Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bad Reviews Have Their Place

It’s been just a little over two months since I began my journey as an independent author, and I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey. I’ve got a lot of things stacked against me. Probably the two biggest are the facts I’m an unknown author and I’m an independent author. There’s nothing wrong with either facts.
We all have to start somewhere, besides, if the journey was easy, the reward at the end wouldn’t mean as much.

I knew when I started, I’d have to build my “author brand” and my readership—that I would have to gain the reader’s trust. I realize some people will love my writing. Some will like or think it’s okay, and others will hate it. That’s okay too. I don’t like everything I read either. There are some popular books that I can’t read because I can’t stand the author’s writing style or I just don’t like the story.

As a reader, I make the decision as to what I read. As a blogger, I make the decision what to put on my blog. As a writer, I make the decision as to what my story is going to be about.

This is the way it should be.

I’ve started looking for bloggers who could help me get word out about my books to the readers through reviews, interviews, promos, giveaways, etc.  I realize there are a lot of bloggers who, for whatever reason, don’t want to review self-published authors. Honestly, I’m fine with that. It is their right to pick what they want to read and review because it’s their blog.

What I hate is the fact that some self-published author or authors have started bashing the bloggers for the reviews they received or didn’t receive. Not every review is going to be great because not every piece of writing is great.

Let’s face facts. Some writing down right sucks! I know. I’ve been there, and in some people’s eyes may still be.

The very first draft of Guardian of Atlantis “blew chunks!” It was horrible!!! When I finished it, I was so proud of myself. I set it aside and then after some time, I picked it up and read it. The plot was horrible. It had holes in it that were big enough to fly the space shuttle through. The first thing I had to do was to teach myself to create a better plot. I read everything I could get my hands on about the hero’s journey, the three act structure, outlining, etc. And I rewrote  and rewrote and rewrote.

Is my writing perfect? No.

Will every review I get talk about how fabulous my writing is? No.

Will I be angry at the reviewer who gives me a bad review? No.

If my writing needs improvement, I need to know so that I can fix my writing. I expect people to be honest, because that’s what helps me to improve and grow.

I am sorry for all the bloggers who have been on the receiving end of “self-published writers gone bad.” It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to us writers who care about our writing and our readers.

I appreciate the bloggers who have taken the chance to work with me. I’m thankful they are helping me to get my stories out to the readers. And hopefully, I will make contact with many more bloggers who are generous to give me and my stories a chance.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall, Winter, and the Holidays

It's hard to believe, but it's the last weekend in September. The month's almost over and that means only one thing--Monday is officially the beginning of my favorite four months of the year--October, November, December, and January!!!

I love fall and winter!
I love the holidays!

October means I've got Halloween to look forward to. In November, there's Thanksgiving. December means Christmas is coming. And January? You've got the New Year and my birthday.

Halloween decorations are already starting to pop up in the neighborhood and around town. Monday, when I get to school, I'll get out some of the Halloween decorations and put them up. I'm also planning to decorate the front porch, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. Any ideas???

What do you think?
Image courtesy of luigi diamanti/

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ramblings Again!!!

It's Thursday night, but it really should be Friday.
So what's been going on in my world?

Two Ends of the Pen ran an interview with me this week. Caitlin over at The Y.A. Bookworm Blogger is currently reading my book and will be doing a review of it.
This year at school, I'm the yearbook person (advisor) and I've had an on-going hate-hate relationship with the program. I haven't had the opportunity to get any training on the software. I've been in charge of yearbooks before but not for a long time, so this is a new program for me. But today I had a break through. The hate-hate relationship with the program is coming to an end!
I've been writing away on Book 2 in the Children of Atlantis series. It's going really good. I just wish I had more time in the day to write. The new story picks up about four weeks after Guardian of Atlantis ends, and Raven is not having a good hair day.

I really need help getting the word out about Guardian of Atlantis--reviews, word of mouth... If you've read it, let people know what you thought about it. I could use more reviews to get the word out and get the book into Amazon's top 100 list.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Writing and Learning

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark."
--Victor Hugo

Not very long ago, a student stopped me in the hallway and asked me were my ideas came from. She was curious because she wanted to be a writer. So we talked for a few minutes about writing and ideas before she had to go to class. As the days passed, other students have asked me about writing and my stories, especially now that copies of Guardian of Atlantis is in the library at the high school and the junior high where I teach.
So I decided to jot down some "tips" or ideas for writing.

  1. ideas notebook -- First, find you something you're going to want to write in (spiral notebook, old-fashioned composition book [i do use a lot of these, in the classroom and out], or an actual notebook with notebook paper). Jot down ideas, inspirations, thoughts, ideas, quotes, descriptions, notes, people, places, things, and events. Basically, write down anything you want to remember or research. I even include bits and pieces of conversation and pictures. I even have a folder with pockets that has articles I've printed from the Internet on a variety of subjects I thought were interesting. Sometimes when I'm watching television, I see or hear something that catches my attention and it gets written down. I may or may not use the things in the notebooks, but they are a good starting place when you're looking for something to write about or something to add to a story you're working on.
  2. writing routine -- If you wait for inspiration to hit you, you may be waiting for awhile. You need to create a writing habit. Start out by writing for 15 to 30 minutes everyday and build on that. The key is consistency. I don't always get to sit and write for long periods like I do during the summer when I'm not teaching. I write everyday, but sometimes its scattered minutes--30 to 45 minutes in the morning before I get ready and leave for work, 15 to 20 minutes during my lunch, and what ever time I can get in during the evening.
  3. outlining -- Outlines are definitely my friends now. It took me awhile to figure out what worked and didn't work for me. My advice, read and learn about different types of outline techniques. Figure out what works for you. It may be a combination of several things that works for you. When you outline your stories don't forget about your characters' goals and motivations. Outlines help me to stay on track. Mine are on the detailed side. You can read it and know the whole story, but I need this road map to get from point A to point B and so on. Plus, I've already worked out the plot problems in the outline.
  4. read, read, and read some more -- This is probably pretty self-explanatory. You have to read in order to write. And it's not always reading for fun. Sometimes it's reading books about how to write. Maybe it's reading to see how different writing styles work, to analyze story structure and plot.
  5. research -- Even if you're creating a fantasy piece, there' always going to be something you have to research. You may need to know about a specific location, a time period, characteristics of people during a specific time. Get your facts right. This will help you build the parameters for the world and characters you create. I remember reading a story several years ago that was set in the San Antonio area of Texas. The writer went into elaborate details about the area. The only problem--it sounded exactly like the Mojave Desert. We have rivers and trees and grass. Yes, we have drought conditions, in fact, here in New Braunfels, we're in stage 2 water restrictions, but we're not a sandy, dry desert. The river you saw in one of the pictures from the BBQ cook-off is the Guadalupe River.
These are just a few tips. Believe me, there are a lot more out there. The key, is expect to spend time learning about your craft.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I finished typing the draft of chapter three of the sequel to Guardian of Atlantis. I've been working on chapter 4 today. I'm about halfway finished with it. My goal for tonight is to finish the chapter before I go to bed, if I can stay awake. I'm not getting enough sleep and I'm a bit cranky today.
My goal is to have the draft completely finished by the end of Thanksgiving holidays. I know I can do it. That's what I've got to keep telling myself.
 If you haven't bought your copy of Guardian of Atlantis because you thought there wasn't going to be a sequel, you might go ahead and get your copy today. There is a sequel. I'm writing it. I've got the idea for the third book in my head too. And for those of you who have bought a copy---THANK YOU!  I hope you enjoyed it. The sequel will be out before you know it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I was taking a break from writing. (Sister-in-law just dropped off homemade apple butter bars. Yum!) Saw the sun and looked out the window, and there it was. A rainbow stretching from one side to the other. So I thought I'd share it with you. In fact, there were two rainbows.

It's Raining!!!

I don't know about ya'll, but we're finally getting some rain that we desperately needed. It rained Friday. And it's raining again today. In fact, it's been raining since the early, early morning hours. A good soaking rain. It definitely looks and feels more like fall, to bad the temperatures predicted for later this week don't match. I'm tired of hot weather and drought conditions. Good thing--I don't have to worry about trying to get water on my fruit trees. They actually produced a little bit of fruit this year. One of my apple trees actually had some small apples. The pear tree had a few pears. And one of my lime trees has three limes on it. The peach trees didn't produce any this year. I'm just happy they survived and grew after last year's drought. All my trees are now only three years in the ground here, so I can't complain. And they've all grown a lot this year.

In other news, this week, I'm visiting a couple of blogs.
Monday, Becky's Barmy Book Blog is hosting a book promo for Guardian of Atlantis.
Thursday, Word Spelunking is is posting an interview.
Stop by and check them out. Thank you Becky and Aeicha for having me.

Guardian of Atlantis is still only $0.99 at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just Around the Corner

It's hard to believe, but the holidays are just around the corner, so to speak.

The grocery stores have already put out the Halloween candies and costumes, as well as everything you need to decorate for a Halloween party. I'm expecting the huge pallets of pumpkins to make their appearances any day now. (They've probably already in the stores!)

As we (hubby and I) were shopping the other day, we came across a huge display of walnuts and pecans in the middle of the aisle in the fruit section. The question was whether or not I should go ahead and buy a couple of bags, because the closer it gets to the holidays, the harder it is to find walnuts and pecans, and hubby said I would need them for the cookies I'm going to bake for him. (lol)  I didn't get any, but by the end of the month, I'll probably start picking up stuff I'll need for the holidays.

Actually, I like baking. I just don't do it as much as I used too. 

Yesterday, I came across a recipe book in the book display by the mailboxes at work. It was filled with fall recipes: pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin lattes, stews filled with potatoes and squash. the pictures next to each recipe looked yummy.

Unfortunately, all the pumpkin recipes have got me thinking about the Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. I absolutely love them. And I really need a good, sugar-free recipe for them.

Honestly, I love the holidays, the fall and winter weather (the cold and rain is perfect to me), and the smells of pumpkin and gingerbread baking in the oven.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Your memories 
Your sacrifices 
Live in our minds and our hearts.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Cover for Guardian of Atlantis

Okay, the dust is slowly settling. The Guardian of Atlantis will have a new cover. It will go live on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in the next 24 hours or less. Fingers crossed!!!
I liked the original cover, but felt, especially after creating the cover for No Rest for the Spirit and Other Ghostly Tales, I could create a better cover. So I did a mock-up and put it to a vote with the kids where I teach. The new cover won. Yesterday, I finished the cover. Today, I uploaded it. I hope everyone likes this cover better.

As a celebration of the new cover, Guardian of Atlantis ebook is on sale for $0.99.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

BBQ Cook-off Pictures

The BBQ Cook-off is over. We placed 5th with our spare ribs and 3rd in the jackpot beans. Or location was really cool. We were on the banks of the Guadalupe River. There's a couple pics of our pit setup, the two flags our son put up (one honoring the POWs and the other the Wounded Warriors which was very appropriate since the VFW--Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsored the cook-off), the visitors we had come through camp, and a view at other cookers across from us.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday at BBQ Cook-off

Friday evening at the BBQ Cook-off.

Hubby and friend are prepping the spare pork ribs.

A Rollercoaster Week

There’s no other way to explain it. This week’s been a rollercoaster ride.

I was interviewed at Howling Turtle. (Thanks Larissa!)

I was the guest blogger at VampChix. (Thanks Anna and Michele!)

I’m seriously thinking about changing the Guardian of Atlantis book cover. I even mocked up a new cover.

I started asking students which cover they liked better and why. About 14% liked the original cover.86% liked the new cover design. You’ve gotta love junior high kids! They’re very vocal about what they like and dislike.
I also helped my husband with preparations for this weekend’s BBQ cook-off we’re entered in.

I was interviewed at The Indie Spotlight. (Thanks Greg!)
I’m heading to the cook-off as soon as work is over today. Hubby’s already there and setting up. We’ll start cooking tonight and will have turn-ins for brisket, pork spare ribs, chicken, and jackpot beans throughout the day on Saturday.

For several years now, my husband and I have competed in BBQ cook-offs. We’re not too bad. We’ve got a collection of trophies and ribbons. Our team is called Outcast Cookers.

And during this whole time, I’ve been trying to write at least 1,000 words a day. Most days I succeeded and even went over the goal. And then there was two days that I didn’t make my goal. But I did write.

I’m also back in the classroom as the teacher. In fact, this was my second full week of school.

I’ll post some pictures from the BBQ Cook-off later.

Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Have you noticed???

I thought it was time to make a few changes. My goal is to make the site better and hopefully more reader friendly. I've got several page additions I want to make, update my bio, and stuff like that.

If you have any ideas, or things you would like to see, or just a comment, leave me a note below.

Guest Blogger

Hey guys!

Are you running down a dream? 

I'm guest blogging at VampChix.blogspot today.