Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last March News - interview, characters, Whistler, prosthesis tech

I'm over at Emily Ann Benedict's blog today in an early interview for Indie Author April. I didn't know if I would have enough to say about my independent publishing journey, but it turns out that I've learned more than expected along the way.

There's a giveaway going on there, too, so check it out!

Plus, I did a short "Meet the Characters" post for Ashes Burn over at my Ashes Burn site.

And . . . this is what my week looks like so far:

Walking with family in Whistler Village, B.C.

We've only been here for two days and it's been a roller coaster of a trip - one family member went to the hospital for pneumonia, lots of intercessory prayer was gathered on her behalf, we walked in the village a tiny bit, and we skied for an afternoon. I discovered, much to my dismay, that my lack of exercise (slightly due to my foot issues) left me unprepared to ski anything more than green runs. There's not much snow here (the whole Northwest area sent most of its snow to the East coast this year - which has sucked for all parties involved), but there's a little at the top (which is windy).

I did get to see the coolest tech for prosthesis that I've ever seen in my life when we were in the upper roundhouse lodge yesterday - it was so new that it hadn't been patented yet and the designer of it was standing there adjusting it for the guy he made it for - an above the knee prosthetic leg with two joints (knee and ankle) that was built for snowboarding. Both the snowboarder with the prosthetic and the designer were happy to show it off, but no pictures were allowed (due to it being a prototype). It looked like the kind of tech we imagine in sci-fi movies - it was really, really cool.

(And BTW, my dad has a prosthetic leg so that's my excuse for my interest in prostheses. I love the new tech that's coming out to improve people's lives.)

Please come visit with me at Emily's blog today! I'll be "around" the internet, since my family planned to hit the diamond runs (hard to expert type) today and my brother-in-law with MS needs a little extra care.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Guest: Patricia Josephine: What's in a Name?

What’s in a name?
A character’s name can be important. It’s not always random. Sometimes there has to be a meaning behind it. While Michael is the common name to pick when writing about archangels, there is a reason behind it.

Angel of Miracles
Michael is an archangel who strengthens the spirit during difficult times or dangerous situations. His name means "he who is like God" and he is the chief over the dominion order of virtues, angel of repentance, righteousness, ruler of the fourth heaven and conqueror of Satan. It is commonly believed that Michael was the angel that Moses communicated with in the burning bush and that he also saved Daniel from the lion's den. He inspires truth, patience and love in the human heart. In Roman Catholic tradition, Michael is considered to be the patron angel of policemen, guiding and guarding them as they protect us. He is also thought to be the one who gently leads our souls to heaven. (source: http://whisperingworlds.com/angel/angelnames_m.php)

In Path of Angels Michael is the leader of his brothers and the one who took Lucifer to Hell after the rebellion.

There is only one path.

Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.

But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.

Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

Tweets to share:
Walk the path. Face evil. Defeat it. #PathOfAngels
#urbanfantasy #NA #NewAdult

Michael thought he knew what lay on his path, but he didn’t see Lake coming. #PathOfAngels #urbanfantasy #NALit

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/plynne_writes
Website: http://www.patricialynne.com
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108938106639683446081/posts/p/pub
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/patricialynne07

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13460894.Patricia_Josephine

Friday, March 27, 2015

Celebrations and Do You Have Goals Mixed Together

Celebrate The Small Things and Do You Have Goals Mixed Together - The Insanity Edition

Many thanks to Lexa Cain, LG Keltner, Katie, Misha, and Beth for these two positive hops!

I realized that my goals might be slightly insane. In fact, I decided around March 10th, that I might tear out all my hair need to slow them down a bit for sanity. But here is a glimpse of the work I've been doing. (Beware, although I am celebrating, there's a bit of a vent in here, too.) Hit bold highlights if you need to run . . .

Dynamic Writing 1 ground me into my desk and gave me formatting for e-book nightmares. I struggled and decided to put out a "sample" book with the first 15 lessons . . . on a whim. Not sure it's the right move, but it's available via kindle for 99 cents. 

After looking at curriculum prices and noticing that most curricula don't come via e-book and that they usually cost over $25, I thought I might split Dynamic Writing 1 into two different e-books, for first semester and second semester. Then, I decided to "improve" a few of the lessons by changing some of the order around. Formatting nightmares ensued. I had first semester out for kindle and Smashwords for a few days and was happy that no copies sold because it didn't pass the Smashwords Epub check and I can't figure out why. Is it because it's in 2.0 spacing? I need at least the writing samples to be in 2.0 spacing because that's the required spacing for my students when I teach the class. It's either that or the numeric lists of questions and answers for the sentence variation practice problems. I don't really want to pay an exorbitant fee to get the formatting done, so currently I'm planning on finishing the paperback in late May, and if I can fix the stinking e-book formatting issues by then, I'll re-release the e-book version.

Dynamic Writing 1 contains 185 lessons in writing that cover journal practice writing, sentence variations practice, and a multiple draft process for essays, poetry, and short fiction. I've been using a "casual," private print version for a year now with one of my classes. It's basically all the notes that I had for class bound into a book. And, I have Dynamic Writing 2 and 3 drafted out that way as well. However, taking it to the "public" and formal level has had me banging my head on my desk. I think I should have avoided the idea of an e-book and just gone for a print format first.

Celebration point for that mess: Progress.

In my tiny, experimental, "crazy" writing, things have been going much better.

Ashes Burn Season 2: Ashes Stirred has been merrily airing three times a week for a few months now, and I just compiled it all into it's own little e-book. Today is release day for Ashes Burn Season 2: Ashes Stirred! The first five official (with a comment) visitors here, at the Ashes Burn blog and at the Wings of Light Publishing blog can get a free download via a Smashwords coupon, if so desired. It's available for 99 cents at:

And Ashes Burn Season One: Ashes Away is #perma-free since it is a strange experiment in tiny writing form.

Other writing goals for 2015 have received a paring down to size that will allow for some sanity. Dynamic Writing 2 and 3 may or may not be released this year. Champion's Destiny and some short stories are my next top priorities, along with surviving A to Z as a Commando Muffin. (Oh, and finishing at least the paperback of Dynamic Writing 1 before June. Agh.)

Exercise: I'm back to it! I can walk 1 mile, bike 30-40 minutes on an exercise bike without much tension on it, and I can do yoga.

Prayer: every day, all the time, as much as I can. Bible study: some days, yes. some days, less.

Relational: the invitational attitude idea kind of suffered when my kids were sick earlier this month and I was tearing my hair out over projects. We did invite friends to see a movie with us. Our niece came to dinner one night. And, I had some guests and spotlights here at my blog, including Shelly Sly, Elizabeth Seckman, Lori L. MacLaughlin, Emma L. Adams, and Nick Wilford. I'm planning to celebrate them again, along with a few others, for A to Z!

Write 1 Sub 1 goals: I wrote and subbed a flash fiction story to Brilliant Flash Fiction's photo prompt contest and . . . the results of that are below. (Happy dance)

Lexa Cain, awesome leader of the Celebrate the Small Things hop, requested some pics of the kayaking and canoeing race from last weekend, but the wind came up, the rain came down, and my girls both had a really rough day (falling in, broken rudder on the kayak, etc.) so I'm going to wait until I have a cheerier pic to show.

On a last, and unexpected, celebratory note:
I had a fun-to-write-but-quirky flash fiction story, "The Biggest Waterslide," short-listed at Brilliant Flash Fiction's last photo prompt contest. It's the seventh story on the page. I was in stinky armpit mode the day that I wrote it - hard to explain, unless you read it.

And I have a couple of tiny twitter stories up @7x20 this week: "Buzz" went live yesterday and "almost spring" will air later today.

What are you celebrating today? Are you staying sane in pursuit of your Dream Goals? 

And, if you can, please check out that story for free, or pick up a free copy of Ashes Burn Season One, or a 99 cent copy of Ashes Burn Season Two. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cover Reveal for Nick Wilford

Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction
Cover Design: Rebekah Romani
Release Date: May 25th 2015

A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.

In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.

But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…

In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.

The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.

In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.

Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.

The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.

Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working, he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. You can find him hanging out on his blog or on Goodreads or Twitter.

Preorder Links: Amazon US, Amazon UK

Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Theme Reveal

A to Z is almost here!!!

Theme Reveal

My 2015 Theme is: CELEBRATIONS!

All month long, I'll be celebrating authors and bloggers who have inspired me with their determination, spunk, and style.

And, on the last day of the month, I'll be celebrating my blogaversary with:
Virtual Chocolate - some real eye candy. :)
Actual Chocolate (for the first three visitor/comment-ers from the US)
A Free First Page Critique Giveaway for visitor #10.
and . . . some free e-books.

And, I'll be hanging with the Muffin Commando Squad, celebrating muffiness - a special brand of awesomeness. :) Muffin Commandos: C. Lee Mckenzie (Fearless Squad Leader), Carrie ButlerYvonne VentrescaDonna McDinePatricia LynneTara Tyler, andTammy Theriault.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Guest: Lori L. MacLaughlin and mini-celebrations

Please welcome guest Lori L. MacLaughlin, author of Lady Thy Name Is Trouble

What Bilbo Baggins and I Have In Common

One of my favorite scenes in the beginning of Tolkien's The Hobbit, is when Gandalf spreads out on Bilbo's table the map of the Lonely Mountain, given to him by Thorin's father, Thrain. Gandalf speaks of the secret passage into the mountain, and Bilbo's curiosity gets the better of him. Though he wants no part of an adventure involving dragons, he loves maps and can't resist having a look.

I, too, love maps — particularly those drawn from imagination. They speak to me of paths unknown, adventures that await if only I'd take that first step. When I draw maps to go with my stories, I can create vast forests or soaring mountains, walled cities with mighty castles or frightening places in the deepest dark. New worlds flow from pencil to paper, ready to be populated by the denizens of my mind.

The story fragments swirling in my head give birth to landforms and waterways that expand into worlds that, in turn, help me visualize the emerging plot. I find that having a map solidifies my story and makes it more real to me, though both map and story are fluid until the final word is written.

In a previous post on my blog, I shared the map I drew for Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble. Now, I'd like to share the map that goes with it for Book 2, Trouble By Any Other Name. I actually drew this map first, but realized the story started way before my characters reached this part of the world.

My kids and I watched an animated movie a while back, where the characters found a topographical map that covered the floor of a room in a lost pyramid they'd discovered. They stepped on the map and fell through into the mysterious world the map represented. I always wished I could do something like that. Imagine the adventures one could have...

Does anyone else out there draw maps to go with the stories you write?


Trouble is Tara Triannon’s middle name. As swords for hire, Tara and her sister Laraina thrive on the danger. But a surprise invasion throws them into chaos... and trouble on a whole new level. Pursued by the Butcher, a terrifying assassin more wolf than man, Tara and Laraina must get a prince marked for death and a young, inept sorceress to safety. There’s only one problem – eluding the Butcher has never been done. Aided by a secretive soldier of fortune, they flee the relentless hunter.

Gifted with magic and cursed by nightmares that are all too real, Tara must stop an army led by a madman and fend off an evil Being caught in a centuries-old trap who seeks to control her magic and escape through her dreams – all while keeping one step ahead of the Butcher.

Available at:

LoriL. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.
She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.
When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.

Mini-Celebrations for Celebrate the Small Things:
1. It's Friday.
2. My daughter's dance performance last weekend was fun!
3. Both of my daughters are racing this weekend - flat-water sprint canoe (oldest) and kayak (youngest). 
4. Guests: Shelley Sly and Lori L. MacLaughlin
5. Maps. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interview with middle grade author, Shelley Sly

Interview with middle grade author, Shelley Sly

What do you like best about writing middle grade fiction?

I love writing for young readers. I remember being completely smitten with books as a kid. I really dove into the stories and believed in the characters. Now, as an adult, I’ve talked to many young readers who feel the same way about books as I did. It’s the best feeling to see a kid’s face light up when they tell you how much they liked your book.

Where did you get the idea for One Hundred Thirty Stars?

I’m a video game geek, and in my college years, I attended conventions dressed up as video game characters. It was such a unique experience that I just had to incorporate it into a novel. The silliness, the awkwardness… it was all loosely based on real events.

What's your favorite part about writing?

To me, there’s something exhilarating about having the chance to go places that I’ve never been, and having the chance to be people who are different from me, if only for a short while. Yes, I’m just using my imagination, but there’s something very real about the worlds that we writers create. It’s a beautiful escape.

Thank you so much for having me here today, Tyrean!

Thank you, Shelley! I picked up One Hundred Thirty Stars the other day and couldn't put it down! Poignant, sweet, and brilliantly written, it's one of my favorite reads from this year! 

Shelley Sly lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area with her husband and their chocolate lab mix. She writes middle grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in. Shelley is the author of WISHING FOR WASHINGTON, and her brand new release, ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS. You can find her online at www.shelleysly.com.

One Hundred Thirty Stars can be found at Amazon and Goodreads! (Highly recommended!)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Muffin Commando Squad, Celebrations, and Adamant Release!

It's a mega-post today, enjoy the highlights!

I'm super excited to be a part of C. Lee Mckenzie's Muffin Commando Team for A to Z!!!

Q: What kind of muffin are you?
Well, I'm a huge fan of banana nut . . . but can I be the same kind of muffin as Carrie Butler?
If not banana nut, then I'm cinnamon-apple-nut muffin. :)

Q: What's your latest book, short story, publication?
A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts, A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts (paperback), and Jumble Journals 1 and 2. Like they sound, these are books chock full of writing prompts.

Q: What was your theme last year? And, why did you choose it? Character Names from The Champion Trilogy and World-Building Ideas. I was hip deep in revisions for Champion in Flight, and the joint topics were simmering on my brain.

Hint: This year, my theme will be a little less about me, and a little more about (to be revealed on the 23rd).

If you haven't already, please go meet the rest of the Muffin Commandos: C. Lee Mckenzie (leader extraordinaire), Carrie Butler, Yvonne Ventresca, Donna McDine, Patricia Lynne, Tara Tyler, and Tammy Theriault.

Celebrate the Small Things is led by Lexa Cain, and co-hosted by LG Keltner and the Cyborg Mom.


1. Two of my hint fictions stories were published at Espresso Stories. Check them out for free:
"Ocean's Promise"
"Tone Deaf"

2. Elizabeth Seckman's guest post on Wednesday!

3. My youngest daughter's knee ultrasound looked awesome! Her PT is going good, and she can move from going easy to pushing a a bit harder at racing practice for flat-water sprint kayaking. (They use their legs for "leg drive" - and use their whole bodies to put power into their paddle strokes.)

4. My oldest daughter is dancing this Sunday evening at a benefit for the Tacoma City Ballet's financial aid program. It's called 10 Tiny Dances, and it's at Jazzbones in Tacoma, WA. If you're local, you could come check it out! :) She'll be in the "scary doll" tap dance. Yep, it's definitely not Singin' in the Rain, but it's fun. And I've added a little preview video - an interview video with her teacher.

5. Had a bit of a rough week with some virus-ick in the house and just plain insecurity over writing projects, so I found some solace in these things:

I read Shelley Sly's MG One Hundred Thirty Stars and loved it - beautiful, poignant writing. I felt like I was with Birdie while she struggles to get to know and understand her estranged father at a game convention, and in her thoughts and heart throughout the whole book. Highly recommended!

I finished watching Not Another Happy Ending. It's a romantic comedy about a debut author and her small press publisher/editor that I've been watching in short installments via Netflix - if you're a writer, there's some extra comedy in there on the "sure, that happens to all authors, yeah right" scale, but all in all, it was just wonderfully quirky, and it just hit the spot. Highly recommended, especially if you're on an editing/writing/marketing downturn (as in it feels like it all sucks and in need of a laugh and some inspiration).

And now, presenting . . . ADAMANT!

On an alternative 21st-century Earth in which our world is one of many in the Multiverse, the Inter-World Alliance exists to keep the peace between the worlds, and keep the monsters out.

Ada Fletcher is twenty-one, keeps a collection of knives in her room, and is more interested in fighting than her day job as a cashier. She also risks her life on a daily basis, helping refugees from a devastating magical war on her homeworld hide on the low-magic Earth. But when she’s taken into custody by the Alliance, her unusual magic makes her a prime suspect for a supervisor’s suspicious death.

For Kay Walker, whose family founded the organization, there has never been any doubt that his future is with the Alliance – even if it means dealing with sarcastic centaurs and dangerous monsters in the dark Passages between worlds. But when his supervisor is murdered, Kay discovers that a research project might have been the reason, and faces the choice of whether to ignore his instincts or risk becoming the next target, not to mention digging into the Alliance’s history and memories he’d rather keep buried. And there’s something not quite right about the strange, fierce girl he arrested as a suspect.

The last thing Ada wants is to help the infuriating Alliance guard who arrested her, but it soon becomes clear that the Alliance knows too much about Ada’s offworld origins. More, in fact, than she knows herself. Now she has to choose between loyalty to her family, and helping the Alliance save the Earth – and the Multiverse – from a deadly enemy.

Buy the book:

Barnes and Noble

Add on Goodreads
Read the first chapter

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing speculative fiction. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the ight of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions and writing fantasy novels, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an improbable number of books. Emma is currently working on the Alliance series, a multiple-universe adult fantasy featuring magic, monsters, cool gadgets and sarcasm. Her upper-YA urban fantasy Darkworld series is published by Curiosity Quills Press.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guest: Elizabeth Seckman and Mainstream Fiction

Thanks for having me over Tyrean!

Thanks for visiting, Elizabeth! It's great to have you!

I had a conversation with some writers last week over whether or not good decent grace-saved, messed-up Christians should be writing mainstream fiction, or should we be writing Christian fiction? Or in the very least, concentrating on sweet fiction devoid of adult language, situations, and alcohol? When I first started writing, I tried to stay in these parameters, but I came up with nothing. Not a single story thread. Zero. Zip. Nada. Not even an idea.

So, I ran with my broken characters with their less than perfect lives and the stories returned.

Then, a friend of mine dedicated her first book to God. We published about the same time, so I considered doing the same. But then I wondered if God would want a book with premarital sex, lies, and drinking dedicated to Him. So, I didn't.

But the more I write. The more I get out to conventions and meet readers, the more certain I am that I am doing what I am called to do.  Broken people are reality and their lives are messy and sometimes even jaded, but they are just as loved. They are just as important.

And this broken believer will happily write their stories. And if someone in real life wants to know how I make it through life with joy, I'll share.

Am I on a holy mission? No. I just don't see the point in hiding who I am.

So, this time...I dedicated this ornery book to the One I owe everything.

*Now, to be clear- when I say ornery, if this book were a movie, it would rate a PG-13. There are adult situations and content, but no F bombs or super steamy scenes. I don't want to get my poor mother-in-law worried that I am acting like her rotten son. Hehe.

The Blurb:

Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long line of trouble-making, white trash stock.
Tanner Coulter comes from a longer line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.
Jo graduated college top of her class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.
Tanner dropped out of college, trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.

A family crisis throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach. 

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Monday, March 9, 2015

The Business of Writing: Getting Books on the Shelves of Independent Bookstores - 20 Tips!

Meeting with independent bookstore owners, I've gained a few insights on how best to get my books on their shelves.

Here's What I've Learned:

1. Dress nice, but not too nice unless you live in a region where business suits are the norm. I wear nice jeans/casual slacks and a nice knit or button-up top when I go into a bookstore to talk to the owner for the first time, or even to find out when I can talk to the owner.

2. Stalk the bookstore blog/website/facebook page first. See if they support indie or small press writers with events or signings.

3. If possible, visit the store as a customer beforehand, even if you don't have a ton of money to spend on books. See what's on the shelves. Be friendly. (Don't ask for any info yet.)

4. When it's time to meet the owner, bring a business card, a half-page to one-page promotional flyer/info sheet about you and -.

5. Bring your books - but don't bring more than three copies. (Don't look desperate!)

6. Introduce yourself. Tell them you are a indie or small press author, and ask them if they could sell your books on their shelves.

7. Offer (this is a risk) to let them read your book before they carry it. (Do not leave books with a bookstore employee, only with the owner.)

8. If they wish to read your book before they carry it on their shelves, have a clear time frame for a second conversation - two weeks to a month is usually good. (If they ask for more time, consider it, but also consider that I had a bookstore owner completely "forget" about my book after two months.)

9. Be prepared for them to ask to sell your book on commission. This means that you won't get paid until they get paid. However, remember, they are taking a risk on a new, unknown author whose book may sit on their shelves for a year without selling. (See note on #12)

10. If you find a bookstore owner that is willing to pay you upfront for copies of your books, rejoice - you have just found the rarest of bookstore owners.

11. Don't "pay" them to keep your book on their shelves unless you are really certain that their bookstore is going to get you lots of customers. (I've been in a bookstore that expects authors to pay for shelf space and sell only on commission - I don't think that's a deal that works for me.)

12. Find out what shelf the bookstore owner is going to place your book on - the "local author" shelf, the "genre" shelf that fits your book, or? Also, find out if this is a prominent shelf or one that's near the floor in dusty corner. (This happened to me - the owner put my books in a dusty, unseen corner by the floor and not a single book sold even though I sent friends to "find" my book there. Guess what? My friends found my book at a different store.)

13. Ask for a book signing or offer a book/writer talk/event. Bookstore owners like these - it draws in customers. They really like them if you plan in advance and plan to contact the local newspaper, and put up flyers around town.

14. Have a "wholesale" and a sale price in mind when you approach a bookstore owner. If you are small press, this may not be an issue. As an indie author, I "wholesale" my books to the bookstore, and they receive the profit above that price. Is it worth it? Yes. I take into account what the book and shipping costs, then I add the same amount of profit I would make through amazon, and then I ask for that "wholesale" price. Does the bookstore owner make more than I do? Yes, but the bookstore owner has a storefront to lease and employees to pay.

15. If the bookstore owner wants to charge more for your book than Amazon does, let them. They may only have five or six people in their store in an hour . . . or less. Each book sale matters to them. They also know what their customers are willing to pay per book. You may feel "left out" of the profit, but having your book on a bookstore shelf is about getting "known to readers" as well as "sales." (At this point, you might also gently haggle for a better "wholesale" price - this depends on the owner and the friendliness level.)

16. Remember, independent bookstore owners and most small retail business are suffering right now. Online sales and competitions from big box stores are hurting them. (Don't flaunt your kindle sales!)

17. Be professional. Even if a bookstore owner isn't nice to you, or doesn't say yes, just smile, thank them, and exit the store. Tears, tantrums, and crabbiness can always take place at home, or inside the car, preferably after you are out of their parking lot and near the closest coffee shop.

18. Reward yourself for being brave enough to go into the bookstore and put yourself out there. Even if they said no, celebrate your courage and your professionalism!

19. If your book makes it onto the shelves of a small bookstore, send friends, family, and acquaintances there to shop. Tell them how wonderful the bookstore owner is, and how nice it is to have your book in a store. Help the bookstore get business. More business for them means more business for your books.

20. If your book made it onto the shelves, you now have a relationship with that bookstore owner. Keep the relationship alive. Stop by the store every month or two. Chat with them. Buy a book there. Offer another event.

Repeat #18!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

This week, I'm celebrating:

1. The act of walking into a local bookstore to ask for a book signing.

2. The awesome owner of the local bookstore (who has helped me before) not only said, "yes," but also invited me to a poetry reading event to celebrate National Poetry Month with local poets and writers! (Two gigs out of one friendly conversation!)

3. IWSG!

4. Submitted five hint fiction stories to @7x20 (unpaid twitter market) and a flash fiction story to Imaginate (paid market) last Saturday - just before the deadline for Write 1 Sub 1. :)

5. New blue jeans - two pairs - a much needed addition to my wardrobe. I was down to one pair without holes, stains, or other issues.

6. Permission granted to start exercising slowly. I get to try walking for a 1/4 mile, and I get to try riding a stationary bike with no resistance. Yay!

7. Milo James Fowler, Speculative Fictioneer, let me hijack his blog on Monday! I'm so thankful!

8. Training for the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Nationals Racing Team starts tomorrow and my daughters are excited to get paddling (even on cold ocean water in March). One of their international level team-mates (best teen canoeist in the USA and 3rd place winner at the Pan-American Championships) just had his picture on the cover of a local magazine, and we're excited for that because not many people in our own community know about our racing team - even though they've won Nationals three years in a row.

Tips on asking bookstore owners for shelf space coming next week!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG: Every Day Writing without "Guilt"

Many thanks to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and his co-hosts Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence for making this hop great!

This month, I decided to talk about how I tackle "guilt" type insecurity if I don't make my daily word goal as an every day writer.

1. If I have a bad day, I give myself grace. My minimum word count goes from 1,000 words to one paragraph of "whatever" writing in my journal. My journal has lists of things to do, sermon notes, "I don't know what to write today" entries, and even writerly stuff like story starts, poems, and reflections.

2. I keep the "never a day without a line" quote in the back of my head. Sure, the guy who originally said this was an artist and he meant "drawing lines," but if I'm really have a incredibly busy, crazy, or exceptionally bad day - then, writing a line is the minimum.

3. I celebrate the "just keep swimming" days. These days might feel like "the writing went nowhere" days, but they count.

How do you keep swimming/writing/building your dream?

Another way to write every day is to join the April A to Z Challenge!

If you do, you can hang out with some really cool bloggers, including the Muffin Commandos, a team under the leadership of C. Lee Mckenzie: Yvonne Ventresca, Carrie Butler, Donna McDine , Patricia Lynne, Elizabeth Seckman, Tara Tyler, Tammy Theriault, and me.

And, if you haven't seen it yet, I have a new book out: A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts (ebook), and A Pocket-Sized Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts (paperback). The ebook edition is 99cents in the hopes that it will be a helpful tool for every day writers.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Many Thanks to Milo James Fowler

Many thanks to Milo James Fowler amazing fictioneer, who allowed me to hijack his blog for "Book Signings for Beginners" (which I belatedly realized is an unintentionally hoity toity title).

If you aren't too offended, please come check it out.

"Book Signings . . . "