Saturday, October 17, 2015



I love the editors in my life!

When I first began seriously writing, I had this lovely, but unrealistic notion, that my stuff was perfect. Or at the least, almost perfect. Of course, I learned otherwise very quickly.

While writing fan-fiction, I had several beta readers. (The equivalent of editors. Like the authors of fan-fiction, they do this for the love of the written word.) Some of them were very talented, meticulous editors. All of them showed me how to improve.

I realized editing is a layered process. Definitely not a one shot deal. As an author, I feel it is my responsibility to work with my editor and critically examine my words even as he or she is.

I may or may not have just finished the last edits on the sequel to The Mendel Experiment. My editor, Eric, nailed me on a lot of grammatical and other issues. More importantly, though, he provided the impetus for me to go through my manuscript word for word. Twice, so far.

Pat, the editor for my first novel, My House of Dreams, went through the story many times. The novel, which was well over 200 pages was pared down to 180 pages and it is a tight, well-flowing story.

Thank you, Pat and Eric.  God bless editors!

(Coming up- adventures of the last month)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Marketing 101

Writing is a work of love. You are creating a story from words and letters. It is a birth of sorts.

On the flip side, marketing is the cold reality of writing that hits you after the birth of your literary baby. Like diapers, long and sleepless nights, spit-up and colic. 

So your book is finished. You set up a page announcing the happy occasion, usually on Facebook, and send out announcements, letting everyone you know about this new darling you created. You also have an author page, with all the bells and whistles (or in my case, the best that FrontPage offers. At my age, I wouldn't have understood any new bells anyway.)

               (My profound thanks to my publisher, Karen Fuller, for this fine banner.) 

But that isn't enough, whether you are self-published or with a large publishing house (and I did ask someone who is with Scholastic), you have to work hard to get the word out. My problem is, I am no spring chicken. This isn't the old days where you invested in a box of envelopes, a roll of stamps, found addresses in a book of contacts, and you shipped out notices and request for reviews. (Of course in the old days, you found a publisher or that manuscript ended up filling the desk drawer to be found later by your kids.) Now you find groups on Facebook (how about four and a half pages of groups . . . and counting! And again, my thanks to my publisher for finding those.)  

When I was bemoaning my fate at all the hours I had spent on FB, a librarian friend of mine suggested I join Twitter. "I don't tweet! The birds do that," I exclaimed. When I got serious, I added, "I don't have a smart phone." I got the strangest look. Oh, I realized, Twitter isn't just for smart phones. I joined Twitter. Learned 2 do short. 

Next advice was to get on Pinterest. I had already joined that one to get ideas for library lessons. Still trying to figure out that place. Very confusing to me. Then someone says, "Instagram!" Sounds fun, but I spent a butt-load of time on Facebook and Twitter paying attention to the important and deleting the unnecessary. (Didn't they say something about that in the FranklinCovey Leadership training?) I remembered another lesson in delegation and said, "Oh, no, one of my kids said they do that. I will let them pass the word along there." There were other social suggestions, but I can't even remember what their names are. 

Another suggestion was Goodreads. They are all about books. It's fun to talk about books, but then I have to remember why I am there.  I still have to figure it out. 

There is still a lot of good old-fashioned legwork. Probably the most satisfying moment recently came when I did a reading at a local Barnes & Noble last month, (no, not my book, Harper Lee's), and met the manager. Several steps later, my book is being sold in a B & N. That is one of those feel good moments.

If I wasn't working full time, I could spend most of day on the computer marketing. Since I am, (school is back in session), I now have to see where the biggest bang for my hour a night is going to be and go after it. Any time left over will see me happily creating more book babies.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fan-Fiction 101:

For some people, saying that you write or have written fan-fiction is like confessing to doing one of the seven deadly sins. For years fan-fiction was considered trash, something that wannabe's did to put themselves in a story with their TV or movie heroes. Or that someone did who wanted to make a few bucks selling mimeographed copies at sci fi conventions. Similarly, I remember when I was growing up being told that reading comic books was going to rot my brain. They were were not real literature and were a waste of my 15 cents (yeah, I am dating myself), and my time.
Just a couple of examples of that mind rotting literature. 
(The first one is from "Tarzan (1948) 01" by The second is from

Now, back to fan-fiction. Where did my leap into fan-fiction come from? Let's go on my personal Way-Back Machine. Like the authors whose books I read when I was growing up, the television shows I watched in the late fifties, sixties, and seventies caught my imagination. I watched and loved the characters. The settings intrigued me. What the plots lacked, my mind supplied. When the episode ended for the week, I imagined all sorts of adventure that these heroes might have beyond the TV screen. (If I had only written down a fraction of what was happening in my brain!!!)

 Just two of the favorite shows that sparked imagination. 
(Both photos were borrowed from a wikipedia article. The original U.N.C.L.E. photo dated from the series. The Fury photo is from the cover of an Alpha Video release.)

Even when I married, had children, and was working, I still plotted stories with Mr. Spock, Buck Rogers, the Barkleys and other characters. Unfortunately these were mainly in my brain. It was only when my children were almost grown and I found others of similar passions, did I begin writing down the ideas that came into my mind. Zorro was the catalyst. A series that I had watched as a young child, I now watched on the Disney Channel. I took Diego de la Vega/Zorro on journeys well beyond what Walt Disney's writers conceived in the late 50's. But something else was happening. I was developing skills in writing. There were other fan-fiction writers who "beta read" (edited) my work, as I did with theirs. We had our own little online writing groups. Some of us even got together in person to discuss our plots, settings and characters. 

I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, often well into the night. I continued writing Zorro, then Lost in Space, Buck Rogers, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and a few other television shows. I wrote short vignettes, longer short stories, novellas and series of novels. I improved my researching skills for the historical pieces, learned how to let imagination fly in the sci fi and fantasy. I even wrote some poetry and essays. In short, if I had not spent so much time writing fan-fiction, I would not have been able to write decent original fiction.

Not too long ago, just before my first book was published, there was a talented author on one of my fan-fiction groups. We were very excited for her when she got a contract with a major romance publishing company. Immediately, she informed us that if we wanted any of her fan-fiction stories, we had better download them, because she was going to take them off the internet sites. She wasn't the first to do this and I never could figure out if these were contractual things or if suddenly the fact that they had been writing about TV characters was something to be ashamed of. I will be honest with you—I am not ashamed. I owe a lot to those years of writing fan-fiction.

My fan-fiction site?    Enjoy!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

What a crazy, busy year this has been so far. My book, The Mendel Experiment, is in publication; printed by Lightning Source, who does a hardcover version as well as a paperback. As mentioned before, it is being sold on Amazon, (all versions, including Kindle), and World Castle Publishing website. If ordered through Amazon, you might need to be patient. For some reason, they sometimes don't have the paperbacks immediately available. I am also waiting to hear from my editor about my next novel, Blue Fire.

I am working on several stories at one time. One is a fantasy about a variety of animals helping to save a kidnapped girl.  Another is a third Mendel story. At least I have some time to do this because summer break began on Memorial Day. I have to admit, though, that it's been very busy these past two weeks. Dan and I traveled out to Oklahoma City for our latest grand-daughter's blessing. It was way good to go out and see our grand-children and also Chris' parents again.
Dani, Chris and baby Cora

Coming back home was interesting. We hit a deer in Arkansas. Luckily, we weren't hurt, the car was able to make it home and it will soon be repaired.  There has got to be a story there somewhere!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Only five more days!  It's hard to believe that on Wednesday, April 15th, my new book will be available!

And guess what I am going to be doing on my publication day?  Running a book fair until 8 pm. 

However, that doesn't keep folks from getting a copy. The Mendel Experiment will be available for purchase on Amazon and through my publisher, World Castle Publications. And what is even more exciting is that there will be a hardcover edition. I do not know all the details, but will pass the information along when I get it. 

This is what the book is about:  The Federation is desperate for the rare materials that have been detected on Mendel, a planet at the very edge of Federation territory. However, Mendel's sun is deadly to humans. The solution is to develop special mutated humans who can live on the planet. 

Corree and her family have been living on Mendel for five years before the weird dreams begin. They disclose suppressed memories, Federation mandates and lead her on a quest to find other mutant families on the planet. When her quest takes her to the equatorial desert, she finds a terrifying enemy  that will take her far beyond Mendel's solar system....

I hope you will consider purchasing a copy.  Thanks and happy reading!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Publication date is near!

I got the last round of edits for The Mendel Experiment the beginning of January while I was out in Oklahoma City with my daughter and her family. (I will talk about that in my next installment.)  Just this past week I received word that The Mendel Experiment will be released on April 15th. The e-book version is already available for pre-order on Amazon. The book will be available through World Castle Publications and through Amazon. 

I have enjoyed this journey. Karen and Eric at World Castle Publications are wonderful and I look forward to continued success with their help. The transition from writing fan-fiction to mainstream novels hasn't always been easy, but it helps when the characters sit beside you and coax you on. Also helps when friends and family encourage you as well. 
I hope you buy a copy and enjoy Corree and her friends (and enemies) as much as I have.