Archive for the 'motivation' Category



5 Christmas Gifts for Writers (that won’t cost you a dime)

The publishing business has changed for authors. Used to be, you signed on with a publisher, your book got printed and placed in bookstores or grocery markets, and authors anxiously sat back and waited for readers to pluck their paperback babies up and head to the checkout.

Not so, now. Authors are expected to promote their books and have a “platform”–an online presence. Life or death for an author’s career can depend on how visible she is in the cyber world.

The business has changed for readers as well. Where once they wandered the aisles of a brick-and-mortar store for their next read, now they click through websites. Where once they judged their potential purchase on the cover, back cover blurb, and maybe a scan of the first few pages, now they have customer reviews and ratings to guide them.

If you’d like to give an author a Christmas gift that won’t cost you a dime, but will mean the world to him or her, here are a few suggestions:

1) If you read and enjoy a book, go to Amazon.com or bn.com (Barnes & Noble) and enter a review–even if you bought it in a physical store. Reviews= life to an author’s career.

2) Tweet a link to the book or post it on your Facebook status to your online friends letting them know you enjoyed the book.

3) Find the author’s blog and leave a comment there letting her know how much you enjoyed the book

4) Mention the book in your own blog if you have one, and link back to the author’s blog and the book.

5) Email the author and let her know you enjoyed the book. A personal message is sure to brighten an author’s day.

Now–go forth and make Christmas, everyone! Happy Holidays to all!

Coming Christmas day to Amazon.com, a fantasy romance novella:

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Healthy Eating – little things matter

It’s too long since I posted. I’ve wanted to make some announcements, but I’ve been waiting for the details to be finalized. I’m almost there! So watch for news in the next few days…

In the meantime, I humbly offer this healthy eating tip. I have found that eating well is essential to keeping my attitude good and my energy (and thus my writing productivity) up. Today, I talk about one of the little changes anyone can make to eat healthier and feel better: eliminating (or at least reducing) the evil fat-monger called mayonnaise.

“Nooooooooooooooo!” I can hear your cries already. “Not my mayonnaise!” Please don’t click over to another blog. Give me a chance. Here is the nutrition information for one ounce of mayo:

 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 oz
 
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 85

Calories 111

 
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 9.47g 15%
  Saturated Fat 1.389g 7%
  Polyunsaturated Fat 5.103g  
  Monounsaturated Fat 2.552g  
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 202mg 8%
Potassium 3mg  
Total Carbohydrate 6.78g 2%
  Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
  Sugars 1.81g  
Protein 0.26g  
 
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Values are based on USDA Nutrient Database SR18

 

Um…not so good. 111 calories for just one ounce. That’ll hardly make a sandwich. Notice the fat levels, the sodium, and the carbs (with no dietary fiber to offset).

But who can stomach a dry sandwich? Not me.

A great substitue? It’s so simple, and creamy, and delicious you won’t believe it…try avocado. Just much up a little of the green stuff and spread it like mayo. Take a look at this nutrition information:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quite a difference! For that same one ounce, less than half the calories and fat. And notice that in the avocado, it’s all “good fat.” No sodium. And an excellent carb:fiber ratio. Plus, since it’s not a processed food, you’re not eating any yucky preservatives.

So get rid of that heavy mayo, and dress your sandwiches with creamy, delicious avocado. It’s especially tasty on sammies that include chicken, turkey, tomato or bacon, but really works well with just about anything.

I hope you’ll try it.

In the meantime, keep your eyes open for my new fantasy romance novella, to be released on Amazon in time for Christmas. More news about this book and others coming soon…

Tablet e-readers: Good or bad for the book biz?

I’ve been watching with great interest the release of the new Kindle Fire tablet e-reader as well as that of the upcoming Nook Tablet. Is seems as if everyone is counting on these devices to lead us into the next generation of reading. I haven’t ordered one (yet). I want to actually get my hands on each and compare and contrast them before making a decision, so I’ll wait until they are available in stores. I have to wonder, though, will these tablets really be as good for the book business as everyone is touting?

I have an old-fashioned Kindle. It’s gray. It’s kind of boring looking. It has some limited functionality for games and Internet browsing, but…well it’s gray and boring. This may be bad for those who want to use their e-readers for a variety of activities. It is good for those who want to read.

I worry that with colorful, powerful new tablets in hand, potential readers may be seduced into browsing the web, watching video, and playing games instead of reading. It will be interesting to see if the reader with a new Kindle Fire buys as many books as she did on her plain, boring Kindle, or if she’ll dawdle away all that potential reading time playing on Facebook.

What do you think? Will tablets continue the charge of e-reading, or hurt e-book sales?

New Adult Fiction

Just when I thought I knew so much about publishing, I find out I’ve missed an entire genre. Thanks to a comment by Brinda Berry on my previous post in which I suggested that more adults are reading YA fiction than young adults, I have been turned on to New Adult fiction. What is NA?  JJ from St Martin’s Press says that,”New Adult [fiction] is about young adulthood, when you are an adult but have not established your life as one (career, family, what-have-you).”

Click for a great blog on the subject of NA fiction as it’s own genre.

Generally, NA protagonists are 18-26 years old. So maybe there’s an audience for my 18 year old main character after all. Though I’m still not sure there wouldn’t be a lot of older adults reading it. Now I’m off with Kindle in hand to download some examples of NA fiction.

Who is Really Reading “Young Adult” Fiction?

“Young Adult” fiction is a hot market. Big-time adult fiction authors like James Patterson and Harlan Coben wouldn’t be writing in this genre if they weren’t selling books. Lots of books.

Still, I have to wonder who is really reading all of these young adult novels.

Last week I went to the bookstore twice. On Saturday, after dropping my foster dog off at an adoption event, I camped out in the store’s coffee shop to work. My little bistro table had a pretty good view of the young adult section. Though the section saw a regular stream of traffic, in the nearly six hours I spied on shoppers, only one pair of teenagers stopped to look at the books, and they walked away empty-handed.

The biggest shoppers/buyers? By far, women who appeared to be in their thirties and forties. A couple of men also stopped by, but bought nothing.

Perhaps these results aren’t so surprising, I told myself. After all, women are by far the bigger book-buying crowd. And they were probably buying the books for their kids, right?

As I left the store, I saw a young adult book that picqued my interest. I didn’t buy it then, but went back on Sunday to get it. Again, no kids in the young adult section. But there were three women. I struck up a conversation, as two of them were looking at the same book that had interested me. Yes, it sounded interesting. No, they weren’t shopping for their children, but for themselves. They liked the young adult books.

Lightbulb moment. I like them, too. These days, I’m probably reading two young adult books for every adult book I pick up.

Last spring I wrote a proposal for an adult fiction novel with an eighteen-year-old main character. I was told that young “heroes” (it wasn’t a romance, so let’s call him a protagonist, okay?) were a tough sell. Now I am sure that this industry professional whom I trust implicity was correct — a young protagonist would be a tough sell. To a publishing house. I’m not so sure it’s such a tough sell to readers.

Publishing houses, in my opinion, are notoriously slow to react to trends in the rest of the world. Part of the problem is the length of time it takes to move a book idea from proposal, to manuscript, to book on the shelves. By the time the novel is out, the world has changed again. The rest of the problem is a reluctance to take risks in an industry which is already challenged financially (print books).

The trend I see is that many adults really like stories about young people. Who doesn’t like to relive their youth in some way?

Look how many adults are reading Harry Potter, Twilight. Look how many are Glee TV fanatics. How many were 90210 fanatics back in the day? How many millions of copies did The Lovely Bones sell? (note: The Lovely Bones was not a young adult novel, but did feature a young (and dead) protagonist)

Young adult novels these days deal with deep, real-life issues, yet imbue a simplicity of story that is very appealing to many adult readers (including me). Sure, vampires still dominate the shelves, but there is plenty of variety. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series is dark and delicious. Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Texas Gothic is fun with a dash of spooky. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is creep-tastic.

So I ask you, my friends, have you tried young adult fiction? Do you know any young adults who actually read it, or is it really just another genre of adult fiction?

Recipe for Life

Admittedly, I came to cooking late in life. My parents put solid meals on the table for me as a child. In college, the dorms provided 24X7 food service. My young adulthood (and much of my not-so-young adulthood) was spent in fast food drive-thru lines and popping boxes into the microwave. I was well into my forties before I finally got fed up (more appropriately “unfed” up) and tried my hand at cooking. I became enamored with the slow cooker, which I still love and use frequently, and eventually ventured out into meals requiring more skillful preparation. I’m actually a pretty good cook now. I don’t have an extensive list of dishes at which I excel, but my favorites, the ones I make often, are quite tasty.

I have learned one thing about myself in the process, though. I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. See, not having grown up cooking, I didn’t have that intuitive understanding of what flavors work together or which ingredients will overwhelm a dish if you add a tad too much. 

So, in an attempt to minimize the number of meals best served to the garbage can, I tried to follow recipes. I really, really tried.

Huh-uh. Ain’t happening.

3/4 teaspoon of salt becomes, “Oh, look. I have garlic salt. Maybe that would be good.” Or, “Ick, I don’t like celery in soup. I’ll just add twice as much onion instead.”

A little of this and a little of that. Experimentation and failure. Substitution success (sometimes).

I’ve finally given up following recipes exactly. I dutifully write them down…and then do what I please.

But none of that is really the source of my enlightenment. What I have recently come to understand is that I live like I cook. A little of this, a little of that.  Experimentation. Substitution. And occassionally I take a big investment and chunk it in the garbage can–and feel good about that.

I don’t want to be bound by measurements and timers. I love to ride horses and write and read and train dogs and be in the thick of disasters. I love spur-of-the-moment lunches with friends and dropping in on family. I love to cook and eat and enjoy a glass of good wine. Schedule-schmedule. I like to do different things on different days in no particular order. I’ll get wherever it is I’m going in my own time.

That’s my recipe for life.

Stand and Deliver

Years ago, during my lengthy stay in Purgatory (also known as corporate management) I had a boss who insisted we all stand during meetings in which an important decision needed to be made, especially if that decision would require compromise.   His premise was that people are much more motivated to solve a problem after an hour on their feet than they are after four hours (or days) sitting on their asses pontificating. 

Instead of “standing their ground,” people are more likely to “stand and deliver.”

I’m thinking we need to send someone to remove all the chairs in Congress.

What do you think?


Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

Available Now!

Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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