I spent about three days this week traveling to and from Oklahoma to visit my sister and her husband for Thanksgiving. Everyone in our family went and it was my first time to go up there to see her. I went by car on the way there and by train on the way back and did a lot of eating and family time together in between. I had never been out of my state before. I have traveled to foreign countries, but not other states in the US, since Texas is so big that it takes a while just to get across it. 😊 Besides, I’ve never been a big traveler—I would definitely call myself a homebody. So getting to see the beautiful state of Oklahoma was a first for me and I am really glad I went. Soon after crossing the Red River I snapped this awesome moment of a row of wind turbines silhouetted against a low afternoon sun. Fantastic. Next week I'll post some pics of places we visited, including a Christmas lights show and a park with a waterfall. But I didn't have time to go through the photos before sending off this newsletter.
Getting out of the house made me reflective about my writing. Sometimes I spend so much time locked on the computer screen worrying if I am expressing myself clearly and communicating my message that I don’t think about people outside the writing bubble. Seeing all the people on the train and in the places we visited in Oklahoma made me wonder if they would be interested in my books. I imagined describing books to them and making a sales pitch—although I didn’t actually do this as I didn’t want to distract from the holiday time with my family. Many writing coaches recommend getting a really targeted visual image of your reader in your mind, almost as detailed as a specific person. While that focus hasn’t been 100% absent from the last few years, it hasn’t been at the forefront as I was more zoned into the actual mechanics of putting the books at a good level of writing. Journeying to a new place always creates a new story for me—and it also inspires me to get my books out there even more for people to read.
Review copies for the next 2 weeks are Victoria: A Tale of Spain and A Year with the Harrisons. If you complete a 5-star review and put it on 3 or more retailers, you can email me with your mailing address and links to the reviews and I will mail you a complimentary signed paperback copy of the book you reviewed. This isn’t an “incentive” just a thank you, and should not encourage you to put up a favorable review unless it is your real opinion.
Victoria: A Tale of Spain Review Copy
A Year with the Harrisons Review Copy
And there will be more updates.
Last month I listened to a couple of free webinars taught by New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Alessandra Torre. She is also the founder of an online writer’s conference called Inkers Con which features specialized classes on many topics. I’d seen some ads for her teaching on FB and I thought “What the heck? Why not give it a try?” Although her genre isn’t the same as mine, most of the topics she covered are applicable to every fiction author because they are basics: how to find an audience, how to promote a book, and how to use Goodreads. It was great to see not only an insight into the industry (she is both traditionally and independently published, so she has knowledge about many aspects of publishing) but also the comments from other authors in the thread below the videos. Many had the same questions I did, such as if her tips would work for children’s authors too and whether Goodreads is even worth it because of all the trash reviews.
The three things I really liked after taking 2 hour-long video classes with her were:
So yes, as you can see by all the smiley faces I went into this webinar sure I’d hear only a thousand and one ways I was behind the curve. (Or I'd hear only tailored, specific advice for her genre which wouldn't help me.) And I certainly heard a lot of things that made me feel like I had a long way to go. But I would wholeheartedly recommend Alessandra’s webinars if you can catch them because I also went away feeling increasingly confident.
On a side note, fall has actually come here! I woke up a few mornings ago to this wonderful foggy mist covering our orchard and the remains of our garden. (Need to get to work preparing it for fall, I realize looking at this picture. Summer went by so fast. It’s time to dig up those old plants and get the strawberries ready for winter.) In the front you can see a little planter of red flowers. Another memento from my sister’s birthday, this chrysanthemum adds some bright color just as the year is starting to get chillier and grayer. Very cute, I think.
Review copies for the new two weeks are The Test of Devotion and This Merry Summertime. If you complete a 5-star review and put it on 3 or more retailers, you can email me with your mailing address and links to the reviews and I will mail you a complimentary signed paperback copy of the book you reviewed. This isn’t an “incentive” just a thank you, and should not encourage you to put up a favorable review unless it is your real opinion. (MerrySummer is a good sampler to read if you're just getting started on my work because it contains funny, pint-sized miniatures of every genre I've written except sci-fi. Be aware these stories are meant to be funny! Don't be one of those readers, and I've had several of them, who missed the point of something I wrote or even got anxious and offended because they didn't understand it was meant to be comedy. Not that any of you are that dumb, I'm sure--but anyway, you are duly warned!)
The Test of Devotion Review Copy
This Merry Summertime Review Copy
And there will be more updates.
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