Friday, September 23, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Beyond Mortal Knowledge

Hello, everyone, and welcome. For those of you who are new to my site, I hope you will like what you find and come back for more. And for those of you who are visiting again, I'm so glad you're back.

Sign-up day for Six Sentence Sunday actually begins on Tuesday at 6 p.m. I am of a certain age and sometimes need memory aids, which is why people at work must wonder why I have “6SS” inked on my wrist every Tuesday. But this week I forgot the ink and life got a little crazy and suddenly it was Thursday and I realized I’d almost forgotten! That would have been a big disappointment, because I look forward to sharing with you every week and having you share your comments back.

I also look forward to reading the other writers’ Sunday contributions. There is such a variety of style and imagination--but I’m sure you know that already, even if you’ve sampled only a few of the 6SS offerings.

This week I’m continuing with an excerpt from my work in progress, The King’s Witch. The book is intended as a short (for me) prequel to my fantasy romance series, The World of Pangaea. The witch is not a main character in the series, but she is pivotal in Book I and a catalyst for the heroine’s actions in Book II. It seemed only fair to tell at least part of her story.

The excerpt I’ve chosen is from the first chapter. The new king wants to purge his kingdom of the evil loosed on it by his father, a man who sought power by turning to the dark arts. The witch’s brother has come forward on her behalf to beseech the king to spare her life. As he begins her story, the first words out of his mouth trigger unpleasant memories for the king. 

The King’s Witch, Excerpt #2

“Our mother died giving birth to her.”

Armander grunted his lack of surprise at this last. Evil usually broke the vessel that bore it. All but one of his siblings died within weeks of birth, most taking their mothers with them. An idiot brother survived until his twelfth year, drooling and shitting himself to the end. Why the dark gods had spared him to become his father’s successor was beyond mortal knowledge.

*     *     *
As always, I appreciate your comments and your time spent in making them. Here’s the link to continue on with your Six Sentence Sunday reading. Enjoy!

Happy trails,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: The King's Witch

It’s good to be back after missing last week’s Six Sentence Sunday. For this week, I’ve decided to take a break from A Bed of Thorns and Roses to introduce you to my current work in progress. The King’s Witch is a novella-length prequel to my soon to be released fantasy series, The World of Pangaea. The series is first of all a romance, set in an alternate pre-history, one where the continents never drifted apart. There are many different cultures, and many kingdoms, as in our own world. These are simply separated by land instead of oceans. The time frame is indeterminate, though definitely pre-industrial. People are closer to the land and closer to the spirit world of demons and magic.

King Armander, who is the hero of Book I in the series, has made it his first task on taking the throne to rid his kingdom of the practitioners of the dark arts encouraged under his father’s demonic reign. In this week’s six, his counselor has just announced that the woman who stands trial before him was one of the old king’s consorts, and a favorite.

The King’s Witch: Excerpt #1

One of his favorites. Armander knew what that meant. Nekros killed the merely pretty consorts once he tired of them. No matter how beautiful, a woman could only remain in his favor if she possessed dark gifts. Over the years, the demon hordes the mad king called forth grew increasingly difficult to command. Nekros had either feared this woman or he had found her useful for augmenting his own power.

*     *     *

Thank you all who take the time to comment. This new series is a complete departure from my historical romance, though I suppose there is a fairy tale element to it. Book I is titled The Beast. I can’t seem to get away from the Beauty and the Beast theme, no matter what subgenre I’m in. <grins, somewhat abashed> This time, however, the tale takes a much darker and more erotic turn.

We have a wonderful independent bookstore here, The Morris Book Shop. They have three words on their shopping bags: Eat. Sleep. Read. That is my idea of a good time, though I would have to add one more word to that:  Write.

And now here’s the link back to the Six Sentence Sunday site and the many many talented writers there. Enjoy.

Have a good week everyone,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

Today marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The phrase has no need of explanation, just as the horrific images of that day have been forever etched into our collective consciousness.

Words feel totally inadequate to express the emotions engendered by this day. Others have written and spoken much more eloquently on the subject than I could ever hope to. All I can say is, I will never forget. Neither will millions of others.

Please take a moment with me to remember those who lost their lives, those who lost family and loved ones, and the first responders and volunteers who even now are dealing with the after-effects of that dreadful day.

Thanks for dropping by. If anyone has any comments or remembrances about that day ten years ago, I’d love to hear them.

I’ll be back next week for Six Sentence Sunday. See you then,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: The Saddest Eyes

Hello and welcome to my Sunday Six offering. Thank you for stopping by and thanks to all those who leave comments. I appreciate your time, because time is a precious commodity and seems to grow scarcer on the weekends for some reason. I know I never have enough of it to read as many of the other Sunday Six authors as I’d like--and there are so many to choose from!

I always try to reciprocate with the comments, though too often time runs out. If I don’t get to you one week, I will try my best to get there the next. I’ve found the Sunday Sixers to be a wonderful, supportive group and want to return that support as well.

I hope you enjoy this week’s excerpt. It pretty much takes up where last week’s left off.

The set-up:  Jonathan leaves his hiding place behind the screen when he hears Isabelle cry out in pain after she cuts herself. When Isabelle finally comes to herself enough to realize he’s beside her, she turns to speak to him and for the first time sees why he keeps himself hidden.

A Bed of Thorns and Roses #9

She thought for a moment she was back in the nightmare. He had no face, this man, just a fabric mask with two dark circles cut out for eyes.

Yet after she recovered from her initial surprise, she was strangely unafraid. Frowning, Isabelle leaned forward and peered into the dark circles, then said the first thing that came to mind. “You have the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen.”

She said this with great wonder, because she had seen her own eyes in the mirror.

*     *     *

That’s it for now. Here’s the link to send you back to the Six Sunday site.

Have a great week,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: A Voice Behind the Screen

Hello! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my weekly snippet.

Six Sentence Sunday is a great idea. Choosing such a small sample really forces me to hit the highlights. On the other hand, so much has to be left out, I feel like I’m cheating you. People who can write short stories (not to mention flash fiction or haiku) inspire my awe and admiration. This writer has to make an effort to keep it under 150 k words per book.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll get right to the set-up for this week’s excerpt:

Shamed by his doctor, Jonathan finally agrees to provide Isabelle with work. He summons her to the parlor with a cryptic note then, thinking to spare her sensibilities, arranges to sit behind a folding screen so she can’t see him. He has no way of knowing that his disembodied voice coming from behind the screen will trigger Isabelle’s memories of the traumatic event responsible for her recurrent nightmare. When she tells Jonathan she is feeling unwell, he suggests she go to the sideboard and pour herself a drink.

At first the glass of sherry helps, but when Jonathan’s voice emerges again from behind the screen, Isabelle has a full-blown panic attack.

A Bed of Thorns and Roses #8

In a desperate attempt to be rid of her unreasoning panic, she threw the glass to the floor. The delicate crystal shattered.

Its bright sound drew an exclamation from behind the screen, followed by a low question asked with forced calm. “What happened?”

Isabelle ignored the question, instead bending forward to retrieve a triangular remnant of glass from the floor. Holding it with her right hand, she aimed the sharp point at the fleshy pad of her left thumb, stabbed through the skin, and gouged a deep crimson line down to her wrist.

*     *     *

You may think this sounds like a disastrous first meet, but actually it gets worse!

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love getting your opinions. Here’s the Six Sunday link to take you back to the site. Happy reading.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Against His Will

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy my selection this week. I love getting your feedback. The writing life can be an isolated one at times. Your comments keep me from feeling as though I’m talking to myself.

The number of 6 Sentence Sunday participants seems to be growing every week. If you haven’t already done so, check out the 6 Sunday site. There are lots of talented writers for you to choose from.

In my selection this week, Isabelle has grown increasingly uncomfortable as the days go by with no word what job duties are expected of her. She decides to meet with Dr. Garrick, the man who hired her, and offer her resignation. However, the interview does not go as she had planned.

The following excerpt is an abridged version of the conversation between Isabelle and Dr. Garrick. She has just told him she believes Mr. Nashe, her employer, would prefer for her to leave.

A Bed of Thorns and Roses #7

“It doesn’t matter what he prefers. We must do what is best for him.”

Isabelle was certain her employer had reached the age of majority and that, legally, he could not be forced to act against his will.

“I cannot render my service if he doesn’t allow it.”

“I will see that he allows it, Miss Tate. And I have no intention of releasing you from your contract.”

 *     *     *

It may not sound like it from this little snippet, but the doctor is actually one of the good guys. He has a story of his own which is bound up with that of the hero and heroine. Would you like to hear from him next week, or should I give you more of Jonathan and Isabelle?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

6 Sentence Sunday: The Nightmare

Thanks for stopping by to read my Sunday Six and a special thanks to everyone for your comments. Jumping right in, here is the next excerpt from my historical romance.

The set-up:  Isabelle feels increasingly uneasy as the days go by and she fails to receive any word from her new employer as to her duties. Homesickness and worry take their toll. She wakes in the middle of the night, revisited by a dream that has haunted her for years.

I’ve cheated this week and given you seven sentences. I just couldn’t make it work with six. Please don’t be too hard on me for being long-winded :-) 

A Bed of Thorns and Roses #6

The nightmare again.

Or not so much a nightmare as a memory that came to her in her sleep, demanding to be let in, waking her with the sort of terror that sucked the breath from her lungs. How many times had she relived the horror? The eyes behind the screen, watching her. The pain. Always, the pain. And the blood.

Next week:  Isabelle decides to resign.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

6 Sentence Sunday: God Has No Mercy

It’s that time of week again! Thank you for stopping by to sample my Sunday Six. And a really huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to add a comment.

Choosing only six sentences to share each week has been an educational exercise. Thinking in sixes forces me to look for the shiniest nuggets, highlights that encapsulate the mood or emotion I may have spent pages trying to establish in the book itself. I find I’m looking at my writing in a different way, with a much more critical eye. My internal editor has started telling me things like That was a boring six or Uh-oh, nothing’s really happening here. Writing well isn’t easy. Ideally, every sentence should hold the reader’s attention. Every word should sing. I’m still working at it.

The excerpts are taken from the book in chronological order and are numbered, for those of you who like to start at the beginning.

This week’s set-up:  When his doctor insisted on hiring a secretary for him, Jonathan never dreamed he would choose a woman for the job. Appalled at her presence in his home, yet fascinated despite himself, Jonathan has been spying on Isabelle from his window, hoping to catch a glimpse of her face. In this week’s 6, his curiosity has just been satisfied. Jonathan ducks behind the curtain in near panic.

A Bed of Thorns and Roses #5

Did God have no mercy? He put his hand over his heart to be certain it was still beating. No, God had no mercy for such as he.

The woman was beautiful. Breathtakingly, heartbreakingly beautiful.

He had to get rid of her.

Next week:  I think it’s time to hear from Isabelle again.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

6 Sentence Sunday: A Cheap Voyeur

Thanks for dropping by to let me share my Sunday 6 with you. I feel lucky to have discovered this talented group, who not only represent a variety of genres but a number of different countries as well. If you haven’t already done so, pay a visit to the 6 Sunday site and sample their work. I promise, you’ll be glad you did. 

I’ve been pulling each week’s selection from my book, A Bed of Thorns and Roses, available as an ebook from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and other major ebook distributors. The story is a romance based on Beauty and the Beast and is set during America’s Gilded Age.

Last week, Jonathan watched from behind the curtains as Isabelle arrived, ducking out of sight when she sensed his presence and looked toward the window. Earlier, faced with losing the use of his right hand, Jonathan had given in to his doctor and agreed to hire a secretary. On first seeing Isabelle, Jonathan realizes to his horror that the doctor has hired a woman for the job. Though his mask hides the worst of his disfigurements, he knows she will react with disgust and even fear at the sight of him.

After last week’s selection, I left you with the question, how will Jonathan resolve his dilemma? Well, I’m sorry to say, he doesn’t. Not yet at least.

It is now Sunday morning. The servants have left to attend church services in the nearby village. Isabelle has stayed behind, and while she walks in the garden, Jonathan finds himself spying on her once again.

A Bed of Thorns and Roses #4

The woman stopped beneath his window, for no apparent reason. Jonathan tensed, ready to hide behind the curtains if she should look up. Instead, she bent her head, then lifted her arms and placed her hands on the crown of her hat, feeling for the pin that anchored it to her hair. Her bodice stretched taut, revealing the shape of her breasts beneath. Jonathan held his breath, feeling like a cheap voyeur in a penny arcade but unable to look away.

She twisted around as the hat came free, tossing it on the grass, then turned her back to him. He could almost believe that she knew he was watching and purposely meant to deny him a glimpse of her face.

Next week:  Jonathan finally sees Isabelle’s face and knows what he must do.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

6 Sentence Sunday: Nothing But A Coward

Another Sunday, another 6. There are over 150 participants this week. If you haven’t already done so, please stop by the Six Sunday site and check out this week’s authors.
Below is my offering for the week. I hope you enjoy. As always, I welcome your comments.

Last week, as Isabelle started to enter her new employer’s home for the first time, she sensed someone watching her from a second-storey window. It was Jonathan, of course. This week’s 6 show his reaction at seeing Isabelle for the first time.

A Bed of Thorns and Roses #3

With an admirable instinct for self‑preservation, she must have sensed his presence. But when she turned to look up at the window where he stood, he had hidden behind the curtains, sacrificing the satisfaction of his curiosity for anonymity.
Coward. He was nothing but a coward. Were it not better to stand his ground, to let her confront the monster? Not to do so seemed a terrible deception.

Next week:  How will Jonathan resolve his dilemma?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

6 Sentence Sunday #2: Isabelle arrives at the Nashe estate

I want to thank everyone who commented last week on my first 6 Sentence Sunday post. The "Sixers" are a very welcoming group. If you have not already done so, please check out the wide variety of talented writers at the 6 Sentence Sunday site.
I decided to lift excerpts from my book following the story's chronological timeline and will number them as they are posted. That way anyone who likes to start at the beginning can easily go back to the first one and follow them in order.
Set-up for this week's 6 (actually 5, but they're long sentences):  After accepting the job as Jonathan Nashe's secretary, Isabelle Tate leaves home for the first time to assume her new duties. She finds the household staff waiting for her when her carriage arrives. The following takes place immediately after they have introduced themselves to Isabelle.
A Bed of Thorns and Roses #2

As if by some prearranged signal, the other servants moved toward the house. Isabelle started to follow them, then paused, momentarily overwhelmed by the sense that her life would never be the same once she crossed the threshold.
With a sigh, she continued, only to stop again after a few steps. A tickle of awareness rippled down the back of her neck and was gone, as if someone had lightly run a finger from her nape to her shoulder. Without reasoning why, she looked up toward a second‑story window in time to see a panel of heavy drapery fall gently back against its mate.

Next week:  Jonathan's reaction after observing Isabelle's arrival

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fool's Gold

We have one of those calendars at work that labels every day of the year with a special event or idea to celebrate. July 11th is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. In honor of that commendable thought, I wrote the following.

Neil Young sang about looking for a heart of gold, about how he spent years looking and not finding. I always wondered, how would he recognize a heart of gold if he ever found one?

How are we supposed to tell true gold from fool's gold? They used to use a touchstone. Being a word freak, I found this out in the dictionary. My ancient and beloved copy of Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines a touchstone as 1) a black siliceous stone related to flint and formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal; and 2) a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing. A touchstone, Webster's says, suggests a simple test for determining the authenticity or value of something intangible.

So, what is our touchstone for that elusive heart of gold? Judging from the movies, the magazines and--let's be honest--the covers on romance novels, it's the way a person looks. It's Fabio and some buxom heroine in an advanced state of dishabille. It's the impossibly thin, impossibly gorgeous airbrushed models. It's Brad and Angelina.

I got suckered into all this as a girl. I faithfully read Glamour magazine, hoping that if I figured out the right clothes, the right make-up, the right way to act, that I, too, could be popular. I remember when they would ask the famous super models for their favorite beauty tips, one of the most frequent answers was, "When I step out of the shower, I push my cuticles back with a towel." Huh? Honestly, I don't know how many times I read that same "beauty tip" before it finally dawned on me this was super model code for, "I was born this way, idiot. No matter what you do, you'll never look like me."

My Glamour-reading days were years ago. Yet even now, after decades of progress toward full economic and political equality, how many women judge themselves by a false standard of beauty? How often, like my character Isabelle, do they consider themselves inferior and unworthy of love? This impossible standard is simply a slower-acting version of the witch's curse; those who adopt it are inevitably changed over time by the accumulation of slights, rejections, and outright insults. Not getting asked on dates, missing the senior prom because no one wanted to be your escort, wondering what it's like to go out on a Friday night instead of staying home with a half-gallon of Breyer's ice cream for company.

Unfortunately, I'm a slow learner, but the gradual realization finally sank in, the fact that fairy godmothers don't exist, that no one was going to come along, wave a magic wand or produce a magic jar of face cream, and turn me into a princess.

Being a dreamer, though, I couldn't give up fairy tales altogether, which might explain my obsession with the story of Beauty and the Beast. Judging by the number of novels based on this theme, I'm not the only one. There are other tales where the man is changed instead of the woman--the princess and the frog comes to mind. But one of the things that fascinates me about this story and I believe one of the reasons for its persistent popularity, is the question of who underwent the greater transformation. The Beast may change outwardly, but it is Beauty who eventually learns to see past his appearance to his inner qualities. She is won over by his kind, gentle nature and comes to understand his lapses into beastly behavior stem from his pain and loneliness rather than a defect of character.

 If she had failed to look past his appearance, she would never have found her happy ending.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it as eloquently as anyone ever has in his “I have a dream” speech. He dreamed that his children “will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

I have a dream, too. Of a day when men and women will judge one another, not by a genetic fluke of birth, but by the content of their hearts. By their capacity for love, for selflessness, for wanting their loved one's happiness over their own. That capacity for love is how Isabelle saw past Jonathan's scars to find a man who would never harm her; it is why Jonathan let Isabelle leave despite knowing he couldn't live without her.

There is a reason why the romance genre outsells all others. I'm not the only one who has a dream. Women want to believe that genuine love is possible. They want their heroes and heroines placed in impossible situations, and they want to empathize with their struggles until, in the end, true love triumphs.

We may not live in the best of all possible worlds. Society's standards may be skewed. And if we use the wrong touchstone we may end with fool's gold instead of the genuine article--but let's keep the dream alive. Let's hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Keep on searching for your heart of gold. True gold, not fool's gold.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Not Even Human

This is my first Six Sentence Sunday offering, and so I thought I would start at the beginning. The excerpt below is from the first scene of my newly released ebook A Bed of Thorns and Roses. Based on the theme of Beauty and the Beast, the story is set during America's Gilded Age. The hero Jonathan is heir to one of the wealthiest robber barons in the country. He had every advantage money could buy until a tragic fire left him horribly disfigured. Now he lives the life of a recluse in his isolated country mansion. The kind-hearted Nellie, Jonathan's English maid, joined the handful of servants there over six years ago and has yet to set eyes on her employer. As she carries his afternoon tea tray to his room, Nellie considers the stories she's heard about Jonathan and his father.

That was bad enough, but what they said about his son was worse. They talked about how nobody ever saw Old Cornelius Nashe’s queer son, and just as well. What was left of him after the fire wasn’t fit to set eyes on, that’s what people said. Some claimed he wasn’t even human.
Balderdash, her mum would have called it, pure balderdash. Ignorant tales carried by ignorant folk.

To learn if Nellie's mum is right, you can find A Bed of Thorns and Roses at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,  and Smashwords.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Day to Remember

As it turns out, Memorial Day is when my book became available on Amazon and Smashwords. And as memorable as the day is for me, watching the Memorial Day Concert on TV put things in  perspective. We owe so much to our vets and their families and loved ones. I am in awe of the sacrifices you have made and continue to make. To you and to those now in active duty, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You can find my book on Smashwords and Amazon.  Both sites allow a free download of approximately 20% of the book's content, so you can try before you buy. I welcome your comments, good or bad, but I'm hoping--please--not indifferent. You the reader is what this is all about.

Happy trails,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

100 Years Later: James Durbin speaks for my hero

I hope that got your attention, because it's true.

A Bed of Thorns and Roses is set in 1895, during what has been labeled America's "Gilded Age," a time of ridiculous wealth and extravagance, when the so-called robber barons amassed incredible fortunes. My hero, Jonathan, was heir to one of the wealthiest of them all. He had everything money could buy until, at age 13 and on the brink of manhood, a tragic fire disfigured him horribly.

The story begins thirteen years later, when he has spent half his life living a hermit's existence, avoiding the world and the inevitable revulsion others cannot--or will not--hide at the sight of him. Then, quite against his will, a beautiful young woman comes to live at his isolated country mansion. To his astonishment, she refuses to view him as the monster he is; to his dismay, he realizes he is falling in love with her.

You no doubt recognize this as the classic theme of Beauty and the Beast. I'm slightly obsessed with the story. To tell the truth, I'm more than a little obsessed, but I'm in good company. There have been many versions written by diverse authors. The one that incited my own fascination was Robin McKinley's debut novel, Beauty, which is a lovely retelling that closely follows the original tale.

You're probably asking, what does all this have to do with James Durbin? Other than the fact that America broke my heart by voting him off Idol. (That's okay, James, we haven't heard the last from you). Before he left, he performed two songs that could be the soundtrack for my novel if I'd set it in 1995 and not 1895. The first is his rendition of Carole King's Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. My hero Jonathan cannot believe that Isabelle could continue to love him once she knows his hidden shame. James captures the wonder and the poignancy of his emotions. Check it out.

And of course, just as in the classic tale, Isabelle decides to leave Jonathan for reasons that seem completely right to her. She promises to return, but he believes otherwise. When James sang this second song, his emotions got the better of him, but I prefer this version to the perfect studio one.
Maybe his tears lost him votes, I don't know, but as any Romance reader will tell you, we are suckers for a man who isn't afraid to cry.

James wasn't afraid to let his love show. We could all take a lesson from his openness and his courage.
Until next time,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

If you build it, they will come

Let's hope so. I've spent what seems like far too much time inching along toward a full web presence.

But I am now on Twitter! @SondraCarr

And I already have followers. Don't laugh, for me it's an accomplishment.

Let's see, what else can I tick off the checklist?
  • Facebook--sort of
  • Website--almost finished
  • Oh, yes--formatting my novel for amazon and smashwords--priceless
Is all this a pain in the you-know-where? For sure. Is it worth it to be in control of the whole process from start to finish? Absolutely.

This is a short post due to a near brain dead condition brought on by staring too long at the computer screen. Not to mention I have a giant pain in the you-know-where.

Monday morning and the day job loom just ahead, yet slowly the tortoise plods forward.

Have a good week, friends.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blogger's Block, Book Launch and SM (Social Media) Anxiety

Here I am, ready to launch my first indie novel of close to 150k words, and a totally unforeseen problem has brought the entire effort to a screeching halt.

I have blogger's block.

Producing a novel of 100,000 words or more has never been a problem for me. Actually, most of my manuscripts have to be whittled down from nearly twice that size. My characters tend to have a lot to say, and with so many of them clamoring for attention, that blank computer screen staring back at me fills up pretty quickly.

So why, then, have I dithered for over a week trying to come up with a mere 200-250 words for my first blog post?

The answer is pretty simple really, I just hate to admit it. This blog is not so much about the characters or even the writing process as it is about me. And that's scary. The nasty little voice inside my head, the knee-jerk nay-sayer that pipes up whenever I venture into unknown territory, is telling me no one will be interested in someone who has sacrificed her life outside of the day job to one obsession, creating a life on paper for a cast of imaginary characters.

The writer's life is not a balanced one. Most of us have to make a distinct effort to weigh the time devoted to the different facets of our lives other than writing: family, friends, exercise, relaxation, giving back to the community, and--yes--even food.  Now, as the trad New York publishing companies struggle with their profit/loss margins, providing less and less marketing support to all but a handful of their authors, and indie authors such as myself decide to go it alone, writers have to deal with yet another demand on their time--establishing a presence in the social media.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Luddite. The internet has been the best thing to happen to writers since the printing press. But websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter--not to mention book trailers and virtual book tours? OMG, who has the time?

I'm playing catch-up in a big way, trying to learn and establish the tools needed to reach out to the people who are most important to anything I write--you, the readers. Please bear with me, this is a learning process. The look and even the location of my site and blog will undoubtedly change over time as I get better at this.

There--finally--I've coughed up my first blog post. Maybe the next one won't be so hard to produce.  In fact, I think I'll make it easy on myself and talk about my book.

Happy trails, wherever your journey and your reading take you.