Monday, July 29, 2013

Thank you, Jerilynn, for the spark!

The first tiger stamp has been postmarked! The story starter was... "If my mother were not already dead, this story would kill her." I have completed a short, short that my first reader (Dear Hubby) says is worthy of an entire novel of its own. Who knows. Maybe one day. I'll have to wait and see if Chastity Hedspeth keeps talking to me, demanding to tell more of her story. 

Entries for a chance at receiving some fun, old-fashioned snail mail are still being collected

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Author Interview: Lindsey Loucks

You may remember my review of The Grave Winner not so long ago, and now I am happy to bring you an interview with the author, Lindsey Loucks, whom I have had the pleasure of getting more acquainted with via email and Facebook/website stalking!

(It’s okay… we authors are mostly flattered by e-stalkers and Lindsey is a brave one, as you will soon learn. Very little scares her.)

Lindsey Loucks, author of The Grave Winner
Your story takes place in Krapper, Kansas, and, being that you write from my old stomping grounds, I have to admit that I immediately assumed kinship and could visualize every road your main character travelled. You’ve struck the balance I would expect from someone who loves the plains and small towns of the Midwest, yet understands the limitations and frustrations experienced by a teenaged heart growing up there.  How do you explain the ability to affectionately refer to the setting of your story with a word like Krapper?

Excellent question! I grew up in Liberal, Kansas, and when I went to high school, I could not wait to get out of that town.  As a teenager, I think it’s a requirement to hate almost everything, and I was no exception. But since I’ve grown a little wiser, I’ve decided it doesn’t really matter where you live. I think my main character Leigh will realize that eventually. But for now, she lives in Krapper, Kansas.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Brutal Honesty from a Newbie Indie Author: Ebook Questions & Answers

I got a question via email regarding my thoughts on ebooks. Specifically, "Where did you publish your book, in what formats, and where is it available? What has your experience been so far?"

It was my original intention to publish my book only as an ebook. I had bookmarked Smashwords a couple of years ago and was very impressed with three books by Mark Coker, Smashwords founder. Those books were Smashwords Style Guide (most important for formatting your book for ebook publication), Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, and The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. Note that all of these books are free and I highly recommend them even if you have no plan to publish with Smashwords. 

I had a last minute change of heart and ended up publishing my book via CreateSpace as print-on-demand, as well. I'm glad I did, as I've had greater success with print copies than with ebooks at this point. However, as I admitted in a previous post, I did not have any type of marketing plan going into this. My entire focus was on getting the first book published. I've not given up on ebook sales and I like the idea that an ebook has a very long potential shelf life.

Anyway, what I like about Smashwords and why I will likely publish any future ebooks through them first:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Brutal Honesty from a Newbie Indie Author

A new writing aquaintance and I were discussing this article via Facebook and it really got me thinking. I've been studying publishing for years and have spent some time working on the pre-press side of publishing, but I am technically a brand new Indie author. As someone who is just entering the trenches, why not be brutally honest about it? I started making a list of things that I have learned so far and I have to say that the list is already enormous. Rather than dwell on all the many honesties I could share with other authors, I'm going to start right here, right now, talking about my progress so far... and I promise to tell the truth.

I believe there are many Independent Authors getting started who would appreciate a real rather than inflated glimpse of the process. The truth is, most independent authors aren't selling thousands of books. Most of us aren't even selling hundreds. Satisfaction isn't necessarily 100% wrapped up in the number of books sold, however.

So here is where I will start, the beginning.

On March 13, 2013, I released my first novel, Tiger Hunting, as an ebook. In a presentation that I gave later about the act, I referred to Tiger Hunting as my pull-off-the-bandaid novel. I've been writing and publishing in various forms (not novels, not books) for many years and the idea of publishing my own work of fiction, quite frankly, remained a huge and scary endeavor in my mind. Personally, I was at a now-or-never moment of my life. I'd spent plenty of years learning about the craft of writing and had ample time to perfect all the procrastinations and obstacles that might stand in the way of publishing.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Enter the Tiger Hunting contest!

The details for entering can be found on the far right button of this page. If you enjoy old-fashioned snail mail, please enter. There will also be a drawing or two for a free signed copy of Tiger Hunting.

Follow my Facebook page for announcments and a short story or two!

Monday, July 15, 2013

It Always Starts With a Blank Page

I headed to the Java Cat early this evening to grab a few moments of alone time with a book and my journal before the members of the writing group arrived. Before I could enter, however, I found myself drawn across the street to the drugstore. I knew they would have a selection of shiny spiral notebooks and I guess I've been aching for one for several days now. I keep talking myself out of purchasing one. I do have plenty of paper options at home, after all. At least a third of the simple white journal I currently carry remains blank and I'm pretty sure I still have a couple of full new ones just like it in a drawer beside my bed. (Staples had them on clearance for a dollar last year. I've filled two so far.) I have a small stack of notebooks, of course, in various stages of use, as well as some partially filled sketchbooks and at least one of those decorative journals that people tend to give as gifts (and I pick up at random whenever my resistance is low).

But none of those will do when what the heart really desires is a pristine, five-subject, college-ruled, spiral-bound notebook with not a single page out of place.

The thing about journals and notebooks is they get messy... and although a full and messy notebook can be almost as fun as a clean and empty one, sometimes you just have to start with a blank page. Pages that can be filled with anything... at least for that moment before you start filling them.

At Java Cat with my Blonde Boss Smoothie, I managed to fill the first three pages before the others arrived.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Happy Birthday Wish to the Guy who has been Mine for Half his Life Now

Rand, Tracy (and Galahad, the cat) - Summer of 1989

Rand and I had our "first date" shortly (as in days) before my 18th birthday. By the time his 21st birthday came in July, I'm pretty sure we considered ourselves officially dating even though in that short time I spent a week away in San Antonio with my church youth group and another three weeks traveling with my family (all the way to Maine and Canada). We were married two and a half years later -- ages 20 and 23. It seemed like a perfectly reasonable age to get married at the time. I guess it still seems reasonable. Just don't ask me to think about how old my kids are right now...

Rand, who I often refer fondly to as the Bubba Hubby, is celebrating birthday 46 today. We've spent well over half of our lives together. We been a done deal now for half of his. It's a pretty neat feeling, having so much history with the one person in the world I picked to be mine.

Tracy and Rand - Summer of 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Imagine all the Many Beginnings of a Wedding Story

Ashley and John. (photo by my daugher, Evie)

This past weekend I witnessed the beginning of a love story. Not the true beginning, of course. A wedding is usually a sign that a story has been in progress for quite sometime. Sometimes a wedding is several chapters into the story. And some stories like to end with weddings, but we all know that happily-ever-after is just as full of worthy stories to tell as as-it-all-began.  And as weddings are likely to do, this one sent me spinning back in time and forward again, thinking of all the stories that came before in order to bring us to this day.

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