Monday, October 31, 2011

BOO! The Scariest Book I Ever Read (How About You???)

Happy Halloween dear friends!  Tonight is the night of all things creepy and crawly; all things slimy and sneaky.  While I was getting ready to write book 3 of The Gastien Series, I naturallystarted thinking about Halloween, since it IS October 31st.  Then I started thinking about being really scared.

I don't mean real life tragedy and trials.  I mean good ol' fashioned, scare the snot out of you horror books or movies.  Mine is The Shining,  by Stephen King; hands down. I am talking about the book.  I did not find the movie at all scary. When the book came out  in 1977, I was a young married woman of 21.

I spent a lot of time working on my tan that summer, on a silver foil mat, spraying myself with water; I was covered in baby oil with iodine. Talk about scary! Dermatologists shiver when they hear those words.  Anyway, I started reading The Shining and could not put it down.  What a fabulous, absolutely frightening book!

I woke up one night and had to go to the bathroom so badly that I thought I was going to wet the bed.  I had been in the middle of a nightmare.  I am sure it was because of the book. Not able to move, I called my husband's name until he woke up.  I made him escort me to the bathroom and wait there with me!

He looked at me sitting there and all of a sudden he was scared.  There I was, both legs shaking so badly that I looked like I was doing some kind of strange dance!  He said my face was stark white.  He kept asking if I was ok.  When I finally stood and looked in the mirror, I noticed that he was right.  I looked like I had whiteface on.  Mimes had more color.

Early in the morning, I broke out in hives.  They were all over my body and about twelve inches long.  It took a couple of doctor visits and some strong steroids to get them under control.

I have not read the book again.  I would like to, just to see what scared me so badly...but I am afraid. Very afraid.  The Shining definitely spooked me.  What was your book or movie that frightened you the most?

Anyway, enjoy the night tonight.  Lots of little monsters out there looking for treats.  Dissapoints me that a lot of them no longer are taught to say thank you. Oh, and if you hear "redrum, redrum" outside your door?  Word of advice.  Don't open it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Where Would I Be Without My Friends?

I published my first book last August for Kindle and NOOK; then published it for paperback in September.  If not for my friends (my amis, as Gastien would call them), I probably would not be published.  For sure, I would not have had as many sales.

Friends are amazing.  They will support you, promote you, and listen to your successes and defeats.  They probably sometimes want to stuff a thick towel in your mouth, or block your access to Facebook at times, but they stand by you anyway.

Ten of my friends were beta readers for me.  To my surprise, they have asked to continue.  Bless their hearts!  I must be doing something right (or write?) with my novels because they say they can't wait to beta read the next one.

When my book was live they, along with many other friends, facebooked to their friends, joined my fanpage, promoted me on books sites.  They have bent over backwards, encouraging every step that I take.

I would be nowhere in regard to the publishing world without my friends, and I owe them unending gratitude. Thank you, every single one of you.  Thank you, from the tips of my toes to the top of my storytelling, blonde head.  You are absolutely the best amis a person could ever hope to have.

Speaking of friends, there is another author talking about her friends on another blog that I will be blogging for every few months.  Stop by and say hi to them at :  They are new friends of mine, and I can't wait to see the results of us helping each other.

The Beatles were right.  I get by with a little (or in my case a LOT) help from my friends!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In Love With Being In Love

The whole world has gone crazy over being in love.  Most songs you hear have lyrics about it.  Most books and movies have at least some love scenes.  Is this the same thing as love?

Being in love and loving are two completely different things.  I read somewhere that being in love is all about how the other person makes you feel.  Loving, on the other hand, is all about what you can do for the other person. In love is selfish.  Loving is selfless.

Real love between two people has little to do with sex, romance, or thrills.  Real love is when the two of you can sit together and becide which bills don't get paid and not fight.  It is holding back the hair of the person you love while they puke.  Real love is seeing the other for the ahole that they sometimes are, and liking them anyway.

In a relationship, you are extremely lucky if you have both.  For anything to last long term, and be happy, you need real love, but it is even better if you have both.  People don't get how "in love" works, though. That is why it is so rare that people stay together.  Most marry because they are in love.  When that ebbs, the people move on, looking once again for that thrilling feeling, not understanding that those feelings can't be there all of the time.  The chemicals released by those feelings would kill you if they were always there.  It is a scientific fact.

However, that does not mean that when it takes a break it won't come back.  Any long term, happy couple will tell you that there are times (sometimes months or years) when the thrills seems to leave, but contentment is present.  Then, the sexual excitement comes roaring back (sometimes, again, for months or a few years) only to ebb again.  If we were always feeling like honeymooners, nothing would get done but lovemaking!

It is too bad that pop culture only worships the thrill.  The thrill is so wonderful that it really does not need any advertisment at all.  Once you feel it, you get it.  No song needs to tell you about it. But real love?  That is what should be sung about, written about, celebrated.

When someone loves another to put aside their needs for awhile to help that other person achieve theirs, when one gives up family, friends, and moves for another's job or emotional needs; when one helps another face death...that is truly what we should worship!

How wonderful to be truly loved; how much more wonderful to truly love someone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fat Is Not A Four Letter Word!

Why is it that being fat is both something to make fun of and something to avoid mentioning when describing a friend or family member?  Ever noticed that?  It really puzzles me.

In this world of hyper political correctness, it seems to still be fine to make fun of fat people.  You hear jokes and derisive comments all of the time.  People use the excuse that it is fine, because fat people either have no discipline or no concern about health.  Wouldn't they lose weight if those things were not true?

Fat people do care about their health as much as other people.  What about those who smoke or drink?  How about those with multiple sex partners?  Eat red meat or sugar?  Don't those people care about their health?  Don't they have the discipline to only eat sprouts and drink water? (Although, I do remember a food poisoning outbreaks from-gasp-sprouts...) Or, is it fine to be unhealthy as long as you look as perfect as possible?

Fat people that you don't know personally can't win.  If they eat a salad in public, people think "Who are you trying to kid?"  If they eat a burger and fries, or dessert, people think "What a pig!  Why don't you go on a diet?"
It is so easy to judge others.

I remember walking out of a movie where Kathy Bates had appeared nude. I overheard a young woman loudly say "What is wrong with Bates that she would let people see her naked?  Who wants to look at that ugly body!"  I turned around and noticed that this young woman had one of the biggest noses I had ever seen.  Gosh.  Who wants to look at that?  The audacity of that young woman going out in public!  Of course, I don't really mean that she should. But, really, if that young woman is so concerned with perfection, why doesn't she fix her nose?  Or maybe, just maybe, we should get over people not looking perfect.  Just a thought.

On the other side of the coin is the fact that people avoid-at all costs- calling someone they love fat.  "Oh, no, you aren't FAT..."   If you are fat and say it without remorse, they immediately say  "Don't talk so negative about yourself!"  Why is being fat and knowing it-saying it-negative? 

It is fine to say "You are thin."  "You are tall."  "You are young."  But for some reason, fat is not a valid thing to be.  People, being fat is not a crime, nor is it something bad about someone.  Just because someone is fat does not mean they are a child molester!  Yet, people shun saying the word like it is.
Even stores hesitate to use "fat" or "large" for clothing sizes.  "Women" or "Queen" or "Plus".  Hmmm.  So all women wear those sizes?  Only royalty?  And plus?  Do the slacks have an extra leg?  Can't the stores  say "Large" or "Fat"?

The whole country wants to be fat free.  How about instead we start concentrating of being judgment free?  How would that work for a change?
The next time each of us wants to judge somebody, how about if we remember that old saying: "When you point your finger at someone, just remember that there are 3 fingers on your hand pointing back at you."   How's that for a big, fat reminder that you aren't perfect either?  If we were, we would all look alike.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No Wonder Newspapers Are Dying!

Good heavens!  Last night I researched the various newspapers of towns I have lived in.  I want to send a press release about Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream. I was shocked to find out how man newspapers still require you to send a FAX for a press release.

Huh???  A what??? I will first have to dig my fax out from under a couple of years of dust.  Does anyone even send a fax anymore?  Then, I will have to search until I find the instruction book that came with it, let's see, twenty years ago.  I can't remember how to even use the blasted thing anymore.

Seriously, they are still mired in the Ice Age. Just like the dinosaurs, they are destined to die, unless they quickly get a clue and stagger into the twenty-first century.  A fax.  Still laughing...

They have websites, for goodness sakes.  They even have email addresses.  Still, they want press releases to be sent by fax.  I wonder, do they also still use those old printing presses where you lay each letter for every word in each line, too?

I simply can't believe they are that out of touch with reality.  I will call a couple of them later today, to ask if they possibly have an email where the press release can be sent.  If not, I may have my 3rd book out before I figure out how to run that blast from the past (my fax) again. 

Go figure.  And here I was wondering if a museum might want mine...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Overwhelmed by technology in my home

Help! Due to all of the technology available to us, Dave and I are now prisoners in our own home.  Seriously, it has become a challenge to even watch tv anymore. 

We have two large screen tv's that are hooked up to DirecTV, one in the basement and one upstairs.  We can record two things at once upstairs, but none downstairs...unless we get another DVR.  Then, of coure, we can only watch what is recorded downstairs, downstairs!  Often we sit down (upstairs) only to find out that we cannot watch a program that we were looking forward to because-guess what-two programs are recording.  When that happens, you can only watch something already recorded.

To futher confuse things, we have programs set up to record, but they don't.  That is because they get moved around by the networks and now conflict with two others that are scheduled to record.  Dummy...why can't you make recording tv shows your top priorty?  Seriously, it would be a full time job to keep track of all of this.

We have two remotes to operate the tv and home theatre/surrond sound.  Plus another for the Blu Ray, and another for the old DVD...and yet another that we have to do something or other with in order to watch a DVD on blu ray (or dvd for that matter).  My head is ready to explode!  Then someone comes along and says there is a "universal" remote.  Except, it isn't.  There is always a glitch.  Always.  So, back you are again...with more than one remote.

That does not take into consideration what buttons we need to push to listen to music on the radio, and on the cd player.  I can't even begin to contemplate how one would go about recording a movie using the blu ray.  Can you?  Should I care?

We have so many movie channels it makes your head spin, but no time to watch any movies.  Yet, we hesitate to cancel, because it seems like a good idea to be able to watch movies at home and save the high cost of movie tickets.

By the time I browse through the guide online (because Lord knows they can't send you a tv guide that you can actually make notes on and do some planning) and try to see what is up for the future, I give up in frustration.  How does one keep track of all of those channels without taking, say, a week of vacation to look at future showings, set up recordings, and make sure there are no conflicts that might make the DVR regurgitate the one you wanted most?

I have to assume that it is not important to figure out how to record directly on the blu ray, since we have DVR and 110 million movie channels we don't use.

And, that is only the confusion with our tvs!

Now that I write novels as an indie, self promotion is important.  All of the online technology adds to my brain overload. Every day (several times a day)I need to facebook, twitter, kindleboard, check 100 fanpages of book sites, ask for reviews, blog, find new selling outlets, check three emails.  Oh yeah...I first have to finish editing my second book and writing my third.  That, at least, is not confusing.  Just wait until I need to format again, though.  :)  Why do I think I will remember from the first book?  Truly, I should know better...

My brain is screaming, I need to go.  I can hear a bottle of cabrinet calling. Opening that, at least, is simple. Most of the time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Please bear with some shameless self promotion today

I try not to talk about my book, Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream in my daily blogs.  That would get old fast, I know.  However, today Gastien is  featured as the revolving book on Love Romance Novels and I am hoping to get as many people seeing it as possible.

Here are the links:  At this link you can read more about it.!/pages/Love-Romance-Novels/116201821797600 Here you can answer the weekly question or make comments.

Thank you for any interest you have in this.  I promise I won't constantly promote my book in my blogs.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How Quickly We Forget To Be Grateful

We have company coming Saturday. I am really looking forward to seeing them! They are family, and I love them dearly. However, that means we need to clean. Sigh. I have to tell you, I HATE to clean. I don't like a mess, but I don't mind dirt (when it is mine).

You know how people say "I'm not dirty, I am just messy." Well, that is the opposite here. We are not messy. You won't find a bunch of stuff laying all over in our house (except for my office, where chaos reigns). But you will find dust. Plenty of it. Why? Because we hate to clean.

I was feeling sorry for myself today, realizing that tonight and tomorrow night will be at least partially spent doing the dreading deed. Cleaning. Then, I realized something that I hope I can keep from forgetting for awhile.

Yesterday morning I was scared sh**less. You see, the evenng before, I had heard from the surgeon who had performed a lumpectomy on my right breast about 1 1/2 years ago. The gamma imaging I had done last week came back showing some little tiny specks that were of concern. She wanted me back in the morning for ultrasound.

Now, to most of you, that probably does not sound like anything to get real upset about. But, the last time I had been told of "little tiny specks" from a mammogram they had turned out to be cancer.

Wednesday, I did not tell my husband right away. We had plans to go see the exhibit "1968" at the Minnesota History Museum. He had worked hard all day, and I wanted him to have a nice time that night. Worrying that cancer has redeveloped in your wife does not exactly make the mood enjoyable. I did my crying without him around, reapplied make up, and off we went.

By the time we got back to the car, I could be strong no longer. I told him, sobbing the whole time. The rest of the night, we tried to stay upbeat and positive, but it was not easy.

The next morning I went in. I am happy to say that the doctor said they were probably ducts with debris in them, she did not feel they were cancer. She did not even feel a biopsy was necessary. Just to be extra cautious, I will return in six months for another ultrasound. It is good to be extra cautious.

During the time of worry, I wondered if I would live long enough to see my grandson, Gideon, walk. Would I end up sick soon, and not even be able to finish all of the books I wanted to write? The paintings dancing in my head, were they going to stay a dream?

Now, I am blessed with knowing that is not the case at all, barring something else that can happen to anyone. The fear is gone and life goes on. However. Today-just now-when I was feeling depressed about cleaning I remembered something else. I remembered when I did have cancer. Back then, I thought that if I could be cured of cancer, even cleaning the toilet would not seem bad. How wonderful it would be, I thought, to just do normal things that need to be done and not feel fear!

I can do that now. I need to remember how very, very lucky I am that I can dust and clean without wondering if it is the last time. Life, after all, is made up of the little things. Even though some of those little things might not be fun, they are part of the experience of being here. Dear God, help me remember that. I am so grateful to clean, after all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

E-books by Indie Authors Are A Great Value

If you have not started reading indie authors on your e-reader, now is the time to start.  You will find an amazing inventory of e-books out there and the price is definitely right!

Most indies price books for less than $5.00.  How many other things give your hours of enjoyment for under $5.00?  A movie costs more and is over in two hours.  Plus, they gouge you for the popcorn and use "butter" that is closer to a clear car oil.

In this economy I can't think of a better value than an ondie book.  True, some are written poorly or formatted poorly...but the vast majority of them are done well.  Plus, you can usually read a free sample of their book online at the website you are buying from.  That gives you a head's up on whether or not they formatted the book decently, spelled words right, etc.

If you are writing off indie authors because you think they are rejects who can't get a contract with a major publisher, think again.  Many of them would rather do their own thing, and some have turned down contracts!

Think about it.  All authors are "new" at the beginning. Now, new authors are simply going indie because the opportunity is there. They save valuable time by doing so...instead of waiting for months to hear from publishers that their book is good, but does not fit the market right now.  Huh?  Do they really think that people only want to read about vampires? 

Nothing against vampires, but I believe most people like some variety in their lives.  Give the indies a shot.  A book for, say, $2.99 is not a huge investment.  You just might find some new favorite authors!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can you say redundant? (Words and situations overused in writing romance)

I know there is supposed to be a "formula" for writing romance.  I also know there is a certain percentage of readers that get real upset when that formula is not followed.  However, I suspect that most people get tired of the same situations occurring over and over.  We get bored enough with real life.  Does a genre have to be the same way?

Here are some of the things I am really tired of in romance novels:

1. One is poor and the other is rich.  Yawn.  How many times has that happened now in fiction? 

2. The man finds the woman attractive and forces himself on her against her will.  By some strange force outside herself, she loves it and falls completely in love with him.  Yeah.  Right.  I have been almost raped.  Gotta tell ya, love is not a word that entered my mind then, nor does it now when I think of the man (actually, he was a boy.  I was a teenager).  Sorry.  It does not happen.  Hey, he was gorgeous.  Just like in the books!  What was wrong with me that I did not become "smitten"?!

3. Every single sex scene in the book is the same.  Hey, if we wanted that, we would have sex with our partners of twenty years instead of reading!  Can't they mix it up a little bit?  Honestly, the authors who do that must either have no sex life (no surprise) or be in dire need of couples therapy.

4. Boring, wimpy sex scenes.  This is not 1950.  It is not "his sword of love" nor is it her "secret place" anymore.  True, I may write more graphic than some would like, but at least my readers won't go to sleep.  Turn up the heat or go write childrens books.  You don't have to be blatantly graphic, but get with the times. Even writing historical romance, you need to use up to date descriptions.  Your characters may talk sixteenth century, but the descriptions should use words we use now.  He has a cock, not a "male appendage".

5. Historical novels where all of the men care about what a woman thinks and if she enjoys sex. Men did not care back then.  Women were not supposed to like sex. It was considered a fact. If your hero actually wants to make them like it, make it obvious that this is unusual!  Otherwise, it is not "historical" fiction, it is just fiction.  That can be something that makes your hero special, but it should not be a given that he acts that way.  It does not read true.

6.  My number one irritant?  Using the word "throbbing" to descibe the man's penis.  Once is ok.  But if your man has anything that throbs on him repeatedly, he has either had it slammed in a door, or he has an awful disease.  Have you ever seen one actually throb?  Seriously?

Would love to hear from you what things you think are over used in romances.  Pet peeves, anyone?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Author Interview with Selina Fenech, October Indie AuthorRockstar!

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Selina over the past few weeks and am amazed at how much we have in common.  Here we are on opposite sides of the globe, but still there is a connection.  Sebrina was kind enough to let me interview her so that you know a little more about someone who may end up being one of your favorite new authors.  Let’s get on with it!

Selina, welcome to Writer of Ficiton, Painter of Life and Energy. Congratulations again on being one of the October IndieRockStars. That is very cool. Let's talk a little bit about how you became an author, your book, and you. First of all, I am curious as to what made you personally decide to write your first book, why you decided to go "indie", and when the first book went "live".
Thank you for inviting me to your blog. I was so excited to be voted an Indie Author Rockstar! My first book, Memory’s Wake, has been out since July 2011. I’m not sure why I first decided to write a book, but I can remember when I decided that I wanted to write a GOOD book. The story for Memory’s Wake has been floating around in my head since high school days, where I was really into comics. I was going to write the story as a comic book and then illustrate it myself, and wrote up a script of the story but never got past that point. The story stayed with me, and a few years later I fleshed out the script into a novella, so that I’d have something a little more finished. I didn’t do anything with it after that for a long time, and when I came back to it I had a much greater appreciation of the skills needed for good writing and storytelling, and frankly, the novella version was awful! That’s when I decided that I still loved the characters and basic story enough to write a novel based on them, and that I wanted to make it a good one. I started again from scratch, keeping just the few parts of the story that were special to me and creating a new, better story around them.

Once I had done that, I found myself to be a person with a novel, and not sure what to do about it! I decided I would try the traditional approach to publishing, and made the plan that I would dedicate all of 2011 to finding an agent and publisher for my book. I got married in February, and in March I fell pregnant. I decided then that the traditional approach was just going to take too long, and I wanted to share my story with the world before my baby came along. While I had been researching ways to get published, I had been reading a lot about modern self publishing and it seemed like a great path to take. I got Memory’s Wake released into the world by July, and I’m really enjoying the good response it’s getting. I didn’t think I’d be at this point, but I’m even hoping to have a second title released before the baby is born, but with just a couple of weeks left now it’s going to be close!

Congratulations on your upcoming new arrival! That has to be way more exciting than your first book. Do you know the sex? Do you have a name picked out?

It is exciting and daunting. I haven’t got much experience with babies so it’s hard to know what to expect. We’re waiting to find out the gender at the birth, so we’ve picked a girl’s name and a boy’s name. Keeping them quiet for now, but I can say they are both from Greek mythology.

Is your upcoming book going to be a continuation of Memory's Wake, making it into a series? Or are you branching out with a whole new story?
My new novella is something entirely different. It’s a modern paranormal/superhero style romance story that I wanted to write for some fun before getting into the much more complicated sequel for Memory’s Wake. I do have a book two and three planned for Memory’s Wake where the story really becomes epic, and will hopefully be writing and releasing both next year.

As a new author, what advice would you give other people who are thinking about writing their first book, but then that self doubt comes in?

The best advice is to just do it. Once you get started, if you’ve got friends, or even better a critique partner, that you can share the story with chapter by chapter as you write, they make great incentive to keep the writing momentum up and keep going until the end. They’ll want to know what happens and become your cheer squad!

What do you think are the five most important things a new author has to "take care of" to give them the best chance at success?

Quality, quality, quality… you get the picture. For every part of their writing, an author needs to strive for the best quality, whether it’s in the story itself, the painting of the characters, the voice, or technical stuff like punctuation, spelling and grammar (yes there are editors, but it’s also still an author’s responsibility). For those seeking traditional publishing, you’ve got to be at a level of quality up above the rest to be noticed. For those self publishing, quality is at least as important if not more, because every sale you make and how seriously you are taken depends on the quality of everything you do, from writing to presentation of the book and yourself as an author.

By the way, my African Grey parrot, Melanie and my White Capped Pionus Parrot, Kazoo were excited to learn that you are also owned by a parrot. They want to tell your Rainbox Lorikeet hello, and also tell it to have patience with you. Humans, they say, take a lot of training. They would like to know it's name. Melly thinks she would be a better writer than me, and with her voacabulary, I sometimes think she might be right. Does your lorikeet sit with you while you write?

Jed, (our Red-necked Lorikeet), doesn’t have quite the vocabulary that Melly has, but is always happy to give input anyway. His normal comment is “It’s OK, matey.” I’m not sure yet whether he’s being encouraging or condescending.

Selina, let's talk a little bit about you as a person now. Tell me, what about life never fails to make you laugh?

Funny cats on the internet (either LOLcats or videos). In fact, not just cats, but almost any humour site. Something I love about the internet is that no matter how I’m feeling I can find a website full of content that will soon have me laughing till I cry.

What has surprised you about life that you were not expecting that is good?

I’m going to be cheesy and say my husband. Like a lot of people I went through a long run of being single or having short, bad relationships and I reached that point where you think you’ll never find “the one”. And then I did, just like that. At a bar no less, we just saw each other, went up and talked to each other, and I think we both knew right away.

How about same thing, but bad?

I had a run in with cancer a couple of years ago, which was a surprise to everyone (breast cancer at 26, non smoker with no family or genetic history). Short story is it was caught early, treated with all the best treatments, and hopefully I’ll be all clear for life (assuming it was some wacky fluke). It certainly was a major life experience though, bad in lots of ways, but also good in some.

What do you enjoy doing besides writing?

I’m also a visual artist (you can see my artwork at and I love anything in the fantasy genres which is what I paint and write. My next biggest love is food. I can always get excited about food, whether it’s a humble cheeseburger, or a decadent degustation menu. I love cooking, and recently even took the step of purchasing an entire black truffle to cook with at home. Pricey, but I don’t regret the purchase one bit! One of my greatest joys in life is discovering and trying types of food I’ve never seen or eaten before.

Finally, let's play the old genie in a bottle game. You get 3 wishes. They can't be general wishes, like "peace on earth", or all disease cured. They are wishes for personal, material things. What three things would you wish for?

I’m not much into material things, but I can still make some self serving wishes! The first is a no brainer- a healthy, happy baby. Second, I’d wish to remain cancer free for the rest of my life. I’m expecting to, but like any cancer survivor, it’s always going to be a fear in the back of your mind. The third… now I’m running out of ideas. Maybe the metabolism of a teenager so I can keep eating whatever I wanted without always fighting back the weight gain!

Any last things you would like to tell people about you or your writing?

Just that I hope people will try out my book and enjoy it. The thing I love most about being a writer, and artist, is sharing my work with other people and hearing what they think.

Thank you Caddy for having me on your blog! I’ve enjoyed your questions, and can’t wait to read Melly’s first book!

Here is Selina’s contact information (places to buy her book are listed on her sites):

Main website-
Memory's Wake - Illustrated Fantasy Novel by Selina Fenech-

Friday, October 14, 2011

Loving Gideon (How I Now Ended Up WIth Two Males In My Life)

Some of you know me, most of you don't. Those who do, know that my husband (Dave) and I are childless by choice. We have been married since high school and I am now 56. I can honestly say that we have never regretted that decision for one minute. We still don't.

However, on August 20th, 2011 something happened to change my world. Our friends (and next door neighbors) had a son. His name is Gideon.  The first time I saw him, I fell in love.  So completely, unconditionally in love that I felt my heart break a little bit with the enormity of it.

I have always liked babies.  We did not decide not to have children because we don't like them.  We just did not want children as a constant in our lives.  This time around, it was just about Dave and I.  But, I did hold and play with other peoples babies and children. 

As we got into our 30's and then our 40's the children of our peers grew up.  It did not hit me that there was not going to be an endless stream of babies available in my life.  Then, I was 50 and all of a sudden I realized that I would not get so many opportunities to hold an infant again; watch a child grow.

Shon and Jen moving next door has been a blessing.  We love them dearly. They are not only great friends, but great neighbors. And, as most of you probably know, great neighbors can be hard to come by.  People say you can't pick your family. Well, I've got news for you.  You can't pick your neighbors, either.  Not unless you move.  And in this economy...well...if you are lucky you have neighbors like ours.

So, Shon and Jen had a baby.  They named him Gideon.  As I said, I fell in love.  When Shon asked if we wanted to be called Grandma and Grandpa, a whole new world opened.  His other sets of grandparents live out of state.  We are right here, and everyone can use as much love as they can get.  Of course I said "YES!!!"  I was worried at first that the "real" grandparents would be upset.  Shon and Jen say they won't be, and I hope that is true for the other grandparents.  I guess if they are upset, I could understand in a way.  But, then I would just know that having two more people that love that boy could never be a bad thing.

Jen and I have gone to lunch a couple of times with Gideon.  Afterwards, we go to Grandma's and hang out.  I have babysat a few times, too.  Last night, we had him here for 4 hours.  I held him for the whole time, except for about 45 minutes.  He was so good!

Me.  This woman who loves avant garde art, odd novels and films, extreme ideas...I have been mesmerized by the tiny fingers and toes of a little boy.  By the toothless grin that he now does when he sees himself in a mirror.  He almost turned over last night while on the floor...and he can't even hold his head up yet!  Is this normal, or is he advanced for his age?  Yeah, I know.  Like every parent and grandparent, I assume he is more special than normal.

Just the thought of him makes me cry.  I am crying now.  Funky, irreverent Caddy, offering her heart raw, on a platter to Gideon, for him to cherish or break  Someday, he may no longer even like me.  But, that is the beauty of love.  It is not guaranteed.  Because of that, when you recieve it, it is powerful and special.  No matter what, I will always love him.
If anyone, EVER did something to hurt him, I would hunt them down, filet them and eat them for dinner.  Take that as a warning.  You don't want to mess with "my" Gideon!

Last night, I just sat and held him, staring at him the whole time, inhaling that sweet smell of baby that all too soon will be a faded memory.  He held my finger for over an hour. I am going to get every baby smell, every moment that I can with this child. Because now, at 57, I understand that the precious gift of new life only enters your life a small number of times.  This time, I am going to make it fully count, in case there is never a next time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why Does Having A Cell Phone GIve License To Treat Friends Rudely?

    Today, I am going to rant.  This is something that really bugs me and so, here we go.  Today is the day on my blog site.
   We all know about the thoughtless aholes who ignore signs and keep their cell phones on during movies, plays, and other public performances.  We have all witnessed parents in grocery stores, obviously still in work clothes, with children in tow but yakking senseless things on their cell phones ("Are we going to get together for a movie soon?"  "Do you really think I should have bought those jeans?"), while the children try in vain to get a few moments of their attention. Yeah, we are all familiar with those instances.
   But, you know what really irritates me?  Friends (or relatives for that matter) who set a date to go to lunch or dinner with me, and then proceed to take phone calls from anyone who calls; like it is going to impress me and the rest of the restaurant patrons that they are so popular!  She/he MUST be a celebrity!
   Before you jump down my throat, I get that emergencies come up.  You also get, however, that I am not talking about emergencies here. I am talking about the fact that I took time away from writing, or from my husband, my parrots, my life to-guess what-be with that friend! My time is no more or less valuable than theirs. I wanted to be with them and thought they wanted to be with me.
   Yet, they have no problem answering their phone in the middle of our conversation and holding another conversation, or repeatedly texting.  Even answering the phone is rude.  Turn the damn thing off for a couple of hours, unless you truly have someone ill or something. 
   I don't care if they have children or husbands.  Unless the children are at the age where they are supposed to report their whereabouts, they don't need to have a parent at their constant beck and call. And, if they do need to call and report their whereabouts, they should be taught that the only reason to call is that.  Seriously, at some point children need to realize that parents do have a life besides catering to them.  It will not kill a child to have to wait two hours to ask if they can take swim lessons, or can they get a new Ipad, etc.  Is it so awful to teach children that the whole world does not exist simply to cater to them? Does your thirty year old have to have immediate access to your ear for the rest of your life?
   The same goes for husbands.  Come on, men.  Give up the power trip. Do you really have to call you wife while she is at dinner with a friend?  Do you think you could possibly wait to ask about plans for the weekend or what is for dinner tomorrow night?  I mean, can't you tell other people who may be asking that your wife is out with a friend and you will check with her when she gets home? One called to tell my friend he would be working when she got home, so she should not disturb him.  How about a note when she walks in the door?  Or, is it ok for you to disturb your wife at dinner, because it is only you who should not be disturbed?
   Why do people think they have to get immediate answers when they have a question?  I mean, really, if a person can't wait until I get home to get my answer or to have a conversation with me, then I don't mean that much to them.  Truly, I would be better off without them, because my greatest worth to them must be that I will jump to make their every question and request my immediate priority.
   But the worst is friends who talk and text to friends on the phone while sitting with me at dinner.  Is that conversation more important than ours?  Why did you not go to dinner with them, then? If I am not worth a couple of hours of your attention (I considered you worth that), then let's end the friendship. I have many friends who do value me, and a ton of things to get done, just like everyone else.
   You know what I am goig to start doing? I am going to start bringing a book along  The next time someone at dinner answers their phone and starts talking, I will get the book out.  When they are done and hang up, I am going to hush them when they stoop low enough to finally talk with me.  "Please," I will say, "let me get to the end of the chapter first."  How do you think that will go over?  Isn't it kind of the same thing?
   Why have cell phones made us treat the people right in front of our eyes so very poorly?  Life is going on right in front of these cell phone junkies, but they are so busy talking on their phone to someone they can't see that they don't realize it. 
   All kinds of books make best seller lists about simplifying your life.  People pay top dollar to figure out ways to do it.  Here is how you can do it.  For free.  Turn off your computer.  Turn off your cell phone.  Pay attention to the people with you this instant.  Love them.  Listen to them. And check your messages later.
   If the people who called or emailed you really like you, they will leave a message. They will be just as happy to talk to you later as they would have been had you rudely disrespected the person with you at dinner. If there aren't any messages or emails, then either no one had anything important to say, or you don't have any real friends, after all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are All Writers Neurotic?

What a day this has been.  As a writer, I try to keep my emotions under control.  I tell myself that one person loving my book does not make it a classic, and that one person hating my book would not make it trash that should not have been published.  Sometimes, I  almost succeed.

It is hard to not take things personally, because when you write a novel, you put time, heart, and soul into the work.  The book becomes a part of you.  The same is also true for painting.  Therefore, I have two things I can fixate on, worrying about if they are not "good enough" or if people will "hate" me. 

Why do I even paint or write?  Well, because I have to.  Because I know deep inside that I love the things I create, even if no one else were to.  But, still.  Back and forth those emotions go.

Today, I spoke to my older brother.  Last week he loved my book.  This week, after finishing it, he was not sure.  There are so very graphic, emotionally exhausting parts to my book.  Some of it is hard to read.  But, I am told, all of it is compelling.  He could not put the book down.  That is a good sign. 

Not every read is supposed to be "happy". I want to make people feel.  I guess I am doing that.  I hear over and over that people can't put it down, and that they cannot get Gastien out of their mind once they are done.  Gastien becomes real for them.

Still, I was worried about my brother's response.  Maybe the book sucked.  I am waiting for several reviews from "reviewers" and I have been scared.  This is all new to me.  Today, the first review came in.  I was almost afraid to open the email.

4 Stars!  She said 4/5 actually.  She said she loved the book!  My emotions are back on top again-just like a manic depressive.  Here is her review, if you want to read it:  She also made it her "WOW Wednesday" book.  I am blessed, at least in this instant.

So, are writers neurotic?  In short, yes.  Definately, yes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Embracing Fear (By GIving It The MIddle Finger)

Fear is a funny thing.  It can cripple you, yet it can make you do a better job.  We all feel fear.  Fear of illness, fear of losing someone or not being loved, fear of taking that first step toward doing something you always wanted to do, are afraid you aren't good enough.

This week is a week of fear for me.  Since having had breast cancer, I have mammograms every 6 months for awhile.  In addition, I have a gamma x-ray coming up this week.  Today was the mammogram, Thursday the gamma.
Just when one forgets they had cancer, an appointment reminds them.

I tried to pretend these appointments this week did not bother me.  Still, inside, I was worried.  What if they find it again?  How will I go through more of that?

The same thing use to happen whenever I thought about writing a novel.  What if I couldn't write a whole novel?  What if I did and no one bought it?  Worse yet, what if people bought it and hated it?

Same with painting.  I was always convinced I was not "good enough", even though others in my life had repeatedly told me that I was.  Finally, about 10 years ago, I picked a brush back up.  I started doing something I should have always done.  I painted.

I got breast cancer about 1 1/2 years ago, and that taught me that the time for anything a person really wants is now.  Now is all you are guaranteed.  So, once I got through the radiation, I started to write.

I write and I paint.  Some days, I still feel fear.  It does not matter how many people say they love my book.  When someone says they didn't so much, I am afraid I wrote a bad book, after all.  Then I swallow that fear and just let it be there.  Why? 

Because I have decided to live with fear when it comes. Trying to make it go away just makes it worse.  So, I let the fear just be there.  I don't dwell on it.  I don't panic.  I give it the finger and get on with what I love to do.  Write.  Paint. Enjoy friends and family. Enjoy my parrots. 

My mammogram today came back fine.  Everything is normal.  I am still scared of Thursday.  That's ok.  I don't let it cripple me, but I don't deny that I feel afraid, either.

I have learned that some fear is good for us.  Without fear, we  become complacent.  Asky any performer about fear.  They will tell you that if you don't feel some fear before performing, you are going to perform flat.  Fear motivates us to do better. 

I have some book reivews coming up.  I am a little afraid.  I am completing book 2, and there is the fear that people will be disappointed.  I am writing book 3, and I hear the voice of fear telling me that people will tire of my story.  Too bad, I say.  Check out my middle finger.  I am not tired of my story, and so I am going to tell it.  Even if, some days, I am afraid.

Monday, October 10, 2011

GUEST BLOG: Ty Hutchinson "You Have To Work Hard If You Want To Make Stuff Up"

As promised, here is a great guest blog by one of the two reigning October Indie AuthorRockstars, Ty Hutchinson. Thanks for writing this, Ty. I agree with your thoughts on this.

Ty's bio will follow after the blog:

 "You Have To Work Hard If You Want To Make Stuff Up"

You know that feeling you get when your books are selling thousands of copies a day? Yeah you do. It usually hits when you’re waking up because you know you just sold a whole bunch of books while you were snoozing. Making money while you sleep, isn’t that the American dream? If you don’t know that feeling, join the club.

Now don’t get down on yourself because you probably experienced something similar. It was the day you woke up and saw your first sale. Didn’t that feel great? Didn’t you pat yourself on your back? Hell, I did.  As far as I was concerned, the floodgates had just opened and sales were on their way.  Of course, for most of us, that flood was more like a trickle.

Most of us will start with a dribble of sales. But if you work hard, really hard, you can increase the flow. How do I know? I don’t really. But that’s what I’m doing and let me tell you, that dribble is slowly getting bigger. That’s all I need to keep going. And that’s all you should need to keep going. So long as you see progress and you know you’re giving it all you got, you have to keep going.

Everyone likes to think they’re talented but the truth is, very few of us have real talent. I’m talking about the kind of talent that lives within a prodigy. That is talent. Where you don’t have to try hard at all to succeed. Do you have that type of talent? I’ll go out on a limb here and answer for you. No. Like I said, very few people have real, honest talent. Luckily for the rest of us, there’s hard work. It’s the other viable route to success.

Believe it or not, not everyone tries hard. Some people strive to do what others are doing. Why? Because that’s what everyone is doing. Think about it. If everyone is doing the same thing or same amount of work, that becomes the average, right? If you strive to do what everyone else is doing, than theoretically, you’re striving for average. Therefore your results will be average. I know, I know, you’re probably saying this is voodoo science and part of it is, but you get what I’m saying.

But if you try just a little bit harder than everyone else, even just ten percent more, well guess what? You’re now in above average land. You know what comes with being above average? That’s right, above average returns.

So lets recap. To make it in this business, you have to work really hard. You must strive to get better and be above average (Remember it’s only 10% more than what everyone else is doing). Believe in yourself because in order for others to believe in you, you have to believe. Lastly, enjoy the ride.

I’ve seen people practice this advice in various fields of work and succeed. I’ve seen people ignore this advice and fail. Writing novels is just another field. Don’t get precious about it. We’re not curing cancer. We’re just imagining shit. That’s all.

Ty Hutchinson Bio

I’ve been in advertising for twenty-something years. It’s a very fun business that I continue to work in. Recently, I thought it might be fun to write a book. I was right. The result was my debut novel, Chop Suey. I’m fast at work on the second book, where we continue to follow the misadventures of Darby Stansfield. When I'm not busy solving clients brand problems or writing, you'll find me traveling the world, playing video games, eating, reading and exploring SF's Chinatown.

Chop Suey is available at Amazon, B&N and iTunes. You can also pick up my psychological short thriller, The Perfect Plan. It’s free right now at the same locations.

Stalk me at the following places:

Twitter: @latersbra

Ty Hutchinson - Author

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cyndi was right. Sometimes, girls just wanna have fun.

Boy, did I need a break by Friday.  I had been heavily into the final touches of my second book, Gastien Part 2: From Dream To Destiny, and I was mentally exhausted.  I love being an indie writer, but doing the jobs of a half dozen people (writing, marketing, formatting, bookeeping, editing, etc) is sometimes mind numbing!

So I took the afternoon off.  I did what almost every female on the planet loves to do.  I shopped.  I mean, really shopped. By myself.  It was so much fun!  Now I have a new fall wardrobe and a new attitude. 

Things are starting to come into my mind regarding Book 3.  I am excited to get back to finishing up what needs to be done to Book 2.  That, however, will wait until Tuesday.

It is Minnesota and the temperature has been over 80 degress every day this week. It is supposed to last through tomorrow.  My husband has tomorrow off.  So, we are playing all weekend!

Yesterday we visited two apple orchards, stocking up for the cold months. We also gave a couple a ride home to Minneapolis (about 30 miles from the orchard) that had lost their car key and did not know how they would get back home to get another car and key. We went out for pizza with friends.

Today is football for Dave and being lazy for me...then we will go outside and play some more until dark.  A zoo?  The deck? A hike? The possibilites are calling.  As long as it involves outside, it will be considered.

Same thing tomorrow.  More outside, please!  I hate Minnesota winters! Therefore, I  will suck up every nice moment of this weekend that I can. 

When I go back at it on Tuesday, I will be outside on my laptop. I work out on the deck whenever I can.  Discipline is important being a writer, but now I have learned that play is, too. Because I have played, I am refreshed and ready to enter Gastien's world again.  I love him every much...but, sometimes, girls just wanna have fun!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Writing a romance for both male and female readers

I think the most pleasant surprise I have had regarding Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream is that men are loving it as much as women.  I knew the story is as much drama as romance, but was afraid the word "romance" in the genre would keep men away. 

Not so.  If you want to write a book that appeals to both sexes, I think that it is important to market it as more than a romance.  I market mine as a Drama/Romance.  That gets both sexes attention. 

Then, use a book description that lets men know that the book is not a womanly, hearts and flowers type of read.  Showing them that there is drama and struggle gets their attention. Letting them know the male character is a major focus is important, too.

The cover is also important.  Although I chose a damn hot-looking man, I purposely decided that I did not want anything but his face showing.  Men are not likely to buy romance novels with bare chested men on the front, unless they like bare chested men.  It is fine with me if men like them, of course.  I am just saying that if you want male readers that are both straight and gay, the bare chest most likely needs to be scrapped.

I have gotten book reviews from male readers.  That means a lot to me.  It tells me that I have not limted my audience.  I am no more expert at this than a lot of people (probably much less than most), but I think that a few factors come into play here.

The novel needs to be gritty, "real" feeling, and show a male character who is human.  A man that makes mistakes, has feelings, but-most importantly-sees and reacts in a way that men normally would.  I think it helps that my main character is a man, too.  If a romance is written from a male perspective, that puts a whole new spin on it.

Give that male character depth, have him struggle.  Don't "womanize" him.  Men and women are equal, but they are definately different.  Allow those differences to be part of your male characters personality and decision making. Still, keep in mind that men feel tenderness, fear, and anxiety, too.  They are not one dimensional "Marlboro" men. Don't insult them by making them all grit and no heart.

If you want male readers, don't make your male character a caricature of what you would want as a perfect man.  They don't exist.  Men won't believe a word of what that caricature says or thinks.  Men have a lot of warts.  So do women. Keeping those warts apparent makes your characters come alive for all readers: male, female, straight, gay, or lesbian.

Sex scenes need to be hot.  I am not saying you have to write a book that is erotica.  I am saying, however, that you need to use graphic words and descriptions if you want a male audience.  Men don't generally enjoy soft, feminine sex scenes that skirt the issue at hand.  Tell it, baby!  This is your chance to "talk dirty to me"-and to them. An awful lot of women want hot sex scenes, too. If you don't know how to write a hot sex scene, read some!  A bolt of lightning won't come out of the sky to get you, I promise.

Men don't only think about sex, though.  They want well rounded, deeply developed characters in novels, just like women do.  Make your male character struggle with decisions, with the fact that he wants one thing, she wants another...and how does he keep her and still stay happy?

Start romancing those male readers, along with the females.  You will be surprised at how much fun it is to write a romance that is grittier, darker, and more apt to appeal to a larger following. Challenge yourself, and watch the men start to notice your writing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First impressions are everything (Why a kickin' book cover is mandatory)

If you are a new author, a wanna-be author, or an author who does not give much thought to book covers, this blog is for you!  Although I am a relative "newbie" in indie publishing, I have over 20 years in advertising sales.

Friends, the old cliche that first impressions are everyting is a cliche for a darn good reason.  Please understand: this does NOT just apply to people.  Is your book "dressed for success"?  (Yeah, I know.  Another cliche.  Just one of those days, I guess.) 

Bottom line?  If your book cover sucks, so will your sales. Would you want to spend an evening with someone who looks messy, boring, or just plain cheap?  Of course not.  Why, then, would a reader want to spend a night (or more) with a book that looked that way?  Why would they spend money on it?

When it comes to books, looks are (almost) everything.  Most important is that you have written a good book.  If the story is not good, word gets out, and you won't sell.  Still, the cover is almost as important.  If you don't have a cover that makes people want to own the book, readers don't buy it. It is that simple. Readers want to date books that look good!

Make sure that you get a professional looking, interesting cover for your published books.  Please.  A good lookin' cover gets them reading the free sample.  The free sample gets them ordering the book.  And, that is what you want, right?

Professionally done covers don't have to cost a fortune, either.  There are many great designers of book covers out there.  I personally love Robin Ludwig Design.  Here is a their link:

Robin is professional and full of great ideas.  Plus, she has fair, reasonable rates.  Check her out the next time (or the first time) you need a cover.  I highly doubt you will be disappointed.

That reminds me, I better start thinking about the book cover for the second book in my series, Gastien Part 2: From Dream to Destiny.  I hope to have it available by December 1st at the latest.  I have gotten dozens of compliments about the cover for Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream.  The things women have said about that cover would make even Gastien blush!  I will be contacting Robin soon, asking her to keep the heat going for my second book.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How people who love to read can support indie authors

It is an exciting time for people who love to read! Now, more than ever before, there is an abundance of books available online-and not just from the same old, well known authors.  Kindle and NOOK opened up the floodgates for new, indie authors to write books and have them published for Kindle, NOOK, and other e-readers.

Readers know that they can find a lot of fantasic books by indies at great prices.  These authors are trying to make a name for themself.  They price their books at a very reasonable rate, hoping to gain large readerships.  Some get offered contracts by major publishers, most don't.  Of those that do, some accept and some would rather stay independent.

It no longer means you "aren't good enough" to be traditionally published, if you opt to go indie.  The people that do are responsible for writing, sometimes editing (yes, an editor is someone every writer should employ, but most indies can't afford it, at flirst.  Smart indies, though, hire an editor as soon as they can afford to.  If they depend on themselves and others for free editing, they better make sure they do the very best they can.  Anythinng less looks unprofessional.),formatting for e-publishing, formatting for paperback, marketing, short, idies do the job of at least a half a dozen people.

There are a few ways that you, as a reader, can really help keep these fresh, new books coming out.  First, of course, you can buy the indie books-if you like the free sample usually provided on the ordering websites.  However, a couple of other things are really important; and can make a book move up quickly in the seearch pages.  Those things are reviews and tagging.

Review are, well, book reviews.  An effective review not only tells people that you like the book, but why.  Talk about how you felt the characters come alive, that the dialog was crisp, etc.  Mention what moved you or made you laugh...but don't use spoilers!  Spoilers are references that will give away the "surprises" in the book.  Please-don't do that.  It ruins the book for other readers. A good review is more than a couple of sentences.  Check online at or Barnes& and read some reviews.  You will know right away when a review is well written.  It gives you a reason to buy the book.  Lastly, don't sign a review as "Anonymous".  You don't have to use your full name, or even your real name, but "anonymous" sounds like the author wrote it.  Not helpful.

If you have time, don't limit the review to just the site where you bought the book.  Review it on Goodreads,com, post about it( with purchasing links if possible) on Facebook, and tweet about it.  Get the word out about your favorite indie authors and their books.

Tags are words/phrases people might use to search for something to read that interests them. On, you will find tags, or a place for them, a little bit after the reeviews, usually after "More About the Author" and "What Other Items....".  Click on the tags you agree with, create new ones you think would be appropriate for the book.  Here is an example of the tags for my novel on

See how they work?

If is also nice if you hit the "like" on the book page, if you either want the book or read it.

Until I became an author, I did not realize that reviews and tags helped the book in any way.  I just thought they sat there for people already on the page.  Now, I know these things help move the book up in rankings.  Now you know, too.  Because of that, you can help both authors and other readers by gettting the books you love higher up in the rankings, where more people will see them.

Happy reading...and happy reviewing/tagging!

Monday, October 3, 2011

New October Indie Author Rockstars Named!

Every month there is a new Indie Author Rockstar selected on  Six books are randomly selected from thoe authors who have agreed to participate, and then they are voted on.  This month, there was a two way tie.

Selina Fenech with Memory's Wake.  Here is the link:

Ty Hutchinson with Chop Suey (a Darby Stansfield thriller).  Here is the link:

Please click on the links to get a full book description and read a free sample.  Then, if you like what you read, please buy the book.  Your support keeps professional, quality indie books being written.

I am going to contact Selina and Ty to see if they will do a guest blog here this month.  That way you don't have to always listen to me!  Stay tuned.

By the way, I ordered my Kindle FIRE yesterday.  I am so excited!  Now I can read all of those indie books I have been dying to read.  I just can't sit at my computer and read after writing all day.  The FIRE will be a pleasure read on.  Can you say "readaholic"?