Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Laughing Ladies is published

As I write this, I am admiring the first copy of my book The Laughing Ladies.  Today is the first time I have seen it in print.  The cover is glossy and the colors are perfect.  When I held the actual book in my hands, I thought I would burst with pride.  I now understand the meaning of that phrase, it felt as though my body would not be able to hold in my emotions.  I wanted to jump up and down and scream out the news to the immediate universe.  What a heady experience to have a three dimensional book instead of a manuscript on a computer screen.  This is better...much better. 

Now, I must change from a book writer to a book seller.  My first piece of marketing is to announce that copies of The Laughing Ladies are available on Amazon (including Kindle), Barnes and Noble and the AuthorHouse bookstore.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Entering the Home Stretch

The cover is approved and I am now almost finished proofing the final galleys.  The book should be out sometime in May!  To hold a book in my hands that says my name beneath that little word "by" is a very exciting thought.  After I give myself a few days to just stare at my accomplishment, I will begin the next phase of self-publishing...the marketing.  I have been saving blogs and google alerts and have to go through them and sort out the doables from the improbables.  But, as I keep saying, as long as it is fun, I will hang in there.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Self-Publishing Success Story

I finally finished the galley corrections and bid a fond farewell to all those little formatting dots and backwards paragraph signs.  I picked up a back issue of The New York Times from the pile that has accumulated on my coffee table and found the most encouraging article.  It seems that self-publishing star, Amanda Hocking, has signed a substantial deal with the traditional St. Martins Press.  How wonderful to read a self-publishing success story.  I volunteer to be next.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Do I need further proof?

The galley proofs have arrived and I am to go through them and find mistakes, if any.  Faced with this tiresome task, my mind wanders.  Why are they called proofs?  I suppose I could google “galley proofs” and get the answer immediately, but I prefer to imagine my own explanation.  I think of all the times I encountered the word proof.

“The proof is in the pudding.”  Evidence that someone is a good cook? 
“Show me some proof.”  Exhibit A, no doubt. 
“Geometric proof?”  Reminders of high school days, long past.  
“14.5% proof”  One drink would probably do it.  
"Proof"  A fine theatrical experience.

But, I am facing a galley proof – the printed copy that I must check for errors before it goes to the printer.   Do I need further proof of my procrastination?  Back to work!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Luddite's Lament

When I was in high school, every Monday my English teacher would hand out "vocabulary sheets" with a list of words and their definitions.  We had until Friday to learn them.  I wonder how that method would work now when vocabulary meanings seem to change daily.  Apple is now a computer, not a fruit.  Blackberry is a phone.  When I'm online, I'm not standing in a queue.  My cell contains contacts, not DNA.  Signing on used to mean joining a group, not sitting alone at your desk gazing at a monitor.  And a monitor was someone who watched what you were doing.  Imagine Big Brother on an 18" flat screen, measured on the diagonal of course.  We've even usurped bird speak.  We tweet and twitter now.

Like Charlie Chaplin, I stand in front of the conveyor belt of modern vocabulary, watching as words too rapidly pass me by.  I cannot turn the wheels of progress fast enough.  But, that's JMO.  Sorry G2G. 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fontain of Use

No, that is not a misspelled word in the title.  I am searching through numerous fonts, trying to decide on one  for my book.  Who would have ever thought there could be so many different ways to shape a letter.  Do I want a modern typeface or something more classic?  Since the story takes place in the 1890s, I've decided to go with a more traditional font.  I'm studying the little squigly that hangs off the letter "g."  I'm concerned that an "rn" combination doesn't look like the letter "m."  How close is the "t" to the next letter in the word?  This process does make you look, really look at what you are reading. 

I finally recommend Calisto MT to the design team.  

Welcome to "She Writes" Bloggers

A Big Apple welcome to shewriters.  I hope you find something of value on my blog.  The one "tip" I would offer is to have a blogging and posting time scheduled into your week.  I forgot how often it takes for something to become a habit, but it can't be that many because when Thursday rolls around, I know what I have to do.

It is an exciting time for this new writer, becoming part of a community of female writers, and I look forward to your comments.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Western, A Unique American Genre

I was thinking about genres since I have to identify one for The Laughing Ladies.  First, I thought it would be called a romance.  But, after browsing novels called romances and looking at their covers, I decided that was not where it belonged.  Then I tried historical fiction, but most books took place in the days of knighthood or involved kings and queens.  Wrong again!  That leaves calling it a western.  Once more, that didn't seem quite right.  The book has its focus on women, not men.  But it really is a Western, just one with a different slant.  It is about the taming of the West from a feminine perspective. 

I have decided:  The Laughing Ladies is a western historical romance.  If you know any others, I'd love to hear about them.     

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Elevator Pitch

I’d never heard of an elevator pitch until I was told I needed one.  The name comes from the idea that your pitch should be delivered in the short period of time it takes for an elevator ride, usually 20-60 second. That notion translates into 25 words to sell your book.  That’s a lot of wallop to pack into a few words.  Think about it.  Just 25 words to entice the browser into the world of your book.  Here are my  25 words.  You’re going to count them, aren’t you?
Three women travel west, escaping their oppressive Victorian society.  But, independence has a price and they must decide whether they are willing to pay it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I've Got You Covered

You can’t judge a book by its cover.  Oh, yes, you can.   I do.  And I bet you do, too.  When I pick up a book, I almost always  know whether I am interested enough to find out what it is about.  It all starts up front. 

The design team at AuthorHouse wants to know how I envision the cover of The Laughing Ladies.  The American West in the 1890s suggests sepia tones to me.  And no faces please, the reader’s mind will determine what the women look like.   I favor old-fashioned illustrations instead of photographs. 
Here’s what I sent them.  What do you think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Life in 150 Words of Less

I’ve packed up and returned to NYC.  My fictional town of Crystal Creek was not easy to leave, but it is time.  The story of The Laughing Ladies is told and ready to be published.  Since controlling is a word I am familiar with, I decided to self-publish.  The process is turning out to be as energizing as writing the book.  Except, I am not making this journey alone, Author House experts are guiding my way.  I hope you will follow as I describe this new path I am traveling. 

My first task was to provide a bio.  I am asked to distill my entire life into no more than 150 words.  I have been around a long time, where to begin?  Writing about my characters is a lot easier than writing about myself.  I finally decide on the part of my life relevant to the book. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Research and Ye Shall Find

I began by putting  my three ladies on a westbound train.  After reading, James Alexander Thom’s book, The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, I wanted all the information to be accurate and who better to know about trains than the American Railroad Historical Society.  With the kind help of their research librarian, I was able to get the ladies across the country without them missing any connections. 
But, what did a mining town of the 1890s look like?  Having lived in Colorado for a  time, I was familiar with some historical towns, but I needed more than my own visualization.  Old photographs, diaries of early inhabitants, and numerous articles and descriptions found on the internet, filled in the details.  When the ladies stepped off the train, I could see what they saw.  
And so it went, chapter by chapter.   I stumbled across some wonderful  information..  I didn’t know that a woman rancher invented the first split skirt because she wouldn’t put up with having to ride side saddle.  Or that President Cleveland was the first father of a newborn to give out cigars.  The book began to fill with lots of quirky historical details.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finding Your Passion

The Laughing Ladies found me, rather than the other way around.  It started when
Pat Porter, a good friend and fantastic watercolor artist and teacher, said in her marvelous offhand manner, that if she couldn’t paint some time during the day, she might as well not get up in the morning.  I thought enviously, “How wonderful to have a passion like that.”  I  remembered her words when I started writing The Laughing Ladies, eager to get to the computer every day.  I was experiencing the feeling Pat described.

As the story took shape, I wondered where it had been hiding all these years.  I never imagined myself a writer and here I was, living in a mining town, high in the Colorado Rockies.  I  created a world to inhabit for a few hours a day, with no idea why I chose to be there.  Perhaps, I was being channeled by an 1893 prostitute who wanted her story told.