Christmas is here!

The gifts are wrapped; cards and packages sent; the baking is done.  Now is a lull, and I like this time before the rush of the actual holiday. 

The child in me remembers all those great Christmases and the anticipation. It was the anticipation that grabbed me–waiting, waiting, waiting!

Traditions resounded in my childhood home:  church program, program at school and one of my favorites was shopping from the catalogs for months before Christmas.

Montgomery Wards — we called it Monkey Ward.  I couldn’t wait for the thick catalog to arrive.  I would dog-ear the pages of what I wanted, revisiting that magical volume often. Then I would wait, wondering if I would get what I wanted.

Did you always get what you wanted? I didn’t. I will tell you about that in my next post.


Release Party on Facebook

My new book, When Will Papa Get Home?, is out and I had a Release Party last Sunday, December 6, 2015 on Facebook from 6:00-6:30 pm. I wrote out a script with a timeline and what I was to do.

My husband video-taped an introduction for me and I started with that.  I uploaded it too late–I started at 5:55 pm and I should have started 5 – 10 minutes before, so I started a couple minutes late.

Here’s the timeline of the party I followed:

6:00 – Welcome Video & Timeline of party

6:05 – Story Behind the Story

6:10 – Great discount on ebook at Amazon for a limited time announcement

6:15 – Excerpt – Preface & Chapter 1

6:20 – Pictures

6:25 – Questions & Answers

6:30 – ebook discount announced

I created an Event on Facebook and invited lots of people, but only a couple actually showed up. I should have been more selective of who I invited.

I ended the Release Party with the announcement that my ebook would be FREE on Amazon for a limited time.

It was hard to interact on Facebook like I thought I could, so I am thinking a webinar would be better. It was a great learning process.


Betwixt and Between

I am waiting, waiting, waiting!!  How appropriate!  I am waiting for  When Will Papa Get Home? to be professionally edited, and it’s so hard to wait.

I hope to keep my release date of Saturday, November 21, 2015–Sandia Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair, but it has been 13 days that I have been waiting.

I should have allowed more time between the editing and revising process and the release date, but the crunch happened.

Next book I will allow one month between release date and final editing and revising, so I have learned a lot.

I also have my Dad’s story, Let Me Tell You a Story, in process at createspace.com too, but I think it will be ready to order tomorrow, so I should be OK.

But tomorrow will be full if I get the final edits and revisions, because I will need to do that work first, upload the new document and then wait for their final review and approval before I can order the books for November 21.

The message of this blog–allow enough time so you’re not biting your nails worrying if you will get it all done on time.

I did receive twenty copies of “From Grannie’s Kitchen, Volume 1“–my Mom’s cookbook today, so I am good with that.

It will be OK not matter how it turns out!


Beta-readers for my new book!

I have asked seven people to be beta-readers for my new book to suggest editing or revision ideas.  It was difficult for me to step out and do this, but I knew I needed to have other eyes peruse my work before I submitted it to a professional editor.

Two people edited and revised my first book, This Tumbleweed Landed, before I submitted it to a professional editor and that worked well.

But this felt different; it’s historic fiction, so I was outside my comfort zone of poetry.

Two people have sent me their suggestions.  I am anxious to see what they have to say.

What are your feelings about sharing your work for critique?


Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium-Day 1

I am vendor at the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium and into the first day.  I am selling 4 books:  From Grannie’s Kitchen Cookbook, Let Me Tell You a Story, and the 1sr and 2nd edition of This Tumbleweed Landed.

 What has surprised me is the cookbook has sold the best.  I have only one more copy left–with several people saying they are coming back to buy it.  It will be fun to see who gets the last copy.  There might be a wrestling match for it!

And the booklet that I thought would sell the best here, Let Me Tell You a Story which is the story of how my Granddad Horner put our ranch together during the Depression, hasn’t sold at all.  People look at it, then tell me their family or friend’s story that is similar.

More people need to record their family’s ranching stories so we have record of the struggle that happened to put our family ranches together.

The rain has affected the attendance today, but I have had a blast so far.  I have handed out lots of bookmarks and many people scope out all the vendors the first day and do their serious shopping on Saturday.


Revision of My New Book

Today I spent 6 hours revising my new book, When Will Papa Get Home?, using Hemingway, an app I recently bought. I originally wrote the story by hand then put it on the computer. I put it aside for 20+ years and decided it was time to publish it, but I needed to beef it up.  It was only about 5000 words. 

My first book was a poetry book with a couple stories.  This book is a historical fiction book, so the genre is completely different.  

I have had a blast fleshing it out with research I have done on the Internet and with friends at home. It is now about 12,000 words and I am still adding to it.

My goal is to have it ready to publish by November. I need to have it edited after I finish revising.

Last week my brother and I visited the homestead where the story is set.  I took several pictures and will be sharing them with you. One of the pictures will be the cover.  I hadn’t been there in years and had forgotten much of the surrounding area around the homestead house. 

Stay tuned for the pictures. 


Saturday night is dance night!

I was raised in a dancing family–I still feel I am supposed to dance every Saturday night.  We either danced at our country school or any of the neighboring schools.

Dances were social events–time for ranchers to get together and talk.  The rancher’s life is a lonely life out taking care of cattle alone.

Dances brought us children together to dance, talk and play.

Dances were multigenerational–ages from a 3 month old baby to grandpa and grandma!

And dances were about the movement and the music–it was good old country and western music, local bands and dear friends that we bumped into on the dance floor.

To this day, my feet and heart want to be at a dance on a Saturday night!


Is 61 Years Old Too Late? I Self-Published My First Book

As a beautician, I was on my feet for eight to twelve hours a day, but when I locked the door for the night, I was done. I worked weekends, envious of those who didn’t. Holidays were our busiest times! I loved the adult conversation and interaction and I loved the creative expression that being a beautician offered me.
As a teacher, I had the weekends off and time in the summer except when I was going to school or working to compensate my teacher’s salary. My mornings started early and my nights were filled with grading papers, sponsoring clubs, baking for bake sales, and reading adolescent literature–I was an English teacher, so I was always reading to prepare for the next lesson and unit. I loved my active middle school students and their thirst for life.

In the later years of my education profession, I worked at the district level, and the demands and stress were different. We had deadlines, projects, projects, projects and more deadlines but no nightly papers to grade. I facilitated training and was one of the district technology support personnel. I loved the collaboration with my colleagues and technology.

Yes, my focus was out there for most of my professional life—keeping my customers satisfied and educating energetic middle school students. Now my focus has been on me, my words, my thoughts–what a delightful change. 

Originally I had no plans after the book was published. I bought 100 copies and sold them to family and friends. Then I started receiving positive feedback, and I did several book readings and signings at public libraries. I sold the original book order so I bought more books. A small thought crept into my mind. I maybe can be successful at writing and publishing. 

I have scoured the Internet for all the freebies or inexpensive support to promote my book as a self-published author–there’s lots of resources out there. I have listened to numerous webinars about this profession. I bought two eBooks to help me – “77 Ways to Find New Readers” and “How to Market a Book.” Both have been helpful, but 77 Ways has specific suggestions and is a short read. I made a check list so I can check off the suggestions I have done–that helps me! 

I did make a major investment in my future and paid for a course in promoting my book nationally. It is the BestSeller Blueprint with Steve Harrison and Jack Canfield. It’s pricey, but I respect the success that Jack Canfield has had in the publishing world! 

All in all, I relish the direction my life has taken here in retirement. I have three more books to publish: a poetry collection about my grief process around Mom’s death, a fictional short story about a notorious horse thief which was a story I grew up with, and more stories and poems about growing in southeastern Colorado in a small country town during the fifties and sixties. 

The future is bright–I am writing. I am sharing my words with others, and I am growing. It is never too late to make that specific dream come true; I am proof of that!


A Thunderstorm Diverts Me Today

Everything I wanted to do this afternoon was on the computer, and a summer thunderstorm hit with lightning and thunder.

Reminded me of many childhood days when I was working on the sewing machine to make my 4-H project.  The lightning would start and my 4-H leader, Margaret Lewis, and I would stop production for the day.

I ran home, skipping through the mud puddles, and my family would sit on the porch, dazzled by the much-needed rain.  As soon as it quit raining, we would pile into the pickup and go out to the ranch, checking each rain gauge my Dad and Granddad had put up on fence post.  The gauge–an Alka Seltzer bottle.

We would go from gauge to gauge, dumping out the rain water and Dad would make a mental note of the amount and then record it when we got home.

Ritual–yes!  The dry plains of southeastern Colorado needed every drop of water it got.

So today took me back.  I breathed a sigh and did other things, enjoying the sound that only rain can make.  Our garden needs the rain; local ranchers and farmers do too–and my spirit does too!


Limited Free Book Offer–June 12-14

It may seem strange to offer my Kindle eBook for free, but I am–for the limited time of June 12 – 14.

This is a strategy that many self-published authors are using today to stimulate a reading client of your work.  It also affects the Amazon statistics about your book, so I thought I would try it.

If you haven’t gotten an eBook copy of my book, now would be the time.  Head on over to Amazon.com and download it to your favorite device and find a nice shady spot and enjoy!