Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Signing Do's & Don'ts

I'm sorely behind with posting due to several book signings for my holiday picture book, SANTA'S SECRET. Over the past few years, I've learned a lot while having said signings and thought I'd compile a Top Ten List of Book Signing Do's & Don'ts.


#1 SMILE. Sounds simple but I've seen authors who sit at their table like it's the last place they'd like to be. Who wants to approach someone who looks like a Grinch?

#2 OFFER FREEBIES. Often, people are hesitant to approach so if you have something free like candy or bookmarks, it's easier to call them over to your table. Once they are there, potential customers are more likely to inquire about your book.

#3 DRESS PROFESSIONALLY. This doesn't mean you have to wear a suit but don't dress as though you could go bowling immediately afterward. Make an effort if you want to be seen as a professional.

#4 TARGET YOUR MARKET. You probably won't have a successful signing if you are selling an ultra-steamy book at a church convention. Likewise, if you are selling a children's picture book at a teen hangout. Put some thought into your demographic and target them. Think about places your character hangs out or shops.

#5 ANSWER QUESTIONS about writing and writers' groups. Many people will tell you they have a novel inside them but don't know the first thing about getting published. Be patient and helpful.

#6 CREATE AN ATTRACTIVE, TEMPTING TABLE/THEME. For my holiday book, SANTA'S SECRET, I purchased a cute Santa and a small Christmas tree. I offered red and green candy corn and Santa jelly beans. Look for simple ideas to tie in with your book's theme.

#7 PROVIDE CONTACT INFO. Make sure you have business cards and bookmarks with your email, blog address, and contact information. Some people may not decide to purchase your book on the spot but later when facing a birthday dilemma, they just might remember the nice woman/man who was selling a book.

#8 PURCHASE LOCAL AUTHOR LABELS. I found some small, round gold "Local Author" labels online. Many people love supporting local authors and a small label won't interfere with your cover art, yet will easily identify you as a local author.

#9 PLAN AHEAD. Book your signings a month or two before your new release. Sometimes, I don't get this done and always kick myself. Do as I say--not as I do.

#10 TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. Promote your signings via Facebook, Twitter, email, e-vites, writers' groups, and to friends and family. If you keep it your little secret, there will likely be a small crowd. Sometimes there will be a small crowd no matter how hard you market yourself but keep trying.


#1 BE AFRAID. Do not let dust gather on your books and shelve them in your home office. You worked hard on bringing your project to life. Now share it with the world and book some signings!

#2 SHOW UP LATE. Be on time (and this from the Queen of Lateness). But I have yet to be late to my own signings. I know. Shock. At my last signing, I arrived just two minutes beforehand but I'm blaming that on the icy roads. Still, I wasn't late.

#3 GIVE UP. I tried for over three years to land a signing at Barnes & Noble. They finally seemed happy to have me and wanted me there twice! I couldn't believe it. Of course, we got dumped on with snow and a wintery forecast but I still sold books and they're for sale in our local store.

#4 STARE AT YOUR PHONE OR TABLET. As tempting as it is during lulls, try, try, try to avoid looking down at your phone. A couple of times I couldn't resist the temptation and as I looked up someone had been staring at my book and walked away. This happened twice. I think they thought they weren't important to me which, of course, wasn't the case but you know how it feels when someone stares at a screen rather than making eye contact.

#5 HAVE CHIPPED NAILS OR BAD ROOTS. After all, people are going to be staring at the top of your head and at your nails while you sign. If you don't wear nail polish (women or men) just make sure they are clean and short.

#6 WEAR JEANS AND A SWEATSHIRT. I said this above but it's important. You wouldn't go to work dressed that casually, so please make an effort when you are selling your work to the public. This is your career.

#7 BE RUDE if a store clerk turns you down on having a signing or carrying your book. I had one store manager carry my first picture book, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE? and she told me to let her know when the second one came out. I didn't for some dumb reason. Then, when I approached her about my third book, she declined. I smiled and thanked her for talking with me anyway.

#8 BURN BRIDGES. Similar to #7 you just never know when someone will want to carry your book or allow you to book a signing (see example #3). Always be courteous and professional.

#9 LEAVE EARLY. One year I booked two signings the same day (I was overly excited) and I left the first signing two hours early. I wouldn't do that again. They didn't complain but it looked bad when I disassembled my table while customers were still coming in.

#10 GIVE UP. If you have a couple of signings where you only sold a book or two (trust me, I've had those signings), by all means, do not give up. The very next signing you might sell over 40 books. I've had those, too. You just never know who is on sick or on vacation, what other events are occurring, what the weather will do and so on.

I hope these lists help you have successful book signings. I'd love to hear your reaction and feel free to add your own tips in the comment section.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Release & Reviews: SANTA'S SECRET

My new holiday picture book, SANTA'S SECRET, has been released! I had my first book signing at the Kickapoo High School Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 2 and am finalizing several more signings for November and December. Watch for details.

I was inspired to write SANTA'S SECRET while spending time with family in warm, sunny Florida and Arizona last Christmas. It just didn't "seem" like Christmas since I had always lived in the cold, snowy, blustery Midwest. So, I wondered if kids felt that way, whether they grew up in warm climates, were transplants or were simply vacationing over the holidays.

The main character, George, is a grump. It's Christmas Eve and his mom tries everything to get him in a good mood (playing Christmas music, decorating, making cookies) but George isn't having it. He is positive Old Saint Nick won't visit. After all, he only sees pictures of Santa where there's snow on the ground. George would do anything to have a snowman in his yard. His mother tries and tries to convince George that Santa goes everywhere to no avail. But, finally, George discovers Santa has a big secret. After that, he can't wait for the holiday magic to begin!

So, now you know the backstory for my new holiday release, and after you view the pictures in this post, I think you'll see why I write kidlit. Just look at eight-year-old Alex delving into my book. His mother told me he started reading before they got to the car because he just had to know Santa's secret! Then, he wouldn't tell his mom and instead made her read my book to find out!

Here is his mother's review: "Alex tested. Alex approved."

 I also received a wonderful review from Kylie, who is Shirley McCann's granddaughter. Shirley told me she asked Kylie if she liked my book and Kylie answered, "I LOVED it." Here is Kylie's exact review (that she wrote herself on Amazon):
"hey Beth its me kylie I loved this book I am 8 years old Santa likes all weather in this book."

Finally, here is a partial quote from Shirley McCann (my good friend, full disclosure):  "...Loved the surprise ending. You'll want to keep this book for generations, as it's the perfect holiday book that will soon become a must read tradition, right along with The Night Before Christmas. We'll be reading it several times during this holiday season."

SANTA'S SECRET is available on Amazon here:

And on Barnes & Noble here:
Please keep the photos and reviews coming! They warm my heart. Don't you want to know Santa's secret? When you find out, no spoilers, please!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Soup's On!

I love so many things about fall that it would take too long to mention them all. One is that it's soup weather. And sweater weather. And boot weather. And the gorgeous leaves, pumpkins, and cooler temperatures. Oh, my. What's not to like?

I thought I'd share my favorite fall soup--Southwestern Bean Soup. It's so easy and delicious. If you can open cans and a jar, you can make this soup!


1 19 oz. can Black Bean Soup (not drained)
2 15 oz. cans Red Kidney Beans, drained
2 15 oz. cans Navy Beans, drained
1 16 oz. jar Chunky Salsa (mild or medium)
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
Small can chopped mild Green Chiles, drained

Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray and pour the beans, salsa and vinegar into the crock pot. Stir until well blended. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. This makes 8-10 servings and freezes well.

Serve with cornbread or salad. Also good with condiments like salsa, guacamole, sour cream and chips.

Enjoy and let me know if you tried it. Also, feel free to post your favorite soup in the comments section.

Monday, September 30, 2013

My Novel Is Under Contract!

If you are a friend or family member, you already know my exciting news but I feel the need to shout it from the rooftop of my blog. I'm under contract with Soul Mate Publishing for my debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS!!!

I couldn't be happier. I couldn't be more excited. I couldn't be more scared.

Here's how it went down. My editor, Debby Gilbert, a senior editor and founder of Soul Mate Publishing, asked for the first thee chapters of THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS during an online pitch session in April. I edited and polished the chapters, gave them an air kiss and sent them on their way.

Then I waited.

Okay, it was only a couple of months (which is very fast in the publishing world) but still. One night I came home after dining out and checked my email before going to bed. The editor said she enjoyed my first three chapters so much that she wanted to see the full manuscript. Elation. And no sleep that night but it was worth it.

I spent the month of May polishing and editing my novel (yet again) sans makeup, dirty hair, vitamin D (sunshine) and in my pj's practically the entire month hoping one of the four editors/agents who requested a partial during April would want a full. That hard-core editing paid off because I was ready to send it to Soul Mate Publishing right away when she requested the full.

A few more nail-biting weeks passed. The editor, Debby, sent an email apologizing for not getting back to me, saying it would take a couple more weeks. More sleepless nights ensued. Then, one morning I awakened to read her email saying she wanted to sign me. She wanted to represent me. She loved THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS.

Ta-da! I was thrilled. Since it's my debut novel, it was important for me to hear from a complete stranger in the publishing biz that my work was good enough to be published. Maybe it's just me but I needed that validation. I didn't want to assume that because my mom, daughter, girlfriends and a few beta readers liked my novel that it was good enough. I'm glad I took the time to go through this process.

First, I'll have an ebook (which I've never had so that's another exciting aspect) and a print book will follow several months later. I'm thrilled I'll have both types of books available. By the way, my novel is a work of women's fiction with elements of romance, humor and suspense.

Now, I've got tons of forms to fill out, formatting to do, tax prep, cover art to consider, a SMP blog to join, review sites to pour over, marketing ideas and more to work on. I also told my editor that I've started the sequel and she was happy to hear that. Uh oh. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that. I could use a break, but of course, I won't take much of one. My novel is under contract!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sprinkle Fairy Dust

No, I don't write fantasy, although I do write children's picture books, as well as novels. You'll get the gist of the fairy dust soon.

While dining with my husband at Nicola's, our favorite restaurant, the chef, Nicola Gilardi (who is well aware that I write children's books) pointed me out to a young couple and their first-grade daughter. They were sitting one table over and I could see the young girl's mouth fall open as the chef told her about me. (This is how young children react to authors. It's precious.)

Luckily, I had some bookmarks in my purse and asked the parents for their daughter's name. At first I spelled it Landry (should have asked) and handed it to her. I asked if I had spelled it correctly. The mom said, "No, but that's okay." I assured her it wasn't okay and found another bookmark in my purse.

I then made it out to Landrie and autographed the bookmark. I asked the young girl where she went to school and let Landrie know about my upcoming contest for SANTA'S SECRET. As hubby said, her eyes were as big as pizzas and she nearly trembled with excitement. I gave her a hint (the same hint I'll give everyone when I announce the contest) and told her I'd be in contact with her teacher.

We proceeded to eat, and after a few minutes Landrie (who was wearing my favorite leopard print, by the way,) brought over a beautiful page she had carefully colored while her parents were enjoying wine. She addressed it to me and signed it, so now we both have a treasured keepsake.

Have you sprinkled any fairy dust lately? Please do. It'll come back to you.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Twenty Things I Learned Being A Contest Chair

Last year, I was asked to be the 2013 contest chair for Ozarks Writers League (OWL). As a writer, I've entered a few contests and know how thrilling it is to win--even to participate in fun, unique categories, so I blindly said, "Yes." I also said yes because my good friend, Jan Morrill, is president of OWL and I wanted to help her since she does nearly everything else.

Here are 20 things I learned during the process:

1.  There are many excellent writers in OWL. I mean there's some outstanding, jaw-dropping talent.

2.  Some writers use rusted paperclips, colorful paperclips, staples or no clips whatsoever. It doesn't matter. Just an observation.

3.  A few used yellowed paper while others used crisp, white paper. Of course, neither matters to the judges.

4.  A couple of people still use a TYPEWRITER, white-out and all. I found this amazing and pretty cool and pictured old-time, well-known authors hunched over their typewriters.

5.  Some of the new categories were VERY popular, as were several fan favorites. (Of course, I can't tell you which ones because you'd enter the less-popular categories next year, now, wouldn't you?

6.  Many wanted to get their $10 worth and entered many of the 16 categories.

7.  A lot of writers waited until the last minute and had to pay priority postage. (When I enter contests, I do the same thing.)

8.  A large amount of people seem to like the color "Red" in their titles. Interesting trivia.

9.  Paper cuts are going to happen.

10.  Trash cans will overflow with large, opened envelopes.

11. I learned I needed a secretary. My husband felt sorry for me and FINALLY helped me sort one evening.

12. My dining room was trashed for a week. Now, the piles are dwindling as I search for all of the judges' snail mail addresses. (I should have done that in August.)

13.  It's very important for the entrants to include the contest number on their cover sheet and their titles on their entries. It expedites the sorting process for the various categories.

14. Several out-of-state writers participated which surprised me.

15. If the rules state a certain word count (say, 1,500 or 3,000), the entrants often come in one word under said WC or right on the dime.

16. I kept forgetting to look at the outside of the envelopes to make sure the postmark date was Sept. 1 or before. (So I had to dig through my trash. Often. And all met the deadline date.)

17. Some joined OWL specifically to enter the contest, it seems, since their membership check also accompanied their entry fee and entries.

18. A few authors listed both their real name and pen name. I wonder which they'd prefer on a winning certificate?

19. I didn't have nearly as much time to play on social media (or write) in September.

20. I had to get organized. A spreadsheet isn't necessary but there must be a SYSTEM. Mine is handwritten first and will be typewritten soon.

I'd recommend everyone try this chair position at least once. It's a good learning experience and you get to sample so many writers' work. One copy goes to the judges and the chair keeps the other one in case of loss in the mail, an entry eaten by a judge's dog or whatever, I suppose. Reading the entries will be a nice treat/reward when the weather turns cold. That's my paycheck!

Finally, I'll get to make some writers really happy in November when I announce the awards and recognize their achievements. Here's a link to the 2013 categories if you are interested:!contests/coug

Good luck, everyone, and thanks once more to our generous sponsors and judges!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ten Surprising Things About Me

I love getting to know other writers and readers so I thought I'd list ten random things about me from childhood to adulthood. I think you might be surprised!

1.  I swam with sharks in the Bahamas. Really. I've got the pictures to prove it. See. (They feel like sandpaper, by the way.)

2. I'm a Leo through and through. I couldn't be MORE like a Leo, actually.

3. I've been mistaken twice for the actress who played Shelly (Ted Dansen's girlfriend) on Cheers--once in New York City and once in Oklahoma. I don't think I look a thing like her.

4. I've climbed the huge, world famous (and slippery) Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica three times. My daughter joined me on one of those trips.

5. I was extremely shy as a toddler. Non-speaking shy (even with relatives). As a young girl, I ran and hid when my aunt and uncle arrived, hit my head on the television and bled like a stuck pig. All because I was shy. I still have a scar on my forehead.

6. I love to deep-sea fish and have caught some whoppers--a 25-pound tuna in Florida and a 40-pound Mahi Mahi in the Bahamas (pictured here alongside hubby's, er, guppy. lol). Note: Everyone ate that fish but me. I just didn't have the heart.

7. I was a HUGE Elvis fan. Still am.  I used to kiss the television when he performed (and cry). I got to see him live in concert two months before he died. What a tragic death. I'm still sad about it. I've been to Graceland twice and even got to see the inside of his mansion.

8. I didn't know how to cook when I was married the first time. I remember calling Mom and asking how long to cook a ham or roast and whether it needed water or a lid on the pan!

9. I was a cheerleader in middle school. (I came out of my shyness then. Sink or swim, as they say.) I was also drum captain for the Kilties in high school. By the way, the Kiltie Drum & Bugle Corps is the oldest women's drum corps in the United States, a tradition I'm proud to keep alive. This photo is when we marched over the same bridge that Paul Revere galloped across to announce the British were coming in Concord, Mass. I'm the first drummer on the far left (probably blocked by the flag). My good friend, Jackie, is the majorette in the middle with the big black hat.

37 years ago today
CHS Kilties
Concord, Mass

10. I was a single mom for 16 years. My daughter and I had a lot of fun (and stress as a single working mom) but mainly fun.

That's it. A bit in the life of Beth. I hope you enjoyed finding out random things about me. Now, it's your turn! Tell me some things I may not know about you.

Monday, August 26, 2013

How Far Would You Go?

To get into the head of your characters and write realistically, how far would you go?

We all draw upon our former and current professions to write. We've also heard the adage, "Write what you know." However, sometimes we need details that we can't find on the web. We need to be in the moment. We need to touch, smell, see, hear--even fear--what our characters go through.

Luckily, my career path has involved a wide variety of industries and I'm glad. It helps keep my writing diverse and I rarely lack for ideas or inspiration. I've worked in education, healthcare, banking, hotel management and even at a movie theatre as a teen.

But let's say I want to write about something completely different like an over-the-road truck driver or a stripper. Just how far would I go? Here are some professions I'd like to try in the name of research: 

  • Waitress
  • Bartender
  • Starbucks barista
  • Police officer
  • Fireman/woman
  • Television reporter
  • Wedding planner (although I wrote about one anyway and thought up some great themed weddings if I say so myself!)
  • Amish farmer
  • Boutique employee
  • Bookstore employee
  • Scientist
  • Court reporter
  • Tarot card reader
  • Stripper (I'd watch--not participate!)
That's a pretty exhaustive list and would keep me busy writing novels for years. How about you? What professions would you add? Just how far would you go in the name of research?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Advantages of Joint Book Signings

Earlier this month, I participated in the first-ever Authors at Art Walk at the Park Central Library in downtown Springfield. The event was sponsored by Ozarks Romance Authors and was a rousing success.

I happily shared a table with Cecily White, YA/paranormal author of Prophecy Girl; Kaye Calkins, historical romance author of Deverell's Dilemma; and Jean Rosenow, inspirational and women's fiction author of Blessed Are The Pure In Heart. I signed my picture books: What Do You Want To Be? and The Missing Key.

Most authors have book signings on their own unless they're at a conference. As I visited with friends, customers and authors, several advantages of joint book signings occurred to me, namely:

  • By having a signing with authors who write other genres, you'll draw a bigger crowd.
  • Having the backing of a well-known writer's organization is immensely helpful and garners credibility. Thanks, ORA!
  • Customers are likely to buy more than one book from various authors.
  • You share in marketing the event which reaches a multitude of different audiences.
  • Your reach grows exponentially due to the shared marketing, especially via social media.
  • There are several photo opportunities.
  • There's someone to watch your table while you grab a coffee or go to the restroom.
  • You don't get lonely.
  • You are guaranteed some sales--authors always buy one another's books (or at least trade!)
Have you ever had a joint signing? Try it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blog Hop for Children's Authors

Welcome to the children’s author blog hop! Thanks to Middle Grade author S.D. Keeling at who invited me to participate. After you finish here, I invite you to read about Sharon's MG fantasy adventure. Blog hops are a great way for authors and readers to connect, plus by adding links to each other’s pages, we create some dynamic group marketing.

The blog hop rules are simple. Each author answers four questions and invites three other children’s authors to participate the following week. I invited some entertaining, talented authors to participate. You'll see their names, book titles and links to their sites below.

First up, my job is to answer four blog hop questions as follows:

What are you working on right now?
I always juggle several projects simultaneously but I’ve just submitted my first-ever children’s holiday picture book to my publisher. I’m anxiously awaiting the illustrations for SANTA’S SECRET. It’s such fun to watch your words come to life and Christmas is such a special time for kids. I can’t wait to share it with you. My previously published picture books (say that three times!) are WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE? a book I wrote to inspire children to dream big during our country's high unemployment and THE MISSING KEY, a wee mystery where Mother and Amy turn the house upside down in search of an elusive key. Both are available on Amazon and

After 20 years in marketing in corporate America and now as an author, I see a great need for a marketing book for authors. I’ve given talks on marketing and authors crave this information. Many don't know where to begin, so I’m in the process of drafting such a book tailored to authors.

I’ve also just submitted my debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, to a few agents and editors who are currently considering it. I tend to write very long (350 pages) or very short (6-word memoirs)! I enjoy mixing it up and encourage everyone to do the same. That way, you are never, ever bored.

Why do you write what you do?
Several close friends know my story. I started out writing novels (women’s fiction, contemporary romance and romantic suspense), but a horrific tragedy struck our family. It was heartbreaking and I had to set my novel aside for nearly three years because I couldn’t bear to edit my own tragic scenes. It was just too much. I wanted to keep writing so I switched gears (genres) and researched writing for children.

Now, I can’t think of anything more important than children’s literature. I loved reading as a kid and would check out piles of books at the library. I also enjoyed reading to my toddler daughter at bedtime. When I get fan letters, smiles and hugs from children who have read my books, it’s much better than receiveing a huge diamond necklace. I’m finally getting back to novel writing but I will ALWAYS write for children. It has been my therapy, my joy and my honor.

What is the hardest part about writing?
For me, its distractions like social media (especially Facebook) and chores at home. When I worked in healthcare, banking and education, I had weekly deadlines, a boss and board of directors to answer to, so it was much easier to stay on task and churn out volumes of work. I had to be disciplined and organized. Now, that I work for myself, I start later, play longer, throw in laundry, and get mad at myself for being unproductive. Maybe I should hire a pretend “boss” or lease office space and dress up!

What scares you?
Public speaking scares me (as it does 99 percent of the population, apparently). I force myself to speak to groups but I’m usually a wreck for two weeks beforehand. When I figure out what I’m going to say and have my handouts prepared, I’m fairly calm once I get to the meeting. In fact, most participants tell me I do a great job. A secret: I even find it a little intimidating to walk into a classroom but once I start reading and see the kids’ faces, I relax and always leave with a smile wrapped around my head. Still, public speaking is scary. I know we have to put ourselves out there as authors and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

I hope you got to know more about me. Now, don’t forget to hop over to my fabulous friends’ blogs next week. All of their books are amazing!

Shirley McCann, YA mystery writer and author of The Necklace

Rob Myers, Picture book author of Ignor Ramus - A Curious Rhyme

Phyllis Griggs, Picture book author of Bob Beetle Book Bug

Tim Hill, Picture book author of a three-book series. First book: Joe the Crab Takes A Walk

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Article in Flash Fiction Chronicles & A Contest!

I have one more non-fiction article in Flash Fiction Chronicles! It's entitled "Five Tips For Writing Six-Word Memoirs." I know. It should be Six Tips For but this is an ongoing column where the editor posts "Five Tips For" on various writerly subjects.

Read my article and learn my tips for writing six-word memoirs. Believe it or not, I had a New York Times' bestselling author tell me she couldn't write them. Many other writers have told me they think six-word memoirs are difficult. I agree.  It's sometimes hard to tell a story in just six words. This very short genre forces us to be concise, which is a good trait for writers.

I hope you'll read my five tips and enter my contest.

  • Tell me about YOU or YOUR CAREER using just six words.
  • Deadline: Friday, July 26, by midnight
  • The winner will receive his/her choice of IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT (six-word memoirs from famous authors, celebrities and aspiring authors) or SIX WORDS ABOUT WORK which is a fun gift for yourself, graduates or bosses.
Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flash Fiction Chronicles Featured My Article & A Contest!

My non-fiction article, "Get Published Using Just Six Words" was published in Flash Fiction Chronicles.

Learn how (and why) I discovered six-word memoirs, read Hemingway's famous sixer, and see several examples of six-word memoirs by famous authors and celebrities.

To celebrate the publication of my article, I'm running a contest--a six-word memoir contest, naturally.

Tell me about your favorite--or worst--summer vacation whether it's boating on the lake, going to a theme park, picking up shells on the beach, visiting an historic site, a staycation, a family reunion, a romantic get-away or whatever. Just tell me your story in SIX words.

Deadline: Sunday, July 22.

Winner will receive their choice of an autographed six-word memoir collection, IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT or SIX WORDS ABOUT WORK.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Finishing A Novel Is Like Birthing A Baby

Let's face it. Finishing and editing a novel is like birthing a baby. We nurture the process and can't wait to get to the end. It usually takes at least a year and we know the stats like we did when we gave birth to our first, precious child. Date, time, weight, and height. Except in the case of a novel, the stats are slightly different.

A few days ago, I finished editing (for real this time after the fourth or eighth pass) my women's fiction, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. Here are my stats:

350 pages
67 chapters
87,236 words

Yep. It's long but women's fiction ranges between 80-100,000 words. Once an editor gets hold of it, I'm sure the word count will go up or down again. It has been edited several times and I sought professional advice from a former women's fiction editor from St. Martin's Press.

During her overall evaulation, she gave me great feedback like make the cop more likeable, take out some of the "S" names (I had four--Suzy, Sylvia, Sara and Sean that I hadn't even noticed because two of these come into play late in the novel) and get rid of some red herrings. She suggested a couple of other things that I didn't do--like delete a tragic scene and start on chapter 4 where she thought my writing got stronger. If I don't get picked up this go around, I think I'll listen to those suggestions.

Finally, though, this editor said three things that thrilled me. She said I was an excellent storyteller, a strong writer and she hoped my manuscript didn't get lost in a slush pile. Let's hope it doesn't.

What are your stats?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Editing Is Fun. What?!

I bet you never thought those words would escape my lips.

After years of saying I hated editing, I'm actually enjoying the process. Previously, I've always preferred the creation process--the actual writing--by a long shot and would find any reason to avoid editing. Cleaning toilets. Check. Laundry. Check. Exercise. Check. Painting my toenails. Check. You get the picture.

My newfound enjoyment of editing has me scratching my head. I dug into my 300+ page novel a few weeks ago with dread but discovered I looked forward to going into my writing cave daily. Who am I? I've been pondering this significant change.

It could be due to the fact that I now have several requests for my women's fiction, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. Yay! It's also possibly because I set my novel aside for three years due to a family tragedy and am rereading it with surprise and delight, almost like a new reader. Maybe it's because I had already edited it several times (more than I remembered) and my novel is in much better shape than I recalled. Maybe just maybe I'm finally embracing this crucial part of the writing process.

I've always had a few friends who loved the editing process. Some even liked it better than writing the first draft. That's crazy talk. Those people are a bit off kilter if you ask me, but I digress. Whatever the reason, I'm down to my final pages. I keep hitting "control end" to count how many pages remain. My heart pounds, my face flushes and my hands get sweaty as I near the end.

This go around, I actually had fun finding and removing repetitive words and phrases, beefing up dialogue, describing the settings and layering in back stories. I enjoyed making the characters suffer. You know you like reading that stuff.

My three female protagonists (women's fiction, remember?) laugh, gigle and groan. They get tense, cry and grieve. They dance, drink, have interesting careers and crazy personal lives. The antagonists give them grief. A lot of grief. Just when each one overcomes an obstacle, I throw another one in their path. The possibilities are endless. Are they going to end up with the guy or not? And, if so, is he a good guy? Hmm. When my characters whisper in my ear that they'd like a better life--even a fairytale life--I'll consider their plight and desires. But I'm in charge of their destination. We'll see. I may change my mind tomorrow and they know it.

See why editing is fun? Embrace it. I finally did.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Marketing For Authors

Recently, I spoke about marketing to 35 Ozarks Romance Authors. Let me tell you something you probably already know: Writers and marketers are surly bedfellows. I'm not sure why that is but it's a fact. I've worked in many professions (banking, healthcare, hotels, education, and green heat) and I've never encountered this mindset in any other industry. It truly baffles me.

I'm happy to say my talk, "The Marketing Mindset & 60 FREE Ways To Market Your Book" was very well received. I heard phrases like "excellent presentation," "it built a fire under me," and "standing-ovation worthy." (That might be a stretch but was nice to hear!)

I know authors hunger for this information and I would too if I hadn't worked in marketing for 20 years. My professional experience has been very helpful to me as an author, and I want to help other writers/authors become informed marketers. During my talk, I discussed several topics including:
  • How to Find Your Target Audience
  • Using A Marketing Mix
  • 60 FREE Ways to Market Your Book
  • Building An Online Platform
  • Developing A Business/Marketing Plan
I won't go into specifics here because I can see a great need for a marketing ebook for authors. I'm writing one now, and since this will be my first foray into a non-fiction book and into ebooks, I have some research to do. I plan to add several more chapters, some crazy stories from my marketing days and many examples. Trust me, marketing is fun.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Friday Fictioneers - "What's That?"

After a month-long hiatus, I checked back with the Friday Fictioneers and was delighted with this week's photo prompt. Read my 100-word story below the photo and enjoy others' flash fiction at


By Beth Carter

Tommy kicked a pebble down a dusty road near the mostly boarded-up town square. When will this boring vacation be over?

“Why can’t we go to Disneyland?”

“It’s more important to visit your grandparents,” said Tommy’s father.

As Tommy walked in step with his shadow, he ran into a large metal box with a cord.

“What’s that?”

“A telephone.”

Tommy stared at his dad’s iPhone. “Were people giants? As big as dinosaurs?”

His dad ruffled Tommy’s hair. “No, son, technology has improved.”

Tommy instinctively reached into the coin dispenser and pulled out a shiny quarter.

“Some things never change."

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Bad Hair Day - Contest!

To celebrate the (fairly) recent release and the just announced "Show-Me Best Book Award" honorable mention by the Missouri Writers Guild, I think a contest is in order. Congrats to Mozark Press who published this anthology and to all of the authors!

One lucky winner will receive this humorous collection of, what else, bad hair day stories from writers across the nation. Award-winning authors, professors, teachers and reporters represent some of the
featured authors in A Bad Hair Day anthology. My story is entitled "Mr. Perfect."

Rules: Tell me about your worst bad hair day in 25 words or less. Deadline: May 17, 2013. Good luck.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Three-Line Pitch

I told you I'd share my three-line pitch from the recent pitch opportunities via Savvy Authors. Without further ado, here it is (and it showed up as four lines on their site! However, many were three paragraphs!)

Author: Beth Carter
Title: Thursdays At Coconuts
Genre: Women's Fiction (with elements of contemporary romance, humor and suspense)
Word count: 86,000

As the go-to wedding planner, Suzy puts on a brave face with neurotic brides and a racist, pretentious mother of the bride, yet cannot find her own wedded bliss. Alex, a banker, falls for a bad-boy cop who's married and possibly stalking her, but he sure is sexy. Hope, a frumpy, self-deprecating high school counselor, enables her hippie parents and discovers a secret that almost went to the grave. These thirty-something Midwestern women meet every Thursday at Coconuts where they humorously cope with meaty issues--OCD, tragedy, homosexuality and a stroke.

Care to share yours? It's a good exercise to condense 300 pages down to a few powerful lines. Side note: I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of agents and an editor. I also pitched two picture books while I was at it. Fingers and toes crossed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pitch Sessions Scored Two Requests

As I mentioned earlier, I sent three-line pitches for my novel, Thursdays At Coconuts, to a couple of agents and editors via the Savvy Authors site last week.

First, do you know how many times you can change a three-line pitch? Let me tell you--a LOT. I guess I finally got it right because I scored two requests in one week--one from a literary agent, Jill Marsal, and the other from the editor of Soul Mate Publishing. I also have three literary agents waiting (maybe not so patiently) for my work. I think it's only fair that I send it to them at the same time. Hopefully, today!

After three long years of setting my novel aside due to a family tragedy, maybe my women's fiction will finally see the light of day. Fingers crossed. As you know, during those years, I switched genres and now have two children's picture books published. I love writing both genres.

All week I've been in my pj's or sweats, make-up free with dirty hair, hunched over my keyboard. (A pretty picture, right?) I've tightened sentences, hunted for repetitive words, changed character names (I had four "S" names!) I also removed several chapters containing a secondary character for the already planned sequel where two new main characters will be introduced. And, of course, my characters started talking to me again so I added a few fun scenes. I also took time to research some crazy stuff that I can't wait for you to read.

Right now, I'm one-third finished editing. It's tough to get through 308 pages, word by word, line by line, but Thursdays At Coconuts is better for it. Congrats to several of my writer friends, (Lisa Wells, Wanda Fittro, Shirley McCann, Sharon Kizziah-Holmes and Susan Keene) who also received requests from various agents and publishers.

Let me know how you're progressing and a huge thanks to Savvy Authors for the opportunity. Good luck to everyone!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pitching Online Vs. In Person

For the first time ever, I pitched my novel online. Why? Because I love adventure, had never done it before, and an author friend of mine recently pitched online and received a contract. So, why not give it a whirl?

Here are some things I noticed:
  • It's fast (if you have a better computer than me).
  • You have specific instructions (to which no one apparently pays any attention).
  • You can pitch wearing jammies.
  • Make-up is not necessary--nor is brushing your teeth or washing your hair.
  • You get to read what other writers are pitching.
  • The response time is quick--just two weeks.
  • It's free.
Those are the good things about online pitching, but I still had problems. As you know, I have continual, dreadful computer issues. My upstairs "real" computer is down and my laptop froze, so I was forced to write my pitch using my tiny phone. I had already stared at it for hours and was seeing spots. So, I missed a double "a a."  Ugh. A typo in three lines? Bad. Very bad. Others did as well but still.

I tried it again on a second pitch. My laptop finally awakened and I hit "send" but nothing happened. At least I thought it didn't. So, I retried sending my info three times. Guess what? It went through. All. Three. Times. I'm sure that agent thinks I'm an idiot or was trying too hard to be noticed. Gah.

Previously, I've pitched my novel in person at a far-away (and two nearby) conferences. I paid for airfare, hotel, bought new clothes, had my hair and nails done and broke out in hives. Seriously. That being said, once I was in the room with the agent or editor, I settled down, smiled, joked, and they got to see my sparkling personality (which is lacking in an online pitch). You also get to talk for 5-10 minutes. In addition, at the conferences, you also glance at one another across the room at lunch, during presentations or while having a glass of wine when it's over. Therefore, you get to make an impression several times. For that reason, my guess is it's easier to leave a lasting impression (and a business card) when you pitch in person. However, I will pitch online again because of the reasons I listed above.

I'm just now getting back to my novel after two years of setting it aside due to our family tragedy. It's good to get back to it but I will continue to write children's picture books for the sheer joy they bring and the look on those kids' faces.

Have you pitched? Online or in person? Please do tell.

Friday, March 29, 2013

In The Mood

Another Friday Fictioneer offering.

Copyright - Rochelle Wisoff Fields

By Beth Carter

“Don’t forget. One light means I’m not in the mood. Two lights—you’re in luck.”

Harry laughed. “You think I’d forget that?” He patted her behind, gulped his coffee, and left for work.

After doing the dishes, she bought a black, lacy negligee at Victoria’s Secret. Later, she took a bubble bath, fluffed her curls and added a spritz of Obsession.

Smiling, Ruth lit both lamps. She suddenly noticed Harry had forgotten his coat. Something told her to look inside the pockets. She clutched a hotel receipt and welled up. He’ll never change. Ruth blew out one of the lamps.

100 words

To view other 100-word FF stories, visit

Friday, March 22, 2013

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS - Hannah's Punishment

It's time for my favorite weekly writing challenge--the Friday Fictioneers! Writers from around the world write these wee tales based on the same photo prompt. Here is this week's photo compliments of our Hawaiian friend, Doug Macilroy.

By Beth Carter

Hannah swatted a fly with her tail, her sneer undetectable due to the hose in her mouth. What? The cows are too good for this?

Her neck ached. Why doesn’t Farmer Fred put in an irrigation system? Hannah glared as Fred drove his new John Deere. She grimaced when she saw his fancy Range Rover. She suspected he had received a big lottery payout.

She knew she was being punished for placing fourth during the team roping event. Sure, my talking brother, Mr. Ed, got a TV show. Meanwhile, I get to hold this stupid hose and get trench hoof.

100 words

I'd love to hear your comments. Then, write your own 100 words and join us at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meet the Authors Event

I was pleased to join three other authors from Missouri and Arkansas to speak at a "Meet the Authors" event recently. Friends of the Library from the Webster County Library in Marshfield sponsored the small but mighty group of about 35 (from teens to retirees).

Each author--Allison Merritt, Pati Johnson Tierney, Kymberley Cook and I discussed our publishing stories (and sometimes woes) and recapped our respective books. It was interesting and everyone, of course, had a different path to publication.

I spoke about starting short (i.e., six-word memoirs and short stories in anthologies) to build publishing credits. Then, I discussed the novel that I started (and finished) a few years ago and why I switched genres  to children's picture books. The picture books have been a surprising joy in my life, and while I do plan to get back to novel writing, I will always, always, always write for children. My goal is to write at least one new picture book every year. I can't think of anything more important that children's literature and inspiring a child to read or write. And their precious faces and honest questions when I read to them just make my heart swell!

I'd encourage every author to force yourself to speak publicly. Many writers don't particularly enjoy public speaking--including me--but once in a comforting room with a supportive audience, the fears soon melt away.

L. to r.: Beth Carter, Allison Merritt, Kymberley Cook and Pati Johnson Tierney

Four genres were represented--thriller, steampunk fantasy, paranormal YA and children's picture books so the Friends of the Library heard quite a variety of fun writerly topics. Thanks to the Webster County Library for the invitation and to everyone who attended.

Monday, March 11, 2013

An Observation Exercise for Writer's Block

Recently, I saw a writer post that she hadn't written a word in six months. Not a word. Since my muse is usually in overtime skitting from project to project, it's hard for me to to believe writer's block exists, but it apparently does.

This writer said she had situational depression. While I don't know her, I tried to be helpful and suggested the following observation exercise which I learned in a college writing class. Thanks to my favorite writing professor, Jo Van Arkel, for this valuable lesson.

Choose a location--any location (inside or out)--and take your laptop or pen and pad with you. Then, using your senses write down EVERYTHING you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

Don't leave anything out. Scribble away and clean it up later. I promise this will get the words flowing. I even had to use shorthand to keep up with all of my senses and fast-paced surrounding!

For my assignment, I chose to go to a downtown bus stop. Soon, I was among intriguing people (hey, be nice) and the smell of popcorn from a nearby movie theatre that is long gone. I also smelled exhaust from passing cars and heard breaks screeching and cars humming. I could feel the cold concrete bench under my behind, the wind on my face, and saw birds swirl overhead. I took notice of everyone's clothes, perfume, hairstyle, and some very worn shoes. Then, I listened for dialogue. Yes, I happily eavesdropped.

While I don't remember the conversations, I do remember a story emerged between strangers. This suprised me and delighted my professor. I had planned to sit there for an hour, and as the windy day turned to dusk, I begrudgingly left my hard chair behind hours later. After all, I now had several handwritten pages to type.

This observation exercise is an easy, helpful way to get the words flowing. It also helps with realistic dialogue, new characters, and hones your senses.  After 20 years, I still remember it fondly as one of my favorite writing exercises. Try it and let me know how it goes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Naming Characters

How do you choose names for your characters? Do you keep a list? Do you use names of family, friends and co-workers--or your dreaded former boyfriends?!!

Lately, I've noticed when writing in a hurry I "grab" the same character names too often, namely (pun intended) "Jenny" and "Sylvia." I don't know why but I do. Actually, my parents almost named me Jennifer but didn't like "Jenny" so they chose Beth. I happen to like the name Jenny so maybe that's why I use her as a character. I also tend to use "S" names quite a bit like Sarah and, yes, Sylvia.

When we're all spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter, I say we keep a running list of interesting names that we see online. At least we'll feel halfway productive while socializing. I often check the phone book (the real, heavy one--old school) for last names. Last names are particularly hard for me.

Of course, if you have an ethnic character from a country you're not that familiar with, you'll want to Google possible names so they are realistic.

Last but not least, I bought a baby book of about 5,000 names. That should keep me from tiring out poor Jenny and Sylvia! How about you? How do you choose names for your characters?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Exterior of Home-Made Car

Here it is! Many of you asked to see the exterior of this unique car after viewing the inside. Thanks for all of your great stories. I can't wait to print many of them out and share your flash fiction with the owner (once I track him/her down). And, in my mind, I thought it was green, but as you can see, it's brown with green wheels.

Let me know if this is what you expected it to look like!

Thursday, February 28, 2013


This is an exciting Friday Fictioneers week since my photo is the prompt! I'm so pleased and cannot wait to read all of the 100-word offerings. If you haven't yet heard, my photo was taken in Florida (as I walked by this unique car in a parking lot). To my pleasant surprise, it placed first at the recent Ozarks Writers League annual contest. It's blue ribbon time!

Here is the interior of this cool, home-made car. I plan to print out a sampling of the FF stories and will attempt to find the owner the next time I'm in Florida. I have seen this car parked at the same restaurant twice so I'm hopeful we'll connect.

Beth Carter, Photographer (c)

By Beth Carter

Jenny sat on a sofa, avoiding the gaze of her trust-fund cousins. They had always looked down their plastic-surgery noses at her waitress job, but her sweet, funny uncle had loved her.

The attorney announced $100,000 would go to each grandchild for educational purposes. He then addressed her two cousins by name. “Your father has bequeathed his cattle ranch to you.”

Jenny stiffened, knowing how they loathed getting their hands dirty.

He turned to Jenny. “Your Uncle Clever left you his favorite car.”

Her smug cousins laughed while Jenny wondered how she would spend the $1 million she knew was under the floorboard.

Actually, I wrote TWO stories this week. Maybe I'm entitled since I took the photo. Maybe not.
Either way, please let me know which one you like best! Here's #2:


By Beth Carter

Sylvia took a long sip of chardonnay as she studied Tina’s perfectly manicured nails and designer shoes—the nails and shoes Sylvia had long envied.

“You know, I thought I had finally found the right guy.”

“What happened?”

“We met at that new restaurant, ordered an expensive meal and drank a bottle of imported wine.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

Sylvia rolled her eyes. “Nothing. Everything was perfect until—”

Tina leaned forward. “Until what?”

“He offered to drive me to his yacht in his ‘pride and joy.’ When we got to the parking lot, he opened the door to THIS.”

Hope you enjoyed my two flash fiction pieces! Hop over to
to read the other 100-word stories by our growing Friday Fictioneers.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Winning Photograph

I was flabbergasted and beyond thrilled when I was notified that I had won FIRST PLACE in the annual Art & Photography Contest by Ozarks Writers League in February. I mean I almost needed garlic waved in front of my nose. To my dismay, I was out of state during the meeting to receive this honor. Still, it was amazing news.

As background, this was the first time I had entered a photography contest and it certainly won't be my last. Most of you know I am not tech savvy. Not in the least. I finally threw away my corded Princess phone (okay, it was almost that bad) and bought a new-fangled phone that has a great camera. Ever since my phone/camera purchase, I've been snapping pictures constantly. I'll run to catch a great shot, crouch, squint, try different angles, stand in the hot sun or on an icy patch--whatever it takes. I almost feel like a real photographer.

Okay, okay. I know you just want to see the winning photo. I entered a few and honestly thought a couple of wildlife photos might have a chance at placing. This award-winning photo caught me by surprise (a very pleasant surprise). It's funny. Really funny and is a home-made car by an ingenious person. I first took photos of the exterior but couldn't see the rich, humorous details inside. So, I got close to the car from every possible angle and came up with this... Note: It's best enjoyed in the 8" x 10" version.

Car spotted in Cape Coral, Florida. It really runs!
"Car Seats" photo by Beth Carter

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Creative Writers

As I prepare to enter my first-ever photography contest, it occurred to me that writers not only write creatively, they are naturally creative people. To illustrate this, let me introduce you to several of my author friends who are extremely creative:

  • Linda and Jan both write and paint
  • Shirley writes and crochets
  • Stephanie writes and makes beaded jewelry
  • Brenda, Sharon, and Mike write and are award-winning photographers
  • Amy writes, dances, acts, and is a magician's assistant
  • Lonnie writes and plays instruments
  • Mike writes, sings, and plays several instruments
  • Linda writes and is a public speaking expert
  • Claire writes and is an amazing cook (or so I hear!)
  • Ruth and Linda write and read Tarot cards
I'm sure I've missed several, so please fill us in. Oh, and what's my claim to fame? I write, play the piano (albeit rarely) and have a new-found interest in photography thanks to my updated cell phone. (I'm currently shopping for an easy digital camera.) I also bought a Drawing for Dummies book because I would love to learn to draw and paint. Once in high school, I made a paper mache` clown that actually made it into the main hallway showcase at Central High School. That's big for someone who normally cannot draw stick people. I'd give anything to have that cute clown.

How about you? Besides writing creatively, are you a creative writer? If so, what is your creative outlet?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Friday Fictioneers - TEMPTATION

It's Friday Fictioneer day which means writers from around the globe are writing 100-word flash fiction stories based on the same photo prompt. This week's photo convinced me to have a conversation between two Greek Gods. (Photo and art compliments of Claire Fuller.)

By Beth Carter

Apollo buried his angular nose in Athena’s soft curls and sighed.

“What scent is that? Lilac? Honeysuckle? Rose?” He inhaled again.

Athena shook her long locks and cocked her head toward the yellow bottle.

“It’s a secret formula apparently made from Norwegian wildflowers. The shampoo is magical. That’s all I can tell you.”

Apollo grunted. “Why?”

“Zeus told me we’d be mere bedrock if—”

“Rubbish. He exaggerates. Don’t believe those silly mythological tales.”

Apollo drew a small heart where he planned to etch their initials. Unable to resist, he again smelled Athena’s fragrant hair. They both turned to stone.

Try it! Please comment here then post your story at

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Valentine's Day Decor Tip

Need an easy, cheap romantic idea for Valentine's Day? Look no further. I discovered this simple tip years ago and use it as a Valentine's Day centerpiece.

Simply take a pretty bowl (clear is best) and add one bag of cranberries. Fill the bowl with water and allow the cranberries to float to the top. Add white tealight candles, light them, and voila!

Get creative. You could divide the bag of cranberries and place them in tall, clear vases using just one tealight in each--or separate the cranberries into several small vases, add the candles, and place them around your bathtub! Romantic, right?

Love is in the air. Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I'm A Calendar Girl

Okay, saying I'm a calendar girl might be a stretch but I am in the 2013 SIX-WORD MEMOIR desk calendar by SMITH Magazine! Pretty cool, right?

When I received an email from the editor, Larry Smith, last year I was thrilled! I've never been in a calendar and I usually buy three desk calendars every year. Why? Because I love them. They're funny. They're inspirational. They're motivational. They're sillly, helpful, themed or brainy--whichever you prefer.

And now calendars are on sale. Since we're in the second week of January, you can get a calendar for a good deal. Here's a link.

By the way, I was asked to give the editor a few special dates for my memoir to appear so I gave him my birthday, hubby's birthday, my daughter's birthday and our anniversary. You'll just have to get the calendar to see when my six-word memoir appears. Happy 2013, everyone!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Clean Slate

Happy New Year! It's time to start anew with a clean slate and fill it with resolutions and/or goals. I thought we'd begin with a wonderful, timely quote by Emily Dickinson: "Dwell in possibility." Let's do just that.

Since my resolutions are always some variation of exercise more often and be more productive, I'd rather focus on goals. I've divided my goals into two groups: "Me" Goals and Writerly Goals. Here goes.

"Me" Goals
  • Try yoga.
  • Learn a new language (either Spanish which is more practical or French which is more beautiful).
  • Go on weekly dates with hubby.
  • Go dancing once or twice a month.
  • Go to the movie theater by myself. I've never done this (my daughter loves going alone), and since my husband hates the movie theater, I must embrace this goal and stop feeling like a loser who doesn't have friends.
  • Get up earlier. When I worked outside the house, I was up by 6:30 and out the door by 7:30. Let's just say I've gotten too lax in this department.
  • Write more, read more and Facebook less. Now, I won't banish FB. Not at all. I love FB and bought the IPO so I want everyone to embrace FB. I just need more balance in this area.
  • Take more walks.
  • Learn to kayak.
  • Ride my bike already!
  • File (don't pile!) This is a tough one.
  • Try a new recipe every week. I've done this over the years but usually fizzle out. But I have discovered many new recipes by tackling this goal.
  • Play more board games and cards. In other words, adopt my parents' fun social life.
Writerly Goals
One of my writers' groups, Sleuths' Ink, asks its members to fill out two goal cards every December. One card is to keep and the other is read by the president the following year. Embarrassment equals motivation here and usually works pretty well among our members. Here are my writerly goals:
  • Edit my novel, Thursdays At Coconuts, one final time and submit it to agents by June 1, 2013.
  • Edit and polish two already drafted picture books (submit one by March 1, 2013, and the other during the summer). 
  • Flush out my picture book series with my daughter.
  • Keep my blog current.
  • Create a website.
  • Attend new writers' conferences.
  • Continue to submit six-word memoirs.
  • Continue work on my non-fiction book of haiku.
  • Continue adding recipes to my cookbook.
  • Market What Do You Want To Be? and add a new element to increase new interest and add readers.
  • Do a better job of marketing The Missing Key.
  • Figure out how to get my picture books on Kindle and Nook! (At least hire someone to do this.)
  • Hold a book signing in Florida.
  • Meet Florida writers.
Okay, that's plenty to keep me out of trouble this year. How about you? What are your resolutions or goals? And for a fun comparison of resolutions versus goals, plus some good laughs, hop over to my friend, Jan Morrill's blog at Let's dwell in possibility.