I don’t know.

Well, hello.

I hope whatever timezone from where you’re reading this, life is serving you up equal parts beauty and beast.

This post is going to be about writing; it’s also about life. It’s about writing and life. If either of these interest you, please, do read on.

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Kid President

It’s a slow day. I’m not so much writing as I am looking at the clock above my document and wondering if it might be in everyone’s best interest if I close down for the day. Perhaps it’s the weather. Perhaps it’s the hairy black spider I found on my husband’s side of the bed this morning; the little beast scared me half to death before I’d even a chance to sit down for a proper pee. Probably, though, it’s just the weather. I am sensitive like this. I look out my window and see a nimbus laden sky talking some big talk but has yet to deliver. I hope for rain. We had a bit last night, and when I woke up everything was wet and rinsed and even the lawn sparkled in its own way, an aristocratic ambivalence.

The weekend should be lovely. My husband runs his third marathon this year on Sunday. I am astoundingly proud of him. Me, I will avoid running at all cost; even running behind, if I can. It takes a certain sort of masochistic lunacy, albeit a determined lunacy, to tell yourself “Okay, body, we’re going to do this now. Yep, 26.2 miles. Okay, here goes” and then choose not to veer off the path when no one’s looking. I would cheat. I would hail a cab or find the short cut or . . . you know, I probably just wouldn’t sign up in the first place. I love exercising. I go to the gym almost every day, and I find my serenity is waiting for me the moment I slip those earbuds in and wrap my fingers around the cold metal barbell. I go away. I go in. And I go out. But wherever I go, I am always better for having went. I am a happier woman, a better wife, and a funnier friend when I’ve had my daily allotment of endorphins. But there’s this thing. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe other people feel this way. Sometimes I will remember that I am a modest woman and no, you probably won’t ever see me wearing a shirt that bears my midriff or a skirt any higher than the middle of my thighs. So why, I ask myself, why do I push myself to such extremes. And I do – push myself to extremes. I work out like Mozart plays piano. Dun dun dun dun. Dun-dun-dun-DUNNNNN. What I’m saying is, I put much effort into keeping my shape firm and lean, and really the only person seeing it is me. There’s my husband of course, and yes he appreciates it all, but he is not a vain main, you see, and I am not lying when I say that truly he would still think me beautiful even if I had mashed-potato butt. No, really, he would. Scout’s honor. (Not an actual scout, however I abide by the code. Live long and prosper.) So, no, my career isn’t contingent on the number on my tailbone. It’s a 9, just in case you were curious. (I carry my weight below my bum, like little airplane pillows for it to rest on.) ANYWAY, exercise is good, but I could probably scale back some and it would be all right.

Oh dear  . . .

How did we get here? Truly I don’t know. I only meant to say hello, then suddenly my fingers were running amuck. I do actually have something very cool to share with you. Have you met Kid President? Oh, he’s very possibly the most precious boy I’ve never met. And smart. And a great dancer. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

Enjoy the video, then pass it on to everyone you know. It will make them smile knowing there are people like this in our world.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

The Indie & The Masses

Traditional Publishing is rapidly becoming not so traditional. A new world develops, along with a new set of rules. There are certainly mixed feelings about this new world, but now more than ever agents are skeptical and pristinely selective. The inveterate publishing houses look to foster their recurrent, reliable authors, for they represent what is guaranteed.

I am a subscriber to Publisher’s Lunch (For those of you who don’t know, this is the less costly version of Publisher’s Weekly). From what I can tell, the percentage of fresh meat being tossed around the butcher’s shop is paltry. There is a niche; a very small, tightly molded niche, and if you’re lucky enough to fill it then you’ve beaten the odds.

As the mainstream doorway for budding authors continues to inch shut, writers —  facing rejection and presented with other options — are taking their labor and their rights into their own hands. This yields incredible hope and promise for many, but there are those that would say this “progress” hinders the advancement of Great Fiction being read. And to that I would say, “Are you kidding me?”

Here’s why:

The masses will decide what they do and don’t like.

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The reason I support Indie Authors and Self-Publishing is not because of my own failure to attain representation; it is because I have always and will always believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to prove themselves. Of course it is up to the author to make the most of their arrival. We hope they have spent years and years reading books, developing their craft, entering contests, participating in writing prompts and critique groups. We hope they have failed and we hope this failure is not a reflection of the writing itself, but of a market tending to generate what it knows and perpetuate its own comfort level.

Risk is scary, and when it’s the agent’s head on the chopping block, when their livelihood depends on your success, well gosh, I don’t blame them one bit for being cautious. (Occasionally they will be unnecessarily rude and snarky, and that I don’t condone because it’s just not classy. Put a dollar in the jar.) But if it were me and my head, I would respond no differently.

And this is what I have come to love about self-publishing: the risk is entirely at the discretion of the author. It is the author — not the agent, not the publisher — walking themselves into the fire; and either they will be refined or burnt to a crisp, but either way it’s their business, so why the fuss? Why the arched brows and pursed lips? Why the need to criticize the whole tree because of its assortment of rotten apples? It’s not the trees fault. It was planted there to grow and bring something good to the people. It cannot be held responsible for every wayward fruit.  So, if the apple turns to mush in your mouth, for cryin’ out loud reach up and pick another! Poor editing, lousy characters, a drooping plotline, less than convincing dialog — all these I have found in self-published titles, and all these I have found among imprints.

Just the chance; everyone deserves that.

In this post I am introducing six Indie Authors. Their genres and interests span from one end of the spectrum to the other. Below you will find their bios, photos, blurbs, and media-kits. Get to know them; perhaps one will be your next favorite author.

Before you meet them, though, read the article I have copied and pasted from KDP (Kindle Publishing Direct) about one stalwart author’s persistence and her well-earned success in the self-publishing market. This success is very rare, and entirely the result of a tenacious attitude hard work, and let’s not forget the most important part — great writing. Had agent rejection punctuated her career, a great series might never have been discovered. This author saw her chance and she took it. Good for her.

So, in closing, we need not have our hands groping for the throat of the publishing industry. We need not choke or strangle it into submission. The pulse remains tried and true. And it will beat of its own accord, the way it always has, whether or not there are people who wish to dictate it.

Let the masses decide. We the people don’t exist under an oligarchy; and neither should our books.

~

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The Amenable Poison

I think that if we were a little more ourselves and little less the people we think our peers want us to be, we might come quite close to knowing what whole feels like.

Just a thought that’s been roaming around this ever-tumultous mind.

Speaking of which . . . the other day, while administering needles into my naked bum, my acupuncturist says to me, “You must slow down. Your brain is always three steps ahead of your body.” Out loud, I murmured a noncommittal assent and pledged to try and downshift more often; however, in my three-steps-ahead-mind, I thought, “Lady, you have no idea.” (I think she heard me, though, because the next needle went deeeep.)

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