May 31, 2011

I'm THERE!!! (Almost...)

     The past few weeks have felt like a death race to me. My editor returned my ms with the FINAL revisions, and I took my time going through every last detail. I thought I had it in tip-top shape, and then I read the critique posted on BLACKBIRD IN MY WINDOW on my first few paragraphs. I suppose I never knew the word "waterhole" would be disliked. It's all well, though... changing one word was fairly simple. I tweaked the cover art to the best of my (meager) ability, and spent WAAAYY too much time learning to format ebooks.

    Now I'm all jittery (though it may be from all the coffee and not purely excitement), because this beast is formatted and ready for ebook! AAAAAHHHH. (Composing myself). I'm planning to set a release date in the near future between my grandmothers birthday, grandfathers retirement party, my husband's birthday, my father's birthday, fathers day, and Independence Day. Hmm... maybe I'll just wait until all that is over. Nothing really big going on in August.


May 27, 2011

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

This is not something I usually do, but I recently received a $5 Amazon gift card from a friend. In most cases, I would have been stoked about buying some new ebooks, but at the present, I'm bombarded with work. I don't have the time to read anything, and it may be weeks before I'm able to even browse for something new. So I thought, why don't I give it away to someone who will use it? 

First off, I don't want to use money to gain followers, I want people interested in reading, writing, and publishing here, not just the ones who swarm blog contests, so I won't be advertising this anywhere. Lucky for you who already followed me! Of course, if you have a friend who likes the same things, I won't be upset if you mention it to them.

Since it's just 5 bucks, I won't make this hard. All you have to do is reply to this blog post with a link to your blog. If you don't have a blog, just reply with your name. I'll give it a week, write down all the names, and draw one from a hat. I'll contact you with my e-mail address and use that to deliver you the code from the card. *Sigh, now I have to get back to work : P

 **Note - this is a gift card CODE that can be redeemed online at and added to your account for use. This is not a physical card.

May 24, 2011

I got blog tagged :)

I was blog tagged by Scott Niven, author of a series of books on speculative fiction (they're very good, if you haven't read them and you enjoy speculative fiction, you can check them out at the blog link above). One of his stories in particular, A Mare Imbrium Wink, is still dancing through my head while I make up the rest of the story to appease my curiosity. At least until he releases the full version... I hope. 

As part of the blog tagging experience, I need to answer some questions, then blog tag some other bloggers. So here we go:

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

My, my, why the hard questions? I have two children so that cancels out using their births as my one relivable moment. I suppose, since he was the cause of my children, my first date with Greg would be high on the list, though there was a bit of clumsy embarrassment involved that I wouldn't want to relive. 

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
I would retract all those little things that disappointed my parents, or at least hide them better.  

What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?
Truthfully, I don't watch enough TV to get too familiar with characters. There was a movie in 1962 based on the book by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I always loved the book because I could see so much of myself in the little girl named Scout. Mix her with Pippin from LOTR, and Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander from The Sword of Truth, and that about sums me up.

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
If it were unavoidable, I would push myself. If I had to be responsible for the death of one person, I would take my own life before that of someone else. I'm not suicidal in the least, but I don't really have a fear of death, more the fear of causing someone else's.

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
My incessant need to have a place for everything and everything in it's place.

Describe yourself in one word.


Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Why do you blog? (In one sentence):

It's entirely too efficient to spread ideas and ask for advice, moreso than emailing 20+/- people separately. 

And the people I'm blog tagging are: TBA

May 22, 2011


     I haven't been perusing blogspot much lately, but it's likely because of my newfound addiction. I joined a writing community, LegendFire, and I can't stay away from it. The forum leaders are very involved and knowledgeable, the critique posts are informative and professional, and the writing challenges are a wonderful way to flex your brain muscles.

   If you aren't already active in writing communities, I highly recommend this one. Click the link below:

May 20, 2011

Why I decided to go independent

     Though it's literally taken me months to make a decision on publishing, I've made a final conclusion. There are several main factors that led me to self publishing:

1. The most important to me was the concept of artistic freedom
- Traditional publishing leaves little room for that. In the end, the author has little to no say in what stays in the ms, what the cover looks like, and how they market it. Those are all things I want to be a part of. This is my first finished novel, after all.

2. Price really influenced my decision
- Was I worried about profit? No, not at all. I was more concerned that the prices set by trad. publishers would keep this book out of my readers reach. Every penny made from this title will be recycled into marketing, so I don't care about making money. I just want someone who looks at the cover and wants to read it to be able to walk away with it and not have to worry about the cost. 

3. Time is of the essence
-Though I'm not the type to get in a hurry about anything, you can bank on the course of traditional publishing taking years. While I do have the patience to stick it out and go that route, I have acquaintances who want to read this book NOW. When I pass people I know in the grocery store, I get the same question. "When will I be able to get my hands on your book?" I don't want to have to tell these people who are supporting me that they're going to have to wait a few years. Give the people what they want. 

4. Marketing 
Let's be honest. I know who has my best interest in mind. It isn't an agent, or a publisher, or any other middle man in the world of literature. No, they all have their own agendas. The only one whose sincere interest lies with getting this book where it needs to be is me. The real cause for this being weighed into my decision was a book reviewer. At one time, I followed a certain reviewer right here on blogspot. I recently read one of *this person's reviews that was filled with such vulgar language that I made my first "unfollow" ever. While anyone can post a review, and I will encourage any who are interested, I want to be able to decide the kind of people and websites and advertising that are associated with my work. 

5. The concept of success
Thankfully, I'm not the kind of person who judges their success based on number of sales on a chart. If one single person reads this book and enjoys it, I've accomplished what I set out to do. With a publisher, I wouldn't get the sweet ambiance of reveling in my success. Unfortunately, I would be squealing with delight over one happy reader while the publisher would be telling me, "It's not enough." I have a great deal of respect for every bestseller that's ever been. They sell that many for a reason. My way of thinking still leads me to believe that just one really is enough. 

It simply falls into place with my lifestyle. It will fit on the shelf right beside my home improvement hobbies, my gardening, my painting, my coupon shopping, and every project I like to undertake because I see something that I'd like to buy, but I can make it myself, have fun with it, and spend half as much. 

Some people see independent publishing as the easy way out, but I see it as the opposite. It's also more logical to me. I could spend months writing query letters, a different length of synopsis, gaining more credentials, etc. on the hopes that it would someday be worth it. I don't like working on the basis of hope. I like working with a plan (like the detailed business plan I've drawn up) and with a purpose. I can watch the results and adjust accordingly. I would much rather put my time into a potential reader than a potential agent. 'Nuff said. 

May 16, 2011

Reaching for inspiration

      Inspiration is the one thing all writers can agree has to go into any work. We're all on the lookout every moment for something more, something to give us that drive. Finding what inspires us to keep pushing out pages has become an art form in itself. Some writers use music, movies, discussion, scribbling on paper. I've even spoken to a few who can't seem to break outside the box without a heavy drink or two under their belt.
     As far as being inspired, I think I'm the luckiest person in the world. I live ten minutes from the most inspiring place I've ever known. It's not a castle made from diamonds or a wonder of the world. It's a creek. It's where I grew up.
    Most laugh at the name - Jigg Water. I'm surprised that it's kept that name in the face of desegregation. In my great-great grandparents time, that creek was the place where blacks would go and wash their clothes. I sit on the bank, listening to the falls in the distance, hearing the cranes give me their warning call; they don't trust me. There are no lights, no telephone poles, no interruption to the purity of nature. I can almost see their outlines, the hardened faces of the scorned and abused, singing "All God's chillun got wing...", and beating the tattered cotton made blouses against the rocks.
    I love having the ability to watch them, those souls that linger, as though a movie plays out right before me. I'd be lost without my imagination. They fade. There's no better inspiration to me than knowing through what oppression others have persevered. I can write this page. I sit on the truck bed and watch the muddy water slothing by me, watch the sun peeking at me through the valley, and stare in awe at the bluest grass you've ever seen. I feel blessed to know my way around the maze of creeks and paths. The water is open to the public, but unless it's the weekend, there's not another person in sight.
    If I can't make it out there, I always have my coffee and my sunrise on the back porch. I work best when it's quiet and I'm not distracted by the noises of everyday life.

Where do you get your inspiration?

May 15, 2011

Cover Ideas

     I've managed to render some 3D images, or use paint programs to create them, and I wanted to get some feedback on my cover ideas. Keep in mind that none of these are set in stone and they could all use some perfecting. I'm just playing around with some ideas trying to come up with the best cover. Let me know which one you like best. I may add more later as I continue my search for the right cover.

Cover 1 - 3D imaging

Cover 2 - Painted

Cover 3 - Old Style

Cover 4 - Contemporary

I would love to know what you think!!

May 11, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

            "To be, or not to be: that is the question..." Now if that were the only question, I'd be happy. Up until the moment I burst forth into the publishing world, I thought myself a quick decision maker. Now I find myself plagued with all of these big choices with no possible way to guess the outcome. I have a list of decisions I need to make... and I can't bring myself to "lock in my final answer". As I weigh the pros and cons, I keep tipping the scale back to the center and it balances. If you have any advice on how you made any of the following decisions as a writer, please, PLEASE, clue me in.

Big Decision #1: Do I try to publish in the traditional fashion or go with indie? 
(I could write another book on my pros and cons for this one) 

Big Decision #2: How many beta readers, proofreaders, and editors do I solicit before I can call it 'done'? 
(Then again -- is it ever really finished? Will I be finding things that irk me after years of editing?) 

Big Decision #3: Which one of these book covers do I use? 
(So many options!!!) 

I have a plethora of smaller choices to make, but for now, those are the ones that are tormenting me. It really needs to come down to me picking something and sticking with it, but I can't for the life of me muster that courage. I keep waiting, but it just doesn't come!! 

May 6, 2011


     My last post was aimed at how to get Kindle eBooks for free. I neglected to mention that if you don't own a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle for your PC. Amazon has it available for download HERE. It's wonderful for reading at your PC or on your laptop.


May 5, 2011

How to get the best Kindle books for FREE!!!

      I thought I might share my own tactics in obtaining all the newest and best kindle books without cost to me. Before you even begin to wonder, NO I am not a pirate and YES the authors still get paid. HOW!?! you ask.... here's how:

You can use my referral link:  CLICK HERE

Sign up for swagbucks and install the toolbar. With this toolbar, you can use swagbucks' search engine, which periodically awards you for using it with $wagbucks. Once you have 450 swagbucks (which never takes long with the amount of searching I do), you can trade them in for a $5 Amazon gift card. I do nothing but typical searches and I get gift cards to buy kindle books with!!! You can apply as many as you want to your account, so even if you're yearning for that $9.99 ebook, you can still get it for free and the author gets more sales! It's a win-win.

You can use my referral link above to get 30 swagbucks right off the bat.

Truth be known, I used to use swagbucks feverishly. As you can tell from my rewards page shown below, I've been slacking.

This is what it looks like when the search gives you rewards (got this one just now):

May 4, 2011



Special thanks to Anita @ for bestowing this award on me! I will, in return, pay it forward to 5 other flaming hot blogs:

1.Debbie McCune
@ *Notebook To Novel*

2. Scott Niven
@ Scott-Niven-Author

3. Rachel McClellan
@ Black Bird In My Window

4. Paul Anthony Short
@ Coffee Thoughts 

5. Faye
@ Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

To get your award, right click and copy the image and repost it on your blog! The only stipulation is that you have to pay it forward to another blog you think is ON FIRE.