A Little Schizophrenia, Anyone?

I’ve got two projects going right now: one a Harlequin Romantic Suspense Copper Lake book and a new idea. Both are parts of a series, so not only are there the usual characters you find in a stand-alone book, but there’s all sorts of details and recurring characters that have to be tracked.

And, frankly, my brain is full to the brim of stuff. I’ll be typing along and suddenly come to my hero’s or heroine’s name and not be able to think of it to save my life. The really sad thing is that this occurs usually within minutes of having typed the name the last time. And, yeah, I keep notes handy. It’s just that the notes cover over 300 characters right now, and sometimes I can’t remember which book I’m actually in, so the notes don’t always help.

It’s tough when you’re as disorganized as I am. Sometimes I think if I were more organized, I could get so much more done, but the idea of being organized is so alien that I’m more likely to sprout wings and fly to the moon.

If I could just split my personality and assign each book a different one . . .




I’m not a fan of social networking to promo my books. Joined Twitter, did a few tweets, but wasn’t sure if anyone was reading them or not, so quit. Have a blog on my website, but rarely blog on it. Mainly, because I never knew what to write on it. Joined this blog and it helped me learn blogging. Enough that I’m going to try ONE MORE TIME to blog at least once a week on it. In fact, I’m even trying to build a separate blog titled WHEN TEDDY BEARS GET SICK, based on my 30 years in pediatric, though that’s not going so well. I’ve never had to build a blog myself.

For years, I’ve been preaching how publishing was going to convert to digital. So, what’s going to happen to promotion? What has already? We’ve gone from websites to blogging to FB and Twitter. Who knows what’s next? For sure, it won’t be paper bookmarks, in-store book signings (assuming any book stores stay open), or book tours.

So, no more whining. No more pouting. I’ve just got pull up my big girl panties and do it! Friend me on Facebook! And check out my blog http://www.jackiekramer.com/wordpress because that’s where I’m going next. Hmm, I keep this up, I may have to start liking adults!

The Sounds of Summer

 With the heat being so dreadful, I’m not outside much. But have you ever listened to the sounds of summer? I know not all parts of the country, or the world for that matter, experience summer the way we do at Twisted Creek Ranch.  I can’t imagine a summer with the clack of cicadas–we called them Katydids when I was little. If I’m very still, I can hear the wind whispering through the brittle grass, now bleached from the scorching heat. I think of it as death cries. The earth moans as all the moisture is being sucked from it.

While in the shade of our oak trees, the dogs pant and every so often, climb into the water tub, their nails clacking against the plastic. The songs of birds have diminished to brief tweets. If I’m in town, I hear the tinny notes blaring from the truck of the ice cream man as he circles the neighborhoods. Or the sound of splashing water and laughter made by kids in the pools covered by fabric canopies.

What sounds mean summer to you?

Hidden Treasures

What indoor activities keep you occupied during this horrible heat wave? Besides your writing, that is. I decided to make a stab at cleaning my office. Mind you it’s an old walk-in closet that’s L shaped. There’s a bookshelf back there and plenty of room to dump ‘junk’. And dump I did. For years. Ugh.

But it was time to clean it up.

Once I’d made a fair size dent in the mess, filing some of the info, trashing A LOT
more, I found a box with some miscellaneous stuff in it. That’s where I found hidden treasures. There were handouts from different speakers RWI has had over the years, helpful hints on judging contests, things to do when submitting to editors/agents, etc. I kept digging and found some short stories I’d written decades ago. I thought I’d lost them. It was so much fun reading over my carefully crafted words, to go back to that place in time when I’d first written them. Ah, going down memory lane. *sigh*

But some of the best treasurers I found were bits of encouragement I’d received from various people over the years. Yes, those scraps of paper are golden. At least to me. As a newbie to the writing business I needed that encouragement. It kept me going. Praise from others still keep me going when I stumble.

So whenever you’re going over a newbie’s pages, keep in mind that what you say will affect them – for years to come. Let your words of praise be THEIR treasurers.

Linda Trout

Steamroller Blues

Yesterday afternoon my husband lay down for a nap. When the puppers woke him with their frenzied barking, he looked out the front window and saw a honking big steamroller parked in our front yard. We don’t know who brought it, don’t know who it belongs to, don’t know what it’s doing there. It’s just there.

(And they didn’t even have the courtesy to leave the keys and operating instructions so I could use it to tamp down some gopher/mole hills. Considering they just left it there between my plum tree and my apple tree, you’d think that was the least they could do.) 

We didn’t call the neighbors or the county or the sheriff. In fact, other than noting that it’s there, we didn’t do anything. That’s life out here. Sometimes people mow your yard while you’re gone. Sometimes they put boulders in (or take them out). Sometimes they leave steamrollers.

Sometimes that’s how my writing goes. A character shows up, something totally unexpected happens (by me, at least), or someone will spout a line or thought that seems totally out of place. I learned a long time ago to just go with it and see what happens, and it almost always turns out to be important to the end of the story.

I’m sure that steamroller’s in my yard for a reason. I just have to wait to find out what it is.


One More Time!

For the past few months, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the world of publishing. The advent of affordable eReaders, eBooks becoming legitimate, established authors entering a battle for eRights on books that were published two decades ago, the closing of many bookstores.

Yet, despite all these changes, I still hear the cry “Books will never disappear!” Well, duh! Books have been part of human civilization since before the pyramids were built. What’s going to vanish is paper books. Oh, relax, all you purists. It won’t happen in your lifetime, but it will happen. Think it won’t?

How many stone tablets do you have in your library? Papyrus scrolls? Illuminated manuscripts? All of these methods were used to tell the stories people wanted to read. No, most of these formats went to only the rich. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1430’s with the Guttenberg press was invented, that paper books opened the door for the masses to have a way to read. And even this format took another 200 years before it was commonly available.

But the Computer Age…and, yes, that’s what it’ll be called…is making the change to the new format much quicker than most readers are comfortable. There still isn’t any strong evidence as to EXACTLY who is buying these new books. Probably the younger reader who grew up with the computer. I know that young professionals such as lawyers and doctors are downloading the massive libraries they need to learn and stay current in their work. And based on what I’ve been doing since I received my Kindle for Christmas, a lot of oldsters are looking into the eReader world. The fonts can be increased for aging eyes and when seeing a future in a vastly reduced living space, the option of taking a 3000 book library into an assisted living unit or nursing home.

So, one more time…eBooks and eReaders are here to stay. They’ll keep getting better and cheaper. More and more people will feel very comfortable with digital reading. And someday in the future, a first editon of A TALE OF TWO CITIES in hardcover will be a precious gift for a dear friend. But that is progress…and the human race can’t evolve without technilogical progress.

We All Need A Hero

 I was baking the other day and needed background noise. Since I’d been promising myself to watch “Live Free or Die Hard” the 4th in the Die Hard series for a year or so. (I’m so behind on movies!) While the bread was baking, I sat down to watch.

While no human could take the punishment that John McClane does, I couldn’t help admiring his determination even before his daughter was taken hostage. We all need a hero like McClane.

Even if we have to be our own hero.