Monday, April 30, 2012

I surrender!

I normally embrace new technology with arms spread wide.  But that wasn’t the case with the Kindle.  Maybe because the very first Kindle I saw, the original one, had lousy contrast. 

In the many years since that first unveiling, Kindle has gone through some major overhauls.  But I still held firm in my decision not to buy one.  That isn’t to say we don’t have eReaders in my house.  My daughter has a Nook and I have a Sony eReader and an iPad.  But Amazon has me right by the tonsils.  Many, many friends are now exclusively uploading to Kindle.  The guilt started to set in.

I like supporting my friends, even if it’s a book I have no intention of reading – not because it’s a bad book but because it just isn’t my cup of tea – no heavy paranormal, horror or erotic anything gets past my personal gatekeeper.  Okay, so I lied.  If it’s erotica I actually won’t buy it.  Sorry erotica writing friends.  But I know I’m in the minority so fear not.

But can a Kindle really take the place of my traditional reading experience?  Um, Hell no.  I still like the smell of a book.  I like the tactile involvement of turning pages.  I just like the feel of having a book in my hands, balanced in my lap or pages fluttering as I sit at the beach.

Like my other digital readers, it does have a very practical feature.  When travelling you can’t beat the convenience of an eReader.  Gone are the days of packing a week’s worth of reading material in a suitcase that can cost almost as much as the ticket if you exceed the weight limit.

The Kindle Fire (yes, go big or don’t bother) has more than one feature, which is what finally threw me over the edge.  Wi-Fi, Netflix and Hulu.  Not to mention all the other features.  Now that’s technology I can wrap my arms around.

But will I give up my books?  No.  There are some authors that for me are an auto-buy and I want those books on my shelf, not in some machine.  My auto-buy authors are almost exclusively hardcover authors, so even though I can save money on a download, their work is too special to skimp on.  I have high hopes that I’ll discover more new-to-me authors with my as-yet-to-arrive Kindle.  Free or 99 cents scares me.  I guess that can be a way to attract readers but I get stuck on the notion that you get what you pay for.  I’m also a little leery of reprints.  I don’t like buying a book twice and with new covers and occasionally a new name, things can get muddled.

Will it change my writing habits?  I think so.  I’m kicking around the idea of doing some original material just for upload.  I’ve got a few ideas in my head that I don’t think will be attractive to traditional publishers.  Of course this brings with it a whole new set of techno problems.  There’s formatting, editing, ISBN purchasing, cover design and my least favorite part of being a writer – promo.  However, in 10 days or so, I’ll be loading up my Kindle for my solo cruise at the end of May.   

Yes, you heard that correctly.  My 30th anniversary gift from my hubby was a cruise all by myself for seven glorious days hidden away from the world.  I’m visiting all ports I’ve seen in the past, so my goal is to never leave the ship.  People can find me poolside with Kindle/iPad or some other gadget relaxing away.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The scary book signing

Book signing.  The words alone bring strike fear in my heart.  I can and have done lots of other forms of promo but it is the signing that makes me pop Xanax.  Always has.

I know people who can work a room or stores like pros.  I am not one of them.  I’m not a ‘buy my book!’ person.  I’m just uncomfortable with the whole notion of the hard or soft sell.  I can’t even bring myself to hand out a bookmark let alone call someone over to a table and try to convince them in 50 words or less why they should buy my book.

I’m much more comfortable in front of a television camera or with a pair of headsets on at a radio station than I am sitting at that table.  Why?  Fear of the unknown.  I know what will happen if I do a television interview.  I know the flow and timing of a radio station.  A signing can either be a busy, chatty experience or you can spend 2 hours trying to convince people you don’t work for the store and have no idea where the Dungeons and Dragons books are shelved.  Selling only a book or two is humiliating.  At least for me.

One exception is Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach, Florida.  Why?  Because they promote your signing and they have a loyal customer base who come and enjoy meeting the author and taking home a book.  The other exception is doing a signing in my home.  It’s kind of like an open house with books for sale.  This is only possible because the staff from Murder on the Beach comes up here with books and credit card machine and handles all the transactions.  But that’s a controlled environment.  I personally invite people to my home signings and usually they show up.  It makes for a fun afternoon.

So today is my MOB signing.  It’s the first I’ve done (excluding RWA and Sleuthfest) since 2010.  Yes, two whole years without suffering the fear of the unknown.  Maybe that explains why I’ve been up since 3AM angsting over the idea.  I’m a tad scared because even one of my best friends blew me off, doesn’t bode well.  But maybe, just maybe this won’t be a two Xanax day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The good with the bad

Self-destruction . . . I get a lot of magazines.  Most of them are research materials – i.e. Palm Beach Illustrated so I know what the rich folks are doing and buying in Palm Beach for my Finley series.  But then there’s this dichotomy – I get fashion magazines so Finley can wear the latest trends, then I get food and travel magazines for me.  The problem is, if you eat the food, you won’t fit in the fashions. It’s like the minute you tell yourself to diet, suddenly you’re hungry all the time.

I like to cook more than I like to chase trends, so I actually get more use out of the cooking mags.  That may explain why my ass needs its own zip code.  Sitting in a chair all day does not promote healthy exercise.  So what do I do?  Get an elliptical machine.  Here it sits in my office, currently my camera bag is hanging off the handles and the machine needs to be dusted.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more social.  I’ve kind of turned into a hermit.  Unless you call a trip to the grocery store an outing.  I haven’t done too well with that one either.  I have great intentions, it just seems like every time I decide to go somewhere or involve myself in something another thing comes up and plans change.  Part of that is having a teenager.  With a boyfriend.  I’m not sure I like that combo.

Don’t get me wrong, the boy is sweet and polite and exactly who you’d want your kid to be around.  He’s well grounded and thankfully goes to a different high school.  That still doesn’t quell the urge to dust her for fingerprints when she returns from an outing with Mr. Wonderful.  But the traveling to and fro is already getting old.  Mr. Wonderful gets his license soon.  I think that may be worse.  I’m not sure I want my baby in a car with a new driver.

Then again, my baby is 2 months away from getting her learner’s permit, so I guess I’m going to have to have some therapy to deal with that.  Part of me is thrilled at this move toward autonomy.  The other part of me wants to encase her in a bubble so no harm can come her way.  Yep, definitely therapy time.

There should be a handbook on the subject of first crushes.  I told my daughter the only thing I couldn’t protect her from was a broken heart.  It’s bound to happen, usually more than once.  And Facebook makes it worse.  Currently her status reads ‘married,’ surprise to me.  And his avi is a picture of the two of them.  How sad that I have to scan my daughter’s Facebook page to learn of her nuptials.  How wonderful that I can search her Facebook page.  Sorry teenagers, but you need to learn to say it and forget it, write it and regret it.  You put way too much damning information about yourselves out there for the world to see.  Social media can be wonderful or it can be your worst enemy.  Or apparently it can be a place to get married at 15.

I guess there is good and bad in everything.  Facebook just makes it easier to see those things.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tick, Tock

The writer’s best friend and worst enemy is time.  Time management to get the book done.  Deadlines. Time to stop to do copy edits on a finished manuscript when you’re in the middle of a new book.  Time waiting when negotiating a contract.  Not enough time to do everything else that isn’t writing related.

When I gave up my day job to write fulltime, I had terrible time management skills.  My first manuscript was finished when I sold it, and I got a 2-book contract.  I underestimated how long it would take me to write that second book.  Lots of all-nighters.  I also made the mistake of not taking my writing seriously enough.  If someone called with a lunch invitation, I was there.  All that did was put me behind.  Not smart.

So now I have a system.  I think pre-planning is the key to successfully meeting deadlines.  That and a cushion just in case life interrupts.  I know it takes me a week and a half to put all my information into Power Structure organizational software I swear by.  Sold by  If I’m using an unfamiliar location, tack on another week for travel/research.  I know I can comfortably write 15-20 pages a day, but I can’t do that every day.  So I shoot for 60 pages a week.  Sometimes I do more, sometimes less, but it all comes out in the wash.

Then there’s the cushion.  Once I’ve done the math, I add on an extra 2 weeks just in case something comes up.  Kids get sick, doctors’ appointments, just the stuff that crops up as part of everyday life.  I try really hard not to pick a deadline between the 2nd week of November and January 15th.  Christmas is just too hectic around here and it’s hard to host Christmas Eve dinner for 45 people when you’re glued to your computer chair.

I made another change.  I let go of the notion that my house had to be spotless every day.  So what if it gets cleaned once a week.  No one ever died from a little dust.  I’m also blessed with a husband who will take care of things if I’m running up against a deadline.  He cooks, does laundry and cleans without being asked.  Now that’s a husband.

The most recent thing I learned was to do it now.  When my editor sends me revisions, I shoot for a 48-hour turnaround.  Copy edits – 1 day.  The longer you put them off the more daunting they become.  But if you do it right away, you get it off your desk.  And I’m a huge fan of ticking things off my to-do list.

So if you’re ever wondering why I don’t blog every day it’s because I have a deadline for something or I’m taking some family time.  Writing is my job and I take it seriously but I also recognize that to be well rounded, I have to have a life as well.  Always remember to take care of you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Amanda wins!

Hi Amanda and congrats - yes the car changes color during the book - opps, bad author.  But you're my winner, please email me at and we'll work out your selection of gifts.


Friday, April 20, 2012


Thanks for sharing SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR release week!

Hopefully some of you have read the book by now.  If so, kindly feel free to leave a comment on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or at  If you enjoyed the book, tell your friends!

This brings me to the dreaded topic of promotion.  So not my strong suit.  This week has been hard for me because I’m really not one of those people who can comfortably say, “Pay attention to me!  Buy my book!”

Not that I don’t want you to buy my book, I do.  Buy several, it makes a great gift *g*.  I used to toss a lot of money at promoting books but quite frankly, I didn’t see a lot of return on my investment.  So I’m doing a couple of signings and had some Paradise pens and bookmarks created but the major promo item on this book has been the excerpt booklet my publisher put together for me.  Not only does it have SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR in it but it also includes a peek at the next Finley book, BARGAIN HUNTING.  It gives people a taste of the tone and content of the book so they will hopefully be inspired to buy it.

I know writers who spend their entire advance on publicity.  Not me.  I don’t think it’s a good business move to spend like crazy.  I use the pizza parlor model.  If I was opening a pizzeria, I’d need to advertise but I’d also have to buy the equipment and food.  If I spent all my money on advertising, I wouldn’t be able to afford the dough to make the pizza.

Thanks for spending the week with me!

Hope you enjoy SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR . . . And remember the giveaway . . . the first person to answer this question gets an autographed copy of Slightly Irregular and a Paradise pen (or a coffee mug if you prefer).

What kind of car does Finley drive?  Make, Model, Color
Be the first one with the answer and I’ll send you your gift. (Winner announced on Monday)