Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mining for Input

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re having a good summer, getting to do the things you can’t do during the winter months.

This has been a busy two-week learning spree for me. I was immersed in twenty-three hours of webinars by writers on the subject of writing and marketing. The time was certainly not a waste, I mined some gold nuggets for my efforts.

For one thing, I learned there’s a site called www.acx.com. This site lets you upload your book and have it turned into an audio book. It costs nothing to get the process started; they have readers who will audition for me so I can pick the voice I want, and they then get half of any royalties my audio book receives. I have already uploaded Willard Manor for them to turn into an audio book. You may say, why would I give up half of my royalties? Because, I say, half of royalties beats no royalties.  This is an unexpected extra stream of income without my having to do anything. It then gets distributed through Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.com.

Another nugget I mined is a way of increasing my book sales by offering two free digital books. You read that right—I increase sales by offering two books free.  In exchange for the free books, I obtain email addresses. The reader wins/I win. I’ll be giving away as free books the first two books in my Cranky Seniors Series.  The readers will then be introduced to Willard Manor and Leaving Mark that are for sale.  I’m still working out the technical logistics of how all this works.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I experimented with how to make a video, either through YouTube or on a site on my computer. I did a trial run but realized I have to get much better at being “on camera” in order to make a polished video. One problem I have is that I have no one to talk to all day so when I open my mouth to talk on camera, it comes out as a squeak! My vocal chords get rusty from non-use (a problem Fred never would have thought I’d have!).

Now I need your help. I’m redoing my guide for beginning writers and I’ve been experimenting with various covers and titles. Please tell me if seeing one of these covers would prompt you to buy the book if you were a new writer and if so, which one.  Which one relates to the title better.  Realize, they can both be tweaked for the final cover. I’ll let you know in the next post what the consensus was. Thank you in advance for your input.
Have a good summer!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Have a Cigar!!

Pass out the cigars! We’re celebrating! Celebrating what?  The birth of a new book!

What book? My second novel, Leaving Mark.
I have spent the last three days formatting, editing, reviewing, editing, reviewing, editing, until there can’t possibly be a typo anywhere in the text. In fact, I’m so sure of it, I’ll send $15 to anyone who finds a typo.

Leaving Mark has been a fun book to write. Like its cohort, Willard Manor (of which this is a spinoff) there was a lot of fact checking to do. Granted, I lived in the fifties and sixties but I still had to double check such facts as when Carvel Ice Cream started its first store, or Howard Johnson’s. I couldn’t have my characters going to a store that didn’t yet exist, now could I?

President Kennedy’s assassination is burned in my mind—day, date, time (I was folding diapers and watching Gale Storm on an ancient black and white console TV when the news broke), but I had to check other events like when the Titanic sank (no, I wasn't around then!) and when Sputnik was launched. I further had to check the distance between New Haven, Connecticut and Sturgis, South Dakota, to see how long it would take two guys on motorcycles to get from one place to the other, without today’s highways. Thank heavens for MapQuest!

If you read Willard Manor (and if you didn’t, you should, it's a fun and painless way to learn US history through the generations of the Willard family), you know that a young couple, Tony and Shelley McGuire buy an old house and renovate it to make a home for them and their future children.  Shelley’s father is Mark Fortier. Leaving Mark is her father’s story, moving forward from catastrophe as a young boy to discovering who he is and what it means to be a man (with a few more good history lessons thrown in).

Leaving Mark is self-published through CreateSpace and will be available in a few days on Amazon, in both print and ebook.
Quote of the Day:  Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.  Francis Bacon

Saturday, June 20, 2015

When Two Loves Collide

 Folks, you know how much I enjoy seeing the deer in our yard. They are so beautiful and graceful. 

And you know, too, how much I’ve been enjoying my roses. The red rose trees were in bloom and looking lovely and one of the yellow rose bushes had a bud about to burst open. 

Then it happened. I went outside one morning to smile at and talk to my flowers as I always do, and lo and behold, there were no flowers! All I had were bare stems, every bud and blossom, every single bloom, had been chewed off by my formerly beloved deer.  I was not happy. And may I say these roses were in my front yard, not the back yard next to the woods where I normally see the deer.


I heard that deer won’t go near rosemary, so I put pots of rosemary near the roses. Then a neighbor said they don’t like cayenne pepper, so I sprinkled an entire bottle of cayenne pepper all around my roses. The deer haven’t come back to them, but that’s probably because there’s nothing left for them to eat.

I started getting new growth on the roses which thrilled me no end, except we then had a beetle invasion.  The beetles are eating my roses to death, leaving nothing but skeleton leaves.   


For the beetles, I was told to get Bag-A-Bug

and hang it away from the plants. I did, and it is truly attracting and catching beetles, but there are still enough on my rose trees to do considerable damage. I was told the beetle season only lasts about six weeks so I’m hoping they’re close to going away.  

If nothing else comes along, I just may get to enjoy my roses yet this summer.

And my birds. 


And my porch. 


One can only hope.

Quote of the Day: Live now, believe me, wait not till tomorrow; Gather the roses of life today. Pierre de Ronsard