Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Lake's Opening Up!

That means the ducks are back...

Because there's no more wood burning in the fireplace, it also means Garagee's willing to let Buster (white cat) sleep with her. Generally she wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near him...

especially if he's been digging in rotten fish guts.

Open water also means the eagles are back. Yesterday I photographed six on the ice. The one on the left is a golden eagle.

There is something so majestic about eagles.

Aren't they magnificant?

I'm guessing these two are mates.


I love eagles, but I better get back to work. I'm very close to finishing the sequel to Broken But Not Dead. Have a great day everybody.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Nation's Pride: Hockey

In 2009, I, small town girl from BC, visited the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, two thousand miles away. Like a kid in a candy store, I wrapped my arms around the Stanley Cup.

I strolled from room to room in awe. I stopped at the Vancouver Canucks window and read their accomplishments.

Under Stanley Cup it showed one word: None. 

It wasn't as if I didn't know they'd never won. I knew that. But somehow, seeing it on the wall of the HHOF, the knowledge hit me: Since their beginning in 1970, the Canucks have never won the Stanley Cup.

After 39 years, you begin to believe it'll never happen. Then you witness the 2010 Olympics. You watch both the women and men Team Canada win the Gold. You feel the connective pride.

Maybe it was seeing our youngest carrying the torch.

Or hearing Oh Canada sung in the streets. Suddenly the reaffirmed sense of patriotism was all-consuming. I was singing Oh Canada while vacuuming, sorting laundry, doing dishes, writing.

I know it's only a game. They're not curing cancer, or instilling world peace. I know that. But they're bringing us together in a very important way. They're renewing our sense of pride and wonder. We're Canadians, this is our game.

Regardless of whether the Vancouver Canucks take the Stanley Cup this year, I believe they will, I'm grateful for the opportunity to stress over the game between Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks. I'm only now recovering.

Say "Hockey" to a Canadian who doesn't speak English and they'll nod and smile because they know exactly what you mean. Hockey is our game, the Vancouver Canucks are our team.

Go Canucks Go! 
* The photos are courtesy of the HHOF webpage. My pics are on a disc somewhere...

Monday, April 25, 2011


If a collective wish can change reality, the Canucks will win the series against Chicago tomorrow night. A miracle, maybe, but well overdue. Forty years overdue.

But that's not the miracle I want to share.

The stack of books I'm anxious to read, many of them from writers I know, is getting smaller. I may not get to them all this year, and that's bothering me. I've mentioned it a few times already, but my next novel Broken But Not Dead comes out next month: I'm swamped trying to get ready. There's also the e-book version of Dead Witness due for release in July through MuseItUp Publishing.

And while those are miracles, that's not the one I want to share.

We're expecting another beautiful, darling grand-miracle in September.

Yes, babies are born everyday, it's not particularly startling news. But, I think sometimes we're so used to something that we forget what a miracle it really is.

Miracle in my online mac dictionary reads as:

 * a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. 
 * a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences. 

Today, on my birthday I celebrate a life growing but not yet born. A life that comes forth from my son and his lovely wife, a life that extends past my father and mother and their fathers and mothers. One more life that is a blessed miracle.

Amazing doesn't come close.

Amen to that.

ps. oops, forget to say thanks for the flowers, Judi!

Friday, April 22, 2011


by Katherine Swarts.

Many readers--and authors--can't get enough of their favorite characters. Here's how to write a successful series.

You’ve published a book—and readers want more of the same. Or, you yourself see this novel as the first in a series.

Fiction series may: continue indefinitely or have predetermined beginnings and ends; present continuing stories or standalone titles; let characters grow and change or keep them perpetually the same. However, there are a few specifics for most series writing:

1. Consider practicing on an existing series first; many use multiple authors-for-hire. Choose a mass-produced series you like; study a dozen recent titles (especially recurring settings and characters); then contact the publisher for instructions.

This hint isn’t for everyone. If your tastes run toward literature rather than “pulp fiction,” you may never consider writing a series until your novel generates demand for sequels. Or, your story may simply be too long for one book. In any case, before proposing a whole series:

2. Do some planning. What is the common theme? Who are the regular characters? (See Hints Three and Four, below.) Will the series include a set number of books, or be open-ended? (If the latter, think twice about letting time pass realistically—young characters, especially, may outgrow readers.)

Even for a three- or four-book series:

3. Know characters and settings inside and out. The consistency rule (see Plot article, Hint Six) is as important for a series as for a lone book. Readers will notice if Patrick’s eyes are blue in Book Three and green in Book Eight. Make a master record for every character, even one-time guest stars; you never know when they may reappear.

4. Develop a cast of “background characters.” One to four main characters is enough; but give them families, supporting friends, perhaps enemies. This creates more people for things to happen to, keeping new plots fresh and believable. Secondary characters can also provide emergency backup, such as giving a lift to a hero below driving age. (Never let minor characters take full charge, though, especially if they’re adults and the main character is a child!)

Finally, after a series gets going:

5. Be prepared for reader input. As a regular author, you’ll get ideas and complaints from readers. Consider suggestions carefully, but don’t feel guilty about those you reject. Unless you contradict the core theme of the series or let an established person behave totally out of character, fans will forgive nearly anything. And if your writing is good, there will always be new readers to replace those who go away mad, or who outgrow the books.

Speaking of outgrowing:

6. Know when to stop. Frequently, new series installments continue to appear long after all the plots sound alike. After the first few bestsellers, editors and public want more and more: the fan buys on momentum; the publisher wants the revenue from that momentum. And the author, with a seemingly guaranteed income, is tempted to slack off on plotting, research, and editing; if fans are satisfied with the substandard, why bother with high-quality?

If you no longer enjoy writing each new book, it may be time to lay this series to rest. Don’t just announce that you’re quitting; have a fresh project ready to present. If you do a good job on the new, fans and publishers will forgive you for discontinuing the old.

Series or not, once you’ve published a few books (if not before), you’ll probably wonder: Could I do this full-time, supporting myself by writing?

Katherine Swarts - Margaret Swarts
Katherine Swarts - Margaret Swarts
Katherine Swarts is a professional copywriter and journalist, founder and owner of Spread the Word Commercial Writing in Houston, Texas. Spread the Word is certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.

Since 1993, Katherine has published over 50 articles in numerous periodicals, including Carus Publishing's Appleseeds, Faces, and Odyssey; Children's Writer (on which see comments in next paragraph); and Christian Home & School. She has also prepared two anthologies for Thomson Gale.

Katherine has a bachelor's degree in English from Austin College in Sherman (TX), and a master's degree in written communications from Wheaton (IL) Graduate School. She has also studied with the Institute of Children's Literature, which publishes the monthly newsletter Children's Writer; two annual market guides; and an annual writer's yearbook.


Beginning June 1st until the 30th, Muse authors will be hosting a month long Muse Blog Conference. This is in affiliation with The Muse Online Writers Conference (details for the Oct conference coming this month)


DETAILS: To register please send an email to: 

Place MUSE BLOG CONFERENCE on the subject heading and your name and email address within the body of your post. Why? Because those that register and participate get a chance to win one of several ebooks we'll be offering throughout the month.

FOR READERS: Every day beginning on June 1st at noon, Lea will post the Featured 99cent E-book of the day for purchase. An incredible discount just for our readers for participating and supporting our Blog Conference.

Each Muse Blog Conference workshop will run for one day, where attendees are invited to post their questions, and/or exercises the presenters will be posting during their daily workshops.

For more info:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I'm honoured to accept the Inspiration Award by a great blogger and all round inspirational guy, Klahanie, A Man Challenging His 'Inner Critic'. Gary. Thank you.

Here are the rules :

1.  Thank and link back to the person who awarded this to you.
2.  Link posts by you and ten fellow bloggers you find inspirational.
3.  Forward the award to those ten fellow bloggers.

If you don't know klahanie's blog, you're missing something quite wonderful. Gary's located far, far away in a distant land of kings and queens, and the soon-to-be-married Will and Kate. Yes, the UK. Gary may be best known as the proud owner of Penny the Jack Russell and modest internet star, but he's also the source of wonderful satire, beautiful photographs, and words to inner peace. In plain English, Gary's blog is topnotch.

I love that I'm not only able to share these 10 inspiring bloggers, but by including a specific link, I get to show you why they're so worthy of this award. 

1. Carol J. Garvin's Careann's Musings is about being a writer, a Christian, a Canadian. Carol is driven to being the best person she can be. Her blog inspires me. Besides posts supporting writers, authors, she connects God's scriptures link to everyday life. She also shares the most breathtaking photos of BC's lower mainland, including  IN THE STILLNESS OF THE NIGHT.

2. In one of her many blogs, Pat Bertram writes about surviving grief. The rest of the time she helps many struggling writers by showing what's important to our craft. Her post ON WRITING: Tell, Don't Show is a must-read for any writer. Pat's love of our craft is inspiring.

3. Amanda Borenstadt, a wife and mommy, inspires my nurturing self. Her post GIVE YOUR CHARACTERS CHARACTER is a knockdown perspective on what so many writers forget to add in their scenes.Way to go, Amanda.

4. One of my favourite writers, Christopher Hoare captures the essence of what it means to be a courageous, honourable woman in his Isklander series. Chris' creates female protagonists that honour women as the heroic and fallible creatures they are. I love that. A generally serious guy, he lightens things up in his post on ODD NAMES.

5. On Anita F. Stewart's blog, you're sure to find the review you've been waiting for. Anita showcases novels from all genres. She never fails to inspire me by her astute take on story, structure and characters.  CONFESSIONS OF A NEWBIE SCI-FI WRITER, is just one of hundreds of her excellent guest spots.

6. Carole Anne Carr, The Adventures of a Children's Author, (introduced me to klahanie) writes the most delightful children stories. Her characters are mavericks, adventurers, characters living extraordinary lives in all era's. Carole is a generous soul. In this post, she offers the services of her editor Neil Fein.

7. PFEIFFER PFILMS AND MEG MOVIES, A Small Cinema in Bellagio is the gem child of Paul S. Paul loves Michelle Pfeiffer and Meg Ryan. There's something very special about Michelle and Meg, and Paul captures their essence in every single post. His enthusiasm for these two amazing women inspires me. Paul understands human nature and nicely illustrates why we are captivated by these two. FRENCH KILL AND A FEW OTHERS... wonderful.

8. You can't check out all these wonderful bloggers without stopping off to see some pirates. Jaxpop, Haunted City Writer promises the latest news of the Jack Rackham Adventures, plus so much more. Dave Ebright writes for kids, simple as that. Every time I read his blog, I reminded how the wonders of childhood. But there's much more than just that. His visit to Key West was awesome. HEMINGWAY'S FAVORITE CATHOUSE.

9. I met Martha Engber on my writer's list. I read one of her unfinished manuscripts. That prompted me to buy her book: Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up. That prompted me to buy her novel: The Wind Thief. Her writing is outstanding. When I'm feeling dry, I open The Wind Thief to a random page, read, then get back to work. Martha Engber, you are inspiring! Here's one of her many great articles:  TO LEARN: READ A BOOK LIKE THE ONE YOU'RE WRITING.

10. I can't say enough about KATT'S KOMMENTS. Kathryn Neff Perry is one of those people you love instantly. She's kind, sweet, honourable, and gifted. I bet her heart shines from space. I bet its sparkle is the size of Texas. Read any of her posts and I'm sure you'll agree. ONLY A MOMENT

ps. I would have listed Vicki's blog if she had one!!! <hint>

Okay, now for the hard part. I'm a mother, author, friend. But really that covers half the writers I know. What sets me apart? I haven't a clue. Except maybe that I'm continuing questioning everything. Apparently I started young and almost drove my parents nuts. At the end, I think this quote will fit me best: The older I got the more I realized there was no much more I had to know.

Here's a tidbit of who I am: SELF-PUBLISHING YOU SAY?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

LIGHT BRINGER by Pat Bertram

Light Bringer began as a mental image of a night scene. A nurse comes home after working a double shift at the hospital. Her porch light illuminates newly fallen snow, which at first seems untouched, pristine. Gradually the nurse becomes aware of tracks leading to the stoop where a creature huddles against the door. She creeps close and discovers a baby. But who left it there? The tracks -- the only tracks besides her own -- are tiny footprints, baby footprints in the snow.
That was all I had. I knew the baby was special. Little more than an infant, she was already walking, and though she started out not knowing how to talk, she learned to speak within a few days. The nurse had seen a bright star on the way home, so she assumes (or pretends to assume) the baby is an angel come to earth. But who is she, really? And where did she come from?
Since this was to be a story debunking UFO myths, I figured she had to come from some place on earth where flying saucers could have originated. Perhaps her people came from beneath the sea, or maybe from the poles. Either way, I needed a name for these exalted beings. And I needed a name for the baby.
When the nurse asks the baby who she is, the baby struggles to form the word, and finally says, “Rena.”
I chose “Rena” for the sound of it. I wanted something both simple and alien (oddly, I have since come across a lot of Rena's, as if the name were out there for the plucking). Mostly, I wanted it to be a fraction of a word denoting a people. The nurse thinks Rena is the baby’s name, when in fact the baby was trying to convey her origins. These people were going to be the Ahk-rena -- again, a word I chose simply for the sound, though "simply" doesn't tell the story since I spent a couple of weeks coming up with the tag.
Originally, the story was going to be about the nurse and Rena on the run from shadowy government figures, but that aspect of the story never caught my attention. Rena had an invisible playmate who would warn them every time the agents got close, so where is the suspense in that?
I set the story aside, and went on to write three other novels, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. But through the years, those tiny footprints in the snow haunted me, and eventually I went back to the novel.

The story took a completely different turn when I found a better people for Rena. Since I now had more than a basic chase story, I no longer needed the baby and the nurse, so I shoved them into a prologue, fast-forwarded the story thirty-seven years to the grown up Rena, a woman living under an assumed name, who returns to Colorado, searching for the truth of her origins. And so Becka was born.

About Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Second Wind Publishing liked her style and published four of Bertram’s books: Light Bringer, Daughter Am I, More Deaths Than One, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire.  Bertram blogs about life, writing and the writing life at and is the moderator of two online discussion groups that help both new and experienced authors further develop their craft: No Whine, Just Champagne on and Suspense/ThrillerWriters on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

RAST by Christopher Hoare

Please welcome a wonderful writer and a great friend, Christopher Hoare, author of the Iskander adventures of Gisel Matah. His latest novel RAST has just been released. Also, anyone who leaves a comment at Christopher's blog stops during the tour will be entered in a contest to win one of two copies of Rast that he's giving away.

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle ...

I’m sure you know the ending of that old saw “...Rules the World.” Not so indisputable is the truth and the sincerity of the saying. Were women always the secret guidance of the world through their sons? Were they ever?

In my later writing career, the aspect that most energizes me is that of portraying women as the strong, social lynchpins that they had been in my life. I had seen what my fellow men had accomplished and what they had sacrificed themselves for – I lost a father and two uncles in WWII, and was raised by my widowed mother. I saw firsthand how little we counted in society’s reckoning: there was the allotment – a wartime garden patch provided to everyone by the local council – and taken away from us when a man returned from war service. I have no doubt he deserved consideration, but did that entail depriving the weakest?

My Iskander series of alternate world adventures has a strong – some say reckless and bloodthirsty – female protagonist. Gisel Matah is drafted into her people’s security service, where she proves to be the most capable officer they have. In consequence, she is assigned a string of dangerous assignments that no man can handle. She has a reputation for devious stratagems, and sometimes they are aimed at her own superior officers. Yes, her adventures are a bit over the top, but they are my tribute to the real life women who have fought their own impossible fights ... and in a man’s world, often lost them.

My mother always said that selling produce from her allotment had been the beginning of her bank account. Never one to sit and mope at her loss, she started another money making venture. She bought a hut – today it might have been graced with the name chalet, it may have even been disguised as one – but ours was a plain old wooden hut. It had three rooms, one where people could cook and eat, and two where they had room to sleep. In wartime there were few facilities for people to take vacations despite the need for respite. Mother’s hut was in a field just a half mile from one of the nicest beaches in Devon, and she had a steady stream of summer visitors willing to put up with its lack of amenities to rent it for a vacation away from bombing raids.

In my fantasy Rast, Jady is the Prince’s sweetheart; they have been together since they were children and have grown to be certain in their hearts that they belong together. But society, and the needs of Rast, are against them. Prince Egon must marry a princess sent from the east, who has the magic lineage to bear him a magic-capable heir – something Jady lacks the lineage to do. When his father falters under the assault of wayward magic, Prince Egon must take up the ruling mantle, and one of the first tasks he has is to send Jady away to find a husband. She goes east to meet the princess sent to replace her with duty and anger both warring in her heart. Which emotion will win – but isn’t it always the woman’s place to accept the sacrifices?

Mother and I wound up living in the old hut for a couple of years after the war. It was still in demand as a vacation site – as were the hundred or so other huts that existed in those fields for the same purpose – but we liked to be on our own. The cottage mother rented was also the home of a couple who had been bombed out during the war and were billeted on us. The law, which was quick to find a refuge for the needy, was lax in providing the directive that told people to go out and find their own homes when war was over. Mother felt the Adams family – yes, a real one – had taken over her home. We liked the hut – its lack of insulation, its outside biffy, its oil lamps and battery radio; its outside water supply, and even the way winter gales could threaten to blow it off its foundation – but the local council was horrified that people were living in those ‘huts’ permanently. With great regard for the health and welfare for the poor, they took away the permits allowing the occupation and cleared everyone out. We just went home to the cottage and to the Adams family, but mother was faced with the loss of the money she’d put into the hut.

(Now, a kind word for my own sex; men of the ‘old’ school. I’ll slip it in here so no one notices. Good old Colonel York who lived in the village up the hill from our rented cottage took his responsibilities as leader of the community seriously. Seeing a war widow faced with a serious loss, he bought the hut from her and had it moved into his own front garden to act as a garden shed. I remember cycling from our later residence once when I was older and peering into the Colonel’s property to see our old hut. It was hideous and dominated the pretty English garden like a toad in a flower bed – it had taken a great deal of fortitude for the old man to take such a charge to his bosom.)

Today, it seems at last that women are approaching that equality so long denied. While the male sex is busily chasing money and power, inventing derivatives and bailing out their crooked friends, women are speaking up for the real things in life. They are leaving the masculine version of power to the corrupted and staking out their own claims to those things they most value and care about: love, intimacy, connection, belonging, creativity, self-expression, aliveness, meaning, purpose, contribution and a brighter future for generations to come. While women in Islamic countries are sometimes seen as deprived, there must be something in the hand that rocks the cradle after all, because those are the very things that both men and women want from the Arab Awakening of 2011. This awakening will not end with the Arab world; already the victims of political entitlement in America are standing against dictatorial lawmakers. While men are grubbing in the dirt for their ill-gotten fortunes women are excelling in education and knowledge, preparing to be the leaders of our future generations. It will be a very welcome change.

Christopher Hoare lives with his wife, Shirley, and two shelter dogs, Coco and Emmie, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. As a lad he lived, breathed, and dreamed aeroplanes, won a place at RAE Farnborough learning to engineer them, but found the reality didn’t fit the dream. Did a stint in the army and then away to Libya to join the oil circus. Flying objects only appear as tools when they now appear in his writing.

His stories never take place next door to the lives most people live; the less charitable find similarity in characters who tend to be stubborn, independent, and contrarian. Perhaps there’s a connection between the worlds he portrays in fiction, and his working life in oil exploration in the Libyan Desert, the Canadian Arctic, and the mountains and forests of Western Canada.

He has written stories set in Anglo-Saxon Britain, in modern industrial projects, in the alternate world of Gaia, and the fantasy world of Rast. Sometimes known to satirize jobs and organizations he knows. Likes to write central characters who are smart, beautiful, and dangerous women who lead their male counterparts to fulfill dangerous duties they'd rather avoid. Gisel Matah in the Iskander series is perhaps the most Bond-like of these, but Jady in Rast can match her in many aspects. 

Visit his website at to learn much more, and download the free novella “Gisel Matah and the Slave Ship”. You can find his blog at

In Rast, magic is not a convenient parlour trick, it’s a deadly force that takes no prisoners. Those who must wield it are doomed, for it never ceases to work within the mind and nerves until it destroys its master.

And now, the time of the interregnum is here; the reigning sorcerer king, the Drogar of Rast, is struggling for a last grasp on magic power while his heir, Prince Egon, must take up the deadly mantle. Egon is fearful but courageous in his duty. Not one peril threatens Rast, but many.

While he struggles to tame the magic to his command the mechanistic Offrang adventurers arrive to seize the land for their empire. The Offrangs don’t just disbelieve in magic, they treat any attempt to discuss it with withering scorn. Then, when the Drogar falters, the North Folk sweep out in their multitudes to cover the land of Rast at the behest of their depraved Casket of Scrolls. Deepning too, a creature of earth magic in its mountain pools, stirs to gain power enough to conquer Rast.

The Prince’s sweetheart Jady does her best to support him, but she is not strong enough in the power of the lineage to bear him a magic wielding heir. She sets out to meet the caravansi of the cousin princess who is sent to be his consort with duty and anger both warring in her mind. The crisis will reveal surprising enemies, surprising friends, and as the Drogar tells Jady, “Even a Drogar may not see a future not yet determined.” While Egon goes west to spy on the Offrangs and Jady makes her way east, the oracle provided by the Pythian that lives in a cavern beneath the palace reveals, “You have no high point to see the scattered threads but must trust to those who grasp them.”

Everyone, enemy and friend, has a part to play in the preservation of Rast.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley needs no help from me promoting his new book Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure. I'm mentioning it for two reasons. One, Tavis self-published. In fact, he self-published his other 19 books too. Why? For creative control. He believes being self-publishing does not demean his work. He's never believed it has, not from book one to now. I like that. 

Two, I'm blogging about his book because of its theme. During an interview Larry King did with Tavis on the Tavis Smiley Show, Tavis said he learned to accept failure as his friend. He believes we all fail first, succeed second. Failure can be avoided, but for the most part it's inevitable. He believes it's how you respond to failure that matters. 

Everything Tavis said during the two-part interview with Larry King resonated with me. I thought about some of my biggest failures. I thought about how certain I'd been that I'd never recover. It wasn't until years later that I saw how those failures made me who I am today. Each time I failed, I had two choices: I could give up, or I could get up. 

Some might call it stubbornness. I say stubbornness is just another way of trying to do the right thing. It's what drives us as writers: doing the right thing, the best possible job we can do. Otherwise, we'd throw our books together and then sit back and hope our readers liked them.

Before I close and give you a chance to check out Tavis and Larry's interview, I'd like to share what Tavis' grandmother said, "It ain't no good luck, it's Good God." Tavis believes in blessings. I, for one, can't wait to read his book. 

Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul.  -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ask PZM: April 2011

Q:  Many authors say they're blank when it comes to convincing readers to buy their books. Is there a cure for this?
First, let me say that we don’t want to “convince” readers to buy our books.  We want to enter into online or offline relationships with potential readers in order to encourage these readers to want to buy our books.
Second, we have to realize that not everyone who is a book reader is our potential fan.  Some people only read fiction and some people only read nonfiction.  Some read only specific genres in each area.
Third, this means that we can’t take it personally if someone isn’t interested in buying our book.  And we can’t take it personally even if, in our eyes, the person does fit the profile of who would enjoy our book.
For example, you might have written a diet book and have an overweight friend for whom the book would be very helpful.  But your overweight friend may not be ready to deal with her weight issues, so she doesn’t want your helpful book.
Or you may have written a very thrilling horror fiction book.  You friend may go to lots of horror films, but she may not read horror books because, when she reads these, she puts too much of herself into the story.
Fourth, book lovers may not have the funds these days to buy more books, the room to store more books, or the time to read more books.  (You should see my pile of “to be read” books that I’ve bought.)
Fifth, is your book available on Kindle?  Many people now only want to read books on Kindle.  It provides immediate gratification and takes up no room on overloaded book shelves.  Plus it is very light to carry when traveling.
Sixth, there are thousands and thousands of good books (traditionally published and self-published) jockeying for our attention along with YouTube videos, social media sites, TV, films, etc. 
Seventh, people may have an emotional reaction to your book that has nothing to do with you.  When my Vietnam-era novel MRS. LIEUTENANT was a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist, I thought a baby boomer who at the time owned a baby boomer site would be very interested in the novel.
Instead I got the strangest runaround, and when I pressed for why the book hadn’t been accepted for review on the site, I was sent an email that reprimanded me for using partial sentence structure.
(Now for my rant:  I am very well aware of correct sentence structure.  But novels deal with interior thoughts of people.  We don’t always think in full sentences, nor do we always speak that way.)
When I calmed down, I realized that something in the book upset her – something that had nothing to do with me.  Perhaps her father, brother or husband died in Vietnam.  Perhaps she was arrested as a war protestor.  Whatever it was, her hostility had nothing to do with the actual book.
Getting people interested in your book
From my perspective as a social media marketer, a good way to have people become interested in your book is to form relationships with these people online.  You can start making connections by commenting on blogs such as this one and by participating in book groups on social media sites.
Yes, this takes consistent effort over time and doesn’t promise any results.  But at the least you will get to interact with some very interesting people.
And I’ve also been asked about how book authors can use Twitter to connect with potential fans.
Twitter is something that truly takes consistent time and effort to learn how to do effectively.  There’s no short answer to this question. 
So here’s my offer to you:
My business partner Yael K. Miller and I are conducting a series of three social media webinars, all with the recordings available afterwards.  And we are showing click-by-click the basic steps for getting set up effectively on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
The series is $75, and if you use the coupon code JOYLENE, you’ll get the three-part series for $50. 
Although the first webinar is over and the second is today, you’ll have access to the recordings for all three webinars when the recordings are ready. 
Plus next week is the Twitter webinar.  If you are on the webinar live, you can type in questions during the webinar.
You can sign up by going to and click through to the shopping cart and put JOYLENE in the coupon code box and click APPLY and watch the price go from $75 to $50.
Hope to see you on the Twitter webinar.
© 2011 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic.  You can learn about her fiction and nonfiction books at her Amazon author page at

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is going to be interviewed via Twitter (a twitterview) on Wednesday, April 6, at 4 pm Eastern about her novel "Mrs. Lieutenant."

You can participate even if you are not on Twitter:  At the start of the interview go to and put #emlyn in the search box.  You will then see all the real-time tweets associated with this interview.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Red is for Barn

Today on Hilary Melton-Butcher's blog, it's B is for Barn day on her quest for the A-Z blogging month of April. Her choice of subjects reminded me of our red barn when we were kids. A huge post and beam structure, it held 2 not-very-friendly steers, 13 horses, 3 potbelly pigs, and a loft full of hay.  The chickens were housed in another building.

My brother, sister and I, plus every kid in the neighbourhood spent many hours in that barn. We were swashbucklers, daredevils, ship captains, notorious highwaymen. We played hide and seek, hangman's noose. With superhuman strength we caught 100 lb sturgeons in the shadow creek by throwing a line from the loft. We'd dive out the loft door and land on a pile of hay as tall as a building. We were invincible.

A good distance from the house, our dad used to whistle from the backdoor when it was time for supper. Sometimes my brother would yell, "First one home gets the crust." Our mum baked fresh bread daily. But as soon as dinner was over and the dishes were done, we were back. Inventors of myths and legends, we were masters of our fate!

The old barn is gone.  A hundred homes fill the property now. But that's okay. As long as I can type, use iPhoto, and remember, that old barn will never disappear. And while it may leave me feeling teary for the old days, I honestly don't miss the smell of manure.

--Happy Editing!

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it. "
 --W. C. Fields, American Actor