Monday, September 30, 2013

A Light in the Christmas Cafe Blurb

Suggestions welcome

 An almost perfect evening can be easily ruined by a profession of love.
Moonlight streaming through the windows, the café’s comforting aromas, a nearly overflowing dining room, delicious food, poetry…and Claude. Deirdre knows she has to stop him, but she doesn't know how. In Lake Vista, a small resort town tucked in the California foothills, Deirdre finds that there are more questions than answers. And Claude is the least of her problems.

In LA, Deirdre’s perfectly constructed life made sense—a lucrative, albeit boring, career and an adoring boyfriend. But when her beloved grandmother tumbles down the stairs, Deirdre returns to Lake Vista and picks up the reins at Rosie’s café. Temporarily. But running a small town café is more complicated than Deirdre could have ever imagined. A food thief, a haunted house, a matchmaking grandmother and a handsome stranger—Deirdre doesn't know what to do with the apron strings. Until she sees a light in the café’s attic. A light that, like her, doesn't belong. Or does it?

Coming soon.

What Makes Nora Roberts so Great?

What makes Nora Roberts so great? As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot.

How about Debbie Macomber, a best-selling author of over 150 romance novels and contemporary women's fiction? Over 170 million copies of her books are in print throughout the world, and four have become made-for-TV-movies.

We can ask the same question of Stephen King, James Patterson, and many others and the answers would ultimately boil down to one word. Words. That’s the word—words.

And yes, there are brilliant marketing schemes, editors, publicists, and book events, but really what makes a book is word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. And there are storytellers and there are poets. Not every storyteller is a wordsmith, and that’s okay.

So here’s the challenge. It’s easy to do. Go to your bookshelf, grab a few books (including your own if you’re a writer) and turn to page 5. Why page 5? I don’t know…I just chose page 5. You can choose a different page if you want. It doesn’t matter. Random is the goal. Skim the page and look for your favorite sentence. Just one sentence.

Here are five sentences from five page fives.

She was the same, she assured herself, the same woman she had been that morning. Nora Roberts

I was meant to own this bed-and-breakfast; it was as if it had sat on the market all these months waiting for me.  Debbie Macomber

I actually had a hard time finding my favorite sentences in Nora or Debbie’s books. Notice both are passive sentences. I chose them because they moved the plot. In a Sarah Dessen novel, an author who has had a fraction of Nora’s or Debbie’s financial success, I had a hard time picking just one sentence. She writes beautiful sentences, over and over again. And great stories.  

They were so scholarly that every time I saw either of them without a book in their hands they looked weird to me, as if they were missing their noses, or their elbows. Sarah Dessen

Marisa de los Santos also writes beautiful sentences, but if I’m honest, I’ll admit that I sometimes leave her books half read. Why? Because her beautiful sentences can’t carry a story fast enough (for me).
As soon as the merry-go-round inside her head slowed its whirling and jangling enough for her to think anything, she thought, Oh, Cat, followed by, Finally.

And here’s one of my own sentences from page five of my soon to be released novel, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent.
His eyes and the small smile curving his lips sent a jolt of recognition up her spine although she knew they’d never met.

I’ll be honest…this isn’t my favorite sentence on that page. It’s probably the best sentence, but my favorite is: This guy would never wear a coral colored vest. Which isn’t a great sentence, but it says a lot about Emory…the character I’m currently in love with, so it’s my favorite, even if it’s pretty beige.

If you’re a writer and you have a favorite sentence off page 5, please share. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

How to be a Good Friend and Sour Apple Jolly Ranchers

Ever look at sour green apple Jolly Ranchers? If you’re like me, your mouth waters…even before you take off the candy wrapper. Yep. My body knows exactly what’s coming. My taste buds rear up. Sometimes even my eyes will water. Same thing with those red hot tamale candies. I have a physical reaction just LOOKING at the candy. I don’t need to be a doctor to understand my own mind-body connection.
And you know there’s an actual chemical reaction in your body when you’re hurt, angry and stressed. So, let’s say someone you love betrayed you in an awful, horrible way. When it first happened, chemicals zinged through your body, and you thought you would faint, throw up or explode. Well, guess what—whenever you talk about or even think about that betrayal—all those emotions and that same chemical reaction happens all over again. By revisiting the betrayal you are inflicting pain on your body. And all those negative emotions are bad for your body as well as your mind.
There is value in processing pain—talking it out and trying to understand what happened so that you can protect yourself from future, poor relationship choices…but there is a balance. There’s healthy processing and there is obsessing. And only you can know when you have stepped over the cliff into that crazy place of obsession.

As a good friend, it’s okay to lend a listening ear—at first. But if the pain goes on and on, the job of a good friend is to say, “You know when you look at those sour green apple Jolly Ranchers and your mouth waters?”

Friday, September 6, 2013

Win a Copy of The Rhyme's Library

I had breakfast with Michelle Knowlden! If you would like to win a free copy of my novel The Rhymes Library, now a semi-finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Awards, please drop by and leave a comment. Invite your friends!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Excerpts and Thoughts on Becoming a Self Published Author

 I stumbled across this blog post and because I liked it, I’m throwing out excerpts. You can read the whole thing here:

 Forget “indie.” Forget “DIY.” Just be an author when you’re being an author. Just be a publisher when you’re being a publisher. (Or, go with a term I quite like, “author-publisher.”) People ask you what you do, you write books. People ask who you’re published with, give them the name of your one-man publishing company. Or say, “I did that myself,” and if they look at you funny, pee on their shoes and smash gum in their hair. This isn’t because of shame over the term. It’s because the term is increasingly meaningless. Anybody who asks is probably inside publishing somehow anyway, because most readers just plain don’t care who publishes someone, whether it’s you, a Random Penguin, or some magic coyote hobo.

 You’re not just an author. You’re not just a “self”-publisher. You’re a publisher from bottom to top, from feet to forehead, to eyebrows. Being a publisher means being a business. A small business of one.

Be a fountain, not a drain. Other authors have made a different choice and that does not make them wrong. It does not make them better or worse. Their choices do not invalidate yours. This is not a contest over who got it right or whose bitterness is the strongest. This is about doing what’s right for you and your story.

 One of the limitations of traditional is that it just plain can’t do some things. Traditional is a big rock. A big rock can’t move. A big rock cannot dance. But that means you are afforded a chance to put riskier material into the world. Unusual genre mixes. Formats that trad won’t touch. Why play it safe?

Eschew perfection. Perfection is a meaningless and impossible ideal. It’s a bullseye the size of a fly’s eye. Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Being a publisher is not the same thing as being a good publisher. You’re in the middle of the hill, not the top. This is when a whole new spate of work begins. You’re in for a long haul, here — but that’s a good thing. Traditional publishing often relies on the short shock of a release day supernova to get word out. A book drops from the sky. Lands on shelves. Has a flurry of promotion and then, sometimes, you know, it’s onto the next one with the author left behind. Good publishers – including author-publishers — realize that this is a long con, not a short game. You don’t have to sell the lion’s share in that first week. You sell a little here, a little there, and then you build on that every week forward.                                            

 Your job is to figure out how to be the shiny pearl in a pool full of poop because, trust me, a lot of what else is out there is a steaming heap of ordure. Cream floats in a cup of coffee but this is a pile and it’s easy to get buried underneath it. Stand out. Be the best version of yourself. Try lots of things. Don’t be a jerk. Your marketing efforts should be beautiful music that draws me nearer, not a hammer that clubs me where I stand.

 You will need versatility. You are not the clunky slug-ass oil tanker that is a Big Six Publisher. You are the little guy — the zippy coke-fueled wave-cutting speedboat that can make sharp corners and course correct in the wink of a sphincter. Book not selling? Change your cover. Your price point. Your book description. Your marketing tactics. Do a new dance.

 Write, edit, publish, market. Keep doing it. The more you do this, the more you have a chance of connecting with the readers who will support you and your storytelling career. Throw more pebbles: ripples into other ripples. Keep doing it. Stay positive. Stay awesome.

You’re in control, now.

 Kristy’s thoughts:

For selfish reasons, I hope traditional publishing thrives. It’s competition and competition is good. Without competition Amazon's 70% royalty becomes 10%. I’m sad to see bookstores dying. I worry about libraries. I spent years volunteering in the schools as the library mom—I hope there will always be libraries, story hours and library moms.

Hallelujah that I live in a day and age where I can publish my work, mingle with friends and never have to leave my bedroom or put on pants. Although I love getting notes from readers who value my work, I’m grateful that my stories don’t have to please anyone, other than myself.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Novel is a Semifinalist!

My novel, The Rhymes Library, is a semifinalist for the 2013 Kindle Book Review Awards in the mystery/thriller category! 
The Rhyme's Library