Thursday, August 4, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

When life throws a curve and I want to crawl under the covers... I remember that life moves forward whether I do or not. I have been laid up (there is an interesting phrase) with broken toes and have seen the bright side and used the time to write. It has been for the most part great. No one expects anything from me and I have found my rhythm. An ebook will be available for purchase very soon, and I designed the cover about which I am very excited.

New stories and titles have flowed...yes flowed... into my brain and I made notes and stayed on track for the one I am line-editing for the ebook distributor. In these times as an author we have many choices to make when
considering how and where to publish.

We can go the traditional route and send either a hard copy or ecopy of the proposal to a print publisher and wait while several people look at it and decide if it fits their needs; if it is well written (luckily I do not have that problem); if it is similar to something they have recently published; how it might fit in their future line up; and many other considerations. Then you either get a yea or nay, and you either make the changes they want or you send it out to someone else. Each of these steps can take weeks if not months.
The next option is to submit to a publisher who does ebooks then after six months to print and go through much the same process except is is done via email and doesn't require trips to the post office and wrappings and postage.
The next option if you truly believe in your book, and why would you have spents months writing it if you didn't? YOu look for a place to publish it yourself. Usually you have to pay these places up front, but you get to keep most of the income from sales.
There are many options within this option and because of ebooks now there are even more. Sometimes print house will actually have a subsidiary epublisher who again evaluates your work and takes it on. Keep in mind that all of these are cutting into any money that is made on the book, print or ebook.
Some facts have come out recently showing that ebooks last year had more sales than all the print books combined. Many "brick and mortar' stores are going out of business as a result. The ereaders have come down in price and the books themselves are coming down to a reasonable level.
Enter a company called Smashwords. They call themselves an ebook distributor. They take your manuscript and run it through what they lovingly call the meatgrinder to turn it from print format to ALL the major e-reader formats. You are the publisher in the sense that you not only have written it, but you do the job of the publisher and editor, provide the cover art, include the copyright page (they do get you your ISBN), and make it completely ready. They grind it out into multiple formats for Barnes and Nobel's Nook, Amazon's Kindle, iReader, Deisel, Moby, and more also turning it to PDF files for reading on the computer and other devices and ePub for older style readers. They are the only company I have discovered that does this. For free! They then distribute to their own site and when your manuscript has been vetted, it is included in their premium catalogue and goes to Amazon, B&N, etc!!!! And you don't do a thing... Except to promote the heck out of it. They do no marketing. They are the distributor. Because it is available ( usually within two weeks of giving it to them) by the big e-stores, you are where people can find you. Think of it as being on their shelves.
Now, you do the work of pointing it out to your readers. For this the internet is your friend. Social networks like facebook and my space, blogs, your own website, anything you can think of to let people know it is there. To further promote it, Smashwords has author's pages and books are shown as they come out on the new books page.

You are encouraged to offer free pages and a lower price at least for awhile until you build a reader base. This is entirely up to the author and you do set your own price.

Famous authors are also using smashwords to re-publish thier books that may have come out only in print, whose rights have reverted to the author, or for work that doesn't fit length or genre requirements. Or for projects that were scrapped by their publishers.
As an example of this difference, many novellas (short novels) are offered, For authors these are usually included in an anthology with other authors or a collection of several of their own stories. You see many collections of mysteries done this way. Now these stories can be offered on their own for a low price or for free and used to get new readers!
I plan to offer a variety of stories that were too short for a novel or just didn't fit a slot. One of the first will be Open Wide; a vampire dentist story about 3000 words. (the average book is 60,000 to 100,000 words).
My first full length novel; Heat Waves will be out soon. You can watch for it at or go to my website; to see where you can download it. It should be on Amazon and the other big stores by September!

Happy Tales
kathi h

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One Giant Step

Today is the annivesary of the first man walking on the moon. I can never forget how excited I was. I wanted to be there or on olater misssions so very much but had physical considerations that negated that. My heart was there. "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." I had a tape recorder going ( the old reel type) and took a picture of my black and white TV screen.
I had ties to future moon missions and our town was the only one during those days that had two moon mission astronauts. As such we were awarded the first Space and science center where you could sit in an Apollo module and later ride in a simulator. There was a moon rock... something I coveted for my own rock collection. And to me the coolest thing, my family knew both of those astronauts. James McDevitt and Al Worden. Al had been my baby sitter back in the days when our parents played pinochle together.
Later 21 astronauts were to come from Michigan, but those first two from the Apollo missions to the moon were the ones that truly inspired me.
Now, we have recently seen the launch of the last (at least for now) Shuttle mission and for see future moon travel leading up to a Mars walk. Wow! Wish I could go. And today July 21st the shuttle returned safely for the last time.
One giant leap indeed!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

AKA Victoria Fredrix

I am working on a contemporary gothic erotic novel. It is a book that has been haunting me for many years, but fits in such a narrow slot I didn't think it would ever have a home. Now I have a request for the full story and it is coming together nicely.

I love when a story almost writes itself. The characters are vivid and have personality quirks that make them real. The story begins with a blizzard in the Colorado mountains and goes to the edge of comfort and morality.

As I said, it has huanted me for several years. I had a dream about being in a huge mansion in the mountains and I was sure I knew where I was and knew how to get where I needed to be, yet there were stairways and elevators and weird passages that twisted and turned and led me deeper. When I awakened I thought about what a great movie it would be if I added a plot. Well, within a few days the whole story was right at my fingertips.

This is my break from writing this lovely morning. I have my charcters with many problems and conflicts and a ghostly scream and tantalising pipe smoke where it shouldn't be. I must rush back and see if they have made any progress and if so, what more can I throw at them.. .

wishing you a beautiful day

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back in the Saddle

We have Marilyn to thank for the new look! ...and for helping me get back in the hood.
My brother says I have exponetial-multiple personality disorder. I have a lot of online pages and presense because I keep forgtting who I am! Username that is.

I have been judging a lot of writing contests lately and I noticed something.

There is writing and then there is WRITING.

I have discovered that by judging writing contests I become a better writer. It also helps get my chair-sitting aparatus ( butt) in gear when I am procrastinating. I read entries that I wish I had written, but think... well, mine are as good. Then I read some that aren't even close to publishable and think... why am I waiting?

if people who realy are not ready are taking the time and courage to put their work out there, then why do I hold back I am analyzing this while I heal my foot and will share my observations.

Happy tails.. oops... Happy TALES to all.

kathi h

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Extreme Hood Makeover!

Surprise! We redecorated!

Kathi suggested we revive the blog while she's recuperating from a foot mishap.

I just got home from vacation and am playing catch-up. I do have to meet with a client this afternoon. I do some freelance editing work and took a 145 page document on vacation with me since it's going to mean close to $100 in my pocket. The two hour delay in the airport yesterday was a blessing in one way because I got a LOT edited during that time.

As for my own writing... I'm not writing at the moment. It's not from lack of desire to write. It's because my brain just won't let it happen. I get an idea, I sit down to write and *poof*! I go blank.

Why, you ask? Since I posted last I've gone through a bitter divorce. It's hard to write about "happily ever after" when your own world has been turned upside down. And in addition to that, the magazine short story market I wrote for has all but dried up. Only two magazines remain out of the eight that were published when I started writing for them.

I wrote down a list of goals in January, and when I look at them now I have to laugh. What was I thinking????? The only one I've achieved is "Write two personal experience talks for the divorce recovery group." Oh yeah, I am now a facilitator for a divorce and grief recovery group. I benefitted so much from the group as a participant, so I decided to give back and become a facilitator. I still get a lot of healing from helping others work their way through the stages of grief. I'm not through them all yet, but I'm getting there.

My therapist (yeah, I know, who admits in public that they see a therapist?) says I'm too hard on myself and two years really isn't an unreasonable creative drought period considering all I went through. But that doesn't make it less frustrating. She tells me to cut myself some slack. She says I need to be kinder to myself.

So I'm going to take Reiki training, hopefully later this month, and learn to use Reiki on myself and anyone else who might benefit. I've had some Reiki sessions with a friend from church, who is a Reiki master, and they were magnificent! I'm trying not to get my hopes too high. But I'm optimistic this will be a great thing for my life.

Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Planet Brrr LOL

Jeff and I are hoping ice formations like this one above reappear on Lake Huron this winter. It was like visiting another planet when gazing over the surface of this icy artwork from the shoreline, with all the peaks and valleys and hues of white and blue sparkling in our eyes. This looked like a mountain of sugar coated candy. The ice had a dramatic appearance when combined with the beautiful sky. WOW! I soooo want to experience this sight again.

We now call this photo the 'Planet of Brr' because the piercing winds of winter test even the warmest of clothing when trying to snap photos like this. My fingers were frozen, my cheeks numb, my feet cold, but you should have seen my smile. :D

Happy Holidays, JJ

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Goals follow-up

On January 2nd I wrote the following goals on the blog:

1 Finish the novel for real. Close only counts in horseshoes.
2 Get my PRO pin.
3 Pitch the novel at the RWA conference in July.
4 Write more Trues to help fund my way to said conference.
5 Start another novel.
6 Get in shape. Really.

I'm delighted to say that I have completed 1 and 2. I will be presented with my pin at our RWA meeting on Saturday. This was my NaNoWriMo book and I'm just pleased as punch with myself.

#3 ain't gonna happen because I got the opportunity to pitch it on eHarlequin to Susan Litman of Silhouette Special Edition and she requested the full manuscript. It's printed out and ready for a last read-through tomorrow and on Friday my baby's going in the mail to the Big Apple.

#4 I'm teaching a class about writing for the Trues this week and next. I am working on an idea and maybe between answering questions and critiques I can at least start on it.

#5 I have one other book started (a chapter or two written) and I have a vague idea for a book featuring a secondary character from the book that was requested. I need to hunker down and really get a feel for her and what her story might be. She's a feisty gal with a take-no-prisoners attitude and she's going to need a strong alpha male as her hero.

#6 I've lost 12 pounds since the first of February. Yay me! It's been difficult to exercise because I also have bad plantar fasciitis in my right foot. But I'm getting there.

Anybody else making headway on their goals?