Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Why Do You Write?

Recently, we learned of a fellow writer who passed away unexpectedly. Though extremely talented, she never reached her full potential, mainly wrote about what she wanted to write someday. She felt unless she made a lot of money, she was wasting her time.

Though I've never made a lot of money, I've never felt like I was wasting my time by writing.

I enjoy writing. I'm thrilled when I hear from one of my fans that they really liked one of my books. Receiving a good review is like a reward.

But as far as why I write--it's what I do. I spend a lot of time with the characters I've created, and I always want to know what's going to happen to them next. The only way to find out is to write the next book.

Besides writing, I find myself doing a lot of promoting.

Recently, Mundania who publishes my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series reedited and redid the covers on several of the books in the series.




These are the first two and are now available.



In the meantime, the latest in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Tangled Webs will be sold for only .99 cents for Kindle from Friday, January 25th through Monday, January 28th.  Anytime there's a sale like this, lots of promotion needs to be done. So of course I've been busy with that too. It will be interesting to see how this goes.

If you want to check it out, here's the link

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The sale starts this Friday.

How about you, why do you write?

Marilyn

Friday, January 18, 2019

Should Authors Give Their Books Away?


 by Linda Thorne



When I first starting writing, I heard the old adage over and over, "Don't give your work away." But ever so often I'd hear someone say, "Do whatever it takes!"

The naysayers warn us that the competition is enormous, the odds are stacked against us, and the chance of making money slim. Listening to them is fine so long as we take the words as a challenge and not as a reason to give up.



I attended my first full-blown writers’conference in 2009 and every time I went to a different session, I'd pass by an unmanned table with piles of Alan Bradley's debut novel along with a tall sign sticking up from the midst of that pile that read, “Help Yourself to a Free Book.” Each day as I walked by the table, I'd wonder why the author was giving his books away. After putting in all the work it takes to write and edit a book, why would he just hand it off? Would that cheapen his product?


Before I left though, I couldn't resist taking one of the free copies of Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I could afford to buy it, but I doubt I would have since his lead character was an eleven-year-old and my preference was adult protagonists. Since it was free, I could try it out at no cost. I didn’t get to reading it until more than a year or so later and looked online to see Alan Bradley already had another book out in his series. If you look at the series now, it's exploded into more than eleven books and he's published others outside of the series. Alan Bradley gave away a huge number of books and on many different occasions; yet, he's a success story.

Goodreads has always offered a service for authors to give their books away. It's promotion because hundreds of people ask to win your book. They're looking at the book cover, the inside, the synopsis. You can offer the book to one winner or allow more than one. When Goodreads selects the winner or winners, you send your book to a reader. If your book is part of a series, you have the opportunity of hooking that reader into your series. Recently, I went online and found that what Goodreads used to give away for free, now cost authors $119.00. I think Goodreads saw this as a promotional opportunity worthy of a charge, gave the program some pizazz and marketing perks, and now authors are paying to give their books away.

                             One of the most well-known writers and readers
conference, Bouchercon, offers a book bizarre at each annual conference. Authors can give away their books at the bizarre, so long as they provide at least fifty copies. This is a lot of free books and at the authors' expense. New authors, mid-list authors, and famous authors all participate. If conference attendees don't choose your book as one of the six they're allotted free their first day, they have a second chance a day or two later to buy it for a dollar. If you still have an inventory of books left at the end of the conference, they are donated to libraries around the city where Bouchercon is held that year.

My read on the old adage of don't give your books away, is don't give them to friends and relatives as they are the most likely to buy them. When it comes to others, find a balance, but getting your books out to certain markets, even as freebies, might bring returns of double-fold or more over the long-run. I revisit that interesting experience I had almost ten years ago when I picked up a free book written by Alan Bradley well before he became famous. 

Should authors give their books away? What do you think?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Discipline is Freedom


by Janis Patterson

While this might sound like some a totalitarian mantra etched on the walls of some dictator's forced labor camp, it really isn't. It's a sign on the bulletin board next to my desk. And while I admit to sometimes being a minor-league martinet, I'm quite a ways away from full-blown dictator-dom.

Scary as it might sound, discipline really is freedom. I try to adhere to a reasonable writing schedule - a minimum of 1,000 words a day (a pathetically low number, I know) to be fulfilled at least 5 days a week. Most days and weeks I do more, sometimes much more, but that 1K/5day goal is my benchmark when I'm in writing mode. Editing, etc. is different.

Before I set up a minimum daily requirement, my writing suffered as I am lamentably frivolous and light-minded. The lures of lunch with friends, a night out with The Husband, some more remodeling of my office... any and all temptations that aren't writing, to say nothing of the boring necessities of life such as laundry, dusting, cooking, etc., would sing their siren song to me and my production would inevitably decline, sometimes sharply.

"I can write tonight," I would say, then trot off merrily for whatever. "I can catch up later." The only thing is, I didn't. Sometimes days or even weeks would go by with only a paltry few hundred words captured in pixels, and that just wouldn't do.

I am not by nature a disciplined person. I dally. I shilly-shally. I am frivolous and easily distracted. But - I knew something had to be done if I were to continue to regard myself as a professional novelist.

I don't know where the phrase 'Discipline is Freedom' came from. Maybe unearthed from some unconscious awareness of reading about some nasty time in human history - or maybe not. Maybe it was a gift from my abused muse. Whatever it was, it suddenly appeared in my mind one day and I knew it was true.

Now I work mightily to get at least my daily minimum done; usually it is much more, for once the pump is primed the words keep flowing, but even if they don't I have done my allotted ration. Once that is done, I can do whatever else calls to me with a light heart. I can go to lunch or shopping with a clear conscience, for the work has been done. I don't even feel resentful of the necessary housework any more - at least, not for interfering with my writing - because my book is progressing at a fairly stable pace.

Of course, nothing is perfect, and any system has to be flexible. There are emergencies and unforeseen circumstances that blow any schedule out of the water. Families have problems; mechanical things maniacally break - usually two or three in a clump. There are wrecks and injuries and illnesses; there are losses and the ones who remain must be comforted. There are also joys, such as a quick visit from a friend now living overseas, or the birth of a new baby in the family. That is called Life, and such events should always supersede rigid schedules. Writing is not and should not be the end-all and be-all; it is a job. An important and meaningful job, yes, but still a job. Life and family should always come first.

The trick is that once the breach in your schedule has happened and has passed, get back on the pony. Discipline yourself to begin once again your self-imposed schedule, then when your minimum - or beyond - is reached you can give yourself permission to go do other things and not feel guilty. Such freedom is the gift of discipline.

Discipline is indeed freedom.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

And the New Year is Off and Running!

Last year 4 new babies entered our family--a great granddaughter, and 2 great-greats, a boy and a girl giving us a total of 4 great-greats. Truly amazing!

Our family celebrated New Year's Day in the usual manner--having my super special seafood gumbo with lots of shrimp and crab legs, and a wild game of Estimation afterwards.

In my writing world two of my old books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series have come out re-edited and with new covers and are available on Kindle.

The first one is Deadly Trail.






This one was published by a great but now closed publishing company and was picked up by Mundania and called a Prequel though it is the first in the series and introduces the setting and the characters.

The setting is a mountain town which slightly resembles the one I live in though there are changes.
Deputy Tempe Crabtree is a Native American who knows little about her heritage. Nick Two John, a fellow Indian is ready to give her instructions though he may have to do it from jail. Her teenaged son and her love interest, Pastor Hutch Hutchinson make their appearance too.

It has not been updated timewise--things are as they were back when I wrote this book.

Marilyng

Saturday, January 5, 2019






Make Mine Mystery







By Linda Lee Kane

One of the obstacles that as a writer I work to overcome is my mind, my own self-doubt. This was especially true when I did the NaNoRiMo challenge in November.

But this obstacle or challenge is no different for an artist, an athlete, a businessperson, a parent, or a coach. To succeed at anything, I’ve learned I have to control my mind, and be disciplined, which isn’t very easy at times.

One of the strategies that helps me move past negative thoughts and limiting beliefs is conquering my fears and get into a routine. I’ve learned to persuade myself to:

·        Stick to writing at the same time everyday (almost everyday).

·        Get enough sleep, I need at least eight hours.

·        Try to eat healthy (not easy at all).

·        Exercise daily (this is easy for me because I have horses and dogs and they never let you lay around, their great motivators).

·        I also have a Panda calendar and I write my to do’s everyday. This keeps me focused and on track for what I want to accomplish.

You might want to know if I completed the challenge and the answer is, yes. It wasn’t easy and I haven’t gone back to read it as yet but I do have 56,000 words and one day soon I’ll start editing it. I’m excited for this upcoming challenge.





Monday, December 31, 2018

NURTURING A LOVE FOR WORDS

I hope we are all suitably grateful to the people who introduced us to a love for words. One of my earliest memories, and, I suspect, the source of the first two words I spoke, is a story about "Dit" and "Dat," a pair of shoes. Mom made up the story for me and had to repeat it in many versions endless times throughout my young childhood.

My mother did not finish high school and never read just for pleasure. She probably thought she had no time for it. She did read her Bible, plus (aloud) the children's books my paternal grandmother, a committed reader, gave me--stories about Delicia, a rag doll, and Clementina, a flying pig, plus a fat book titled "Nursery Tales Children Love."  I still have these books.

Mom owned a copy of "Gone with the Wind," but never read it.  "Gone with the Wind," however, was the first adult book I read. It was my job to dust display shelves in our living room each Saturday and that book sat proudly on the bottom shelf between elaborate bronze bookends--gifts from my reading grandma.  I read a few pages of that book each Saturday. It wasn't long before I realized my mother would not consider this a story appropriate for a pre-teen, so I made sure she never knew what I was doing. If she did come my way I just closed the book and dusted it. It took me a long time to finish "Gone with the Wind" but it was worth the effort. I loved the magic and suspense in the story. (I'm sure the experience was enhanced by the necessary secrecy.)

I have often wondered if Mom was impressed by the thoroughness of my dusting, judging by the time it took me each Saturday.

Then there was Mrs. Maud L. McMullin, my sixth-grade teacher, who had us keep notebooks full of words. She wrote other people's words--poetry, witty and wise sayings, bits of essays--on the blackboard every day, and we copied them into our notebooks. Generally she didn't ask us to memorize them, but oh, what an impact they had.

Though I did write for publication a few times during my earlier years--essays and newspaper articles, plus editing a college newspaper--I didn't begin my real writing career until 1986, when an essay, "Where Hummingbirds Matter," was published internationally on the Home Forum Page of The Christian Science Monitor. After that acceptance I let the writing urge sweep me away. I wrote every spare moment and continued selling essays, poetry, and magazine articles. Many of these, arranged in story form, became part of my first book, the non-fiction "DEAR EARTH, A Love Letter from Spring Hollow," published by Brett Books, Inc. in New York in 1995. Introducing that book and traveling to publicize it was educational, and fun.

But, for some time I'd thought writing my favorite type fiction, the cozy mystery novel would be even more fun. Researching my first published mystery, "A Valley to Die For," was scary, particularly crawling through "Carrie's Cave." If I hadn't been accompanied by two female cave explorers who appeared to be fearless, I'd never have made it. Carrie's Cave is very real, but it is not located where I put it in the novel, though most locations in all of my eight novels are exactly as they appear when you visit them in Arkansas.  Real words. Real places. What fun!

(My novels and DEAR EARTH are available at on line sellers, many bookstores, and from http://www.RadinesBooks.com)


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas One and All from Marilyn Meredith

Yes, today is Christmas.

We did things a bit differently this year. We always have out family celebration on Christmas Eve. But this time we had our dinner at 1 in the afternoon, and opened present afterward. This was to accommodate granddaughter's hubby who need to take his family to another town to celebrate with family from Mexico who came to visit. Worked out well as some other family members had other places to go too. As far as hubby and I were concerned, no problem.

Early this a.m. we watched our great-grandchildren open their gifts always fun. And for dinner we had homemade tamales--one of the many pluses of having granddaughter's husband around. Plus s grandson who couldn't come yesterday arrived with his son.

Though things were different, we've had a wonderful Christmas celebration. Tell us about yours, or if you celebrated a different holiday, share that.

Marilyn