Sunday, April 29, 2012

A question and an invitation

The Writer Magazine is celebrating 125 years of publication in 2012. It holds the distinction of being the oldest currently published magazine for writers. During this year-long celebration, the magazine is inviting writers to answer the questions What is the single most useful thing you've learned about writing, and how has it helped you as a writer? 

I thought it might be interesting to hear from you, either as a commenter or as a guest blogger here at The Word Place. I'll start things off with my own answer to the questions:

The single most useful thing I've learned about writing is that you have to do it! Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) put it this way: Write regularly, day in and day out, at whatever times of day you find that you write best. Don't wait till you feel you are in the mood. Write, whether you feel inclined to write or not.

We all feel disinclined to write from time to time. Maybe we call it 'writer's block' or the 'absent muse'. But writers write--so it must be done, and if I call myself a writer, I have to write. Sometimes it's a WIP; other times it's a personal journal entry which helps me sort out my thinking/feeling on something happening in my life. Words provide a catharsis of sorts. James Baldwin (1924-1987) confirmed this when he said, One writes out of one thing only--one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give.

So how has learning that I must write helped me as a writer? The answer isn't as obvious as one might think. It's not so much the actual writing as it is the commitment to write. When we sign a contract, we commit to seeing the project through however many edits our editor deems appropriate, to scrutinizing the galleys, and finally, to promoting our published work. But more important than the contract commitment is the commitment we make to ourselves when we say, "I am a writer."

Writers write, whether or not we garner profit or recognition. We write because we are writers.
Again, I invite you to share your own answers. Email me,, to choose a day to be my guest at The Word Place, and feel free to do some promo along with sharing your writing wisdom. 
Looking for a contemporary romantic suspense with a historic back story? Try The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall, a story of buried family secrets and revenge. Available as an eBook from Amazon, Champagne Books, and other eBook vendors. 

Coming May 15 from The Wild Rose Press: Dancing with Velvet, a romance set in my West Texas hometown during World War II. Visit my website to read more about it!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Three Weeks and Three Days or Two Too Many

The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall released on March 6, and since then, I've been promoting like a mad woman--or, at least, as 'mad' as I ever get. Now I look at the calendar and discover that Dancing with Velvet will hit the cyber-shelves on May 15--just three weeks and three days from now! It's time for the inevitable Personal Inquisition:
  • When should I start promoting Velvet?
  • Should I let up on promoting Miss Fanny?
  • Will promoting Velvet too early spark interest that's forgotten by the time it's out?
  • Will promoting a new book take the attention away from Miss Fanny?
  • Should it--could it--would it--ad nauseum?

The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall is an eBook only right now--hoping to sell enough to merit a print run. It's a romantic suspense, a tale of buried family secrets and revenge--and did I mention it's a bargain at $5.99? I've seen it on a few other eBook sites for $4.49!

View video trailer
Read the first chapter
Buy Links: Champagne Books

Dancing with Velvet will be available in eBook ($6.50) format AND in print ($14.99) from The Wild Rose Press around May 15. It's a World War II story set in my hometown in West Texas--a haunting tale of two people struggling to find themselves--and each other--in the midst of a world forever changed by the global conflict raging around them.

View the video trailer.
Read the first chapter

Monday, April 16, 2012

The (Writing) Notebook

Several recently-read articles recommend a writing notebook to organize pertinent information--like the articles on writing notebooks! Some suggest a writing journal to store items of interest which might morph into story ideas. With a file cabinet full of articles on every subject known to relate to writing (including promotion and marketing), should I even consider any new venue of organization?

After some thought, I've decided the answer is affirmative, but I've been slow getting around to it. The sum total of my efforts thus far have been to comb through the first four issues of this year's The Writer, snipping links, tips, advertisements for writing conferences, and parts of articles I've found particularly helpful. They repose in a pile on the small person's desk and must be off by Thursday when I take off my writing hat and put on my Mimi cap.

Decisions have been made: only one tome which will double as a notebook and a journal. After scouring craft stores and several online sites (and gasping at both the beauty and the cost of large hardback volumes), I went to my supply closet and unearthed a new2-inch binder into which I will place pages of sturdy cardstock which can be arranged and rearranged into various progressions until I reach the best one. When it's full, another can be procured at a fraction of the cost of the commercial journals.

I envision quiet afternoons of cutting and pasting, jotting down ideas and thoughts, letting my creative juices flow, welcoming my Muse to a virtual celebration of brilliant writing to come. I see snippets of information reposing on backgrounds of scrapbooking paper so as not to be missed, notes penned in wild hues, photos and mementos cleverly arranged and bursting with story potential. When I'm finished, of course. And I haven't even begun.

But someday...yes, yes someday I'll get around to it. Someday soon. This week even. Meanwhile, if you'd like to be similarly inspired, find a copy of the March 2012 The Writer and turn to page 38, where you can read "An Illustrated Journal Helps You Remember". Then just follow my well-thought-out plan of attack described above.

And do let me know how and when you accomplished this feat--if your Someday comes before mine.

The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall available ($5.99) at Amazon and Champagne Books, as well as other eBook marketing sites. Check my website for weekly special offers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Marketing--I Don't Want to Hear About It (But That's Not an Option)

           It’s the anguished cry of both new and multi-published authors: I wrote the book! You mean I have to sell it, too? Yes, you (we) do. It’s Writing 101—write/promote/sell—it’s a package deal.
            The March 2012 issue of The Writer has one of the best articles I’ve read so far on the subject of marketing our work. “Market with What You’ve Got” by Michele Howe, author of 11 books and more than 1,300 articles and reviews, actually makes the task look, well, doable.
            She begins with a piece of great advice about making comparisons: Don’t do it. From the bare bones of writing to the selling of that writing, it’s strictly personal. What someone else does or doesn’t do shouldn’t make you feel less adequate.
            I particularly liked her advice about the time spent on social media, which can quickly get out of hand and become overwhelming—in my opinion. I know I could do better in this area, and maybe doing it three times a day for half an hour at a time (her prescription) will work for me, too.
            She goes on to detail the necessity and/or benefits of such tools as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a blog, a website, and an e-newsletter. Then she suggests taking a look at ways to make yourself more visible: providing information on the web, writing columns for online magazines, writing articles about what your know, reviewing, searching the web for areas that mesh with your subject matter, asking for help from family and friends, radio and television, and YouTube.
            Her advice on good use of your time—developing daily habits for checking your sites and promoting your work—is valuable. Of course, you need to read the whole article to get the full picture.
            I’m beginning to get into a routine much like she recommends, but I still found her suggestions helpful. You can find her on the web at
So now for a little marketing of my own...
BUY A COPY OF THE FACE ON MISS FANNY'S WALL AND GET A FREE (EBOOK) COPY OF ONE OF MY OTHER BOOKS OR A SECOND COPY OF MISS FANNY FOR A FRIEND. Just use one of the buy links listed below to purchase your copy of The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall. Then go to my website ( and browse the books available and email me ( with your selection. OFFER ENDS APRIL 17.
When Tessa Steele recognizes her great-grandmother's picture as part of a display at a notorious house of ill repute-turned museum, she turns to genealogy to help her find out how Hallie wound up at Miss Fanny's—and why. When the threats begin, she is more determined than ever to unearth long-buried family secrets. But somebody wants them to stay hidden—at least until the time is ripe for revenge…and the man Tessa loves may not be around to protect her when that time comes.
 Read the first chapter (also view trailer) of The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall at
 Available now at

Thursday, April 5, 2012

March Novel Market Month

Recapping March Novel Market Month at The Word Place

Thanks to the guest authors who shared their new releases here during the month of March:  Anne Brear, Sarah McNeal, Ella Jade, Margaret Blake, Margaret Tanner, and Isabella Macotte.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Welcome Isabella Macotte to The Word Place

In 1885, a proper Victorian woman's place was in the home. Convention never appealed to Hallie Pinefoy.

But plans for financial independence through a successful doll-making venture have one impediment. She's inherited a curiosity shop and a handsome business partner who's proving to be a delicious distraction.

When Bremen Tyler inherits a shop in coastal England, he breaks from the mystical Ancestral clan to live a normal life. The only way to guarantee a permanent break is to marry his Heart Match, a perfect soul mate. Bremen recognizes the captivating Hallie as his true love, but she isn't cooperating with his courtship.

If he can retrieve the stolen Heart Gem, an Artifact of Love, he can use it to prove their match. The surface of the Gem reflects the essence of a couple's future life, but the risks are great. More importantly, will Hallie realize true love doesn't need proof?

EXCERPT (PG VERSION)                                      
Hallie stepped over to the small desk. “Please wait. I’ll get the monies owed from the payment made at the Dockhouse.”
“No.” Bremen answered.
“Partake of a glass of wine with me instead.”
Surprised, she looked to the man’s face and paused. Those dark eyes seemed almost hypnotic, and a sudden vision came to mind of looking into those eyes right before his lips moved in closer and closer, toward her mouth. She forced herself to look away.
He held out a hand. “Just a glass of wine? Perhaps we can pretend to have just been introduced under less dramatic circumstances?”
“I think not. However I’m grateful for your assistance.” She held out the coin.
“I never accept money from a lady.”
“Do you make a lady feel obligated then? That’s your preference?”
“I’d hope the lady would forgive me for my churlish behavior by allowing a contrite man to make amends.”
Was he mocking her?
“One glass of wine. Please.” He seemed to notice the hesitation. “On the Wrightsville Inn’s front porch in full view of all.” His face softened. “With a repentant gentleman.” He held out a hand. “I’m Bremen Tyler. The apologetic Bremen Tyler who wishes to make restitution to a lady offended with loutish behavior.”
“Again, I must decline the offer.”
He paused for a moment. “Are you afraid?”
“Afraid? Of you? I most certainly am not.”
“Sit with me then. You can berate me for my temper, comment on my lack of good manners, and insult me for my lack of wholesome attributes. I put myself in your hands for as long as you wish to partake of my poor company.”
Being the one in control was intriguing. After having spent the past hour feeling foolish and taking directions, she found these pleas for forgiveness and companionship quite appealing.


Isabella Macotte grew up in Chicago and now lives in the Midwest. Ever since she can remember, she was reading. Not just fiction but everything she could get her hands on. Science, romance, history and paranormal. Especially paranormal...anything scary, creepy, or gory, she loves it. From light paranormal elements to terrifying monsters, she'll make up a story to amaze or scare you.

Isabella Macotte writes the kind of romance she loves to read: a story with delicious dialogue, seductive encounters, a dash of the paranormal, and an irresistible hero you will never forget.

Passionate about books, Isabella keeps busy reading, writing and working in a library. But if a few moments remain at the end of the day, she spends them with a wonderful family and sweet bichon pup named Daisy.