Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Blog Hop: Giving Thanks for Reading and Other Blessings

All of my life I've been a compulsive reader. I remember getting in trouble in second grade for reading a book in class instead of paying attention to the teacher. I didn't learn my lesson because I continued to sneak books whenever class was boring--and since I have a masters degree and a Ph.D, I had plenty of opportunities.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, "Put that book away and do ..." I'd be rich. :)

Even today, I was getting ready to take a shower, waiting for the water to heat up, combing out my hair and reading my Kindle, which I'd set on the bathroom counter. (Isn't great how you can set an ereader down and can read it without holding it in your hands?) My boyfriend popped his head in the doorway to ask me a question and had to make a comment. "You're even reading now?" He doesn't get it. He's not a reader, poor guy. We're kindred spirits in many ways, but not with books. He doesn't know what he's missing.

In counting my blessings this week, I thought of the thousands of authors I've read. I've reread my favorites many times. My books overflow my house, my office, and my boyfriend's house. I even have a library in my house, but can't fit all my books on the shelves. Thank you to every author whose book I've enjoyed. You've enriched my life beyond what I can express in words. I know how much work it is to write a book. A piece of your life goes into every one. Many of you had to go through many difficulties to write your book(s) and get it published. I'm so glad you persisted.

I still buy paper books, but do so less and less. I'm reading more books on my Kindle and having a great time discovering other wonderful self-published authors. I'm probably saving a lot of money for self-published books are usually a LOT less expensive than traditionally published ones. However, if I already have an author's series, I'll continue to purchase matching paper (or hardback) books.

I'm thankful for my Kindle. I love it. It's so much easier to carry around with me because I always have a book in my purse, car, briefcase, etc. I know many people grumble that they'd never use an ereader. If they say that to me, I'll pull out my Kindle and show it to them, including how it works. That seems to change the person's mind, and he or she tells me that maybe....

I especially love the light that's installed in the cover so I can read at night without turning on a lamp. The other night, I read on my way home. (I wasn't driving.) Usually I can't read in the car because I get carsick. But darkness hid the blur out the windows (which is what's supposed to make you sick) and I could read just fine.

I'm thankful for self-publishing. My two series (starting with Wild Montana Sky and Sower of Dreams) have done really well. I've been able to cut back on my private psychotherapy practice and the corporate crisis counseling and write more. (I'm hoping to have Stormy Montana Sky out in a few weeks.)

I'm thankful for Amazon because they've created a platform that allows self-published ebooks to thrive. Because of them, four books that I'd written years ago (and my agents couldn't sell because they didn't fit the New York market) have found readers--about 32,000 readers in 7 months. My sales at Barnes & Noble are picking up, so I'm grateful for them too. I'll also add Smashwords to my blessings list. :)

I'm thankful for my friends who also write. They have supported, educated, prodded, and entertained me.

I'm thankful for Romance Writers of America (RWA) and for my local chapter (Orange County Chapter) and my online chapters--Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal, Hearts Through History, and Scriptscene. I'm the writer I am today because of them. But I'm also thankful that there are many other writers organizations that help their members become better writers and promoters. I get to benefit because they write and sell better books.

I'm thankful for editors, whether or not they make their living through editing. They make my books better. They also make other people's books better.

Most of all, I'm thankful for READERS! Whether you're reading my blogs or my books (or both) you're making it all possible. I'm so very grateful!

I'm giving away a free book (via a Smashwords coupon) to one lucky commenter on my blog on Black Friday. This is your chance to win Sower of Dreams. Good luck!

After commenting, hop on over to Jane Wakley's blog, where she'll be giving out a journal, pen, and bookmark.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Grief Book's Out!!!

I went to Barnes & Noble today to see if my book, The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving had come in yet. When the sales clerk led me to the shelf and pulled out the book and handed it to me (to my surprise) I started to cry. He thought I was grieving, and tried to escape. I said, "This is my book. I wrote it." And he practically ran away from the crazy woman. (I should add that I was dressed in workout clothes, with my hair in a ponytail, because I'd dropped by after women's fitness bootcamp.)

I found a chair and started to look through the book, then began reading. I had thought that I wouldn't read the book because I was secretly afraid of what I'd find. I'd written the book to a tight deadline of five months (although it took five and a half) and had never seen the whole thing. I turned in sections as I wrote them. Even my revisions came in chapters. Yet, I quickly became engrossed. I could recognize what I wrote, but it was still surprising. I thought, I can't believe I wrote this. It's so good. It's really going to help people! I figured dancing around the bookstore would really make me look crazy, so I settled for introducing myself to the manager and requesting that they order more books, which she agreed to do.

When I've had time today, I've read more of my book, and except for one paragraph, which I swear one of the editors must have shortened, I'm pleased with it. Oh, and the missing cover quote didn't please me. I'm sort of in awe that it's real.

I also paid attention to something I wouldn't have thought of before self-publishing--formatting. There's lots of complicated and fun formatting in the book, and I really appreciate it now.

I've created something that will hopefully help others for many years to come. That's a humbling thought.