Sunday, December 30, 2012

This and That

Last update for 2012 - hard to believe that 2013 is literally right around the corner. It will take me a few weeks to get used to typing 2013 or writing it but by time I start attending events, I should be able to handle it - lol.

Sales have been slow all year but I can't complain because I have had some sales. I would have loved to have seen twice or three times my actual sales, but there is always next year. Hopefully with new stories coming out, my sales will increase.  I wish I knew someone who could do covers fairly inexpensively for both print and ebooks since I'm working on making Kelly and Emma into a series.

What I've decided to do  is open the series to 4th through 8th graders who would like to see a new story featuring Kelly and Emma, keeping in the tradition of Nancy Drew or any other type of mystery on those lines.  I created a flyer and sent to about 30 or  more  elementary and middle schools asking for students who would like to have their story idea published to submit a 1-page synopsis of a story with a title that they would like to see turned into a novel.  If their idea is chosen, they will receivea signed copy of Finally Home plus a signed copy of their story when it is published.  In addition, their school will receive a signed copy of Finally Home plus the student's story when it is published.  It is possible that I could give away over 60 copies of Finally Home.  Mr. Hughes said it best that this sounds like good publicity for me.  I hope most of the schools participate.  I decided the other day, while chatting with Mr. Hughes, that I would probably pick one story from each school that participates.

This writing event is open to homeschoolers as well, so if you know any students who are in the age range and would like to participate, please pass this information on so that they have an opportunity to participate.  The writing contest ends January 31, 2013, so there is plenty of time to submit ideas.  If you would like your student's school to participate, please send me the school librarian's contact information so I can email the information to her and she can pass it on to all the schools. 

The red, white and blue afghan drawing was great. I didn't really count how many entries I had but it had to be well over 300 (considering two sales in November ended up with 35 and 40 entries).  I will keep the cost of the tickets down to 2/$1 and with every book purchase 5 tickets given.  The winner of the afghan was local and she was so surprised and very appreciative of winning.  I know with the cold weather that the afghan has probably been  used a good bit this month.

I think I have a premade cover for "Butterfly Halves" so hope to be able to get the cover next week and publish it as an ebook.  I will be on the lookout for a premade (inexpensive) cover for "La Cave" and "Zombies Amuck" throughout the year plus covers for new stories in the Kelly Watson series.  The state books are on hold for now since I can't pay Heather for the covers, illustrations and book designs.  I'd love to get back to them but until my sales are up to 500 print runs of each title, it's hard to pay her.  I've not forgotten her but she has probably written me off and I may need to look for a new illustrator for the state stories. I'd love to pick  up a sponsor for those books so that all I would have to do is write the stories and then shoot them over to Heather to do her illustrations and the covers and get everything ready to go (by having a sponsor, I would be able to pay her immediately and not have to worry about  it).   I'll keep working on this aspect of the state stories and hope something good turns up this year.

On the sales front, I averaged 28 books sold per quarter, selling a total of 112 books which covered both ebooks available and print books available.  Compared to 2011, I almost doubled sales. If I can double sales in 2013, that will be a step in the right direction.  My best month was November when I sold 18 books total (3 of Finally Home and 2 of each of the state titles save 4 of Successes plus 1 copy of "Train of Clues"). I will need to order some more of "Train of Clues" and Finally Home to start building my stock again as I am running low on both of those.  I'll have to do an inventory so that I can start getting my state stories up in stock as well but I'm pretty good as far as what I do have available right now.

I did sell one of  the Carolina (USC) colored scarves; two of the Clemson (University) colored scarves and no other scarves or afghans this year.  I ended up giving three of the afghans away to my kids for Christmas, so I still have 5 afghans available. I need to restock yarn for the bookworms and get those done before March so that I have a ton of bookworms going into the event season. 

March is the SCASL conference and then I have to decide where to go from there.  So here's to a good year and hopefully a spike in sales - See you all in the postings and hope you have a safe and blessed New Year celebration - Mrs. E :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Interview is up

I apparently had in my mind I told Karen to post my interview tomorrow but I was mistaken.  It was set for today.  Stop by Karen's blog and see what kind of interesting questions she asked about cozy mysteries and see how I faltered, um answered her.  Don't forget there is an opportunity to win a signed copy of Finally Home from the MysteryMostCozy facebook page, so follow the link at the end of the intereview to get to the MMC page, join, and then go to the current contest and check join or going or whatever the option is there to be entered in the drawing.  The drawing ends Sunday at 11 PM eastern, so make sure  you have joined before then.  Happy reading and good luck to everyone who enters.  See you all in the postings -E :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Educator's Life: Mrs. Claus in Jail??? Creative Writing Gone Crazy!...

Mr. Hughes is at it again with writing activities, now one for the holidays.  Looks like fun and wish I coukd have been in class to participate with them.  If you are interested, his kit is available from TpT (Teachers pay Teachers).

An Educator's Life: Mrs. Claus in Jail??? Creative Writing Gone Crazy!...: Little did I know this morning that I would unleash an amazing avalanche of creative writing by my three writing classes. I have been wanti...

Don't forget I'm offering an opportunity for students to share ideas for new stories in the Kelly Watson series, so have your fourth grader up through middle schooler put their thinking caps on and submit a synopsis of a story they would like to see written.  If their story is picked, they will receive a copy ofFinally Home plus once their story is published, a copy of that.  For more details, you can email me at  E :

Sunday, December 16, 2012

This and That

First, no takers on my deal from last week's postings so basically no sales anywhere - no ebooks have sold since September. 

I was reading one of the posts on the Novel Spaces blog the other day and exploring the ebook cover designs and may have found one for "Butterfly Halves" and possibly one for a story that has never been published, "La Cave".  I've contacted the first site about the butterfly cover and may be able to get the cover after the holidays, hopefully. 

The one for "La Cave" is kind of up in the air right now because I like three covers on the same site that I feel will fit the book pretty much.  So I have to think about it. 

This Friday, I'll be the guest on Karen Rigley's blog celebrating the Mystery Most Cozy's tenth anniversary.  I'm giving away a signed copy of Finally Home for this celebration.  In order to be eligible for the drawing, you have to join the MMC facebook page and when Jenny posts the contest announcement, you have to click on join and your name will automatically go in the drawing.  So, if you like mysteries, and specifically cozies, stop over on the MysteryMostCozy facebook page and join it to be eligible for any of the drawings going on through January.  Help us celebrate ten years.

My last bit of news or an idea I had while sitting here working last night is that I've decided to hold a mini-contest for students.  Since everyone who has read Finally Home says I need to make it a series with my  characters, Kelly and Emma, I'm going to open the doors to students - write a synopsis of a mystery you would like to see written and receive a copy of Finally Home and once that story is published, a copy of the new story.  The contest is open to fourth graders and up (I think that covers the age group of 10 and up) and I will probably pick at least 10 stories.  The mystery has to occur in a small town since that is where Kelly and Emma live and has to be something that 13-year-olds can get around town easily to solve.  Think on the lines of "Encyclopedia Brown", "Nancy Drew" (minus the ability to drive around to other towns) and "The Boxcar Children." 

The mysteries can be anything, remembering that Kelly has a bit of a psychic power (she can touch things and travel back to see things that have happened that lead her to clues to solve the mystery, which is a new trait I just thought of since I hadn't planned on writing a series).  Emma is the noseybody neighbor who helps Kelly; she's the mayor's daughter and has ways of getting around without breaking the law - like keys to houses that would be owned by the city or are in limbo (delapitated type houses set for being torn down); she's the first person who greeted Kelly and her family when they moved to the small town where the story is set.

With the holidays coming up and everyone going on winter break soon, I will run this contest through the end of January.  I'm going to do a flyer to send out to elementary and middle schools in the area and a few others that I know would probably participate.  If any of my readers know of any children who would like to participate by submitting a synopsis of a storyline, please pass the word on.  Submissions can be made directly to me via email as an attachment ( or mailed to me (please email me for mailing address).  Looking forward to reading the ideas and getting some new stories out there. 

See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Novel Spaces: Looking for Pre-made eBook Covers?

I was exploring the blog where Sunny posted her article and found this posting.  So I've been checking out sites for premade ebook covers and found some pretty interesting ones.  of course I should have been working but it's all good the work will get done.  explore the sites and who knows what you may find.  Most are geared for romance, chick lit and fantasy, but the last one has an abundant amount of variety to choose from and she is running a sale right now half off - one cover for $30, three covers for $75, which can be used at a later date.  have fun exploring - E :

Novel Spaces: Looking for Pre-made eBook Covers?: If a book has a great cover, it screams 'PICK ME UP!"  When it doesn't, then I'm less likely to notice it unless I've heard of the author or...

Novel Spaces: Are You Holding Your Novel Hostage?

good article by Sunny Frazier to novice writers about letting go and moving forward with their novels.  E :

Novel Spaces: Are You Holding Your Novel Hostage?: I received an interesting email the other day from one of the authors in the publishing house I work for. Sales for this author's book were ...

Sunday, December 09, 2012

This and That

I totally forgot to post my this and that posting last Sunday but it's not like there was anything to report, so you all didn't miss much.  I also was at our local Sisters in Crime holiday party so worked some and really didn't think about posting anything.

This week is a little different.  I have things to report. 

First, book sales - there have been no ebooks sold this week or this month or the past several months.  I'm still running my special over on smashwords for Finally Home with coupon code NL88Q for half off - $1.50 a download.  I've had some wonderful praises from readers for this book and it would make a great gift for that young reader who likes mysteries or who likes Nancy Drew mysteries specifically.  I'm also considering making this a series but am looking for some ideas on writing more mysteries using Kelly and Emma as my continuing characters.  So, for the rest of this year, if you leave a comment on any posting of an idea for Kelly and Emma and I use your idea for another story, you will receive a free Nook or Kindle download of Finally Home; or if you have already read Finally Home, then when a new story is published, you will receive a copy of that story. 

Actual physical book sales were not bad this week as I sold seven (7) books to the Belton Museum.  The director bought four copies of State of Successes and three (3) copies of Finally Home for the museum.  So just from a phone call and a referral from a customer from the Sugarfoot Festival in October, I made a quick sale.  Not that I have any of  the money  left since I went to Walmart and spent it on a few things I needed plus a few things I didn't really need but wanted - I bought some more yarn to make myself an afghan since I picked up a color I really like -it's called Real Teal and I'm pairing it with Aran, which is an offwhite/cream/ecru color.  The difference between the solid colors and varigated colors is the skein sizes (7 ounces for solid colors versus 5 ounces for the varigated colors) and how much more I'm getting from one skein.  I've finished the first skein of Real Teal (I bought 3 of this color and 2 of the Aran) and used a one-size bigger hook and actually got 20 rows from the skein as opposed to only 12 rows from the varigated using 6 skeins per afghan (30 ounces); so if this holds true for the other skeins, then I will end up with an afghan that is 100 rows deep, which makes it much bigger. 

I will continue working with the varigated colors for events but for me personally, I like the solid alternating colors. 

I posted Friday evening a special 1-week only deal on bookworms and books.  This deal will end at midnight next Saturday night.  Place orders via email ( before then in order to guarantee delivery by Christmas. 

This week, on the 12th, I have a posting about 12/12/12 going up on the Writers on the Move blog, so stop on over and leave a comment. 

I think this is all I have to report.  Don't forget to comment on any posting between now and the end of the year with any ideas you may have for new stories with Kelly and Emma.  See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas Special Deal

Today I went to town to run some errands and while in Walmart picking up more yarn (yes I'm crazy), I got to thinking that I need to run a special deal.  So please pass the word, book orders directly from me will be 20% off retail plus you receive a free bookworm.  I'm also offering my bookworms for $1 each with free shipping with a minimum of 5 per order.  The colors left are Mirage (11), Ocean (17), Aspen (4), Melonberry (2), Marrakesh (2) and Watercolor (27). 

This special deal will be good through the 15th of this month to guarantee delivery by Christmas.

Books available:
Finally Home - 2 copies (retail $12; sale price $9.60, but down to $9.50)
Train of Clues - 5 copies  (retail $7; sale price $5.60, but down to $5.50)
State of Wilderness - 16 copies  (retail $10, sale price $8)
State of Quarries - 3 copies  (retail $12.50; sale price $10)
State of Reservations 1 copy (retail $12.50, sale price $10)
State of Successes - 8 copies (retail $10, sale price $8)
State of Heights - 18 copies (retail $10, sale price $8)
State of Nature - 16 copies (retail $10, sale price $8)

To place order, please email me at and I'll forward instructions for payment.  Don't forget to let me know who to make the books to and where to send them and your choice of bookworm; each book equals one free bookworm, so if  you order 7 books, you get 7 bookworms.


See you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Congrats goes to Deborah Malone from Honea Path who purchased 2 chances at the Sugarfoot festival in October for having one of her tickets drawn in red, white and blue afghan drawing.  Thank you to Larry Bowman, birthday guy, at our Sisters in Crime holiday party for picking the winning ticket.  Deborah will have afghan in hand this week.  E :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

This and That

Not much to report this week given that last week was Thanksgiving and I've not really done much of anything.  I did finish three Carolina colored scarves and two of the Clemson colored scarves.  I think I can get one more Clemson one made but that will have to wait until this evening while I'm doing laundry.

I decided to do the drawing for the red, white and blue afghan next Sunday since I'm by myself and will be at our local chapter Sisters in Crime holiday celebration.   I'll have one of the folks pick the winning ticket.  Officially sales are completed but if I get any  online requests this week for chances, I'll add them to the  pot which is well over 300 - thanks to my wonderful book sales from the weekend at the Cascades Verdae.  Good luck to all my readers who have chances already. 

See you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

School Color Scarves

I started crocheting scarves a couple of weeks ago and today put the finishing touches on the three USCarolina scarves I had made up.  I just started the Clemson colored scarves and should have those finished this weekend.  If anyone would like to order a scarf in their school colors (2 different colors) or even a scarf in their favorite colors, they are selling for $10 plus $5 for shipping.  They make great gifts for the sports fan you may know.  Pictures to come soon - see you all in the postings - E :)

Thanksgiving 2012

Today, we citizens in the United States celebrate a day of thanks.  We spend time with family and remember what we are thankful for.since the beginning of the year.  Today I am thankful  for my friends and family.  I'm thankful for having the opportunity of putting my books in the hands of a few readers.  I'm thankful to have a job and wonderful supervisors.  I'm thankful for a roof over my  head and food in my belly.  What are you thankful for?  Share your thanks.  E :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Writers On The Move: Character Relationships

Great posting by Shirley Corder over on Writers on the Move blog - E :)

Writers On The Move: Character Relationships: Although my publications are all non-fiction, I have written six novels, five of them for NaNoWriMo. I've never got around to publishing...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Finally Home Half Price Pre-Black Friday Sale

If you would like to get a copy of FINALLY HOME for any ereader, just go to and purchase the book.  At checkout, just enter the code NL88Q (not case sensitive).  Once you have made your purchase, email me with your choice of "The Proposal" or "The Tulip Kiss" or "Bride-and-Seek" as a free download (Kindle or Nook versions only).  This sale is good through December 23 - so gift a copy to someone you love for the holidays - E :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

This and That

Let's start this week's post by saying NaNo is a bust of sorts in that I've not had a chance to write.  But it's all good, I've written over 4000 words this month.  I'll get back to the writing soon. 

Ebook sales are nonexistent at this point but it's all good.  I'll probably run a special deal on several of my books on smashwords and see if that will boost sales.  Of course, if I would publish a few more books, that might help too.

This past weekend I participated in the Holiday Bazaar at the Cascades Verdae (a retirement community) in Greenville. This was Friday and Saturday, so should have done better the second day.  That wasn't the case, not  that I'm complaining or anythng.  I did very well the first day - sold 17 books and 8 bookworms on Friday.  On Saturday I sold 1 book and 6 or 8 or 10 (I lost count as there were no shoppers to speak of on Saturday).  I had also put some The Girl's duct tape wallets out for her even though she was working and sold four of them for her.  I sold  the woven one and three small ones.  She was very happy with that.  I didn't sell any afghans or scarves that I had made up but did purchase some Carolina Gamecocks colored  yarn to make up a couple of scarves that way (only got one part way completed not that it mattered as no one was buying anything Saturday) as well as some Clemson colors.  As soon as I have those made up - I will post them and put them up for sale.  I would have loved to have sold some afghans, and the weather is cold enough, but with old people in a retirement community they already have enough of this type of  item or most of the ladies crochet or knit, so selling there wouldn't be a good thing.

I covered my costs and was able to get ink for my printer and a few other items.  So overall, I am pleased with the weekend.  There may be one  more local event for me in Greenville but I'll have to check them out and see if  I can still get a spot.  I'll keep you  all  posted and for now signing off so I can get some work done - E :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This and That

No sales this week.  I do have on event scheduled this coming weekend.  It is a local event at a retirement center.  Apparently the director of the festival has been talking up my books, so hopefully that will generate some decent sales.  I'm glad I've got something scheduled this month as I was feeling a bit antsy about not having anything this month.  I've been trying to contact the museum to get my books in there but every time I call, the person I need to speak to is out or not there.  Maybe this week before the scheduled event I can get my books in the gift shop at the Belton Depot Museum. 

This is the last week to get your raffle chances at the special price of 2/$1.  The drawing will be held December 1 and the afghan mailed out about the 7th of December.  If you purchase any book, you still get the 5 chances in the drawing. 

See you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

One Year

I've had my van one year today.  Experiencing a few problems but hopefully I can get them taken care of soon.  I still love having my van because almost every single book event realted item is packed in there.  Grant it, I can't get too many passengers in my van, but I usually don't have anyone riding with me unless THE GIRL goes to an event with me.  So, I'm a pretty happy camper with my van.  Still don't have a name for her yet, so maybe I'll run a contest soon to name the van and  give away some goodies.  See you all in the postings - E :)

Monday, November 05, 2012

This and That

I was without my internet yesterday so didn't get to post.  Nothing new to report.  Afghan raffle drawing chances are still on sale 2/$1 and will be until next week - the 15th.  I do have a local event on the 16th and 17th - so will report more about that next week.

Writing is going rather slowly - I've written one day and not the others and today is already the 5th, but work first and then I can think of writing - I hope to get on track with this story although I really don't feel it will come together like I envisioned it. 

See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Imogene: Innocense Lost

So yesterday was the start of NaNo (for those who haven't heard this before it is National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short) and I decided instead of trying to pump out Imogene's story over the course of the 10 weeks as previously stated using the BIW method that I would attempt to write most of her story this month.  Grant it, I do have one event scheduled for the middle of the month - 2 days but it's fairly local and if I can work on Imogene during that event, I'll be okay.  Anyway, the month is just getting started and the goal is to write 1667 words a day for the next 30 days.  I'm hoping that I can write more than that on Saturdays and nonwork days.  I did fall a little short yesterday at only 1320 words written but have hopes of making that up and then some tomorrow.  I have my widget on the side bar if you are interested in following my word counts for the month.  I'm also going to put the regional widgets up so you can see where all the regions in South Carolina are faring.  I could participate in two of the seven regions but my home region is Greenville, sorry Clemson/Anderson (really this is more a Clemson region than it is Anderson as they meet mostly in Clemson and the members are mostly students at Clemson University).  Looking forward to finally getting Imogene's story written - see you all in the postings - E :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

KAREN ELIZABETH BROWN: It was a dark and stormy night...

Wow - some terrific points by Karen Elizabeth - stop over and see what she has to say.  See you all in the postings - E :)

KAREN ELIZABETH BROWN: It was a dark and stormy night...: Have you had trouble with that first sentence? Do you want to set the scene without becoming cliche? I've struggled over that first line tim...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Anne R. Allen's Blog: 8 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Book—Tips from a ...

Check out the posting on 8 ways to improve your writing.  Some of these were just discussed with the 6th grade class I work with.  Nice to be reinforced a bit.  E :)
Anne R. Allen's Blog: 8 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Book—Tips from a ...: T his week we have some serious nuts-and-bolts advice from our own Ruth Harris. Ruth learned this stuff from both sides of the editorial d...

This and That

Not much going on this week.  Halloween is right around the corner and behind that is NaNo (National Novel Writing Month - November) and my writer inspiration friend is back (and particiapting in NaNo also) and I hope to get Imogene's story written during the month. 

I am still running my afghan drawing special through the middle of November for the special deal of 2/$1 - so hurry and get your chances before the deal goes away.

I am also offerig my 8 "Curl up with a good book" afghans at 10% off until October 31 (reduced from $75 to $68 plus shipping - $80 total).  I would love to see them go to good homes and I did have a lot of comments on them at the Sugarfoot festival last weekend.

I've been trying to play catchup with work so I best get over there and really buckle down today since romorrow is laundry day and editing for a friend day.  See you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alaskan Healing

My friend Lana has been interviewed by my other friend Darcia Helle.  Stop on over for a coupon code for Lana's book on smashwords and see what Lana has to say about writing and life in general.  E :

Alaskan Healing

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


We were talking about characters and developing them in our stories in class and lo and behold, Elizabeth posts a really good listing of how to keep track of your characters' characterizations/personalities/mannerisms  - stop over and see what all she has to say on the subject. - E :)

KAREN ELIZABETH BROWN: Characterization: Creating characters that are believable and capricious all at the same time can require a lot of work. I've started a character journal ...

Monday, October 22, 2012

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Check Out L'il Gal Al And The Zombies Of Amarillo ...

Susanne is at it again - finding the zombies or should I say they are finding her.  Wonder if they have eaten anyone's brains yet - lol.  Stop over to check out the book she is featuring today - E :)

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Check Out L'il Gal Al And The Zombies Of Amarillo ...: Stop by Christine Rains blog and check out her book, L'IL GAL AL AND THE ZOMBIES OF AMARILLO.   You'll find a blurb for the book and l...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This and That

The online sales this week have been nil again. 

The Sugarfoot festival this weekend wasn't too bad but I don't think the crowds were nearly what they were a couple of years ago.  I did sell 3 books and about a dozen bookworms, no afghans though which I really needed to sell some of them to pay the car payment or get groceries but it will all work out. 

I sold 3 (really 6 since I had a 2/$1 special going on) chances for the red, white, and blue afghan and gave 15 chances for the book purchases.  This year's drawing will be a good one since I have quite a few chances in the bucket, compared to last year only having 20 but I didn't start the drawing idea until May and didn't do the drawing the same way.  Last year I didn't have rolls of tickets for the drawing but used the sales receipts so only those who actually made a purchase got their name in the drawing and only one time regardless of how many books on their purchase.  This year the chances are greater since you get several with the purchase of a book and you can buy chances without buying a book. 

The people next to me are starting their own "festival company" where they book festivals and invite vendors in to come display their wares and I've been invited to two fairly local ones in November and it may be a good thing as I didn't have anything scheduled in November this year secondary to finances.  I can't make the first event since it is a couple of weeks away (although I would love to go to that but I don't get paid until after the event so can't even pay for the booth rental right now).  The next one is the middle of November, the week before Thanksgiving, which I will probably do as that will be the Christmas shopping season.  I hadn't planned doing any events in November secondary to finances as well as wanting to write Imogene's story during NaNo, but if I can get to the point of being back on track from book sales, et cetera.  It will all work out as it is supposed to and if Imogene is meant to be completed next month, she will be. 

One of the ladies who bought a State of Successes book works in the museum in the next town over and asked me to contact the person in charge of the gift shop there to put my books there on consignment, which I will do this coming week. 

And then I had the 11-year-old who bought a copy of State of Wilderness and Finally Home who wanted to talk my ear off at the end of the day after having been there for over 12 hours.  She was sweet and had the heaviest southern accent I've heard on a child but then again she lives in the area and this is a very redneck/hick/southern town/area.  I hope I don't sound that southern when I'm talking to folks since I'm not a true southerner, having been born in Japan and lived in quite a few places, although admittedly I have been in the South Carolina/North Carolina area the last 36 years probably makes more more southern than not.  She told me jokes, about "kidnapping" her grandmother and taking her to Cracker Barrel for her birthday, about the place in Anderson where her cousin apparently fell in the hay like she was supposed to and hit her head on something and ended up with a mild concussion.  She is an avid reader, more than I can claim to read because she read over 17,000 pages during the summer (I think that is the number her mother said or maybe it was more than 1700 pages) so I gave her a bookworm for that accomplishment.  After all the jokes and what not, I pulled out a composition book that I had won as a door prize from an event I attended back in March and gave it to her to start writing all her stories down so that when I see her next year at the Sugarfoot festival she can share some of her stories with me.  I really think she needs to write down all her little ditties as she has some pretty good stories to tell.

Her mother also encouraged me to try to be at the Standpipe festival which is in Belton, the next town over, which the lady from the museum had also asked if I participated in the festival, because they do a thing called heritage days and that will help get me in the schools since they have local schools doing field trips and what not.  I have to double check and see when it is next year since I'm committed to Georgia COMO next year again and I can't have any conflicts - lol. 

Lastly, a man came up to the table right near the very end and does some work with one of the children's home in the area and was telling me about the event in December and so I'm looking at a possible book signing or author event there the first weekend of December. 

We had a good crowd late in the afternoon but most folks weren't even stopping at the tables - mostly just walking by and not talking.  I had printed off some Halloween coloring books for the COMO event to pass on to the librarians but no one wanted them (I think I gave out 2) so had those to pass out and I tried to give them to the smaller kids are into coloring and what not - so I did give all of them away. 

You all will probably see me at a few more local events next year with my travel being limited by finances right now, but if the distributors start carrying my books, then I could be at more events - see you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Next Big Thing blog Challenge

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?  Imogene:  Innocense Lost

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I was looking at some creative writing prompt sites last Decmeber and came across this site and five of the pictures jumped out at me that just said - story, story, story - (the numbers of the picture are #10, #20, #23, #38, and #41, not necessarily in that order - but China came to mind when I saw the pictures and the doll basically said - kidnapped little girl and the search for her.

What genre does your book fall under?  This is a tough one.  I'm thinking maybe intrigue, suspense but not a mystery per se - because we know who kidnapped Imogene; we just have to figure out how to get her back to her family.  Perhaps it's a psychological thriller - I just don't really know what genre to put it in. 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I've not thought that far ahead and I don't really follow any actors or actresses and the ones I do follow are too old to play this young family. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  A young girl goes missing and the search is on; mother is unrelentless until she brings her home.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  Probably self-published as I don't feel it is necessary to go through the angst of trying to get someone else to publish for me.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  Ha.  I'm still working on the first draft.  I hope to participate in NaNo next month and totally write the story but it will be going through a revamping since I can't really get it to start in China but can get her mother to China after the fact.  There is a secret that will have to come out that helps get the mother there. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  When I was describing this story to someone on the phone, they kind of said this sounds like one of those made for TV movies   So, I'm not really sure what other book to compare this to.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?  The pictures from the website as noted above.  I know there is a decent story here; so, now, the challenge is just to write the story. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  We have kidnapping, search and rescue, and bringing a family together - what's can be better than that?  Only kidding.  I don't know what would pique my readers' interests. 

UPDATE:  10/28/2012 - I was supposed to post this a couple of weeks ago and forgot but I don't have anyone to tag, so I apologize to Susanne for posting late.  If any of my readers would like to participate, same questions and just let me in the comment that you tagged yourself so we can follow your blog and postings - E :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"The Look" Blog Challenge

I've been tagged, not once but twice this week to participate in two different blog hops.  The first challenge is from my friend, Lana Voynich, author of Alaskan Healing and upcoming hockey romance story, Faceoff of the Heart.  For the challenge and to see Lana's posting, you can find it here

Here are the rules:  "The Look" is a writing prompt, a game, another tagging event. This is how U Got “The Look” works: you take your current manuscript, search for the word “look”, and post the surrounding paragraphs. Lastly, you tag 5 blogging authors who you think will be a good choice for the game.

So here is the beginning of Imogene:  Innocense Lost with the understanding that even though this story is really rough I'm about to revamp it next month when I participate in NaNo (gave up on BIW as previously challenged for myself).  I hope to release this story next summer or fall. 

Jacob watched his mother move her mashed potatoes around on the plate. He knew that this was a big trip for her. He couldn't help but wonder if he would ever measure up to Imogene. Even at his young age of almost eight years, he knew that Imogene was the love of his parents' lives. They always told him that he was special too and that they loved him just as much, but he had seen his mother holding the photograph, talking to the doll and crying herself to sleep so many nights. The photo. It wasn't anything spectacular, just the last time they were a family, and that was even before Jacob had been born. The photo was that of a smiling, young, dark-haired girl. So full of life and bubbling at the brims. Her long, straight hair and slightly slanted eyes gave her the appearance of having been of a different nationality, almost giving her an Asian look. His parents had been happy then too, but in pictures of Jacob and his parents it was very noticeable that the smiles had faded. People always said if Jacob had been older that he and Imogene could have been twins, and they could have; they had very similar features and shared more than just their parents as Jacob shared the same birth date with Imogene

The conversation lacked words but the emotions spoke loud and clear. Sarah Beth had decided that she would make one last trip to find her daughter. Daniel didn't want her to go; Sarah Beth fought and screamed and cried until there were no words left. She felt this trip was going to be different than previous trips where they had tried to make it a family vacation, all the while searching for their lost daughter. This year, something was different. She couldn't quite put her finger on what was bothering her but she had to try. It was find Imogene or die trying and with that thought, Sarah Beth decided this had to be done on her own as she really didn't want to lose the rest of her family.

UPDATE:  10/28/2012 - I was supposed to post this a couple of weeks ago and I don't have anyone to tag so I apologize to Lana for being so late in posting this - See you all in the postings

Monday, October 15, 2012

YA Authors You've Never Heard Of: The Poisoned Pencil – new YA mystery imprint

If you write YA mysteries and are looking for a new publisher, Poisoned Pen has opened a new imprint specifically for YA mysteries - go to the submission guidelines to see what they are looking for.  E :)

YA Authors You've Never Heard Of: The Poisoned Pencil – new YA mystery imprint:   Poisoned Pen Press is launching a new imprint The Poisoned Pencil , which will publish YA mysteries. Jessica Tribble was named publish...

This and That

So sales this week have been nil across the board but it's all good.  I'm still hoping the book distributors will pick up my books and start getting them into schools and that I'll be able to hopefully get back to the state stories next year (fingers crossed; without the distributors, I won't be able to pay my illustrator to get back on track, although I guess technically I could write the next four states as I have already picked the clues so we could title them already). 

The Sugarfoot Festival is this weekend, which is a local street fair of sorts where there will be lots of entertainment and crafts and food.  I hope to sell at least half or more of the afghans and several books to boot, knowing the bookworms will sell as they have been my most popular items since I started doing them last year at the Sugarfoot Festival.  The colors have grown so selling out of them would be nice, but the afghans would be icing on the cake. 

I'm running a special deal on my red, white and blue afghan chances - 2 for $1.00 - so you can double your chances of being the winner of this beautiful afghan.  Thsi deal will run through November 15 and the drawing will be December 1.  Tell everyone you know.  Remember you can email me for more instructions on how to purchase chances for this drawing.   See you all in the postings.  - E :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm an Addict!

No, I'm not addicted to drugs or alcohol or anything like that.  I'm addicted to my tablet.  I had gotten it for events for the ability to take credit cards since I don't have a smart phone or a phone that has touch ability.  I love games, card games in particular.  I love playing spades and it's been a while since I've played euchre but another enjoyable game.  You can find apps for all kinds of games, and most of them are free.  So I've downloaded a version of spades, spider solitaire, solitaire, and free cell solitaire as well as several other game that are non-card.  Among them are various versions of Bubble Blast (1, 2, Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's - you get the picture.

The thing about most of these free apps is the ads that come between games or levels or whatever.  The ads can be bothersome but are tolerable.  Playing against the computers is the most aggravating part of playing spades, especially when playing partners.  You have stupid moves being made that likely can cost the game or hand.  Playing with real people you have the ability to read body language and of course, "talking across the table" which isn't supposed to happen but if you are playing a friendly game, everyone does it.  I miss that, yet I continue to play the game. 

Bubble Blast 2 is the other game that is my doing in.  I tell myself I'm only going to play 25 levels and then get back to work or do something else productive.  That happens less often than planned.  There are 100 levels per "pack" and after only having the game installed a little less than a month, I've already played over 35 packs - which is over 3500 levels.  I think I'm on pack 38 or 39, just starting out.  In addition to all the levels on BB2, I've also played several packs all the way through on Halloween Bubble Blast.  So why is the game so addicting?  If someone has the answer, I'm happy to listen.

Why can't I put these games on hold and be productive some days?  I think there is something in the install that sublimely makes us continue playing.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

Tune in next week when I participate in the Next Big Blog Hop, having been tagged by Susanne this past Wednesday. 

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: The Zombies are Giving Away Some Prizes

First group of winners announced! - Stop over and check out what is being given away - E :)

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: The Zombies are Giving Away Some Prizes: This is Harold.  He and some of his zombie friends decided it was time to draw names and give away some prizes. Things got a bit scary ...


If you are following Susanne Drazic's blog this month and leaving comments or have subscribed to her feed to get the updated postings, you know she posted three winners today and I was one of them. I get a zombie surprise package. What a way to start off the weekend. Congrats to the other winners too. If you haven't checked out Susanne's blog, drop on over and leave a comment on the zombie postings to be entered to win. She even says you can win more than once so the more comments you leave, the better your chance of winning a prize. I'm looking forward to more of her zombie postings. I think next year I'll have to do something for Halloween the whole month of October and have lots of giveaways. I'll collect all my prizes after Halloween this year when everything goes on sale. I may even do something starting next week for a couple of weeks - so stay tuned for more Halloween-y themed postings - E :)

Monday, October 08, 2012

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Spotlighting Kids Books with a Zombie Theme

Susanne is at again.  She's featured a couple of zombie books for kids.  The second one is a "choose your own adventure" book with 13 possible endings.  Just an FYI, that one is sold out, but they have a lot of other books available and I may still order a different book.  The site says there are 20 available as ebooks but they are only available for ipad and iphone, not for kindle (that I can see).  Hope you all will stop over and leave a comment on these featured books.  See you in the postings - E :)

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Spotlighting Kids Books with a Zombie Theme: Stone Rabbit Night Of The Living Dust Bunnies Written and Illustrated by Erik Craddock Publisher:  Random House                   ...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

This and That

Sales were low for ebooks again - no sales across the board, but I did sell two books at the GA COMO event and as posted previously made contact with four distributors who will hopefully get my books in schools. I've received a response from createspace regarding how they can acquire my books and am ready to send the information on. The next month or so maybe I'll see a huge influx in my sales. I did sell 19 bookworms to one of the reps from Rainbow Books (the bikini colored ones which look like the rainbow colors) and then sold 16 or 17 others with two people buying a chance on the red, white and blue afghan. My presentation went okay; I had 2 ladies show up and found out that possibly my books are being talked about in one of the schools in Cobb County Georgia, which needs further investigation tomorrow. I am still in need of young writers writing questions for my Wednesday weekly postings, so teachers send in your students' questions and I'll do my best to answer them. If you are a class or writing club participating in NaNo and would like an author visit, please drop me a line and let me know so I can schedule all the class visits. If you are into zombies or just want some fun stuff for the month of October, stop over on Susanne Drazic's blog and sign up for her email notifications so you know when a new posting is made and leave a comment on her postings to be entered for some zombie related prizes. You never know when the zombies will show up. I wish I had a cover for "Zombies Amuck" and had it up for sale to participate in Susanne's zombie extravaganza but at this point I don't so maybe next year; and by then, she may do ghosts or werewolves or vampires or some other Halloween-y theme. We just have to wait and see. Time to get to work as I have been away from the work since Wednesday morning - see you all in the postings - E :)

Saturday, October 06, 2012


The experience was worth it! Here's how the week progessed and what I got out of COMO. First, I was supposed to be helping out in the SELA booth. I arrived Wednesday afternoon and no one was around for me to know what I could use table wise. So, I set up my books and afghans and could have condensed myself down to half a table if needed. I came in Thursday morning bright and early and found I had been condensed to a corner of the three tables where no one could see me. Talk about feeling dejected. So Gordon finally comes over to the table and tells me that they had a cancellation, so he was going to let me move to that booth and have my own booth - YAY! The moving all my stuff was a pain but it was worth it for 2 reasons. I was placed right next to Rainbow Books (A book distributor) and across from State Standards Publishing. Mimi (State Standards) mentioned Follett (another distibutor) with whom they work, so Friday morning I wandered around and happened upon Follett's booth. Talked with them for a few minutes and they referred me to the Mackin booth (another distributor). I went over to talk to them. So that is three distibutors and a couple of booths up from Rainbow Books was a fourth distributor, Davidson Titles. I met the rep there yesterday and after talking to the folks from Rainbow Books now knew I had to work on getting my books in with the distributors. So I'm in contact with createspace about how distributors would go about getting my books to distribute to the schools. Mimi, with them doing state books, was a good contact since I can get her into the homeschool conferences and she can get me places I need to be for my books - like in with all these distributors - lol. I also talked to several other folks and a couple of the ladies are wanting to publish their books so I've lead them to createspace and my experience and both are going to jump on that bandwagon. The last contact I made was just meant to happen I think. I was about to leave after the author reception and had stopped in the restroom and there was a lady in there. We started chatting as we were leaving and I found out she was staying in the hotel right next to the one I was staying in and that she was heading out to dinner but was carless and was going to try to ge a shuttle or taxi to get somewhere to dinner and then to her hotel. I asked her if she would like to join me at the S&S Cafeteria for dinner since our hotels were right next to each other and I was heading that way and didn't really want to eat alone. She said yes, that it sounded good as she hadn't eaten at an S&S in a long time (neither had I but I was just wanting to eat there since it was near the hotel). I asked her if she wanted to follow me to the cafeteria and that's when I found out she was without a car so we rode together and just being a kind soul and offering some company for dinner and a ride to the hotel, she paid for my dinner. I thank you, Ms. Val. The company was excellent and the dinner was delicious. I did sell 2 books and 36 or 37 bookworms and 2 chances on the red, white, and blue afghan but I think the contacts I made were exactly why I needed to be at COMO this week. I hope everything works out with the distributors and that I can be there next year. Just a note, I went to take picutres of my booth set up and all but my camera wouldn't turn on, so I think the battery is dead and I didn't have my charger so couldn't take pictures. Overall a great time and I'm tired so will bid you all a good night. E :)

Friday, October 05, 2012

YA Authors You've Never Heard Of: Falling into Autumn... or What if?

Have you ever played "What If?" with your writing?  If so, stop over to the YA Authors You've Never Heard Of blog and see what Christine Marciniak has to say about the topic that she threw out there for her daughter to use to write something pre-NaNo (for those of you who don't know -National Novel Writing Month - or November).  Good luck to all who participate and to Christine's daughter and hopefully she'll come up with a great short story to write this month - E :)

YA Authors You've Never Heard Of: Falling into Autumn... or What if?: It's Autumn. Time for fresh apple pie and cozy sweatshirts and thinking about NaNoWriMo . If you're not familiar with NaNo, it's Nationa...


here's the first of Susanne's zombies posting.  Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered for a zombie prize.  E  :

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Zombie Jokes: Q:   What is a zombie's favorite home-cooked meal? A:    Brain loaf and black- eye d peas! Q:  What is a zombie's favorite breakfast...

Monday, October 01, 2012


If you are looking for something fun this month, how about stopping over and checking out Susanne's blog during the month for some zombie invasion.  She will be giving away prizes throughout the month just for leaving comments on her zombie postings. 

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Zombie Invasion!: Zombies have taken over my blog!       They are everywhere.   SEND HELP! Please stop by throughout the month of Octob...

On the zombie note, I have a 2nd place winning short story, "Zombies Amuck", that I had hoped to publish this month in time for Halloween but as money is tight and I can't pay my illustrator I don't have a cover.  If I had cover, I'd put it up for sale as an ebook.  Hopefully this week will be a big break and help me a lot (Georgia COMO with 12 states represented in SELA booth plus all the other librarians from Georgia and the Southeast being there) and I can get back on track with getting state stories out and covers for my other stories.  Nonetheless, stop by Susanne's blog and have some fun, and don't let the zombies scare you away - E :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

This and That

The week has flown by but that's because I've been extremely busy with work, since my supervisor was supposed to be off all week and we had to do some of her work. It's all good though. "Train of Clues" (A Mystery Destination story) went on sale Friday both as an ebook and a print book. I haven't put it on smashwords or nook yet as my cover isn't the right size for nook, but it will get there. I did have an ebook sale already - woohooo - made all of 52 cents on that sale - lol. I also have an unreported sale from the week ending 09/22, a copy of "The Tulip Kiss" sold. I'm almost ready for the Georgia COMO event in that I've got all but one afghan completed but I'm not too worried about finishing it since I won't be taking my computer this week and can crochet Wednesday night while I'm chilling. I also need to make up some bookworms in the same color as the afghan and all the crocheting will be behind me. I'll have my tablet with me but that is mostly for taking credit cards and playing games while manning the SELA booth. But hopefully, I'll be so busy that I won't have to play games on the tablet (or read some books I'e recently acquired). I've printed out order forms for the librarians, offering them a 20-25% discount on all orders (some may be just under 20% but all titles are discounted). I've got my tote bag almost packed and ready to go. I'll do laundry tomorrow or Tuesday and pack my suitcase. The car is pretty much packed. Tablet and phone and kindle will be charged and ready to go. So I think I'm pretty close to being prepared. Don't forget that the chances for the red, white and blue afghan are still available through the end of November with the drawing to be held on December 1 and the winner receiving the afghan sometime during the second week of December. If you purchase any book, you get 5 chances for the drawing, so put your orders in now. Books make great gifts. Bookworms make great stocking stuffers and teacher gifts. My Curl Up With A Good Book afghans make excellent winter gifts as well. There are only 8 afghans available - Watercolor, Woodsy, Primary, Aspen, Mirage, Melonberry, Bonbon print, and Marrakesh. If you are wanting an afghan as a gift for someone special, please make sure to order early as I need a three week lead in time to get the yarn and crochet them. No orders will be taken after the end of October, so basically you have one month to place an order. See you all in the postings - have a great week. I may or may not post a WWYWWQ Wednesday but will past next Sunday about the event and everything else that I usually report on. See you all in Macon for the GA COMO - E :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Train of Clues ebook

I'm in the process of fixing "Train of Clues" up and decided to publish it as an ebook until I can get printed copies available. I think it turned out pretty good for an ebook for an illustrated story. My paging is a bit off but it's okay. The illustrations being with the clues or on separate pages isn't as important in this story as it is in the state series. I've put it up on amazon for now and will work on getting it up on smashwords and nook later this week. You can pick up your copy of "Train of Clues" for the low price of $1.49 (I think it's longer than my short stories and it's illustrated so that should be a fair price). Hope you all enjoy it. See you in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writers On The Move: Notable Dialogue

This posting kind of goes along with my WWYWWQ posting from earlier about paragraphing but this touches on dialogue and attributes - enjoy - E :)

Writers On The Move: Notable Dialogue: Dialogue is important to our stories. Without it our story could be rather boring to the readers. Dialogue can add emotion such as anger, ex...

WWYWWQ #4 2012-13 SY

Last week's question was on onomatopoeia and how to "write them," which actually was a repeat from one of my very first WWYWWQ postings (see January 11, 2012, for the first posting and September 16, 2012, for the second one). Today's question is actually from a student in Mr. Hughes' 5th grade writing class. Last week we were working on paragraphing and when you start a new paragraph. The student, Rebecca S., was being shown by Mr. Hughes about where to put paragraphs and she had an onomatopoeia for an alarm clock. So the question actually is do you put onomatopoeia as separate paragraphs? My answer in this case is that since Beep. Beep. Beep. was a complete thought (she is basically making the alarm clock an animated object by expressing the sound it was making) that it would be a separate paragraph. Her sentence read something like this: (this is paraphrased as I don't have a copy of the paper to show where she should paragraph) It was a bright, sunny day in March. I was sleeping soundly. Beep. Beep. Beep. Stupid alarm clock waking me from a good sleep. In reality, each sentence (the Beep, beep, beeps are one sentence even though there are three of them but they are the same idea/concept) should be its own paragraph and should be written like this: It was a bright, sunny day in March. I was sleeping soundly. Beep. Beep. Beep. Stupid alarm clock waking me from a good sleep. I hope this clears things up. Have a great week, see you all in the postings - Mrs. E :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This and That

Another week gone, no more sales, one more afghan to finish. No writing accomplished this week either. I really need to get back to writing. I just have no mojo left right now. Let's talk about weird dreams. If you know personally, you know I don't sleep well and most nights/mornings will only sleep about 3 or 4 hours - depending on the kind of day I've had, what's stressing me. I'm never rested but sometimes I do dream. Last night I had two kind of off the wall dreams that are a bit bothersome to me. One was about my mother with whom I have very little communication and the other was about me teaching a class of students ranging in age from 6 on up to almost high school who were learning English. I am by no means an English teacher and don't think I have ever been a teacher in any lifetime. I'm wondering if that could be a round about way to get me back to Imogene since most of the students were Asian (kind of like the movie Good Morning, Vietnam ith Robin Williams) and a few Spanish speaking but they were very few. It would make sense that these girls abducted in China would have to go to school to learn to speak and write the local language to fit in, so maybe this was a lead-in to something having to do with my novel. Maybe I'll explore it and see where it leads me. Gearing up for the Georgia COMO event, which is October 3-5. Waiting to hear back on when I need to be there and what all I need to do. I've also had a recurrent dream about this event being a big break and foot in the door type of thing. One can only hope as you never know what will transpire from event to event, but I've not done an event since the middle/end of August so I'm ready to get out there again and really work on book sales. Don't forget that the afghan drawing chances are still available through Thanksgiving with the drawing to be held on December 1 and the winner receiving the afghan sometime during the week of the 7th of December (not looking at my calendar so can't tell you exactly when it will be shipped out). All chances are only $1 each with 5 extra chances for every 25 you purchase. See you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WWYWWQ #3 2012-13 SY

This week's question actually comes from Mr. Hughes during his 4th grade writing class (we just finished in there a few minutes ago, which is why the lateness of this posting), and in reality, it was I who asked the question. So the question is this: How do you write onomatopoeia - italicize, all caps, in quotes? The answer isn't a straightforward one and there are different views on which is the right to use. The best answers I found were on this site. If you are using the sound word like someone is speaking it, it would go in quotes - like today being Talk Like A Pirate Day, you would hear a lot of "Arrrgggg" sounds. If you are just writing the sound words in the sentence, you would just write them and let the context speak for itself. If you are using onomatopoeia words at the beginning of the sentences, depending on the nature of the sound, all caps or italicized would be the correct way to do so. I start the story "The Proposal" with onomatopoeia - Ribbet. Ribbet. Ribbet. and in doing so, the words themselves are just italicized. If I were using "ribbet" in the sentence, I probably would have just written it something like this: The ribbeting was disturbing to Stella being in a fancy French restaurant and knowing they served frogs' legs. "No, they wouldn't kill the frogs on site," Stella thought as she tried to enjoy the company of her boyfriend, Henry. I think the biggest thing is to be consistent and make sure you stay true to your writing. If I were using a "power" onomatopoeia word like "pow", "pop" or some other very visual word at the beginning, I probably would capitalize and italicize. I would start my sentence with POW OR BAM or whatever word I was using. I think this is more for emphasis rather than trying to sway from the norm. Onomatopoeia are great for use in graphic novels or comic books but should be limited when writing prose because you don't want to turn your readers away. Use in moderation as with everything else. Hope this helps, Mr. Hughes. See you in class and remember I'm in need of questions for future postings, so keep them coming if you have them. This is an open invitation to all teachers who teach writing class in 3rd through 12th grades. Thanks - see you all in the postings - Mrs. E :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This and That

The week has flown by but I've not accomplished that much. As far as sales go, nothing to report, no sales across the board again.

This is the last month in the third quarter of the year and looking at my projected sales (had to set my goals high at 500 for overall sales with 10 or 11 books published at this point) I'm very disappointed. Not counting my free days with "Bride-and-Seek", "The Tulip Kiss", or "The Proposal" (except when the 50% coupon was offered in July on smashwords), my sales have been less than 100 so far. Next month is the Georgia COMO conference and I really hope to see a major spike in the sales of books since there are 12 states represented in the SELA group with an overall county total of 1025. I'd love it if every state, each county bought at least one copy of each title I have available. That would make my year and would allow me to get more state stories published (i.e., pay Heather so she can keep doing covers and illustrations for the books).

I have been kind of slack this year as far as attending conferences and being out there but with no sales, no royalties, no money to speak of, it's hard to do all the conferences I would like to do. Conferences get costly - booth rental, travel time, hotel, gas (and the price seems to be hovering around $3.50 something/gallon in this area with higher amounts in different places), food, et cetera. I feel like I could be doing more but have to just take what I can get when I get it. So hopefully the librarians will do their part and order tons of books in October.

As far as my writing goal, that fell flat. I've become disinterested in my story, even after printing it off and reading it to refresh my memory of what I'd written. I still think the story is a good idea but getting Sarah Beth (Imogene's mother) from Washington state to China (still haven't decided which city to set this story in - Bangkok, Shanghai, or Beijing) is mostly personal thoughts, very little interaction between other characters. The interactions come once she is in China but even those are few and far between. This is definitely unfamiliar territory for me to write since I'm used to moving a story along with dialogue. If any of my readers out there have any suggestions or sites that will help me write a "quest/adventure type" story, please share. If anyone would like to brainstorm some ideas on how to move the story along, email me and we can get together on chat and try brainstorming the story so I can get it written.

Last item of business - tablets. Last week I posted a video "A day made of Glass by Corning" showing how Corning is developing glass products (we all know Corning is known for their cookware) that can be used everywhere - in the office, at home, schools, zoos, field trips, bus stops, et cetera. Some of the items they showed reminded me of the tablets that are out there in that they have similar features - can enlarge pictures, move things around, do reports, but what will happen to the tablets and computers in the future? The glass products are basically supposed to replace computers and tablets in such a way that we are wouldn't need our ancient computers and tablets any more. I can't do without my computer unless they find a way to integrate the actual feel of typing on the glass products - lol. That said, I love to type and my job and writing require it, so not sure I can totally give up my computer right now. Maybe one day.

Why do I mention this? About a month ago, I got a tablet - an Acer Iconia Tab 10.1. I mostly got it to use at events for my square device so I could take credit cards. I've been asked numerous times at events if I took credit cards but had to lose a sale because I didn't. Last summer I found about square and set up an account and got the device (with the hopes that I would eventually upgrade my phone to a smartphone of some sort still with straighttalk). I've used the square device a couple of times but both times on someone else's phone (once at the SCSLA and once at the SC Book Festival). Since I won't be places where other people have the devices needed for me to use my device, I decided that a tablet would be my best bet. The problem with the tablet is that unless I have some sort of data plan, I can't use it unless there is free wifi available in the places I am doing events. When I did the Mint Hill Sunday in the Park event, no wifi, so my tablet was useless not that it mattered anyway since I only sold one book that day.

There are pros and cons to my tablet but overall I do like it. The pros are that I can actually use my square on it; the con - I need portable internet service to use it outside of my wifi area. Pro - I can read a book from my kindle account on it with much more ease than on the kindle; the con - it's heavier than my kindle and makes reading in bed difficult. Pro - checking my email and accessing my web browser are faster than on my computer; con - I haven't figured out how to copy and paste things from my emails to websites like plurk so have to open my email on the computer when I post the DK Daily Teach newsletter items. Pro - you can download tons of apps (a lot of them for free); con - you get addicted to the games you download (my favorites so far have been spades (although I don't like the way the computer plays because nothing like interacting with real people when playing card games) and bubble blast). I've been through all the levels of bubble blast Halloween and bubble blast Holiday, now I'm working on the plain bubble blast (I'm up to pack 7, which means I've already been through 600 puzzles on the regular; 400 on each of the Halloween and Holiday packs). I found myself playing bubble blast until after 5:30 this morning and I was upset with myself since that meant I was going to bed in the wee hours of the morning and of course, that means I am so late getting going in the day. I guess I need to set limits on myself and stick to them.

See you all in the postings - have a great weak - and I'm still looking for teachers who teach writing to students grades 3 through 12 who would like to have their writing questions answered - so please pass the word and if you know of any teachers who fit this category, please have them contact me via email so I can get my WWYWWQ column going. I'm totally out of questions and know school has been back in session for a couple of weeks to a month in some places, so surely you teachers out there have students asking general writing questions that an author can answer for you. Thanks - E :)

Novel Spaces: Book Cover Design and You

some insight in getting a cover for your book - E :)

Novel Spaces: Book Cover Design and You: A good book cover is like the smell of coffee, heady, seductive, intoxicating.  So, now that I've moved to self-publishing, choosing my own ...

Friday, September 14, 2012

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Join MuseItUp Publishing in Celebrating Their 2 Ye...

if you looking for a free ebook come follow the MuseItUp Publishing group and pick up a cpoy of your choice of book from their bookstore.  See you all in the postings - E :

PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER: Join MuseItUp Publishing in Celebrating Their 2 Ye...:
MuseItUp Publishing will be celebrating their 2 year Anniversary on October 1st with lots of cyber food, cyber drinks, door prizes, etc.  ...

YA Authors You've Never Heard Of: Suggested Middle Grade Reading List

If you are looking for some classic books to read or have your 10-13 year olds read, here is a list comprised by one the "YA authors you've never heard of" authors. It is a pretty extensive listing, but feel free to add some of your own favorites to the list.  See you all in the postings - E  :

YA Authors You've Never Heard Of: Suggested Middle Grade Reading List: Just in time to start school, I decided to create a list of the Best Middle Grade books. Parents can use this to recommend old favorites f...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WWYWWQ #2 2012-2013 SY

I don't have a question today but I thought I would share this video with you all and ask you if you think this si the future.

I especially like how the students and teachers are using the glass in the classroom and on field trips. What do you all think, is this the future? What will happen to computers? What will writers do or people who rely on typing for their jobs? Weigh in and let me know what you think. See you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

This and That

23 years - that's how long ago I said "I do". Grant it, the last 8 or so years haven't really been like we've been together; just living under the same roof and have hardly said anything to each other, but it's okay. He did leave me a text message this morning saying "happy anniversary" so at least he hasn't forgotten.

On the sales note, nothing happened this week. I'm trying to get Heather to fix "Train of Clues" for the final time (I've been trying for months now to get it fixed and finalized but to no avail), so hopefully I can get it back on the market before the October events, and maybe even put it up as an ebook. I hope she isn't ignoring me because I really would like to get that project out of the way. I have 3 more ebooks I want to publish but need covers for them. Biggest thing is I can't afford to pay someone to do my covers or my illustrations right now. Until I see mega sales from the state series, and I mean like 1000 print-run per state, then I probably won't ever ba able to pay someone for doing the artwork. I hope that I see a big jump in sales at the Georgia COMO event the first week of October. With SELA being there and with me in their booth all day Thursday and most of Friday, I should see some orders coming in (that is 12 states represented in the association - Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia). Me personally, I wouldn't consider Virginia and West Virginia as "southeastern states" but I'll be happy to have each state pick up the states already completed for their collection. If each county in each state would get one copy of the five titles available for their main branch, that would be 1025 copies per title to equal 5125 books. That would be well worth everything. I could continue with the series. But that is wishful/hopeful thinking on my part. It's hard to predict what will happen at any given event.

This week starts the Book-in-a-Week challenge and I've decided to participate but not officially. Their (see my posting from Friday about the BIW and the website to get more information) time starts Monday at 8 AM and ends the following Monday at 8 AM; officially my week will run from 12:01 Sunday AM to 11:59 Saturday night. I've decided to work on Imogene and have decided to make it a 2-month time frame to work on it. My goal is to write 3 pages a day for 20 or 21 pages a week over the course of 10 weeks (starting today, ending November 17, with the goal of having the story almost completed if not fully completed). I think setting goals of number of pages as opposed to number of words per day or week will not feel as frenzied as NaNo, and I'll be writing roughly the same amount of words as expected for NaNo over a longer period of time. This hopefully will let me get Imogene's story developed and written so I can achieve publication goal of next summer or fall. I'll post an update every week here (my "this and that" column) so that you all can see that I am on track or if I'm falling short of meeting my goals and you can all stop by and encourage me or give me a pep talk (I'll need plenty of that to get it done).

Off to work so I can work on my writing - see you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, September 06, 2012


I just hooked back up with a friend online (we had been regular chatters for a while and then lost contact when she had her kids) and she has directed me to the monthly challenge of book-in-a-week. Many of you are familiar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month which is through the month of November) and know that I've participated in that challenge mostly as a cheerleader for my friends who write and participate or as a mentor for Mr. Hughes' class. Grant it, the 50,000 words in 30 days seems daunting but it really does help produce the beginning of novels or at least several short stories and it does get you writing for a whole month. You know that becomes a habit if you actually write every day since it takes 30 days to make a habit and 30 days to break it.

So what's so special about book-in-a-week? Reading over their FAQs, I'm more inclined to write consistently during the week having to be accountable for pages and not not word counts. The minimum challenge is to write 10 pages (that's 250-word pages) in the 7 days, which technically comes out to 2500 words in a week and if you did that every week, yes it would take you longer to write a novel but you would get it done and it wouldn't be at a frenzied pace like NaNo is (averaging 1667 words/day can be overwhelming depending on what is going on in your life and we all know November is full of holiday prepping and time away from your desk for whatever reasons, so sometimes the goal isn't being met or can't be met due to outside influences and circumstances).

Even though I won't participate in the BIW challenge this month (it starts next week), I will do so on my own, setting a goal to write 10-20 pages a week on Imogene and hopefully by the end of November I will have her story finished so in the first part of the year I can revise and shoot for publication next summer or fall. I want to get back to Imogene's story, so this may be the perfect challenge for me to do.

GOALS: 10 WEEKS, 20 PAGES A WEEK, Starting Sunday September 9, 2012, ending Saturday November 17, 2012 (by my calculations, that is 50,000 words - hopefully the story will be longer than that - I'm shooting for between 75,000 and 100,000 for this one but it may not need that much to be completed; the challenge is on).

If you would like more information about book-in-a-week, how to join, et cetera, you can go here and kind of amble around checking things out.

So, even though unofficially I won't participate this month, I'm going to start the challenge next week and work on Imogene for 2 months - with a goal to have Imogene completed before Thanksgiving. Will post my weekly counts on my Sunday This and That column so my week will actually start on Sunday and end on Saturday (as opposed to starting on Monday at 8 AM and ending the following Monday at 8 AM). Good luck to me and see you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

WWYWWQ #1 2012-2013 School Year

As many of you know, this past January, I started my Wednesdays Weekly Young Writers Writing Questions postings, trying to gather as many writing questions from the classes I've worked with in the first part of the school year and answer those questions on my blog. Some of the questions have required a little research and some have been general knowledge to most writers.

It's that time of year to get started on the WWYWWQ postings.

The first posting comes from one of Mr. Hughes' classes (he is teaching 4th, 5th and 6th grade writing classes this year) as well as a subsequent posting on my friend Faye Tollison's blog.

I'm sorry I don't remember which student asked the question or whether it was from the 4th, 5th or 6th grade, but credit does go to one of those classes for this question: How do you know when to end the story? or basically how long should a story be?

My answer to the class and students was - A writer ends the story when the story is finished. It could be 10 pages or 100, but only when the story is completed should you decide how long it will be. Ther are always exceptions to this but if you haven't answered the question posed by your story, then it isn't long enough or completed.

Ms. Faye poses on her blog the question of where a story should start - At the Beginning. Reading her posting, after the original student question had been posted, gave me the idea to combine the two.

Where exactly does a story start? According to most sources on the craft of writing, one never really starts at the very beginning as that is backstory - the story behind the story, building your characters up and breathing life int them. One should start in a crucial point in the story and weave all the backstory in throughout in bits and pieces as the story progresses.

An example from my own writing is Imogene: Innocense Lost. The backstory starts in 1945, the birth of Sarah Beth (Imogene's mother), at the very end of World War II. That isn't where my story starts though. My story actually starts in 1980 and then shows you what happened between 1970 and 1980, while finding out why 1945 is so crucial to the storyline as well. The premise for the story is that Sarah Beth (mother) and family, which includes Imogene, take a vacation to China (still have to decide which country in China or city to use specifically) in 1970. While there on vacation, Imogene is kidnapped. Sarah Beth and her husband search for a long time before finally returning home to the United States but make the trip over the 10 years searching for their lost daughter. Sarah Beth won't give up and at the 10 year mark, she makes her final trip, alone, leaving her husband and son at home in Washington to search for Imogene. The year 1980 is crucial to the story ecause in 1981, the United States passport laws changed. Imogene being 15 in 1980 makes it the last year for Sarah Beth to find her and get her out of China on the passport she has from their original trip since Imogene was only 5 at the time and was on her mother's passport. (In 1981, the government stated that all children would have their own passports with a guardian (parent or otherwise) signing them; and at the age of 15, they had their own passports with the child signing them.) So Sarah Beth has roots in China (the hint to 1945) and only finds out on this final trip in search for her daughter.

I don't start the story in 1945, rather June of 1980. As for how long it will be, there is no telling as I've only written 3 pages and a few scenes for a total of five pages so far. Nothing substantial except a killer hook paragraph.

This story is inspired by some pictures on this website (pictures 23 (this is link between Sarah Beth and her daughter), 38 (this is the start of the story) 10 (this just reminded me of a shop in China that carry things like mood enhancing powders or strength enhancements), 20 (this is the wall where the hidden city is), and 41 (this seemed like the fencing around the shopowner's home - and as the story progresses, you'll find out who the shopowner is)), and I even printed out the photos and pasted them on a sheet with a tentative outline. This story will be less dialogue than any of my oter stories as it is a personal quest and Sarah Beth has very little interaction with other folks. Truth be told, I don't really know if I have it in me to really write this story, but I'm going to try.

So where does your story start and how long should it be? Start at the turning point in the story and write until the question posed by the backstory has been answered and the story is completed.

More questions to come - ya'll keep on writing until you have completed the story. See you in the postings - Mrs. E :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Kevin Rau's Blog: How I format my books when writing for self-publis...

In case you are wanting to format you ownebooks here is a step-by-step instruction site  E :

Kevin Rau's Blog: How I format my books when writing for self-publis...: I've been asked how I format my book as I write, and then quickly have it available for Kindle (and other online stores) as an e-book, as w...

Writers On The Move: Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing

Find out what Learning the Craft of Writing is to Karen and leave a comment - E :)

Writers On The Move: Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing: Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the cra...

Writers On The Move: The Naked Wrter

Stop by and leave a comment on Peggy's posting about an upcoming workshop she is working on.  Let her know what you won't write about and why - E :)

Writers On The Move: The Naked Wrter: I am working on putting together a workshop for next spring which I hope to present at the Mass Poetry Festival, tentatively titled "The Nak...

Sunday, September 02, 2012

This and That

Well, the week ending September 1 was filled with anxiety for me but we have gotten over that. I spent last Sunday at the Mint Hill Art in the Park event and sold one book and 8 bookworms - barely enough to put gas in my car to get home, but it was a sale. One copy of Finally Home sold on kindle last week (sometime between Sunday and Tuesday).

So the anxiety came over how I was going to get to Decatur this weekend with no money, no gas and not much to go on. Since I'm posting this on Sunday, you can see I didn't make it to Decatur. Sybil had to come out of her way to get the two boxes of books I've had in my car since the last event and her mother had to come down from North Carolina to meet up with her so she could go help Sybil out in the booth. I had no choice and I really hated it because Decatur is where I got my start. When State of Wilderness was first published, I fronted the cost of booth and hotel for the most part for Vivian and Jacque to come from Oklahoma to meet up in Decatur for the event. It is a huge event and the crowd is always there and this would have been a 5-year celebration for me. I hope that books start selling soon so I can start doing these very large events again but as it is livig paycheck to paycheck is all I can do right now.

School has started back and Thursday was my second time in class with Mr. Hughes' classes and hopefully this weekend he will get a more definite schedule down for me to be with the students. My preference is that I meet with each class on a different day instead of all of them on the same day since that pretty much takes about 3 or more hours of my work schedule in a pretty tight chunk. More when I get that down from him.

I'm going to start my WWYWWQ column this week, and the first question is spurred from a question from one of the students in Mr. Hughes' class and a posting Faye Tollison did on her blog last week. I'm also hoping to get back on schedule with my blog postings this week. I may only post once a week plus the WWYWWQ posting every Wednesday.

I had a guest blogger this past week, Sandra Parshall, a mystery suspense writer, and only one comment was left. That is sad that she is a pretty well known author and not even her readers came over to leave a comment. I hope you all will stop by and read the interview and leave some comment love for Sandra - she said she is okay with answerig questions about her books, her writing, or pretty much anything else the readers might have - so come on over, she won't bite. Spread the word.

For now, signing off - see you all in the postings - E :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guest Sandra Parshall

Today, my guest is Sandra Parshall, a member of Sisters in Crime, who has a psychological suspense series out. I had a chance to catch up with Sandra and ask her a few quetions. Here is what Sandra had to say:

Sandra, thank you for stopping by my blog and visiting with us today.

EE: I see you were born and raised in a town about an hour from where I am presently living (see, I was born overseas and have chosen to live in the south since my father's retirement, leading us to Laurens, Anderson and Honea Path). I also see you live in the D.C./Virginia area now. Have you lived other places? If so, which is your favorite place to live and why?

SP: I lived in West Virginia for several years, then Baltimore, and my husband and I lived briefly in London before we came to the Washington area. I’m happy right where I am, in lovely McLean, VA, just across the Potomac from D.C. I love the country and mountains, but I don’t want to live in an isolated place. Washington is a beautiful area that offers the best of everything. Except traffic. The traffic is probably the worst in the world, but no place is perfect.

EE: Your "pecan pie" story was written after a vivid dream. Do you attribute that to too much pie, too much molasses, or too many pecans (you know too much of a good thing isn't good for you)?

SP: In this case, too much of a good thing turned out to be very good for me. During a restless night after my overindulgence, I dreamed of two little girls clinging to one another, outdoors in a thunderstorm, the younger one crying for their mother. The image wouldn’t let go of me, and over the next few months it became The Heat of the Moon, my first published novel. Regardless of what else I write, I think that will always be my favorite book.

EE: What is your writing area like - messy or organized? Do you write in total silence or do you listen to music while writing?

SP: My desk is messy. Very messy. Now and then I clean it off, just to prove to myself that there a desk does lurk under all that paper, but it quickly reverts to its natural state of disorder. I’m always vowing to reform and become a neatnik, but of course I never do. I prefer to write in total silence. I wish I could get that message across to the cats and the UPS delivery guy.

EE: Which writer inspired you the most to write the type of suspense/thrillers you do? What were your favorite books to read when growing up?

SP: I read all kinds of stuff when I was growing up. I was insatiably curious about the world and was reading terribly serious adult novels like Crime and Punishment at a young age. (Yeah, I was a weird kid.) I never read the Nancy Drew mysteries, though, and still haven’t to this day. My interest in reading mystery and suspense didn’t develop until my late twenties, and it took me a long time to summon the courage to write in the genre. My first book was heavily influenced by Thomas H. Cook’s writing, and Ruth Rendell’s masterful plotting of her psychological suspense novels is the ideal to which I aspire.

EE: You have a new book coming out in the next couple of weeks. Tell us a little bit about it - is it another in your Rachel Goddard series or is it a new series you are working on?

SP: Bleeding Through is the fifth Rachel book. A lot of readers have asked me to revisit the events of The Heat of the Moon and resolve the conflicting emotions Rachel and her sister Michelle feel toward Judith, their mother. This book is for those readers, but at the same time it’s a tangled mystery of the kind I love to write. While Deputy Tom Bridger, Rachel’s fiance, launches an investigation of the murder of a young law student, Rachel has to cope with an unexpected visit from Michelle. Her own husband doubts Michelle’s claim that someone is stalking her, and she turns to Rachel for help. The stalker is real, and when he follows Michelle to Mason County he also widens his attention to include Rachel. Several storylines come together in this book, and Rachel’s life is changed forever.

EE: What is one piece of writing advice you would pass on to future generations of writers?

SP: Write from your heart, and remember that most people read for character and emotion, not plot. They might pick up a book because the plot sounds intriguing, but if they don’t connect with your characters quickly, they won’t stick with it. I realize that some stories, such as techno thrillers, are plot-driven, but even there I believe you have to give a reader characters who feel like living, breathing people – characters who will make the readers feel something.

EE: Where is your dream vacation spot and why?

SP: I would love to go to China and spend a week volunteering at the Bifengxia panda center, where my beloved Tai Shan lives now. The chance to be among the pandas in the gorgeous mountains of central China sounds like an ideal vacation to me.

Again, thank you for being on my blog today and I wish you much success in all your writing endeavors.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Sandra Parshall is the author of the Rachel Goddard mysteries, which Library Journal has praised for “edge-of-the-seat suspense” and Kirkus has described as “fast-paced, chilling, and compulsively readable.” Her first novel, The Heat of the Moon, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her latest is Bleeding Through, due out September 5. A former member of the Sisters in Crime national board, she remains active as administrator of the SinC members’ listserv. She lives in Northern Virginia with her journalist husband and two cats.