The Brave New World of Self-Publishing

Cover_January_2013_2Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing this link to an article by Nina Shengold in the January issue of Chronogram, an arts and culture magazine that serves the Hudson Valley area of New York.

It’s a look at the growing number of authors in the Hudson Valley area—a kind of mecca for traditionally-published writers–who have chosen to self-publish their books.

Nina surveyed twenty-two authors to craft her article, plus asked local bookstore owners and even literary agent Jean Naggar for their comments.

I was one of those authors. My last two novels were self-published, and if you look very closely at the lower-right corner of the photo with the article, [the chick wearing what looks like a Muppet around her neck] I’m holding both of them. I also edit and proofread for authors, mainly of the indie variety. If you’d like to hear more about what I do or how I can help you, please drop me a note via the “contact” form on my website.

Thank you to multi-talented local author and publisher Brent Robison for the idea for this blog.

When You Have Editorial Differences

This post on Behler Blog today is so spot-on that I wanted to share it with you. Although the example is based on releasing your manuscript to a publisher and working with the publisher’s editor(s), this applies to self-published authors as well. Trust and communication is vital for both author and editor. You both have a common goal: make the best possible product for potential readers. Yes, readers. This is one big reason why we make books, yes? Anyway. I’m interested in your thoughts.

When You Have Editorial Differences.

Tell Everyone!

DTA_Print_coverI’m excited to share the news with you…my third novel, Don’t Tell Anyone, has just been released!

When pneumonia lands Estelle Trager unconscious in the emergency room, it ruins everything for the stubborn 65-year-old woman. She’d been keeping a secret—a deadly secret—that she’d planned on taking to the grave. But now her son Adam and his wife, Liza, know about her tumors. Adam is outraged, but Estelle, who watched her mother and grandmother suffer from breast cancer in the days when no one dared speak its name, has no intention of putting her family or herself through the horrors of cancer treatment. Estelle decides there is only one solution: ask Liza, the 33-year-old daughter-in-law she once called a godless hippie raised by wolves, to kill her.

A horrified Liza refuses and keeps the request—among other things—a secret from her furious husband. But she tells his younger brother, Charlie, a close friend from college with whom she shares her own confidences, despite Adam’s serious case of sibling rivalry. Armed with nutrition textbooks and her neighbor, a savvy nurse, can Liza win over her mother-in-law and convince her to consider other options before the cancer, the secrets, and Estelle’s determination to end her life win out?

I didn’t intend on writing another book set into a backdrop of illness. At least not so soon after Drawing Breath, which pretty much wrenched me inside out and had me begging whatever subconscious power supplies me with stories to give me a nice, lighthearted comedy next time. But a death in my own family was still haunting me. And when that happens, I write. So Estelle came into my life. I wanted to know why a woman who knows breast cancer runs in her family would not only conceal that fact from her grown sons, but when she discovers her own lumps, chooses to let nature take its course. And the little apple-cart-upsetter that I am, I let someone find out. Set into a family with its own crazy quirks, closet-skeletons, and almost-healed scars, I sat back to watch how they would handle the situation.

Let’s just say that this isn’t your typical cancer story. I even show you how to make my mother-in-law’s famous chicken soup.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, go here. You can get the e-book from and right now, and a paperback from shortly.

As always, thank you for your support and your comments. You guys continue to awe and inspire me!

Week 11: The Next Big Thing

I need to shake things up a bit. Do something different. Get out of my blog rut. So I’m breaking a few of my own rules. ‘Cause that’s how I roll. So Jacqueline Hopkins-Walton comes along asking for volunteers to pick up where she left off, in a tag-team blogging game where we answer ten questions about our work in progress. Yeah. I’m taking part in a blog-hop game AND talking about my work in progress at the SAME TIME. Now I’m waiting to be struck by lightning.

Off we go…

Continue reading

Oooh, Shiny…

I don’t know about you, but I love a good bit of irony. Just last week, my friends and compadres at were having an aerobic bit of discourse about the dreaded “G” word. No, not gorgonzola. Gatekeepers. And whether or not indie authors needed them in this crazy cowtown. I can see both sides of the issue, and I have great respect for my friends who say, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” So it was with a bit of a sociological eye that I submitted Drawing Breath – weeks before my post aired – on a tip from author J.L. Murray when offered a free promotion. Do I like shiny things? Yes. Do I like praise? Heck, yes. So when J.L. Murray, David Antrobus, and I were all endorsed, our lovely book covers on their home page all in a row, sure, I was moved. Do I think we NEED endorsements other than those lovingly offered by our readers? No. But better than the endorsement is what the Grub Street evaluator said about Drawing Breath:

“I loved this book! From the beginning the story drew me in and I couldn’t put it down,
even when I was crying so hard I couldn’t read. You have created a beautiful story that
explores innocence both for Caitlin and in my opinion Daniel as well.” -L.R.

Now that’s an endorsement!

Climbing the Second Novel Summit

I know a few people who have written a novel, and content with checking the task off their bucket lists, never started or completed a second one. To them, the one completed work represented many things. An itch to be scratched, a whim, a challenge, a story that needed to be told. My cousin, a musician, felt compelled to write a novel about his band. It was a pretty good novel, and he loved writing it. But having told it, he moved on. Continue reading

Joe Café by JD Mader: a review

A bloody massacre at a beloved diner in a small town sets Joe Café in motion, and, boy, does it move! A little Elmore Leonard, a little Pulp Fiction, JD Mader’s crime thriller sparks and crackles with tension, laying out a grisly tale of hit men, strippers, mob bosses, serial killers, and trout.

Yes, trout.

The story is dark and violent, but even the most sociopathic of Mader’s characters have the capacity for tenderness and loyalty, making us question the nature of evil: are those who do terrible things inherently evil, or have they been misshapen by life’s hard breaks?

Cutting between “good” characters sliding downhill and “bad” characters seeking redemption, Mader crafts the rhythm and contrast that make this fairly short book fly by while leaving a deeper, haunting impression behind. I would absolutely recommend this book, and I can’t wait to read more of Mader’s work.