I’m Proud to Be an Indie Author

  • April 14, 2019
  • Blog
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typewriter photo

First off, let me say that if you want to be traditionally published, that’s fine. This is my opinion for myself only.

It drives me nuts that indie authors aren’t as respected as traditionally published authors. To be clear, self-publishing is not the same as a vanity press. Vanity presses take your money in order to publish your book. You should be paid for your writing, not the other way around.

It’s been said that indie authors publish garbage. Yes, there are people who write their stories and—without any real effort to edit or, better yet, hire an editor—toss their works online and proudly proclaim they’re a published author.

Ugh. On the other hand, we’ve all read traditionally published books that should never have seen the light of day, so I’m unsure why indie books get so much flack.

When I finally decided to take the step, I knew I had the background to deal with it. I was an in-house production editor, editor, copy editor, and proofreader for years, and my writers’ group consists of four other editors. My work gets scrutinized and I’m a better writer because of it.

What I don’t know, I hire out. I have no background in cover art, so I paid an artist who also knew digital publishing to create a cover for me.

And since I decided that I wanted my novel to be available in paperback as well as e-book, the formatting for the paperback was done by a fellow writer and editor. The trick is knowing my limitations. I do know how to format for e-book and though my marketing efforts need to be stepped up (really, whose don’t?), I’m happy to be publishing on my own timeline.

And yet, I’ve run into situations where people take a step back when they discover I’m an indie author, as if I’m not a real published author.

The only solution I can see is to keep writing, keep editing, and keep putting the best work I’m capable of in front of an audience when it’s ready.

Which should be the criteria for every writer, don’t you think?


*Photo by lil_foot_ (Pixabay)

Music to Write By

  • April 07, 2019
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Do you write to music? Does it depend on the scene you’re writing or is music just something that revs you up no matter what?

I’ve blogged about one particular piece that put me in a euphoric haze while writing a scene. My biggest regret was that it was only on YouTube. The original CD was for sale (used) at a price that made me consider whether eating was that important. Fortunately, sanity prevailed. And now it’s been rereleased and can be bought here.

And yes, I’m wondering what writing paths those songs will send me.


Writers, How to Scout a Location

  • March 25, 2019
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Go there. In my opinion, nothing comes close to actual sensory experience—the sights, smells, and tastes of an area. Talking to people in the area is a huge plus. And take plenty of pics.

Visit websites. There are different kinds:

  1. Tourism sites. They’ll promote the shiny views and usually have stunning photos or videos to watch.
  2. Blogs of people who visit the area and provide their own spin.
  3. Individual towns (for example) usually have their own website that’s aimed toward residents. You’ll find information on local news and agencies available to them as well as library hours and what month to get their fishing license renewed.

Newspapers. I’m currently subscribed to a newspaper for the town in which my next novel will be (at least partly) based. I travel there, but it’s been a real eye-opener to see what the locals do and say. The newspaper is both online and paper, and I opted for both: Paper can be clipped into a scrapbook that highlights the points I want to look at while I’m writing.

Books/magazines. Again, magazines often offer the shiny, pretty views of an area but some also offer in-depth issues that may or may not affect your story. Books can be anything—historical, memoir, tourist-based, and more, and your library can help with that.

This is what I’m using. What do you do?


Writers, Have Your Cameras Ready!

  • March 17, 2019
  • Blog

There are three reasons to keep your camera ready at all times, especially when you go out.

Night Owl, Night Writer

  • June 24, 2018
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night forest photo

“I could sit in the middle of Sunset Boulevard and write with my typewriter on my knees; temperamental I am not.”

–Louis L’Amour


I once spent a day trying to write a story. I sat on my couch with a pen and pad and faced nothing but blankness. This is it, I thought. I can no longer write. I was terrified. The gift that fueled me, helped me, defined me was gone.

Then, night fell and the words flowed. I realized that I was a creative writer at night and a better editor by day. The relief and gratitude I felt was immense, and I planned my writing time accordingly.

That was a while back. I no longer need the night to write. Taking inspiration from Mr. L’Amour, I’ve written on buses and trains and standing on line at the supermarket. But still, when the skies darken and the area becomes quiet and fragrant with the scent of grass or still and blanketed in snow, everything and anything becomes possible. The words might be pared down or even deleted the next day, but during that time of moon and stars, the words travel down mystical roads weaving their own magic.

Are you a night writer or a day writer?



*Photo by Pezibear (Pixabay)

Writing on the Road and There’s No Pen

  • April 29, 2018
  • Blog

What do you do when you’re driving and a great line of dialogue pops into your head?

I try not to think of my stories during those times but sometimes it’s a natural progression of thought (do we ever really stop thinking about those people?).

I had the line, the perfect sentence. But I was driving and there was no place to pull over. I called a friend.

And It’s Done!

  • March 19, 2018
  • Blog

I finally finished my short story for the anthology Elements: Tales From The Substratum, and it’s now being reviewed by my editors. And what does one do in the meantime?


Spring is Coming–Writers, Are You Ready?

  • March 05, 2018
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In preparation, I’m reposting a couple of blog entries to get us all in the mood.

Spring Cleaning for Writers


A Writer Battles the Paper Monster

*Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net




Writing and Training

  • February 12, 2018
  • Blog


olympics photo


It’s Olympics week. You’re watching from the couch and agreeing or disagreeing with the commentators before heading back to work.

You sit down at your desk. Pencil, pen, or laptop? It doesn’t matter. You flex your fingers and prose effortlessly flows onto the page. You knock out a few chapters in uninterrupted silence.

Okay, you can stop laughing. Obviously that’s a fantasy. But how many times do people see the final product and think how easy it is?

How easy is it to do a triple salchow on the ice with millions of eyes on you?

I admire the athletes for their determination and practice. It’s the practice and training that help them rise above the pack. I’m sure there are plenty of days when they’d like to stay home and watch TV with slices of cake. And if they wanted to, they could. But they don’t. They have their eye on a different goal and they work hard to make it happen.

Do you? Are you working on improving your writing every chance you get? It’s easy to get published these days as an indie author. More than once I’ve browsed through a story that had such potential but failed. Sometimes it failed for ridiculously simple reasons—bad spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Those were mechanical errors that should have been fixed, either by the author or by someone they paid. That’s nuts-and-bolts errors, the technical factors that the judges count when the ice skaters touch the ice with their hand when they lose their balance.

Then there’s the artistry of writing. The voice that calls out to readers and pulls them in. It’s a story that’s compelling, with strong characters who make you feel involved and invested in what happens.

I hate to tell you this but while there are many wonderful and glorious times when the words do flow and I’m lost in creation, there are many more times of slogging through the mud.

I’ve trained. I’ve sweated over wording and learned from teachers who kindly explained why using diamonds and stars in the same sentence to describe water wouldn’t work. And I’m still learning. Still training. If I want to be the best writer I can be, this is what it takes. Anything less is fooling myself, like thinking I can do a double axel on the ice while watching TV.

So let’s get to it. Practice starts tomorrow. Don’t be late.

Gone Writing

  • February 05, 2018
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Walking down the twisted paths inside my head. See ya next week.

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