Patience and the Writing Life

Writers know all about waiting. ALL about it.

We write a story and submit it. We accumulate rejections. Finally, our agent sells a story and then another. We wait through the edits and the design and the production. A year.

We become marketers of that book (those books), but we’re supposed to work on the next…and then the next.

Lots of Books!
Lots of Books!

We query again and discover that this next doesn’t quite fit with the publisher’s plans. He wants a shorter book. Ah. Shorter. Right.

We smile. One must, of course. And we wonder what this means, this latest wall we’ve hit. So we hire an editor–you know, someone who doesn’t love us already. Someone other than our critique partners.

And while we wait to get the story back from Old Eagle Eyes, we ponder. And we read. (And, of course, we begin–or finish–another story. One does.)

But what exactly will we do when we get the manuscript back? We’ve been thinking. Watching other writers take the step from here to there, from traditional to (YIKES) self-published.

If we do find a home at a publishing house, we’ll have that year to wait. Oh, and wasn’t that the sweetest letter we received from a reader who wonders when she’ll have our next book? Oh, and there’s another one. Begging. Will they lose interest if they don’t see a new book from us for yet another year?

We cast about for the right answer. We look over our shoulder–and over the fence–and wonder what if?


Other writers do it. At a recent conference we heard from authors who first published traditionally and now…yikes, should we say it?…publish on their own. And. Make. Money. And. Find. Readers. And. Have. Fun.

Oh, my.

The riskiness of it. The courage it must take.

Publish on my own? Me? Moi-meme? Io? Yours truly?

Well, who knows? But I’m reading Catherine Ryan Howard’s hilarious Self-Printed, The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. And I’m learning. I’ve been playing with a fantastic cover design program called KD Cover Kit, which uses PhotoShop Cloud. I’m relearning Scrivener.

What do you think? Would you read a self-published book? Would you read one of mine if I released it myself? Or would you shy away because there’s no publishing house with its name on the cover? Does self-publishing have the same stigma it used to?

Talk to me, please. I’d like to know.



Y’all know how much fun contests are. Well, this has been a delightful week for my books.

Today, I learned that Sailing out of Darkness is one of three finalists in the Single Title Category (for romantic as opposed to romance fiction) of the Aspen Gold Contest from the Heart of Denver Romance Writers!

Readers in Denver, thank you!

Aspen Gold Medallionsod small


For one more day, the Kindle version remains at 99 cents.

Click HERE to buy.





New York City: Babies, Boats, and Books

I know you’ll forgive me for the blog silence when I explain that I’ve been just a little busy. Some of you will have seen the Facebook pictures of my time in the city, but here are a few to remind me and you of the important things in life.


Little Ella talks to her daddy
Little Ella talks to her daddy
And chats with her giraffe


The baby whisperer
The baby whisperer


My son-in-law calls me the Baby Whisperer because I could soothe our sweet little darling and give her parents a break. This was taken on my last day with her–and she did as much to soothe my spirit as I did for hers.

I did have the privilege of meeting my publicist face-to-face.  River Laker of Silver Seas PR came to town to help me at a book event in one of the top NYC book stores. Here I am, reading an excerpt from Becalmed.

Reading from Becalmed
Reading at Bluestockings


We loved our time at Liberty Landing Marina.

Just after dawn
Just after dawn
Lights come on in Manhattan as seen from SV's deck
Lights come on in Manhattan as seen from SV’s deck
View as we dined at Liberty House Restaurant
View as we dined at Liberty House Restaurant


Sea Venture is slowly wending her way south. First real stop, Chesapeake City, MD, and then it’s on to Baltimore and more book signing parties!

If you’re anywhere along our route south (Chesapeake Bay and ICW) please give us a shout out.  I’d love to meet you hither, thither, or yon.









Onward and Upward: New Roles and New Hats

I’ve had a lovely time as Executive Editor of Wayside Press, the general market imprint of Written World Communications, but it’s time to hang up that hat as I move forward into new roles. Two of my books release this summer, I’ve more on the hard drive in need to tweaking, and I’m a soon-to-be grandmother.

There’s only so much time in a day and only so much energy given to each of us. I’ve loved working with Wayside’s authors, and I know I’ll miss interacting with all the new ones who will be showing up at the imprint’s door. But none of us is expendable, and if we try to do too much, none of it will be done well.

So, to those authors I’ve met at conferences who had hoped to submit to me, I’m sorry. But I’m sure someone else will take up the slack. And I’d still like to hear from you, to encourage you in your work and to gather encouragement from you!

Editor Hat
Editor Hat

The Editor becomes:

Admiral of Sea Venture as we take to the water again with Michael and Mama and our trip north! Not a flattering photo, but very real as I maneuvered us into Bahia de la Paz, Mexico.

At Sea Venture's Helm
At Sea Venture’s Helm

And this, sailing my little boat on jaunts out to Cape Lookout:

Sailing Puff
Sailing Puff

And this! The author gets to have some fun.

The Author
The Author

As soon as I have pictures that include the grandmother role, I’ll let you know!


Traditional versus Self-publishing: Why the Furor?

Traditionally published (many times over) author Sue Grafton created a furor in an interview on August 7 in which she disparaged self-publishing and called self-pubbed authors lazy. I think perhaps Miss Manners might have cleared her throat, stepped in with an “A-hem,” and suggested that Sue pause and reconsider. Too bad she didn’t.

The words are out, in print, and we know what that means. Maybe the mike wasn’t turned on, but it might as well have been. And now Sue’s words are creating a lot of hate and discontent. I’m sorry about that.


It seems so unnecessary. You know?

I work for a small, traditional press, and my first book will be published by another small, traditional press. I’m trusting the editor at that house will take as great a care of my words as I do for the authors we contract. But I’d like to say that my recent purchases of books from some big, traditional houses have not given me much respect for the care their editors showed before shoving those stories out the door. Good stories, sloppy editing.

No, I’m not a perfect editor. Fortunately for our authors, I have folk who come behind me in the process and have my back. But I’d like to suggest to Sue (and to anyone else who declares that a professional work can only come via traditional publishing) that perhaps she ought to take a step back and reconsider. There are some excellent freelance editors out there (I don’t freelance, just so you know), and many self-publishing authors use them.

Yes, there are some who are so eager to get their work in print or in an e-book format that they rush the process and imagine they can see their own mistakes. They can’t. No one can. They’re the ones who give self-published authors a bad name.

But let’s not tar all self-pubbed authors with that same brush. If we do, we’ll have to talk about the egregious errors that crop up in books from major publishing houses–all the time. Have I quit buying books by authors I enjoy because their publisher used a novice editor (or at least a careless editor) on their work? Of course not. I squirm a bit when I read these adjectives pretending to be adverbs or pronouns in the wrong case, but I read on–because the story is worth it. And I don’t hold the author responsible for the editor’s mistake. Now, if he or she had self-published and left in those mistakes? Well, I suppose I’d want to write a nice, friendly letter suggesting an editor for the next go round. A good editor.



New Website–Yippee!

Reeling from sticker shock a few days ago when a lovely web designer sent me a quote for design and maintenance of a website, I got busy.

No, that’s wrong. I’ve been busy. If you’ve visited here at all in the last months, you will have seen various incarnations of the blog, themes  I’ve tried and tossed. A number of those cost a bit, too, and a couple of the theme developers even tried to help me figure things out. Of course, they did so using language that had me feeling antiquated and useless: I hadn’t a clue what their words meant or how to implement them, nor did I have the energy to take this aging body off to computer-lingo school.


Finally, finally I found a drop and drag template that lets me do anything I want and do it visually. I’m a visual learner, so these folk had me right there when they suggested I come in, take any of their designs, and play for free. A day later, I had something that I like — finally.

Here’s the screen shot of the home page in edit mode. See those cute little thingies up on the left? All I have to do is click on one of those and options appear. Lots of options. I can change the look of every single piece of the puzzle. But isn’t that background gorgeous?

I’d be very grateful if you’d pop over to see it and, if you like it, say so by clicking on that little button you see there. You know, the one with that big “0” next to it? Just so I know that I’m not designing in a void.

I moved my domain to that site:

I kept another one for this:

So, if you could keep those in mind, I’d be grateful, though you can navigate from there to here and from here to there easily enough.

Oh, and if you find any gaffes, do drop me an email. Any of my proofreaders know I grow a bit blind sometimes.


In A Crowded Room


A long time ago, in pre-Internet / pre-social media days, my eyes were still young and too often turned inward.


(Fine, sometimes they still are. That’s what poetry is for: to release angst. I’ve less of it to release these days, hence fewer poems find themselves squiggled between lines.)

I wrote this one in those long ago days. The images will be familiar to many artists.


One’s a Crowd

Lonely isn’t lonely

If one looks from outside in.

It’s just the inside out

That makes a person feel so thin.

Peering on the inside

One can see a host friends,

All caring, sorting, building, coping,

Sharing life with him.




I remember sitting alone, feeling disassociated, odd and out-numbered as I watched others interact. I was happiest with my clay or my pen.

But something happened between the then and now, between the me I was and the me I’m now — a healing, a rejoicing, an empowering — answered prayer as I learned how to like me and so  learned how to let others in.

Yes, some of that had to do with life changes: maturity and overcoming pain, marriage to my best friend, sailing to lovely places with him, watching healing happen within me. But some came about because of here. This ability we now have to reach out and touch kindred spirits who may live a continent or a world away.

Hello, Facebook! Hello, blogs! Hello, critique friends and writer friends and friend-friends! Hello, world!

You know who you are. So many of you, old friends and new, who’ve touched me and continue to touch my life. You have helped me grow as a writer and as a person. You’ve reached out and let me reach to you.

I give you a salute today and a peek into beauty from my window.

I hope to meet more of you in the days to come, either here or on Facebook — or in person. Grab a cup of something good and let’s chat a while and get to know one another. None of us needs to feel lonely, no matter how crowded the room or how out of place we imagine ourselves. Reach out. Look around. Someone is waiting for you to say, “Hey, I’m me, and I’d like to know you.”










New Writing Blog, Lost Friends

It appears that, when I upgraded Writing on Board from to, I made both blog-post pictures and people vanish into cyberspace. If, by any chance, you were among those following my writing world at, then I’d be grateful if you’d drop by again and hit Subscribe.

I apologize. Really. To you and to my time, which has been frittered away with design woes when it ought to have been spent either writing, editing, or varnishing Sea Venture’s companionway doors.


And thank you for bearing with my Internet woes.