A Jump Start from a Master Class

Yes, I’ve been very lax on my writing and marketing the last year or so. I humbly confess. It was a busy time, granted. But you’d have thought I would have bloomed more on the keyboard during the pandemic as so many of my author friends did. I did have a near daily snail mail correspondence going on with my middle grandson, and it was his encouragement that finally shoved me back on the old saddle of writing and editing.

I have a 92,000 word manuscript, working title “Twinkies and Tranquilizers,” that I believe is ready for query letters to agents. Time to crack my knuckles and get researching for who is looking for women’s fiction set in the sizzling Seventies.

So when I saw a post on Facebook by the Southwest Washington Writers Conference about a master class on Friday, September 10th titled How to Make Yourself Unforgettable to Agents, Editors, and Readers—Master class with James L. Rubart – I didn’t hesitate to sign up. How serendipity is that? And within an hour’s drive from home. Perfect.

Before heading out that morning, I followed my routine of checking my email, seeing what’s happening on Facebook and reading the online edition of our local paper, mainly the funnies and horoscope. Well, Sagittarius read: “Take things in hand instead of waiting for events to make a decision for you. If you want to change your professional orientation, this will be the moment to take up a career change or retraining course.” The planets have aligned and all systems are go.

Now I had no idea who Mr. Rubart was before the class started. The brief bio stated a Christy Hall of Fame author and marketing expert. By the end of the day, I was hooked, had signed up for his newsletters and purchased two of his books. What an energetic and enthusiastic gentleman. I won’t go into detail of the class, but I encourage you to check out his websites (plural) and find out for yourself the wealth of tips and encouragement this man has. Not only is he a prolific author, but he has a separate company, Rubart Writing Academy, offering courses to unlock your success. He understands ways to stand out in the literary world. He understands people, writers, all of us.

Oh, the brainstorming that went on during those five hours. I’ve created a new blog, Crowded vs Empty where I can explore the variances of suddenly living as an empty nester after two decades of being the queen of the crowded nest. My laptop is getting daily use (finally) in my latest work in progress, a young adult novel. And, wait, there’s more, exciting, new ways to tweak my query letters to agents giving them, hopefully, a chance to hook their attention.

Stay tuned to see what happens.

It’s All in the Risk

Sometimes you have to shake the tree, in life, and see where the apples fall. I made a bold decision and asked for the rights back from the publisher to my second book of the Baillie Castle trilogy. I have now self-published the tome under a new title and cover design. His Kilt Dropped Here is a fun stand-alone read, as well as Book Two in the trilogy.

It’s not an easy decision, nor one that should be made lightly, but I felt the book needed a fresh look to gain a wider audience. A gamble? Definitely. Yet one I hope reaps in benefits through my readers. The original title was His Lass Wears Tartan – as the publisher thought it best to have the titles similar in style to the first book, Her Ghost Wears Kilts. And the cover layout showed a skipping lass over a field. Neither of these, the title or the image, portrayed the essence of the book, the storyline.

The protagonist, our heroine, Rogue would never skip about in a short tartan. A young woman in her twenties found herself an heiress to not only a Scottish castle, but additional property as well. Though her heart lived more in the stable with her prized Friesians, she worked with her aunt and staff making the castle into a popular bed and breakfast.

His Kilt Dropped Here, a rom-com of magical realism

A short blurb:

“Rogue, an heiress to a Scottish castle, is content in life. No males need apply. Yet a gorgeous local business owner and a handsome outsider barge their way in, competing for her heart. Murder, a psychic and the glitzy Diva Squad make this unasked for love triangle sizzle and explode.”

So, was it a good risk? I believe so. Now as fall begins her beautiful path into cooler days and longer nights, enjoy yourself with a copy of His Kilt Dropped Here and don’t forget to leave a review.

Announcing a New Blog

We’re nearing the end of 2021, only a few months left to go and, I don’t know about you, but I’ve suddenly had the urge to make all sorts of changes. Energy is shoving itself down my lethargic body and I’ve “climbed back on the horse” of writing again after a very long dry spell.

And with that new found energy, I’ve created a new blog – Crowded vs Empty! In essence it will be a chance to entertain and maybe…, possibly…, hardly likely…, educate about the differences in living in a crowded nest versus living in an empty nest.

Yours truly is the author of The Crowded Nest Syndrome, surviving the return of adult children. And I’ve had a lot of fun with my tales of living with more people in my home than usual. It’s been that way since around 1993, almost thirty years. Well, recently, when I made a comment on a Facebook post that I was now “suffering” an empty nest, a delightful author friend replied, “You need to write a book, as I will be an empty nester some day.”

This new blog is in lieu of writing an actual book. Maybe someday, it will grow up to be its own trade paperback and eBook. But for now I’ll use the blog platform to let you know how I’m navigating the new territory. Stay tuned!

A Little NetGalley for the Holidays

For a limited time, I’ve signed up through BooksGoSocial to have Their Witch Wears Plaid listed with the NetGalley. I encourage all members who enjoy romantic comedies, magical realism and zany side characters to pick up a copy today.

Net Gallery is a dedicated site to get the word out about upcoming titles and those wanting a new marketing outlet to quality readers. Reviewers, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers, and educators can use NetGalley for free to request, read, and recommend titles before they are published.

And isn’t getting your title in front of reviewers and librarians the nature of promoting? A good review from a prominent reader can sometimes make all the difference in a book’s life on the shelf. Maybe you’d like to become a member of NetGalley or BooksGoSocial: check out their websites.

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NaNoWriMo – Check

How many of you have heard of National Novel Writing Month? November is the official month each year where hundreds of thousand of writers from around the world compete against themselves to write a 50,000-word novel. It’s an intense push beginning after midnight of November 1st until midnight of November 30 for a writer to sit in their chair and crank out words.

These is no major prize at the end of the challenge other than the celebration and exuberant feeling of accomplishment. And a badge you can post on your website or Facebook page. There are t-shirts for sale and other writing fun things in their online store.

NaNoWriMo is something I’ve wanted to do for decades. Working fulltime plus various other excuses such as raising a family, then grandchildren, plus publishing my own novels and non-fiction kept me from dedicating thirty days on one storyline.

I can now check this event off my bucket list. That’s right I am a winner of the 2017 NaNo-2017-Winner-BadgeNaNoWriMo challenge. Whew. I’ve had an idea for a story stuck in my mind for these long decades and finally I declared my intentions in October. This year, by golly, I was going to join these thousands of writers and swim in the stress and glory. And, yes, I bought myself a t-shirt so I’ll always remember this excitement.

Too delicious. The drawback is unwinding now from the every day drive to get in x-amount of words and spending hours and hours with a band of characters. Granted, I plan on editing and revising my little jewel over the next few months. I worked too hard not to give the manuscript a chance at publishing.

So stay tuned and I’ll let you know how the process goes …

 

 

Zany Characters

My first romantic comedy, Changes in Attitude, included a marvelous side kick named Gillian Nation. He worked for the protagonist, Allie, and provided droll humor along the storyline. I saw Gillian as tall, blond and gorgeous – muscular yet slender, intelligent and gay. I fell in love with his wit and demeanor throughout the book.

I liked this character so much, he barged into my next novel Her Ghost Wears Kilts and brought along friends: Rafael and T-Cup. Seriously. Well, an entourage of sorts. Rafael and T are delightful drag queens who captured my heart with their dramatics. Interestingly, in the original manuscript there was a third Musketeer in the entourage named Stormy, she played a Cher impersonator. But the editor felt there were too many side characters and they overshadowed the main female and male leads. Stormy got the ax. (sniffles)

My zany characters add color and energy to the Baillie Castle trilogy. Together they are the Diva Squad, willing to do or sacrifice for their friends. One day they may have their own book where their stars and glitter can shine alone.

Who are your favorite side characters? Think about your favorite book and notice how relevant and important a part those characters play.

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