WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEING INDIE?

What’s Wrong With Being Indie

My good friend, Hunter Jones, and I recently had a discussion about the pros and cons of being an “indie” or an “independent” author. Here are some of her thoughts. I think they’re excellent and definitely worth the read.

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It seems that every time you read a review of an indie book publication, somewhere you will read it needs to be edited…or…could use correct punctuation…or…I didn’t like the ending.

Why?

First of all, when you find a mistake, PLEASE let us know so that it can be corrected, like immediately. When anyone writes, we see what is in our head, not what is on the page. I’ve paid a lot of money for editing. I also have paid a lot of money for books from the major publishing houses with spelling and punctuation mistakes. This is not the sole provenance of indie publishing. Nothing’s perfect. Please let authors know when you find a mistake. It would really help.

Secondly, let’s talk about punctuation. Have you ever considered that many authors misuse punctuation as an expression of their art? Oftentimes, writing is an art form, not an exercise in composition. You can play with fiction. Maybe the punctuation is the way the author wants it-a vital part of their creation. Didn’t Faulkner win a Pulitzer for doing funky stuff with, or without, punctuation? Indie musicians become rock gods because of an early riff or the wrong drum beat. They are considered geniuses for their ‘mistakes’. Why aren’t indie authors who misuse words or punctuation viewed much the same?

Lastly, you don’t like the ending. You don’t like the ending? What’s that all about? Yes, we live in a world where you can choose the ending of some TV shows, but c’mon, we’re talking about books. Since when do you get to choose how a book ends? The ending is chosen by the author. As a matter of fact, the entire book is the author’s concept. Currently, some authors ARE experimenting with allowing fans to choose the ending. You work with us, we’ll work with you. How’s that? Remember, writing is an art form…

Indie music is glamourized and glorified, which is completely understandable. When that indie scene started, the word from the major recording labels was that indie musician’s weren’t good enough to get a record deal. Doesn’t that sound like what is currently going on in the publishing world, only with authors? Now, don’t get me wrong, should a major publisher chose to sign me, I would graciously accept the offer. (I’m not holding my breath.) Until that day dawns, I will, and more importantly, I CAN publish as an indie author.

Wasn’t the American Revolution ignited by an independent writer named Tom Paine? Throughout history, indie writers have taken on many genres, forms and roles. Love us and all our flaws because we have the courage to publish independently. Get with today’s indie publishing revolution because we’re not going away. For those who already support us, thank you. Your dedication and insight mean a great deal.

Next time you read an indie book or story, find reasons to fall in love with it. Does it inspire you? Is it original?

We’re writers. Don’t hate us because we’re imaginative. We’re reclusive. We’re enigmatic. Will you accept our work, or laugh at us? Either way, we wish to share our dreams and visions with you. Join us. Give us a bit of your time. Instead of buying that cup of coffee which will eventually find its way to a landfill, download someone’s book. You won’t regret it, I promise.

So what’s wrong with being indie? Absolutely nothing. Free your mind and enjoy the ride.

 

BIO – HUNTER S. JONES

2014

Writer. Exile on Peachtree Street.

I make things up and write them down.

The art form I create when writing is much more interesting than anything you will ever know or learn about me. However, since you ask, I have lived in Tennessee and Georgia my entire life, except for one “lost summer” spent in Los Angeles. My first published stories were for a local underground rock publication in Nashville. Since then, I have published articles on music, fashion, art, travel and history.

October 2013 saw the launch of a novel collaboration, SEPTEMBER ENDS, contemporary fiction laced with romance, erotic and supernatural elements, bound by poetry. SEPTEMBER ENDS has been labeled an “Indie Sensation” due the critical reception and international recognition the novel has received.  It has just been nominated for indie 2013 Book of the Year AND Best Romance by the peer recommended eFestival of Words. The book has been downloaded in every Amazon domain on the planet. It has achieved #1 status on Amazon for World Literature, #1 in British Poetry, #1 in Artistic Erotica and #1 in Contemporary Poetry.

The first installment of The Fortune Series, FORTUNE CALLING, released in January 2014, is the story of Dallas Fortune, a musician from Nashville who has been dealt a bad hand by fate, but finds her way. It has been #1 on Amazon in Contemporary Fiction featuring Performing Arts and #1 in Contemporary Short Stories. Look for it’s audio release soon.

SEPTEMBER AGAIN, released on Amazon on April 15, 2014achieved Best Seller ranking, as did the poetry of SEPTEMBER VERSES, released May 2014.SEPTEMBER AGAIN is a dramatic contemporary coming of age story, no matter what your age is. SEPTEMBER VERSES is the poetry of the SEPTEMBER STORIES with never before seen Editor’s Cuts. The next in the series, SEPTEMBER FIRST, will be released later in Septemeber 2014.

Look for the first RA Jones Anthology to be released July 2014. Confessions of a Sex Addict is four sultry erotic stories set in contemporary New Orleans. The second Ra Jones Anthology is scheduled in November 2014. Eight erotic writers with eight stories, all based on one word, which is the title. More soon…

You can connect with me at the following social media sites:

www.Twitter.com/huntersjones101

https://www.facebook.com/HunterSJones111

www.Pinterest.com/HunterSJones

about.me/huntersjones101

www.HunterSJones.com

www.ExpatsPost.com

www.thehuntersjones.blogspot.com – Exile on Peachtree Street

http://kissfrommymuse.com/

INTERNATIONAL LINKS for SEPTEMBER STORIES

September Again International Link

September Ends International Link

Sept Ends NEW sml

DEALING WITH WRITER’S BLOCK!

Happens to the best of us, the dreaded words, “Writer’s Block.” Here’s how one author deals with it. Enjoy!

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RHANI D’CHAE shares with us how she deals with writer’s block….

I have some real issues with writer’s block, and I have two basic ways to get past it. I tend to work on two or three projects at once, mainly because my mind bounces around way too much to keep focused on one project only. But I’ve found that when I get writer’s block on project A, it usually helps to jump over to project B, C, or D, and work there for a while. Doing this distracts me from whatever my issue was with my primary project, and allows me to reset my brain so I can slip back into project A with a clear head and pick up where I left off.

The other method I use is to jump ahead to a future point in my plot and work  there for a chapter or two, usually until I run into another block. At that point I will either go to a different section or, if enough fuzz has cleared out of my brain, I’ll go back to the original stopping point and pick up where I left off. I’ve found that doing this has a couple of benefits for me. First, it allows me to continue working on my book when writer’s block might otherwise stop my progress. Secondly, on days when I just can’t focus on the actual plot, I work on connecting the sections and still manage to get something accomplished. The third benefit is that bouncing ahead helps me define where my characters are going and how they’re going to get there. Moving ahead to chapter six may show me that the minor character of  ‘Joe’ has no place there, and so I decide that his car accident in chapter four was A) fatal, and B) not an accident. This gives me the ability to sculpt the story toward the mysterious crash in chapter four, as opposed to writing to chapter six, deciding that Joe needs to be gone, and then having to go back and rewrite both the crash, and its effect on Joe and the characters around him. This is my favorite method of getting past writer’s block, and for me it’s the most effective.

Shadow of the Drill centers around a man whose life was destroyed by violence, who then embraced violence as a means to a very brutal end. It follows Decker and Rudy as they come face to face with their oldest enemies and attempt to close that chapter of their lives. The book contains graphic violence as well as sexual situations, and is not intended for young or easily offended readers. Shadow of the Drill is the first in the Drill series and the second book, Winter of the Drill, will hopefully be completed in the next month or two.

Thank you all so much for allowing me to share a bit of my journey with you today.  To follow the rest of my tour, please visit 4WillsPublishing.  Dianne, you were a great host and thank you so much for having me!

BIO:

RHANI D’CHAE spent her teen years bouncing between WA, OR, and OK, but has lived her adult life in Tacoma, WA. She likes to read, though she doesn’t read as much as she used to due to diabetic vision loss, and is a fan of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Brian Lumley, and James Clavell. She loves The Walking Dead, and any zombie film with a high body count. Ms. D’Chae enjoys connecting with people on social networking sites, and loves getting feedback from those who have read her work, so please don’t leave without sharing your comments. 

PURCHASE LINKS:

“SHADOW OF THE DRILL” by Rhani D. Chae  www.amazon.com/dp/B00GBHQZZU

CONTACT INFO:

Twitter:  @rhanidchae

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/rhani.dchae

Google +:  http://google.com/+RhaniDChae

Website:  www.rhanidchae.com 

Review of Shadow of the Drill at NONNIE’S “RAVE” REVIEWS

OPENING THE MIND OF A WRITER!

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Jenna Brooks is one of the best writers around and if you haven’t read her acclaimed novel, October Snow, it’s a must read. She recently published the sequel, An Early Frost, and I asked her if she would talk about it for my blog. Here is the conversation she had with Melodie Ramone, also a superb writer. Her book, After Forever Ends, is another book not to be missed. Enjoy!

We all know that authors have their own favorite authors. 

Recently, Melodie Ramone sat down with one of her faves, critically acclaimed author Jenna Brooks, on a video chat to pick her brain and uncover the artist’s inspiration behind the brilliant novels October Snow and the just-released sequel, An Early Frost.

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Melodie Ramone: Hey, congrats on the novel. You look beat, by the way.

Jenna Brooks: Oh. Thanks for that.

M: Finally ready for an interview?

J: Go for it.

M: I heard that An Early Frost got an entire rewrite.

J: It did. Twice, actually.

M: Twice? What was wrong with the first two versions?

J: I played it too safe with both of them. I think I wasn’t up for getting into the topics too deeply.

M: What topics?

J: Child abuse. Sexual assault. More than anything else, though, I felt like I just skimmed the Fathers Rights and Family Court industries in the first two tries. Writing about that stuff gives me headaches.

M: So you felt like you mailed it in.

J: Pretty much.

M: Why did you decide to take it all on again?

J: I kind of had to, after those two murders that happened last summer. The little boy who was shot by his father at a court-ordered visitation…

M: I remember that. It was on your blog.

J: Yup, along with all the mindless platitudes that followed.

M: Awful.

J: It was. Then the murder of a young mother, right in front of her little girl. Just a few days later.

M: You should let people know who you’re talking about.

J: Joshua Savyon was the little boy. Jennifer Martel was the mother, stabbed to death by her daughter’s father. Reading the facts on the murders, it was clear to me that both of the killers had Fathers Rights attitudes. I got so angry, thinking about it, about the recklessness of the Family Court. And about the grief of their loved ones. People loved them. There are other victims, you know? It was like the only way to cope was to write about it.

M: Did writing about it help?

J: Not at all.

M: Your background – you’re a domestic violence advocate, a divorce coach, and an editor, among other things.

J: Like a Mothers Rights advocate.

M: “Full-on”, according to your Twitter profile.

J: Yup. It’s the issue I care about the most, and I’m pretty much devoted to it at this point.

M: Then you decided to become a novelist. Or did that life choose you?

J: Any author will tell you, the life chooses you. Then it gets addictive.

M: At what point in your life did you recognize that writing would be your life and a substantial part of your living?

J: Not sure. At some point, I got tired of how little compassion – even common sense – is in play when dealing with abused women and children, so I decided to start writing about it.

M: Explain that. The common sense thing, I mean.

J: It’s just… There aren’t many resources for women who have post-abuse issues, because this culture regards battered women like they bear some responsibility for the felonies committed against them. Like they have power over the guy who chooses to abuse them. And people seem to think that if these women would simply use their power differently…

M: They could change him?

J: Basically. Then, after the woman escapes – if she does – the batterer gets all kinds of help for his ‘problem’, while the woman is told to suck it up and make better choices next time. And the kids? They’re not tended to either. The courts reflect the culture, and the culture is sick.

M: But An Early Frost is a love story, and all these other issues are wrapped around it, right?

J: Right. 

M: Many authors will say that the hardest part of writing a novel is either the beginning or the end. For your process, is it harder to get started, to keep going, or to conclude?

J: It’s all a challenge, but the worst is to keep going, definitely. The issues I write about are hard to put across sometimes, because I present them within a fictional setting – taking the facts and applying them to real-life situations.

M: Tell us some of the difficulties you had while writing An Early Frost.

J: Fatigue. A decent amount of self-doubt, and some negativity from others. Neglecting relationships, that was a big issue.

M: Too busy?

J: Sometimes, but I was in a kind of a fog, too…

M: That weird place that authors go to, inside their heads.

J: Yeah. You know what I mean. Where you get so stuck on a plot point or a character twist…

M: …that you wander into traffic.

J: You’ve done that, huh?

M: A few times. Why the self-doubt?

J: I guess… Because this culture has these set-in-stone ideas about how women think and how they should behave, and I reject those ideas. Especially when it comes to targets of DV. I don’t see a lot of understanding for women in abusive situations, and there’s certainly no effective aftercare for them. For the issues they have afterwards.

M: Such as?

J: They’ve been traumatized, sometimes for decades, and it’s even more devastating when they have children. Especially if the court doesn’t bother to accommodate reality, and assesses them only on their demeanor, because they can run the range from mildly disjointed to openly distraught. Since battered women are often accused of creating their own abuser – or at least, “pushing his buttons” – there isn’t much compassion for them.

M: But An Early Frost is about the aftereffects of child abuse.

J: In the character of Max, yes. Plus her mother was abused, so that factors into it, too. Millions of kids grow up in that situation, and they don’t recover well. I wanted to address it through the character of Maxine, who has a beautiful soul, but she can seem ugly.

M: And you doubted yourself because…?

J: I guess it isn’t self-doubt. It’s more like a cynicism, maybe?

M: Over what?

J: Because a lot of people have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Those people can get nasty if you challenge the excuses this culture makes for males who abuse women and children. Things like, he was abused as a child, or he has anger issues.

M: You think there’s a double standard?

J: Actually, I think the standards apply only to battered women. People are forever looking at the criminal and asking, “Why does he act that way?” Yet these same people look at the natural, normal reactions of the targets of his abuse, and they don’t ask that same question. If anything, after a batterer cuts his target, this culture blames her for bleeding.

M: An Early Frost is written with a male protagonist who asks that question about Max.

J: Yeah, that was interesting to me, because I started the novel with Maxine as the lead character, and found myself writing Will instead. It just kept coming out that way.

M: What’s the twist?

J: I don’t regard the resolution as a twist, not in this novel. It’s more a contrast, a ‘what if’ thing.

M: What if?

J: What if a traumatized woman is with someone who honestly loves her, someone who’s looking for the goodness inside her, instead of rejecting her for the ugliness that someone else infected her with?

M: Your first novel, October Snow, was a critical and commercial success. An Early Frost is the legacy to October Snow – the story of what happens to the characters who survive the first book. What was it like to take their hands again and walk them through the next phase of their lives?

J: Well, I think I love Will Remmond. He’s tough to get over, especially as he’s based on a real person.

M: You have ‘Hey Will Remmond, call me’ on your social media profiles. Too funny.

J: Yeah, I’m waiting by the phone.

M: What about the other characters?

J: Max gave me nightmares, for real. Dave drove me nuts at first. His character was weirding out, and I couldn’t figure out why for a while…

M: You don’t write with an outline?

J: No. I know the ending, and the social issues I want to explore, but that’s all.

M: What about Sammy?

J: Sammy had me in tears a couple of times. She was trying so hard to find some kind of redemption, when she’s really just a sweet, confused kid whose life is unraveling.

M: Did the truth about Jo ever come out?

J: That was one of the top two questions I got after October Snow.

M: In other words, no answer.

J: Sure there is. The answer is in An Early Frost.

M: What was the other question after October Snow?

J: Readers wanted to know what became of Max, and if she wound up with Will.

M: And you aren’t going to tell me if she did, right?

J: Right.

M: So what’s your philosophy on literature – on art in general? Do you feel that artists have any responsibility to the culture?

J: Yes. And no. I’m all for the expression of creativity, but art can be used to be demeaning. Destructive? I’m looking for the right word here… I mean, too often, the same people who insist that a crucifix soaked in urine is ‘art’ are also the ones who would go apoplectic if a crucifix was displayed in public without the urine. I don’t get that mindset, and I don’t see where it benefits a culture.

M: So you would draw a line?

J: I suppose, as far as referring to something as ‘art.’ If its sole purpose is to shock people, then it isn’t art.

M: Along those lines, do you feel that being a creative person with an experience that could help shed light on a topic requires that you give back, or tell a particular story?

J: Not unless you’re true to the story, which is why the first two manuscripts of An Early Frost hit the trash.

M: What’s next for you?

J: A novel that deals with Maternal Alienation. We’ll look at the issue of children who grow up with DV, and who then reject their mothers.

M: Is that a big issue? Really?

J: It’s huge. But it’s buried by the Fathers Rights movement.

M: Does it have a title?

J: The working title is Ventriloquist.

M: What would you like people to say about you and your work ten years from now?

J: I never think about that. It would cause me to chase the wrong things, you know?

M: Do you ever relax?

J: Is this the ‘what do you do in your spare time’ question?

M: Sure is. I was hoping to ask it in a more creative way, though.

J: Sorry.

M: No problem. I know you watch Judge Judy and Psych.

J: Yeah, I get a bag of Doritos, and my dog and I sit on the bed and watch dumb TV.

M: That’s your idea of a good evening?

J: Guess so. I need a life.

M: You need Will Remmond to call you.

J: No kidding, right?

M: And there you have it. You finally did an interview.

J: It wasn’t bad, actually. Are you going to return the favor when Burning Down Rome comes out?

M: Absolutely. Thanks for the time here.

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October Snow and An Early Frost are available on Amazon.com. Find them here: amazon.com/author/jennabrooks

You can find Jenna Brooks online at http://jennabrooks.weebly.com/

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7,000 LUNCHES!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave to share my latest Huffington Post article, and yes, everyone wonders what 7,000 Lunches is. So did I!

7,000 Lunches

Posted: Updated: 
 My husband and I were in Seattle recently visiting our son and daughter-in-law. My son was debating whether or not to take a position he had been offered at a large increase in salary. We were discussing it and he made the statement, “But I don’t know how many lunches I have left.”

The statement made no sense to me, so I asked my son what he meant by it. He told me he recently was advising a client of his about where he should put his assets and the client said, “According to statistics, I have about seven thousand lunches left.” In other words, he was 60 and if he lived to the age the actuarial tables predicted, he would live for that many days. He made it very clear to my son that he wanted to enjoy those days.

I’d never thought in mortality terms as to how many lunches I have left, but like my son’s client, I want to enjoy them. I don’t want to have to do some of the things I did for the good of my family, society, and trying to please everyone else. Since I don’t know the exact number of lunches I have left, I better pay attention and make the enjoyment of each day a priority!

I read an article a while ago that said, “If you had just three hours to live, what would you do?” With only a few hours to do what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t be able to climb to the top of Mt. Everest, an unfulfilled dream of mine. No, I would have to do things that were here and now. Of course I’d call family members and tell them I loved them and there are probably a few other things I’d do in that vein. What caught my attention in the article was that it cleverly asked what things we’d do that probably aren’t good for us, because we only had a few hours left, so what would it matter? Would we go out and buy a pack of cigarettes — you remember the ones we gave up years ago? Would we opt for the biggest steak we could find and a potato with all the cholesterol clogging goodness added to it like bacon, sour cream, butter, etc? Name your poison.

Can you remember when this was a popular statement? “If you ever worked with hospice patients, the one thing you never heard was ‘Wish I’d started Weight Watchers earlier’?” Lots of truth in those words.

Are you enjoying what you’re doing now? If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the second half of your life. Are you spending time doing what you want to do? Years ago I made the decision that “life was too short to spend it stuffing mushrooms,” (substitute whatever it is that you’re doing that takes a lot of time and isn’t very much appreciated) when I could be enjoying people I cared about or reading that great new novel I’d been waiting to get to or a gazillion other things I’d really wanted to do rather than impress guests with my ability to stuff mushrooms.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of entertaining, The one thing I learned after a few years is that if the food is good, the bathroom and kitchen are relatively clean, and the hostess is relaxed, that’s all that matters. Truth be told, no one is going to look under the bed for dust bunnies. And if you ever find someone doing that, don’t invite them back! Almost everyone is far more concerned with the impression they’re making on others than if the hostess stuffed mushrooms for them.

I look back at the years and energy I spent trying to get this squatty, short body morphed into a svelte Barbie doll-like body. Never happened, but I sure spent a lot of time trying to make it happen. And what about the things I gave up in my fruitless search for bodily perfection — a whole lot of wonderful food experiences!

There are two days that were seminal in my growth as an adult. (1) the day I decided to accept this squatty body and quite trying to look like someone I was never intended to look like in the first place; and (2) the day my husband came home from work, asked me what I was doing, and I told him I was reading a book. Yup, just sat down and read a book. Were there other things I could have been doing? Yup. Decided if that was decadent behavior, so be it. I’d be decadent!

And you, dear reader, how many lunches do you have left? And more importantly, what are you going to do with them?

Now What?

Received an email yesterday from the Huffington Post that thrilled me. Here it is!

Hi Dianne,I hope this finds you well. I’m just writing to let you know that we’ve decided to re-feature your post, “Now What” in a HuffPost Post50 handbook being distributed at the Deal With It Women’s Conference on September 29th.

That definitely caught my attention so I thought I’d post it here so you can read it. I mean, if it’s good enough for the Huffington Post to publish in a handbook, it must be worth reading!!!

“The last few years have been interesting for you. The kids have finally flown the nest (maybe after returning for awhile when it became impossible for them to live on their own for one reason or another); you may be without a significant other for the first time in a long time, maybe ever. You’ve downsized from the larger home, and the garden has morphed into patio flower pots. Knitting in a rocking chair doesn’t appeal to you and you have no desire to spend the rest of your life whittling wooden objects. Your grandchildren are busy with their activities and you’re feeling a bit useless. Watching the time pass on the gold watch the company gave you when you retired isn’t filling the hours. The time is past when it was okay to wear a polka dot bikini or a thong to the beach — maybe Europe overlooks flesh that has a mind of its own, but in most places in the United States, it doesn’t work!

So now what? It’s hard to admit how much time you’re spending on the Internet playing solitaire. Well, how about sharing some of that knowledge you’ve learned over the years? Non-profits need your skills. You can donate your time and expertise to a number of different organizations, whatever your interest is — everything from pets to HIV to cancer to community gardens. You name it. They want you, and admit it; it’s kind of nice to have someone want your input!

It doesn’t matter where you live; there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of groups that need your abilities. Hey, we’ve learned a lot over the years! Let’s not discount it. We’re a valuable commodity. We’ve learned how to get money and how to spend it. We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. We’ve spent a lifetime developing TLC skills. We’re masters at helping people. Our families may be a little tired of the wisdom we spout, but non-profit groups would love to have some of that wisdom.

I’ve sat on a lot of Executive Boards of different non-profit organizations and the majority of the people who sit on the boards are boomers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Younger people are dealing with children, jobs and all of the other things that just getting from day to day entails. They have no time to donate, no matter how worthy the cause. There are only so many hours in a day and a person can be stretched just so far! Fortunately for the non-profits, we boomers have a few extra hours.

If children are your interest, check out the Boys and Girls Clubs. I recently took my granddaughter to a “ba yeah” class (read that ballet!) at one of their locations. The class was reasonable and excellent. They usually provide child care services, sports activities and classes. Fundraisers help support them. You can usually donate your time by simply helping with activities if you don’t want to act in an advisory capacity or help with fundraising. And that’s true for most of the non-profits. Wherever and however you want to help, your services will be appreciated.

There are so many organizations that are community minded such as Rotary Club, Lions Club, Exchange, etc. Two that come to mind in my area are Kiwanis Club and Soroptomists. If your interest lies in the community, check out the Rotary or Kiwanis Clubs. If your focus is on women and girls, you might want to get involved with Soroptomists. “Working Wardrobes,” one of their projects, helps women return to the work force by furnishing them with appropriate clothing.

I find it interesting that all of the organizations I know of are now made up of women as well as men. I remember many years ago when the International Rotary Conference was held in Tokyo, a vote was taken on whether or not women should be allowed to join. Fortunately, it passed. In today’s world that seems ludicrous. Male or female, there are no longer sex barriers.

Those are just a few groups. My daughter-in-law donates time to the Humane Society. She had to become certified so that she could take some of the more active dogs on runs. The Humane Society also has volunteers who take food to a pet whose owner is housebound or ill. See what I mean? You can donate as many hours as you want to whatever organization appeals to you. The only choices you have to make are which ones interest you and how much time you want to donate. Keep in mind that each group has a different feel to it. If you’re not comfortable with the first group you check out, find another one. You’re in the driver’s seat and you’re the one who’s donating your time. Make it time you enjoy!

I don’t have the space to give a shout out to all of the wonderful non-profit organizations that exist, from soup kitchens to hospitals to picking up trash on sidewalks. Whatever you’re interested in, trust me, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.”

The Writing Process Blog Hop and me!

I was recently asked by Ginger Gersheimer if I would participate in the blog hop and enthusiastically agreed to. Ginger is the head of the Book Review Depot on Facebook and Google+ as well as the author of The Aurora Conspiracy, a don’t-miss read for those of you who love science fiction and fantasy.

1ba1fab14d410ad8976fb1.L._CB338058469_SL140_RO5,1,174,177,178,255,255,255,15_AA160_[1]As part of the blog, I was asked four questions. Here’s the first one!

1.  What am I working on?

I have been working on developing a series for Slade Kelly, the popular private investigator in the Coyote series. So many people wrote and told me that he was one of the best characters they’d ever felt like they’d known in a book and would I please write more about him. The Coyote series was a trilogy and with Cornered Coyote, it was over, but obviously the fascination with Slade had not ended, thus the new book whose working title is Slade Kelly and the Red Zero.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I wish I had a clever answer for that, but I don’t. I simply write where the characters tell me they’re going. The difference may lie in the fact that I don’t plot everything out ahead of time. I really don’t think my books are formulaic. They evolve. If anything, I would say that is the difference.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

Haven’t a clue. I started out with Blue Coyote Motel when I wondered what would happen if someone put a “feel-good” drug in the air-conditioning unit and the books evolved out of that one incident.

And lastly, #4. How does my writing process work?

As I mentioned above, it’s almost totally organic. I may think I’m going one place, but the characters tell me I need to go somewhere else. As the book evolves, so do the characters. If I rigidly put down what I wanted in every chapter, I think I’d miss a lot. I know that other offers do it entirely different. I guess it’s what each of us feels most comfortable doing.

I’ve read all the books the following authors have written and I’m please they all agreed to part of this. Don’t miss their books. The subject matter may be diverse, but the writing is excellent!

Jennifer Theriot

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Jennifer took a chance that there could be an interest in romance with middle aged couples who are finding themselves at a crossroads and wrote her debut novel Out of the Box Awakening, which centers on the hope of finding happiness and passion through unexpected heartache. It emphasizes the need for family and friends as Jennifer has learned in her own life. The book has been described as “Mature Sexy” by one reviewer.

Her second book in the Out of the Box series titled Out of the Box Regifted has just been released and she is currently working on the third book, Out of the Box Everlasting. 2 Novellas from her other character’s POV are planned as well.

SIMON OKILL

Image of Simon Okill

His new Teen Superhero Series has opened with:

Phantom Bigfoot Strikes Again

To be followed by:

Phantom Bigfoot & The Vampires From Venus

Phantom Bigfoot & The Haunted House

Luna Sanguis/Luna Aeturnus are now available on Kindle following the tumultuous life of a female amnesiac vampire treated in an asylum in France 1925.

SSteppenwolf is a supernatural retelling of WWII involving the Occult Warfare department run by Himmler.

Goodreads | Luca Rossi (Author of Galactic Energies)//

Luca  Rossi
LUCA ROSSI
Research, science, science fiction and high technology: this is the world of Luca Rossi, and the main themes that run through his literary work.

He believes the internet provides a tool to bring people together and make the world a more open, fair and democratic place.
In 2013 he published Galactic Energies, a collection of short stories set in a universe where not just the laws of physics, but also the laws of eros, passion, desire and the spirit are a little different than our own.
He was born in Turin on April 15th, 1977. He likes to ride his bike, take walks through nature and spend most of his free time with his family.

SARAH MALLERY

S.R. MalleryS. R. Mallery has worn many hats in her life. Starting out as a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved onto the professional world of production art and calligraphy, followed by a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descent 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller and Down In the Dirt. She is the author of Unexpected Gifts and Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads.

Authors – The Review we all want to see

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Here’s the five star review every author wants to see! I’m thrilled and had to share it!

Extraordinary! Suspenseful! Romantic! Phenomenally Well-Written! Fantastic! Fabulous! Highly Recommended!, June 13, 2014
This review is from: CORNERED COYOTE (Coyote Series Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
I loved reading the extraordinary, suspenseful, romantic, phenomenally well-written, love story, Cornered Coyote (Coyote Series Book 3) final book in the series, by Dianne Harman.
Cornered Coyote begins with Maria on her way to California to join her boyfriend, Jordan. She is immediately arrested for the murder of her husband. Brian, a well known lawyer, is hired for Maria’s defense. Maria does not get bail and has to stay in prison until the trial, so Darya has Slade finding ways of protecting Maria while in prison and any possible defense leads in the case. Meanwhile, Darya and Slade continue to try to distract themselves from the increasing feelings and attraction they have toward each other.
Read the fantastic, fabulous, highly recommended, full of romance and love, Cornered Coyote by Dianne Harman.

Want to Feel Special?

Dianne is the author of five books including the newly released Cornered Coyote! She lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, Tom, a retired California Senator.

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One of the most difficult things about getting older is resisting the urge to say things like, “we didn’t do it that way or we weren’t allowed to dress that way.” The one I really remember from my childhood is: “I wonder what they’ll have to look forward to.” If and when I say it, and believe me I try not to, I sound just like my mother — and didn’t we all swear we would never say the things our mothers said? Right!

What brings all of this to mind is attending our granddaughter’s recent graduation from “preschool.” Yup, you read it right — preschool. Some of the parents brought bouquets of red roses and balloons and all of the “graduates” wore mortar boards. I would be the first to say it was adorable. Little pre-kindergartners singing songs and receiving their “diplomas” — what’s not to love? Their teachers related their favorite foods and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Our granddaughter said she wanted to be a veterinarian.

I’ve forgotten when I wanted to be when I was in nursery school (probably a nurse or a teacher because those were the only “acceptable” professions for girls to aspire to then). There was no ceremony for me or teacher telling a class of parents and grandparents my future dreams. Maybe there should have been because there’s no denying that it was charming and the children were delightful.

The whole time I sat in the little chair (and some of the spectators were having a bit of a problem getting their bulk into the little preschoolers’ chairs) in the back of my mind I could hear my mother’s voice, “wonder what they’ll have to look forward to.” I have to admit, there is something there. One part of me thinks it’s charming and the other part of me wonders if these children will be jaded by the time their graduation from high school comes around. Who knows — they may go through so many graduations by then that it won’t be a big deal and they may even opt out of it.

My thinking has pretty much come full circle. Even though we didn’t do it when we were young and my children didn’t “graduate” from preschool, they just went on to kindergarten. But a ceremony like that had to make each child who received their “diploma” feel special. And that’s a good thing. There will be plenty of things that will happen in the future that will lead each of them at times to doubt their “self-worth.” That’s pretty much a given based on my observances over a long life. So if they are able to go into those situations with a strong sense of self-worth, although I’m not a psychologist, I feel certain it would help them deal with whatever arises.

They had their special day. For one day, each one of them was “a star.” As we get older and are knocked about a bit by life, wouldn’t we all love to have a day where we’re “special?” I think we all could use one. So what if these young people have several special days? I imagine there will be graduations from elementary school, middle school, high school, and perhaps college and maybe more. Each one of these days will be a special day for them. As they get older, they’ll remember them and I can’t help but think that just for a moment they may be able to recreate the special feeling they had that day.

My generation only had a few special days. We remember graduating from high school, college, and getting married. Those were special days. Sure, there were several others and for all of us they’re different. Some remember the birth of their first child as being special and for others it may have been a coveted job. The list is endless, depending on what’s important to each of us.

I’ve concluded that if we can do things to make our children feel special from an early age, not just at age 17 or 18 when they graduate from high school, then we’re doing something very positive for the future generation. Things may not have been done that way in the past, but maybe they should have been.

And maybe each of us should create our own special day. I can decree a day as the special Dianne Harman Day. Why not? I could have a party and just like they do at Celebrations of Life, I would have everyone say something nice about me. I’ve always thought there should be a Celebration of Life while the person is still living and can hear all the positive things people would say about them. Yup, I’ve just decided to create my special day Dianne Harman Day and you?

Bookcovers and Marketing

Blue Coyote - Dianne Harman for ad

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about the importance of marketing when choosing a book cover. When I started out writing, I really didn’t understand this concept and drew from my background as an antique and art appraiser when I chose the cover for my debut novel. The cover for my debut novel is above and I still think it’s beautiful. However, I have since learned a lot more about branding.

I’ve been working with someone I think is a marketing genius, Vivek Rajan Vivek. He convinced me that the cover of a book should let people know what’s going on inside it. Additionally, since the original book morphed into a trilogy (something I never intended to happen but it did!), it was important to let people know immediately that these books were linked. After seeing the three covers of the trilogy, I think you’ll agree as to just how important this often overlooked factor can be. You might want to think about. Since I changed covers my sales have doubled.

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Wired for Story

I just read something I have to share with all of those who write or want to write. Lisa Cron’s book, Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers was recently recommended to me, and since I value the opinions of the person who suggested the book, I bought it. May be the best investment in writing I’ve ever made. As a disclaimer, I do not know the author nor am I getting anything from it. I just hope it affects your writing as strongly as I know it’s going to affect mine. There are two books I’ve been working on doing edits. One is The Dinner Diva and the Red Cedar Spa and the other one is Spade Kelly and The Red Zeroes. As I’ve been editing them, I’ve been pretty pleased with them. Then I read this book and realized there’s a lot more I need to do to put these into the category of “You have to read the book I just read!” Interesting enough, a lot of what I wrote in both books that was set forth in her book was simply instinctual. I think it came from being a voracious reader for so many years. Some good stuff sunk in and I’ve been able to incorporate that stuff into my books, but there’s a whole more that needs to go into them!

If you’re like me, you probably hate to read a bad review of one of your books. Sure, we know some of them are very well-intentioned, but we prefer to discount them because it’s like someone telling us our firstborn is ugly! After reading Ms. Cron’s book I’m going to have to agree with some of the bad reviews of my books. There is some gold in them. Yes, I could have written a better book if I’d read this book first, and believe me, I wish I had read it years ago, but then again, it hadn’t been written. There are so many books on the market about how to write a book that I swore off of them a long time ago. I was completely overwhelmed, Now I’m glad I did. The information in this book is “take it to the bank.” I’m tearing apart the two books I’ve been editing and looking at them with “fresh eyes” based on the wisdom of what’s in her book.

My friends, order the book today. It’s one that requires reading and rereading and I’m certain will be well worth the time. Meet you on the New York Times Best Seller List!!!

Award Winning Author in the Mystery & Suspense genre