Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tit for Tat

Spent some time yesterday, after the walk in the forest, making sure I was following my followers. Reminded me of that old line "There they go! I must be after them, for I am their leader!" Ahem. Anyway, most of the time it was an easy process. I clicked on the photo and found the appropriate blog under links. Then I added the url to my master list for ease of clicking and commenting. I'm thinking that reading 10 blogs a day on a rotating basis and leaving a comment is manageable.


When a writer has more than one blog, time constraints force me to choose one. Decisions. Decisions. Have I selected the right one? Time, I guess, will tell.

Author Central at Amazon

While I was off meandering through the woods, the gurus at Author Central worked their magic. Book trailer, cover photo, my photo, and the blog are happily ensconced in their new home over there. Feels good to have one more item checked off on the To Do List for Headwind.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time Out

Stepping back from the trials and tribulations of doing all the stuff a writer has to do to get the world to notice she's written a book and going to inhale the fresh autumn air and take a walk in the woods today.

That may not be the longest run-on I've ever written but it comes close and it has the added advantage of being immensely therapeutic. Amazon? Go away today. I'll tackle you tomorrow.

I love late autumn in the Rocky Mountains. Nights are cold enough that a warm comforter pulled up to my chin and snuggling down into the covers feels wonderful. It's frosting every night now and by the time the sun peeks over Granite Mountain, the temperature is hanging tight in the low 20s.

Feeding the goats means breaking ice in the water buckets each morning. It's not time yet to put in the electric water heating ring but it's getting closer. My feet make crackling, crinkling noises in the grass as I carry the hay and grain to the goat pens. In my wake I see footprints. In a few weeks, those footprints will be in snow. For now, they're just in frost.

By afternoon, temperatures are in the 60s, but in the shade, ice crystals linger in water puddles and if I forget to stretch out the hose, I hear crackling noises when I turn on the water spigot. The force of the water sends a cascade of ice tubes out onto the grass.

There are some dragonflies along the river and in the marshy spots in the field. Red ones and blue ones. I haven't seen the smaller green ones for a couple of months now. Mostly the red ones are left. They hover and light on leaves and skim across the surface of the river, chasing smaller bugs.

Two Mallards are still cruising the river. Maybe this year's ducklings. They're two females and don't seem in a hurry to head for warmer climates.

Spider lines are a sure sign of autumn. Released by the females of some species,they float on the air, filling the sky with silken tendrils until they come to rest on some surface where they attach. I've never seen the eggs they must transport. The railing on the footbridge over the river is host to many of these strands and I fan them away from me as I cross over.

Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets, and since I hail from New England, he's an appropriate choice. "Whose woods are these, I think I know." One of my favorite lines. My woods are not in the village, though. They're rugged, lonely, grand, and deep. Young trees grow among the fallen giants. Ferns and wildflowers fill the meadows. All the reasons I left the city behind so many years ago. Perfect for a writer. Perfect for anyone who loves nature and what she can offer in a world that's become so complex, so busy, and so impersonal.

Still rejoicing in the miracle of Chile. Still grateful for nature in all her glory.
Still hoping the world learns to care for her resources - the water, the air, the earth.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Amazon and Author Central and First Novel That Moved Me

How's that for combining topics?

In reverse order, Brad Jaeger's fun blog hop got me thinking about the First Novel That Moved Me. "" For me, it was a children's book, The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. This was part of a series that included The Saturdays, Gone Away Lake, and And Then There Were Five.

Enright wrote back in the 1940s and the books were set during the war. I loved those stories and can even today visualize the characters and remember the plots with fond affection.

Next Topic

Yesterday I finished up what I can do on Amazon for Headwind. I'm waiting for Amazon to agree that I'm  the author so I can move ahead with Author Central and also post the cover photo to replace the current "image not available" logo. To start the ball rolling, Amazon contacts the publisher for confirmation that KK Brees and I are the same person. Once this happens, it takes 1-7 days, they say, for this to be processed. Once that happens, I can work at developing my bio there and getting the process started for having this writing blog show up on their site. After it all gets in place, it should be pretty nifty.

Author Central will  allow me to upload a video. I'm thinking that adding the book trailer here would be good. There's also an Events tab where I can post book signing info and other types of upcoming appearances.

Amazon requires an RSS feed for the blog. I tried to add it but couldn't get it to work. Each time I tried, all that happened was that the titles of my recent blogs appeared in the top right corner of the blog. Had to admit defeat and decided to let Murray, my wonderful web guy handle this. Of course I'd changed passwords since we last talked, so that held him up until he got the new one. One more item addressed. He should have it working smoothly shortly.

So, will Author Central benefit the book? Hard to say, but at least it's one more way of expanding my web presence.  As with everything else in the book business, it's "hurry up and wait!"

Thank You

One last item: Thanks to Nancy R. Williams who blogs at She offered the Cherry on Top Award to those of us poor, awardless bloggers who need a boost. It looks nice on the blog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Field Studies

Debated for a bit about the title and decided against "Cemetery Plots", although that one's probably more accurate for the purpose intended. I love cemeteries, especially old ones. They're important sources of historical information and provide a rich source of ideas for plots and subplots for a writer.

Last May I was driving the back roads of Connecticut and spied an ancient (by American standards) cemetery in a wooded area. It was possibly a family cemetery, now overgrown with shrubs and grasses, the wooden tombstones weathered beyond legibility. In the midst of this neglected and forgotten place, a patch of iris  poked through the ground. Who had planted the iris so many years ago? I wondered. Had it been a mother's favorite flower and planted there by a grieving husband or loving daughter?  A family story began to take shape in my mind.

At another cemetery in southern Massachusetts, I found the grave of a man. Nothing unusual here. He had lived a long life for the 18th century. His wives hadn't, though. Each of the four had died before the age of 20. I began to ponder that odd fact. Had he been terribly unlucky or was there a darker side to this tragedy? Serial killers aren't confined to the 21st century, after all. Had he gotten away with murder? We'll never know, but again, a story beckoned here.

Name that Character

If you're writing an historical, you've got to love cemeteries. Some of the best names you'll ever find are right there, waiting for you and they come with the dates when they were popular. Hezekiah, Isabel, Esther, and Patience speak to you from the distant past. Abraham, Ezekiel, and Nathaniel - their male counterparts.

Each generation has its popular names and a stroll through the cemetery will reveal them to you.

Question du Jour: Where do you find your plots and character names?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blogging Away

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

 First of all, many thanks to Patricia Stoltey and Sherry Gloag for hosting me yesterday. It was a fun time and I added several new blogs to my follow list from kind folks who stopped by to comment.

The Blog Progress

The other day I blogged about 10 Things, as a way to get jobs done - Think decimal, I guess you'd say. Even though I tend to be numerically challenged, I can handle lists of ten. So while I was bobbing and bopping between blogs yesterday, I spent time working on developing the blog to make it a better one.

I did get the links added for blogs and some for websites. I had fun adding badges and other decorative but useful widgets. Stepping back, or pushing the chair back rather, to examine the result, I'm pleased. It's looking good.

Visiting other writer blogs helped me confirm I made the right choice in the new template. So now, with a few adjustments here and there, I'm ready to rock and roll.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blog Hopping Monday

Today I'm on Patricia Stoltey's blog: and also guesting on Sherry Gloag's blog as well:

There's an interview with Katrin, my heroine, as well as a peek at the trailer and the glorious cover done by Sue Payne.  Come see what Headwind's about. There's also a bit about me there, as well.

Then  check out Brad Jaeger's Blog - The First Novel That Moved Me at
Brad's orchestrated a lovely blog hop for authors and you'll find his views there.

The first novel that moved me was The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. Written back in the 40s, it's the story of four children who move to the country. Might not sound like much, but to a lonely only, it opened the door to some possibilities beyond the inner city streets.

Please stop by and leave a comment. Thanks

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blog Turf Wars and Ten Things

Don't have a clue what the title means, but I like it. Been working at redesigning my own blog turf and thanks to Alex Cavanaugh (who blogs at or possibly Enid - we've been having some confusion over at the BBT Cafe, I finally made the artistic leap - lost the white ink and decluttered the background. I liked the old template but it really was too busy and distracted from my orts of wisdom. So, thanks Alex and/or Enid!

Got a bunch of goals for the week, relative to the blog. I need to add a gazillion blog and website links, for starters. Think I'll probably go back to the good old Rule of Ten - it's a great tool for writing down ideas, organizing the pantry, and developing a website.

The premise is simple: Do ten things. In this case, I'll add ten blog links and ten website links. When I'm done, the blog will be a better place. Tomorrow, I'll think of another ten things to do somewhere else - maybe on the blog, maybe contacting Indie Bookstores to beg them to carry Headwind. I visited many indies when I was back east in May and this will be the right time to follow up.

Ten Things. This trick can take the most onerous task and turn it into simple stuff.

Above photo is Fred the Emu - or possibly Fredrika - as I said, it's been kind of a confusing day.

 Question du Jour: What are your tricks for simplifying tough jobs?