Monday, October 22, 2012

Curse or Blessing?

I thought I'd provide an update on my writing life for all of you fellow writers out there who may (hopefully) be interested.  I imagine you'll find similarities in our perspectives.

At this point, I find myself working tirelessly to keep a good, optimistic attitude about my "choice" of craft.  It's not an easy task to constantly fight the hag and her sister the nag who love to tell me I'm fooling myself, I don't have what it takes and I never will.  Thankfully, it seems I have an even stronger voice (I believe from God) that always manages to talk over Hag and Nag, pounding them pack into place, allowing me to continue to move forward without quitting.

Sometimes I wonder if it's even possible to quit writing.  I honestly don't think it is. Can any of us truly walk away (without a heavy spirit) from what is quite possibly a gift given to us before we ever thought to ask for it? For me, it would be akin to quitting eating, or drinking, or breathing.  It's oddly a part of me, almost like a lung.  I can survive without it, but it's not ideal.  It's not easy to explain, this overpowering desire to write and to learn as much about the craft as I can possibly absorb into my little brain.  Grammar, spelling (I mean, where would I be without spell check?!), voice and talent; these are among the things I strive passionately to strengthen and nurture.

This "calling" to write is both a blessing and a curse.

I call it a curse because no matter how frustrated or down I get about my abilities, I can't walk away. I just can't.  Something always pulls me back to writing, to working more and working harder.  I can suffer a less than glowing review of my novel, spiral into a state of depression or melancholy over it, but without fail, before I even realize what's happened, I'm right back writing again.  The perpetual "getting back on that horse". 

For good or bad, through ups and downs, here I am, a writer always in the making.  Just as being human is always a work in progress, so is becoming, or being a writer.  We do what we have to do, like it or not. It's just not a choice, is it?  Saying it's a choice to write when every fiber of you craves the craft would be like claiming you have a choice to breathe. 

Curse or blessing, I'm in it for the long haul.  And the bottom line is . . . I love it!!  And I hate it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

George R.R. Martin writing habits...

I had a wonderful moment of discovery and validation this weekend as an author.   On reading this month's edition of Writer's Digest magazine, I ran across an author I was unfamiliar with, but who I connected with in a surprising way.

Although George R.R. Martin writes fantasy (he's the author of the Game of Thrones as well as many others) and I write romantic women's fiction, we have very similar writing habits.  What a fun  (and I'll admit, validating) discovery!

So often I've come across authors who can release a new novel every year, or authors who say they write every day, usually completing a chapter a day.  I do neither of these things.  And I was beginning to think I was alone . . . until now.

In an interesting interview with Mr. Martin, I discovered it takes him a good five years between novels, even his sequels!  He admits he's a slow writer, and his reasons are the same as mine.  When he writes, he begins by going over what he wrote the previous day both to do a little editing and to build momentum.  I do exactly the same thing.  It may slow things down, but it works for some of us very well.  He "admits" to only completing maybe 5-10 new pages a day (or when he writes) at most!  That was wonderful to hear!  I tire of hearing how some people complete a chapter a day, or more! No way.  I just don't work that way, and now I feel a whole new freedom to comfortably be who I am, write how I write.  It's wonderful.

We writers have all kinds of styles and habits, all of which are perfectly wonderful . . . IF they work for us.  That's all that matters.  If it works, it's perfect . . . for you, or me.  Speed of writing isn't important, quality is.  How we get there doesn't matter in the least, it's only that we get there.

So take comfort, we have much in common with one another and much that is not, but it's all just fine.  We can celebrate together our differences, our outcome and our craft. ;)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reading Ken Follett

Calling all readers!  Any fans of Ken Follett?  I've only read one book of his (The Pillars of the Earth), and it was wonderful.  I admit his novels are loooonnnggg, but they are engrossing.  Right now I'm reading "Fall of Giants", the first in his Century Trilogy.  It's 985 pages long!  I'm hoping it's a great book, or I'll be in for a frustrating read. So far, so good!

If anyone else has read or is reading this book, I'd love to hear from you!

I just finished "The Russian Concubine", so I'd say that after "Fall of Giants", I'll need to mix it up a bit and go to something lighter before tackling the second book of the trilogy.  Thankfully, there's no shortage of books to choose from.

I may exclusively write romantic women's fiction, but I'm an eclectic reader.  I love all kinds of books, including some memoirs and biography's, but mostly I enjoy fiction (with that ever important element of romance).

I've heard on more than one occasion that reading fiction in particular is a wonderful brain exercise.  Reading is good on many levels, but apparently reading fiction adds another element.  I would imagine it's due to the use of our imaginations, stretching them.  We have to visualize and feel what the author is describing, unlike lazily having all that done for us in movies and television.  Don't get me wrong, I love movies!  It's just not a brain stimulating activity. ;)

Well, happy reading!  May you always have a book at hand, even if it takes you many weeks to finish it. ;)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finding your writing style

As a new author with her first novel out, I spend a lot of time continually learning and growing so the following work will be even stronger.  As with anything in life, practice makes perfect (or close enough to perfect while still being human).  Writing is no exception.  The more we write, the better writers we become.  And the more we read, the stronger grasp we'll have on the craft.

Recently, I've had a huge brain fart.  If that's a good thing, because this lightbulb-moment is a good thing, huge for me.  Now, what to do about it.  What was the discovery, you ask?  I'll tell you.

As most writers do, I read a lot.  I read what I love, but I also step outside that box and dip into new adventures.  Being part of a book club helps with this as we can't pick and choose what we read.  Anyway, back to my "discovery".  In my reading a new favorite author (Jill Mansell), I found that I'm completely taken with not just her stories, but with her style of writing.  She bravely allows her personality to play a starring role in her characters lives.  In particular, I love her humor! 

The big difference between her writing and mine (besides the fact she's written MANY novels and I'm on my second) is she's (fearlessly) clearly comfortable with her style.  In reading her wonderful work, I've discovered that I've found my style, but haven't completely let it shine through.  Not even my humor, which is very similar to Ms. Mansell's. I've done well, but know I've held back, mostly out of my trepidation as a new author.  But not anymore!  I get it!  Let go and be me, bravely.  I get it!

I'm happy to say that as I continue through this journey as a budding author, and as I learn so much every day and with every experience, I'm getting stronger and braver.  It's not that I haven't been true to myself in my writing up to this point, I'd say it's more a matter of holding back a bit, unsure how to let go.  Finally, I see the light.

We, fellow writers, must always be taking a close look into ourselves and overcome our fears so we can blossom into the flowers (or for males, the . . . I don't know, something masculine) we are meant to become.  Be true to ourselves, true to our own individual writing style.

So, be brave, ask questions constantly, and never stop learning, changing and growing.

Happy writing and reading!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finding an artist for e-book cover images

You've written a book and now you need the artwork for the e-book cover done.  Where to turn? 

Here's a start:

You can send an e-mail to Mark Coker (of at to request Mark's list of fellow Smashwords authors you can hire to create ebook covers.  Prices range from $40 to $100. Through this list, I found Joleene Naylor (  Her website is if you'd like to take a look.  She did a fantastic job on my cover, and was easy and comfortable to work with.

I recommend you look through the list by Mark and check each person's website/portfolio then go from there.  Find your fit!

Good luck and happy hunting! ;)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back in town!

Hi all!  Sorry to have been MIA for such a long period, but I've been doing the summer thing. I was out of town for nearly 2 weeks enjoying sun and fun with family and friends.

I wish I had some deep and insightful thing to say right now, but my brain is still in summer-jell-o-mode.  How's that for invoking an image??!

I will say, however, I've been keeping up with my reading better than my writing, and that is not something that feels good.  Like needing food or water, I need to write to feel my healthiest and to survive.  Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration with the survival statement, but I do feel at my best when I'm writing productively.  I can't wait to get back into my writing groove!! School starts in 2 weeks on my end, so kids will be off for the days and I'll be busy writing my heart out.

But back to the reading end of things for me.  Right now I'm reading a book that's based during a time period and a country I rarely ever read about. It's quite an interesting change for me, and the book is good so far. It's called The Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall, and it's a story about a young women who has lived then escaped life in a Labor camp in Siberia in 1933 (Stalin's rule).  I have a passion for stories (mostly based on true events) that rise from the concentration camps during Hitler's period.  This passion comes from my intense fascination of the story of human survival in unbelievable circumstances. I can't seem to get enough of these heartbreaking yet triumphant story lines.  Keep in mind, it's not the mistreatment of humans I like to read about, it's their triumphant survival I thrive on.

It's disgusting and surprising how many stories throughout history and the world so closely simulate the "Jewish story" of opression and survival.

Here is a description of what the Red Scarf is about:
Davinsky Labor Camp, Siberia, 1933: Only two things in this wretched place keep Sofia from giving up hope: the prospect of freedom, and the stories told by her friend and fellow prisoner Anna, of a charmed childhood in Petrograd, and her fervent girlhood love for a passionate revolutionary named Vasily.

After a perilous escape, Sofia endures months of desolation and hardship. But, clinging to a promise she made to Anna, she subsists on the belief that someday she will track down Vasily. In a remote village, she?s nursed back to health by a Gypsy family, and there she finds more than refuge?she also finds Mikhail Pashin, who, her heart tells her, is Vasily in disguise. He?s everything she has ever wanted?but he belongs to Anna.

After coming this far, Sofia is tantalizingly close to freedom, family?even a future. All that stands in her way is the secret past that could endanger everything she has come to hold dear?
I'm looking forward to reading another book from Kate Furnival called The Russian Concubine, however, for right now, I plan to read something far lighter. I like to alternate heavy and light.

What books are you reading now?  And why?  ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The importance of romance novels

I find it odd that so many people associate romance novels with sex, or sex scenes.  To me, that association belongs to the erotica category, romance belongs to the romance category.  Not that some romance novels don't call for some sex scenes, or provide some great ones!  I'm simply saying I have an entire different association when I hear the word romantic novel, one that can actually be accredited with being good for your health.  Why?  Happiness is very good for ones health.

I think romantic novels play an important role for most of their readers.  I believe reading a romance novel should be a heartwarming experience for the reader.  Yes, I'm talking happy endings, endorphin releasing joy that comes after the storm.

People have different ideas of what falling-in-love should look like, but the bottom line is that it should conclude with a happy ending, however you get there.  In my opinion as a reader of all categories of writing as well as an author of a romantic-suspense novel.

Yes, real life doesn't always offer happy endings, but that's exactly why I (and most readers of romance) turn to the romantic novel.  We are looking for our heartstrings to be pulled in all different directions then gently put back in place.  This leads me to my title statement.  I think romance novels are an important outlet for people to escape the sting of reality and be submerged in a world where the ending will leave us light on our feet.  An escape from reality, from daily news and all the horrors of the world.

I'm not saying a romantic novel should be, or need be, fluffy and light at all.  Personally, I love it when a story is going sour between the two lovers, my heart aches for them, but I fully expect for things to turn around before the end, so I can walk away filled with a completeness only a happy ending can provide.

People need (crave) romance and happy endings in a world filled with so many other endings.  We thrive on the feeling of fulfillment a romantic novel can provide.  So read them without guilt or embarrassment.  The classics are good, memoirs are good, and so many other categories, but if you want to rest assured your reading journey into another life, another world, will leave you with a high only happiness can provide, pick up a romantic novel now and again.  It's good for you! ;)

This is why I'm such a fan of Jane Austen.  I admit I find reading books from that time-period a little on the difficult side, but I adore her sense of what falling in love looks like in all its glory and all its pain.  I absolutely believe Ms. Austen told love stories as they should be told, for pure pleasure of the reader.

What do you think?  Do you agree? Disagree? Why?  And what are your favorite reading categories, and why? 

But whatever you read and for whatever reasons you have, happy reading!! A well-rounded reader is a healthy reader. ;)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The "high" of writing

After having a very wishy-woshy writing schedule for the last several weeks due to kids out of school for summer, I finally had a good day of writing.  Well, not exactly a full day, but for 2 1/2 uninterupted hours (that only felt like 20 minutes!), I wrote non-stop.  I feel fantastic!!!  It always amazes me how the act of writing, putting a story together, can give me such a rush.  I'm on top of the world!! ;)

I've never been more connected to any thing in my life like I am to the craft of writing.  It has such a deep and profound hold on me that it affects my moods.  I know most writers would say the same thing.  When we find what we are meant to do with our lives be it write, teach, save lives (that covers a lot of careers), or whatever, the affect it has on us is truely amazing.

But finding your "calling" is a gift, a blessing, and we all come to it at different times in our lives.  I've always enjoyed writing and telling stories, but not until I was in my mid-twenties did I listen to myself and open my life to writing for a living.  And then, not until 14 years later did I make a serious effort to follow that calling.  But it doesn't stop there.  We are constantly growing and learning about ourselves, experiencing changes in our lives and in our thoughts that lead us on a journey we call life.  I feel I'm on that journey, the one I need to be on.  I'm not saying I've reached my potential in any way, I'm just saying I know I'm on the right track.  How?  Because of how deeply I'm touched by the act of writing and on so many levels (as stated above).

If you don't know your calling, or you do and don't think you can make it happen, think again.  Keep thinking and keep your mind and heart open to the truth.  If you want it, you'll make it happen.  A cliche worth repeating.

Go for it!  One day at a time, change your life. ;)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Advanced Dictionary and Thesaurus With Spell Correction

I'm very excited about a recent purchase I made.  I've had a hand-held spelling corrector by Webster for a few years now and I love it! But my needs have expanded. While reading a book, I sometimes run across vocabulary words I'm not familiar with, or that I understand in context, but would like the specific definition. And I NEVER seem to look them up later. Solution? Franklin Merriam Webster Advanced Dictionary and Thesaurus With Spell Correction (MWD-1500) . It's fantastic!! No more 1/2 knowing a word!

When I run across a word I want a more specific definition to as I'm reading, I simply type in the word and voila! The definition is there. There are more functions (many) of this device, but for now, I simply use it for quick definitions as I go. My goal is to increase my vocabulary at a level that will translate to my own writing. Too often I know a word, but don't really know the word. That drives me crazy.

Problem solved! ;)

Hey, anything that translates to increased knowledge is a good thing. The more you learn, the more you know, right?

I recommend this device to anyone who would like to know the full definition(s) of every word they read, thus filling their own personal vocabulary bank. 

As a bonus, it also provides Punctuation & Style info., Geographical Dictionary, Biographical Dictionary, and soooo much more. 

If you want to check it out at amazon, you can find it here:

Monday, June 11, 2012

The week long blog tour was a success!!  I had a lot of great comments and two fantastic reviews! I can now say I know exactly what a blog tour is and how it works. It's a great way to get your name and your book in front of a lot of eyes you wouldn't reach otherwise.  I highly recommend it!  I used and they were fantastic all the way through. They were the middle-man, you might say.

Here are the two reviews I had during the tour. Imagine how good it felt to read these! I was so nervous, but these reviewers quickly put my fears to rest.

Review by Liz at Novel Moments blog:

I mean it when I say that Cadence Beach is one of the best romantic thrillers I’ve read in a long time. I’m so happy to have discovered Linda Juliano and her wonderful book.

 I love thrillers that keep me awake long into the night because I just have to read one more chapter to find out what happens next.

The novel has a beginning that pushes the reader right into the story of Allan Roth, a man obsessed with his dead wife. She died in a way that sent chills down my spine. Unable to live without her, he started to believe that her soul was back and now lived inside the body of a woman called Josie Gianni. He was determined to get his wife back, determined to make Josie believe she belonged to him. He soon started stalking her and no place was too far. When Josie moved to Cadence Beach, so did he. He didn’t let her out of his sight. But then something unexpected happened. Josie started to fall in love with another man, Gordon Forrester. This drove the stalker mad, until he just couldn’t stand it any longer. His jealousy finally overwhelmed him and he stopped being just the man that watched from a distance. He became a very dangerous man, to both Josie and the people who cared about her.
One thing I loved about the novel is that the author also gave me a peek into the stalker’s dark, dangerous mind, allowed me to watch as he weaved his plans. But I also enjoyed following the trail that led him to the man he had become. I find that interesting because I believe that all evil has its roots somewhere.

Most of the story took place in a small, beautiful seaside town that the author brought to life with every word. I loved not only the setting but also its residents, who were very believable, interesting, and welcoming. It was a pleasure getting to know all the different characters and their surroundings.
Cadence Beach was so good that the story stayed with me long after I turned the last page. The ending left me really satisfied but still craving for more. I guess I’ll have to wait for Linda’s next novel. I’ll definitely buy it. She's a very talented author who will go very far. You will not be disappointed by Cadence Beach. I highly recommend it.

The second review was by Molly at Reviewsbymolly:

So, I gotta warn you. This book is addictive. I didn’t want to put this book down! From the awesome characters, to the amazing plot line, this book is filled with so much suspense and twists that you will find yourself up late at night trying to finish the story.

From page one, Ms. Juliano has this book roaring with suspense. Suzanne Roth’s husband has had to bury her, though she doesn’t have a typical grave site, nor did she die in a way that was typical. It was so much worse. Now, Allan Roth has come to believe that he can reincarnate his deceased wife and live happily again.

Josephine “Josie” Gianni is a wonderful character! Bless her heart, I felt for her so many times! She’s a young woman about to be promoted in her job, and on the day of celebration, she walks in on her boyfriend and another woman in bed. Devastation over that incident drive Josie to move to Cadence Beach and take on a new job. Once there, though, she finds her self attracted to her temporary boss, and a victim of being stalked. Everywhere she goes she sees a black Lexus, and then someone decides to invade her privacy. Things get twisty when she finds a note addressed to Suzanne…..especially when that note is full of threats.

Gordon Forrester is hiding secrets, but is growing attracted to the beautiful Josie by the minute. When someone is stalking Josie and Gordon realizes it, will it be enough to push his issues behind and save the woman he’s quickly falling for? Or will the stalker’s obsession be a cause for Gordon to lose again?

This 5 Book worthy story is absolutely high on my recommendation list! You’ll fall in love with all the twists and turns, and when you reach the end…..well, you’ll be wishing for more suspenseful, romantic, witty plots from this amazingly talented author! I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. Wonderful job, Ms. Juliano!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Blog Tour

Well, it's day one of my week-long book tour!  Today I'm being featured at (  So far, so good. Not a lot of people commenting, but at this early stage in my career, I'm happy for the handful of people who do sit up and take notice.

I hope to generate some (good to excellent) reviews from the tour, and at the very least a few new fans.  We'll see how it all plays out, but I have to say it's fun so far.

I would love to hear from any of you about your personal experience with your own blog tours. ;)
I'll let you know how the week turns out and what I learn from the experience.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

writing tip on REVIEWING

As important as reviews are to an author's building of a fan base as well as generating sales, writing reviews for other's is also important. 

When you write a review for another writer's book, you get your name out there, and that's very important.  Anytime your name or your novel shows up on the web, it's an opportunity for a curious individual (or several curious individuals) to click on it, ultimately leading to a possible sale.

Another positive to reviewing books is the connections you make with that author.  They may quite possibly appreciate your review and connect to you through their goodreads account or facebook or your blog (or all of the above and more!).

Think of yourself as building a web, every strand connecting to make another strand functional.  And as much as I hate - fear! - spiders, webs are beautiful, fascinating works of art.

A good place to learn about the art of writing good reviews is any one (or more) of the multitude of bloger review sites.  Here are a few to look into that I like, but there are thousands, covering every type of writing.,,,

So begin today.  Start with the last book you read and write a review for it in one or more locations (ex: goodreads, smashwords, amazon, so on...).  And remember to do unto others as you'd have done unto you, or what goes around comes around.  You get the idea. ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Getting those reviews

Here is the link to a website I've mentioned in the past.  It's a fantastic resource for finding bloggers to review your book.  For free!!

The list, as you'll find, will tell you who reviews what. It makes it very easy for you. Click (or link) to the ones you feel will be the best fit for your book, then send them a query e-mail.  Simply tell them what your book is about (adding links to where to find the book is helpful, too), and ask if they would be interested in reviewing it for you. It's that easy! Most will say yes, but they may need a large time allowance as they are busy people, too, and have many books to read on top of their daily lives. So be patient.

Obtaining reviews is HUGELY important for marketing your book(s).  Readers like to know what other people are saying about the book they're contemplating buying.  It doesn't always matter if the book is $.99 or $10.00 (or more!), most readers (but not all) tend to look for reviews first (I know I do).  So, it's a good idea to provide them.

Aside from approaching bloggers who specifically offer reviews, ask fellow writers to review your book in exchange for reviewing theirs. If you are a member of Linkedin, join some writer's groups, they're rich with fellow authors looking for all the same help and advice you are. It's a wonderful resource.

Another piece of advice I'd offer in the search for reviews is to do a blog tour. I'm booked for my first blog tour the week of June 4th, and I'm excited!  It's yet another opportunity to get your book out there as well as obtain people to read (and potentially review) you glorious piece of work.

If you aren't familiar with what a blog tour is, check out this website ( for extensive information. They are running my tour for me, and they've been wonderful every step of the way.

Good luck, and happy hunting!
And as always, please feel free to leave a comment with any additional information or advice you'd like to add.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Self Publishing : Marketing

The best vocabulary word to describe what you need for marketing your self published book is perseverance.  I'm not kidding, it's a lot of work, and quitting is not an option.  Of course, there are a lot of other words and phrases that will fit, too, such as energy, willingness to put yourself out there, and time to learn and apply, etc.

Thankfully, along with all the hard work, you'll be rewarded with "pay-offs" like book sales and gaining fans of your work.  So don't loose heart if (or when) you find yourself on the path of the proverbial two steps forward followed by one step back.  As long as you stick to it, you will succeed; you will get those needed sales.

We all have to start somewhere, so weather you are a rising star of authors or a fledgling just entering the field, perseverance should be your best friend.  And like with a bff, not everything is wonderful, but we stick around for the stuff that is wonderful. 

Tip: Find as many bloggers as you can to review your completed book.  There are hundreds (if not more) bloggers out there who review books (Free! Just provide a copy of your book to the reviewer).  So find them, take in a deep breath and query for a review.  I like Step-by-step-self-publishing (reviewer list).  Reviewers are listed in alphabetical order with a list of genres they review to narrow the search for you.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Writers and artists on insecurities

I was watching a program on PBS last night about Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind) when I realized just how alike writers are as a whole.  It amazes me every time to learn how insecure even the most famous writers are/were.  No matter their success or weather they are at the beginning of their career or in the middle, writers seem to hold on tight to a common fear of not being good enough.

It's both comforting and astonishing to know writers across the board feel the same insecurities I find myself struggling with often.  It's like a curse of the artistic.  Rarely (if ever!) have I heard of an artist, particularly writers, who are full of confidence and believe their work is wonderful and will be loved by all or many.  Of course, some of us are harsher on ourselves than others are, but over all, we (writers/artists) are a funny breed, filled with insecurity simply because we are filled with so much passion for what we do.

With following a passion comes the possibility of failure, and that is terrifying in any aspect.  But when you are writing, for example, you are pouring some of who you are into those words, so the exposure is enormous. 

When I read my first unsolicited book review for "Cadence Beach", I had the strangest feeling running though me.  Aside from the thrill of knowing a total stranger had read and enjoyed my book, I was taken aback by the discomfort of "naked" exposure I felt.  It was as though someone had opened my skull, taken a look at what was inside (my story), and closed it up again.  Just as simple (and invasive!) as that.  That's the best way I can explain the feeling of utter exposure I felt. 

I would love to hear your stories of how you deal with and feel about the exposure of being a writer or other artist (or any field of work). 
Please feel free to  leave a comment below. ;) I promise to read every one with NO judgement! lol

Monday, April 2, 2012

"The Secret Lives of Dresses" short book review

The Secret Lives of Dresses is a wonderful book and beautifully written.  I enjoyed the story as well as the author's writing style.

I would definitely recommend this book for an easy and very enjoyable read.

Here is the synopsis of the story as found on Amazon:

Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.

Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit.

While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop?

When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Lady of the Rivers

Right now I'm about 3/4 of the way through the book "The Lady of the Rivers" by Philippa Gregory, author of "The Other Boleyn Girl" (an excellent book) and so many others.

I think Philippa Gregory is a master at historical fiction, but The Lady of the Rivers is falling a little flat for me.  It's a good book, but not a top book for me.  Why?  Well, it's just not full of as much "action" as I'd like.  It has too much narrative about, well, a lot of boring "war" stuff between France and England and their monarchs.  I prefer a LOT more private life information.  I like following the people far more than the history.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE history in all forms, but in this story, it feels particularly heavy on the side of circumstances rather than individuals.  Read it and discover for yourself.  You may feel the exact opposite. ;)

I've just cracked open another book called "The Secret Lives of Dresses" by Erin McKean, so it's too soon to comment, but I will share my thoughts when I finish.  Yes, I tend to read 1 or 2 books at a time.  I read one in the car while waiting at the school for my youngest son, and the other in the evening if I get a break. 

I love knowing I have a book to read at all times.  I feel off center when I don't have any reading material on hand either hard copy or through my kindle. It's the same with my novel writing.  If I don't write for too many days in a row, I'm a mess.  I feel "low", but as soon as I get back to the writing, I feel on top of the world.  Like a drug!  A writing drug!! lol 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Generate reviews for newly published book

Good morning!  This week the topic is on generating reviews because that is exactly what I'm working on at this time.  Reviews, as any reader knows, are very important.  They aid greatly (for me) when I'm deciding to buy a book I've never read, or not buy it.  So, of course, I want them for my own book as well, and I'd really love for them to be 5 star reviews!!  ;)

My best advice so far is that authors approach as many reviewers as they can each week.  Take one day a week and spend your time soliciting reviewers for reviews.  How?  Well, there are hundreds of bloggers out there who do just that, and it's FREE!  You simply provide the reviewer with your book for free, and they will read and review it.  How wonderful is that!?

Keep in mind, not every blogger reviews every genre, so you will need to research each blog to make sure it's a fit before you approach the reviewer.  I like to use the Step-by-Step-Self Publishing site (  They list reviewers and their requirements to narrow the number of blogs you bother to visit.

So, I've shared ONE way to generate reviews of your new book, but as I discover new, successful ways, I'll post them here.

I'm all about authors helping authors, especially self-published authors. ;)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Self publishing tip #3

Time to dive in to the social networking world.  Now before you turn off your computer and run as far from this post as you can get, hang in there with me for just a minute.

Social neworking started off as a dirty word for me since I wasn't familiar with the ins and outs (I'm still on a learning curve!), but I've picked up a very helpful piece of information over the months.  You do not have to join every single platform or network (few! Right?).  Just pick 1 to 3 that you can manage and build, and go with them.  The goal is to get your name and/or book(s) in front of as many eyes as possible, you decide how you'll do that.

Right now, I'm on FB, have this blog, I'm on LinkedIn, and I have my author pages with Amazon and Smashwords(of course).  That's it, and that's plenty.  In the future, as I get more savy about social networking, I may branch out, but for now, I'm good.

I have to add that, for me, LinkedIn has been a huge help in launching my FB author page and I plan to tap in to it for launching this blog.  The writing groups are wonderful with a lot of like minded (and like-situation) people to connect with who are willing to help you along, looking only for you to reciprocate. 

So, I suggest you get connected to LinkedIn and make your author FB page to begin.  I'm always open to questions. 

Until next time, happy social-networking!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Self Publishing tips/advice continued

Okay, so you've done your homework and read all about how to self publish and how to market once you are "live", right?  I thought so. ;)
I'm going to backtrack just a bit to make sure you are covered to go ahead and SP (self publish).  I published on first, because Mark Coker (founder) offers a free download of his formatting guide, and let me tell you, it's fantastic.  He does a great job of walking even the most tech challenged individual (such as myself) through everything step by simple step. Really wonderful. If you read his book and follow his steps, you'll do just fine formatting, and you won't have to pay someone to do it for you (though it's not that expensive to do that).  Publishing on Amazon for the kindle is a little different, but after formatting  for Smashwords, their are few tweaks to be made.

So, you did all that and now you want to know how to get your book in front of as many people as possible in order to actually make money on it.  Well, I'm going to share everything I know (and even share what others know, with their permission).

First, tell all your friends and family. Use the phone (oh my, the horror!), use Facebook, and e-mail to get this message out there.  They are you initial fan base, so tap into them.  You may find, as I have, not everyone you know and love wants an e-book in any form, but they can still help out by passing your book links and info. to THEIR friends and family.  And the chain begins...

Go with that, and meet me back here for the next step/tip.
Until next time my friends...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

So, you want to self publish?  My advice is that you begin with research. Read, read, read all about self publishing ahead of time.  The book, the formatting to e-publish, and the editing are all just the beginning. Then comes the legwork: marketing.  Marketing is a lot of work to get started, yes, but self or traditional published both require it.  So, I'm here to give tips as I navigate the marketing world myself.

Start with two books: 1)Smashwords Book Marketing Guide..." by Mark Coker. 2)Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-publishing Success by Carolyn McCray, Amber Scott and Rachel Thompson.  It's full of good information in an easy to understand and implement format. 

I'll take this one step at a time, so I'll leave you with this first step to follow.  Happy reading!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The hardest part to this self publishing gig is trying to understand all the formatting nightmare hoops one seems to need to jump through. One long day at a time, I'll get it. Perserverence seems to be my middle name.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cadence Beach is now available for sale on ) and coming soon to Amazon Kindle.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

As I'm in the process of self publishing, I'm learning so much.  Marketing is the most demanding work of all, yet not as painful as I once believed.  I'm still navigating the waters, but one day at a time I'm getting there.  It helps to read good how-to books.  I love "Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-publishing Success" by Carolyn McCray, Amber Scott, Rachel Thompson.  Well done book, easy to understand content and tools for marketing.  I recommend it to all self-publishers and anyone doing any marketing for their work.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

As I navigate this first attempt at self publishing, I must say it's both simple and complicated.  As a very tech challenged individual, I find some of the "computer speak" to be confusing, but I'm plowing my way through the process.  Cadence Beach should be fully published within the next two weeks (fingers crossed).

In the meantime, I'm juggling the publishing hat with the writer hat as I continue to work on the second novel (contemporary women's fiction).
Welcome!  In this first blog, I'd like to let you know what you can expect to find on my pages.
I'll be blogging about books I've read, books I suggest, my own writing adventures, and more.
I'm working to build a blog for the first time, so please be patient and check back often for progress.
It seems I'm technologically challenged, so this should be an interesting adventure.