Category Archives: Writing

Let’s all find that Jewel in the Mud

Harmony Kent is a good friend of mine, and she’s here to tell us about her newest publication today. Let’s all help her out by using those sharing buttons and spreading the word.

Author Bio:

Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.

If you catch her at work, you’ll see she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

***

What inspired me to write Jewel in the Mud?

My life has been an interesting one and has provided many challenges, as well as seeing a lot of change—both internal and external. It sometimes feels as multi-genre as my books! Along the way, many people have told me that I inspire them. Such encounters led to me writing a series of Monday Musings on my blog, which proved incredibly popular. Seeing this response, and how much my readers valued my musings, I decided to make them into a book, along with a ‘thought for the week’, and Jewel in the Mud was born. It is my hope that this reaches even more people and inspires them in their lives.

Foreword

What qualifies me to write a book such as this? Am I anything special? Have I learnt anything that you cannot?

In short, I am a Zen failure. I spent thirteen years in a Zen Buddhist Temple—ten of those ordained. And then I left.

End of story?

Not quite.

Before, during, and after, a few things happened to me along the way. And for sure, those thirteen years proved most fruitful.

I entered the monastery as a young (27 year old) woman lacking in confidence, painfully shy, massively inadequate, and terrified of everything … including my own shadow. Put simply, normal life just felt like too much, and most of the time, I found myself overwhelmed.

I think that those years of discipline I undertook voluntarily were, in some ways, the hardest of my life. But oh so worth it.

I emerged at just short of forty like the proverbial butterfly, utterly transformed. To use a clutter of well-worn cliches, I faced my demons. I popped the balloon. I dragged my skeletons from the closet.

After finding myself disabled and back out in the world, alone, at forty years old, I began life again, from scratch. Built it up from nothing. Honestly, it felt way scarier coming back out than it did going in. But by then, I’d learnt to feel the fear and do it anyway. And, after all, I had to do something with my life. Like find a place to live. Once I got the basics taken care of, it came time to set a course and go for it, always allowing for the vagaries of the wind, of course.

These days, I live a life of contentment and fulfilment. I am happy, confident, and successful. And such success I do not measure in material things or possessions, or even in any typical worldly way of measuring achievement. Rather, I have set my internal compass, and it is from there that I live my life.

Of course, I remain human and fallible, and I stumble sometimes. As do we all. That’s perfectly okay. It’s normal. We can’t get it right all the time. In fact, one of my Musings talks about just that: Week Nineteen—It’s Okay to Have a Meltdown. Just so long as you don’t pack your bags and move into your dark place, that’s all right. The trick is to pick yourself up when you fall down and get going again. Don’t stay there.

So, what are you likely to get out of this book? Well, that depends largely upon you. The best results will come from an open attitude and a willingness to learn, listen, and question.

It is my sincerest hope that this book inspires you to dive deeper, search further, and discover your own jewels in the mud of everyday existence.

Wishing you all good things,

Harmony

***

Book Blurb Jewel in the Mud

‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’

Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?

This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.

Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.

Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.

The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.

Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

You can purchase your own copy at Amazon US, or Amazon UK

You can find Harmony in the following places:

Relevant Links:
Website | Amazon US Amazon UK | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Works by Harmony Kent:

The Glade

Finding Katie

Interludes

Moments

Polish Your Prose

Elemental Earth

Slices of Soul

The Battle for Brisingamen

Macabre Sanctuary

Quantum Wanderlust

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

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A quick update

The launch for The Hat is going well. Books are selling, and reviews are starting to come in too. It’s a short read, so that helps speed the reviews along. Everyone seems to be enjoying it so far. I got up in the neighborhood of 140 on Amazon’s superhero list, but it’s dropped back now. I decided not to take a screen shot until I hit double digits. The algorithms are strange in that if I sell 10 copies in one hour, the numbers will soar. If I sell those same ten books in one day, they don’t budge at all. Algorithms are fickle.

This is a good reason to hold a pre-sale. All of the advance sales will download at once and stack the deck for an hour or two. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me so I didn’t this time. If it matters to you, it’s a decent trick.

It seems like a lot of people are releasing books right now. I’ve hosted several of them here, and will host several more. This is one of the great things about the author community. We all try to help each other.

There are some traffic jams going on, and I decided to be the one to deal with it. It isn’t fair to ask someone to host me, then dictate when they can post something. I basically have traffic jams every day this week, but I have a plan. I will let my guest have the spotlight here during the day, then reblog content from my tour after 5:00.

You may ask why I’m reblogging at all, and that’s a fair question. My followers already know I released a book, they have a reasonable idea of what it’s about, and whether they might want to read it. Here’s the deal, and it matters to me: I have a lot of followers, and I want to send you guys to visit the folks that are helping me.

As an author, or even an editor, cover designer, or formatter, you need to know a few people to help spread the word. These folks supporting me this week, might be willing to support other author friends in the future. This is your chance to meet some cool people who support authors. I encourage you to visit them and follow their blogs. Leave a comment, introduce yourself, and make a friend in the business.

Harmony Kent is one of my partners over at Story Empire. She shared her review of The Hat on her own blog today. I’d appreciate it if you guys would send her a little traffic and help her blog grow. She’s a nice lady, a great author, and does a little editing herself. In other words, a good friend to make. Here is the link: Harmony Kent.

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Every Writer Needs a Little Help

I’ve wanted to start bringing you a few author service providers for a long time. I extended a few invitations, and Staci Troilo took me up on it.

I can vouch for Staci’s work. She’s helped me in so many ways. Here’s Staci to tell us about her services.

***

Thanks for inviting me to visit again, Craig.

For those of you who don’t know (and honestly, that’s probably none of you), Craig and I are founding members of Story Empire, a site dedicated to helping authors with writing, publishing, and marketing. Since its inception, he and I have become not only colleagues, but friends, and as such, we’ve come to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

He asked me to visit today to talk a little about editing, one of my strengths.

I started earning money to write and edit when I was still in college. Different professors showed my work to their colleagues who were looking for writers, and each hired me. I tell you this to demonstrate how long (and I mean l…o…n…g) I’ve been working in the field.

When I worked those jobs, the clients “edited” my work. I use quotes because neither of my clients was a writer or professional editor, but each of them had final say on the wording. That work wasn’t too bad, all things considered. But not everyone can edit, and these bosses—though competent in their respective fields—were not editors in the proper sense of the word.

After I got my master’s degree and started working in the private sector, my bosses were always trained editors. And the work I did for those companies was solid.

You’re probably wondering why I’m rambling on about business writing rather than fiction editing. It’s because, regardless of the genre, even experienced writers need an editor. (Also, don’t forget—writing fiction is a business and should be treated as such.)

I’ve got a pretty decent body of published work, and this year it’s poised to grow considerably. (To view my complete catalogue or keep up with my releases, visit my site.) I’m a hybrid author (I’m both traditionally-published and self-published). It probably goes without saying that I have an editor for my work with the traditional houses. It might interest you to know that even though I’m a professional editor, I still have someone else edit my indie titles. Yes, editing is that important in the publishing process. And no, you should not be your own editor.

I’ve worked as an editor at three different publishing companies, and I now freelance. In each case, I’ve conducted all three types of edits*:

1. Developmental Edits

2. 2. Copy Edits

3. Line Edits

(*Please note that terminology may differ for these three categories depending on the source of the information, but the services are the same.)

Developmental edits are the most intensive to complete. To conduct a developmental edit, the editor will help guide the author in the structure of the piece. A developmental editor will do things like:

• point out alternative directions or gaping plot holes

• note inconsistencies

• show ways to further develop characters and their arcs

This service is best for novice authors who do not understand the foundations of writing fiction (things like premise, theme, and structure).

Copy edits are usually conducted after an author has self-edited her draft. This doesn’t mean you should ask for a copy edit of your first draft. First drafts are usually dirty drafts that will benefit from the author’s own clean-up efforts. But once an author has made several passes through the document, made revisions, sent it to beta readers for feedback, and revised again, it’s time to get a copy edit. A copy editor will note things like:

• flow problems

• weak word choices

• POV breaks

This is a type of edit that benefits novice and intermediate-level authors. It is helpful for authors who have structure under control but struggle with mechanics.

Line edits are the simplest type of editing. This is the final clean-up before a work is published. Line editors mark issues like:

• misplaced and dangling modifiers

• typographical errors

• punctuation problems

This type of edit is beneficial for writers of all levels, novice through professional. While experienced writers are probably aware of these pitfalls, even they will find it difficult to pinpoint such problems in their own work. We become blind to our words because we know what we want them to be, and consequently, we don’t see what they actually are.

I joined Story Empire because I enjoy working with authors. That’s the same reason I love working as an editor. I like to help writers expand their knowledge and polish their work. Besides, I learn something from every person I work with. I’ve also developed many friendships along the way and received some truly heartwarming feedback.

• Staci Troilo is a superb editor who understands the creative process, offering suggestions without stepping the artistic choices of the author. She’s thorough, efficient, and sensitive. She’s also knowledgeable in the mechanics of all aspects of writing. (P. C. Zick)

• She is AMAZING! She took my text, and added bullets, subheads, and pull quotes to make the material much easier for readers to consume, all without making any changes to my voice or style. (Jennifer Dunne)

• Staci is the best hire I’ve ever made. She’s talented, dedicated, professional, and as hardworking as they come. (Casey Cowan)

• Staci gets three out of three for the traits necessary to do well in a business environment: she is on time, she has great skills, and she’s easy to work with. (Duke Pennell)

These excerpts from published reviews (see the full reviews plus more of my credentials here) mean a lot to me, because they tell me I’m not only doing what I set out to do professionally, I’m also making other people happy. And at the end of the day, I can consider my career and my life a success if I leave this world a better place (in any manner) than how I found it.

If you are interested in my editing services, you can find more information here. If you like what you see, fill out the contact form and we can talk about your project.

Because I’m also an indie author, I understand the budget-crunch writers face, and as such, I keep my prices well below industry standard. I also offer a fast turnaround time (usually under two weeks) and will consider rush jobs.

I want all authors to shine, which is why I try to be accommodating and flexible. If you have special needs, please feel free to discuss them with me.

WEBSITE | FB PAGE | FB GROUP | TWITTER | AMAZON |

GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | NEWSLETTER | OTHER LINKS

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Check out Lazy Days

Anita and Jaye are two super supportive authors and bloggers. They’re here to present their new book, Lazy Days.

Blurb:

This novella is the true story of our family’s first proper holiday back in the Seventies. Looking back, I wonder what made us think it was a good idea, but despite all the things that could have gone wrong, we had a fantastic time. I was the Skipper most of the time, and for some reason decided to record our adventures in a small notebook. We were young and without husbands, Anita was a widow, and I was glad to be rid of mine. (and that is another story) Money was precious and scarce back then, but all the saving and sacrifice turned out to be worth every single memory we all cherish.

This notebook has been treasured and kept safe, despite numerous house moves and family disasters, as a symbol of our courage and determination. Renting a boat on the Norfolk Broads could so easily have been one of the stupidest things we had ever done, but even after 40 years, we have such good memories of that time.

Over the years, we often thought of making it into a proper book, but along with everything else in our often-complicated family life, it was something we never got around to. Until just recently, when we were looking for some old photographs, found the now fragile notebook and knew it was time.

It wasn’t as easy as we imagined it would be either, for our logbook writing skills leave a lot to be desired, but there was just enough information entered on those pages to get us started.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Saturday

We had waited a long time for this day to arrive, and now the time had arrived, we could have flown to the Norfolk Broads powered by our excitement. The tension coming from all of us made the air crackle with electricity as we prepared to leave. Going anywhere with the kids is never easy, but we had planned this holiday with far more skill than our usual days out, and researched everything of interest and planned our route to ensure plenty of happy days. For the first time in our lives, we would be miles from home on a boat for two weeks. There would be six of us on this holiday, two women, four kids and two small dogs. There was the possibility of enough trouble there to last us a lifetime!

I wasn’t expecting much trouble from the teenage girls, Anita Jr and Heidi; but the two younger boys, Stephen, ten and Darren, eight would be a challenge, for they have the knack of finding trouble anywhere.  Added to the mix were our two small dogs.  Lady, a cross between a Pekinese and a Yorkie, blessed with sharp teeth and a ferocious dislike of strangers, and Katy, an adorable chocolate coloured toy poodle pup.

Getting them all in our car proved a bit tricky. A big Ford Granada, normally a comfortable fit for all of us, but this time we had Heidi, our younger step-sister to fit in too. She had been staying with us while her mother was in the hospital.

I sensed an air of resentment as the kids tried hard to fit themselves into the back seat. Various elbows were used to show disapproval, prompting a chorus of complaints. For a moment, it looked as if we wouldn’t be going anywhere. The situation looked hopeless. Anita finished packing our luggage into the boot of the car and appeared at my side.

‘Is there a problem here? Do we want to go on this holiday or not?’

No one spoke, but as I watched, a subtle relaxing of tightly packed bodies occurred as they all thought about it. They knew their mother well. She would cancel everything if they didn’t accept their fate and settle down, and if the holiday was cancelled because of them, they would never hear the end of it.

I am always amazed by the way Anita handles her brood. It must come with practice, although I doubted I would ever learn how to do it! You probably need to be a parent first.

Looking at them, resignation on all their faces, I prayed the boat would be bigger than it looked in the brochure. I also prayed I would get us all the way to Norfolk without incident. I hadn’t been driving long, and my nerves were already stretched to breaking point.

We had been up since before dawn and ready to leave by 7.15. As we drove through the dark and empty streets of London, everyone is unusually silent.  Probably wondering, like me, if this could be the biggest mistake of our lives. After several wrong turns and a massive frustration overload that nearly has me screaming, I finally find the A12, the road that will take us all the way up the south-east coast to Norfolk.

The sun had come up, so at least the weather looks like being a lovely day. The dogs are asleep, snuggled around Anita’s feet on a blanket. There is no fighting on the back seat, and I wonder if they feel as scared as I did. The plan is to go as far as we can before making any pit stops for refreshments and/or toilet breaks, so we pass swiftly through Chelmsford and Colchester without stopping. The traffic begins to build up as we approach Ipswich, so we decide to stop for a well-deserved break.

We pass several roadside cafes, but most of them looked small and unappealing but when we spot a Little Chef, we decide to take a chance. Several bladders were screaming, including mine, so we have to stop somewhere. Anita walks the dogs to a patch of grass in the car park, while I escort everyone else to the nearest toilets.

The Little Chef is very American and modern. I have a quick look at the menu, hoping there will be enough suitable food for our fussy lot. They have a selection of burgers, chips, pasta and sandwiches, both toasted and ordinary, so there should be something there for everyone. It would be cheaper to take away, but the thought of everyone trying to eat in the car didn’t bear thinking about, so I don’t mention it.

From the moment we walk into the restaurant, I sense everyone staring at us. They probably expect trouble, or at least, noise. This is always possible, of course, but today I hope not.

Anita Jr and Heidi settle for toasted sandwiches, but the boys insist on chips. I want a decent cup of coffee, which I knew was unlikely. These places call it coffee, but this is usually where the similarity ends. It is hardly ever drinkable. Anita returns from walking the dogs and with a quick glance, appraised my parenting skills. ‘What are we supposed to be having then, Jaye?’

‘I wasn’t sure what you would like, but I was thinking of toast and coffee. What about you?’ I resented the implication I should have already ordered for her. As if I would presume, or even guess what to get.

She nods, so I leave the table to order the toast and while I wait, I watch them from a distance, amazed to see them talking normally to their mother and each other. I had yet to reach that level of acceptance, still regarded as a bit of a visitor by the kids. I hoped this holiday would go some way to making me feel more at home.

Back at the car, the elbowing starts again until they notice their mother watching. It’s amazing how fast kids can behave when they want to! I could tell by their faces that they think this holiday is a big mistake. But we are committed now, halfway there, whether we like it or not!

Six hours and 130 miles after leaving London, we arrive at the boatyard at Oulton Broad. To say we were all glad to get out of the car would be an understatement. The tension hadn’t eased at all and the muscles in my neck felt like rocks. Anita pats me on the back, probably for a job well done and I knew we could both do with several cups of decent coffee if we were ever to feel normal again. Our boat isn’t ready for us, adding to our growing sense of doom, so we pile back into the car to go shopping for a few essentials.

Back at the boat yard, I have trouble reversing the car into the tight parking spot. The wheels skidding on the gravel slope, unable to get a grip is a terrifying sound. For one horrible moment, I could see us in the water, car and all. I wonder if this could be an omen of what might happen to us on this holiday.

There were boats of varying sizes in the boatyard. Some of them were small, and I was getting nervous. What if our boat turned out to be the size of a sardine tin?

We needn’t have worried. Our cruiser was a huge boat, more like a floating dock. Called ‘Sovereign’ and supposed to sleep, 6/7 people.  That remains to be seen, I thought.  The boat is painted a pretty blue and white, with a large cabin area up front with a sliding canopy. This can be closed at night, creating the bigger of the bedrooms. We didn’t understand how at first, but after some investigation, we discover a double bed neatly hidden in the wall. What with all the seating for everyone, we were beginning to relax a little. There were two further bedrooms, sorry, cabins! A chemical toilet and shower room, and a long narrow galley kitchen. How I could cook anything on the tiny cooker was anyone’s guess, so sandwiches and salad might have to be the order of the day.

We finally manage to unpack our clothes and try to get organised, but the storage on the boat is so compact, it’s a bit like squeezing a gallon into a pint pot. This boat might be big but it’s still a floating dolls house!  There is no room for the empty suitcases, so they go back to the car. Before we could cast off, the owner of the boatyard arrives to show us how to steer the boat and maintain the engine. The engine is huge, so much bigger than a car engine; looking as if it came from a boat the size of the Queen Mary! I have the mandatory driving lesson and didn’t disgrace myself too much, but the thought of being in charge of such a powerful craft was beginning to intimidate me. We would be alone, in the middle of nowhere. Masters of our own fate – were we ready for this?

We all agree the chemical toilet will take some getting used to. When you flush it, the pump squirts water everywhere and the kids tell me the chemicals smell awful. I can’t tell if this is true as I am getting over a cold and can’t smell anything. The toilet cubicle doubles as a shower room, so everything will get soaked in the process.

When we open the canopy/roof of the main cabin area, we immediately realise that the dogs will have to spend the holiday on their leads. Understandably, they are not happy about this, and neither are we, but there is nothing to stop them jumping over the side to get to the ducks!

I didn’t think being on their leads would work well either, as Katy leapt at a passing duck and ended up dangling over the edge of the boat, almost strangling herself which kind of proved the point. After being rescued, she tried to throw herself in again. My heart sank, thinking we had made a big mistake in bringing the dogs on this holiday. At this rate someone would have to spend the holiday dog watching, just to ensure we could take them home again. We couldn’t risk letting them off the lead either, as that would probably be the last time we saw either of them.

After a few frustrating minutes, Anita solves the problem by tying their leads further away from the edge of the boat. They could still see everything, but couldn’t jump over the edge!

We cast off from Oulton Broad and make for a place called Geldeston. We need a short trip to get the feel of things and get us out of the boatyard. I keep the speed down while I search for some confidence, but I found the Sovereign hard to control, even at a slow speed. No matter how hard I try to relax, it still feels like being the biggest mistake of my life.

It is beautiful here on the water, the scenery is amazing with loads of ducks and swans, and several horses grazing by the water. The sense of peace and freedom is mind-blowing. There are no houses on this stretch of the river and no noise, apart from the ducks. When we get in their way, they get annoyed and complain something fierce. Despite all my misgivings, I start to relax and enjoy steering the Sovereign. I am beginning to think it would impossible not to relax here in Norfolk.

The sun is beginning to set as we moor up for the night, a huge red ball shining on the water, painting everything with a rosy pink glow. Anita washes the decks, something we are supposed to do every day, and then we go for a walk. To discover we are on the wrong side of the river for the chip shop. Being on water and not a road will take some getting used to. Darren falls over a mooring rope, literally five minutes after being warned about them, so no change there.

In the absence of chips, we go back to the boat for beans on toast. The television is the size of a postage stamp, but the picture is good. While we eat supper, I study my family and can tell we will all sleep well tonight, as everyone looks exhausted. As adventures go, I think this one has the makings of being a good one. Lady looks ancient, straining to stay awake, her little head nodding. Katy, the younger dog, wouldn’t be far behind.

Bedtime is a riot, as the kids discover it’s not a bit like being at home. The girls carry on like a pair of nuns when they discover the sheets and blankets are not to their liking. Funny how fussy they can be when normally such slobs at home. Anita takes charge of the situation, and within minutes everyone is comfortably sorted out.

It seemed like only five minutes later, all the kids are asleep and we could finally relax for the first time today. It is chilly now the sun has gone down. We are moored near a church with a clock that chimes the hours. We discovered this after putting the kitchen clock in a cupboard because we couldn’t stand the ticking. It is so quiet here.

So, we had made it through day one. All things considered, it hadn’t been bad at all, no big arguments and no major disasters. Heidi managed to be seasick for all of twenty minutes, so this was all right too.

About Jaye

I had no intention of becoming a writer. I loved to read, and for most of my life, that was enough for me. More than enough really, for I am a compulsive reader and will read anything I can lay my hands on. Give me a bookshelf full of books and I will start at one end and read my way to the other.

Then I offered to edit my sister Anita’s books. She hates computers, so I offered to type them up too. Before I knew it, my brain began to explore what other things I could be doing.

I tried to ignore that inner voice, for I was busy enough already. Anita was writing faster than I could format, and there were all my other interests too. Gardening, DIY, dressmaking and a host of craft projects. I love to be busy, but it came to the point where something had to give, never mind add something else to the list.

I considered myself a writer when I held my first paperback copy of my book Nine Lives in my hand for the first time. Up until that magic moment, I doubted I would ever feel like a writer. But holding that paperback copy finally convinced me.

My favourite character didn’t really appear until book two, The Last Life, and his name is Detective Inspector David Snow. The fact that my detective looks a lot like Tom Selleck should indicate how fond I am of him. I just love writing about him.

That was then, and I have now finished writing The Broken Life, the third book in my mystery thriller series.  The characters just turned up in my head, one by one, nagged me for weeks until I gave in, and listened. So you can never say never.

This genre came as a surprise, for I lean towards the supernatural, spooky kind of book, so I have no idea where the idea came from. If anything, I should have expected to write medical stories, as I always wanted to be a doctor, and these are some of my favourite television programmes.

My favourite fiction book just happens to be The Scarlet Ribbon, Anita’s supernatural mystery romance. I was the editor for this one and fell in love with it. And no, she didn’t have to pay me to say this!

My life has not been easy by anyone’s standards, and now I am growing old, I sometimes look back and wonder how I managed to get through it all. So, the perfect epitaph for me would be… “She did her best…” Even though I made a pigs ear out of most of it!

About Anita

Hi, my name is Anita and although I am 71, I am by no means a ‘silver surfer’. I have been writing fiction novels for a while now, but never managed to be picked up by any of the mainstream publishers. They all said they loved what I wrote, but found it hard to slot them into a category!  It came tantalisingly close, but no cigar, as they say.

I realised I would have to try something else. I saved all of the rejection letters, because most of them had very encouraging comments. If my mother had slapped me as gently when I was a child, it wouldn’t have hurt half as much!

I even wrote to James Herbert once in desperation and he was so kind and supportive, it gave me the inspiration to continue writing.

Now I am retired and with the help of my sister-in-law Jaye, (who has learnt to be a ‘surfer’) we decided to dust off some of my manuscripts and try to achieve the impossible with a second chance to find out if anyone out there likes the kind of books I write…

How do I write?

I am a paper and pencil girl. You could chain me to a computer for years and nothing would happen! Jaye, on the other hand is managing to cope with all the editing and marketing, but then she has far more patience than I do.  (And she is as stubborn as a mule which helps a lot!)

They say you are never too old to learn, but in my case never is another word for infinity!

What made me want to write?

I love music, especially country music. It always seems to take me to where my own hurt lives. Songs about heartache help my pen run along the paper, almost as though the pain writes the words.

How do I find my characters?

They tend to find me. I was listening to ‘Ruby, don’t take your love to town’ sung by Kenny Rogers and a few days later the characters for Bad Moon popped into my head and just took over. I seem to have an affinity with West Virginia and the people who live there. Just hearing the way they talk makes a connection in my head, maybe I lived there once in another life.

It was the same with The Scarlet Ribbon. The words of that song put the characters in my head and they pulled me in.

Not so sure where the idea for Simple came from, even though it is a similar story to Bad Moon, but there was a girl at school when I was eleven who had a bad stammer, and I often wonder what became of her.

The books I like to read…

I love the stories of Merlin and Arthur, but my reading list covers a wide range of genres. One of my all-time favourites is ‘River God’ by Wilbur Smith, the character of Taita really spoke to me.

***

Pick up your copy of Lazy Days right here, link.

You can catch up with Anita and Jaye at the following locations:

Website:     http://jenanita01.com

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/jaydawes2/media

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/anita.dawes.37

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638857.Jaye_Marie

Anita’s Author Page/Amazon Link :    https://Author.to/AnitaLink

Jaye’s Author Page/Amazon Link:       https://Author.to/JayeLink

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Running on empty

Look at this one as a real world example of being an author today.

With the release of The Hat yesterday, I have a lot of things to do to bring it to the attention of the masses. I’m quitting now, but it’s not quite as lazy as 11:00 AM sounds.

I woke up in a pile of bulldogs at 4:00 AM this morning, and have been largely covered with them all day in various positions. They like their early morning poodle time, but I can place my iPad on the arm of my chair and type away.

Old What’s Her Face decided to wash our bedspread yesterday, so we had an alternate last night. This freaked the dogs out for some reason. They were kinds of twitchy all night. I swear they are like Sheldon Cooper in that regard. Between the dogs, the nightly kink in by back, and my bladder it was just easier to get started.

I tweaked six different posts about the new book and sent them to their respective hosts. This included all the necessary attachments and such. Then I filled out an interview form for another one, and assembled a post for Story Empire later this month. All of them required at least one extra email, and my iPad battery is about dead too.

Then I assembled no less than four guest posts for Entertaining Stories. Seems like a lot of other folks are releasing books right now too. Everything is scheduled to post right now.

There will be traffic jams, but I’ll simply have to deal with it. My guests can have the spotlight until after I get home from work. If one of my hosts posted that day, I’ll try to reblog it then. I want to reblog in the hopes of sending my hosts as much traffic as I can. They don’t get much out of this, but maybe I can get them a follower or two.

As for me, I’m calling it a day on the author front. Old What’s Her Face found some strange ice cream I’ve grown fond of, and I feel like I deserve a treat. It’s made with marscapone, figs, and balsamic vinegar. Don’t wrinkle your nose up until you’ve tried it.

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Congratulations Mr. Boyack, it’s a book

The Hat actually published a few moments ago. Before I could update my blog, somebody already bought one, so that’s a good sign. I’m going to give you a little free written idea of what it’s all about.

Lizzie St. Laurent is a hard working girl at the beginning of the story. When her grandmother passed she lost her living arrangement, and dropped out of college to make her own way.

She winds up with something from the estate, under some odd circumstances that I won’t spoil here. It turns out to be a hat that once belonged to her grandfather. Except, this hat is actually a being from another dimension. It appears Grandpa had a bit of a history.

Add in a cluster of innocent babies, some human traffickers, and witless authorities and you get a recipe for a paranormal adventure story like no other. The only problem is that Lizzie and The Hat need to learn to work together. In fact they need to go through a kind of symbiosis to make things happen.

They choose music as a way to learn more about each other, and find a way to work together. This kind of music:

I’d be honored if you would pick up a copy and check it out. I’m only asking 99¢, because it’s a novella. This is a bonus too, because you can read it in one afternoon. Here is the purchase link. If I did it right, you can also click on the cover in my sidebar.

I need to bundle up some pre-written posts, some cool Lisa Burton artwork I’ve been holding, and send some kit out to a few hosts who’ve offered to help spread the word.

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Assuming the fetal position

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I uploaded and hit the publish button. My personal process hasn’t changed over the years. I’m freaking the hell out like I always do.

This may stem from the first experience I had where Amazon took the entire manuscript and squeezed all the letters into one line down the middle of the page. It’s never happened since, but that kind of thing sticks with you. Can you imagine if someone had purchased that book and gotten one line of over-strike text for an entire book?

Anyway, I’m on the dawn of a new book release. This is my novella project, and it’s the origin story of a paranormal superhero kind of character. It’s full of some witty interactions, and I intended much of it to be humorous. There are some dark moments, because it’s got a paranormal undertone. Music also plays a roll in this one.

I’ve shared the cover before, but here it is again.

There are a million things to do behind the scenes once I have a purchase link. I have to update my site, contact the Goodreads Librarians, link this and that all together. I have friends to deliver materials to; like I said, a million little things.

For now, watch this space for updates. I’ll be over in the corner building a blanket fort.

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