Friday, April 27, 2012

For me, social media is just one more way to chat about writing and books - and keep in touch

I was reading a few funny blog posts the other day from writers who were getting a little frustrated with social media.

They didn't want to blog or tweet or Skype or sell - they just wanted to write. And while their comments were funny, they were serious.

I could relate. While most of the time, I'm very enthusiastic about blogging and tweeting, sometimes my inspiration just flags. And I'm an extrovert - I can't imagine how difficult it is for an introvert.

So I try not to think of it as a chore. I just think of it as chatting. To me, it's all about meeting people. Maybe new readers. Or other authors. Or even other moms, or friends I've lost touch with over the years.

I've met some great people since I've gone online, and I know if I keep plugging away, I'll likely meet more.

Writing can be a lonely business. It's good to know you have friends out there.

That's what keeps me going. One post, one tweet, one page at a time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Author Tonya Kappes shares the secrets of her success (and all that energy, too)

I'm a big fan of Tonya Kappes. This prolific self-published author is a high-energy dynamo; her novels regularly hit the Amazon bestsellers' list within the first eight hours of being published. And she's got a lot of them:  Carpe Bead 'Em, Bead of Doubt,, Happy New Life and Never Tell Your Dreams are just a few.

She's funny and whip-smart, so I thought it would be fun to do a little 5-question interview with her: Did I mention she's a good sport?

1. Have you been a writer all your life?

I was a writing late bloomer and didn't start writing until my late 30s. I've always been a reader but it wasn't until my husband picked up a book I was reading, read the first couple of pages and told me that I could write that I became a writer. That was all it took. Someone else believing in me.  I still have a day job. I graduated from the University of Kentucky with an elementary education degree with a minor in family therapy. I went back to get my master's from Northern Kentucky University. Every day I work with children birth to three as an early intervention therapist.

2. You're known for your energy and enthusiasm. What motivates you?

Living and helping people. In my day job, I help children and their families. I believe in everyone. Sometimes, one person needs a cheerleader to get them motivated to write that next word or finish off the book. It only takes a positive word.

3. Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere and anywhere! I love to read crazy headlines and put a mystery spin on them. Once I get an idea, I walk around and talk out loud to see what story will pop out of my mouth.

4. There's a lot of discussion today on traditonal vs. indie publishing. Your thoughts?

I'm a hybrid writer. I'm self-published, small press published, and I have an agent who is about to start shopping a mystery series. I believe writers can travel every road to publication. Try everything - and I mean everything - and then decide what's right for you. (p.s. Tonya has more thoughts on this topic - and they're worthy of a blog post all their own. So they'll get one).

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Writing and enjoying my family with a smile on my face.

For more information on Tonya, check out

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ripped from the headlines: Find a few story ideas from your local newspaper

Reporters often get a bad rap. They're nosy, after all. They ask a lot of questions, many of which folks don't necessarily want to answer.

But I'm a big fan of reporters. And even though I'm not a journalist anymore, I'm still addicted to reading the paper and watching the news. Now, I know, I know - not a lot of people pay attention to the news or read a paper anymore. That's a damn shame for a variety of reasons. But simply for the discussion of fiction writing, it's interesting to note there are tons of story ideas there.

See, lately, I've been trying to think of a good idea for a new series - something fresh, something fun, something completely different with a brand-new protagonist.

Well, I found my answer - in the local newspaper. I don't live in a particularly glamorous city, and there tends to be plenty of crime and corruption reported in my local paper. A local school board member was indicted for a scam that the local reporters uncovered. I started thinking ... what if ... what if ... what if ....

I couldn't stop thinking about it. Pretty soon, I was scribbling enthusiastically in a notebook on my lunch hour with my local investigative team to thank.

After all, the truth might be stranger than fiction, but that doesn't mean I can't take a few cues from it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Riddle me this: How is indie publishing like Weight Watchers?

After I had my first baby, I joined Weight Watchers. And it's a perfectly good weight-loss program. But like any other program, you tend to look at your numbers.

That's what made me think of it the other morning, when I sleepily logged on to, just like I do every morning to check on my book sales. But this morning, I stopped myself.

Again, I thought, I was becoming obsessed by my numbers. Again, I thought, I was missing the point.

When I was at Weight Watchers, I wasn't concerned about making friends or learning smart nutrition or doing any of the good things they teach you to do. No, I wasn't exactly a poster child. I just wanted to weigh in. I only wanted the gratification of seeing the numbers on the scale. I wasn't really learning anything - I knew I'd likely pig out at Taco Bell after weigh-in. And then I'd start all over. But only because of the numbers.

It took me awhile to figure out what I was doing wrong - and to finally not let that scale rule my life.

And I wondered the other morning if I was doing the exact thing again - only this time with my publishing numbers. Was I even having fun with my writing anymore? Or was I letting those numbers get the upper hand?

Sure, I want to make sales - what published author doesn't? But first and foremost, I write to write. That's what I need to focus on, and that, I told myself, is what I will. I'll check my numbers, of course. But I'll try not to obsess.

I'll write.

And afterwards, maybe I'll head out for a little treat - just a little one, mind you -  at Taco Bell.