Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flashy Lady? Me!

Guess what???

I am gonna be the newest Flashy Lady over at Flashy Fiction. Yep. That's right! The Monday Woman!

An explanation...

First - if you haven't checked out this website, you should. Every day, a different member of the Classy Lassie 7 posts a prompt. Maybe a photo, a quote, some artwork or even just an interesting line. The idea is to write a short piece of fiction (flash fiction) which has been inspired by the prompt. It's fun and a great exercise for writing, too - and the flash fiction writers there are talented, supportive and utterly cool!


Due to some personal circumstances, one of the original 7 had to step down after this week.

I am really sorry things came about in such a way - and I hope that circumstances change for the better for this very Flashy Lady. My thoughts are with her and her family.


They needed a new seventh person. I'm it. check it out! And please stop by on Monday to see what I post as prompt. And write!

Monday, March 16, 2009


I am a semi-finalist in the Six Sentences Final Sentence Comtest! Please visit Six Sentences and vote! If you look in the first paragraph on the page, you'll find the hyperlink which will take you to the voting grid. I am in the third group, and you can find my entry listed by my nom de plume of (what else?) '1ightverse.'


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

...and another great writing prompt site...

This one's short, sweet and to the point! Six Sentences. That's it. You have to say all there is to say in 6!

(...and by the way, the clip art was from Phillip Martin's website. Thanks!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A fantastic writing prompt site...

From a post on Twitter this AM, I discovered a really fantastic writing prompt site. I highly recommend this.

Flashy Fiction.

It's good and it's fun!

Check it out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Getting a Self-Published Book into a Brick-n-Mortar...

Chicklet Books, in the Princeton Shopping Center (in Princeton, of course!) just accepted Mugging for the Camera! It's a book of offbeat, quirky, humorous poetry - and it's on the shelves in their 'Local Author' section.

If anyone is in the area, please check it out! Thanks!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

...and next week is Read An E-Book Week!

Definitely worthwhile, if I do say so myself!

Read An E-Book!

(and if you want a suggestion for a really good e-book, please visit Lilley Press and check out my new e-book, Penny Wishes.)


No blog tomorrow because I'm going to be working on The Ceramic Clock, my newest middle grade/young adult novel. I need to get the next chapter ready for my intrepid critique group!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's Small Press Month!

March is Small Press Month!

Check out Small Press Month '09!


Because there are a whole lot of wonderful, awesome, fantastic books by some amazing talents which are published by small presses. My new book, Penny Wishes, was published by Lilley Press, which is just one of the many brilliant small press publishers out there.

Thank you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Some musings on publishing...

I just read a brilliant blog by Jane Friedman called There Are No Rules - My Big Rant on Self-Publishing. I highly recommend it as a good and informative read.

Here's my story and my take on it:

As a writer who has both been self-published (well, subsidy published to be more precise, since I am not the publisher of record, although...I did do all the writing, page layout, cover design, etc. myself for my book) and small press published via the e-book model (with a possible print version in the coming year), I really appreciated what Ms. Friedman had to say.

As she states, the face of publishing is indeed changing. With writers having to do much of the promotional work themselves to get their book 'out there' in the public view, because writers must be the ones to generate interest (and, hopefully, sales!) on their own, and with the new technologies moving in a total fast-forward - and only gaining in momentum, (not to mention a sluggish economy), it was (and is) an inevitability.

Do many writers still use as the benchmark being published by a big NYC publishing house? Yes. And, to be honest, I'm no exception. I still have some projects I'd like to see accepted there. It's a kind of validation. I admit it. It's why I go to conferences and mentor programs such, and try to build up my name recognition via the social networking sites. But is it the be-all and end-all anymore? No. At least, not always.

In the case of Mugging for the Camera, I chose to self-publish (all right, all right - subsidy publish) because I had actually submitted it around to an assortment of well-researched markets, but I receiced a less than successful outcome. At least, from my prospective.

A good chunk of the poems in the book had been previously published in an assortment of journals, and a number of them had placed in (or even won) contests. I had a small following at readings, too.

After submitting, I eventually heard from all but one of those publishers. (The 'one' is another blog post for later on.) I received some truly nice and at times fantastic comments from most of the publishers to whom I sent the book. Unfortunately, in the end, they all declined to take on the project, because, as one publisher succinctly put it, they didn't know how to market a quirky, humorous poetry book.

I decided that I was going to do it anyway.

I knew that poetry, in the main, isn't a top seller, and I knew that I didn't have the business acumen or background to become a book publisher per se. Yes, I could have come up to speed on this with a lot of work, but that was not the direction I wanted to focus on at the time.

I did debate the merits of it, however, as well as the cost issues both financial and personal, and I read and researched a lot of postings and writings by people like Dan Poynter, Shel Horowitz, Pete Masterson, John Culleton, Irene Watson, Marion Gropen, Walt Shiel, Aaron Shepard and experts like them.

I joined the Yahoo groups about POD publishing, self-publishing and the Independent Authors Guild, just to name a few. These sites helped guide me, too.

Finally, I also started looking into the POD companies, also called (yes, sigh!) subsidy companies. I did this because I didn't expect that MFTC would be an outrageous success, but it was something I really wanted to do, and this kind of business model would probably work best for what I wanted to do.

I found several sites which gave a lot of background and info on the various POD companies. I reviewed Dehanna Bailee's list of POD companies and An Incomplete Guide to POD Publishers among a whole host of other resources on this topic. I also asked friends who had gone this route as to their opinions and experiences.

And then I checked out individual companies websites, too. When I finally made my choice for Mugging for the Camera (, I did so knowing full-well about what I was getting into. And I'm glad I did exactly what I did. Would this be right for everyone? Well, no, but my advise is to do your homework.

As for Penny Wishes - that was a different story. I had hoped to be published by a party other than myself. Again - that pesky validation thing, right? So, I researched publishing companies which I thought would be a good match for my story. I figured that a small press might be the better way to pursue this - and I found a company from my online search which I thought would be a good match. As it turned out, I was both right - and very lucky.

Lilley Press was the first and only place I submitted the book! This does occur sometimes, you know! As it happens, they specialize in e-books, with the potential (and possibility) to go to a print version later on. PW went through acquisitions and the reader process there, just like any book under consideration. After it was accepted, I worked with an editor who helped me to polish the book and bring it into its current form and reality. Having imput with the cover designer was a nice final touch (and probably more common to small press publishers than with the bigger operations.)

Anyway, I think, in rather wordy fashion, I've made my point. (This is why I work with a writing group - to rein me in! And also, why I usually write in poetic form, because it's far more succinct and to the point!)

In this day and age, pretty much anything can and will work, but you need to do your homework and due diligence.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Desert Sun

My good friend Diana Tuorto, who happens to be a superb author, just got some wonderful news: Her young adult novel My Desert Sun is going to be re-released! Probably sometime in late April. This is indeed happy news for all readers of young adult fiction - but especially for animal and horse lovers!

My Desert Sun is one of several books Diana has written, both in the voice of a horse, and all about horses. It is both a poignant tale and a revelation with regard to the conditions and the tribulation borne by wild horses. It is timely and important - and what's more, the proceeds from every book Diana sells go towards animal rescue in general and horse welfare, more particularly.

My Desert Sun is the story of Cayuse, a young, free-spirited mustang who lives in the desert and mountains of the American Southwest. While life in the desert is often peaceful and serene, Cayuse spends many days merely fighting for survival. However, he soon learns that survival among mankind is much more difficult. (From Diana's website)

I have not only read My Desert Sun, which I highly recommend, by the way, but I know first hand of its development, having been fortunate enough to have worked on a critique of it (in its earlier drafts), along with other members of our writing group.

More information is available from Diana about it at Cayuse's Canyon, Diana's blog.

Check it out!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Biography as Book Report

You know what was really cute yesterday?

Eight and nine year old kids dressed up in costume, intended to look just like people in the biographies they had to read, in order to write their book reports.

At my kidlets' school, the third graders (and yes, both of my kids are in third grade this year – I’m a mom of twins!) had to read a biography for their winter book report, and then they had to dress up like the person of their respective books and give a report on that person, as if they were that person.

Voice. Yes, they are starting to learn all about that, along with getting a crash course in seed ideas, lead sentences, clever phrases and so on. It was an interesting take on doing book reports – not at all like in the days when I was a kid. Back then, we read a report to the class that we’d written, or maybe we made a diorama. Not now. It’s much different, but far more creative, which I really like.

But in addition to the actual book report and costume and speech for their classes, the kids also did this thing called the Living Wax Museum. For this project, all the third graders stood by class (there are four third grade classes this year) in two rows each around the perimeter of the gymnasium. Moms and dads and other relatives were invited in to see it, and the idea was for us grown-up folk to walk around and observe the kids, who were posing and/or standing with appropriate props. When an adult tapped a kid on the shoulder, the kid 'came to life' so to speak, and spouted factoids about his or her person.

As you might expect, some of the kids really got into it, and were very show-biz-y - and other kids probably wished they could be someplace else. Yep - any place else but there. But as a public speaking project it certainly was a fun one (at least, from my grown-up perspective, anyway), and each kid most likely did learn a thing or two about a famous person from history.

There were a number of Abraham Lincolns, George Washingtons and Albert Einsteins. There were two or three Amelia Earharts, Helen Kellers, Florence Nightingales and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jrs., too. And as you might guess, sports figures were portrayed prominently by a number of kids. But there were some interesting standouts who were one of a kind (and not only my kidlets, who as it happened were one of a kind, too.)

F’r instance, there was a Harry Houdini, St. Patrick, Clara Barton, Kerry Strug, Hillary Clinton and other famous people.

Here’s a few photos from the Living Wax Museum...

Cute, right?

So then...I suppose because I am a writer and an author and - of course, a mom, I was asked by a couple of the teachers to visit the school tomorrow to talk to the third graders about writing. Theirs and mine. And you know what? Maybe I’ll talk a little on those processes about which they are currently learning, but after that, I think I’ll turn it around on them – and encourage them to show me some kid creativity and talent and fun. And that will be really cute, too. Definitely. Cute.

More about this tomorrow.