam.

I scroll halfway down the first page. My fingers rest on the home keys, and I slowly type Chapter One. I double space and Indent. I’m ready to start Page One, Paragraph One, Sentence One.

Would she use the ramp or try the stairs?

And suddenly, I’m back in Pilgrim Cove, where the ocean is at your doorstep and the residents are in your business. I’ve got a handle on this woman, but I’ll get to know her better when I see how she reacts to the situation she’s in. And the situations I throw at her.

Once again, I’m engrossed in creating a story, in finding out what happens next. I’m not thinking  about the number of pages in the whole book. At this moment, I’m thinking only about Chapter One, Scene One. This time my heart’s racing with excitement. I’m having fun! Again.    

Are there activities that scare you, but that you want to try anyway?  A parachute jump? Living in another country for a time? Or, perhaps writing a book?

POST A COMMENT AND YOUR NAME WILL BE ENTERED INTO THE JUNE DRAWING FOR GREAT PRIZES. The winner will receive TWO of the books shown here (your choice), all written by the members of On Fire Fiction as well as a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or BN (your choice).

All of these books are traditional romances. Some are funny, some are more serious in tone. You can browse them at your favorite etailer and Look Inside the Books.  You might be the winner!

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

Linda

LOVE, TEXAS cover

 

 

 

51YO35nvckL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51X0n7QeODL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_51VJ6qyXifL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

51UL1N2FFVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_61g61GQfe9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Starting Over – Fingers on the Keyboard

hands on keyboardHARD COVERS and SOFT COVERS and E-BOOKS, OH MY!

Gutenberg  invented the printing press in approximately 1439 and changed the world forever. Gone was the dependency on hand written manuscripts as the mass production of printed books became a reality. His movable press became more efficient over time due to improved materials and tweaks, but nothing much changed for hundreds of years.

Enter the electronic revolution.

In today’s world, not only are books accessible to us, but readers have choices. What type of book do you prefer to hold in your hands? A compact well designed eReader such as a Kindle or Nook?  Or a “real” book made of paper pages sporting a rich cover? Most book lovers I speak with enjoy a combination of both, depending on the type of book. But let’s not kid ourselves, Electronic books are here to stay. The entire publishing industry has changed because of them. And authors have led the way.

Authors?. That’s right. I said authors.  But they write the books. They don’t publish the books. That’s what companies like Random House or Simon & Schuster do. Well, my friends, while that may still be true, those businesses now have new competition.

Enter the “indie” author.

The independent author has emerged as a powerful player in today’s book scene. An independent author contracts with a freelance editor, a copy editor, and a cover designer to help her produce–or continue to produce–stories that readers love. The independent author has become her own publisher.

I am one of them. After writing a dozen or so novels for a traditional publisher, I’ve decided to go out on my own.

You might have a few questions….?  Ah-h…I see a some hands up in the back of the room. Yes, Mary?

Q.  Why did you change to indie publishing?                      LINDA BARRETT (2)

A.  Several reasons. First, I could write more books than my publisher could schedule for release because they had other contracted authors to satisfy. Second, they sometimes turned down projects that I liked a lot and thought my readers would like too. Now I have a chance to make those stories available. And third, It was time for me to grow as a writer with bigger projects. Ergo, Family Interrupted.

Q. But don’t you have to pay those editors to help you?

A. Yes, I do. But it’s worth every cent. I would never release a book that hasn’t been thoroughly edited by professionals. It’s very difficult for me–or any author– to do a good job editing her own work because after re-reading the story a million times, you just don’t see the mistakes.

Any other questions?  I see another hand. Susie?

Q. So let’s talk about money. Doesn’t a big publisher pay you lots of money to write your books?

A.  Only the biggest names — authors who make the lists such as The New York Times or USA Today — earn “big” money.  Authors who publish regularly but have a smaller following earn far less. For most of my writing life, I’ve also worked a day job in order to pay the bills. I taught GED prep classes to homeless adults. Another challenging profession! Frankly, I loved that career, too.

Q. So, is it easier being an indie author?

A. There is no difference in the creativity and effort that goes into writing the story. It is neither easier nor harder to produce the best book possible. The extra effort for the indie author involves promoting the book. The responsibility is all mine, and I so appreciate any help I can get. If readers don’t know me or if they can’t find my books, then all my work will have been in vain. Without a reader, the art is unfinished. The circle is not closed. If I were a painter, I could hang my pictures on the walls of my house. I can’t hang a manuscript. Books are to share between writer and reader and among friends.

Q. How does a reader know if an author is indie or traditional?

A.  When you pick up a book, the publisher’s name will be in it. In my book, Family Interrupted, only my name is in it as both the copyright holder and the “permission giver” for reproducing any part of the work. Some indie authors might have incorporated themselves, and that corporate name would be on the copyright page.

Q. Are printed books available from an indie author?

A.  The author decides whether to publish her book in print. Because of the number of electronic readers out there, they often choose not to. Family Interrupted, however, is available as a trade paperback. There is no difference in the physical quality of the printed book offered by an indie author vs. a large publishing company.  When I hold a copy of Family Interrupted in my hands, the cover is strong, the colors are true, and the pages are formatted correctly. The book has weight and substance. It’s a real book! And it makes me smile.

Q.. This promo thing….if I really like an indie author, how can I help promote her?

A.  Same as you’ve always done. Tell your friends! Use Facebook, Twitter or your telephone. Post a review on the etail sites like Amazon. Your recommendation is still the very best way to spread the word. Thanks so much for asking 🙂

Any other questions out there? Just ask and I’ll answer right here in the comments section.

LEAVE A COMMENT and your name will be entered for this month’s drawing for a fabulous package of books. Five authors from OnFireFiction have put together five stories in LOVE ME SOME COWBOY. Each is a full novel from Jean Brashear, Ginger Chambers, Day Leclaire, Barbara McMahon, and Lisa Mondello.

I’m a proud member of OnFireFiction and happy to provide this prize as well as an electronic copy of FAMILY INTERRUPTED, my recently released novel of women’s fiction.  NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT FROM CreateSpace!!!

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

Linda

Love Me Some Cowboy - 5 book package

 

 

Starting Over – Fingers on the Keyboard

hands on keyboardIT’S ALL ABOUT PASSION —

Sorry, I’m not speaking about that kind of passion, but about other passions that fuel our souls and make us happy. I’m talking about passion in our work or hobby or avocation. Even passion about the hunt!

The ‘hunt’ was explained to me by my friend, Phyllis, a tireless fashionista. “Forget shop til you drop,” she said. “That’s too general. The hunt is about finding exactly the item you had in mind, in the exact color, by the date you need it, and at the right price.” Let’s just say that Phyllis is not only tenacious but has an eye for color, quality and value. She’s taught me a few things along the way–for which I’m grateful because…I have no taste. I have no patience in stores. I get hives after five minutes. I like wearing all kinds of colors, but recently discovered that gray looks horrible on me. What took me so long? For some women, passion lies in working with color, style and texture. Satisfaction can be gained by a trip to a mall or two.

I think passion is revealed in the way we choose to spend our time. I’ve read many true stories about men and women just like you and me who change careers mid-stream because they’d reached their now or never moment. Years pass quickly and they are finite. So, we hit now or never. Do we nurture the yearning that’s lurked inside us but never had a chance to bloom? Or do we continue on our “well trodden ways” putting responsibilities to and for others first and never reaching for our star?  Those with irresistible dreams will figure out how to satisfy their yearning.

I read about a woman who finally learned to play the bagpipes. Another woman started a landscape gardening business, and a third walked the Appalachian trail–finally. My friend, Margo, who has an artistic bent. learned to paint in oils and has sold several pieces. My neighbor does all her own landscaping, not as a business, but because she loves it. She’s always outside, fiddling with her plants, winning awards in the community.

As for me? When my now or never moment came, my writing career was born. I’d always produced bits and pieces along the way – a poem, a short story, a family story. But I could never envision a professional writing career without feeling guilty–and worried. How could I count on writing to pay the bills? Publishing is definitely not an exact science. My solution was to become a weekend writer for the first few years. I wrote and submitted proposals to my editor again and again. Until I could prove myself.  

I’m still proving myself. I’m starting over as a writer one more time. Changes in the publishing industry have provided new opportunities for writers, wonderful opportunities. But as usual, there are no guarantees. The road is still a rocky one. Between learning new technology and “getting your name out” as you must, authors worry about having less time to write. I used to worry about that, too. But not anymore. I’ve learned that although my daily schedule and “to-do list” may have changed since I’ve become my own independent publisher, my fingers are still on the keyboard. The words still come. Passion isn’t fleeting when it fuels the soul.

What are you passionate about? What is the one “want” you’d love to fulfill if you could? Dancing? Piano? What’s stopping you from trying?  Leave a comment below, and let’s start the conversation!

CONTEST NEWS!  This month’s drawing is for a fabulous package of books. Five authors from OnFireFiction are offering a five story romance package called Love Me Some Cowboy.  Each story is a full novel from Jean Brashear, Ginger Chambers, Day Leclaire, Barbara McMahon, and Lisa Mondello. I’m a proud member of OnFireFiction and am happy to provide this terrific prize in addition to a copy of Family Interrupted, my recently released novel of women’s fiction. LEAVE A COMMENT and your name will be added to the drawing.

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

Linda

 

Love Me Some Cowboy - 5 book package

book cover