I like readers

It is one thing to write the book. But it is the reader who breathes the life into it. They give us their time to experience the story we spent many hours to create.

As a reader myself, I enjoy the experience of reading a food book. I love being able to go on the adventure the author created, see the places they created and meet the charcters telling the story.

As writers, don’t we imagine an endless number of readers loving our book? One of my dreams was to write and publish a novel, but the other dream was for many middle grade readers to read it and gain bits of advice to help them navigate the ups and downs of growing up.

While I was writing it, I had to remember this one thing, I was ultimately writing for myself. Couldn’t bank on having the dream of hitting the best seller list just out of the gate. Ultimately, I hope my story is one a reader can relate to and enjoy. If I sell a million copies, that would be great, but having it read by those middle grade readers means more to me than the money. Here is the link, in case you want to check it out for that middle grade reader you know.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book.

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Here is the link! The Hard Way

Father’s Day and random thoughts

Happy Monday! Hope you got to spend some time with your dads yesterday, either in person or in thought. It is interesting to me that both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day happen on Sundays, which was traditionally a day of rest. When I was growing up, a lot of places were closed on Sundays so people could spend time with their families. I’m sure that is why Sundays were picked for those holidays.

For some people close to me, Father’s Day isn’t a happy day. Their dads aren’t the best people. I know we say, ‘he is still your dad,’ but sometimes it doesn’t make it any better for them. But I am proud of my second cousin. She is making it a positive day for herself by focusing on the father of her three month old baby instead of her own dad.

As I look through my Facebook posts, I see all the different ways my friends and contacts celebrate their dads. Each celebration is as unique as the dad is. Some families have their traditional activities. Some will have picnics today, some will visit their favorite bakery for breakfast, or some will just stop by for a few moments just to say hi.

For us, it is a day about pie. Jim is making his dad an apple pie, his favorite, for us to bring over. Then we will meet up with my dad for an after dinner slice of pie and chat for a bit. When I ask the boys what they want to do for Jim, they aren’t sure. I know he would like to hang out with them and have dinner together, or maybe even go fishing. Since the boys have busy teenage lives and work schedules, I think we will be working towards a weekend at the cabin in July to spend time together and celebrate him.

From the writing house, I was offered an opportunity to have my book announced at a work related luncheon last week. It was neat to have the shout out done with my colleagues. Many didn’t know I was a writer much less published a book. I handed out a few of my book business cards there.

Part of my marketing plan is to donate a couple of my books to libraries next month. I’m learning marketing the book is going to cost something whether it be in time or a book. The focus of this cannot be about making money.  Most authors don’t make a lot of money at first, if at all. It is the reason why a lot of us have day jobs to support the habit.

I have heard the same advice over and over from authors who have walked the path before me. You have to love it to do it. It is a lot of hard work to get the book out there for the world to see.  I was thinking about doing a 30 day writing and marketing challenge next month to help promote my book. I did a lot of soul searching yesterday and decided that the timing isn’t good for me right now. My day job is going through major transition and will demand a lot of my time for the next couple of weeks. And wanting to spend time with my family too doesn’t leave enough time to take that on right now. I really want to do it, but I also don’t want to stress myself out. Will just have to take it on when timing allows. Just one of the many hard decisions to make to balance the day job with writing. One day, I hope to just be able to write, but I’m not quite there yet.

Enjoy your week.

Now, I will take this opportunity to plug my book, The Hard Way.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book.

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Here is the link! The Hard Way

Update from the Writing House

Good Morning and Happy Monday!

This week brought me back into working on the manuscript for The Bully’s Way, the second book in The Way Series. I figured if I have time to read another book for a review, then I should reading and working on my own.

I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in November of 2015. It is a world wide online writing project where you commit to write 50,000 in 30 days. The goal is to have completed a manuscript for a novel by the end of the month. If you make the 50,000 word goal, you do what they call “win”. My “win” was I created The Bully’s Way.

So, last week I started my first read through of the manuscript since I originally wrote it. I learned a lot since then about editing and how my own writing quirks. I saw many of those quirks in this rough draft, and made the appropriate changes. With all that I have learned so far, I’ll be able to make this manuscript a cleaner read for my editor than the first one was. My increased knowledge about the editing process will not replace my editor though, just make things easier for her and make my writing better for me.

The other part of my work this week is the promotion of The Hard Way. I have been doing some reading about good places to market my book. Even with the number of people on social media, there is a lot of additional networking that needs to happen inside and outside social media. The other part of marketing success is a luck. any random answer or question can lead to making connections. You may be in a thread of one of your social media profiles about publishing and see someone who works with the audience you are writing for. Do you take a chance to ask that person a question? I’m the type of person who will ask, in a nice way of course, and let that person make the choice to help or not. You just never know where it will go if they say yes.

Networking is about putting yourself and your book out there.  I’m learning not to be afraid to ask. It is ok of the answer is no. Just need to keep trying and see what happens.

Enjoy your week. I will take this opportunity to plug my first book, The Hard Way.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the link! The Hard Way

Book Review – White Fang by Jack London

This is the third book written by Jack London I have read in the last month. They are all well written stories about people and animals and their struggles against their environment. White Fang is no exception. I read an adapted version of this one, since it was sitting on our book shelf right next to The Call of the Wild. I enjoyed all three books.

White Fang

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

White Fang

Author

Jack London

Type of Book

Adapted version would probably be a good middle grade read. I would caution sensitive readers there is some violence depicted in this story. It is in line with what actually happens in nature, but some readers may get upset by it.

Background

Just like The Call of the Wild, it was first published as a serialized story. According to Wikipedia, it was featured in Outing Magazine, which was published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century under many different titles. Its tagline “the outdoor magazine of human interest”, ceased publication in 1923.

It was published as a book in 1906 and is said to be a companion book to The Call of the Wild, which focused on a domestic dog becoming wild while White Fang was a wild wolf/dog becoming domesticated. When two stories do this, it is called a thematic mirror. Disney also made a movie of White Fang in 1991.

Summary of Story

Story takes place in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s. A she-wolf has been living with a wolf pack. They have been foraging for food. When food becomes scarce, the she wolf and another wolf named One Eye, leave the pack. She gives birth to five pups. Due to the lack of food in the Alaskan tundra, only one pup survives. It is White Fang. This is his story of growing up as a wolf/dog.

Reactions to book

I liked the story. As an animal lover, I really got into the character of White Fang. The violence of nature in the book did get to me at points, but London was just telling the story from his experiences in the Yukon. And it was a hard and violent environment. It was neat to see the parallels and mirror images between this book and The Call of the Wild. I didn’t expect it, but glad that I read the other book first to be able to experience it.

If you are interested in picking up a copy, you can find it here White Fang

To learn more about the author, be sure to check out his website Jack London.

Book Review – The Sea-Wolf by Jack London

Happy Monday! 

Since it is the last Monday in May, it is also Memorial Day!

Be sure to honor the memories of the people who have died serving our country. It is also another special day in my world. It would have been my mom’s 78th birthday today. She would have been even happier that Memorial Day fell on her actual birthday this year. She always said the 30th is the original day the holiday was celebrated on. And she is right!

I have done a few book reviews of adapted books lately. They are ones with the stories condensed down for younger readers to be able to enjoy. It gives the reader the basic story without all of the subplots. I recently re-read Jack London’s Call of the Wild in an adapted version. So, I decided to read another Jack London book but the full version this time. There is a lot more story presented in a full version versus the adapted. I probably should have read the full version of the Call of the Wild this time to be able to make a fair comparison, but I haven’t read this book before. I will have to try and find an adapted copy of The Sea-Wolf and let you know how it compares.

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Sea-Wolf

Author

Jack London

Type of Book

Young Adult fiction if reading the full version due to a longer book. Adapted version would probably be a good middle grade read.

Background

Published after Call of the Wild in 1904, this book continues London’s theme of people and animals facing hardships. Most all of his writing is drawn from his own life experience with this book being based on his experiences at sea. 

Summary of Story

Story is set in the early 1900s. After surviving a collison at sea, Humphrey Van Weyden gets picked up by a sealing ship. He doesn’t have a lot of experience in the sea ways of life, being brought up in a weathly family and employed as a literary critic. The captain, Wolf Larsen, is a pretty violent captain, but he teaches Humprey not only how to crew and pilot the boat, but also builds him up to be a stronger man, physically and emotionally.

Reactions to book

By reading the full version, I was able to get the entire story, but it got a little wordy for me in places. But, I realized this is how writing of that time period tended to be. I did enjoy it and plan on reading an adapted version of the story in the near future. I’ll be interested to see what parts of the story they choose to tell in a condensed format.

The version of The Sea-Wolf that I read also included a few of London’s short stories. I read one called “The Law of Life” and I could see how deep London felt about life in the Yukon. This story talks about the life and death of one of the elder’s of a tribe. About how life takes it’s course and death is a natural part of it. Goes to show how life experience can add some depth to an author’s work.

If you are interested in picking up a copy, you can find it here The Sea-Wolf

To learn more about the author, be sure to check out his website Jack London.

Promoting my newly published book

 

Good Morning! It is Monday. Did you have a good weekend? Ready for this week’s blog?

Things have been crazy with me lately. My day job has been going through a lot of change and transition.  It has been taking a lot of my time and energy away from getting other things done at home. I know the hard work I’m putting in there now, will lead to things being better in the future and will eventually lead to more time for writing and book promotion.

I normally don’t mention much about my day job on my blog because try to keep it separate from my writing side of life. But, there are times when the full time job does impact how much time I have to work on my craft. I am only one person trying to make both of these important things and others happen in my life. Why do I bring this up? Trying to balance the demands of the job and working on my passion, writing and promoting my newly published book, is challenging. My job has made pursuing my writing possible, so I will do what is needed to do things well there. With all of the energy it is taking right now, though, it is kind of bumming me out. I’m so excited to work on my writing and promoting, but I’m not having as much time and energy to put towards it.

I’m not the only one who struggles with this issue. Many writers work full time jobs to follow their passion to write. Writing and book promotion take time. You don’t become a best selling author overnight. I have faith it will all happen, I just need to do what I can to keep things moving forward so I can feel that I’m making progress on the writing side of my life too.

So, if you are trying to do this writing thing with a full time job, my advice is to be patient and keep working at it. Having your plate full of other activities will make the writing journey a little more challenging, but worth it when you are actually holding a copy of the published book in your hands. And it does feel good to see copies of your book being sold on Amazon. Even if the numbers are small, right now.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book. Hey, it is an opportunity for me to plug my book! I had to take it!

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the link! The Hard Way

Happy Mother’s Day 2017

Happy Mother’s Day!

If you follow me on Facebook, you saw a post that I did in memory of my mom. She passed away nine years ago from breast cancer. Ever since then, Mother’s Day has been a different day than what Hallmark will portray on TV.

When I think about it, each Mother’s Day since then has been a different day for me. The first couple of years, I participated in the Susan B Koman Race for the Cure 5K walk in memory of her. My mom was a private person and didn’t advertise she had the disease. I see the survivors out there and feel the electricity and comradery of people who are dealing with the disease, either as a survivor or as a family member in the support role. It is very inspiring, but for me it was also a big reminder that it is the reason why she is gone.

And other years, I just go about what a normal Sunday would look like. Errands, projects, relaxing, and getting ready for Monday. But she always comes to mind and I feel a little pang in my heart. It is Mother’s Day and I don’t get to have the day with my mom, the way that others do. A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday that she was thinking of the women without mom’s on Mother’s Day. She said she was going to give her mom and extra hug, knowing how lucky she is to have her here with her. That made me smile. If your mom is with you in your life, appreciate it. Things really do change once they are gone. Not just for Mother’s Day, but for many other events that a daughter needs her mom for.

So, what do I do? Every year since she passed away, I buy a single rose. The tradition started when I would pick up a pink rose from a local flower shop after completing Race for the Cure. Then I make a trip to the cemetery (about a mile from my house) and spend some time just sitting there with her. It is a little different Hallmark moment than I imagined it would be. But, it is my Mother’s Day.

My mom loved to garden. The featured picture for this post is not a rose, but lilacs. We had two big bushes in our back yard growing up. In the spring, my mom always had bunches of them in the house. I love that scent. When they start blooming in the spring, it reminds me of my childhood home and my mom. It is one of the many good things about being with her that I hang onto in my heart. And it makes me smile.