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.