Wednesday, December 31, 2014

FIve Year Goals/Year in Review

Last Friday of the Month
Since this is the end of the year, all those participating in the Five year project will be mixing it up a bit with a year in review as well as goals for the upcoming year. If you want to visit the rest of us, or better yet join us you can find the list here 
Year in Review: Last year I published four books. That blows my mind as I write that. Four books. And I love each one of them; each one is something I can be proud of. Mind you, that's also in the midst of moving. I don't expect to beat that next year as far as productivity goes, but I do hope to get better at the administrative part, which leads me to...
Future Goals: While I had a great year writing, the marketing aspect fell by the wayside. I did soft releases on all my books, which made sense at the time because I was so busy writing the next one. This year I plan to publish less (two, possibly three) and use that extra time to promote my books and to organize the business aspect of things.
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
*By the way, thanks for all the advice on my writing space. The new nook is wonderful, thanks to you. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Writing Spaces

What does your writing space look like? Mine used to be in my bedroom room right next to a window that overlooked my side yard where I had my roses. Notice I said used to. That's the one thing I lost in this move was my writing space. For the time being we've made a makeshift space out in the living room. With three kids you can imagine how much I'm getting done there. So today we're going out to find a desk, a small desk to fit in the corner of my small room where I can look out at the side yard at the garden I hope to plant later this summer. Any suggestions on what I can do to make this space feel more writerly? (Is that even a word?)

By the way, Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An End to the Move and a Review of Erron

Good morning everyone! I hope all is well with you. We're finally getting settled in here at the Schulz house. Let me tell you, moving sucks. I don't ever plan on doing it again. I'm looking forward to getting back into the normal routine of things, which for me is writing. I took a two week break to facilitate the move and let me tell you my family is begging me to write again. I guess that's their way of saying I turn into a bit of a b***h without it. :) Anyway...I've just started on Willow, the sequel to Erron. I know I'd said that was a stand alone, but I just couldn't help myself. There's something about those characters I can't get enough of. Speaking of that... I received the most wonderful comment the other day from Huntress; that was followed by a few emails going back and forth and then finally today, with a review of Erron on a blog she shares with a group of fellow authors. You can find that review here Thank you Huntress for that awesome review!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


What will it take to survive as one of the last remaining humans in a world now controlled by the Nephilim? Who can Liz trust--Dan, on whom she has set all of her hopes and dreams for the last ten years, or the sullen new boy, Shem, who warns her everything she believes is a lie?

Have you ever written a book and re-written it? And then did it again? That's how it was for me. I've written 2084 three times, with almost the same number of titles. First it was Annihilation, a book I finished two years ago, but never published. Something about it just wasn't right. So I tried again, that time from a first person female POV. That helped, but it wasn't there yet. I put it aside, and started working on other things, but the story wouldn't let me. Last summer I picked it up again, and began from scratch. Originally the MCs were adults. I changed that, making it a YA novel. I kept the female POV, which is a stretch for me. I tend to write male, don't ask me why. :)  Anyway... I finally finished it, but more than that, I'm finally happy with it. It turns out they're not both the same thing.

It's now available on Amazon, you can link to it here .
I'll be offering free copies to my email subscribers next week, so if you're interested in that, you can join that particular group. The link is on the upper right corner of this blog.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014


First Wednesday of the Month

Today is the first Wednesday of December, which makes it IWSG time. Thanks to Alex and friends for putting this on each month. If you want to join in on the fun, you can link to it  here

Let’s eat Grandma.  Let’s eat, Grandma.

Commas save lives. 

I saw that saying on a t-shirt once and I burst out laughing. I wanted to buy one for me, and my editor, and my high school English teacher and…

Because they’ve all said one thing about my writing: I love commas. And I do, but I also hate them. Every time I have to do an edit on my work, I will inevitably be removing a few (hundred) commas. I have no idea how they make it in there, but they do. They are the bane of my existence. They are my disease.

But, at least they’ve made a shirt for me.

What is the bane of your existence, writing or otherwise?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Life Update

Life Update:
Two weeks from today I'm moving from the home I've lived in for the last sixteen years. We've had our children here and watched them grow. It's been a good place for us. I've loved it here. It's strange though; we've lived here so long but we really only know our direct neighbors. Our town is one of those small places where your grandparent's grandparents had to have lived there for you to be accepted. Ironically, my ancestors were one of the founding fathers, but I guess since I'm the first representative for the last hundred years or so that doesn't count. It's always seemed like an odd custom to me; this small town life, but like any custom I've enjoyed watching and analyzing it. The house we're moving to isn't part of a town, or a city; it's out in the country, which will be a nice change for us. We plan on having a few chickens and maybe a goat or two. I met my husband on a farm, so I guess it's only fitting we should spend the rest of our lives at one. Strangely enough in all this chaos I've managed to finish the first draft of my novel, 2084, as well as revisions and the first rounds of edits. I plan to do a soft release sometime in December. It's the second book in the Newstead Anthem series; a collection of three stand-alone books directly related to the Newstead Trilogy. It will be my shortest work, only two hundred pages, but all told it's taken me the longest. I think I started this book the first time over two years ago. So out into the world it will come and I for one will celebrate it's birth with a very large glass a wine. I'm making review copies of it available the beginning of December. If any of you are interested, just let me know.
How about all of you--what's going on in your lives? I'd love to hear it.

Until then,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


This is my third year participating in NaNoWriMo*, and I've found it to be a good tool as long as that's all you use it as--a tool. My first year it was an obsession. I had to finish. I. Just. Had. To. And I did, and what I finished was a horrible novel that was unsalvageable, although I did spend several months trying. Last year I began anew, only that time I ruled NaNo; I didn't let it rule me. I wrote, yes, and I wrote more often, but I wrote words that mattered, words I could use. The result of that was Blackbird, probably my favorite of all my books. But even with that success I wasn't going to do NaNo this year. I was already 23,000 words into my current WIP, and didn't want to put it aside to start something else. After some thought I realized I didn't have to. All I needed was 50,000 words written in one month, right? So did it matter where I started? I figured it didn't, so start I did. My current work is at 38,000 (or 15,000 NaNo words), which puts me a little behind, but I don't care. I love it--and in the end that's all that matters.

Any one else out there participating in NaNo? What has your experience been?

*For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, NaNoWriMo stands for National November Writing Month where those craziest among us try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. You can find out more at

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


First Wednesday of the Month

This November I’m participating in NaNo* again, which has given me all sorts of good material for this month’s IWSG, the biggest one being that I just can’t seem to write fast. No matter how much I prepare, I crawl along at about 750 words an hour, and that’s on a good day. Don’t even get me started on when I’m having a bad one. You’d think after four years in this writing thing I’d pick up the pace a bit, but I haven’t. Actually, I think I’ve slowed down a little. I use to write like crazy then go back and spend the next year editing and fixing. Now I go slower, which for me means a lot less time later on. So I prod on, but it does make it hard for NaNo when you see yourself falling further and further behind every day. Are there any other slow writers out there who feel my pain?

*NaNo is short for National Writing Month, which happens to be November. If you’re not involved I highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful accountability tool, not to mention a lot of fun. You can find out more at

Friday, October 31, 2014

Five Year Project: Monthly Review

Last Friday of the Month
     Today is the last Friday of the month, which makes it time to review my five year goal. For me, it’s to create a publishing company that sets the standard for excellence in this country and around the world.
     So, how is it going? In a word: slow.
     I’m learning. I’m learning to edit, to recognize and develop skills in others, to know when to say no and when to say yes. I’m learning good habits, self-discipline, and priorities. I’m learning what I’m going to need to make this thing a go. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, and sometimes it feels impossible but…
     Every great thing has a start, and that’s what this feels like for me; only a place to start.
How are your goals going?

*On a side note, Happy Halloween everyone! What are your plans? I'm taking the kiddos trick or treating, then ending the night with a bonfire party at my brother-in-law's house. Can't wait! Do you think it's too late to get a costume? And if not, any suggestions?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Survive and Thrive Bloghop

Today I'm participating in the Survive and Thrive Bloghop hosted by: Stephen Tremp,  Alex J. Cavanaugh, Michael Di Gesu, and   L. Diane Wolfe. It is intended to focus on early disease prevention and screening.

As most of you know I'm a nurse, which lends itself to particular knowledge in this area, but I'm not going to focus on that. I'm going to get personal. For years I was in a terrible cycle. Every Fall I would get allergies which led to post-nasal drip which settled in my lungs which resulted in bronchitis or if I was really lucky, pneumonia. It reached it's peak when I was pregnant for my second daughter and found myself on antibiotics three times along with breathing treatments. Not wanting any harm to come to her, I sought a better way and miraculously, I found it. At that time I also suffered from heartburn. Those of you familiar with the joys of pregnancy can relate, I'm sure. Someone told me it was made worse by low stomach acid and that I should take fermented apple cider vinegar to help. I did, and as I did, I noticed a strange burning in my throat. I didn't know what to make of it, but the heartburn outweighed the throat, so I kept at it. The next morning I noticed a difference. I could breath. As it turns out, that vinegar was killing all the bacteria in my throat before it could make it to my lungs. Now, at the first sign (you know that burning at the back of your throat when you feel a cold coming on), I take 2-3 tsp of Bragg's unfiltered apple cider vinegar. I haven't had  so much as a cold, let alone bronchitis or pneumonia for the last nine years. And it does seem to help with the heartburn, too.  

Hope that helps!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Small Things

She shook her head, watching the chaos going on in front of her. “I have no idea how you do it.”

I smiled to her and myself. That’s not the first time I’ve heard those words. Anyone who’s been at my house for any length of time and hears how often the word “Mom!” is thrown around, usually followed by a need of some kind, marvels that I’m able to accomplish anything at all. But I have. I’ve written five books and seen them published, homeschooled my children, and kept a garden, and of course, I’m married. But that’s about it. I don’t try to do it all. I chose a few things, things that are good and important for this season of my life and have focused on them. I say no a lot. Not because the request was bad, or unworthy, but because I’ve said greater yeses. I’ve said yes to two hours a day set aside for writing, I’ve said yes to the early mornings in my garden, I’ve said yes to a date night each week with my husband. I’ve said yes to my children.

Small things, things that would be so easy to push aside or write off as not important, but over the course of time those small things add up. In the end they’re what life is made of.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Indie Life

Second Wednesday Each Month

The best thing about Indie? The work itself. In Indie it can be whatever you want. You don’t have to worry about the latest trends, or what’s selling. You can just write what you love. Sounds all warm and fuzzy, right? But what about the bones, the how-to?

It’s different for each of us, but here’s how it is for me:

In two days, I’m going on a trip to the Adirondacks; it’s one of my favorite places on earth, but it’s not a vacation (okay, not just a vacation), I’m going there to be inspired. As a visual person, I need to actually go to the locations of the stories I write. I need to see and smell and hear and touch. I take pictures, and then study them. In short, I make an emotional connection to the setting itself. That’s how I make my stories feel as real as they do, because to me, they are. Now, that’s not always possible. In Bashan, Joel went to Syria. As you can imagine, that’s not a trip I’ll be taking anytime too soon. So, if I can’t be there in real life, I go in books. I read as much as I can about the area, fiction and nonfiction alike. You can make an emotional connection there, too. If not, then what’s the point in this whole writing thing anyway?

Only then, after I’ve immersed myself into the realness of it all, do I sit down to write.

How about you—what do your bones look like?

Come back next Wednesday and I’ll reveal more of mine.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


It’s strange having the first of the month fall on a Wednesday—but it does, so that makes this IWSG time. Thanks kindly to Alex Cavanaugh and crew for hosting this each month; you can find the link here if you’d like to join in the fun. Basically, it’s a time to reflect on being a writer, the whole publishing process really, and what makes us insecure about it. For me insecurity tends to be directly tied to other people’s opinions. If people liked my work, I’m flying high, if not, I’m questioning why I even bother writing at all. As you can imagine, that’s neither healthy nor helpful. Recognizing this, I’ve done my best to stop. Now, I’m not saying I’ve stopped reading every review that comes in, that would be too much to expect, but I did stop letting them affect me. I’ve come to acknowledge that people have their own opinions and they’re entitled to them, just as I’m entitled to mine.  And if I forget that? I go to Amazon and read some of the reviews of my favorite books. That’s a quick wake-up call. That, more than anything else, tells me one thing: we’re all unique, and life would suck if it were any other way.

Do you read your reviews? How do you handle the “bad” ones?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five Year Goals in Review

Last Friday of the Month
It's that time of month again, when I review my five year goals, which for me is to develop a publishing company that sets the standard for excellence here in the States, if not the world. Dream big or go home, right? So, here's how it's going: Very well. With each book I write and each manuscript I review I get a better hold on what's good and what isn't. And in that process I'm starting to ask some questions, like why are things done the way they are? Is there a reason for it, or is it just the way it's always been? Because we do stuff like that all the time; cling onto things that make no sense at all.
The reason?
One word: habit.
When I was in a research class in nursing school, one of the things the professors taught us is to always look at the original research, and if it isn't there, do your own. For example, at that time, heat wasn't being used as a pain control measure for cancer patients. It was general knowledge that heat spread cancer, so it was avoided. Come to find out, the original research that produced that line of thinking was one experiment done at the turn of the century (the last one), where a small percentage of monkeys had an increase in the spread of their cancer after heat was applied to their skin. That one experiment changed the entire practice of physical therapy for almost a century, and in doing so, eliminated a very effective means of pain control for cancer patients. My point? Question everything. And if it doesn't makes sense, get some new research. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest

Today I'm participating in Alex Cavanaugh's Underrated Treasures Blogfest. Thanks for hosting this Alex; it's about time some of these bands/movies/books get their due.
My choice is Warren Barfield. This man is brilliant. I listen to this song almost every day--kind of gets me going, which is a very good thing.

What are your favorite Underrated Treasures? I don't know about you, but I'm going to have some fun today visiting the rest of the blogs participating in this so they can be my favorites, too. I've always had a soft spot for the underdog.
Come back on Friday for The Five Year Project monthly review.
Until then,


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Indie Life

Second Wednesday Each Month

This is kind of a continuation from an earlier post when I wrote about writing what you love, and for the most part all of you agreed. So, if that's what we're doing, I have one question: Why aren't we seeing more unique books out there? Because we aren't, except for in Indie.

After four years in this, I think I've come up with the reason.
I've been to two major conferences, and a couple of minor--and they all said the same thing, both editors and agents alike: write the story you were meant to write, but they don't mean it. Now hear me out, I'm sure they want good stories to publish, but the bottom line is; they're salesmen. They go where the money is. Don't believe me? Try submitting that book that came straight from your heart. Chances are you'll be told male POV isn't selling right now, or the market is flooded with (insert whatever here). The list goes on and on. Bottom line: They don't care about the story that's in your heart; they only care about what sells. I know it sounds like I'm bitter, but I'm not. Actually, I see it as an opportunity. Because while they're busy publishing the same old same old, we as Indies will be providing the market with what's fresh, different, alive. And in the end, that will make all the difference.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014


First Wednesday of the Month

Today is the four year anniversary of this whole writing thing for me, and ironically, the third anniversary for ISWG. Coincidence? Maybe not. My writing life has been full of insecurities, especially in the beginning. At that time I was told a million and one reasons why I shouldn't write my particular story--it had already been written, it wasn't mainstream enough, etc, etc, etc. I think that's what they tell everybody. It's evident every time I try to find a new book to read. Everything is the same. Except in Indie--except with all of you. We don't have "gatekeepers" telling us what to write. We write what we love, and it shows. So what have I learned over the past four years concerning my insecurities as a writer?
That I don't care. I'm going to write the story I was meant to write.
Speaking of that...
Erron is officially released today. Enjoy.

For years, Erron has been running from the ones who have slaughtered his family. With his abilities it's been easy. Until Willow. It turns out caring about someone has it's costs. He's no longer uncatchable.

It's available now on Amazon and Kindle. Get your copy here

Friday, August 29, 2014

Changing Goals

Last Friday of the Month
Sorry this is a little late in the day. We're having a  colossal yard sale today, and as you can imagine, that's got me pretty crazy. We just sold our house unexpectedly, so now we have seven weeks to sell/pack/get rid of everything we own. So what does this have to do with my five year goals? Everything. Five years ago if you would've asked me to move out of our home I would've told you no, and maybe there might have been a hell in there, too. But things change. We got our Jacob, and I became a gardener. In short, our house doesn't fit us anymore. And neither does my goal. My goal for this five year project was to have the Newstead Books be the next great American novels. I still want that, but my scope has gotten bigger. I've got a book coming out in five days that isn't a Newstead book. It's not just that, either. I realized that I want to be involved in the whole publishing aspect of this, too. So while I'm getting a new house, I guess I'll be getting a new goal, too: To have Black and White Publishing Company be the leading publishing house in America.
I figure while I'm at it, I might as well dream big.
What are your dreams?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Do you ever change your writing to please people?

Do you ever change your writing to please people?

I didn’t think I did. I thought I was writing my story, my way. Until I went to a writer’s conference. It was the 2011 NYC SCBWI Winter Conference. It was a very big deal. I paid the extra money to have my work critiqued by two top editors from top houses. It wasn’t my first big conference, but it was the first time I was getting one on one feedback. To say I was nervous would be a major understatement. I was terrified, but I went. The way it was set up was the editor was at a round table with you and five others of your peers. You each had three minutes to read your first page, then receive critique from both the editor and your peers. There were two sessions like this, one in the morning, then another in the afternoon. After the morning session I went back to my room and cried. Not that the editor was cruel, or that she didn’t like my work. It was just the first time I saw I wasn’t the only good writer out there, and they all wanted it as bad as I did. I went to the afternoon session without much hope of anything. That’s probably why I was so surprised when something amazing happened. Here’s how it went: I was seated right next to the editor from Simon & Schuster, who incidentally was currently working on the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick, a Nephilim story. So I knew right off my chances were slim. And they were. She told me even before I read my page that she would not be representing me. The amazing came later. One of the other writers read from her page. It was a middle grade story about a personified bear family. When the writer was done reading, I leaned over and spoke to the editor and told her I could see the story with simple font, broken every few pages with loose pencil sketches of the scenes. The editor smiled and said that was exactly what she was thinking. It was an epiphany moment for me. This woman was one of the top editors from one of the top houses, and I, at that moment, was her equal.
That minute was life-changing for me. I am a woman of faith, and I went there hoping, praying, for God’s direction for me, and I got it. I knew I didn’t want to just write books, I wanted to publish them, too; starting with mine. Later that year, my husband and I started Black and White Publishing Co.

What does that have to do with the question at the beginning? Everything. I went home from that conference with plans to work on my book. What surprised me was how much I changed. I didn’t realize how much I had censored myself, how much of the story I had left out. After that conference I decided I would never do that again.
That decision has made all the difference.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Indie Life

Second Wednesday Each Month

Since today is Indie day, I'm going to let myself get controversial.
I've been writing for four years now, and I still can't fit my work into a genre. If I did, it would be something like this: paranormal, militaristic, romantic, suspenseful thriller. Quite a mouthful. And then there's the question of length. Not for my first three books, they are all the "correct" word count of approx. 100,000 words. I'm talking about Erron, the book I'm releasing September 3rd. It's 56,000 words, which is technically too short. I tried to add to it, but it didn't need it. So that brought up the question--why? Why was I trying to add words to a story I loved? Why did I even care? And then, even more importantly--who? Who is the one who made up all these silly rules? Why can't I publish a 56,000 word book, or a 34,000 word book? And why does my writing have to be pigeon-holed into a genre? It doesn't make sense, for any of us. Why not write what makes us come alive? I don't know about you, but (almost) every book I've picked up recently looks, feels, and reads exactly the same. Where are todays Dickens? Or Austens? Or Poes? I want to read that. I want to read something alive, something unique, and more importantly, that's what I want to write.

Feeling Indie anyone?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


First Wednesday of the Month

Today I'm insecure because I'm about to commit the cardinal sin in writing. I'm going to post the first 150 words of my new novel, Erron, before it's gone through the hands on my editors. Here goes:
It was in a grocery store that I first saw him. He was grabbing a box of cereal and I was walking by on my way to the registers. It’s a very plain, simple way to begin so bizarre a relationship, but that’s actually how it went.
I do remember noticing him. How could you not? He was tall, but not too tall; muscular, but not too muscular and very, very beautiful; if that’s a word you can use to describe a man. All I know is that when I walked by him, I remember thinking that is a beautiful man. 
I didn’t think he noticed me, though; that’s how good he is at what he does. I didn’t see his eyes as they followed me, didn’t hear him as he set his things down on the conveyer belt just after mine.
There it is; I hope you liked it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's Finished!

Drumroll please...

It's official. I've just finished Erron, and now it's off to my editor. This book is unlike anything I've ever written. It's shorter, only 56,000 words, and very concise. In essence it's like a very long piece of flash fiction, if that makes any sense. I love it, and hope you will to. I'll be posting the first page next week, so make sure you stop back for that. Now that I'm done with this frenzied pace I can stop by and see all of you. I missed you guys, and can't wait to read what you've been up to.

Isn't the cover amazing? I love it; it almost tells the story all in itself.

I've got about two weeks off before I need to get onto my next project. Any suggestions on what I should read?

Until next week,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Week in Review

This week has been crazy, both in good and bad ways. My grandmother’s funeral was Monday, so of course that was bad, but it brought lots of relatives from out of town that I haven’t seen in a long time, which was the good part. This week has been filled with lots of that—family get-togethers (fun) and family meetings (not so fun). But somehow, through it all, I’ve stayed on track with my book. I’ve been participating in Camp NaNo this month—my first time doing that—and it’s going alright. About half-way through the month I finished the first draft of Erron, which is what I expected, and the plan was to go on and start 2084 and then get back to revisions on Erron when NaNo was over, but I just couldn’t put that project down. So I put a pause on NaNo and gave my full attention to revisions, which, of course, has my word count plummeting. Am I the only one that bothers? For some reason watching that little red bar get further and further away from the ascending line really gets to me; it’s like seeing a goal be unrealized. I know that’s stupid. I made a conscious choice to do this, but still, it gets to me. Must be the Scottish stubbornness, I guess.
How about you—participating in NaNo? Does not meeting a goal bug you?
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Have you ever been in the middle of a writing project that took all you had and you don't mind, because it's all you can think about? Well that's what my life has been like lately. If I'm not working on my book, I'm thinking about it, and if I'm not thinking about it, I'm wishing I had more time in my day to think about it. Most books take me about a year to write, Blackbird was the exception; I finished that in about four months, but the book I'm working on right now, Erron, looks like it will be done in the middle of August. That's three months, start to finish. If you know me personally, you know how unbelievable that is. And I think I've figured out the reason. Ever since I can remember, I've imagined stories in my head. Most of them start from a dream that I want to finish, not all, but most do, but all are extremely personal and extremely emotionally charging for me. I've lost days on end finishing these stories in my mind, but I've never written any of them. They're just too personal. They were mine and mine alone. But after having published four books, I must've gotten over that, because for the first time I started jotting one of them down. And the difference is palpable. Not that I'm not or wasn't emotionally attached to my other books, I am. But this feels different and I think that difference is what's speeding up the process.

How about you--has any of your books been 'easier' to write than the others? And if your not a writer--what draws you in with a book--what is that difference for you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Indie Life

Second Wednesday Each Month

Today is the second Wednesday of the month, which makes it Indi Life day, a time to reflect on all things Indi. If you want to join in the fun, you can sign up here.

Today I’m going to talk about Crowd funding. I’ve taken a course on this and read up on it a little, but it is a relatively new concept for me. Basically, it’s using perks such as your soon to be released books as a way to raise funds for the expense of producing them. This concept isn’t typically used for books, but it could be. It appears the key to this is having a good platform to start with, and giving people perks they can be excited about. I’m thinking about doing this with Bloodbrothers, the last book in the Newstead Anthem. If you’re interested in doing this yourself, there’s basically two main sites to help you facilitate it, they are Indigogo ( ) and Kickstarter ( ).

If it works for you stop back and let me know.

Anyone else done this before? Any advice for those of us who are new to this concept?  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which makes it IWSG time. It’s a time to reflect on what makes us insecure as writers, and to offer support to others who may be going through the same things as ourselves. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting this along with his co-hosts. If you’d like to join in, you can find the list here .

As most of the readers of this blog know, one of my biggest insecurities as a writer is marketing, and this past weekend that particular insecurity was put to the test. I had a tent in an art show, which is something I’ve done in the past, and while I’ve done fairly well in the book sales department, I’ve always felt on display, which is something that really brings out all those insecurities that I’d thought I’d outgrown. But I went, and this time was different. I’m not a shy person. In fact, one of the things I am very good at is talking with people. It’s not unusual for me to have a five minute conversation with someone and find out their entire life story; it’s part of the reason I became a psychiatric nurse, it’s the main reason I’m good at it. So I decided to do that at the art show. Instead of just sitting behind a table staring back at the people staring at me, I talked with them. I asked questions, I made a lot of new friends. I had a wonderful time.  So maybe I’m finally starting to get over it. I hope so.

How about you—gotten over any insecurities lately?

Friday, June 27, 2014

The FIve Year Project in Review

It’s that time again, a time to reflect on how my goals for the Five Year Project are working out. Thanks goes out to Meisha Gericke for hosting this. If you’d like to have your own five year goals, you can sign up here, and I highly recommend you do; this is a great group of very supportive people.
My goal: To have the Newstead Books be the next great American novels.

For me the writing has always been great; I live and breathe it. If I’m not doing it at the moment, I’m thinking about when I get to do it again. That’s how it’s been for me for the last almost four years. I’m truly in-love with my characters and their stories, and I can’t wait to see what happens to them. It’s almost like reading a book you can’t put down, only the book hasn’t been written yet. That’s what the writing is for me.
The marketing, not so much.

I’m not shy, I actually like being around people, but the idea of “pitching” something so very dear to me, so personal, is the opposite of what I described with the writing. I loathe it. I didn’t and don’t write for that. I hope people read my books and love them, and in fact (almost) nothing makes me happier than to find out someone has done just that, but for me, the marketing part of it seems like begging, and I don’t feel like begging. I want people on their own to pick up my books, read them, and love them, and in a world of millions of books, guess how often that’s happened?

So that pretty much sums up how I’ve been doing. The writing is great; I’ve got four books out, am about ¾ of the way through the first draft of Erron, ½ of the way through Bloodbrothers, and am about to start Camp NaNo next month, so I hope that will give me the drive to get both of those done. But the sales—they could be better.

How about you? How are your goals going? Hate marketing as much as me?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Liebster Award

Chrys Fey nominated me for the Liebster award several weeks ago, and I’m sorry to say, it took me this long to accept it. Thank you Chrys for the nomination!   

For those of you who don’t know, the Liebster Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers. The goal is to help people find these blogs that are worthy of a bigger following. In German “Liebster” means kindest, beloved, valued, and welcome.

The current rules for accepting this award are:

1.      List 11 random facts about myself.

2.      Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated me.

3.      Nominate 11 more blogs who have less than 200 followers and let them know they’ve been nominated.

4.      4. Post 11 new questions for those bloggers to answer (If they wish to accept the award—it’s completely optional).

Chrys’s 11 questions for me:

1.      If you were allowed to read books by only one author, who would it be and why? Probably Ted Dekker. I love his style.

2.      What is your favorite dessert? It changes with the time of year, but right now I’d have to say fruit pie with maybe a smidge of ice cream.

3.      On a Friday night, what are you most likely to do? Again, that depends on the time of year. Right now, it would be to take the kids to the Drive-In. My husband goes to the races most Friday nights, so it’s a perfect time for me to hang out with the kiddos.

4.      If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why? It would be my desire to please people, because I’ve found out (several times) the hard way that you just can’t, so you shouldn’t even bother trying.  

5.      Who is your favorite literary character? (One hero, and one heroine.) I know people will think I’m being trite when I say this, but my favorite characters are my own. I’ve spent a lot of time with them and couldn’t imagine loving anyone else more, and I can’t pull favorites so here’s my list: For the guys: Joel, Marcus, Steven, and Erron. And for the girls: Rachel and Willow.

6.      What is your biggest dream? To become publisher, but not like how publishers are now, not a gatekeeper. I want to partner with authors to help make books that will change the world, and right now I’m starting with mine.

7.      What song could you listen to over and over again? Only Hope by Switchfoot

8.      If your house were burning down, what would you take and why? Assuming all the people made it out okay, I’d grab my computer (has all my writing on it), some original art work I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire (can’t replace an original), and some family pictures (can’t replace those, either).

9.      Who is your inspiration, your hero? God. But if you’re asking about a person, I’d have to say Katie Davis, a young woman who gave up an affluent life here in the States to move to Uganda to care for the orphans there. Seriously; this woman amazes me. You can find out more about her on her blog: or you can watch a youtube video about her here

10. What advice would you give your teenage self? You know that guy you think is so hot? Hang on to him. He’s one of the best things to ever happen to you.

11. If you were not in your current line of work, what would you be doing instead? I’m a psychiatric nurse by profession, but I’ve been laid off since January, so I guess the answer to that is what I’m doing right now: Enjoying my kids, making a home for our family, and writing books that I love.

Picking just eleven was a bit of a challenge; there are hundreds of blogs out there worthy of this award. The ones listed below are what I consider to be the best of the best of the blogs I follow with under 200 followers.  

1.      Elle from Erratic Project Junkie

3.      Michelle at Buttered Toast Rocks

4.      Chase from Chase's Log Notes

5.      Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

6.      Tania at Creative Preschool Times  

8.      Jennifer at Creative Exercise

9.      Getting Trippy

And the questions they need to answer, should they choose to accept this award:

1.      What projects are you working on right now?

2.      What plans do you have for this summer?

3.      If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

4.      What do you want to be when you grow up?

5.      What is your favorite childhood memory?

6.      Your favorite childhood book?

7.      What experience in your life changed you the most?

8.      Who is your best friend?

9.      What has been your favorite pet?

10. Who is your favorite literary villain?

11. Cheese or chocolate?