The Highs and the Lows

The last year has been full of some rather extreme highs and lows. For most of it, I feel a little helpless, caught on the ocean, rising and falling with the waves.

As I look at 2018, of which 1/12 of is already been gobbled up, I find myself still struggling to “figure it all out.”


Think Indie

Did you know Andy Weir, author of The Martian was an Indie author? So was Hugh Howey.

There are tons more and as I listen to podcasts while I clean my clients’ houses, I hear it over and over. People are getting into self-publishing not out of lack of ability or no other choice, but because of the ability to a) make more money, and b) exert more control over how their book is produced and marketed.

I hear it time and again and frankly, I agree with it. Every time I announced, “Okay, I’m going to submit this manuscript and try and get an agent, try to get this published traditionally” a hard lump formed in my chest.

It didn’t feel right, it felt wrong.

Why should I beg someone to be my agent and take a 20-30% cut of my creation?

Why should I deal with a publisher who is going to take 90% of my earnings before the agent takes out their share?

Why should I trust a publisher to market my book effectively for me when I know that only the top cut of authors get any marketing budget at all? Most get nothing.

A podcast I was listening to recently talked about one of Dan Brown’s books coming out on e-book recently, right before a new release. The publisher did a big promotion on the ebook in anticipation of the new book release, but didn’t bother to add a chapter from the new book as a teaser in the end or even provide a link to pre-order the new book. And Dan Brown is a very popular author! If they couldn’t get that basic marketing principle down for Dan Brown, how bad would they screw over a relative unknown?

So, thanks but no thanks, I’ll stick to working as an Indie author. I’ll continue to educate myself and improve not just my writing, but all aspects of the Indie author life – book cover design, formatting, editing, and marketing.

Imposter Syndrome

I have been listening to several podcasts that focus on marketing and more for Indie authors. One recently covered imposter syndrome, which I think that most people feel on a regular basis, no matter how experienced or talented they might be.

I struggle with it, just like anyone else. It has gotten better over the years – I can remember that shortly after I had written and published the second book I actually asked my friends on Facebook if I was officially an author. I had been one for two years at that point!

One thing that helps is getting reviews on my books. I check my Author Page on Amazon regularly and so I notice when new ones come in. This review just came in on my two War’s End books…

In case that is hard to read, the reviewer wrote:

“This is book one of a two book series filled with well-defined and well loved characters. Yes, it’s dystopian in nature and yet it could take place in any time or in any place. What designates this book as excellent is the author’s vision of her characters, their actions, and their stories. Her writing transcends the commonplace and rises to the level of prose. In fact, her choice of words, phrasing, and meaning sometimes brought me to tears of wonder.

The story, itself, is more than absorbing, having all the usual attributes of great literature, i.e., joy, sorrow, heartbreak, action and suspense. After finishing both books, I can clearly state that these volumes are not to be missed. You’ll find yourself heavily invested in the characters and their actions, trying to read quickly to see what happens and yet slowing down to catch the nuances of the author’s prose.

Don’t miss these books!”

Whenever I get to thinking that I don’t have anything original to say and that my writing is stilted and generally sucks, I think I’ll just need to look this review up and I will feel better.

bad grammar – I did NOT create this meme!

Figuring Out This Damned Thing Called Marketing

Have you ever thought that it would be fun to ride a bucking bronco? Yeah, me neither. I hear those bastards are rather wily. They will trick you into thinking they are going one way and it turns out to be the other.

Marketing is just as wily and volatile.

I’m climbing up a real tall mountain right now as I try and wrap my brain around it. I am learning to:

  • Write good ad copy (it’s harder than you might think)
  • Utilize correct ad placement and timing
  • Understand Impressions vs. Clicks vs. Purchases and what a good ratio mix is
  • Find a mix of free and paid marketing that works for me (it feels like shooting into the darkness)

I’m in the process of reading several books on the subject…

Some of these are very short, others not so much. In other words? I’ve just started on the mountain. I also decided to scale back and focus on one book at a time until I get the hang of this marketing thing. So I’m focusing on Gliese 581: The Departure for now.

I’m also considering placing the two War’s End books into a “boxed” set for the Kindle and marketing it for $6.99. The individual books are priced at $3.99. If I do that, it will probably be in March or later.

When the Hell Will I Get Back to Writing?

Oh, yeah, that.


So after I finish this post I need to write a ghost story with a family tree and a veterinarian for NYC Midnight. It’s a short story competition and it’s due on Friday.



Yeah, so I’m hoping to make a goal that now that I’ve run out of month (I designated January to be a “learn about marketing” month) I will dedicate February to writing something.

What are you going to write about, Christine?



Is that a squirrel? Wait, that’s a bunny! See the bunny?

[runs away from the computer]

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Broken Brain

I’m pretty sure my brain is broken.

Yep, yep, broken for sure.

I will explain…

Why Did I Think That?

Yesterday I mentioned that I had discovered and was all revved up over re-designing my book covers. I started with the two War’s End novels and then tackled The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale.

I thought, “Okay, I’m done.”

And another side of my brain said, “But wait, there’s still Get Organized, Stay Organized. Why not re-do that cover too?”

And I swear to you, that first part of my brain answered, “Oh, that’s nearly ten years old, no one is interested in reading THAT.”

Why not?

Well, I don’t know, I mean…

Do people still need organizing help?

Umm, yes?

And did or did you not write an organizing book?

Um, yeah, I did.


And I have to wonder if it isn’t some messed up, here let me screw with my own head and belief in me yet AGAIN and turn my back on something that could actually make me money. I mean, heck, my fellow writer/homeschool mommy friend keeps putting out new editions of her book Make Money to Write About Your Kids. Now obviously, she is writing about a market that is constantly changing.

But things have changed for the organizing scene as well. And why not come out with a better, more professional edition? And why not try to get more reviews and more sales? Why spend all of that time on a book just to wipe my hands clean and move on a few months after it was published?

Time to get to work updating and editing!

Take the Wheel

Take the Wheel of Destiny and Make It Your Own

Spur of the moment decision yesterday – I decided I really needed to do a free Kindle ebook offering on Gliese 581: The Departure.

So I set it up to start today and first thing this morning I hit my Excel spreadsheet that lists right around 250 Facebook book promo sites – most of which I have taken the time to join but rarely use.

I divided my list by four for the number of days I wanted to promote it (less one). I figured it would be best to promote with a message that read “Free today through Sunday” and then list the book blurb, an image and the link to the book on Kindle. It looked like this…

I began the time-consuming job of posting in the endless Facebook pages I had access to – and over a couple of hours worked my way through one-quarter of the list.

When I started for the day, my book was listed at “#56,782 Free in Kindle Store, #2372 in the Dystopian, and #3415 in Post-Apocalyptic.

And by this evening? #782, #15, and #16 respectively.


So far, I’ve posted in around 65 Facebook pages dedicated to authors promoting their books. I’ve given away 250 ebooks in about 19 hours (125 of them in the past four hours).

So I won’t make a dime on these. And you know what? I’m good with that. Build the readers, build the audience, get a following, and the rest will follow.

I realized something as I was going through the boring, repetitive motions this morning of copying and pasting, waiting for Facebook to do its thing, then marking it in my Excel file and moving to the next one.

If I really want to be a writer AND EVER MAKE A LIVING AT IT, I am going to have to get on top of this marketing crap. The lyrics to a song by Incubus kept running through my head…

Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I am beginning to find
That I should be the one behind the wheel
Sitting around on my butt, writing the books is only HALF of the job. And that’s even WITH a literary agent, publisher, and publicist. I have got to learn to sell myself and my writing if I ever want this future I keep talking about.
So I’ve added “Marketing Madness” to the first day of each month into my calendar. It might take more than that, a lot more, but it is a start.
Cool People
So far today, I’ve “met” two folks online who responded to my marketing on the Facebook pages. One simply wrote and said she had downloaded it. I thanked her, told her I thought she would enjoy it and hoped that she would be kind enough to leave a review for me when she completed it. She responded back and said she would when she got around to reading it.
The second person I met just wrote me and said, “Sounds like it could happen to us” and posted a link to her blog where she has promoted the book and also Tweeted about it.
And honestly, I am just blown away by how NICE people can be! Here is a link to her blog.
Each Revolution Around the Sun
I spent a great deal of my life being uncertain, nervous, shy, and generally clueless about how to grasp life by the horns and fully live it. I have found that with each revolution around the sun, this grows a little easier, but I’m still learning.
Today was a good reminder that I self-published a great science fiction book that I want more people to read. And the only way I can get them to do that is by dangling it in front of them as often as possible.
No more languishing on the back shelves – this book needs to be read!

Introspection Leads to Discovery

I’ve mentioned here and in other places that I’ve been under no small amount of stress recently. Things have slowly been resolving themselves – to some extent.

Life is always challenging, isn’t it?

When I first returned in January with my dad, I was reeling. And the changes over the next few months, along with the realization that my eldest and I suddenly, after 18 months of peaceful living and years of peacemaking, appeared to be back at square one (or worse), was devastating.

She wrote a post, which you can read here. To say that our accounts differ, does not even begin to describe it. At one point, I sat down and went over each point or claim that she made and wrote down a response. On the advice of friends and family, I did not send it. My eldest has her version of history and I have mine. Nothing will be gained by arguing or pointing out obvious fallacies. It won’t repair the relationship and it won’t mend the bridges we had already built together.

But along the way, I did something that I always try to do. Before dismissing something outright, I take the time to step back and evaluate and question.

How did they arrive at this conclusion?

Is there any merit in the claims?

Can I do something different now? Alter my behavior, learn from this experience?

It isn’t always easy. When we sense we are being attacked, our first instinct is typical – fight back, or run the other direction.

But one claim, that of declaring I was mentally ill, was especially egregious. It was a ploy her dad used when fighting me in court (sorry Walt, the judge didn’t buy your b.s. and you really did look like an idiot, by the way). It was an armchair diagnosis doled out by a woman who was my father’s girlfriend, a physician’s assistant, and who had been fired for stealing prescription medicine from the clinic she worked at soon after.

She had called me a sociopath and it had haunted me for nearly two decades. Until I was talking with a therapist about twelve years ago and told him about it. The guy, straight-laced and rather boring, started to laugh. He told me that, just the fact that I was bothered by the idea of being a sociopath meant that I wasn’t one.

“A sociopath doesn’t care what people think. Not one bit.”

Okay. So, NOT a sociopath.

So back to the post my daughter wrote. In it, she decided I was suffering from either bi-polar disorder or manic-depressive disorder, which is, by the way, the SAME disorder. Bipolar is also known as manic-depressive. Later she added in NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Now that made me think.

After all, isn’t writing non-fiction, i.e. blogging, especially about life in general (how your life is going, what you made for breakfast, how you built a fence), isn’t that the epitomy of narcissism? And if so, my god, I HAD to be a narcissist. I have one, two, three, now FOUR blogs! And I post all the time on my interactions with my dad on Facebook.

So does that make me a narcissist? I’m talking about MY life, MY plans, and MY accomplishments.

I looked up both bipolar and NPD and read down the list of symptoms.

The hallmarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration. People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment.

  • Exaggerates own importance
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance
  • Believes he or she is special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions
  • Requires constant attention and admiration from others
  • Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  • Takes advantage of others to reach his or her own goals
  • Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
  • Is often envious of others or believes other people are envious of him or her
  • Shows arrogant behaviors and attitudes

I walked down the list and did my best to evaluate myself, which isn’t easy, let me tell you.

  • Exaggerates own importance – NOPE. That would include taking the credit for other people’s work, which I do not do. If Dave works his butt off, I point it out right alongside my own. I am not a special little snowflake. When I was teaching classes I would remind folks that they could do just what I did, it isn’t special, it isn’t hard.
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance – While I might be rather obsessed with laying the groundwork for our retirement right now so that we never have to depend on our children for help, that’s about it. Success is measured by the individual, I don’t need power (nope, not running for office anytime soon), I am NOT beautiful, I’m smart, but I’m not that smart (I know some smart ones), and romance? I’ll settle for someone who loves me and accepts me, round butt, graying hair and grumpy attitude.
  • Believes he or she is special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions – The opposite belief, that of NOT being special, is what turned me away from writing for years. Hadn’t everything worth saying already been said? I decided that, whether or not it was original, I would share it. I’m glad I took that chance.
  • Requires constant attention and admiration from others – Praise continues to make me uncomfortable. I have no small amount of self-hatred, bred by decades of family and ex-husbands reminding me of how lowly and shitty I was to find attention and admiration anything more than disconcerting at best.
  • Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment – Nope. And anyone who has been around me knows that. Sure, I’d love favorable treatment, but do I expect it? No.
  • Takes advantage of others to reach his or her own goals – Um. NO. There is only one instance I can think of, that of borrowing a truck from a neighbor. I felt bad that, when the tire needed to be fixed, we didn’t get to it in time. And I feel we borrowed it too long and possibly damaged our relationship with them, something I didn’t want to have happen. In the case of our contractor who up and left a job undone, I did the opposite. I fed her, DAILY. I didn’t do this to engender a sense of her owing me, I did it because I liked and valued her work and her friendship.
  • Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy – I do not lack empathy, but I often don’t notice when others are off. At least, not right away. It is something that, in retrospect, bothers me. It is important to share “air time” with others. Sometimes I get so busy telling stories and entertaining others, that I forget they have their own stories and that they too need to share them.
  • Is often envious of others, or believes other people are envious of me – No. NO to the triple no. I’ve worked hard for what I have and I’m proud of it. To be envious of someone who makes more money or has a bigger house is a waste of time. Better to put my nose to the grindstone and get what works for me, for what makes me happy. And if others are envious, they shouldn’t be. Walk a mile in my shoes, live the life I have led, and you wouldn’t be, not for a second.
  • Shows arrogant behaviors and attitudes – I have been fighting this behavior my entire life. Honestly, when I show arrogance and realize it, I feel ashamed. There are people in the world who have a hot mess of a life, who struggle every day. To behave as if they are less, or that I am better, is wrong. I see it in my dad and my mom and I’m determined to root it out. That’s not okay.

So that was all very long-winded. And at the end of it, I was still not quite comfortable. I felt I had eliminated both bipolar (you would have to have depression along with the manic and I just don’t have that) and NPD, but what the hell was it, because she had a point, something was wrong. Or something had been wrong, and I had evidenced behaviors that were not okay. Not with me, and not with my loved ones.

As I looked back over the years I thought about how, about twelve years ago, had begun tracking my periods. Eventually, I narrowed it down and realized that on Day 21 and Day 22 of my cycle things came to a head. And not in a small way.

I swear I googled “pms on steroids” and when I found PMDD, and read the symptoms, I felt like I had hit a not so fun jackpot.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

The symptoms of PMDD usually show up the week before you start your period and last until a few days after it begins. Most of the time they are severe and debilitating, and they can keep you from daily activities.

Symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Mood swings – YES
  • Depression or feelings of hopelessness – Sometimes
  • Intense anger and conflict with other people – YES
  • Tension, anxiety, and irritability – YES
  • Decreased interest in usual activities – My husband and younger daughter said YES emphatically to this
  • Difficulty concentrating – YES
  • Fatigue – Possibly?
  • Change in appetite – YES
  • Feeling out of control – YES
  • Sleep problems – Sometimes?
  • Cramps and bloating – NO
  • Breast tenderness – YES
  • Headaches – YES
  • Joint or muscle pain – Not that I remember
  • Hot flashes – Not then!

WebMD goes on to say:

Your doctor can diagnose you with PMDD if:

  • You have at least five of the symptoms listed above.
  • They start 7 to 10 days before you get your period.
  • They go away shortly after you start bleeding.

Well, hell, that’s a huge big YES.

Here is the irony, folks. I am now in menopause. The end of my reproductive cycle, and the beginning of menopause began last year. Now that it has been over a year since I’ve had a menstrual cycle, I’m officially considered to be post-menopausal. So none of the symptoms, except for the hot flashes, remain.

I wish I would have known about PMDD twenty years ago. How much could my life have been different if I had only known? There are treatments, medication that mitigates the effects of PMDD.

So consider this a public service announcement. When I told my youngest about it she jumped up and ran over to read over the symptoms with me saying, “I need to know these in case I get it when I get my period!”

Introspection leads to self-discovery, albeit after the fact. Thanks to low serotonin levels, never diagnosed, I was not the mother, wife, or person I wanted to be. Looking back, I realize there is nothing I can do about it now, after the fact. And honestly, we will never know “for sure” since this is an armchair diagnosis, but DAMN. I grieve for what could have been, if I had only known.

The Plan as it Stands

“How are those edits coming, Christine?”

I, well, I…that is.


I had hoped to tackle three chapters a day. With 37 chapters in Schicksal Turnpike, I figured I would be done in two weeks. Lo and behold, it’s been two weeks and change and I’ve completed eight.

But you know what? That’s okay.

Even more so, as I finished reading the 8th chapter out loud last night to my husband, I made a decision.

Actually, technically, I made the decision today.

Just now.

Here it is…

I’ve gone back and forth on this many times. And this may only be the latest episode in a long line of back and forths, but nevertheless, here is my current stand on getting published versus not getting published.

I am fine with self-publishing and here is why:

  • I don’t need the money – In case any of you are laboring under the persistent illusion that writing pays (which it does, for a very small percentage of writers that don’t include me at present), let me clear this up. I spend money to self-publish. Not a lot, but up to a few hundred dollars. And while I have indulged my writing adventures, I have cleaned houses and set into place other income-generating activities. So I don’t NEED the writing to pay. It would be a nice bonus, but that’s it.
  • Rejection hurts – I have had enough rejection in my life from people who I thought loved me. Call me a wimp but I really don’t need it from perfect strangers. When I finally screw up the courage to send my manuscript, or an excerpt from it, off to be eyed by a jaded critic, it ends badly. Not for them, but for me. It stops me, dead in my tracks. I lose weeks, months, sometimes I have lost YEARS. As much as I wish I could make myself care less, I end up feeling rejected and butt-hurt. I get that enough from daily life, why go looking for more.
  • I just want to tell a story – And if the agent or publisher doesn’t want to read it – fine. I’m cool with that. In fact, I’m cool with just a handful of folks reading my stuff. Sure, I still have dreams of becoming a bestselling author – signing books and all that. It would be nice. It would be great. But while all writers, especially those who blog or write non-fiction have some level of narcissism, you can’t be a writer and not indulge in some small drip of it when writing memoir, I don’t need fame and fortune. I won’t die unfulfilled or wondering why no one recognized my literary wunderkind worthiness.

I’ve got a plan for how my retirement is going to unfold and it doesn’t include being a bestselling author.

I guess that is really where I’m at.

I plan to keep writing. But for now, what I will do is write a book, edit it myself, open it up to a small army of beta readers, correct it as needed, and then self-publish it for the lowest price possible with Amazon’s KDP Select program.

I’m not going to kill myself trying to discover that magical recipe of intrigue, chutzpah and marketing to a potential literary agent or a publisher. I’m just going to write and publish.


p.s. And yes, I’m STILL editing Schicksal. I’ll report back soon. Want to be a beta reader? Let me know and I’ll add you to the list.

Building Those Marketing Skills…and Twitter Too

Building My Twitter Following

I have never been very impressed with Twitter.

Yeah, you heard me right. Go ahead twitterphites and just Unfollow me now.

But here’s the deal, unimpressed or not, I have been actively trying to build my Twitter following for the past three months. Because it doesn’t really matter what I think of Twitter, it matters more that others do like it and do use it.

See? I’m slow, but I’m getting there. Eventually I will become a marketing super-genius!

So each day, I go through at least a dozen emails from Twitter – I see who is Following me and usually Follow them back (except for a small select obnoxious few) and I go through Twitter’s suggestions and Follow folks in the hopes that they will follow me back. I’m averaging over nine new followers each day, and my total is quickly approaching 2,000 Followers.

I might not be sold on Twitter, but I have seen an uptick in book sales. Especially when a particular Tweet finds itself the right audience. The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale is a good example of this. Each time I Tweet “We are not an episode of weeds. I am not Nancy Botwin, but … (paperback) (kindle)” this actor from the series re-tweets my tweet. And I’ll get a book sale. How amazingly cool is that?!

So Twitter might not work for me, but it sure does for others.

Raising My Prices

I bent the ear of a marketing guy the other day and it turns out that I’ve been doing it all wrong.

See, I figured that I’d rather someone read my book, and I don’t want to frighten them off with an overly high figure, so I set my ebook and paperback book prices as low as possible. However, this may have the opposite effect. As the guy said, “It is the perception of quality. Price them cheap and your writing is cheap. Price them higher and obviously your writing is worth more.”


So I’m going to give it a try. Right now, my ebooks range from 99 cents to just $2.99 each, depending on the book. And the paperbacks are anywhere from $9.02 to $9.98. Get them at that cheap price NOW, because the prices are going up.

I’ll be raising the paperbacks to $13.99 and the ebooks to a solid $4.99 each. And we will see how it all shakes out.

Pie in Face

Speaking of Twitter, this should give you a laugh. At least, it did me. The sign of mental health, I can laugh at myself. In fact, I do it quite regularly.

As I was building my Twitter following, and running through the email that listed my newest Twitter followers, a name (and website) jumped out at me., which has an online and in print magazine. And the inspiration struck, similar to a bolt of lightning but just a tad less damaging, WHY had I not thought of contacting the various cannabis/weed magazines and promoting The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale with them?

And while I was dreaming the dream another question occurred to me, Rolling Stone has been writing some weed-centric articles. Why not contact them as well? The worst they can say is “no.”

I swear to you, marketing is such a foreign concept to me. As if the fact that I have written a book (well, four of them) could somehow be magicked into the air, and people would just suddenly KNOW about it without me having to do a single thing!

So a bit of pie in face, if you will, that it has taken me close to two years to figure out that I might need to actually market the book I have written.

And yeah, I’m totally contacting Rolling Stone. What is the worst that could happen?

Don’t answer that. Just…don’t.

Bump in the Road

Word of warning. You are probably going to see some higher levels of stream of consciousness, “how the hell do I do THIS?” kind of posts in the days and weeks to come.

Maybe without the higher levels…maybe just an “oh duh” moment or two as well.

Take last Friday morning’s writing adventures for example…

My dad had sent me a link to this list of 19 websites that were looking for writer submissions. Near the bottom of the list was Tin House, which caught my eye and so I followed the link to the magazine to check them out, noticing almost immediately that Molly Ringwald wrote for them. Yes, Molly Ringwald, teen star. Interesting.

I read the sample essay they had posted a link to and found it funny. It reminded me of a growing up story of my own, one where I was obsessed with being called modest (I wanted that title real bad, REAL bad.) and how it didn’t end so well for me. Having read the essay by Rachel Yoder, I felt I had a feel for the magazine, so I sat down and wrote the story out.

I was all set to find out the specifics of submitting it to them for consideration, and so I went to the Submissions Guidelines page to get the nitty gritty details.

Suffice it to say, I should have gone to that before writing the essay.


Apparently they are only accepting submissions along the theme of rejection.

Something tells me I’ll get a rejection all right, if I bother sending this story that has nothing to do with rejection at all!

So now I’ve got a 821 word count essay that, while it might be ‘perfect’ for Tin House, is definitely not in the theme of rejection.

[bigger sigh]

This is yet another bump in the road. It also begs the question, which comes first the article or the entity?

And also, who do I pitch it to now?

I’m getting there. But the road is bumpy. No avoiding that learning curve for me!

Typo Trauma

To date, I’ve written three books and self-published them. And let me tell you, proofreading is not an easy task. Each book has been read through at least twice by me (after having written them in the first place) in order to find the typos.

Usually I’ve had at least one other person proofread them as well, sometimes two different people.

Despite this, in all of my self-published books I can still find typos…and it drives me NUTS.

So my latest book The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale was self-published over a year ago. It had a few sales, but mainly it has languished in the virtual stacks of virtual bookshelves (it is an ebook and a paperback print on demand).

So my writer friend suggested I do a free book promo. I agreed, and it ran from last Thursday through last Sunday…over 500 ebooks were distributed free during the promotion. And strange as it may seem, during the promotion I picked up one of my own paper copies and began to read it for the first time in well over a year.

I had forgotten just how much detail and day to day experiences there were in it. But as I read through, my stress levels skyrocketed, there were typos everywhere! Worse, I had inserted a note to myself to add in a fact on how alcohol metabolizes in the body and left it there, without the fact!

I had also accidently switched tenses throughout the book – to the point that it was almost embarrassing to read. In the end, I decided I would have to get my writer friend to go through it with a fine-toothed comb, make the changes, and try once again to do a free ebook promotion in a few months.

Meanwhile, I’m reeling from serious typo trauma!

(reproduced from original post on Bubblews:

Writing – Progress and Setbacks

I’m writing…I’m not writing…I’m taking breaks for long holiday weekends, and I’m scrambling to finish War’s End Book 2.

Robert’s Rules continue. Here are the most recent tips…

Tip #24 – Map That Route

Tip #25 – Wing It

Tip #26 – Don’t Look Back

I had to take The Little Book of Talent back to the library, but I did manage to get a few more in before that. I’ve requested the book again, but had to return it for now because it had holds. Here are the other tips…

Tip #4 – Buy a Notebook

Tip #5 – Be Willing to Be Stupid

Tip #6 – Choose Spartan Over Luxurious

Tip #7 – Before You Start, Figure Out if it is a Hard Skill or a Soft Skill

Here’s a little story about How I Learned About Irony.

And yes, I too suffer dreadfully from the disease of procrastination. You can read all about it here.

Despite my procrastinating ways, I’m in the Home Stretch of Finishing my 4th Book!


Once More Into the Breach

A friend came by yesterday and we visited for about four hours. I hadn’t seen her in what felt like forever and it was so nice to just sit and talk. She’s brilliant, hands down the most intelligent woman I know. That level of intelligence that makes me feel like a slow country cousin.

But she challenges me, not just to keep up, but go further. And because of her visit, I have pulled out the deeply dreaded book query letter and begun to work on it…yet again.

So again, I have “changed my mind” on this whole getting published thing. I leave the possibility open-ended – I may change back again at some time in the future, but for now, I’ve taken down the links to my self-published works, and begun the process of laboriously writing, editing, glaring at, re-writing, and truly agonizing over ever word of my query letter.

I’ve also begun going through the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market (having nothing more recent than that to work from) and gleaning a list of agents to market War’s End to.

And through all of it I find the words from Shakespeare reverberating in my ears…

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger.”

And I too will imitate the action of the tiger. Waiting, persevering, trying again and again…but damn, it feels like such a conflict that I am struggling to overcome.

I tried to explain it all away – explain to my friend Felicia that really all I needed was someone to write this query letter for me. She stared at me. “Why in the world would you need that?”

“Because I’ve tried and nothing comes out right!”

She stared some more and then shook her head, “Christine you wield words like men at war wield swords. I think you can manage.”

And with that down-to-earth response, what could I say?

My life is full of these “oh duh” moments.