Insight Updates on E-book Sales

Once again, I’d like to refer you to a post on Jane Friedman’s blog site, with an update on the status of e-book sales she posted last year:


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Helpful E-book Publishing Info

Jane Friedman’s latest blog provided useful information about the process for publishing an e-book:

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I often have multiple projects going at the same time. Generally, though, one keeps rising to the top, the one I want to be perfect from the first paragraph.

The opening page of a novel can make or break a request by an agent to read more. That page must have impact. Power.

It hasn’t been my strong suit, historically. So I’m looking for “a little help from my friends.” I’m posting here the opening page of my as-yet-unnamed novel. If you started reading a book with this opening, would you want to continue on?


Kuwait/Saudi Arabia Border—1991 

My Arabic was rudimentary. I understood it better than I spoke it, although even that was rough. But the most flawless Arabic wouldn’t have made this conversation with Samar easy. It was even harder than I expected.

We had just made love. It wasn’t the first time. I never meant for this to happen.

When we first arrived in Saudi Arabia during the military build-up, I had two things on my mind. Make that three things. First was surviving the war to come. Second was concluding my military commitment, preferably alive and fully intact. And last, but far from least, marrying my fiancé, Emily.

Emily and I had been a couple since our freshman year of college. We were a good match, because we had so much in common and shared so many interests. In particular, family was important to us. We defined success as doing something we enjoyed that mattered to society. Our friends joked about us, saying we sounded more like a sixties couple than one that came of age in the glitzy, yuppies decade.

But Samar stirred my soul.

“They will kill me,” Samar said quietly, eyes averted. “My brothers. I have dishonored them. They will have no choice.”

“They don’t have to know,” I replied, so naïve, so self-centered. I had not considered the clash of cultures. Had not thought about what this meant for a Saudi Arabian woman.

“They will know.” She turned away from me. “They may already know.”

“Then come to America.”

“They will not let me. And even if they agreed, the process takes so long. Years.”

I tried to turn her back to face me. She resisted.

“Then I will tell them I want to marry you.” Those words choked out. What about Emily? But how could I abandon Samar? How could I allow her to be stoned to death because of me? Because of our love? How did we get here?

“They will not allow it. You are American. You are Christian.” Silence. “I am dead,” she added quietly.

What could I do? How could I prevent a tragedy? One for which I was responsible? I had never felt so powerless.

I welcome your honest assessments. Remember, negatives won’t hurt my feelings – they will help make this better. Positives, of course, are welcome, too – I’m human, after all!

Thank you in advance!


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Serial Journey Begins

I’ve embarked on a new writing adventure – a road I’ve never traveled before.

It all began with a cozy mystery-loving friend – let’s call her Joanna. Out of the blue, she proposed the idea of writing a cozy mystery together. My immediate reaction was less than enthusiastic.

Nervous Young Woman

First, other than losing myself occasionally in some movie on the Hallmark mystery movie channel, I haven’t read a lot of cozy mysteries.

“Not to worry,” my friend said. “I read them all the time. I will feed you the ideas.”

That’s not my idea of writing anything together. She comes up with the ideas, I do the writing part. What’s wrong with this picture?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe proceeds to tell me the broad-stroked idea she has in mind. “It has to include Ram’s Head Lady Slippers,” she added, after giving me a sieve of a story line.

I picked her brain a little, telling her she had to give me more to work with IF I were to jump on board. Somewhere in the conversation, I discovered I wasn’t completely opposed to the idea.

BUT, second…

I’m already juggling two writing projects, struggling to move forward on both of them until one emerges as victorious in capturing my complete devotion.

Then she throws me another curve. She would like to include a family member who has done some writing and would bring in the perspective not only of younger thinkers (my friend and I being old enough to collect Social Security), but also a male. Let’s call him Eric.

I considered this additional complication. I saw a long and winding road ahead and no map or GPS to guide the wayWinding Road in Forest.

But I knew of this young man, Eric. He was very committed to his writing, even though circumstances forced him to maintain a day job. And, if I agreed to join forces in this project, he would share the actual writing AND would bring in a point of view that my friend and I could only have by being reborn in a different generation and as men instead of women. Hm-m-m-m.

I’ve read and heard that shaking up your brain a bit can unleash stifled creativity. I sure could use a fresh dose of creativity this year. I reached out to Eric, to see what he thought of the idea.

He LOVED it! Bonus: he had taken a forensics class in college – how priceless is that for a murder mystery? And he immediately began shooting out pretty terrific ideas. We found ourselves in an excited exchange – both newbies to the cozy mystery genre (he had never read one nor watched a Hallmark mystery movie – I could only lay claim to a handful of movies and not a single book in the genre).

Meanwhile, “Joanna” was MIA. That’s not unusual, really – she has a demanding job and is primary caretaker for an elderly parent. I had copied her on my correspondence with Eric, but her line of the email chain remained blank.

business woman in front of two roads thinking deciding

So the question remained: did I want to veer off from my hapless (and fruitless) current projects and try not only a new genre but also a new writing process, sharing the story line with two others and the actual writing with at least one and possibly two co-writers? Which road should I choose at this critical fork?

Embracing this new adventure didn’t have to preclude continued work on the other – with careful planning.

I proposed to Eric that we consider a serial writing process – one writes a chapter, another picks up and continues the story in the next chapter, and so on. There are, of course, potential pitfalls. One would be the different writing styles of each writer. Another the possibility of the story not flowing in a steady forward direction. But such issues could be cleaned up when the story is done and the editing process begins, including maybe an uninvolved reader to assess how the story holds together and builds to both a climax and a satisfying conclusion.

Guess I’ve made my decision – I’m embracing this new adventure!

Silhouette of a girl in the field

Have any of you had any serial writing experiences/advice you’d like to share with us?


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The writer’s rollercoaster

I found this post by Sue Vincent to be interesting, entertaining, and all too familiar. I thought some of you could relate to it also!


I recently came into contact with a writer. Nothing unusual about that around here, but this wasn’t through blogging or any of the usual channels. We talked for a while, establishing that the…

Source: The writer’s rollercoaster

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Statistics Writers Should Know

Once again, Jane Friedman has provided valuable information for writers and their marketing priorities. Read it here:

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Old woman looks disapprovingly over spectacles at camera

I started my blog – and followed other blogs – for all things writing and book related. I’ve enjoyed bloggers’ poetry, narrative writing, and photography. I’ve learned much from the ruminations of bloggers I’ve followed – new insights about writing, ideas for marketing, updates on the publishing world. Along the way, I’ve felt closer to many of you when you shared personal experiences, both the positives and the negatives. I haven’t always agreed with a post’s slant on life, but I’m open to fresh perspectives.

To a point. . . .

Recently, some of you may have noticed (or not) that I have stopped following your blogs. There probably will be more as time goes on. The reason is narrowly focused: I did NOT follow your blog to read hatred, negativity, and extreme political views.

There is so much venom spewed in the press, on TV, and on line. I don’t want it to spill over into my writing time (I include blogging, both reading and writing, in that block of time). Because of the extremes of viewpoints, I don’t wish to share my personal views. If I’m a liberal, I don’t want to be deemed a Snowflake. If I’m conservative, I don’t want to be called a deplorable or a racist. I’m offended by both narrow assignments of individual personal or political viewpoints. And I don’t want to waste my time away from the negativity of the world around me reading more negativity.

I am an American. I am a writer. I am a reader. I am a dog lover (cats are okay, too). I’m a knitter. I’m a skier/snowshoer, boater, canoer. I’m a living, breathing person in a free country. I form my own reactions and opinions about anything going on around me, including in the political sphere.

Read and relax

But when I’m in my writing time, I’m just a writer and a reader. I don’t want any of that tainted by leftist or rightist extremism. I don’t want my writing time tainted by anything that isn’t directly related to the creative arts and how to make my way in that world. I will unfollow any blogger who spews hatred. I will block or ignore extremist friends on Facebook. I will unfollow any Twitter connections who tweet extreme points of view.

Extremism never led to anything good in the world. Check your history books. I wish we could learn to listen to each other, even debate – but without venom.

But until we return to civility, I will control what I have to read or hear.



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