Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New sales milestone

At some point in the last two days, I surpassed selling 2000 copies of Missing Maggie. Not bad for one year of sales! It's not like I have anything to compare it to. I have no idea what other self-published authors sell during a year's time. Regardless, at this point in my career, every book sold is still exciting and my emotions still rise and fall with the change in the Amazon rankings.

Thinking of anniversaries, today is the day I met my husband 20 years ago. I can't even believe it. I've been with him more years now than not. Looking back on that Halloween night, I see him with his baseball player buddies. He had longer hair, a devilish smile, and a cocky attitude. At 18, I'm not sure which of those characteristics drew me toward him. At 39 (he's a tad bit older than me), his hair is shorter, his smile is genuine, and he cares more about the people around him than himself  at times. How did I get so lucky? Who knew that on that night I had met the man I'd spend the rest of my life with? I love you, Davey.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kody's Halloween story

Kody Burkoff, ghostwriter and main character of my books, is having her own Halloween fun in book #3. It's so fitting that I'm starting the week writing about this. Being that she's a single lady, you'd think I'd have her go to a costume party where she finds another Mr. Wrong, but that isn't how it goes. She actually does her best friend, Kendall, a favor by babysitting so that Kendall and her husband can have a well-deserved night out. Having had a few too many drinks, Kendall decides to repay her friend by bringing home a surprise. You will never guess WHO she brings home. I giggle every time I think about writing the scenario. It still isn't quite clear in my head how it will all play out. Is Kody excited, shocked, angry? Is he sober enough, willing? If you've read my other two books, you know I like to break up the drama with some lighter stuff. This will definitely be light with some zing to it. I'm not talking Shades of Gray, which I haven't read yet, but it will get a bit steamy. I briefly mentioned him in the last two books. Who do you think it is?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A change of heart

I'm having a change of heart with the plot of book #3. I thought I had it all figured out months ago, but now that I'm a quarter of the way through writing it, I'm having second thoughts. I'm questioning whether or not my main character would actually do what I had planned for her. That's the funny thing about creating characters, at least for me anyway. They don't always turn out the way I plan. I like the character the way she is and I believe that with her I've created some great themes. The problem is that the way she is currently written, she doesn't fit my plot. What does a writer do when that happens? She changes the plot I guess! So much for making a plan and an outline before I began writing. That's a little frustrating, but I'm sure I'll get over it. Not all of it has to go, fortunately. With that said, I have a lot of work ahead of me and there's no time like the present.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Like Water for Chocolate

"Like Water for Chocolate" is another one of my favorite reads so I'm alternating between reading that and "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography." These books are so different in every way that it won't be a problem getting the two mixed up. "Dakota" is pretty serious and really makes me reflect on the world I grew up in. I'm reminded of the bond I share with other Dakotans having endured countless snowstorms with white-out conditions and preferring a less crowded existence over big city life. I'm certainly enjoying the book much more now that I'm older. In college, I had no appreciation for the land and its people and I didn't want to share similarities. Now, I'm proud to say I'm from the region.

"Like Water for Chocolate" is a tall tale of sorts that requires you to open your imagination. It's fun, silly, yet incredibly endearing. I've only just begun again, but knowing all that lies within keeps me turning the pages. It reminds me of one of my favorite movies too and not just because of the title. The movie is "Chocolate" with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. The book and movie have similar characteristics and if you haven't read or seen either, I highly encourage you to do so.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rereading "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography"

Last night I started rereading a professor's favorite book, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, by Kathleen Norris. I read it my junior or senior year of college and was not impressed. It wasn't her writing that didn't impress me, it was the content. Ms. Norris praises Dakota, which is the term she uses to refer to both North and South Dakota. Having lived on the prairie my entire life, I did not see the beauty of the land or its people. I was young and ready to seek another geography, another way of life. I thought beauty was everywhere but in Dakota.

It's interesting that I've held on to the book for this long. It's remained in my travels since college because I knew it was a book I wanted to get back to one day. It was a book I knew I had to grow into. I still remember the day I told my professor my thoughts. He didn't argue with me, but like all other books "I just didn't get," he tried to convince me of its worth. The combination of his excitement and my determination to see the beauty that I had lived in for the first twenty-one years of my life must be the reason for me keeping it.

I barely made it through the first chapter last night, only because I was tired, so I'll let you know how it goes. I'm hoping to finish the book appreciating the place of my childhood. I'm hoping that its place on my shelf has been earned.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

They're in the mail

The paperback copies of Sincerely, sad dad are in the mail, or will be very shortly, to the Goodreads Giveaway winners. I drove to the post office yesterday not remembering it was Columbus Day. That was a bummer. I'm pretty nervous about sending out copies to those five winners. I'm nervous that they won't like it and then they'll post their reviews online and then everyone will read them and then no one else will want to read my book and then I'll feel devastated and then I'll question my abilities AGAIN and then I'll get so annoyed with myself for having to go through these same emotions every time I pass out a copy. Whew! Sometimes it isn't easy being me. I can be so hard on myself. But then there's the positive me...what if all five readers simply adore the book and they all have a thousand close friends whom they pass the title on to and then those friends download the book, one of those friends being Oprah, yes Oprah, and she gushes over it and can't wait to get her hands on me so that she can tell the whole world that they should read my book and then I'm flown to the Caribbean because that's where she's vacationing and she feels that the interview will go better if the ocean breezes are wafting over my face and so we have a wonderful interview, I hug her goodbye, and await the phone calls and emails from other authors like James Patterson and Sandra Brown congratulating me. Whew! That would be awesome!

Friday, October 5, 2012

So many books to read

I've perused a lot of book sites lately making lists of the latest books I want to read. There are so many! It's this time of year when many authors publish their latest works, except for maybe James Patterson who can't decide which month is best so he publishes one each month. He still boggles me. Is he some kind of robot? I'd like to meet him some day to hear his secret to success.

Anyway, I added many new books to my goodreads account so that I don't forget the titles when I'm ready. Before reading my last couple of books, I was focusing on MN authors and before that I read several of the books purchased by customers that bought my books. Now, I'm not sure which path to take. I might read some popular authors and really try to dissect their stories to discover what makes them so great to so many readers. Is it the suspense? Is it the characterization? Is it the pace of the story? Is it the jaw-dropping action? It sounds like a daunting task, but one that I'll hopefully enjoy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Finding an agent

After listening to MN author, Julie Kramer, speak last week, the thought of finding a literary agent has again entered my mind. I tried briefly before self-publishing Missing Maggie, but it was a pretty weak attempt. I've learned a lot since then. I've learned how to go about finding agent names, which is to look at books comparable to mine and read the author's acknowledgment page. Most authors name and thank their agents. This will be a very time consuming task and one that I don't necessarily look forward to. It takes away from my writing time, which is a bummer. If I had an agent though, I'd have more time to write and spend less time fretting about how to promote my books.

Speaking of promoting, my Goodreads giveaway ended on 9/30 and five readers were chosen to receive paperback copies of Sincerely, sad dad. My box of books shipped yesterday so the copies should be in their hands early next week. I can only hope their reviews aren't too harsh. I'm very nervous about that.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Witty dialogue

Writing witty dialogue is so fun to do! In book #3 I introduce Kody's brother, Justin. He and Kody have a typical brother/sister relationship except theirs is a little more immature. Justin reminds me of Stifler, who is an obnoxious character from the American Pie movies. Justin has a good heart and intends well when it comes to his family and friends, but he is not beneath pulling disgusting pranks. I can't help but laugh at one scene I wrote recently. My oldest son also helps me develop Justin's character. Disgusting pranks are not beneath him either. This morning the Burkoff siblings were at it again. Justin called to inform Kody that something was up with their parents. I didn't get too far in the scene before the rest of my family starting waking up and making noise. I'm thinking about posting a scene from book #3 once and awhile. It can't hurt. Or maybe it can. Oh, the dilemmas!