Saturday, October 29, 2011

The life of a author is not all $$$$$

This weekend finds me a little sad. I had hoped to attend the Magna cum Murder Crime Writing Festival in Muncie, Indiana. I attended for the first time last year and had hoped to be able to go again this year.

There's a myth out there among some non-writers that think if you publish a book, you'll get rich. That's not necessarily so. My first book was released in December 2009 and since that time, I've received one royalty check, one royalty check in almost two years. I'm going to attribute that to a couple of things, I was a brand new published writer, so no one knew me and the ebook explosion had not happened yet. My second book is due out in January and I'm hoping that will help increase sales in my first book. It usually does. Saved by the Sheriff will not only be in ebook format, but should also be out in print as well. However, I still won't be able to quit the day job.

On thing I didn't know much about when my first book came out was how to market the book. Unless you are with one of the big New York publishers, you will be doing ALL of your own marketing for your book. At the time my book came out, I was ignorant as to how to do that. Since then, I have been all over the place with marketing. I have Amazon author pages in both North America and Great Britain. I've been interviewed on at least twelve blogs, with more still on the schedule and I have passed out bookmarks and post cards all over the place.

But, attending conventions can be a real boost for a writer. I attended Fright Night/Fandom Fest in Louisville, Kentucky this past summer and met my new publisher there. The Magna cum Murder conference has both writers and readers, so attending it could have helped with sales, not to mention networking with other authors. Why didn't I go? Well, the registration alone for the conference was $250.00. While that sounds like a lot, it included lunch and dinner each day, attendance of the panels, and the banquet. The price really isn't that bad, but when you put that with a hotel bill for two nights, and gasoline for me to drive to and from Muncie, it would have ended up being close to $500. That's a lot for a struggling writer in this economy.

The best I can hope for is a lot of book sales in the coming year to help finance a trip to the conference next year.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Arrested and Handcuffed

No, no, not me. But, if the law enforcement authorities ever look in my laptop, they would probably be doing a lot of questioning. As a writer of mystery and suspense, I do a lot of research on the crimes in my books.

I'm getting ready to start book #4 in the mystery series that I hope to get published someday and so far, there's been a murder, a serial killer, several thefts, and this one will be about arson. You should see all of the web sites I have bookmarked from doing research. Scarey stuff.

As I've mentioned before, National Novel Writing Month starts on November 1. One of my writer friends asked on Facebook the other day what our books would be about. I had a book somewhat plotted and posted a blurb about it, but warned that I would probably end up changing it and well, I did. I came up with a new plot last night and will get that new blurb written soon.

My plans for this weekend are to edit the manuscript that I just signed a contract for. The publisher has asked all the authors to re-edit their books one more time before they assign and editor so to help speed the editing process along and not delay our releases. So, this will be an editing weekend. Until then, let's hope I don't get raided by the FBI or some other agency.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not a Bucket List

Yesterday, I posted about our camping trip to Brown County, Indiana and said that my husband and I had a reason other than vacation for our trip. I wouldn't exactly call it a bucket list, but we have decided to try to do at least one thing each year that we have never done. The first thing we chose to do was pan for gold.

I know what you're thinking, gold in Indiana? Why yes, there is gold in them there hills, but not the kind of gold found in California in the Gold Rush Days. Millions of years ago, glaciers from Canada slowly moved south as far as Indiana and those glaciers moved a lot of the earth, including gold, along with them. This is why it's so flat in northern Indiana. The glaciers stopped at what is now Brown County and why there is gold in some of the streams there and a few other places in Indiana.

We made our decision to pan for gold at a bad time of the year. It's the end of the season for a few reasons, one it's getting cold and it's no fun getting wet in the creeks in the cold. I can attest to that from having wet feet due to the rain on our trip. Another is lack of rain. Yeah, I know it poured on us, but that was the first rain we've had in two weeks. Spring rains wash the sediment around in the creek beds and brings more of it from the hills, hence bringing more gold down, too.

In Indiana, to pan for gold requires a permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. These permits are free, good for one year, and are renewable.

Just so you know, you probably aren't going to get rich by panning for gold in Indiana. It's more of a hobby, although there are organizations that meet in Indiana. Other than gold, if you're lucky, you might be able to find some gems brought down by the glaciers. My husband knows of a gentleman that found enough garnets to make a ring.

As for our trip, we didn't find any gold, but it was such wet weather that we really didn't pan very much. The only thing we did come up with was a small geode. However, we're already planning a trip back next spring. I might just have to figure out how to work this into one of my books.

Now, we need to come up with our next new thing to try.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wet Week of Camping

Slosh-slosh-slosh-slosh. That is the sounds of my and my husband's shoes on Thursday. We went camping and after two-weeks of no rain and the best weather, it rained during our camping trip. Not just rain, but a few times, a downpour. We, of course, knew it was going to rain, so we had prepared for it. Unfortunately, we did not realized that both of our shoes leaked and spent all day and most of the evening on Thursday with wet feet, socks, and shoes. Luckily, we did take extra shoes and socks, but didn't want to change into them until Friday morning, so not to get them soaked, too.

Even with the wet weather, we had a great time. We went to Nashville, Indiana, camping at Brown County State Park. For those that aren't familiar, Brown County is one of the prime places to go to view the fall leaf color. The photo to the left does not do the view justice at all. The leaves were gorgeous to look at, once the weather cleared. My favorite store to visit while in Nashville is the For Bare Feet store. It's a store full of socks. I love novelty socks and on this trip I bought some Indianapolis Colts socks. Believe me, those socks felt great to put on when I went to sleep that night after having wet feet all day.

The only bad thing that happened on the trip was my clumsiness. First, after we set the tent up, I tripped stepping out of the door and fell on my knees. But, the worst came about an hour later when I was helping my husband put a tarp up over the picnic table. I tripped backwards over our pile of firewood. That tumble left me mad, embarrassed, and with a huge red, purple, and red bruise that covers the whole left side of my left leg below my knee. I also have two smaller bruises on my right leg, above and below my knee. The photo above is AS (after storm). Look at that great sunshine we for the drive home on Friday.

Out trip was not without seeing wildlife. We saw deer, squirrels, and this little guy that my husband wanted to shoot. Of course, in an Indiana State Park that isn't allowed, so he had to be satisfied with just shooting a picture of the turkey.

Our trip was not totally just a vacation. We had a purpose for the trip, other than just getting away from the office. Check back later this weekend to see what the real purpose of our trip was.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - 10/9/11

Six Sentence Sunday is something that many authors do by posting six sentences from one of their books. My sentences below are from a police procedural mystery that I am working on. Last night, I finished writing Chapter six. I was hoping to have it ready for release this fall, now I'm pushing it back to later this winter.

The scene below is a part of a phone conversation between the main character and his old girlfriend.

Six Sentence Sunday:

"Actually, I'm working on a case where someone is stealing antique signs from businesses in town," he said.

"Any suspects?" she asked.

"That's the problem, everyone's a suspect because no one's a suspect."

"Maybe you're looking too hard, or maybe the theft was just a diversion for another crime," she suggested.

"Katherine, you're beautiful. If you were here, I'd kiss you," he said.

Friday, October 7, 2011


If you're a writer, or if you've followed my blog for a while, you know what NaNoWriMo means. If not, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and is held every November. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. If you're a glutton for punishment, you participate every year. Yep, that's me. I've participated in NaNo every year since 2002. Have I ever won by making it to the 50,000 words. No, I haven't. Do I feel like I have failed every year by not meeting the goal? No, I don't. Why? Because I still accomplished something.

My book, Love, Lies & Deceit was my NaNo project for 2004 and was published in 2009. My next book, Saved by the Sheriff will be released in January 2012 and it was my NaNo book in 2006. Both were started from scratch for NaNo and both times, I completed about six chapters in a month. I consider that a huge beginning. I have a couple more books in the wings that I'm working hard to complete that were past NaNo projects and have high hopes of getting them published, too.

I considered skipping NaNo this year, but realized that so many of my past Novembers have been consumed by NaNo that there is no way I could not take part this year. I have a idea sketched out for a plot and have been doing a little research on the setting and location. I'm going to give it another shot this year and if I don't make it again, that's okay because I know sooner or later, I'll get it finished.

Good luck, fellow NaNoers. I'll be watching your progress.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beautiful Fall Weekend

We've had beautiful weather for the past couple days. It's cool at night, was actually 34 degrees early this morning, but the days have been wonderful. I thought I would share some photos that my husband and I have taken in the past few days.

These are the petunias in a hanging basket on our porch. I have to give credit to my husband for keeping them looking so well. He watered them practically everyday when he put water out for our dog this summer. Purple is my favorite color and these were just beautiful. I checked on them today and I think our cool temps last night didn't set too well with them. They're a little wilted today.

Yesterday, I walked down to our persimmon tree to see how far along in the ripening process they were. The persimmons are turning orange and getting a little soft, but no where near close to being ripened yet.

As I went on my walk yesterday, I had a couple companions. Our dog, Dexter and our cat, Kitty. Dex is blind, but gets around better than most dogs that can see. I think sometimes he forgets that he's blind when he gets a excited and wants to run up to us. If a tree is in the way, he bumps right into it before we can stop him. We've
had Dex since he was a pup. I tried to get a better picture of Dex, but every time I called his name so he would look my way, he walked over to me.

Our cat with the original name of Kitty has been with us for about three years now. He's went thought a variety of names, regardless, we all call him Kitty. During the summer, due to the fleas and ticks, he's an outside cat. But, as the weather cools, he gets his reprieve and gradually becomes an indoor cat. He was an indoor cat for a little while last night and almost caught a mouse. I heard the mouse squeal and turned to see Kitty searching around our wood stove. I think he had the mouse and then lost it. Tried as he did, he couldn't find it and finally gave up.

I hope we have many more beautiful fall weekends left before winter sets in. Although, I do love winter, especially around here.


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