Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG: March 2017

First Wednesday of the Month

I don’t know about where you live, but here March is always synonymous with snow. Lots of it. Yesterday it was sixty degrees out and I was working in the garden. The weather people say all this warm weather is bad and we’ll be sorry later when the fruit trees are barren because a frost killed all the buds, and can you just imagine what this will do to our maple syrup production? All of that might be true, and maybe it’s not, but why worry about something you can’t control? Why not enjoy the good part of this mid-winter thaw?

That’s what’s on my mind today as I sit down to write this month’s IWSG post. (Thanks to Alex and co-hosts for putting this on!) It’s about enjoying where you’re at. Sometimes we’re on a really good roll. Sometimes our writing is just flying out, but deep down the fears linger—how long can this possibly keep up? It’s not normal to write four thousand amazingly spot-on words in a day, is it? Surely all this production now means I’m missing something. I’m sure I’ll pay in the end. But what if you don’t? What if it’s just really good production and you’re just supposed to enjoy the moment? So, pull up a glass of summer sweet tea with me, and enjoy this day of sunshine, smack in the middle of winter.  

For those of you on my email list, you’ll be receiving advance released links to:

With Adam gone, Liz is faced with the truth that a Reader is useless without a Book. Determined to find him again, she comes out of hiding only to discover another truth: every Book has a Writer.
Meet Grandma Becky. She's pulled up a chair at her kitchen table and set out her favorite mugs filled to the brim with her special hot cocoa. Stay awhile and hear some stories about the farm she grew up on, her family, and the adventures they had together.

For those of you who aren’t on the list, look for them here in two weeks. If you’d like to join the tribe and get early access to our Freed books, you can sign up here.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February Ubook Releases

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Here are the February's Ubook releases! Enjoy.  
Strange things happen to Liza Brown. Buildings fall down. Libraries start on fire. But the strangest of all is him--the phoenix who expects her to drop everything and follow him. View The Freed Book edition here.

Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Seckman is a prequel to Past Due, the first book in the Coulter Men series. In the series, each of the three Coulter brothers has his chance to tell his story and find his happily ever after. In this story, Angel, the broken girl who sets the stage for her sister’s tragedy, gets a chance to tell hers. View the Freed Book edition here.

Meet Grandma Becky. She's pulled up a chair at her kitchen table and set out her favorite mugs filled to the brim with her special hot cocoa. Stay awhile and hear some stories about the farm she grew up on, her family, and the many adventures they had. View the Freed Book edition here.
On Meadowbrook farms live three sheep, fifteen chickens and two little girls with their parents. So begins this delightful tale by Liz Daniels where playhouses come in all shapes and sizes, but don't necessarily last forever. Illustrated by Gail DiCarlo, music by Nathan Moran. View the Freed Book edition here.
A sad but quirky romance by Melanie Schulz where time is precious and life is something not to be missed. View the Freed Book edition here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG; February 2017

First Wednesday of the Month

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, making it IWSG time Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for putting this on each month. For those of you who don’t know, IWSG stands for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, an online community of writers supporting each other through and in this crazy work we chose to do.

This month my insecurity is about control, or lack of it.  My husband is training to run a marathon. He’s already run a half, and while He’s always been very athletic and in really good shape, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. He’s forty-six. Now I know that’s still relatively young, but I had an uncle who died of unexpected heart failure at forty-six, and I just can’t shake the worries that come along with having lost someone I love so young. But I’m not the kind of wife to tell her husband what he can and cannot do, so I just supported him the best I could, and let the worries fester. Last night my husband was out on a run, nothing crazy, maybe four miles, and I got the phone call. Thankfully, it was from him and not an ambulance, and thankfully it was his knee and not his heart. As I helped him hobble to the car, dreams and plans shattered in an instant, I realized how little any of us can plan for anything. We have no idea what’s going to happen today or tomorrow because none of us in control. Sobering thought. And you know what? That’s okay. Because maybe my husband’s blown-out knee might have saved us from something much graver later on. What does this have to do with my insecurities as a writer? Nothing. Everything. Ask yourself this: How can we feel secure about anything when we have control over nothing? I guess that’s where faith and trust come in.

What are you trusting in?

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 2017: Five Year Goal in Review

Last Friday of the Month

I can’t believe it’s the last Friday of January, but it is and here we are, at another Five Year Goal Review day. For those of who don’t know what I’m talking about, The Five Year Goal is a monthly blog hop put on by Misha Gerrick (thanks Misha for putting this on!) where you make a long term goal (five years) and work towards it, posting your progress on the last Friday of each month. I started this venture a little over a year ago, so I’m a little vested.

My goal is to have a world class publishing company.

A little history:

My husband and I started Black and White Publishing Co. several years ago, but at that time we did not actively seek out other authors. Honestly, I didn’t think we had anything to offer a person that they couldn’t (with a little time and research) do for themselves. Face it. Today you can hire an editor, a cover designer, someone to format your book, and someone else to market it. In five minute you can upload your book onto Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iTunes and in ten you can be earning royalties, without someone like me taking a cut of anything. I care about authors. I want them to succeed. Why would I stick my hand into something they don’t need me to? And then *Ubooks came along. This is something authors can’t do for themselves. This is something only Black and White can offer. Last Spring we offered our first contract to an author besides me. Now we are up to seven, some with multiple books in contract. This is such an exciting time for us. It’s still in the beginning, still at the top of the hill, still pushing the boulder with two hands, barely inching forward. But it is moving.

I can’t wait to see it fly.


*Ubooks are a patent pending book format where books are set on video feed with or without audio. Check them out at

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG: January 2017

First Wednesday of the Month

Hello everyone. Today’s the first Wednesday of the month, which makes it IWSG time. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for putting this on. For those of you new to this concept, IWSG stands for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and it’s just what it sounds like, a support group for writers. And all writers are insecure; I don’t care what they tell you. We all cringe a little when we read a bad review, all stare at a blank screen from time to time, wondering if “it” has left us.

Neither of those are my issue this month, although I have plenty experience with both. This month I’m struggling with something completely new: with the thought of being done as a writer. Not done, done in the sense of the word, as in I will never write again, more like an honest evaluation thing. For the last two years I’ve only written shorter pieces. I’ve done a few anthologies and a lot of flash, a couple children’s pieces, but that’s about it. I haven’t worked on a full length novel in over two years, and while I do have some ideas floating around (that middle grade fantasy still haunts me), I don’t have any plans to start plugging away at them in the near future. I’ve got other things on my plate. Important things. Things I am purposely choosing. Is this what it feels like to be done?  Has anyone else out there been at this place before?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Five Year Goals: Year in Review

Last Friday of the Month

It’s the last Friday of the month, which makes it time to review the goals I made a little over a year and a half ago with the Five Year Project (thanks Misha Gericke for putting this on), but it’s also the last Friday of the year, which makes it a good time to review things in general.

My goal initially was to have The Newstead Project to be the next great American novel, but somewhere along the line (about 6 months), that didn’t seem to fit anymore. My goals weren’t just about my writing, my books. It needed to be about something bigger. So it became bigger—so big it was almost ridiculous—to have a World-Class Publishing Company. Even as I type this I feel the arrogance of it, and I know it must sound that way, but really it isn’t.

It can only be arrogant if it’s about me, and it’s never been that.

Now, about a year and a half into this whole goal thing, a year with this ridiculous goal, I’m looking at how it’s going. On the surface I’m nowhere near there. True, Black and White has now published other authors besides myself, but none of those stories/books are at the top of any lists—can’t that be said of any other middle-of-the-road publishing house? True, we have a team now: A Musical Director, Marketing, Illustrator, new Authors…but how does that separate Black and White from anyone else?

There is one thing, though—a dream, a spark, an idea that God whispered into my soul six years ago. More than a dream, it was a question, and that question was why. Why are things done the way they are? Why can’t books be set to music? Why do they have to be certain lengths for certain genres? Better yet, why does there have to be genres at all?


A year ago, an idea, a gift, was given to me. That idea was Ubooks, a patent-pending book format where reading material is placed on video feed, so the words come on the screens of devices at reading pace, words finally set to music at just the moment they needed to be set. Now that idea has become a reality, a living, breathing thing that I am so proud of that every time I think of it I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to the point I can hardly breathe.  

Because, this, too, is not about me.

Those closest to me know how inept I am in all things technology based. They are my witnesses. There is no human way I could have invented something so groundbreaking. God gave this to me, and only He knows the reasons why. I can only keep on being so grateful it hurts to breathe.

So here I am, at the end of the year, at the end of a year into this Five Year Goal, and while on the surface it looks arrogant, and impossible, I end with this:

1. It’s not about me.

2. Nothing is impossible with God.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG: December

First Wednesday of the Month

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, making it IWSG time. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for putting this on each month. It’s a safe place to be authentic and vulnerable in regards to this crazy thing called writing.

Usually writing takes a major backseat for me in December. In a typical year I’ve just completed NaNo, therefore am completely burnt out, but it’s more than that. For our family, all of December is Christmas. We go caroling, make cookies, decorate like crazy; the list goes on and on. And while that part is still true this year, for the first time in six years I did not participate in NaNo. I still feel fresh and excited when it comes to this whole writing thing. Not that I’m working on a project, personally. Producing and publishing Ubooks has taken and will take up most of my time. It’s more a wanting to write, an excitement about it. I’ve had an idea for a middle grade story for a long time now. The story is there, but the main character isn’t. I’ve tried just about everything, but I can’t quite get the make-up of who this person should be. Just recently I took a job on a children’s psychiatric unit—hopefully I’ll find some inspiration there.

How are your projects going? Ever been stuck like me?