Saturday, December 25, 2010

More Thoughts About Inspiration

I've recently discovered that old photographs are an incredible source of inspiration.

When visiting my family in Massachusetts earlier this month, my sister and I stayed up late several nights, talking. Okay, I admit it, every night!

She showed me some old family photos, like from the 1920s and 1930s. We speculated about our family, our grandparents, and our great-grandparents. We tossed around old stories, old rumors--both hilariously funny and tremendously sad. 

As we speculated, my imagination went wild, and so did Celenie's. I came up with a terrific plot idea for a family saga-type story that includes romance, betrayal, and all kinds of other heartstring-tugging emotions.

It's amazing how you can what-if your way into creating a reality. (I guess soap operas do that on a daily basis, eh?)

Anyway, this photo of my daughter dressing up as a hula girl is just a visualization of how wonderful it is to pretend and what-if. Care to dig up and share any of your inspiring photos? If so, send them to me and I'll post them and we can get some really wild stories going!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Newest Book is Available for Pre-Order!

Taking the Mystery Out of Business is now available for pre-order and has its own personal page on my publisher's website.

Business owners, independent contractors, managers, and employees often wear many hats and deal with limited time, budgets, and resources. In this practical primer, Linda Faulkner lays out the fundamentals, providing examples and tips so newcomers to the business world can easily gain an understanding of the challenges they face. Experienced professionals will benefit from a refresher on basic strategies and how to stay a head of the competition.

"If your preconception of a successful business person is one who wears a designer suit, carries a leather briefcase, drives a German sports car, and earns a six-figure income, you may want to put that idea aside for the next two-hundred pages or so."

To read the first chapter, pre-order, or for more information, visit my website or TMoB's Page on my publisher's website.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Has Your Imagination Ever Taken A Vacation?

My imagination has been AWOL for the past couple of days.  Has that ever happened to you?

I have the time and the inclination to plot something out and ... poof! ... nothing useful comes to mind. Sure, I come up with a scary scene, or a romantic scene, but nothing that works in my WIP.

I regularly use clustering to tap into my creativity and that's not working lately. I almost always come up with something good in the shower--you know, where pens, paper, and the voice recorder are inaccessible? That's not working these days,either, and I have the pruney skin to show for it!

I'm coming up with bupkis, nada, or crap-poopie.


Should I dive into the Jameson? Any other suggestions?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Spurs Your Creativity?

Personally, I prefer quiet when I'm writing.  No radio.  No music.  No sounds of traffic, ambulances, or barking dogs.

Definitely no TV.  The voices distract me.  You know, all those words...  Not to mention the hollering, screaming, and other idiocy.

Some people have told me they MUST have music playing in the background when they're writing or painting or in the midst of other creative efforts.  Bach and Beethoven do it for some of them, heavy metal does it for others.

Other people report they like to write in a coffee shop, while commuting on the bus or train, or outdoors.

What spurs YOUR creativity?  I'm curious.  Curious enough to give a few other things a whirl.  Every so often I like to shake things up ... this week, I'm into shaking myself up.  That's what four days at home does to me...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Release Date Moved Forward

Just received word that Taking the Mystery Out of Business will be available in December 2010 instead of January 2011!

It's included in my publisher's catalog and now appears on their website.  If you'd like to pre-order via their website rather than waiting until later in December to purchase it from your favorite bookstore or on Amazon or Smashwords, click here.

The Kindle and iPad versions will be available a few weeks after the print and eBooks.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Wild Mountain Goats - Glacier National Park - 08/2010

My father has always stated that he doesn't believe in coincidence.  Unless, of course, it's a real coincidence.  He then goes on to explain the difference between a real coincidence and an event masquerading as a coincidence.  The comparison goes like this:  A real coincidence is when you go to China on vacation and run into your next door neighbor--who's also on vacation (and you didn't travel together or discuss vacation plans in advance).  A coincidence is not when you're on your first date with a guy and his favorite color is the same as yours.

Dad is skeptical of any type of seeming coincidence that doesn't contain an element of the bizarre--such as the vacation in China thing.

When we writers tell our stories, we need to avoid calling contrived events "coincidences."  For example, what are the real chances of the the father of your secret baby returning to town ten years after he abandoned your pregnant self and stumbling upon his nine year-old son...and recognizing him immediately?  And suddenly wanting to be a dad?  I doubt it's happened in real life, but it's happened in fiction--and it's not a coincidence.  It's baloney.

And how about the slasher movie when the hero shoots the bad guy with a single bullet?  Coincidence?  Yeah, right.  All of us can shoot a moving target and kill it with one bullet.  Then the weirdest thing happens: the hero is so sure of his marksman ability (just like we are, right?), he turns his back on the dead slasher...who then leaps from the floor, dripping blood and guts, and makes yet another attempt to kill our hero.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  For Pete's sake, everyone knows that if a slasher tries to kill you, emptying the gun, reloading, and emptying it again is the only real way to kill him.  Cripes.

Our characters' actions have to be motivated.  They have to make sense.  And sometimes it's really hard to come up with sufficient motivation to write the really terrific scene that's been playing in your mind for the past three days.  (Guess what I'm stuck on?)

So, here's a real coincidence in my life these days.  BACKGROUND:  One of my two blogging buddies in Scotland recently revealed on his blog (May Contain Nuts) that he's a tremendous fan of the author James Lee Burke.  Oddly enough, JLB lives about twenty miles from where I live.  I don't know JLB personally and have never met him, although he was a speaker at the Montana Festival of the Book that I attended last month.  COINCIDENCE:  I taught two insurance seminars today and just happened to mention to my students that my newest book, Taking the Mystery Out of Business, is being released in January.  I was then asked about my "writing career" and one of my students mentioned that her next door neighbor is a writer.  She's never read anything he's written, and she doesn't know if he's famous or anything, and her 11 year-old son has occasionally been hired by this writer to do yard work.  Guess who this writer-neighbor is?  You guessed it.  James Lee Burke.  Now that's a coincidence!

Guess I'm going to have to buy one of his books.  Or stop by his next book signing at Fact and Fiction Books in Missoula.

Now it's YOUR turn to share a REAL coincidence.  Tell all...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Being Famous

Every once in a while someone says something that snaps me out of my little world.  You know how it is:  you're walking around like everyone else, intent on The Life of [_fill in your name__], and you get a glimpse of yourself as another person views you.

I was talking to my oldest granddaughter on the telephone the other day.  She lives 2,700 miles away and I try to call her a few times a month.  We catch up on things and not only does she share the details of her life, she shares the perspective of a highly intelligent and precocious 11-year old.

She has a Facebook presence (monitored by Mom and Dad) and told me how neat her friends think it is that her grandma has a page on Facebook that people can "like."  They all think I'm famous because I wrote two books and have a fan page.

From their minds to God's ears, eh?

Who thinks you're famous...and why?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

5 Things I Hate About Halloween

Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday.  In fact, I don't even consider it a holiday.  Another fact:  I hated it when I was a kid.  Now that I live in the Rocky Mountains--two miles from the highway up an unpaved road--Halloween is no longer part of my life.  Until people bring it to my attention:  like my granddaughters and people posting on Facebook.

I have two younger brothers and, when we were kids, they loved scaring me out of my wits on Halloween...and every other day.  Of course, I was a girly-girl and a chicken, so it didn't take much.  They convinced me that monsters lived in the crawlspace (which is why I dragged my parents' case of 78 records over the door hatch in the closet each night before climbing into bed) and that if I allowed my arms and legs to dangle over the bed at night, snakes and other creatures would nibble on them as I slept.  Living with those two, every day was Halloween.

Candy is the only good thing about Halloween.  Good, mind you, not great.  Although I'm not fond of milk and white chocolate, I adore dark chocolate.  Especially with almonds, walnuts, or pecans.  Licorice is pretty good and so are gum drops.  Unfortunately, I seldom found either being passed out as Halloween treats.  Dressing up was okay--when my mother allowed me to be a princess.  Which she seldom did.  Sigh.

Okay, enough whining.  Here's my list--the five things I hate about Halloween:
  1. Being outside in the dark
  2. Monsters
  3. Screaming
  4. Being scared
  5. Remembering being outside in the dark and scared out of my wits by all the screaming monsters in costumes.
What do you hate about Halloween?

(Photo by Luigi Diamonte)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Humanities Montana Festival of the Book

Humanities Montana Festival of the Book is taking place now!

Its website begins, "Two days and three nights of events highlighting the incredible richness of Montana's literary landscape will take place for the 11th straight year, October 28-30, 2010.  The Humanities Montana Festival of the Book brings together the region's finest writers to celebrate reading and writing in one of the Inland Northwest's biggest cultural events."

Schedule of Events

Authors and Presenters

Facebook Page

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting into POV

I received an e-mail today that contained excerpts from the diaries of a dog and cat.  I especially like the POV of the author who wrote the cat's diary.  Kudos for "getting into" POV. 

Excerpts from a dog's diary:

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with my people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a cat's diary:

Day 983 of my captivity...

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets.

Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.


There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Check out the Blog for My New Book

Just in case you don't already know, my non-fiction book, Taking the Mystery Out of Business:  The 9 Fundamentals of Professional Success will be released in early January.  It will be available in bookstores, and at Amazon and Smashwords.

Check out the blog, where you can request free business tips and advice, complete a survey, and enter your name in a drawing to win a free copy of Taking the Mystery Out of Business by making a comment to select blog posts.

If you have a particular subject you'd like me to discuss on the blog, or that you'd like to consider posting about, e-mail me at

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What do the Author Exchange Blog and my Dreams Have in Common?

I've decided to consolidate and include the author interviews, book reviews, and guest posts I've been publishing on my Author Exchange Blog on this blog beginning November 16th.  Dividing my life into compartments has taken a lot of energy so I decided that since I am one person who does many things, I'd combine the writing/educating aspects of my life.

I wanted to be a published writer when I was a kid, along with stints of wanting to be a doctor (which ended in 7th grade after the frog dissection), a ballerina (does Fantasia mean anything to you?), a rock star (my range is about 5 notes), and a teacher.  Since I dropped out of college during my first semester, the teacher dream shattered.  Or so I thought...

Here I am, a number of years later, teaching.  And writing.  Not in the precise manners I'd envisioned, but teaching and writing nonetheless.

Hosting the Author Exchange Blog has enabled me to "meet" a great number of writers, some of whom have become buddies and friends.  It has entertained me, educated me, and--at times, I admit--frustrated me.  It has also become a part of my life that brings me great pleasure.  So, as if it were one of the animals I periodically invite into my family, you'll be seeing it merged into this blog.

Let's see where this adventure leads...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Giveaway

Linda Weaver Clarke was kind enough to interview me on her blog today.  If you make a comment, you'll be entered to win a free copy of my mystery, SECOND TIME AROUND.  (I didn't know my habit of eavesdropping was shared by so many other writers!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010


You'd think that, as a workaholic, I know nothing about relaxation.  Not true.  Problem is:  if I don't curb my fatal attraction to relaxation, I could become a slug.  There's a very fine line between workaholism and slug-ism.

Let me explain.

If I didn't have so many darn things to do, I could spend days on end reading.  In fact, when I was a kid, I'd check out 12 books from the library on a Saturday.  (That was the maximum kids could take.)  They'd all be read before the following by Wednesday.  Right now, I could easily read three books a day--if I didn't have anything else to do.  Or I could walk the beach...if Montana had an ocean.  When I lived in Massachusetts (and my kids were college age or older and I was single), I'd take my puppy and walk the beach for hours.  Talk about relaxation.  Hardly anyone else walks the beach at 6:00am on a Saturday--regardless of the time of year.  And if you do happen to run across someone, they know enough not to speak.  A polite little nod is all the interaction needed, thank you.

Because of Montana's lack of an ocean, I do the next-best thing.  I sit on my front porch here in the Rocky Mountains, mug of tea in hand, and watch my ten acres of pine trees sway in the breeze.  Okay, 9 acres of pine trees--one acre is cleared.  And okay, some of the trees are firs (Douglas or grand) and others are larch (aka tamarack).  But they're mine.  And they look SO beautiful with the backdrop of an endless Montana Big Sky.  (At left, Ponderosa Pine backlit by Big Sky.)

There's something so restful and peaceful about the ocean ebbing and flowing, or a breeze caressing through acres of evergreen needles, or hurt-your-eyes glare of the summer sun on a mountain stream.

When I allow myself to relax, everything opens:  my mind, my heart, my imagination.

How do you relax - and how does it affect your world?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Inkling

Check out the latest issue of my newsletter, The Inkling.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

BetteBoomer is born!  For those of you born between 1946 and 1964 - or those of you who are curious about us folks, check out!

My friend and business associate, Terre Short, has not only created BetteBoomer, she's looking for writers to contribute to the wonderful site.  For writers wishing to contribute, click here.

FYI, I am an UberBoomer on the site!

Let me know what you think.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What do you do when inspiration strikes?

If inspiration strikes when I have pen and paper nearby, I jot everything down and the story has a happy ending.

Usually, however, inspiration has a habit of striking when I'm in the shower, on a 5-hour road trip to Billings, or in the middle of a business meeting.  Yeah, yeah, I know all about my unconscious working without interference and that's why ideas come when my hands or mind are otherwise occupied.  I should be happy inspiration strikes, right?  Tell that to my memory.

You know when I'll remember what popped into my mind during the business meeting?  When I'm in the shower.

I have, however, solved the problem of inspiration striking when I'm in the car.  Which is a good thing, because my daily commute ranges from 60-70 minutes each day.  And most months of the year, I have at least one long road trip.

My solution:  a voice recorder.  I spent $50 for a Sony recorder that works with Dragon Naturally Speaking (I'd put the trademark here, but I don't know how to type the symbol).  I can keep the device nearby and switch it on when I want to record or I can use its voice recognition mode. 

It's amazing how much MORE often inspiration is striking now that I can make a quick recording.  I take the voice recorder with me everywhere:  it sits on my desk at the office, at my beside at night (Stephen just LOVES that), and has a place of honor in the cell phone pocket inside my handbag.  I actually think it's become more valuable to me than my cell phone.

What do YOU do when inspiration strikes?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Motel from Hell

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Glacier National Park.  Stephen insisted we stay at a motel as close to the park as possible so as not to "waste" any of our time driving to and fro.  Well, the motels IN the park didn't have vacancies in the same room for the two nights we wanted, but one of them referred us to the nearest motel outside the park.

The website of the privately owned motel was nice--as were the photos of the place.  I called and spoke to a very nice young woman who answered all my questions.  I didn't mind that we wouldn't have a television or telephone in our room--who needs the boob tube on vacation?  Wireless internet was a plus, as was the heated outdoor pool--which is open 24 hours a day.  That got my imagination working overtime...

Anyway...after spending the day in the car--4 hours from home to the entrance of the park at St. Mary, followed by driving Going to the Sun Road--we arrived at the motel at about 7:00pm.  At check-in, we were required to pay for our entire stay--none of the pay-when-you-check-out which is typical of every other  motel or hotel at which I've stayed.  (This should have been a clue.  Come to think of it, so should the fact that they didn't charge my credit card when I made the reservation.)

The front desk clerk told us the breakfast cottage was open 24 hours a day and we could help ourselves to coffee, tea, and hot chocolate whenever we wanted.  A light continental breakfast would be served from 6:00am to 10:00am.  I know I'm messing up the chronological order of my story here because we didn't have breakfast 'til the next day, but, folks, did you know that "light continental breakfast" translates to TOAST?  Yes, toast.  Period.  As in a large basket filled with loaves of bread (white, wheat, rye, whole grain, etc.) sitting next to a couple of toasters.  Butter and jam were provided.  So was plastic dinnerware.  Whoopee!

Back to the chronologically correct recounting of my story and our check-in.  Each room, the motel manager explained, offered wireless interent.  We were not to be surprised, however, if the service didn't work on our laptops.  Seems that some laptops got the signal and others didn't.  Those that didn't, she said with a smile, nearly always picked up the signal if the guest sat outside his or her room in a chair.  Yup, just what I want to do at the end of the day:  sit outside in a lawn chair with my laptop propped on my lap, providing the local insect community with a much better meal than I was going to be served the following morning.

Our room was clean.  That's the only good thing I can say about it.  90% of the floor space was taken up by the king-sized bed.  Honest to God, we were lucky if there was 3' of space between the edge of the bed and the three walls.  The bathroom had even less space.  When sitting on the commode, if I clasped my hands in front of the center of my chest, my elbows actually hit the wall on one side and the shower stall on the other.  The bathroom did NOT contain an electrical outlet.  Not even an ungrounded two-pronger.  Which meant I had to blow dry my hair in the bedroom without a mirror.  Needless to say, I wore a baseball cap for three days in a row...

An 8" fan on the dresser supplied the cooling system.  The two small windows slammed shut immediately after being opened because the ropes inside them were broken.  We were able to prop one window open about 6" after we stuck the ice bucket in the openeing.  Of course, the ice bucket blocked half the airway.  The other half, however, was more than adequate at providing sound bites of the conversations exchanged by people swaying in the hammocks outside the pool and the fellow who arrived and left at all hours...on the motorcycle he parked three feet from our window.

Talk about false advertising!  I will be penning a much more articulate letter to management once I've calmed down.  I may even find myself laughing in a few days.  In the meantime, I'm focusing on the fact that the motel was clean.  No mildew in the microscopic shower stall...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My New Kitty is FAMOUS


I'm looking forward to a brainstorming session with one of my friends/business associates later today.  Both sides of my brain love brainstorming:  the Right Side - because it's so darn good at it, and the Left Side - because it's so darn lousy at it!

Seriously, when I brainstorm with other people, I find myself coming up with TERRIFIC ideas - much better ideas for them than I come up with for myself.  Why do you think that is?

I think it's the result of several things.  First, we don't usually have as much of an emotional investment in other people's writing and business projects, so we don't have fears, biases, and "favorites."  Furthermore, the success or failure of those projects seldom has a direct effect on us and our lives--other than having to listen to the other person share the details of their success or failure.  Second, the lack of emotional investment allows us to be truly objective:  we're viewing the other person's project from outside the box, their box, and have an entirely different perspective.  And third, if we trust the person/people with whom we're brainstorming, we're more relaxed during a session than we are when we're sitting alone in a room, banging our heads against the wall, hoping a good idea will get knocked into our thick skulls.

During my last brainstorming session with this buddy, she came up with the sub-title for my series of business books, as well as a tagline for what I do.  How's that for benefitting from brainstorming?

What are YOUR thoughts about brainstorming?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My famous blogging buddy, Bill Kirton, published a post about deadlines on his blog not to long ago, and I've been thinking about them--in one fashion or another--ever since.

When we don't have a deadline (aka, we don't have a book contract or other freelance writing contract that requires a deadline), we angst over the fact that we don't have a "book" or a  "job" or a "project."  Or, more likely, the prospect of a much-desired bank deposit.  But that's another topic...

Some of us write best when we don't have a looming deadline because we're not under pressure.  We get into our schedule, our zone, and nothing interferes with it:  not an agent, a publisher, an editor, a submission, a rejection--nothing.

Others of us diddle around when we don't have deadlines.  The Muse comes (or doesn't), and we don't sweat it. We sleep in instead of setting the alarm at 5am to get an hour or two of writing in before we go to work. We watch TV or settle in with a good book when we get home from work instead of firing up the old laptop.

I suppose the same can be said when we DO have a deadline.  I've heard that some writers have a difficult time dealing with the pressure...knowing they have X number of days until D-Day.  Which translates into X number of pages to be written per day, or X number of words to be written per day, etc.

I have two deadlines at the moment:  one for a freelance project and one for the book I just sold.  So what, you're asking yourself, am I doing writing this blog post when I should be writing some 100,000 words for paying projects that are far more important?

All I can say is that I write.  It's what I do.  And I write lots of stuff, in different genres and formats.  Unfortunately, my responsibilities don't disappear when I'm on deadline.  Neither does the world (and its occupants) spin away on its axis and leave me in peace and quiet when a deadline looms.  In fact, deadlines tend to be the catalyst for the shit hitting the fan in other areas, pardon my crudity.

Even though my deadlines are in September and October, I've already calculated how many words and/or pages a day I need to write between now and then to meet the deadlines.  I've also factored in sickness, emergencies, and an assortment of other stuff--like my husband, my kids, work, and a number of other people and responsibilities.

Good think I have a calculator.  Or is it?

How do YOU deal with deadlines?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rant on Entitlement

I have run into WAY too many people lately who believe they are entitled to a variety of things...all of which they are not entitled to.  Here are two recent examples.

Why, when someone cracks his car up does he believe it's his insurance agent's responsibility to pay for the damage to the uninsured car because the insurance agent didn't send him a SIXTH notice that the policy had been cancelled a year ago?  (No, this did not happen to me.  But it did happen.)  The first five notices weren't enough, I guess.  And I suppose  the fact he didn't receive a single insurance bill during the past year wasn't a big enough clue that his insurance had been cancelled, right?  What about all that paperwork he didn't get?  I don't know about your insurance company, but mine sends me DOZENS of mailings each year, aside from invoices:  policies, ID cards, ballots to vote at the corporate annual meeting, solicitations, etc.  He didn't think it was odd that all the junk mail from his insurance company just stopped?  Guess not.

I know a woman who got fired from her job because she lied on her time sheet.  She, however, believes her employer fired her unjustly.  Here's the scoop:  When she recorded her work hours on Wednesday, the woman realized that on Monday she'd incorrectly recorded her hours.  To compensate for the two hours she'd shortchanged herself, she added two hours to Wednesday's hours.  Well, unfortunately for her, her boss worked late on Wednesday and knew for a fact the woman hadn't worked the two extra hours.  When asked why she'd lied about her hours on Wednesday, the woman explained about the error on Monday's time sheet.  Herr boss didn't buy the woman's story.  "You lied on your timesheet and you just admitted you lied.  Why should I believe anything you say?"  The woman is not only offended that her employer would think she's a liar, she's offended that she lost her job for such a "little" thing.

Two completely different situations, but each person is upset and offended because someone else didn't come to the rescue.  THEY goofed themselves up, but feel entitled to free insurance and an employer's trust when neither of them deserves it.

How does this tie into writing?  I just wrote about it, didn't I?  (Guess I'm still a bit pissy.)

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Signed the book contract today and all parties are happy.  More news as I gear up for marketing and promotion, get an estimated release date, and ...oh, yeah--finish the book!

Thanks, everyone, for all your suppport via my blogs, e-mail, and in-person.  I couldn't have accomplished any of this without my family, friends, and business associates.

Friday, July 9, 2010

BOOK SALE pending!

I just received an offer from a wonderful publisher for a business book, with an option for them to consider follow-up business books for a series.

Fridays have always been my favorite day of the week and there's no reason for me to prefer a differnt day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

RANT on Revenge

I am stepping up on my soapbox here.  So, if you don't like all the hollering and shouting, you may want to tiptoe on past.

I received an e-mail from a writer acquaintance recently, sharing that an evil person has a plot against him.  I will not share the plot because I do not want any evil-minded people out there acquiring a new method to use for tormenting and taunting writers--or anyone else.  Suffice it to say, the evil person launched a personal campaign to malign my writer acquaintance's wonderful published works.

The story brought to mind a similar event, one that I will share.  On my Author Exchange Blog, I interview published authors, editors, agents, and all manner of folk in the publishing industry.  The interviewees usually enjoy the free promotional opportunity and post links to the interview on their websites, blogs, etc.  Did you notice I used the word usually in the previous sentence?  It was intentional.

Last year, I published an author's interview and, upon checking the comments a couple of hours after it appeared, was horrified to view a comment.  Actually, the comment was a novella--a diatribe against the author citing an interminable list of wrongs, ranging from the author's mistreatment of family from the time she was a child to more current misdeeds.  Mind you, nothing in the comment/novella pertained to the author's writing or published works.  It was clearly a vicious sneak attack on the author.  For all I know, the contents of the novella could have been true.  My blog, however, was not the appropriate forum for the commenter to air his/her "issues."  (Did I mention the commenter left his/her comments using the name ANONYMOUS?  How weaselly is that?)

This particular incident introduced me to the security measure known as "moderating comments" on a blog.  If a blog host does not moderate comments (choose to have the comments e-mailed to the blog host BEFORE allowing them to appear live on the blog), they appear immediately online--in all their glory.  If a blog host does not moderate comments, the only way to get rid of them is to delete the entire blog entry (which includes the offending comments).

I deleted the interview, along with its offensive novella, and reposted it.  Yes, I began immediately moderating comments--on that and all the other blogs I host.

Which brings me to this:  If a person is so angry with, and wronged by, another person that he feels revenge must be exacted, why does he have to be so darned sneaky?  Why can't he simply walk up to the person who committed the wrong and punch him in the nose if conversation won't resolve the matter?

Okay, you've got a point.  Jail is not a prospect most people look forward to and might just be a deterrent to the nose-punching alternative.  But still.  I can think of one (or seven) people who've really and truly pissed me off over the years.  A couple of them were downright sneaky and nasty; one or two were simply users.  It would never cross my mind to sabotage them online.  Mostly because when I wear my insurance hat, I am very familiar with offenses such as libel, slander, invasion of privacy, etc.  And as much as I might want to see those 1-7 people get theirs, I sure don't want any negative consequences to reflect on me when it happens.

I've just made it clear that I don't understand revenge.  Which is why I've never used it as a plot device in a novel.  Can anyone explain to me--in simple, basic language--what motivates a person to risk all sorts of painful consequences for revenge?

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I am in the process of overhauling my websites and decided that I want to begin offering a monthly contest.

WHODUNIT? is the result.

It's not just a contest that'll give away free stuff (although it'll certainly do that) it allows entrants to complete the ending to a mysterious scenario.  Anyone can enter, from published writers, to readers, to Facebook friends, to my 11 year-old granddaugher (I hope).

Check out my websites, let me know what you think of the recent changes, feel free to recommend updates, and enter the contest.  Entries will be accepted through the 25th of each month and winners will be announced on the website on the last day of each month.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Organizing...or Plotting?

I had one of those lightbulb moments yesterday.  You know, like in the cartoons. 

I've always dreaded preparing a synopsis or chapter-by-chapter outline BEFORE I write a novel.  I do it because, as Yogi Berra said, "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else."  I also tend to have more details for the first couple of chapters and just before the end than anywhere else--which certainly makes suspense in my life...if not in the novel!

On the other hand, when I write non-ficiton, I'm a detail freak when it comes to organizing my Table of Contents, aka the outline of the piece.  I have no problem listing the topics I want to include and organizing them into chapters.  From there, it's a breeze to come up with two to four sub-topics in each chapter.

HEL-L-L-O!  That's plotting!  The topics in non-fiction equal the sub-plots, conflicts, and character growth/development in fiction.  (Not to mention the pivot point after the first third, the plot-points, the mid-point, and the climax/black moment.) A chapter of non-fiction equals a chapter of fiction.  The sub-topics in non-fiction equal scenes in fiction.

Now that I figured out all I need to do with my [fiction] plotting is use the same technique and brain activity I use when "organizing" my non-fiction works, it's a breeze.

How do you...organize and plot?  Feel free to share tips and secrets.  I'm all for making my life easier.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What is...Writing Diarrhea?

Okay.  Maybe the title of this blogpost isn't the most appealing you've ever heard.  But it's what came to mind and I really need to discuss this.

Have you ever been in a place where all you can do is think about what you want to write, plan more things to write, and actually spend the majority of your waking hours pounding away at the keyboard and/or handwriting notes when your computer's out of reach?  (Like when you're driving or in the shower.)   That's where I am right now.  I'm working on writing projects for two different clients, plugging away at my stalker book, and outling three, yes 3, other books.

This is what I call Writing Diarrhea.  I am not writing poop nor am I writing about poop.  The words are simply flowing out of me like, well...diarrhea.  Without the pain and discomfort, of course.  (I don't need to get really tacky and discuss aromas here, now, do I?  Didn't think so.)

What I really, really, wish is that a money tree would sprout in my back yard with all the wonderful ponderosa pines and make the necessity for working vanish from my life.  Poof!  Independently Wealthy.  Wouldn't that be nice?

I am going with this flow and enjoying it.  Unfortunately, not much other than absolute necessities are getting accomplished at home.  Good thing my husband is into grilling this time of year.  And that we have a covered porch so he can do it in the goddamn rain, which is another thing that's been flowing like diarrhea around here.

Share your stories about Writing Diarrhea.  (Or even how you're envious of it.)

P.S.  The picture has nothing to do with the topic.  It's just me and my oldest daughter...and Eska.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Honesty and Censorship

Okay, so here's my beef with blogging this week:  I really can't use a blog as a substitute for a journal or stream of consciousness thinking.  Why?

First of all, because if I talk about the idiot at work, or the tiff with my brother-in-law, or what I really want to do this weekend, with my luck the idot, my sister, and my husband will all read the blogpost and get ticked off at me.  It's one thing to be honest; it's entirely another thing to be uncensored.

Which brings me to my second beef:  although I don't believe in censorship, I have to do it all the time!  Cripes.

Guess this means I'll continue being nice on the blogs and scribbling like mad in my journal, thus ruining the lives of a very large number of trees.

What's YOUR take on honesty in writing...and censorship?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spotlight on Talent: YOU!

After taking a hiatus from hosting my Author Exhange Blog, I've got it back up and running with a slightly different format.  In addition to interviewing published authors (any genre/format) and other publishing professionals, I'm now also publishing Guest Blog Posts and doing some book reviews.

In the year between February 2009 and Feburary 2010, I published nearly 100 interviews with a variety of published authors, editors, publishers and other industry professionals.  All genres were represented, as were a magazine and a couple of book publishers.  My aim is to help other writers spread the good word about their work and their passion.

We writers walk just a step out of time with the rest of the world...after all, how many people do you know who actually prefer sitting in room all by themselves, living with imaginary friends and lives?

Due to time constraints (I was actually spending between 15 and 20 hours a week with duties related to the Author Exchange Blog before going on hiatus), I've implemented strict submission guidelines and have extended the length of time I need before scheduling guest appearances on the blog.  I'm hoping the new guidelines will not only help me manage my time better, but will also streamline the process of getting more people up on the blog.

Feel free to spread the word to any writers, or other people in the industry, you may know.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Building Characters

I remember when my kids used to go trick or treating on Halloween.  They always had terrific ideas about "who" they wanted to be.  My son, who was an altar boy in the year I'm remembering, wanted to be The Pope.  Many people were horrified, including my in-laws.  But our parish priest thought my son's idea was terrific.  He believed that kids his age should know about religion, any religion, and wanted to help Michael "spread the light."  So he allowed Michael to wear one of his vestments and gave him advice about building the "hat."  (We never shared with Fr. Paul that Michael's goal was going for humor, not spreading the light of the Lord.)

Creating characters for a book or short story is not quite as easy as stepping into a character at Halloween.  Before the book is fully plotted, you have to come up with a backstory, motivation, quirks, likes, dislikes, habits, and the basis for some serious conflicts with one or more of the other characters.  Oh, and did I mention motivation?  Why is a very important question to ask your characters.  As in:  a) Why, Mr. Villain, do you want to chop up and kill women and then place their eyeballs in your freezer?  or b) Why, Mr. Larger-Than-Life-Hero, are you so damn scared of one tiny woman?  Sure, she's got a big mouth, but she can't hurt you, can she? or c) Why do you love small children and animals, Ms. Heroine?  Especially in light of the fact that your parents died when you were a kid and you spent your formulative years in a series of foster homes?

See what I mean?

When I first began writing novels and joined RWA and MWA, I soaked up other writers' advice like a sponge.  I copied every character chart I could, jotting down everyone's ideas about how to craft characters.  I thought I knew what the true steps to characterization greatness were.

Unfortunately, when you craft your characters with that much zealousness, with that much CONTROL, they tend to get boring.  Precise is nice when you're planning; it's dreadful to read.

I've since learned that if I pick 3-5 absolutes with respect to my characters (i.e. their goals, their raisons d'etre, and a little bit about their birth families/backgrounds), I allow them room to grow and develop as the plot and their own personalities require.

How do YOU build characters?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I've found that some of my best writing is done when I'm in the midst of turbulent emotion.  Like my very first novel, which was completed within a few months not too long before I separated from my ex-husband.  Funny how getting up at 5:00am each day, and writing for two uninterrupted hours, was cathartic.  Not that I wrote about  my marital situation or personal feelings, but I was able to tap into some serious emotion when writing that first romantic suspense novel.

I've found myself in the same situation several times in the ensuing 20-odd years.  I'm in one of them right now, for a very sad reason.  The son of a friend passed away unexpectedly late last week, and my mind has been distracted with a variety of thoughts, remembrances, and odd insights.  All of which are proving to be fodder for the book I'm currently plotting--and emotion for the book I'm writing.

I used to feel goulish when sad, tragic events spurred me to write.  But I've come to understand that the human condition forms the underpinnings of my work.  Each experience, and each emotion, helps form the layers of my thought process and the actual writing.  I suspect that the writers who most inspire us and whose work most appeal to us are those who are the most accomplished at tapping into our emotions.

Some writers freeze in the face of strong, turbulent emotions.  And others, like me, seem to get diarrhea of the keyboard.  I guess it takes all kinds...

What kind are you?

(RIP, Justin)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

My blogging buddy, Bill Kirton, a writer who lives in Scotland and who hosts the blog, Living, Writing, and Other Stuff, has honored me with the Honest Scrap Award.  I'm told the award is given to bloggers who share honest information with their readers.  Considering the fact that my "honest" blog doesn't have the largest readership in blogdom, I am pondering the pros and cons of lying and telling tall-tales on the blog to acquire readership.  If I did that, however, I'd have to surrender the award.  What's a girl to do?

According to the rules of the Honest Scrap, I must present the award to 7 other bloggers.  Then, I have to share 10 HONEST things about myself.  I'll start with the 7 bloggers--that's far less boring and lots easier!

  1. Pets and Their Authors, hosted by Amigo, the Golden Retriever (he owns author Mayra Calvani)

  2. Riding With the Top Down, hosted by a number of authors:  Kylie Brant, Helen Brenna, Debra Dixon, Kathleen Eagle, Michele Hauf, Cindy Gerard, Lois Greiman, Betina Krahn, Susan Kay Law, and Christie Ridgeway

  3. Fact & Fiction, a local bookstore that does a tremendous amount of marketing on behalf of a number of authors, especially local authors

  4. Dennis N. Griffin, hosted by--you guessed it--Denny Griffin!

  5. SOAR's blog

  6. AniMeals' blog
How's that for a diverse group of blogs?  Well, I can honestly say I check them out on a regular basis.

Now, for the 10 honest things about myself.  It was tough coming up with 10 things that won't bore you to tears--and that's just MY opinion.  If I see my number of blog followers decrease, I guess I'll need to revisit the definition of boring, eh?

  1. I like spiders.  (What's not to like?  They eat mosquitos and flies.  Besides, remember how nice Charlotte was to Wilbur?)

  2. I don't have a favorite color, although most days I prefer either green or red.

  3. I don't have a favorite flower, either, although I love the fragrance of carnations and any flower with a daisy shape makes me smile.

  4. I have a wolf pack in my neighborhood.

  5. Once upon a time, I used to be young and cute.

  6. I'm very proud of my three children:  they're smart, and nice, and hard-workers.

  7. I'm a morning person.  Doesn't matter what time it is, if the sun's up, so am I.

  8. I'm a sucker for babies, dogs, and cats.

  9. It took me 30 years to appreciate, and like, my naturally curly hair.

  10. I fully intend to make the NYT bestseller list someday.
'Nuff said.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What Did I Ever Do to Deserve This?

Notice the very important message on Laurie's left hand?  She's referring to me.  This picture is a reminder that I should NEVER underestimate the power of a word or the importance of a relationship.

Laurie jumped out of an airplane to raise funds for a an organization that's very important to her, and while the day had tremendous meaning for on her so many, many levels, she still spent considerable time thinking about me.  Wow...

When we write, even those of us who write plot-driven books and stories, the fundamental messages we send are communicated through our characters--via their motivations, fears, memories, loves, hates, and relationships.  Our fictional relationships need to reflect the powerful emotions that drive them in order for us to impact our readers--the way real people impact us in real life.

I spent the first part of this Mother's Day missing my mother; I spent the second half of it being so greatful for the fact that I am a mother.

Friday, May 7, 2010

May I Quit My Day Job?

If you're my husband, you're screaming out loud:  No!  No!  Absolutely not!  He figures my royalties need to equal the current income earned at  my day job before I can even THINK about quitting.  (He may have a point.  Maybe...)

If you're my 80-year old father, you're saying in a very controlled, but quite loud voice:  Are you out of your mind?  You see, he's the insurance man who got me into the insurance business (I own and operate two insurance businesses), and he wishes he'd worked for himself instead of a large insurance company.  He thinks my day jobs are nirvana.

If you're Delaney, Charlotte, Max, or Grace, your thinking inside your furry little head:  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Do it NOW.  Spend 24 hours a day at home with ME!  My puppies and kitties love me better and more affectionately than most people I've known.  (No one else has ever greeted me at the front door, EVERY DAY, when I come home, wiggly and kissy.)

If you're me, you understand--intellectually--where Stephen and Dad are coming from.  But emotionally, you're right there with the critters.

I'm spending several hours a day at my writing lately.  I'm doing some insurance writing at the office, more of it at home after-hours, and my fiction at home after hours.  Sometimes, it's VERY difficult to drag my mind from my writing to focus on stuff like getting payroll out on time, arriving on time to meet with clients, and going to bed at a reasonable hour.

I've always been a little obsessive-compulsive with my writing, but it's getting worse.  It feels like a good thing (that's the emotional side) but I'm wondering if it really is.

Are you O-C about your writing?  Do you think I'm going nuts?  (Of course, you notice that I've asked you folks, who are mostly other writers, instead of a shrink.  But I figure you'll understand better.  Right?)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

My blogging buddy, Bill, whom I've mentioned before, illustrates a terrific example of creativity in the most recent post on his blog.  (I'll give you the link later, so as not to encourage you to click away from me!)

He yammers on in his post about the way he routinely attributes human qualities to inanimate objects, such as vitamins and toilet tissue.  His blog post is hilarious and brings to mind the way children can take a mundane event and spin a wild tale.

Which, in turn, leads me to think about free-association and how we writers can utilize the same creative skills when the failure to come up with a single good idea plagues us.

Gabriele Lusser Rico wrote a book called Writing the Natural Way, which focuses on right brain/left brain issues and how a method of free-association she calls clustering helps writers access their creativity.  It is possibly one of the best books I've ever read. By using techniques she recommends, or by following Bill's example and pretending to be a pretzel and imagining what will happen when some human's hand reaches into your home (er...bag), you can access creativity you never realized existed.

When my children were very small, the four of us used to climb onto my bed before bedtime, and create stories.  One of us would begin with a premise:  Once upon a time, a gerbil escaped his cage and climbed into a bird cage inhabited by...  Another of us would continue the story and we'd take turns, transforming a silly premise into a wild and hairy adventure.  Much like the story I tried to get going several blogposts ago with the handsome couple sitting on the bus.  The assassin is my son's girlfriend and the handsome guy is--you guessed it--my son.  (Thank goodness they both have good sense of humor and love me!)

What do YOU do to get those creative juices flowing?

P.S.  Here is the link to Bill's funny blogpost and to Gabriele Lusser Rico's website.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


See that upside down girl?  Well, she's mine.  And she is truly an inspiration.  She, who is terrified of heights, jumped out of an airplane today as part of Operation Freefall, a fundraiser for the organization Speaking Out Against Rape.  Two of her friends, Michael and Jessica, jumped right along with her to show their support.  (We should all have friends like that!)

We writers are often asked where we find our inspiration, if we pattern our characters after people we know, and where we come up with our ideas.  Thanks to my daughter, her friends, and so many other people, I find inspiration everywhere.  If I choose not to focus on the positive, I can find other characters and behavior about which to write, too...  Life is, after all, made up of endless perspectives, good, and evil.

Today, I am inspired by the brave and courageous souls associated with SOAR.  If you'd like to learn more about Laurie and the many others who raised over $100,000 in the 10th anniversary of Operation Freefall to help victims of sexual assault, click on the link I've provided below. 

FYI, Laurie was the second fundraiser nationwide and I couldn't be prouder of her - not only for helping others but for so courageously sharing her story, as so few rape victims do.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

Life does have a way of interefering with all the things a person wants to do, doesn't it?  This year, I've been deliberately focusing on what I want to do.  Unfortunately, no one else seems to be sharing my passion.

Time management has always been one of my strengths.  And the key part of the previous sentence is its tense:  some version of the past.

So, realizing I need to work on self-improvement in this area, I took a hiatus from my Author Exchange Blog, arranged stuff at my day jobs (I own two businesses) to help me meet my goal (which included a move of location and some rebuilding to include an on-site conference room to save me lots of travel time), and am in the process of getting down and dirty with my schedule to accommodate the time my bank book requires me to attend to my businesses and commercial writing and the time my heart requires me to spend on my fiction.

Your positive thoughts and prayers are most welcome.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back From Vacation and Looking for Suggestions

Now that my trip is over (to New England to see father, sister, brother, offspring--and their offspring--and my jaunt to the EPIC writer's convention--where I did not win the award), I have returned to real life and realize precisely how much stress my real life involves and how overextended I am.

This 10-day trip was my first vacation in 6 years. That should have been the first indicator of the degree of my out-of-control lifestyle/schedule. The second tip-off was the fact that I did next to no writing and actually forgot to call the office on a couple of days. Since I own two businesses, that probably wasn't a good idea. Fortunately, my staff is quite capable and handled things without me. Thank God I'm not indispensable. (I learned that lesson about 7 years ago. So, okay, I'm a slow learner...)

My youngest daughter and I had a conversation about addictive personalities recently. I mentioned, in all seriousness, that I was fortunate to have escaped my family's genetic predisposition to such a thing. She asked, in equal seriousness, "How would you classify workaholic?" Her point hit home: like a sledgehammer.

So here I am, pondering a number of serious issues, the most important of which involves the fact that each day of my life contains 24 hours and that I have to quit jam-packing a day with 34 hours of stuff to do. The second serious issue is correcting my mistaken understanding that requiring less sleep as a person ages does not equal the actual elimination of sleep in order to secure more hours to do stuff.

I will keep you posted on the results of my new "plan" and welcome your advice and suggestions about how to reduce the number of "important" duties/responsibilities in my life and how to focus more on me (aka being selfish) and less on other people (aka being nice and kind).

NOTE: Picture #1 shows the Mississippi River Bridge in the background. My sister and I were at the Riverwalk in the French Quarter. Picture #2 shows the congratulatory flowers my husband sent me BEFORE the award-winners were announced. He figured I was a winner no matter what the EPIC conference judges said. (He's a keeper.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Help Me Write a Story

A fellow I know mentioned on his blog a while ago that he'd like to try beginning a story on his blog and letting his "followers" each take a shot at writing a continuation of the story.  Since Bill Kirton hasn't followed up on that suggestion, I'm stealing his idea.

Here are the rules:
  • Each of us will take a turn writing a segment of the story
  • Since it's now my idea, I'm beginning
  • No more than two paragraphs per person, per shot
  • You can write an additional segment after at least two other people have written between your entries
Let's see where this takes us...

They look like a happy couple, a couple in love, as they smile at the other people on the bus.

In reality, the assassin is holding a gun at the blue-eyed man's back.  She slips her free hand into his jacket pocket and...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SOAR: A Personal Message & Plea

In October 1999, my eighteen year-old daughter was the victim of a break-in and rape. The 4-hour ordeal changed her life.

On April 24th, ten and one-half years later - to the day - she will participate in Operation Freefall: the two-mile high stand against sexual assault. Thousands of people at skydive centers across the U.S. will be taking to the sky and jumping in the 10th Anniversary event. Laurie and her fellow jumpers are raising funds to help survivors through the healing process and to increase awareness about sexual violence.

Click here to learn more about SOAR® and Operation Freefall - and to read Laurie's personal message.

(Personal note:  Sexual assault is devastating.  The level of strength involved in surviving is immeasurable.  The courage it takes for a victim to publicly share his/her story - for the sole benefit of helping others in their recovery - is awesome.  Laurie, who is deathly afraid of heights, is far more courageous than anyone I have ever known - in so many ways.  Your donation - even if it's $5 - will help another brave, courageous individual reclaim his/her life.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

EPICon - March 2010

I'll be heading out to EPIC's conference early next month.  Who else is going?  What plans do you have in mind?  What workshops will you be attending?

Tell all!

(For those of you who aren't familiar with EPIC - Electronically Published Internet Connection - here's a link to their website, which tells all about the conference:

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Guest Appearance on Mike Angley's Blog

Many thanks to Mike Angley, author of The Child Finder Trilogy, for allowing me a guest appearance on his blog.

Mike is a fellow member of MWA's Rocky Mountain Chapter and the proud daddy of a gorgeous beagle.

Check out my appearance at:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Check out my latest interview

Actually, it's my dog, Delaney, who was interviewed. But I'm not an egoist - he talks about my writing, and that's all I care about!

Amigo, proud owner of author Mayra Calvani, hosted the interview and you're gonna love it - along with all the other interviews of pets - who just happen to own authors.

Check it out:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Writing Like Crazy

I am happy to report that since sharing my story in December about getting insurance writing contract work, that endeavor has continued to grow.  I have spoken with a handful of different people within the insurance industry who are putting together writing projects for me:  either outright contracts or collaborations that pay royalties.  I am doing the happy dance on a daily basis:  I'm writing every day AND getting paid for it!

Yes, I know, writing insurance isn't as exciting as writing about murder and mayhem but, until I hit the best seller list, it's paying the bills.  It also gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that when I write an insurance education text or seminar, other people will be advancing their careers and broadening their knowledge base because I was not only able to explain a technical subject, I was able to do so in a far less boring manner than your typical insurance author/instructor.  (Thirty-five years in the business has provided me with LOTS of stories and real-life examples--aka fodder.)  If people are benefitting directly from the way I tell my insurance "stories," and it's helping them advance their careers and support their families, then I'm also doing good.

And, as my sister pointed out, all this insurance writing will accomplish two things:
  1. The more insurance stuff I write, the better I get at my craft and the more it will improve my fiction writing.
  2. The more insurance stuff I write, the more $$ I earn, the more financial security I have, the fewer things I have to worry about, the more relaxed I'll be when I'm writing my fiction, and the better that will be, so it'll sell faster OR earn more $$.
Do you sense a recurring theme here?

All humor and wisecracking aside, the best thing about all this is that I'm now working and paying the bills with my writing but it doesn't feel like I'm working.  I'm having fun and I'm living my dream.  There is not a single ounce of sarcasm in that italicized sentence, either, I really, really mean it.  I am living my dream:  writing and having the words I string together mean something [positive] to the people who read them.

(Oh, and making money doing it.  That validation makes me dizzy!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Who's Stealing Our Books?

According to Attributor Corporation, a privately held technology company that uses a content monitoring and programming platform to enable publishers to protect their content wherever it appears on the Internet:

  • Over 9 million pirated book copies were dowloaded in a recent study of 1,000 books of various genres
  • The pirated downloads represent potential losses of nearly $3,000,000 to the book publishing industry
  • Online book pirarcy represents approximately 10% of total U.S. book sales
For the entire Attributor U.S. Book Anit-Piracy Research Findings studfy, click here:

Publishers Weekly cited the above study earlier today: had an article about online book piracy on 12/23/2009:

The New York Times posted a scary article about book piracy online on 05/11/2009 - and it was about print book piracy on the Internet:

Thank you to Nadene Carter of NorlightsPress for spotlighting this issue via a blog post by Doris Booth of
We writers need to spread the word; feel free to link to this blog post to share the information.