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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Five-Year Plan

Tuesday was Rooster Heaven day. Six of them went to that big hen house in the sky. Since they were older birds we didn't bother plucking them. We just skinned them out and processed them.

I think they knew their number was up. One of them tried to make a break for it while our backs were turned. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of returning to the chicken yard where he was quickly apprehended.

Such is the life of a senior rooster. The hens fare much better. A lot of homesteaders butcher their hens after their second year, but ours were such good layers, I saw no reason not to keep them. They already know the routine and I enjoy their company. --the roosters, not so much.

We'll be phasing out the black Australorp. They're great chickens and prolific layers, but they're too light for meat birds and we need birds to serve double duty. I recommend them if you're looking for lots of eggs though. They lay more than twice what the buff Orpingtons can produce.

The Americaunas have great personalities and are nice, practical birds. They're very inquisitive and self-sufficient. If they see there's no more feed being handed out, they'll go out in the woods and fend for themselves. When it's time to come in, they're the first ones back in the hen house.

The buff Orpingtons are the heaviest birds and the poorest layers, but they're such good-natured rascals. They don't hesitate to follow me into the feed room to see if I dropped anything. Of the three breeds they're also the brightest. If there's a way to steal a few extra kernels of corn, they'll find it.

We're making headway on the 'goat pen from hell'. It's almost done. But we still need to build a house for them. Since Greg's time here is limited, it looks like the goats will have to wait until next spring. I'd rather not over-winter young goats, especially since we're still new to goat raising.

My other wish is to raise a hog for meat. We've raised them in the past and the taste is incredible. Once you've had farm-raised pork, nothing else can compare.

We've had so many problems getting the goat pen done I figured I'd wait a while before I spring the idea of raising a pig to Greg. And I haven't even mentioned the fish pond yet. :grin: I don't want to stress him out before his time.

It's all part of my five year plan, which includes

• goats
• chickens
• fish
• pig
• extend the garden
• pipe water to animals and secondary garden
• invest in solar and/or wind power

• and oh, yes...write more books.

What's on your five-year plan?

Note: Don't give up on me followers and fellow campaigners. I should be caught up by Thursday so I can pay you all a visit.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Campaign

I did something I normally don't do. I joined a blogfest. It was L'Aussie who talked me into it. I tend to shy away from these organized blogging events because they take a great deal of time. Since I've yet to discover how to make more time, I have to be cautious with what little I do have.

But 'The Campaign' looked different. This is Rachael Harrie's brainchild. Not only is it well-organized, but she divided it into genres--which was sheer brilliance. It gave me a chance to meet new people from my specific interests.

See my nifty little badge?

I was supposed to introduce myself and post my badge over the weekend, but Greg came home after a 3-week absence and friends were visiting too. I've been more offline than on since Friday.

So here I am, late to my own party.

For those of you who don't know me. I am the author of three novels: Touch Of Fire, Apocalypse Rising, True Believers, one novella, The Devil To Pay, and another one on the way.

Career: I write primarily paranormal/fantasy, but I have been known to dabble in science fiction in an epic way. True Believers is SF and was well received in 2010. In a past life I was also a graphic designer and art director.

On the personal front: Dogs love me. (It must be the cookies.) Currently, we share our home with St. Tank and (the infamous) Iko. My husband, Greg--visits, due to the fact we live 300 miles apart. We hope to remedy that in another year.

We live on six acres in north Texas where we raise chickens, (and someday) goats. Every year I put in a large garden. If I'm not fighting off scorpions, coyotes, and snakes, life is good.

That's me in a nutshell. I hope you like this blog, and I hope you'll come back. I have a lot of loyal followers and friends and we have the BEST comments here, so don't be shy. We're all just folks here.

Welcome to fellow Campaigners and new followers! I'm looking forward to meeting you and will be stopping by this week. Don't be surprised if my regular followers follow you back to your blog when you comment. We are a very interactive bunch over here.

So let's open it up to everyone. What's new in your life? If you were in the path of Hurricane Irene, how did you fare?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spirits & Storms

For most of my life, I never told a soul I could see ghosts. It seemed too much of a 'look at me' topic of conversation, and I already felt self-conscious about it as it was. When you're young, you desperately want to fit in, and claiming to see ghosts automatically pastes a freak label on your forehead.

Funny thing about getting older. You start to care less and less about perception and more about being true to yourself. I decided it was time to use some of my experience and put it into the books I write (with a shot of romance, of course).

That's one reason I wanted to write The Devil To Pay as part of a series. It'll give me a chance to explore how people die and my theories on the afterlife.

From time to time I'll tell a ghost story from my past here, but today I want to relate something that was told to me by a family member.

Several years ago, my brother-in-law died of cancer. He was a relatively strong young man and he probably lived longer than he wanted to considering the pain he had to endure. Greg and I didn't make it to his bedside when he died, but most of my family was there. 

In the moment when he passed, my brother, who was sitting in a chair next to my brother-in-law's bed, felt a strange sensation. It was as if a rush of wind had punched him. It was tangible and alive, striking him like a marble in a pinball machine.

Was that my brother-in-law's spirit moving on? I might've expressed doubt had it been another member of the family relating this story, but my brother is a down-to-earth sort of fellow. It startled him so much he had to tell someone.

Since my brother-in-law's death, other strange things had happened. Most noticeably from his toddler, who at the time didn't understand the concept of death. She claimed to see him every once in a while. For several months afterward, she often delivered cryptic messages that a three-year old couldn't possibly understand.

After the funeral, I sensed his presence in his den, but nowhere else. It gave me a chill knowing he was there, separate, yet among a house full of family and friends.

I had a feeling he wasn't ready to move on and it saddened me. I desperately wanted to know what he was feeling. I wanted to offer comfort and tell him that at least two of us still knew he was there.

He was a good guy and I know his family always came first. I'd like to think that was true even after he passed away.

I hadn't heard any more stories since his passing, so I hope he finally found peace and moved on.

Have you ever noticed something surreal after a death?

***
Wishing everyone on the eastern side of the US a safe weekend. Hope Irene doesn't give you a lot of grief.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Newsy Post

I've had a post ready to go for two weeks, but there's always something that keeps preempting it. Lots of stuff happening lately.

On the book front:
The good people at Indie Books Blog showcased The Devil To Pay on Tuesday. I'd been out of internet range most of yesterday, so I was a little late in talking about it. But pop over if you want to find out who my favorite authors are or why I decided to self-publish The Devil To Pay.

***
I also got a really nice review for The Devil To Pay from The Forbidden Bookshelf. I generally don't mention reviews here because I figure I'm the only one who'd be interested in them, but I dropped the ball and didn't get a chance to tweet my thanks the other day so I needed to do a proper penance. 

***
The sequel to The Devil To Pay is DONE. Yes, it has a title. No, I'm not going to spill the beans until after it's been to the editor. I'm just superstitious that way.

My CPs have it now. While they're picking at it, I'm going to start on the new cover. This story is going to revolve around ousted angel, Liam, so expect a sexy guy for the cover of ----- -- -----.

Around the country:
We had an earthquake on the northeast side of the US. Really rattled some nerves. According to the news, there was no major damage. Some folks in California were poking fun at NYers. Yeah, we'll see how tough they are the next time California gets snow.

***
My friend LD Masterson sent me a news article about author Christi Craig. Apparently, she used Texas's anti-littering slogan, Don't Mess With Texas for her book title. 

Sorry, but you can't do that with a trademarked slogan, especially one that's been used for decades and has had major celebrities appear in commercials repeating that slogan. I can't believe no one caught that.

It might seem odd that the Texas Department of Transportation wants to sue the author and Hachette Book Group, but I don't blame them. People are just too free in borrowing any old thing they see in the media. Unless something is in the public domain, it doesn't belong to you. Don't touch.

Personal front:
I have not opened Twitter or Facebook at all lately. It's been that busy. 

The heat is still with us. We've now beat the second longest triple-digit days on record. I've lost several trees and almost all my foundation plantings. Even my ajuga gave up the ghost. The Mexican heather has made it though. And the American beautyberry might survive if I keep watering it. Deer eat those berries so I want them to make it.

In the garden, only the okra is still producing. 

The chickens are doing well. I set them free during the day so they can find their own shade. But the rascals know the sound of my screen door opening and they come running out like voracious ants to see if I have anything for them. They're such mercenaries.

I've been through heatwaves, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and blizzards, but never an earthquake. Unless you count that one time when Greg rocked my--oh never mind, I'm sure you don't want to hear about that. :saucy grin:

Earthquakes scare me. I mean, where can you go? There's no warning.

What's the worst natural disaster you've ever survived?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lessons Learned

A friend of mine emailed me over the weekend and I mentioned that it's been a rough summer. It wasn't just stuff that was happening to me, but terrible, gawd-awful things that were happening to many of my friends.

It depresses you when you're surrounded by so much tragedy and pain.

It reminded me of a story about one of the rescue dogs from 9/11. For days after his stint of search and rescue, he was terribly depressed. He wouldn't eat, and he had no interest in the outside world.

His owner had become desperately afraid for him. He'd never seen his dog so upset. He gave him a bath, and rivers of soot and blood washed off him. 

The poor creature was hanging on to all those scents and particles of death for days and days. He couldn't get away from it and it was killing him emotionally.

As soon as his owner gave him a bath he felt a million times better. He was finally free of all that pain, death, and destruction.

Lately, I've been feeling like that dog. I just couldn't get away from the bad breaks that kept piling on me like boulders.

To put icing on my misery cake, over the weekend I'd found out The Devil To Pay was in a review contest. It lost. It's also still in a cover contest. Chances are good it'll lose that too.

And yet all this losing isn't bad news.

Many of these contests are based on the popular vote. Apparently, I have a lot of friends--though maybe not as many as others. Over the weekend, I kept getting Google alerts from a host of people tweeting or posting about me on FB or blogs. I was truly touched by so much heartfelt support. 

I might not have as many friends as the next guy, but I have intensely loyal friends. You can't get any luckier than that.

But there's a dark side to me. Being the sort who hates to lose, for one slim moment I thought about calling in a favor from a couple of friends who have a wide network of supporters to ask them to get their friends to vote. 

I decided against it.

Firstly because it would be a breach of friendship to ask a favor for something they don't care anything about. And secondly, I didn't want to win because I had the most connections--especially on the cover contest. I know, that's what networking is all about, but in this case, I think it's dishonest.

I want the cover to win because it was the best designed. I still think it's the best.

So this is me, on the raggedy side of a drought-stricken world, grateful I have so many good friends, and proud that you think so highly of me.

Like my dog friend of 9/11, I think I'm going to take a bath and try to rid myself of all these bad breaks, and hope the tide will turn soon.

Life goes on, and a contest is just a contest. What really counts is who's still with you when you cross that finish line.
Thanks for being there for me.

***
Things will get better. They always do.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

LASR Contest

LASR (Long and Short Reviews) informed me that my book, The Devil To Pay is in the running with other top reviewed books for a chance to win some great buzz and a video. The voting is only for the weekend. 

Pop in a vote. (One vote per customer).

***
Update: In that other contest for Best Cover, I have risen in the ranks, but I am still trailing miserably. It's not ego, but strictly professional reasons I want that cover to win. It deserves it. That contest runs until the end of August, so I still have a chance.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Linky Love For All

I think I need a mental health day. So I will leave you with some linky love.

From the other day, visit LD Masterson and help her rebuild her follower list which she lost when she had to change the name of her blog. Leave her a nice comment so she knows you came by to visit.

***

If you want to do something nice for me, you can vote for my cover for The Devil To Pay. It is WAY behind in the polls, but honestly, it is the best one there. It deserves to win. If you agree, please vote and tell your friends. The poll is on the right hand side of the page.

***

Author Marketing Experts had an interesting post called: The Next Ten E-Book Trends To watch For. Food for thought.
***

The Passive Voice is one of my all time favorite blogs. I love this guy. He parses complicated information into bite-sized morsels and interjects his evaluation in down to earth language. He's also hanging his lawyer shingle back up and can vet your contract for a fee. Go here for more information.

***

One of the best tips I've seen all week is from E-book Endeavors with the post: How To Get People To Read Your Old Blog Posts. Great advice that I'll be implementing myself.

***
It's been another rough week, but we made it, didn't we? What's on tap for the weekend for you?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friends With Benefits

When you're a writer, you often find yourself incredibly alone. Most of us have friends and a community of peers we can rely on when we're low, but it's still a lonely profession.

Over the years, I've noticed some writers have friends with benefits. These are generally people of influence: big name authors, editors, agents, and mega-star bloggers whose every word is tweeted like Gospel. 

I read those posts with envy because unlike most of us, these writers bask in the limelight by virtue of the company they keep. I don't blame them for using that leverage. I'd take advantage of it too if I knew someone with that kind of tipping point. 

But it got me to thinking that even if we don't rub shoulders with the movers and shakers of publishing, we are all friends with benefits. Every time you link to someone, every time you tweet a blog post or retweet a clever remark, you are benefiting your friends and peers.

It's a pretty awesome superpower. We, in our own small way are making a difference for someone else. Think about it. Whether you have twenty-five followers or twenty-five hundred, one single mention could put your friend on the map.

I'd like to share some tips on how to best serve your friends and colleagues.

• Always link using the person's full name or blog name (depending on what they go by). 
This does two things: It helps search engines find them easier, and if he has an Alert on his name, it lets the person know that you mentioned them. (This way they can visit you and thank you properly.)
• Link to the specific landing page so your reader can find it right away.

• If it's good information, spread the word. Not only does it make you look smart, but it elevates the search engine standing for both you and the person you mentioned.

• Cross-link. For example if you're mentioning someone's book, link to the book and the person's web site or blog.

***

In an effort to put friends with benefits into practice, I'd like all of you to do me a favor. Will you stop by this blog and leave a comment? It is the blog of LD Masterson.

Some of you already know her as Linda Leszczuk.

Why am I asking?

Because Linda has decided to change her name and she desperately needs her NEW name to be seen by the major search engines. If you've ever had to change your name, you know what a nightmare this can be.

So...
  1. Go to her blog and leave a comment. Just say: Hi, Maria sent me. She said there'd be cookies. :o)
  2. Add yourself to her follower list. This is really important. She lost ALL her followers trying to transfer her old blog to the new one. Be good pals and add yourself to her follower list. I know Linda would be glad to return the favor.
  3. If you're on Twitter or FB, invite your followers to try out a brand new blog.
  4. And the next time you post on your blog, maybe you can also add a quick mention and a link to LD Masterson
With any luck, we should be able to reintegrate her into the system so that Google and the other big search engines will find her.

Congratulations. You have now become a friend with benefits. Who knows, next time you might be the one who needs a friend with benefits. And lucky dog, you happen to be friends with me and Linda.

Karma. It's a good thing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

And Yet More Doggy Goodness

Last week, Jackie Burris was featured on Cool Blogs, Haute Dogs and I absolutely fell in love with this blog. If you are a dog lover you MUST put Book Hounds on your radar. Mary Jacobs not only features bloggers and their dogs, but she reviews and gives away fantastic dog books. 

I've never steered you wrong, have I? Put this blog on your must-read right now.

To my utter delight, Mary wrote me and invited me and the boys to appear on her blog. We're there right now! I included a picture I don't think I've posted anywhere else before. It was taken the first week Iko arrived (in his pre-demon days). You can see the before and after of Iko's transformation.

Stop over there and take a look, then add Book Hounds to your reading list.

***

And more good news... 

I just found out this very minute that my cover for The Devil To Pay is at Alternative-Read.com for the Sassy Brit Book Cover Award. Apparently, they were late contacting me so I'll have to hustle to get people over there.

I have to warn you, it's not easy to navigate that site. There's just so much to see. I finally managed to scope out the competition and there are a lot of good covers. You'll forgive me if I still think my cover is the best. :p

Here is the direct link. To vote, go to the left of the sidebar where you'll see the whole list. The Devil To Pay is contestant #4. I hope you'll pass the word about.

UPDATE: The voting bar now appears to be on the right.

***

Update: The winner of Cathy Pegau's book, Rulebreaker is Abby Niles. Abby, Cathy will be contacting you soon.  Congrats!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Buy my book or the puppy gets it.

Look at that widdle, biddy face, and those big brown eyes. And that cute little mouth which has eaten me out of food, furniture, and folderol. It's all this puppy's fault, so I'm using him as my hostage.

Buy my book, or the puppy gets it!
Of course, I'd like you to buy all my books, but if you can't, at least try The Devil To Pay. It's cheap! It's a fast read. And then you can decide if I'm worth buying again. 

I'll make it easy for you. Amazon. B&N. Smashwords.

I know. It's terribly Snidely Whiplash of me to terrorize a poor, defenseless puppy for something as tawdry as bookselling. Apparently, I have no moral center. 

But you all know I tell a pretty good tale. You wouldn't come back to this blog day after day if I didn't. Just imagine what I could do with several thousand words. And let's not forget the pathetic pup-ster at the top of this page.

From the Management: 
For all my readers who don't know me very well, no puppy was hurt in the making of this post--especially now that he tips the scales at 101 pounds.

Nom. Nom. Nom.
So sayeth Giant Puppy.

If you'd like to see Iko all grown up, see Wednesday's post

New! You can tweet this or share my posts on Facebook. The share links will now be at the bottom of every post. Thank you, Jackie for pointing me in the right direction.

And thank you to everyone who shares my posts. I appreciate it!



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Dogs

I'm going to commit a cardinal sin and talk about my dogs today. :grin:

According to blogging experts, writers shouldn't blog about their dogs because readers don't care for it.

Honey, if I've never commented on your blog, you have a far greater chance that I will if you do talk about your animals. But that's just me.

Tank is getting old. It hurts my heart to see him grow gray.

In all fairness, it hurts my heart when I grow gray too, but Miss Clairol blinds me to the obvious.

Recently, Tank had one of those days. He didn't feel like playing, and his biggest joy in life, FOOD, had only minor appeal. He had to be coaxed to my bed that night. This from a dog who stakes out his half of the bed before you get there.

I don't like to admit when my dogs get old, but sometimes it hits you square in the face. Tank has gone through so many trials in his life. We rescued him when he was two years old, already a big hulking dog with a heart of gold. Judging by the way he behaves around strange men, knives and guns, he wasn't treated well, but he never let it color his affection for those who showed him pity.

Iko, now two years old himself, has never known a sad day in his life. --well, maybe once when a scorpion stung him. But he's never known hunger, or beatings, or a life on the street. He's spoiled rotten. And he truly believes he is the center of the universe.

Thank God he got over his chewing stage! That dog nearly drove me to drink. I stopped tallying how much that 'free' dog cost me, but it's in the thousands of dollars.

I could count on two fingers the number of transgressions Tank has committed. He once stole cooked liver from the stove top. (I was cooking it for him, but I don't like dogs to help themselves.) He also committed adultery. 

Tank had been with us a whole day when Chelly came into heat. Actually we thought she was over it because she was an old lady by then. Tank was fixed, but evidently the lure was too much for him. I was mad at both of them. But apparently they had a VERY good time.

Luckily, Iko will never know the charms of feminine wiles since he was clipped when he was very young. Hmm...maybe that's why he chewed for so long. Was this the result of repressed sexual tension? It might've been worth getting him laid if I could've saved my furniture.

...nah. I like my new furniture.

So that's my tale of two dogs. One who's led a full life, and the other, full of life the devil.

We love them both regardless. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Indie Roadshow Roundup

The Indie Roadshow was a great success in the sense that it got people talking and asking questions. I don't want to convince writers one way or the other that it's the right way to go, only that it's an option.

If you missed any of my stops, or would like to bookmark this page for later use, here is the whole itinerary. (I'll be removing the Indie Roadshow page later this week.)  Also, if you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. If I know the answer I'll be glad to help.

Week 1 
Mason Canyon: Game Plan


***
The heat continues.  We will be breaking our record for consecutive triple digit temperatures this Friday. It can't last too much longer. (I hope.)

It got me to thinking about a topic that bugs me. I read my news off the internet. The benefit of digital news is that you also get the chance to read the comments people leave. I like reading the comments almost as much as the news. But I am surprised and appalled at how hostile people become when they can hide behind anonymity
 
There was a recent article about the Texas heat and there was a comment from some yahoo saying, "It couldn't have happened to a better group of people. I hope they all die."

Is there a purpose to such ugliness? I wonder how brave this guy would've been if he had said that in a roomful of suffering people. Elderly people have died in this heat. This guy ought to be ashamed of himself.

How do you get your news? Do you ever read the comments from internet articles?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Welcome Cathy Pegau

Once again I have the pleasure of introducing you to a debut author. Please say hello and welcome to Cathy Pegau, author of Rulebreaker. I discovered Cathy by accident. I don't remember why I clicked on her blog but I know it was her dog, Holly who led me to her. I've been following Cathy ever since. (Obviously, the best way to get me to follow you is to talk about your dog.)

When Cathy asked me what she should write about, I suggested her call story--cuz really--who doesn't love call stories? And here it is. Be sure to leave a comment and be in the running for a copy of her book, Rulebreaker.

*** 

Rulebreaker: From Idea to Offer

One of the questions a writer is often asked is “Where do you get your ideas?’ For me, they come from places like commercials, news stories, and my wee brain. Yep, sometimes story ideas just pop in there, and I have to jot them down or lose them to the flotsam and jetsam swirling around in my head.

While working on a paranormal women’s fiction (based on a commercial image), the idea for Rulebreaker took hold: A thief on a backwater planet who falls for the woman she is supposed to steal from. Science fiction romance with two women. Not my typical genre. Not a typical story one sees from “traditional” publishers.

F/F was (and is) a niche market, to say the least, and SFR was growing stronger each day, but neither were as popular as other couplings or speculative fiction markets. Was I crazy to combine two of the toughest genres out there? Maybe, but this was the story I wanted to write. These were characters I wanted to get to know and share with others. My stubborn writerly self said to worry about the market later. 

So I wrote Rulebreaker, and in the winter/spring of 2010, I was ready to start *gulp* submitting. Researching the F/F SFR market didn’t take long. Getting the courage to approach the publishers did. So many good books were coming out in my tiny field of choice. What chance did I have? I loved my story, loved Liv and Zia. But would anyone else?

Then in May 2010, Savvy Authors ran a pitch contest judged by Carina Press editors. Having read Carina’s submission guidelines and “what we’re looking for” posts, I felt Rulebreaker would fit in with their philosophy “Where no great story goes untold.” I entered the contest, figuring I had nothing to lose.

Lo and behold, one of the editors requested the full manuscript. Shocked does not describe how I felt. Elated comes close. I sent off the manuscript and a month later the editor replied with a Revise and Resubmit letter. Not an offer, she was quick to explain, but if I was willing to look at certain things in the book, tweak bits here and there, I could resubmit. What I remember most, however, was that overall she really liked my story. She. Liked. My. Story.

To have someone other than your critique partners (fab as they are) say that, someone who has no stake in your feelings, someone in the field you wish to join, is like having the clouds part and sunshine stream on puppies and unicorns sliding down rainbows. Yeah, it was THAT good.

I revised and reworked chapters, cut bits, expanded others, made sure what I’d changed flowed and made sense. In September 2010, after getting the nod from my crit partners, I resubbed and settled in for a nervous wait.

Two months later, while I was dealing with a difficult personal situation, I received The Email from Angela James. An offer. On a book I’d written. On a book that I had braced myself for a string of “no thank yous” because it was SFR and not a typical SFR. I laughed. I cried. I was grateful Angela had sent an email and hadn’t called, because I would have been a blubbering mess on the phone.

There have been some bumps since I signed the contract, but for the most part the experience has been amazing and positive. The old adage “Be careful what you wish for” is usually a warning about how things can go awry. For me, it’s more like, “Be careful what you wish for; it might turn out even better than you imagined.” 

Rulebreaker is available at CarinaPress, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Read an excerpt here

And the blurb, well, here:

Liv Braxton's Felon Rule #1: Don't get emotionally involved.

Smash-and-grab thieving doesn't lend itself to getting chummy with the victims, and Liv hasn't met anyone on the mining colony of Nevarro worth knowing, anyway. So it's easy to follow her Rules.

Until her ex, Tonio, shows up with an invitation to join him on the job of a lifetime.

Until Zia Talbot, the woman she's supposed to deceive, turns Liv's expectations upside down in a way no woman ever has.

Until corporate secrets turn deadly.

But to make things work with Zia, Liv has to do more than break her Rules, and the stakes are higher than just a broken heart…


Leave a comment and I’ll randomly choose someone to win a copy of Rulebreaker! This contest is open until midnight, Sunday, August 14th. Winner will be announced on Monday, August 15.

Thanks for having me over, Maria!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The End

Today is the final stop of the Indie Roadshow and I'm spending it across the pond with Ellie Garratt.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. I really wanted to give you a sort of diary detailing what I discovered along my journey. The learning curve was a pain in the keester, but it was definitely worth it. Something I want to do again. 

The first time I held Touch Of Fire, my first book, I was floating so high you had to tether me to a post. But The Devil To Pay meant more. It cost me more in sleepless nights and hours in front of a computer. Unlike the other books, I poured my soul into this one.

The only thing I can equate it to is when I used to paint portraits. That was all mine too. And perhaps in a small way, homesteading gives me that same feeling. It's a kind of sovereignty, a ship you sail by wind and rudder alone, and that appeals to my adventurous soul.

Today concludes the tour and I wrap it up at Ellie's place with a checklist of things you should consider when going indie.

Ellie Garratt is one of my favorite people. I love her quirky sense of humor and the fact that she adores Captain Kirk. She is way more popular and cooler than I am, so you should definitely follow her blog. You won't be disappointed.
Stop by and say howdy to us. Ellie is the cute Brit with the Starfleet uniform and I'll be the one with the chickens.

***

Monday, I'm hosting debut author Cathy Pegau as we celebrate the release of her SF romance, Rulebreaker.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Long Does It Take?

Susan Gourley stumped me with her question about self-publishing when she asked: Just how long does it take to write and publish a book?

So I sat down and figured it out. The Devil To Pay is kind of a cheat since the story was pre-existing and I was planning on subbing it to an anthology. But I decided to track the rest of my time to give you some idea on how long it took to accomplish every step.

For the next book, I imagine formatting and cover art will be faster, but writing the story will take longer.

If you're interested in how long it takes to take a novella from idea to publication, stop by and say hello to Susan and tell me what your timetables are like.

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Another scorcher yesterday. 113 degrees! I let the chicks free-range, but the roosters and older hens remain penned up so nobody gets into any generational squabbles. Fortunately, Greg installed a water mister that keeps their pen cool. It's actually quite pleasant in there.

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Another win! Smashwords has been awful about letting The Devil To Pay go on to the premium catalog so Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Sony can pick it up. But it finally went through and now I feel I can relax.

A big thank you to Cate Masters who figured out where my formatting problem was. You're the best, Cate!

And here it is at Barnes & Noble. I'm so proud. :grin:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Author Liberation

Barbara Ann Wright asked me the coolest question. She wanted to know if I found self-publishing liberating. She invited me to guest blog at her place and it seemed like the perfect topic to tackle. I even included a quiz.

Stop by Barbara's blog and visit us. Fatigues and body armor optional. You'll see what I mean when you get there. :grin:

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Yesterday, I accidentally deleted all the blog posts I normally follow on Google Reader. If I missed you, I apologize.

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In other news...is it hot enough for you? 

It seems all we talk about lately is the brutal heat. But pictures speak louder than words. For your amusement, the Weather Babe and her forecast. Yes. That's 111 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm surprised her bikini didn't catch on fire.

I think we got hotter that day, but this is the only temp I caught on camera.


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In book news:
If you read The Devil To Pay, pop over to  Riverina Romantics and discuss it. I'd love to know what you think about the story, and which thread the next book will explore. (Hint: Liam is going to make some hard decisions that go against his moral compass--but it might be the only way to save Shannon.)

Sales: I seem to sell on Amazon, but Smashwords hardly gets any love. If you read off anything other than a Kindle, I hope you'll pick up The Devil To Pay at Smashwords. Or Amazon. You have a choice.

See ya at Barbara Ann Wright's blog and Riverina Romantics.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Things That Happened While I Was Homesteading

Most of July has been just awful, made worse by dangerously high temperatures that roasted us until we were near heat stroke. We haven't been able to finish a single project. It's like running on a treadmill. You sweat and you swear, but the view always stays the same.

Whenever I'm in a bind, I keep reminding myself to last just one more day. Yesterday, I think I hit my wall.

There's no point in going into details because I'm still trying to sort things out for myself. I plan to change some things, I just don't know what it'll be yet. One of the things that has pushed me over the edge is the economy.

I've never seen the economy this bad in my lifetime (and that's a pretty long time). It's forced me to reassess my priorities so I can still have the life I'd like to be accustomed to. :o)

If the economy wasn't bad enough, digital has for the most part destroyed the publishing that was. To be honest, I'm surprised it took as long as it did. Digital changed the music industry nearly overnight. The book dragons lasted a lot longer.

I blame publishing's old guard for their troubles. Any idiot could see they were spending too much money on advances they'd never get back. (Why does this remind me of the government?) Add to this, the draconian agreement they have with bookstores whereby if the bookstore fails to sell a book, the publisher is required to take it back. 

No successful business operates that way. If a buyer buys a line of clothes, they don't go back to the manufacturer and say, 'hey, these didn't sell, I want my money back'.

And now with a third of the physical shelf space removed in this continent country, the publishing industry is now forced to give each book submission a reality check. Well, duh.

As demand dwindles, agents are swarming on other opportunities. Agencies large and small are jumping into the self-publishing wagon. The Knight Agency is calling it 'Assisted Self-publishing'. How it's different from actual self-publishing, I don't know. I read their posts, but I couldn't see the difference.

I expected digital to overtake print. And I expected self-publishing to surge in popularity. But I never expected agents to step into an arena that crossed ethical boundaries. I don't care if they want to be publishing companies, but they need to take down their agent shingle first.

Enough is enough.

Are you tired of this circus yet?