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March 19-21

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There’s Nothing Wrong with “Happily Ever After”

In certain writer’s circles, “happily ever after” is frowned upon. It’s “predictable,” it “isn’t real life,” things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

I may get thrown out of the Indie Writer’s Club (not a real thing) but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there is nothing wrong with “happily ever after.” Hallmark has made a million dollar industry off predictable, simple, and formulaic scripts. Do you know why? Because people like happily ever after. That’s it. It’s just that simple.

Spoiler alert: my novels have happily ever after endings. Why? Because I like happily ever after. I was one of those girls who believed my prince would come (and he did). Sure, he was a D&D playing nerd in a bar, but he’s my prince nonetheless.

I have to tell you that I loathe stories that don’t resolve themselves, or movies that I invest two or more hours of my time in, only to find out that the hero dies senselessly, or worse, to find out the murderer gets away with it. Can I tell you that the end of “Gone Girl” (the movie) made me absolutely insane?!

Happily ever after offers the reader hope and then delivers. Happily ever after promises a smile from the reader as they read “The End.” Happily ever after doesn’t necessarily mean “romance” either. Happily ever after just means that all the characters find what they’re looking for, or at least get where they want to go.

So, if you’re a writer of sweet romance or family saga or just contemporary fiction that has happily ever after…embrace it. Write the story you want to write. There’s enough trouble in the real world, sometimes people want to escape for a while.

And if you’re a reader of contemporary fiction and like a story with happily ever after, check out Hope for Haley or Understanding Kasey. Spoiler alert – they end happily ever after.

Here’s to “Happily Ever After”…may you continue to give readers all the hope and joy they can stand.

Fighting with Obsession…publishing obsession

I’ve self-published two books, Hope for Haley and Understanding Kasey. I’ve written many more, but those two are the ones to make it past the “cutting floor” so far. There will be more to come.

…and so begins the obsession: SELL! SELL! SELL! Time to become a MARKETING MACHINE!

Actually, if you’ve self-published, the marketing should come way before the release of the book, but that’s a different post.

If you’ve self-published, or even hybrid published, you know what I mean. There are analytics, and message boards, and more advice than you can shake a stick at! Before you know it, you’re caught up in the game, worrying more about your numbers than actually doing any writing or reading. Or maybe that’s just me.

I started writing when I was a child, mostly poetry, and didn’t write my first full-length novel until I was 42 years old. A little late to the game to be “discovered.”

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself. It would be fabulous to be a number one best seller…I think. But what I really mean is that it would be fabulous if MY BOOK was a number one best seller. I just want to hide in the shadows. I don’t want a Twitter account, a Facebook author page, a book/blog tour. I don’t want to put myself “out there.”

But I keep reading advice that authors need to have a professional profile picture, that their readers want to know “all about them” and that’s why you need those things. But do they really? Before social media, did you ever think about the author, except that you either loved or hated their writing? Did it really make a difference if you had anything in common with them? I mean, what happens if you don’t have anything in common with them? What if in real life they are boring, but they are a dynamic writer? Will their personal life make you not pick up their book? I certainly hope not.

Don’t misunderstand. I certainly appreciate all the advice I’ve been given by authors who have sold way more books than me. They are obviously doing something right. And if I want to sell that many books than I should probably do what they are doing too. But there are no guarantees.

And marketing through family and friends just makes me feel smarmy. Quite frankly, even some of the “tricks of the trade” make me feel a little smarmy too. Maybe it’s because I’ve done versions of telemarketing before and I HATED every minute of it.

I love writing. I write because I want to tell the story of the underdog. I want to tell the story of the diamond in the rough. I want to tell stories of strong friendships that lift each other up. I want to tell the stories of your sisters, your mothers, your best friends, even you. And I can’t tell those stories if I’m running on a treadmill.

If you happen to read one, I’d love to know what you think. But if you don’t, that’s okay too. I understand that time and money is precious. If you know someone who may really want a book, please let me know.

Have a blessed day! Happy reading!

 

Hope for Haley – A Women’s Fiction Novel

“So where do I go from here?” Mara asked.

“I think you keep moving forward, one step at a time,” Helen said.

“I’m not sure I even know what that means,” Mara said.

“It means you get your priorities straight.”

Mara looked up at Helen. Helen sensed her guard go up.

“It means you get up and brush yourself off. You figure out what’s most important to you, what brings you joy, and you move towards it. Stop running from it, whatever it is,” Helen said.

 

Hope for Haley is a women’s fiction novel about how three generations of women find hope in their fractured relationships and learn to heal old wounds.

Check it out on AmazonKindle, and Barnes and Noble. Thanks for your support!

Reading the Classics

This post is sparked by something I recently posted on Facebook.

My daughter, who is a sophomore in high school, has been reading the classics and various assigned reading material. Last year it was “Romeo and Juliet,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “The Outsiders” (not sure I’d call that one a classic) among others. As this year starts, she’s reading “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding.

It made me think back to high school (I had to think really hard) to some of the books we were assigned to read. I still keep in touch with some of my high school friends (we just had our 30th reunion – not sure how that happened), so I asked them what they remember reading. It’s been one of the best responses I’ve ever had to anything I’ve posted before, so, just for fun, I thought I’d bring it to my blogging community.

The list is varied, considering some were in honors classes (now called Advanced Placement), but my classmates clearly have a much better memory than I do. I don’t remember reading half of these!

I thought it would be interesting to see what some of my followers from around the country (and world) remember reading in high school (as assigned reading).

Here’s the list my classmates came up with so far. Please feel free to comment which were your favorites and add to the list in the comments below. I think it would be really interesting to compile an International List (unless there’s one already) and I’ll share it with my high school classmates, who are now scattered all over the world.

1984                                                                                             Animal Farm

Grapes of Wrath                                                                       Moby Dick

Don Quixote                                                                              Handmaid’s Tale

Of Mice and Men                                                                     A Tale of Two Cities

The Great Gatsby                                                                     Les Miserables

The Scarlet Letter                                                                    Catch 22

Hamlet                                                                                       Julius Caesar

Death of a Salesmen                                                               Cather in the Rye

Wuthering Heights                                                                  Sound and the Fury

Huckleberry Finn                                                                    Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

Canterbury Tales                                                                     Brave New World

Secret Life of Walter Mitty                                                   Black Like Me

Cannery Row                                                                           Siddhartha

 

Also, are there any that you loved and you could read over and over. My favorite was probably “Cannery Row.”

This is just for fun. Hope this brings back some fond memories. By the way, I have to admit that Cliff Notes were my friend during the Shakespeare unit! LOL

Does it count if I read a kid’s book?

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I’m a writer, which means I’m supposed to be a reader. And I am…when I’m not working on my latest novel, blogging, being a mom, working part time, being a wife, cleaning, doing laundry, making dinner…you get the idea. There’s not a lot of time for deep reading…you know…the kind that takes you away for hours at a time. #living the dream

So I went to the library the other day with my husband (he needed a new book – I guess he has the time) and I picked up a couple for my youngest. He’s been spending way to much time in front of a screen, and when he does read, he reads Pokemon manuals (that doesn’t count as reading).

He, of course, was not excited about the books I chose for him, because, well, let’s face it, they didn’t have a lot of pictures on the pages. I didn’t get him “War and Peace,” so what’s he complaining about.

In an effort to prove to him that the books I got were easy summer reads, I picked up one of the books while he was beside me playing Pokemon (or something).

51miRafgwTL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_“The League of Unexceptional Children” is by Gitty Daneshvari. Gitty also wrote the “School of Fear” series which my daughter liked, so it wasn’t like I was choosing blind. I put some (minimal) research into the choice…I read the cover.

The book was clever and funny, and kept my attention. I liked the message of the book: that unexceptional children, average children, make the best spies because people forget them and they blend in so they are able to do extraordinary things. #averageisawesome

Even as an adult I could relate to what he was saying about “average children.” Aren’t we all, on some level, “average?” Don’t we all fall short of someone else’s measuring stick at some time or another? Or maybe that’s just me. #plainjane

So I DID read something. I DID set the example. But in true child fashion, he doesn’t want to read it because his MOM recommended it. If only I could learn to be more sly. #unexceptionalmom

But I’m recommending “The League of Unexceptional Children” to your elementary readers (maybe 3rd-5th grades). Just don’t tell them you heard it was good. Drop it on the floor next to them next time you’re in the library, and let them find it…like a good unexceptional spy would.