Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Where are You, Cleavers?

December 25:
While on an ordinary shopping day recently, I listened to the store's Christmas music lyrics. Cheerful, the expected songs. But I wondered if they weren't out of date. Where are you, Cleavers?

Throughout this season, the adult's and childrens' faces haven't been all aglow. They're very serious. Childrens' gifts can be very expensive. Travel is expensive. Groceries, etc.

Doctors tell us we need "good stress." So where is it?

I usually do a few things for people throughout the year. This year was no different--except when it came to the holidays. With many elements constantly in play in my own life, I hadn't done my usual around the holidays. Oh, wait. Maybe all those cookies and hot rolls and homemade jams are really gifts. Maybe those little thinking-of-you gifts, minor really, amount to Christmas cheer.

Today, I'm looking forward to a family day, a traditional dinner, excited children showing off presents, etc., a Hallmark moment as they say. We can't all be together, but we are in our hearts.

This year, I made jam throughout the summer; it cut into my writing time. Still. When given to others, those cute little jars are special and from me, a bit of time in my life, given to others.

If we try, we can take some of today's spirit with us throughout the year. The 1950's were long ago, and we've become so lost in abundance that we've forgotten. We can't go back, recapture the past, but we can shift priorities. We can take those special moments throughout the year. If we try.

Wishing you Peace and Blessings,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Time

Christmas time is almost here and everyone is busy, busy. I've been traveling for the last few weeks, but home now and working on catching up. I hope you like our Christmas recipes, posted at my website.

As for news: This season always seems busier for business and news, other than the usual holiday stuff. We've just gotten a new title for Leona's book, the third in the trilogy, FOR HER EYES ONLY, and it is a 10/08 release. I am doing lots of promo for my psychic triplet trilogy. I'll be blogging at Fresh Fiction on Dec 14 and at Lori Foster's myspace/romanceauthors on Dec 18. So I hope you can come visit me there.

I made Christmas presents this year, well some of them and so far, everyone seems to like the idea :) I'll tell all later....

Friday, November 30, 2007


This is what I did on Thanksgiving, spending it with family in California. It was a quick trip, tucked into everyone's schedule, but worked out well.These shots are on Hwy 1, near Pescadero overlook. I take lots of photos, but love the ocean ones the best. After the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, we saw tallships, heard the blast of their cannons, had fish and chips and clam chowder at the marina's Barbara's Cafe north of Half Moon Bay, spent a few hours on the Bay's beach, and walked around Pescadero's tourist shops. My favorite photos are of water and I use it in my books, i.e. the psychic triplet trilogy. My painting of Lake Michigan's lighthouse is at my website. I spent a personal retreat there, and would love to do the same on the NW coastal area. Love the West coast and have dreams of visiting the NE one.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Beowulf, The Movie

When Beowulf, the movie, first opened in my town, I had to see it. One of my favorite books is a young adult translation of Beowulf and I was anxious to see how closely they compared, the movie and the book. I should add that there are several books written about this legend. I'm a fan of epic poetry in which many of these legends have been portrayed. (If you ever get a chance to read Olaf's Sagas, don't pass it up.) But let's move on to the movie and my thoughts about it.

The cast choice was exquisite, the medium was a blend between animation and human form. The movie industry may have a hard time deciding exactly where this movie falls so far as awards. There's lots of action, emotion, good against evil, cursors, dragons, and the larger than life hero. I particularly like Anthony Hopkins in this movie, and Beowulf's sidekick, whatever his real name is, I would like to see more in movies. I think he was the sheriff in Lake Placid.

The details in this movie, including the sparkling of light on snow, are infinite. The angled shots add to the dynamics. But most of all, I loved the interaction between the characters. The dialogue was magnificent, including Danish mixed with English. It was almost lyrical and in places the viewer got the gist/impact, if not the exact words. Grendel was my favorite pure animation, and the back story which I don't want to ruin for you, added so many layers of motives.

I don't know that this is made for children's viewing movie. There is some nudity. There is also blood and gore, that may not be appreciated at a young age. The sexual innuendos are clear. Monsters are definitely terrifying.

This may be where we are at in relation to adult animae. It's a beautiful portrayal, though I would have liked it stronger ending. The one fault that I could find in this movie, is that there needed to be more of a transition between young studly Beowulf, and the older version. Still, those rippling six-packs and powerful body was beauty in itself. I was of course expecting Angelina Jolie to be beautiful. There's a lot of emotions in this story between the players and the good portrayal of a legendary hero right down to the scars he would have worn. A good movie worth seeing, for the right age group with that interest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

From the Trenches

If you're a writer, you have definite ups and downs. And few start out with a perfect sale. Generally, there are rejections, then some good rejections and perhaps, then, if the fates be with you, a sale. A must read is The Writing Business is a Killer: Advice from the Trenches at Murder She Writes. A big fat list of hefty players say "making it" ain't easy. Tess Gerritson, Lisa Gardner, etc. all have plenty to say about their pre-pub days. Quite the little pkg of interviews that says how they marketed, if they had an agent, how many rejections, etc., all good info for writers who think breaking into the business is easy cruising.

It took me about 7 years to finally meet an agent and then my first sale. I like to think that living remotely and without Internet in those dark shaky days handicapped me. The truth is, I didn't have a clue and only when I hooked up with serious published writers and went to a conference, did I begin to understand that this business is TOUGH.

Reportedly only one quarter of all ideas from the most highly published writers are accepted. Reportedly, an editor's desk can have 10,000 manuscripts waiting to be read. Folks, it is tough, but not undo-able. The ability to take and use editorial input is a real plus. Callouses that protect your inner fragility are essential. Regimentation essential, also. And a good support system.

Do try to check out this post with interviews from the greats, midlists, etc. Great info at Murder She Writes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Creating Plots

I'm in a creative mode. With fall weather turning the leaves gold and scarlet outside,the air fresh and crisp, I'm filled with story ideas. Not all of them will pan out, but I keep a list of ideas, and write the basics as they come to me. Right now, I'm planning a new project.

I really don't like to reveal new projects, because I like to hold them inside until I'm ready to develop them. A visit at a local bookstore, chatting with the bookseller gave me the info I needed: The topic I want to write about hasn't been overdone. Overdone is a big problem, though every writer has their own style and twist on the same stories, some of which seem to be universal.

Along with tremendous creativity, I'm doing a lot in my own life, and have hopes that there is a story in there someplace, from a unique point of view. I experience the elements within my stories, such as driving the West, going to festivals, talking to craftspeople, interviews, etc. And a lot comes from my own life, because looking back, I've done a lot, like most people.

Weaving those elements into stories sometimes is easy, and sometimes not. Today, I'm outlining a series, or starting to outline it, choosing the characters that best lend themselves to the work/story.

Fall and Spring seem to be my high-creative months, more energized, all the way around. But I still take time to get out from my desk, a necessity to keep fresh, and I'm driving the country, enjoying the scenery and spinning those story ideas. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Moms and Grandmas Have Changed

Last night, while chatting with a friend, I thought how much times have changed. Moms and Grandmas used to talk about the latest quilt design or recipes, and now we (that's right, I am both of them)are keeping up with the Internet, software, graphics, enewsletters, etc. My friend and I talk recipes, family, etc., but when we get going on software and newsletters and electronic gadgets like PDAs, AlphaSmarts, software for DVDs and various downloads, we really get busy. Last night, she was coaching me on how to get my 3000 AlphaSmart, which I use quite a bit when parked in waiting rooms, to use the Get program. This Get It program copies what is on the PC and transfers it to the AlphaSmart. (AlphaSmart 3000 is an older model as there are Neos and Danas, but I like the ease of packing this thing in a tote bag.) As it turns out, after much back and forth, there is no way my "Y" cable is going to work for a download/clip and paste.

Oh, well. We both have XPs, dreading the changeover to Vista, and wondering how much software we'll have to buy to keep up. She's run several print and online newsletters and we both do graphics and I was telling her about a new freebie, Print.Net for graphics, which is actually pretty neat, tho we both have several graphic programs. She's clinging to WordPerfect, but I have to move on and we both just wish they would have left it in the Dos or WP7 version, very plain.

So we chat a bit about recipes/gardening, etc., but we always come back to techno stuff and how-tos. She has a Windows CE, while I just have a plain PDA. It seems neither one of us can manage schedules, addresses and phone numbers without our gizmos. She likes to write on her AlphaSmart while her husband drives.

Last night I brought my laptop up to speed; it hasn't been used for a while and needed updating for a new graphics program. That took a few hours and then the AlphaSmart fiasco.

Then I think about my mother's life and my grandmother's, and how they talked with their friends about cooking, canning, sewing, and quilt making. (My mother crocheted.)

Times have really changed. We are close to family and friends and peers on the Internet, rather than gathering around a quilting rack. And I wonder about the coffees and visiting in each other's houses, too. Part of Desperate Housewives appeal may be that they are in each other's lives so much, while actually today's woman may not visit, or know her neighbor. Today's online communities and chats, etc., allow for networking and are sometimes a substitution for real live communication over a morning cup of coffee.

Families around the nightly dinner table is a scenario that doesn't occur very often in our busy lives, but I do wish more families would take time to do that. With text messaging, etc., it's not unusual to see family members not communicating...with each other.

My friend and I live miles apart, rarely see each other, but do keep in touch. Especially when one of us needs an electronic fix, like the "Y" cable fiasco last night.

Nope, we're not gathered around the quilting rack any more. And there's no going back.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Software for Writers and Promotion

Between books, while doing galleys and proposals and laying out other general ideas, I've been updating my website, blog, and attempting to try different mailing lists. I thought someone might be interested in the software and my research to date. WebEngine by VirtualMechanics is terrific with lots of options I haven't had time to try. Did I tell you that I'm a software junkie? :) My old software was really outdated and this one is so convenient.
I could be a lot better, but how much time does a writer have anyway? If you want to try their freebie, that would be WebDwarf, downloadable almost everywhere. It is good for practice, but you may want more professional. They also have the award winning SiteSpinner. The support has been good.

Then for my updated blog, this one, I'm using freeskins. I made this much more difficult than need be. All you really have to do is to do the header image and then adjust the rest from the control panel. When things are too simple, I try to muck them up at bit :) This one is a 3-column and I like that better because I'm into widgets. I also love the tabs, which you can make run all across the page. I wanted a clean banner and redo the header as needed. The background is from istockphoto.com Se7en at Freeskins has some gorgeous designs.

About widgets. Go to widgetbox.com and fill up! Jennie Cruise and Bob Mayer have a cute little one that scrolls through their He said/She said program, which is super, if you've never experienced it. I also have a widget that anyone can take and put on their website, listing my posts. It also has my photo with it. It's basically a RSS feed and any visitor can take yours and post it on their website or blog.

Since this is Blogger. Blogger for Dummies is the place where I got this read more code. I think this will be great for my long-winded posts, but also excerpts for my upcoming books.

Speaking of RSS feeds, I use Bloglines rather than fill up my mailbox, etc. Bloglines is an "aggregator" which means it has a web crawler that goes out and fetches whatever you've subscribed to into your Bloglines pocket; read at will, save the clips you want and the rest disappear. Very handy. They also offer free blogs. I have two of these, one career/writing, the other personal.

Then, if you want to do your own trailers, try KoolMoves Here's my first try. I learned a lot.

It would be good for basic animations/banners, but for that, I use Jasic's Paint Shop.

Adobe's Elements is super, and so are others.

But most of all, I'm intrigued with PageFour. It's a basic outliner and the free version gives 3 notebooks. We novelists would call them, "books." It takes "snapshots" phrases or scenes that we want to bring up for reference. Very nice product, or I think so. It uses .rtf, and I think that language should be used by all text software. You can go a long way on those 3 free notebooks and there is no cut-off on the trial.

I love trials. I am currently working on my mailing list trial. Seems ok. You can subscribe to my mailing list using the buttons here or at my website. I want to get into html letters, if the subscriber wants them.

Will let you know later how that turns out. Stay tuned....

Monday, October 08, 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have a good friend struggling with this terrible disease and hope you'll visit the National Breast Campaign for information.

This is great!

Se7en at Freeskins does wonderful graphic blogs. I wanted the 3-column one to do more with the side columns, i.e. my photos, widgets, etc. Also the header allows for more room for my book covers, which are coming up! I also have a new look for my website, a matching one. So hopefully life can begin again, I mean the writing life. :) But please check back. I have a few more "wiggles" to go. Right now, I'm going over the print layout (pageproofs) before A STRANGER'S TOUCH, Tempest's, story goes to print. Really happy about the cover. Life is good!

Thank you, Se7en!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Changing the look of my website was 100% easy. Changing the look of this blog is not.

Please excuse my fumbling, but I'll get there sooner or later! Meanwhile, please do visit my website at CaitLondon.com

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Book Titles

We're working on suitable titles for Leona's story. Logically, the feel should come between AT THE EDGE, the first book of the psychic triplet trilogy, and A STRANGER'S TOUCH, the second. Rather, the "feel" should come between those two titles. Not that easy.

I've titled 95% of my books, and sometimes you hit an easy one. Flys right from your email to the editor and sales/publisher passes it. This one isn't going that way. The story is complex, concerning family relationships, psychics and a romance.

Wrapping a book is everything. Cover and title and elements, all wrapped up in an eye-catching package. This titling process is intense with emails flying back and forth between me and my publisher. It will continue until the feel for Leona's story is right. Tons of lists, open synonym/thesaurus/searching everywhere for a title that hasn't gotten a big name stake driven into it. Or hasn't had a thousand other books with the same title.

Very delicate and grueling process to get the best fit. This one isn't that easy.

Friday, September 28, 2007



In this winter scene, Claire, a loner, doesn't want to approach the man mourning his beloved aunt, and her good friend. But she must.

He didn't turn as she came near. He just stood looking at his aunt’s front door as if he hoped it would open, and Eunice would be there.

"I'm sorry," Claire said, when she's stood that careful, measured three feet away from him, a distance that helped to protect her from the energies of others. Though she'd seen Neil Olafson at a distance, he was much taller than she expected, and gauging by her own five-foot-nine height, he was at least six inches taller.

She couldn't see his face, or maybe she didn't want to see the grief hidden between the black knit cap and a high collar of his peacoat. Her sixth sense could grasp not only feelings and emotions, but an expression.

Snowflakes swirled between them, and she wondered if he'd heard her above the howling of the wind. He didn't move, his workman's boots braced apart in the snow. He suddenly turned to her, and the wind caught a strand of dark waving hair, taking it away from a harsh, weathered face.

Beyond the lens of her sunglasses, narrowed light eyes caught and held her, reminding her of a wolf pinning his prey. At close range, with snow falling steadily between them, that broad face, that blunt nose and strong jaw held the look of the Norse heritage Eunice had described. Light eyes flickered, and the set of his lips hardened, the lines deepening around it. His gaze shot down her body, then back up to her face. She noted the snow clinging to his thick eyebrows in the dark double of his jaw.

The snowflakes seems so fragile against his weathered skin. One tumbled down to his lips and melted, unnoticed on the hard contours. Claire mourned the boyish grin she'd seen from her windows, a man teasing his elderly aunt and causing her to laugh. His breath stirred the snowflakes with steam, and his voice is deep and raw with anger, cutting through the wind. "So now you come out. Claire Brown, isn't that your name?"

Her instincts told her to help him -- has an empath, she could with a touch. But that would be leaving herself open to take his pain, adding it to her own. Instead, Claire stood that careful distance apart, and waited for him to speak.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jam Time

And you wonder what I do with my time :) These are Italian plums or prune plums and jam, sometimes with nuts and pineapple, my mother's recipe. They're very pretty in a Christmas basket with freshly baked rolls.

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Problem vs You're Welcome

Pet Peeve, among others is the phrase "No Problem."

Service people of all kinds are coming to use this phrase, even when it is the customer's problem/inconvenience, and that is irritating.

The other day, I was most inconvenienced by a sales person. This required visiting the store twice, driving in heavy traffic on a hot day, and finally refusing a damaged product on the second run. At the end of the transaction, I said my usual, "Thank you." I'm nice, after all, or try to be, even in 100+ temperatures.

The clerk who could have helped me immensely by being alert and thorough and involved in Customer Care, replied, "No Problem."

No Problem? No Problem? Yes, it was a problem--for me, the customer, using expensive gas and productive time, driving cross heavy traffic to get to the store, 2Xs... because the service clerk was inefficient.

No Problem is NOT You're Welcome. Good Customer Service people should train all their staff to reply with "You're Welcome."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Computer Problems

I'm between books and catching up--Still! BTW, I've just sent an excerpt of Claire and Neil's story in AT THE EDGE to this week's mailing list. There will be more, so if you haven't subscribed, now is the time :) But on to Computer Problems.

One of the things I'd let stack up during a compressed writing schedule was repairing a faulty DVD burner. I spent enormous writing time trying to backup, and finally called a tech, this on warranty services. He came last night, replaced the drive, and hopefully, I'm able to backup now.

Meanwhile, I researched and tested several online storage and backup services. Logically, it would be better to have backups and storage away from the office, and supposedly "secure."

It all sounded so easy. It wasn't, and I still do not have that ease. Here's what I found, generally. I'm not a tech, so take it FWIW and do your own research before settling in--I still haven't found anything suitable:

Primarily: All of them are very different. Most carry Macs and PC services, a few do not. Free offerings may be for a limited time, or not. They may run from 1-25 gigs (the 25 at MediaMax.com). Some put a nifty little program on your desktop, others you just go to their URL (Box.net). Some charge more if you exceed their upload bandwidth. Some charge more if you download over a certain amount, which you would do during a restore. All are extremely different with different services, including e-mail, sharing with friends, etc. Take into account that when a friend downloads too much, you could be financially accountable. Buddy systems abound.

The charges: Everything seems to run in increments. Check the I Agree clauses carefully, always a good idea. GoDaddy starts at 50MB, pretty small when you want to back up email. Box.net has an upload limit of something like 10MB and then you have to "upgrade." Upgrade is a standard word popping up wherever. "Upgrade" means more $$. I've already accepted that I'll have to pay something somewhere. That's the understanding of anyone playing with programs and computers and online services, which is how writers do business.

If you want to backup email, it can be zipped or unzipped, depending on the service. If you use Thunderbird, you may need software to compress into their .pcv files, which can be changed into more common zips. A free software is MoBackup, another program is $10.

I also use Outlook Express, also not easily backed up; there's a process where you store to a folder, copy, move, etc. to another. But you can save messages easily. During this time, I forwarded important stuff to my other mailboxes.

Lots of people use Mozy. My CenturyTel DSL speed was too slow, even with knocking off some running programs on my desktop. But they are kind and inform you of your lack to play straightaway. Mozy is easy to use, easy to unsub. Too bad.

1. Gmail/Yahoo/AOL offer backup services for their emails.
2. Download.com has a difference of editorial opinion with people commenting on XDrive. I found with Download.com, that it was necessary to actually click into the offerings to get a good view of the updates, etc., then visited the sales websites.
3. Box.net is not easy to unsub, requiring an email to sales, according to the tech. I like to unsub at will.
4. There are "Widgets" to check your load speed. Widgets are little elf-like installed programs that do whatever they do.
5. I checked DriveHQ, too.

Generally, even zipped, my email was too large for upload on a free-test run, so I'm back to DVDs and storing them off-site.

I continue to search for a comfortable fit in online backup and storage, if it really exists for me, but right now need to get just one solid backup done. Cross your fingers, please. :)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Heads Up

With promo of AT THE EDGE still going strong, I've just been interviewed by Rachelle at her blog. Take a look!

Then I'm getting ready to post some excerpts from AT THE EDGE and the reissued EVERY GIRL'S GUIDE TO... in my enewsletter and all you have to do is to subscribe by writing caitlondon-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Watch for more on this....

What's It All About?

I've been chatting this a.m. with top blogger, D.K. Raymer. She runs several very successful blogs among other things. She generally posts a lot about everything and you can find her at A Flyover Blog. Really interesting person/businesswoman with tons of advice. Please do visit her blogs.

Another blog I frequent is for freelancers jobs (not that I'll ever be one:)), run by Deborah Ng. Deborah also runs several blogs, i.e. Simply Thrifty.

And here I am, blogging with the greatest. Well, maybe.

But for writers, I think Jayne Ann Krentz and crew at Running with Quills is great. Jayne Ann (as Jayne Castle) just did a chat at writerspace.com last night, focused on Silver Master. Gotta love those dust bunnies. RWQ is a mix of several top writers, all with something to say.

I do have a lot to say as my sister's long suffering sighs tell me. :)

But I wonder, when thinking every so carefully about what has not already been posted about writing and life, what might interest my visitors. I do know they loved the Benchmarks of a Career post. But maybe I shouldn't be picking through such elements so carefully. Maybe I should just write.

What do you think?

Monday, September 03, 2007


Recently, I attended a writers group in which one of the exercises was to develop first lines of the book. Everyone struggled to come up with those few perfect words to hook the reader, and some of them were pretty good.

But in reality, those first lines don't pop out at the writer's command. They are elusive, sneaky little devils that appear when they desire. Likewise, that first hook, that first scene may actually occur in the second chapter of the rough draft. I've written about this somewhere else, but there is a certain amount of dreck needed to get the story rolling. This bubble of creative energy when the story is turning within the writer can be revised and cleaned up later. It is most important not to get stalled while the storyline and the writer's energy is waiting.

Instead of struggling very hard to get the first hook in the first scene just absolutely right, it is far better to start writing and building the story. This doesn't mean to plunge recklessly into the story, or perhaps it does -- if that is a particular writer's modus operandi. (You know the old story about the plotters or the plungers. We're all different and what works and works.)

To help understand why it is far better not to spend too much time on that lead sentence in that first chapter (when first starting rough draft) remember this: a published book has passed through many many phases before it is in the reader's hand. First there is rough draft by the author and that has gone through many phases before submitted to the editor. The editor will likely look at the flow through of the story before turning it over to the copy editor, etc. Those first words have been polished and revised many times.

In rough draft, that published author may have written as many as three quarters of the book, prior to going back and revising the first chapter or that lead sentence. In the writing, ideas pop up. Somewhere in the struggle of writing the book, wresting it from the computer screen, some small gem of a lead sentence is going to pop up, or a lead scene is going to unfold on the screen. Then it is revise, revise, revise.

All writers take different paths to the same end. However, spending an eternity locked on that first sentence or in that first scene is a waste of energy. Write on, get into the story and have confidence that first hook will magically appear. And it will.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Benchmarks in a Writing Career

I'm blogging today, Aug 23 at Fresh Fiction. Hope to see you there. Meanwhile, I have a lot to say, enough to spread it around :) And today's topic at Daily or Not is Benchmarks:

BENCHMARKS, every career has 'em. In a writing career, these indicators are particularly important, because they may also be used as promotional devices.

I am surprised how many writers do not know the importance of certain benchmarks. Just as a freelance article writer needs clips to prove background and quality of writing material, a mass-market writer must also be aware of benchmarks, and what they can mean to a career.

Publishers want to see any credentials that a writer may have, and many of those are awards, on the best-selling lists, high print runs and good sell-throughs (they can ring these up in a minute; they are tacked to writers' backsides). Literary agents also want to be apprised of any benchmarks in a career, or perhaps in personal achievement that could be used for promotion. But for the purposes of this blogger and this post, the focus is on benchmarks of a mass-market career. I'm addressing mass-market fiction/romance, because that is what I know best. I've heard too many people addressing topics in which they have absolutely no experience. I do have some small experience.

I'm asking for input from other writers (because not all experiences are the same and I need help) and may revise this list later. All of this is very fluid, depending on experience. Here are some benchmarks for mass-market fiction/romance writers, starting from the top of the list (and this will be adjusted, too). If you can think of anything else to add, I'd appreciate hearing from you and others would too. Here's 25 benchmarks to start the ball rolling:

1. Placing on the top of the New York Times best-selling list (You've really made it!)
2. Placing on the New York Times extended list (Going good)
3. Placing on the USA Today best-selling list (better higher, then lower, still good going)
4. Placing high in sales at Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, etc.
5. Placing on any best-selling list at all
6. A starred review in PW and reviewed well by top magazines/newspapers in literary columns
7. Hardback to softback publication, both hitting top lists
8. Print runs over 100k in softback with high sell-throughs, i.e. 80%
9. Special and focused placement in the publisher's sales catalog
10. Publisher paid ads in media, i.e. radio/magazines
11. Publisher invites to business conferences, i.e. promotion. And pays travel
12. Featured short stories in women's magazines and/or featured biographically
13. Publishers sending writers to distribution conferences, or on tours
14. Your publisher invites you into special projects, i.e. the "headliner" of an anthology
15. Publishers other than your own inviting you into special projects
16. Booksellers/distributors requesting you for promotions, this through the publisher
17. More powerful agents/agencies
18. More author advantages clauses in contracts, i.e. cover input or approval, holding all foreign rights
19. Notably increased advances with every contract
20. Awards: RITA, Holt, Bookseller Best, and others
21. Any positive review
22. Invitations to speak, expenses and fees paid from a notable conference
23. A high number of readers on a mailing list. According to a PR specialist, 2000 to start is good for a list. But some high flyers have well over 40,000
24. The association and coupling with big name writers in websites and blogs
25. Invitations to speak and/or write articles for different periodicals

However, there are other benchmarks, small but significant and not necessarily in order. They are:

1. If an editor sends flowers after a particular coup, i.e. making a best-selling list
2. If an editor responds quickly to all of your queries
3. If a senior editor and/or publisher invites you to chat about your career with them, and their plans for you. (Perhaps this should be above.)
4. If a notable agent/agency answers your informal query with interest
5. An invitation to a major/star writer's private party (small but nice and affords opportunity to learn more about business from those w/more experience; hobnob with the greats :))
6. Seated at an editor's table during a conference/meeting, via a special invitation
7. When an editor invites you to a private, not group, dinner at a conference. This doesn't always hold true, because schedules differ, but it is a prime benchmark. (This should probably be above.)

The top benchmark of all:
***When your family recognizes that what you're doing behind those closed doors is actually producing a book that other people read, that can be seen on the book stands, that those readers actually enjoy your book

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Summer Time and Livin'

I'm into the summer now. Things generally moves slower; I enjoy outside more, puttering around the house and garden.

Garden is a less noble word here. I basically got energetic for a short time and stuck a bunch of plants into the ground. From that point on they were on their own. I'm also doing a little bit of office and home reorganization, which turned into a nightmare. Take a note from me: never ever clean out a closet or file cabinets. Both lead to quite a few things standing out in the middle-of-the-hallway, paperwork stacked all over, and generally more work. I'd much rather be writing a story.

But I am getting lined up to create more stories, and am taking the short bit of time to reorganize.

I just read a blog this morning that I've been wanting to read for some time. In the blog the writer speaks about "elevator statements." This is what we call a "pitch." It is necessary to give the initial story layout to an agent or an editor. Sometimes this just comes down to about three sentences. This is one of the most difficult tasks I have as a writer, because as my sister says, "Lois loves to talk." It is very difficult to explain the layered stories that I write in short terms. We also have what is called "high concept." And that would be expressed something like this, "my story can best be described as Godzilla meets Buffy." More and more we rely on films as the basis for expressing our pitches or high concepts.

I'm also exploring some new software. That would be PageFour, an outliner, which is becoming very handy for the several story ideas that I am working on now. I am also testing some sound software, freebies, to use at my website to give sidebars about my stories. Now all of this takes time and energy. But I like to explore.

I was surprised to read that M. J. Rose, the head blogger of us all, to suggest that unless you have a lot of time, have coupled with several other authors in a group blog, or major stars, that perhaps blogging wasn't for everyone. It does take a lot of time, and trailers, UTube, MySpace, and FaceBook, etc. are all taking time in addition to keeping up our websites. I do think websites are important because they offer a homeplace for a lot of material, especially when you have several books as I do.

A reader just recently wrote me how much she enjoyed my books, a written hug for when I said I was sad at leaving my psychic sisters trilogy. I'm not really leaving it, because once after being written, the manuscript passes through many phases, and the author sees it many times. So I'll be with my Aisling triplets for quite some time, either working back and forth in the production of the novels, or doing promotional work.

But thank you, reader. I really appreciated the hug.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Reissues Are Great

Reissues give a second chance to readers who have missed the first go-round. EVERY GIRL'S GUIDE TO... (reissued in Sept 2007) was a project that my then-editor Melissa Senate invited me to do. EVERY GROOM'S GUIDE TO... was a follow-up. "GIRL'S" was set in Oklahoma, and I actually visited a pool hall there. Not a billiards parlor, but a pool hall, dark and atmospheric, if you know what I mean. The story is about a widow just getting back into the dating game and a little shocked by what's she's missed in the interim. Then, of course there's Clint Danner. Sigh....

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


With AT THE EDGE on the stands, I'm driving quite a bit. Just took a short driving trip to Kentucky, stopping for drivebys along the way.

I love to drive and the promotion of a book is a good excuse. If you ever go to Lexington, KY, visit Joseph Beth Booksellers, which is quite the place.

Unpacking the car and suitcases is not fun, however. I was glad to receive the following review in my 1600 email posts :)

AT THE EDGE will keep you exactly there...on the edge of your seat. From
the first word to the last, intrigue, danger, and passion are all woven
together to forge a story that will not be forgotten...
First up in a new paranormal series by best-selling author Cait London,
AT THE EDGE is awesome. With captivating characters, a fast-paced
storyline, danger, and passion, Ms. London pens a story that readers are
sure to savor. I can't wait to read the next story in this exciting and
thrilling series.

Sinclair Reid/Romance Reviews Today

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Unanchored Writer

A writer who turns around one day to find that they've finished a book sometimes feels like a ship without an anchor.

Adrift. Time to play catch up and time to work up more story ideas. That's me, after turning in the last of a trilogy.

I am a regimented writer, getting up early every a.m. and working, familiar with my setting and characters of the current book. But the book is finished, and I'm catching up with what has waited, either professional or private. The small things of life actually take time, too, plus updating a website, answering e-mail (I love to do that), and rummaging around for a new story idea.

This rummaging around business takes energy, too. I usually keep a "toybox" of themes and ideas at the ready, but am taking a brief hiatus to finish stacks of paper, etc. that have waited, cleaning off my desk of the previous book's materials, etc. The afterbirth, so to speak.

Without my familiar characters to greet me in the morning now, I am multi-tasking, and that is something an author had better be prepared to do and frequently. I miss my characters and my story, now completed--until my editor gets back with her comments.

This is a routine that always happens: cleaning out the old, catching up, and preparing to get into another story.

But emotionally, I'm missing my fictional people and feeling unanchored.

Until the next book. :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hauling a Trailer

Ok, I've been out and about signing copies of AT THE EDGE, a couple booksignings in which I really had fun chatting with people, and some drivebys. Drivebys are where authors either arrange (or not) to stop by a store and sign their books.

Writers really need this jolt of affirmation. Writing is said to be a lonely occupation, and most of us are reclusive when writing our books. So it is a true joy to step out and actually meet the readers, especially if they like you. And I'm a talker, so there I was, with people to talk with. :)

In contrast, a driveby can be good, in that you chat with the events coordinator, or the store owner, and talk up your books, leave bookmarks, chat up the next one, etc., and develop a relationship.

Or it can be miserable as some highly notable authors have post online. Even the biggest has been humiliated at some time or another by dropping by a store to autograph books. My preference is to call ahead and say I'll be there on a certain day or around a time. But we can't always do that. Drivebys can be very humiliating.

On Saturday, I spoke about the elements in AT THE EDGE, the protagonists' occupations. The woman was a handbag designer, that's Claire the empath, and the hero's occupation was that of building camper-trailers, the "teardrop" shaped models, and customizing them. Of all the elements, handbags, Montana, psychic ability, romantic suspense, etc., the most lively interest came from a man who had to leave immediately. He had to run out to see where I had mentioned these commercial teardrop camper-trailers. His wife wanted to stay and chat, but he literally tugged her arm, anxious to be off to see those campers.

Quite an interesting crew on Saturday, and I loved every discussion. And I'm getting so many great comments from readers and booksellers about how much they liked AT THE EDGE.

With book 2 and 3 waiting on my editor's desk, I can't wait for the trilogy to be complete.

Right now, I'm building a trailer to suit AT THE EDGE, and using my own photographs, even my son-in-law's eyes. The rough "draft" is done, but I'll have a lot of timing and smoothing to do, then adding the music.

Oh, the things to do when a hard run is finished. Like having hot stone therapy. I'm going to write about that one day, and purchased a small kit to test on my family. My first session was super, but then, I had the facial and pedicure, too. It was one good day :) A gift to myself after a long, hard working session.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

After the Deadline

I've just completed the last book of the psychic triplets trilogy. That would be Leona's story, as yet untitled. Tempest's, middle-born, has been done for a while.

This is quite the event and means a lot of catching up with everything that has waited in the last few weeks, personal and business. I'm also doing a lot online and am so thankful for the really thoughtful letters everyone has written about Claire's story, AT THE EDGE.

I've also been signing copies, either at booksignings or in drivebys. So many people are wishing the books would come out sooner, and so do I.

SPA DAY is coming up, letting someone else's fingers massage the typing/tension kinks out of my back and neck, a pedicure and facial. Then a whole massive effort to update everything, including my website.

I am truly pleased with this trilogy. It was a long time coming, one of those back burner ideas that had to wait until other projects were finished. But now, I'm so glad that the triplets are finished, and do love their stories. Loved them from first inception.

The Aislings are not an add book-by-book project as many series are, rather the whole was a composite from the start and each sister knew her place in line and what she was to do. The relationship between the mother and sisters is one I understand well, since I am the mother of 3 daughters, tho mine were born 3 years apart and not 3 minutes apart.

The psychic connection of all 4 women is unique, let alone the birth connection of triplets. Family birth position tends to influence personalities and the Aislings follow that pattern.

Because I have an affinity for water, naturally that was an element, too.

I am so pleased that readers are anxious for the rest of the triplets. I love to hear from them, and am not surprised to read that many of them consider themselves to have that psychic streak.

I also understood Neil Olafson very well (Claire's hero), a handcrafter of 1930s style "teardrop" campers. The male members of my family all are handcrafters of one sort or another, including building rock and log cabins, furniture, carving, toys, etc.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Yesterday, I visited several bookstores to sign my brand-new release, AT THE EDGE. This is always a challenge. We call them drive-bys, that he as we go into the bookstore, chat a while, sign our new books or whatever they have in stock, and leave bookmarks. When a book first comes out, not all stores have their deliveries, so this means you have to come back at a later date. I did sign a number of copies of AT THE EDGE.

But on the way to sign books and do a lot of business things, having a "town day," I stopped in the light rain to take some photographs. The "teardrop" shaped camper in this photograph has an interesting history, and is what my hero, Neil Olafson, does for a living, creates these campers. Their origins date back to the 1930s (Neil constructs new ones, however. His are handcrafted and have many custom-made features.). These campers are light, the smallest weighing about 600 pounds. They can come in several different widths and sizes, one small enough to be towed behind a motorcycle. Today, these are still beloved by campers who "rendezvous" together. The alterations to these are so diverse, and plans can be purchased for a build your own. My sister is a "Snowbird," and had a lot of information on RVing.

So Neil, the hero of AT THE EDGE, creates custom-made "teardrop" campers; that left the occupation of the heroine, Claire Brown, an empath who needs quiet and has settled in rural Montana. Claire is also a handcrafter, the designer and creator of high and one-of-a-kind handbags. These handbags also prove to be interesting research, and one of the books I used was BAGS WITH STYLE by Stephanie Kimura.

I used to sew my daughters' clothing, my own, coats, drapes, Barbie clothes, whatever. But I doubt that I will ever sew a handbag. They come all in different sizes with different names, and that allowed a lot of latitude in preparing for something a psychic might touch or see and receive images. I even got to use the word "Matador." To choose the names for the handbags that Claire might create in her brand name, "Claire's Bags," was so much fun. One of the bags is called "Date Night."

So you see the conflict. Neil is going to build a shop in rural Montana to create his "teardrop" campers. Unfortunately for Claire, Neil's shop is going to be located next to her previously very quiet home/studio.

As for the setting, rural Montana, I've driven across long stretches of wheat land in rural Montana, and had some of the feeling of that country. However, this concrete really set up quickly in cold weather? For small questions like that, I called good friends Bill and Doris. I do a lot of interviews like this with all my every book, though I have been to the setting of every one of my stories. There are just things that need to be double checked.

Another element in this trilogy was the psychic link between the triplets, and their mother. Generally, psychic ability is transferred down through a family, and the Aisling triplets' came from an ancient Celtic seer, named Aisling. I was also able to use research of my personal interests, the Vikings.

As for the story, which begins the trilogy of psychic triplets, I interviewed several psychics, plus read an enormous amount of articles. I've come to the conclusion, that psychic ability can morph in all different directions, and some of it can be misleading. However, I am not an expert.

AT THE EDGE is Claire's (the youngest) story, A STRANGERS TOUCH is an April 2008 book, Tempest, the middle-born triplet in the starring role. And I have just finished Leona's story, which ends the trilogy.

Why did I write about three sisters? Because I am the mother of three daughters born three years apart. The Aisling triplets were born three minutes apart, but I had some idea of the interaction of sisters and their birth order. The Aislings' names were chosen with care, to reflect their personality, and their family heritage which would be Celtic and Viking.

The composite of all above makes for a layered story. Each book stands alone, but winds into the other. I hope you'll like the Aislings, and for more on them please visit my website, http://caitlondon.com

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Writing the End

Writing the end.

It is Sunday, and I am preparing to write I'm the end of the third book of a trilogy. That is I'm mentally preparing to write the climax scene, the come-down scene, and the epilogue. All the details in the previous two books must be coordinated and wrapped up in this final manuscript. Claire's book, At the Edge, will be on the stands make 29th. So far Claire has gotten tremendous reviews. I hope you'll drop by my website to read them.

While the previous two books were complete in themselves, they lead to answers needed in a third book. Threads begun with the first book, traveled through the second, and are finalized in the third. A trilogy is a big gamble for a writer. If the first book does not "hit" well, it colors the other two, perhaps not the best light. I debated about this whole project, prior to taking it. (The concept was mine and my editor was really enthused and excited over the project.)

Woven into the stories are details of the Aisling family, psychic triplets, concern what happened to them as children and as adults, prior to meeting that special man. Each woman is now 32 years old, has had life experiences, and each is very different from her sisters. Born three minutes apart, each woman reflects her birth position in the family. The triplets' extrasensory gifts are very unique and trace back to an ancient Celtic seer.

The emotions that come with writing the end of the stories, all of the stories, are mind boggling. Each book is very difficult to wrap up, and let go emotionally. At the end of Claire's story, I cried. The tension that is involved in the creative process is immense, and it is difficult, just as it is difficult with the child, to let your love, a story that has consumed the you, change into somebody else's hands. That would be the editor. Next would come to readers.

I've already written Tempest's story, and it has a tentative title of A Stranger’s Touch. I am waiting for editorial feedback. We are also looking at cover treatments. My writing style is difficult to capture and graphics, but my publisher is open to suggestions. There are so many elements in this unique family that can be applied to a cover.

Today, I'm setting up to refresh myself on Claire's story and Tempest's, getting ready to write full blast through the end, to the very last page, and then began a massive edit that will occur several times. Each timeline is very short, and the trilogy falls within a few months. However, the background of each woman, their relationships, influences the direction of this third book, Leona's story.

I chose each name, Claire, Tempest, and Leona very carefully for the part they would play with in this trilogy. While working on Leona story, and she has emerged even more from Claire's story, at the beginning, I see that her name suits her perfectly, fierce as a lioness, the eldest and most complex of the triplets, she is ready to take her position in the final story of the Aislings.

It's pretty exciting to see/feel Leona get ready to finalize this third book in the Aislings psychic triplets trilogy. During this final creative process in which the book comes to its very end, the writer -- that's me -- usually goes into seclusion as much is possible. This keeps the story warm and flowing until the end of the book. A writer will often say, "my story won't let me rest." That means the writer is keeping their story close to them, it is in their minds as they stare out the window. Details. Timeline. Threads. What doesn't work. And in a romance, the balance of all the characters, especially the male and female protagonist is absolutely essential. While editing, the protagonists need to be balanced, but also the antagonist -- if it is a romantic suspense or has tension at all -- must also be balanced against the protagonists. Two weak, too strong, sensitive, all these elements must be balanced.

Then does the story run quickly, is the pacing right? If it is running too slow, or it will not fit within the prescribed number of publisher’s word-length limits, then it's time for cuts. If the cuts contain essential material, that has to be made up somehow. Do the chapters and on the right note, leading the reader on? (In writing Leona's story, I felt I really had a grab on ending scenes and chapters:))

I'll be writing and editing for many hours before I send Leona’s story, the last in the trilogy, to my editor.

But I'm already brewing more stories. :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thank Yous are Necessary

I've just discovered the other day that the following was not well known:

As a published author, I contribute bookmarks, etc. to different conferences, etc. When the conference is over, there is always a very polite thank-you note acknowledging my contributions. Usually, these are bookmarks for goody bags, but authors send all sorts of stuff to fill these bags. They are taking time and effort to help a conference (okay, it is promotion for the author, too :))

The thank-you note varies. It can be a brief e-mail, or a sweet little note (always great to open), or in the form of a business letter if books are donated. This is something that needs to be tucked into my tax file to show I am using my ad books.

This courtesy is customary, and fuels more donations from authors. Rarely is this courtesy skipped.

If you are having a conference, or promoting a cause, take time to write that little thank-you note to the people who have donated. It is so very important.

Friday, April 20, 2007

People I Admire

Add Jayne Ann Krentz to my list with Lauren Hutton for People I Admire. (Don't forget AlisonKent.com or Michele Albert at Inkalicious.com)

Few writers conduct their long term careers as well as JAK. She's just posted the best basic how-to write and finish and polish a book technique ever at runningwithquills.com

Basically, write full speed ahead, a la Book In A Week style, finish the rough draft, which you'll probably edit along the way, then return 4 or more times to edit.

In her post, JAK expresses getting to know her characters and settling in with them. I'm doing that now at over half way into a new one. The situations, the scenes, the characters all change as the work develops. In no way would my characters be set-in-stone from the get-go. They evolve and so does the story from that first inception, gem of an idea.

I hope you visit runningwithquills.com and read JAK's post. With a new book out April 24th, and I'm buying that one in the Arcane series, she'll be promoting, too. Love that Arcane series, esp. the contemporaries.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the Thirteenth

Oooo. Scary.

This month, I'm celebrating my birthday, but today is a friend's. She seems normal :) Another friend's birthday is on the 15th, which is usually tax day. She usually celebrates that way.

Amazing how many Aries there are coming out of the woodwork now that they know April is my birthday month. I'm celebrating with a red shoulder bag prize, filled with my backlist and other goodies at two contests this month; one is at FreshFiction.com and the other at my website, http://caitlondon.com The red bag matches the color of AT THE EDGE's cover.

Reviews Nice Ones

It is a scary time, but so far, reviews for AT THE EDGE have been great. Here are a couple.

***** (5 stars) Only Cait London can write such a stimulating Romantic Suspense novel that readers will be unable to tear themselves away from. Though the story focuses on Claire and Neil, readers will come to know Claire's sisters and mother as well. Claire is the one that brings balance to her family. She brings them together, somehow, and helps solve or soothe family troubles. As an empath, she instinctively wants to help, to heal. Pairing the empath with a troubled (and divorced) male neighbor is a stroke of genius, in my opinion.

This is a stand alone tale. I did not feel as though I was left hanging at the end. You will not have to read the following two books in this trilogy; however, there is a subplot which runs throughout this book, and it will be used within all three stories. To get the full effect, I highly recommend reading the entire trilogy. No one writes like Cait London! Excellent! *****

(Reviewed by Detra Fitch)

I simply could not read this book fast enough. Psychics have always
fascinated me so this story was exactly the kind of thing I thoroughly
enjoy reading. I'm not sure I'm patient enough to wait for the second book
in the trilogy, Tempest's story. It cannot be published quickly enough for
(Reviewed by Kathy Boswell)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lauren Hutton, Hero

I admire Lauren Hutton. She's out there, doing her thing, has overcome huge difficulties and is quite the girl. According to her spot on hsn.com, she's heading for China now and diving off the coast of somewhere. I love to watch her ad spots and purchased her Passport to South Pacific. Very handy travel makeup, and good. I'd already had her Face Disk, which is great.

With promotion for AT THE EDGE coming up and in my own travels, I appreciate stuff (her brand is Good Stuff:)) that travels/packs well.

She's done great things with her life, a real inspiration, and probably will just keep on going.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

At the Edge Reviews

You can find several reviews of AT THE EDGE reviews at http://caitlondon.com/Edge.html

They're all positive, thank goodness. And several five-stars. The very first reviews in are always scary, and you wait for the very first one. I've never understood the "baited breath" phrase,but I'm sure that it would apply to this scary time.

You've worked so hard on your baby, sometimes having to rediaper and clean up before you can send him out to play with the other kids.

I'm having a lot of promotions for AT THE EDGE, and you can find those at my website. The red shoulder bag filled with my backlist and promotions, is going to be listed in several contests. So I hope you'll enter those too.

AT THE EDGE in June is the first of my psychic triplets trilogy and I'll have an excerpt up soon. We are doing a cover and title for book 2 now, which is Tempest's story. I am writing Leona's now.

I also had a PR photo taken last week, for use in my new books. It was exhausting, though the photographer and assistants were great. Under the spotlight, is not my environment. Most writers are reclusive.

Right now, the birds are chirping signaling sunrise and I had better get back to work on Leona's story.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

PR Photo Biz

It's time for one of those. The dreaded PR photo.

I'm trying a new photographer and this time including a makeup and hair person at the take. To do this, it was necessary to meet and consult with both. Very interesting times.

I loaded up a full big bag of makeup, anything and everything that might be used, and since I'm a makeup junkie, that was quite the bag. I met the makeup and hair woman, who informed me that I have good skin and good hair. (If I had to use perms, color, and curling irons, I don't know what I'd do. I have enough wave, that if cut right, my hair has some body.

We spread this makeup on her counter, going over the different pieces and colors, including some new primer, which she loved. It does seem to be good, and different looks that I wanted--one for business, speaking, etc., and one for casual.

Then on to the photographer, also a very interesting person. But then, I find most people very interesting. We discussed looks, the same as above, and colors. I don't see myself in brown at all, but that's what she suggested. I wonder if brown isn't just a popular color now, but it does nothing for me.

They both received a book, one of mine, and their choices were interesting. Since both seem very animated and "fast" people, while I am uncomfortable with the intrusion of a camera, and am very methodical, it should be an interesting shoot.

To be continued later....

Monday, March 05, 2007

Trendy or Just Hard to See Print

While I'm getting set up for June's promotion of At the Edge, I'm looking at what works.

I question the use of small very small print on websites and perhaps the use of a diary type list on the index page. But then, what do I know, I am not a webmaster, simply a writer trying to save a little on my budget. Some webdesigners are definitely overpriced when small software packages get the message out there.

I'm using WebEngine from VirtualMechanics.com right now, and adding KoolMoves.com for a trailer/animations that I hope to build. I already have an animation program--old and needed updating with the fancy-today-stuff, and we're always needing new software. As a software addict, that's a problem when it eats so much of writing time.

The print on my new website's pages at http://caitlondon.com are easy to read and the animations aren't too bad, either.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Valentine's Day is Coming

I've just updated my website with new software. Well, I've gotten the basic pages down and will be adding as we go along, bringing in previous covers, le bistro, etc. I enjoy doing my own website and feel it gives more of a sense of me.

Since I get all excited over Valentine's Day, there's a special contest at my website, red shoulder bag and books included as a prize. The usual cups contest is one of my favorites with people describing their favorite cup. The responses to this one are really heartfelt and I enjoy reading them.

I don't know why Valentine's Day appeals to me so much. It ranks far above St. Patrick's Day, but then, I'm not Irish either.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Exciting New Cover

I was thrilled to find the German publication of WITH HER LAST BREATH in my mailbox. Love the cover, but loved the original, too!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Juggling Career and Life

With 3 books in various stages from now until June (one to promote, one on the editor's desk, and another to write), I'm balancing time. Some people think I'm organized. I do workshops on writer organization, but this has truly been a season in which I need to take my own advice on Novel Interuptus.

January and February are usually my hard work months, where I pretty well stick to the computer and my stories. That has been difficult to do lately.

The Midwest has just suffered a terrific disaster. Ice everywhere, people going to shelters, and just south of the line by 10-15 miles, we escaped the hit. In our warm homes, we could only watch reports of the ice-covered trees, the sagging and downed powerlines, and ache for those hard-hit. During this time, motels with heat filled up, generators fired up, the National Guard was called in.

Then, a few days later, I drove through some of it and was shocked at the sagging powerlines, coated with ice, the broken trees everywhere, the fields of ice. Yesterday, power companies were at work in the rural areas, and some people have been without power and phone for almost 2 weeks.

Generally, work/writing settles and anchors me. I've hard other writers speak of such a feeling, that they want to be writing and in their stories. Yet while watching (and helping) others caught in this disaster, it was difficult to concentrate on my work.

I'm back into a set of galleys for AT THE EDGE, and working on my website and early PR, but hoping to return soon to the novel I've just begun.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Keeping Simple

The bones of my new website look are up, very plain and I'm hoping easy to navigate. But it's going to take a lot of tweaking and building from this point on.

The amount of time that authors spend on promotion is huge. You can write the perfect story, but if the publisher (and yourself) is not out there selling it via media means and appearances, sales can suffer.

What does this cost the author? Writing time. Balancing time and keeping to a writing regimen is one of the most difficult tasks a writer undertakes.

But the offset is that it is very rewarding to hear from readers and to interact with them. This is the writer's fuel. The reward is in seeing that book hit the shelves, the flurry that goes with the pub date.

With an upcoming pub date of June for At the Edge, I'm working on schedules and have yet to begin my 3rd book of a series, also due in June. Right now, I have three books in production, at various stages, and setting up promotion, and learning new website software.

January and February are really active months, and I'm in the mode right now!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Life After

I'm still coming down from the holidays and working on catching up. With a new year and new books in tow, there is a lot to be done. Revamping my website is going to take time, this with new software.

Hopefully, I'll be back to writing soon.