…and I don’t know why I’m having fun with it, still. I had 2 books released in January 2013, an ebook (Second Chance Sister) from Crimson Romance, and a paperback book (Planting Walnuts) from Flying Chipmunk Publishing. I’ve been in a TV interview (you can read more about it on Facebook), and I’ve given two talks on genre fiction.  My library talk has been beta tested, and now I’m just polishing it.  One hour, and I was paid for it! Hope to do more – not for the money, but because it was fun, talking about reading AND writing genre fiction.

I am closing down my WordPress blog.  I’ve still got the account; I can still reply to other WordPress posts.  But I’m not actively going to blog anymore.  Having that hanging over my head as “one more thing I have to do” – and I hate hate HATE blogging – has been making me physically ill. I just had the “epiphany” within the past few days that I could CHOOSE to NOT BLOG.  I’ll still read other people’s stuff, no fear; but I just want the time to enjoy my friends on Facebook and the Yahoo loops, and my family at home.  I have chronic medical conditions and I am getting all kinds of stress-signals.  I have to lop something off the pile.

 

I don’t plan to do any regular posting, just go on Wordpress from time to time because the Ladies In Red (crimsonromanceauthors.com) keep a WordPress blog & occasionally I like to comment.  Blogging isn’t a natural thing for me, and having it hanging over my head, especially during the holiday season and with work at its highest pitch, sent physical warning signs to me.  I share my news on FB and a couple of yahoo loops I’m involved in, and I’ll happily come and talk to groups about writing all kinds of stuff, but nope, no more blogging.  I don’t care how much you want me to share my recipes with you, or tell you about my cat, but you got along without me before.  I feel too strongly that the time I have to indulge in writing is too precious to fritter away on blogs.  Think it will affect my sales?  Pfeh.  I’ll cope.

 

There is a select non-so-young group of us who have learned from our dents and dings.  My dents and dings include open-heart surgery, appendicitis, acute migraine, placenta previa, and diverticulitis.  Each ailment accompanied a sea change in my life, so yes, I recognize the symptoms.  And I’ve learned.  Nope, ain’t doing it again.  Maybe after I retire (still a LONG ways away).  In the meantime, if you really want my Death By Chocolate recipe or a picture of my cat, email me, okay?

 

I except Laura Bloch Bourque, Linda Nelson, and Martha Eichler, who write interesting and useful blogs as part of their daily writing experience.  The difference is that the blogs are their product, not a promotional side-line; the blogs are the reason they write.  (And damned well, too.)

Who saw the picture (I have a copy of it on my FB page) that says, “OK, Internet, the election is over, unpack your kittens and get back to work”? Cats are so universal (actuallly, it’s the LOVE of cats that’s so universal), that of course we have them everywhere. We are currently owned by a middle-aged male named Fuzzwad (I figured, why not call a spade a spade), who is like Jethro Bodine – big, good-lookin’, and dumb. He eats his food like a dog (it must have been due to his previous owners, who didn’t like him & I’m sure he had to dash for his food), which affected his kitty waistline. He was overweight, apathetic, and borderline diabetic. His OM diet has improved his waistline and increased his intelligence – now he cares about the great smells he scents coming from the kitchen, and I have to watch out for new tricks.

I just got the photo for the cover of “Second Chance Sister” and wanted to post it here, then realized it was too big.  I’ll be back, picture in hand! My editor has sent me some promotional advice and materials, and a pdf copy of the file as a review copy, but I won’t know who wants THAT until after I send out the press release. I was tremendously fortunate for Second Chance, that our regional newspaper had a book-reviewer who was another indie author I happened to know. He didn’t have the e-book reading capability (or at least, he didn’t have it HANDY), so I ended up printing it out for him. And the (very striking!) cover.  Worth the effort, though – he liked the book, and he thought the entire e-publishing concept was intriguing. I got a very warm review that boosted my spirits and also boosted the book.

What is a Walnut?

A “walnut,” in this story, is an electronic survey sensor that is (you guessed it) walnut-sized and is implanted in the soil. They are the stock of Gonderjhee & Company, Surveyors, now that the company has reformatted from the holdings of the original, corrupt Ravi Gonderjhee, under the management of his deserted Anglo wife, Mary Ann (Polly) Gonderjhee, about three hundred years in the future. And how does a company get a lot of money, fast, to cover the debts that rat Ravi left behind? By taking the worst jobs possible, of course – anywhere and everywhere. That’s the premise behind “Planting Walnuts,” that comes out this winter 2012, from Flying Chipmunk Publishing.

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“Play the Game” is a manuscript that was workshopped, chapter by chapter, by the Wilton Writers Forum, WWF, through maybe a year. Or two. Anyway, a long time.  Then, it was used by a publisher as a “test drive” for his links to sales web sites, and so on.  I offered the manuscript for the test runs because it was finished, and just sitting in a drawer, so to speak.  Later on – when “The Whisperwood Ordinaire” was published – I discovered that the other was now available for sale, too.  I’m probably the only author you’ll ever meet who was accidentally published and didn’t know it.

In science-fiction terms, the experiences of Archie Chamberlain, English teacher, are pretty realistic.  They don’t go zapping all over the universe – they’re taking long, boring rides in our own solar system, kinda like driving around the Grand Canyon – the view doesn’t change much. They haven’t discovered any aliens, but they’ve done genetic modification – in fact, Archie’s best friend is a gene-mod, and Archie harbors a secret fear that he’s one, too, until his Dad assures him that he is “absolutely scratch-fed and home-grown.” But there ARE terrorists, spies, communications errors, military vs. civilian ego wars, and romance – all the elements of life as we know it today, good and bad.

ImageWhat is whisperwood? It is an honest-to-goodness type of wood, but Bob Liddil liked the name. And an ordinaire is a magician’s staff.  That’s the back story.

Bob Liddil went to the Southwest to buy the rights to Sorcerer’s Apprentice Magazine, and brought it home with him. He was a dungeonmaster from the year dot, and a wonderful storyteller. He loved creating lists (that was what dungeonmasters did in those days!) of situations and events that D&D adventurers might find.  To enhance these lists, he wrote short stories which appeared in SA Magazine. Bob was a family friend, and one day he suggested to me that I think about writing a novel about the frame characters he used in SA, and it would be called “The Whisperwood Ordinaire,” and here were the first few paragraphs.  That was what he did. The rest was mine.

I don’t say it’s great, but it was a lot of fun, and I am as fond of those characters – modeled by Bob upon real-life people that he knew – as he was.  There is still a collection of short stories, the publication of which has been delayed once or twice, and then I think we’ll be tapped out.

I just finished editing “Second Chance Sister,” answering questions about the Howards, so I will do the same here. Bishou Howard and Jean-Baptiste (‘Bat’) Howard are not actually twins, although they are called les jumeaux, the twins. They just look and think alike. There’s a year between them, in age. Bishou took care of the family while Bat was in the Marines (this is 1969, remember), and then Bat took care of the family while Bishou got her Masters and PhD. Their parents are ill, and the twins have decided that their younger brothers will have a chance at life, and they will tend to them until the youngest (Gerry) is 18. Yes, it’s a hard life. What isn’t, particularly in 1969?

OK, for the second time – how I came to write Second Chance and Second Chance Sister. Once, they were one manuscript, called “Bishou, A Love Story.”  And I gave it to a real agent, who was visiting the area and had expressed an interest in agenting romance manuscripts.  And liked it and asked for more. And then never returned an email, a letter or a phone call, effectively vanishing WITH the manuscript. The MS itself was an offshoot of some research for a space station – which will appear for the first time in “Planting Walnuts,” due to come out later this year – but this was an island in the Indian Ocean, in 1969. My hero is a plantation owner who has been put through the wringer, and my heroine is a female college professor who is his translator while he’s visiting America. I was surprised to discover that most romance novels are only half as long as the typical science-fiction or fantasy novel (50K words vs. 100K words), so I ended up with enough for two books! (And yes, I did send a letter to the agent’s place of business prohibiting her from using my manuscript in any way, shape, or form.)

I just wrote an entire post about Second Chance, which apparently vanished into thin air, so I’ll try to recreate it once again (sigh).  First off, I want to say this has been such a good experience, submitting this book and getting it published!  J Law is an author/editor who is extremely capable, and while she has got cross with me a couple of times, she was right and I was wrong, and no bones were broken.

My local chapter of the NH RWA also celebrated my first romance publication,  and I submitted proof to reach the PRO level of RWA. Which is actually good for the chapter – it shows that we ARE writing, and we DO care about continuing to write books.Image

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