Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Hot Chocolate (Almost) Any Way You Want It

I'm trying really hard to keep my nose to the grindstone here. Book due and all that, But I just came across this on Pinterest and realized this information is vitally important to share -- and share now. And so, without further ado:

Your hot chocolate cheat sheet!

photo credit: Martin LaBar via photopin cc

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

No Place Like Home

Book #2 in the Fred Vickery series is now available in Kindle format! Click on the title to get your copy of No Place Like Home today.

To an outsider, the peaceful town of Cutler, Colorado seems untouched by the troubles of the modern world. But Cutler is as good as any big city at guarding its secrets. And it takes someone who’s lived there a lifetime to unravel its many mysteries. Someone like Fred Vickery.

Seventy-three years haven’t dampened Fred’s enthusiasm for life or his pride in his children, no matter how foolish they may sometimes act. Take his impetuous son, Douglas, for instance. Since his divorce, Douglas has ignored all of Fred’s sage advice about moving on with his life. Douglas is determined to reconcile with Suzanne, even though she’s not at all interested in getting back together.

Now Douglas is the only suspect in the murder of Suzanne’s new boyfriend. But there’s no way Fred is going to sit back and let his son take the rap for murder—no matter what his daughter, his doctor, and the sheriff say. Desperate to clear Douglas of suspicion, Fred turns to the one source that he knows will eventually reveal the truth—the small-town gossip mill.

The book was originally published in 1996. Also available: No Place for Secrets

original photo credit: via photopin cc

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

I Stand Corrected

Last fall while driving to dinner in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, some good friends and I fell into a discussion about TV shows we liked (or not). It soon became clear that I was the odd woman out. Everyone else seemed to love The Big Bang Theory. I told them that I used to love it, but lost interest when the female characters of Amy Farrah Fowler and Bernadette were added to the show. We talked about a few other shows, I think, but that's the only one I clearly remember. What I remember most was when one friend (whom I dearly love and deeply respect) said that it was clear she and I could never watch TV together.

That comment didn't shatter me emotionally or anything. I thought it was kind of funny, actually. But I didn't forget it, either. It's not as if it weighed heavily on my mind or filled me with guilt or made me regret admitting how I felt. It just came back to me from time to time, usually when I saw an ad for an upcoming episode of  The Big Bang Theory

I've never been one of those people who forms an opinion about something without feeling as if I know what I'm talking about. So when everyone around me decides to boycott a particular show based on what they think it's going to be, I watch a few episodes to find out exactly what it is before I start acting as if my opinion has merit. I try not to mindlessly follow trends, get caught up in the latest fad, or watch a show I think is poorly written, sloppily edited, and/or badly acted just because "everyone else" is watching it. I will confess to being irritated by trailers and ads telling me that "all of America" is talking about or watching something that clearly "all" of America is neither talking about nor watching. (Channeling my inner Sheldon here.) 

Because I'm not much of a joiner, I'm usually the last person I know to see a popular movie or read a bestselling book just because it's popular. I doubt you'll ever find me first in line to get tickets to anything. 

But I digress . . . 

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my youngest daughter during which she asked if I was caught up on Big Bang. I told her I was anything but caught up and, in fact, had missed several years of episodes. But again, the conversation with my friends loomed up in my memory and I decided that maybe I should try a few episodes to see if I really didn't like the upgraded cast or if I might (gasp!) have been wrong to quit watching so quickly. 

It took me a few episodes to really begin to appreciate the "new" ladies in the group, but I have to admit that after watching a couple of episodes after my writing day is finished, I actually like them quite a bit. I'm really not sure which relationship I like most.  A few days ago I watched an episode in which Amy Farrah Fowler referred to "Boyfriend/Girlfriend singalong night," and I've giggled about that on and off for days.  

I'm sure nobody has lost sleep over my opinion here, but when I'm wrong I like to say I'm wrong. So this is me, admitting that I was wrong. 

photo credit: Funky64 ( via photopin cc

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Adventure Begins!

Okay, so I didn't quite make my goal of getting this book online by October 31 of this year. One thing I've learned about goals is that it's unproductive to spend time on regrets, Wouldas, shouldas and couldas can eat a person alive. 

So yesterday I uploaded my first work of fiction onto Amazon and thus begins the real adventure into self-publishing. Earlier this year, I put up one of my workshops for writers and that's been selling pretty well so far. My next project will be to get another workshop on Amazon. But my first love is writing fiction, so in my head this is where it really starts to count.

Oh, I know I'm a bit late coming to the indie dance, but I'm here now and that's what matters, right? Not only is this the first work of fiction I'm publishing on my own, it is literally my first work of fiction. It's the book that started it all when I got an offer from a publisher back in 1993. No Place for Secrets is the book that launched my publishing career 20 years ago, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

In an effort to figure out the world of independent publishing, I've spent time researching and reading what others who've gone this route have already learned. I've weighed the pros and cons of every choice and then I've tried not to agonize over the choices I've made. I thought about changing up the titles, but after brainstorming new titles for several weeks, I finally decided to stick with the original ones. I found a slew of titles I liked, but none that worked for good old Fred, Doc, Enos, and Margaret.

Over the past few weeks, I read through the manuscript again and made some minor revisions. I thought about updating the story and making it more current, but at the request of readers I opted to leave Fred and his friends in the mid-1990s where they belong. In fact, other than shaving off a few of the rough edges I found in my writing style, I left the story alone.

So it's up there on Amazon and now it's time to step back and let the story do the work. If this series is new to you, I hope you'll give Fred and the good folks of Cutler a try. If you're one of the many readers who considers these characters friends, I hope you'll enjoy going back to visit them as much as I did.

Monday, October 21, 2013

100 Books: #19 The Winter Lodge

Okay, I'll admit, I sometimes (almost always) judge a book by its cover -- and this one really appeals to me. Honestly, that's the very first thing that made me stop scrolling through the books on my goodreads shelf and pick this book to move from my very, very (embarrassingly) long to-be-read list onto my shorter Plan to Read Before the Next Millennium list.

The second thing is the author. It's by Susan Wiggs. Susan. Wiggs! Have I ever been disappointed by one of her books? Not that I remember. Nope. Pretty sure I haven't been.

And yes, since moving to Florida, I actually do miss winter. At least, I miss the idea of winter. I don't miss the reality of snow and ice and slick roads and falling on my way to my car, but I do miss the idea of snow and cold air and warm fires in the fireplace and the appealing glow of a well-lit house on a cold winter evening, And that brings us back to the cover, which has it all!

So The Winter Lodge finds it way onto my list of 100 Books I Want to Read at #19.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Random Thought on Thursday

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
-- Dorothy Nevill
Found on the in other words... site. 

Isn't that the truth? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Road to . . .

I have the very best of intentions. Really, I do. I begin every year vowing to be a better family member, a better friend, a better author. I vow to buy birthday cards for those closest to me and (better yet) actually mail them—on time! I know! The very concept leaves me breathless.

Every year I promise myself that I’ll blog regularly and fill the internet with witty chatter about my interesting life (the one I vow I’m going to have this year) and all my amazing activities (the ones I swear I’m going to actually participate in.)

And then reality sets in and 10 months later I’m looking at all the things I promised myself faithfully that I’d do this year, but haven’t, and I wonder what happened???

Sure, there’s work to do and books to write and the house to clean and the dog to walk and the cat to continually move from my lap to the floor so I can actually do all of those things. And there are illnesses and emergencies that get in the way. But not every day, and not all the time. So what happened?

I used to be one of the most prolific authors I knew. I was focused. Dedicated. Determined. That was okay, but I was also . . . rude. I rolled my eyes at excuses and thought that anybody could write three or four really good books a year if only they’d put their mind to it. I was convinced that anybody who was struggling to write must not really want to write.

Yeah. I know. I apologize to every writer in the entire world. I’m not joking.

I was one of those people you asked to take on a project because, as we all know, if you want something done you give it to a busy person. I worked three jobs at a time, or worked two and went to school in my spare time. I was a single mom, so raising the kids, running the house, keeping up the yard, and bringing home the bacon fell on my shoulders alone. I had to do it all, and I did. (Admittedly, I fell a bit short on some things. I mean, c’mon. It’s impossible to do everything well, right? Right? So let’s not talk about the yard, okay?)

But for the past few years I’ve felt as if I’m on the proverbial road to hell and that road really is paved with my good intentions. Somewhere along the way I hit the wall. I spent so long burning the candle at both ends that, apparently, the ends finally met in the middle.
I also encountered a few very challenging life experiences, a couple of which shattered my entire world. It has taken me a long, l-o-n-g time (and a whole lot of prayer) to find my way back from those. Back in my “everybody can write if they really want to” days, I didn’t factor in those earth-shaking, rock-your-world, leave you empty and shaking in the corner things that eventually happen to all of us.

I’ve always been an avid list-maker and goal-setter. But now, instead of producing long lists of tasks I’ve accomplished every day, I find myself staring at long lists of tasks I haven’t managed to complete. Lists are no longer my friend, they’re my guilty conscience.

461349dac5c52e68fd4fb4c90cf313f8But no matter how it happened, it’s way past time to get back on track. And I mean it this time.

Maybe I can’t fill the internet with witty chatter about my interesting and varied activities, but I can be honest about where I am and what I’m doing to pull myself up by my bootstraps.

Today I’m going to declare a dream and write it down with a date. My plan is to read through the very first book I ever wrote, which is also the first book I sold way back when. I recently got the rights to that series along with the rights to a few of my romances back from my publisher, and I’m going to release them all in Kindle format. That’s my big dream, but let’s take it one at a time.

Dream: Start with No Place for Secrets.

Date: Publish the book by October 31, 2013. That makes it a firm goal.

Steps: Since this book was written back in the olden days, everything after the first draft was done in hard copy, so the manuscript on my computer needs some work before it matches the finished product. So my steps are to read and polish one chapter at a time and celebrate the tiny victories along the way.
I remember this from back in the day: celebrating a small victory leads to more small victories. Repeatedly beating oneself up over small failures leads to inertia.

Action: Well … that’s pretty obvious. Now that I have my Grand Master Plan, I have to do the work. My plan is to track the steps here on my website, chapter by chapter, to keep me accountable. Steps + Action.
As for those birthday cards … my oldest niece has a birthday coming up later this month. I could wait until the beginning of the year and start over then, but why wait? I say, begin right where you are.