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Great Ideas Come from the Heart

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Good Ideas, vs Great Ideas

I often think I have great ideas. Ask anyone who has known me longer than a few hours. They can tell you that I frequently start a sentence with, “I just had a great idea!”

Not that the ideas are always that great, of course. But I do love that burst of excitement that comes with an idea that seems a real winner. Having had a few great ideas that panned out in my life, I can definitely say they are fun…in the same way roller coasters are fun, even when your heart dips into your stomach and you wonder if you’ll survive the trip this time.

Telling a great idea from a good idea isn’t always easy, but the great ones tend to stick with you. If they don’t work at first, they come around and sneak up on you another way, until everything comes together and magic happens.

I can also say that my greatest ideas always come from the heart. Like this newest idea I had to promote audiobooks, which, along with 9 other authors, I’m unveiling today.

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An End is Just One Step to a New Beginning

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Sometimes It’s a Book That Ends, Sometimes It’s a Conference

The 2013 NINC (Novelists Inc) conference ended October 27th. I left the beach on the 28th. That’s two weeks ago and I’m just now ready to blog about it.

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Writing a Picture Book Is Fun

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Playing with Word and Pictures

Okay. The whole Boston thing has me bummed. I’m turning off the news and turning to something fun: writing Caleb’s book.

I’ve been struggling with the way to start. Going from a novel that allows you 250 words to a page (and lots of pages) to a baby book, where I must rely on pictures and very few words to carry the story is a challenge. But I’m enjoying it.

I took a lot of pictures when I visited his mom pre-Caleb’s arrival, and I’m playing with Photoshop to make them work in the story.

Yesterday, in the car, I came up with the first few lines (probably the first few pages, considering this is a baby book and pictures matter most):

Caleb came home with his mommy and daddy on a windy day in March.

Caleb slept a lot at first, because he was born early. Sleepy Caleb.

One day, Caleb stopped sleeping and started looking around.

The first thing he saw was Maya. Hi Maya!

Okay, that’s it so far. Granddad says that the first thing Caleb should see is his parents. I, personally, think a dog is more interesting to an infant that his parents.… Read the rest

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Making an Audiobook: Interview with Audiobook Narrator Leah Frederick

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The UnintendedBride_2400x2400Please welcome Leah Frederick to the blog today. Leah is the narrator for my first released audiobook The Unintended Bride. [I know, I know, why am I doing them out of order -- it wasn't on purpose, it is just the way things happen.] Amazon and Audible have teamed up to let authors and narrators work together to make audiobooks through the ACX program. This means the author and narrator are the two people who do all of the work. I provided the manuscript, the narrator provided the audio talent and expertise. So far, I’ve listened to three of my books several times to ensure high quality audiobooks. Two more are in the pipeline, and two more will be finding narrators soon. This made me naturally curious to know how it worked from the narrator’s end. I asked Leah a few questions and got some very interesting answers.

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Posted in About a Book, My, How This Business Has Changed, My, How This Business Has Not Changed, Pardon My Gossip

Audiobooks — The New Frontier for Indie Authors?

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Is Listening Really Reading?

I have a confession to make: I have become an audiobook junkie.

Back in the day, when an audiobook cost $80 dollars and came with a tray of cassette tapes 20 strong, I had to be highly motivated to check one out of the library. Even when my family purchased the last Harry Potter on CD for a long car trip, it was not a lightly made purchase.

But then along came .mp3, digital media, and now I love listening to books when I’m in the car, out walking, or running on the track at the Y.

In the car, I listen to Book Radio on Satellite radio when I can (bits and pieces, but I love it anyway). On our summer trip across the country, my husband and I must have listened to ten books in various genres. Some good, some not so good. All better than most of the choices on FM radio.

I hadn’t considered turning my books into audiobooks, though. It seemed like too much work. Until Audible (an Amazon company) performed its magic and created ACX — a platform that allows authors and narrators to team up to produce and sell audiobooks.… Read the rest

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A DIY Retreat With Style and Economy

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When Is It Time for a Retreat?

The Northeastern winters get tough on me. I’m not fond of trudging through snow. I start to feel housebound. I have tried many things to keep myself in a healthy and creative mindset: going to the Y, curling up with a great book by the wood stove, trying delicious sounding soup and stew recipes.

But sometimes nothing works and I find myself sitting under a blanket wishing I were in Hawaii (I’ve never been, but in my mind, that’s the place where creativity reigns unfettered).

I begin to search online for writer’s retreats, or spas where I might spend two weeks having someone else make my meals, wandering around warm snow-free walking paths, joining a yoga class every morning…and, most of all, having hours of solitary focus on my writing. It always sounds like heaven…expensive heaven.

Running Away on the Cheap

This year, I knew I needed to find a way to get away. I trolled my usual suspects, but there was no way I could afford them. Then I got an email from Virgin America about a sale. I could nab an inexpensive ticket to San Francisco. My daughter, my sister, and my cousin live in San Francisco.… Read the rest

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My ‘The Authors Corner’ Interview Link!

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sunflower with a smileI was scheduled to talk to Elaine Raco Chase on her blogtalk radio program, The Authors Corner, on Thursday night, but Elaine had an emergency and had to cancel (everything is fine now). We rescheduled for Saturday and had a blast talking about mystery shopping — something it turns out we both have experience with. Although I think Elaine could have been a better candidate to turn into my mystery shopping sleuth Molly because Elaine had some real adventures in her shopping experiences. (You’ll have to listen to the show to hear what I mean.)

You can find the show to listen to here: The Authors Corner 2/10/13 and you’ll find me on at 9:30 — but why not listen to the whole show, because Elaine is very good at prying secrets out of authors.

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New Book, New Cover Decision

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Judge Not, Lest Your Cover Be Judged

I’m getting a little closer to turning Shop and Let Die into a real novel. I just made a revision to the first chapter that I think finally gets that chapter into shape (thanks to Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story). I’m hoping to get the full draft to my critique group next week.

This weekend, I was discussing the mockup cover designs my designer sent me. There will be some tweaks, but just to give you an idea of how things start, these are the three designs on the discussion block:

3 shopper covers

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Why It Is a Great Time To Be An Author — Reason #1: Amazon’s Dan Slater

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I learned a lot at the recent Novelists Inc. conference. But one outstanding thing I learned was that Dan Slater of Amazon is a very smart man.

Faced with a room full of published (traditional, indie, and self) authors eager to discover the secrets behind reaching readers (aka discoverability), he dished facts, provided graphs, listened to suggestions, and explained Amazon’s policies.

And, like a cherry on top of an unusually nutritious sunday, he topped his fact-filled discussion with a friendly smile. Agents and editors may have been surprised to hear how successful so many NINC novelists have become in the indie sphere, but it was quite obvious that Dan already knew (having crunched that data and provided it to so many hungry authors over the course of several days).

We didn’t like all of the answers he gave us (we want that Pre-Order button! … not to mention the lovely red slash through our price tag when we run a sale). But we understood why, because he took the time to show us.

He also took the time to listen to us. Amazingly, this was in stark contrast to some of the other industry guests we had invited in to begin the discussion about the new partnership opportunities that are opening for all of us (foreign markets, audiobooks, print only rights, etc.).… Read the rest

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Frankenstorm and Novelists Inc Conference 2012

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Back From the Abyss

You may have noticed I’ve been absent for a while.  Or, conversely, you may have forgotten I exist at all.

As co-chair of the 2012 Novelists Inc. conference (held last week in White Plains, NY), I’ve been snowed under with last minute conference details and life has felt a bit like a hurricane for a month or so.

Ironic, eh? The conference (theme: profitable partnerships) went off spectacularly, although news of Frankenstorm managed to penetrate the conference bubble and most of our attendees hastily changed plans and managed to get out of White Plains a little more quickly than had been planned. Good thing, according to the news I’ve been following.

I’m home now, and I still have power, so I’m combing through all the fabulous information I got from the conference to figure out what I’ll be working on for the next year. I’ll share my top three insights:

  1. It has never been a better time to be a novelist.
  2. My career is in my own hands.
  3. Banding together with other authors for support is the best kind of partnership there is.

Can’t wait for next year (Myrtle Beach, SC, October 24-28 again).… Read the rest

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