Thursday, May 24, 2012

Painting Free

"Late Night Cityscape" by Caddy Rowland

It is no accident that my first series as an indie author is about an artist and his family. I am only truly me when I  am immersed in painting.  The same is true for my main character.  They say you should write what you know, and I do know Gastien. He may have lived in another time, but we are connected deeper than any two souls could possibly be. Fictional or not, our very beings are merged together. 

I don't think you always need to write what you know, nor do you need to paint how you know how to.  Without experimenting new technique would never happen. Just think about the Impressionists and how "strange" their work seemed to the people of that day.  Yet, what they did is certainly mainstream now.  Many other styles evolved from Impressionism.  Some are easier to "understand" than others.  But all of them only happened because someone dared to paint what they did not know.
"Flight in the Rainforest Canopy" by Caddy Rowland

I have been taking off some time from writing to paint the last couple of days.  I will probably continue to do so for the next week.  I am not busting out a new style, but I am painting more free than I ever have.  For me, some doors have been opened that I have been pounding on for awhile.  It may not set the art world on it's rear, but I am happy to say that I am growing.  That is exciting and rewarding to me.  Even better, I think Gastien would be proud.

There have been new painting tools introduced and new processes tried.  Now I am trying to paint just the energy of different items. Plus, I am working on a street scene that may end up looking Impressionist or it may take off on its own.  Who knows?  It will be what I feel. 

Someday I will be totally free in my painting because I will understand all of the rules.  And you know what Picasso said.  You have to learn the rules so that you know how to break them.

"Energy of an Orange" by Caddy Rowland

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Really??? Superheroes?

This indie author does not write fantasy novels or novels where people have special super powers, nor do I care for movies about such "people".  They just seem too redundant.  Same ol' same ol'.  Buildings blow up.  People get lasered. Yada yada yada.

I just don't get the excitement regarding a man climbing up the sides of tall buildings or flying through the air.  I could understand one movie, but not one million. I do believe, though, that my time is coming in regard to the world of superheroes.

I had commented on how those movies are  "yawn" at art class a couple of weeks ago and noticed a friend smiling to herself.  All of a sudden it dawned on me.  Oh my God.  My grandson, Gideon, will want to go to movies...and someday before I know it he will have outgrown Disney and want to pick a different kind.  What kind?  Well, I am betting it won't be independent art films!

I started to laugh when I realized that-if I am lucky enough that he is still around me-we will probably be going to several lasering, building jumping, car crashing movies in the future.  And you know what?  I won't tell him I don't like them.  Why spoil it for him?  Hey, if it makes him thrilled I don't want to say anything to take the happiness away.  So, someday I will be discussing the merits of using a laser over a magic rope, or the advantage of being invisible over crawling up sides of buildings.  Oh my.  Not to mention he will constantly want to kick my butt on video games.

You know, I can put up with the movies if it is for Gideon.  Making him smile is worth anything.  Well, almost.  I find it rubs me the wrong way to get my butt kicked by an eight-year-old kid on a video game.  Looks like I am gonna have to start playing some of those games and learning how to rack up the deaths. 

Look out, Sonny.  You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Swear, Really I Do! (The F Word and Overuse)

I happened to run across a thread discussing graphic language in blog posts.  Some people were against all foul language and some said anything goes, depending on the blogger's personality.  I tend to agree with the latter, thinking that if someone is offended by the language or subject matter they will just move on and not read that blogger anymore.That does not mean I want to read blogs that have graphic language in every sentence.  Nor does it mean I want things squeaky clean.  I also realize that one persons tolerance level is much difference from the next persons. 

What DOES disturb me are two things.  The first is how so many people (regardless of age group) use the f-word in just about every single sentence they utter.  Remember how some people used to say "um" or "you know" constantly?  It seems to now be replaced with f*ck. Now, I will admit that I use the word.  Because it is so flexable, I probably use it more than I should.  I do feel it gives a flavor and strengthens a sentence at times.  It can also be quite humorous. But, may God give me a hard kick in the pants if I ever get so limited in my vocabulary that I have to use it as verb, noun, adjective, and adverb in every single sentence I utter.

I have a newsflash for those people that do.  You may think you are shocking, but the word f*ck is no longer "cutting edge" and hasn't been for decades.  We took care of that in the 60's (for better or worse).It can make a strong statement ONLY if you don't use it as often as, say, the word "the". You sound like a total fool and imbecile when you use it in every sentence.  Like a hillbilly in the back hills with several teeth missing and twelve rusted out cars on your front lawn (or lack thereof). The word is no longer "cool" or whatever word means "cool" now.  It is simply a word. So, get over it and use it like you use an herb or spice. Sparingly. For special emphasis.  Not as a main dish.

The second? How people (no matter the age group, I have heard plenty of 50 and 60 year olds do this) use this word in work situations! In conference calls, group meetings, banquets, fund raisers...nothing is exempt! This is simply another example of how selfish we have become as a society.  "I use this word, so everyone better get used to it."  I am sorry, but when you are in a professional situation, or a gathering where there are people whose background you don't know, it should be a given that you don't try to offend. There are religious people and other people who ARE offended by this and, no, they should not get over it.

I know it must be extremely difficult for these cursing people to believe, but the whole world does NOT have to adapt to their standards.  Amazing, isn't it. And please don't tell me that "this is who you are".  You also have body odor after working in the yard all day, and your hair gets greasy.  That's "real", dear. Does that mean you don't clean up before attending work or an event?  Well, clean up your mouth, too.

Is the word f*ck that important to you that you willingly lose out on some valuable new contacts, contributions, donations, invitations, and cause alienation of employees in order to show off your freedom of speech?  Rein in your tongue during these types of events.  Surely you have a large enough vocabulary that you can come up with something acceptable to everyone.  If you can't, please take a community education course in English 101.

Yes, I can be crude. Yes, I use bad language in my personal life, and in my blogging life (although I don't think I have used the f-word in my blogs).  But I have to tell you that when I did a GoToMeeting or a conference call, I refrained.  My cover letters don't call the company a f*cking great place to work. Neither should you tell ME that we need to f*cking sell the daylights out of a new product, or ask me what the f*ck I was thinking if you are my superior.  You are supposed to be an example, not a buddy.

Thank you. In fact, thank you very much...and please note I did not add the f word when thanking you.  I think you still got the message.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why I Write (It Sure Ain't the Money, Folks!)

It is very easy to get discouraged as an indie author. You can't find enough time in the day to write if you promote enough.  If you don't promote, people can't possibly know about your books. And, how much promotion is good and when does it become annoying to others? Plus, the big name authors have the luxury of huge promotion budgets with their publisher. (The majority of authors signed by big publishers DON'T, though, and their books get lost until they are finally put in bargain bins...paying them nothing and resulting in a lost contract.)

It is great to be indie for many reasons (including the one in parentheses above), but it is not a get rich scheme.  It is not even a part time income for quite some time, at least for most of us. Many people are lucky to sell 100 books. I have been fortunate enough to do better than that...but let's just say I am not even close to earning a living yet.  So, it is easy to get discouraged.

Then there is the issue of price.  A ton of indies go free, hoping to build a following.  A lot price their books at .99.  Both of these can get a lot of readers, but they are not necessarily the readers you want to target. Many people download anything free or .99 and then bitch about the fact that they don't like "that kind of book".  Maybe they are romance fans and your book is horror.  Or they love mysteries and yours is science fiction.  They downloaded it because it was free, or close to it, and now they leave a bad review simply because of the genre.

There is also the issue of how many poorly edited and proofed cheap indie books are out there. Because of that, many other readers do NOT download free or .99. So, what is an indie to do? For months I priced mine at $2.99.  Then I noticed that a lot of other $2.99 books were a) a lot shorter and b) a lot less professionally done.  Lots of  editing issues.

I decided to raise my prices to $4.99.  Now I have to face a new problem.  There are a lot of readers that won't give an indie a chance if they have to pay much at all.  Seriously is $4.99 asking too much for several hours of pleasure? How much does a movie cost you? How much to paperbacks cost you? Still, many hesitate. Others won't touch historical fiction for less than that.  So I am trying the $4.99.  There is a lot of research that goes into writing about another era and the books are all over 400 pages.  (I see Amazon has "estimated" my 3rd book at 323 pages. How they do that for a kindle book is flawed.  I have news for them. When the paperback comes out it will be over 400.) Will I be able to sell decently at $4.99?  Time will tell. I hope people are willing to pay under $5.00 for a well done story.

So far, things have not taken off in that huge way every author dreams of.  It happens, rarely, but so far not for me.  I have sold decently some months, others not.  But, please, don't think I am whining.  I chose this path, and I am damn proud of my work.  I am also grateful for each and every fan.  I am just saying that sometimes I get discouraged.

Then something happens that reminds me why I write.  Take yesterday. I heard from someone who loves my work.  She told me that she can't wait to read book 3 and that she has read the first two books in The Gastien Series THREE TIMES already! The books have not even been out a year. Her husband also loves them and has her read them out loud to him. He has cried over some of the events.  So has she.

That touched me so very deeply that I can't even find the words to express my joy. I have moved those two people; made them feel for my characters deeply.  I have provided them hours of entertainment and brought a couple closer together through sharing these books. They love my work and they are excited when I put out a new book. I don't know these people personally. We don't even live in the same state.  We will probably never meet. But I am part of their lives in a positive way. 

We are tied together through some words I typed, held permanently together by love of a character named Gastien and the people in his life. He has done more as a fictional character than many people walking around today will ever do. He has given some people new experiences through his story. Yes, we are tied together for the rest of our lives, and I am richer by far because of it.  Not in my bank account, but in my soul.

They are not my only fans. There are others, and let me tell you loud and clear, I deeply value each and every one of them. I can only hope that the happiness they get from my work is as great as the happiness they have given me by letting me know they love my work.

It ain't money, babe. Although it would be nice. It ain't fame. It IS to know someone has been moved and entertained.  To know my words matter; that they have made an impact. That, my friends, is quite simply why I write.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Brand New Baby! Book 3 of The Gastien Series is Live!

First, please let me apologize for not blogging for the past several days.  I have been busy giving birth to my new novel, Tristan Michel: Bloodline of Passion. It is book 3 of The Gastien Series and is historical ficiton/family saga that takes place duirng the early twetieth century.  Here is the description:

From the bustling streets of New York City to the smoky speakeasies of Roaring Twenties Chicago, Tristan finds huge financial success. Along with respect, tradition, and family, he promises himself that this will be enough. Having achieved peace by forgiving his father his debauchery, he’s certain that there is nothing that could induce him to follow in his father’s lascivious footsteps.

Like father, like son will never apply to Tristan.

Then the urgent whisper that has been telling him there should be more than what he is experiencing with his wife becomes a full blown roar. With a very proper wife that refuses to loosen up, Tristan learns that the passion of the father is very much the passion of the son. To deny it may be impossible, but to embrace it could cost him everything. Book 3 of The Gastien Series.

And here are the buy links for Kindle and NOOK (Paperback will be available on Amazon by June. You can click on the Amazon link and then go to paperback once it is ready): For Kindle readers For NOOK readers

You will find the first two books in the series on this blog.  Just click on the book covers to go to If you have Nook, you can type in "The Gastien Series" and all three books will show up.
I am going to be working on the formatting for paperback the rest of this week and taking a week off to paint after that. I will try to blog some, but may get bogged down in formatting (and later may be in my own speical world while painting).   Thank you for your patience while I do these things.  I hope you don't leave my blog, as I enjoy having you visit. I promise I will be back regularly real soon!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Feeling Guilty About My Parrots

Writing as an indie author is hard work! For the last couple of weeks I have been busy with proofing and editing. If it is not that, I am writing and marketing, interviewing, get the picture. Before I know it, the day is over.

Then it is time for exercising, dinner, time with Dave, chores...and again you get the picture. Day over.  Time for bed.  The only problem is, I have 2 parrots that need attention. Two beautiful hookbills with the intelligence of a two year old human (Pionus) and 5 year old human (African Grey) who wait patiently, wondering when "Mommy" will give them some personal attention and love.

Oh, I clean up their cages every day.  They always have clean perches, new paper and clean dishes.  They are given fresh water three times and food twice a day.  They get out on their play gyms every day. 

The problem is, I don't spend personal love time with them like I used to. I don't know why the day goes by so much faster now.  Perhaps I am getting slower, I don't know. All I know is my heart breaks when I look at them and think "Another day that I did not hold you on my arm and tell you how beautiful you are, how I love you.  Another day closer to when you leave me and I will wish I would have felt the soft velvet of your feathers a few more times." 

I promise myself I will do better.  And then life happens. Would they be better off in another home?  I don't know. They certainly are part of our lives.  They sit on play gyms in the room where we usually are, or in cages with toys and DirecTV. Birds outside don't do much besides eat, sleep, preen, and escape danger.  So maybe they are fine.
Maybe if I found new homes for them it would break their hearts.  Kazoo (the Pionus parrot) has been with us twenty years.  He will be twenty-one in August.  I hand fed him as a baby. I am his world.  I am sure he wonders why he does not get as much attention as he used to, but how would he feel never seeing me again?

Melanie has been with us sixteen years. She will be seventeen in June. At only three and 1/2 months old, we were her fourth home! That was too young to have been moved from the breeders.  We worked with her and she healed from an illness (the first grey on record to do so)...and now talks like crazy. What would she think if we "got rid" of her? What would going to a fifth home do to her self esteem?  And, yes, parrots have self esteem.  Especially parrots with the intelligence of a five year old.

No, finding new homes is not the answer.  Perhaps I transfer my guilt into feelings they are not even feeling.  Perhaps they are just fine! I don' know.  I know they want attention and I know all too often I don't give it. An endless circle of guilt.  Yet, without them life would not be as wonderful.

And so, once again, I promise to do better.  Today I will take the time to sit outside with them for at least a half an hour.  Maybe a half an hour each individually and tell them each how fabulous, how beautiful, how precious they really are. Life with parrots is truly special.

Ah, little velvet man and African satin princess, how I love you.  I have failed many times to show it, but you are dreams come true. I wanted you since I was a child.  Please forgive me my lack of time. You are always in my heart and I will try,really try, to give you more of me. Being human, I will fail many times.  Please forgive me when I do. Please forgive me and remember that I love you. So much that at times it breaks my heart.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Masochistic Art of Weeding (Will I Ever Stand Upright Again?)

Indie Authors spend a great deal of time sitting on their ass writing, proofing, planning, and promoting.  Trust me, I realize that somehow I need to find time to exercise if I don't want to become so fat that my husband needs a crane to move me from my laptop to my recliner.

I ride an exercise bike 30 minutes a day every weekday and walk 2 miles a day at least five days a week, too. Muscle pain is always with me, so I load up on either Tylenol or Advil (neither work that great) before walking.

So, what is the deal with hurting like a, well, you know...just because I did some weeding this week?  Yowser! Yes, it is that time of year again.  The time where I go out and use Preen in all the areas around shrubs and our pool, plus under where the two huge pines are in back.  Ooops.  Where they were.  They are now gone, but grass is not yet back.
Because it has been wet, I did not get out there before some weeds came. For some masochistic reason we all believe that putting rocks around shrubs will prevent weeds.  Wrong. The weeds come anyway, pounding through the plastic barrier. They should invent a Viagra with as much hard force for those older gents who want to get the job done well, (hell, even the younger ones) but I digress. Nothing says "idiot" quite like having to pull weeds with little rocks surrounding each of them.

Yes, I should wear gloves.  No, I don't.  I can't work with them on.  So my hands get cut from the rocks, black from the dirt and the neighborhood learns several new, creative ways to combine filthy curse words.  Hey, I am not an author for nothin'.

Down on my knees for hours, bending, stooping, pulling, shaking preen like an ancient medicine man shaking a talisman over the afflicted...hours later I am still not done.  Nope.  I have the area where the pines were left.  I just don't know if I will be able to kneel down there and get back up! In the front I was lying full length to reach under some shrubs and felt my ribs separating in ways that only a medieval torture device should be able to accomplish. 

It is hell getting old.  Can somebody say condo?

It has been too cold and rainy to enjoy our flowering crab (which is now done flowering) or the lilacs that have been blooming this week.  Today is supposed to be nice, so I will sit by them and proofread.  I want at least one day of my second favorite spring scent surrounding me.  My favorite is the mock orange blossoms that will come in a few weeks.  Everything is very early this year.

Stiff, sore, and crabby I went to bed last night.  It was raining, so I opened the window a crack.  Ah.  Oh, yeah. That is one of my favorite spring events.  A good, old fashioned thunderstorm, playing out it's symphony while I go to sleep. It almost made the weeding all worth while.

But then I had to try to get out of bed this morning. Has anyone tried Cheerios with a good Cabernet replacing the milk?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards

I am proud to be a part of the 1st eFestival of Words even in August 2012.  Although none of my books have been nominated, I want to share this Press Release with you so that you can not only find out about the eFestival, but vote for your favorites that have been nominated!  Please check this out:

eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook AwardsBellmawr, NJ: The eFestival of Words Virtual Book Fair announces the nominees for the first Best of the Independent eBook Awards. The complete list of nominees can be found at

The eFestival of Words, scheduled for August 17-19, 2012, is the first virtual book fair designed specifically to highlight the best of the independent digital publishing community. The awards program is one of many events being ran in conjunction with the fair.

According to Event Coordinator Julie Ann Dawson, “The goal of the eFestival of Words Awards is to highlight those independent authors and publishers that have worked to raise the bar in terms of the literary quality and production value and of digital books. Many people still think of ebooks as nothing more than scanned pages of print books. We hope that both the fair and the awards will help readers discover the amazing wealth of original content being produced in digital formats.”

Dawson, who has operated Bards and Sages Publishing since 2002, says that all nominees were nominated by their peers in the industry. Only authors, publishers, and others involved in the production of digital books were invited to submit ballots. Nominations were accepted in over two dozen categories, including genre categories (horror, romance, thrillers, etc), format-specific (short story, novella, novel) and a few just-for-fun categories (such as The "I've Been Shyamalaned" Award for Best Twist Ending).

Each category will be narrowed down further seven finalists, which will be announced July 1, 2012. Final voting will be opened to all registered attendees of the eFestival of Words, with winners announced on the last day of the fair. Registration is free and entitles the attendees to not only vote in the final awards, but also participate in panel discussion, author chats, workshops, and more.

For more information on the fair and the awards, visit