Sunday, August 31, 2014

Newsletter

Welcome September.  Back to School!

Our two younger kids are back at college, and I thought I'd have a quiet time after they returned. Guess again.  I keep getting calls from both of them, multiple times a day.  But I'm able to work now, which is incredible.  I'm one of those moms who dance when school starts.  Yes, I love my children, but it's time for them to get their education and go back to college.  LOL!

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  Take care and have a wonderful fall season!

Have a happy and safe September!
SweetTale Books




Need a new book to read?

I'd like to offer a free book from Smashwords for this month.  Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/105446 and enter coupon code YB97C at the checkout to get this book, free.  This coupon is only good until 9/7/2014, so hurry and get your copy.

(Note:  To put the book on your Kindle or Nook, go to this page: http://sweettalebooks.com/copyingtokindle.html)




Blurb:

** Cupid Romance Series **

When lawyer Merry Woods meets the man who is literally in her dreams, Detective Alex McKay, she realizes her current fiancé isn't someone she wants to marry. But to date Alex means they can't talk about work, since some things have to stay confidential. However, other people keep trying to date both of them, pulling them apart at every turn.

Two cupids are on the job to guarantee Merry and Alex make it in their relationship, even though other cupids also have both of their client names on their contracts for other mates. Can they get Alex and Merry together against the odds, and prove the couple is truly the magical 'Couple for the Ages'?
Click here for an excerpt.


Have a wonderful month!
SweetTale Books

Friday, August 29, 2014

Writer's Block or Lack of Time

I've had a problem for months now.  I can't write.  It's not that I don't want to write or don't have ideas to write--I have more than enough unwritten plots, and even many, many books already written, just waiting for publication.  But I just can't write.

Why?  I have six extremely important reasons.

First, my husband.  I love him dearly, but he gives me things to do RIGHT NOW.  That type of thing.  I can usually handle him, since he works eight hours every day Monday through Friday.

Next, our son.  He graduated from college, but as many people know, he has Asperger's Syndrome.  Recently, my husband decided our son needed to drive again (he has a license but refused to ever drive after getting his license).  So my husband made him drive to his new job this past winter/spring.  Since our son had a few more hours of driving, my husband decided our son should get a car, so he did.  He now is the owner of a used Subaru Forester.  The first time he drove by himself was to go to his new job (second day of work), 4.2 miles in 25 mph zones.  I panicked and paced until he called me that he was at work.  He had to get the new job because the first job was just one stressful moment after another with him, which he'd take out on everyone at home.  So now, he's driving to and from the new job every day, learning the ways of the road after missing his turnoff more than once.  He's also learned how not to turn left from a center lane.  UGH.  But he also works M-F for 8 hours, so he isn't that much of a problem after he gets to work and before he comes home.

Then there's our middle kid, a redheaded female.  She's a handful, at best.  She and I are so much alike, we fight a lot.  She comes to me with a lot of problems, and I try to help her solve them.  She couldn't get a job this summer, so she was home.  Every time I'd try to write for an hour, she'd bug me with some other issue that had to be solved NOW (she's a little like her father).

Our youngest probably understands writing the most.  She loves to plot and would love to be a writer.  she gets it when I say I need to write, and leaves me alone.  But there are also times she needs me, as well.

Last, but not least, of the six issues, are our two Boston Terriers, Calvin and Hobbes.  They love people.  It's nice when everyone's home, because the other people in the house can keep them entertained.  But when I'm alone with them, or I'm the only one downstairs, they want to be held, fed, or played with.  Calvin even cries to get attention.

With these six beings demanding my attention, it's been rough, at least, to get anything done.  I've worked on blogs and finally wrote two short stories (well, I'm working on the second one).  But writing time is limited.  I sit on my bed most evenings to work on the laptop.  When my kids make the three-corner turn from the door (around the bed to my side), I know it's going to be at least another hour before I can come back to what I'm doing.

So to my readers, I haven't forgotten you.  I have tons of plots in my head, but just can't get to them right now.  Hang in there, because those plots are 'ripening' in my brain and need to come out soon.  :)  And to my characters, just keep going with your ideas.  I love living with you in my head, because you're giving me an escape.  Thank you all!

Have a wonderful week!
Markee


Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: Second Chance Bride (A Sapphire Bay Novella) by Sandra Edwards

Since I've been pretty much banned from writing reviews on Amazon (turns out they don't like authors reviewing their family's or friends' books) and am in fear of them pulling all my books, I have to resort to writing reviews elsewhere.

I don't get a chance to read a lot, so these reviews will be very few and very very far between.  I also don't review books I don't like, because I don't like giving less than a 5-star review.  I go by the adage 'if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.'

So any book I review here, assume I'd give it a 5-star review on Amazon, IF I could.  I've had too many reviews pulled and don't want to chance upsetting Amazon.

Anyway, Sandra Edwards asked me to read her book and review it.  Even though I told her I couldn't put it on Amazon, she said, 'read it anyway...you'll like it' and I did!  I'm glad I did.

Here's the book link and cover:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LYD3YD2




There's one thing about Ms. Edwards' writing that intrigues me.  She's a true storyteller.  She knows just how to bring things into a plot at just the right time.  And this book didn't disappoint.  I truly enjoyed it!

Here's the blurb from Amazon:


*****


After being jilted, practically at the altar, Genie Wainwright heads to Hawaii to escape the well-meant pity party her friends and family are bound to throw on her behalf. What she never expects is to find someone to help her mend her broken heart.

Donnie Taylor, owner of the posh Sapphire Bay Resort, has no interest in marriage--until he meets an unforgettable guest at the hotel. What starts out as a kindhearted gesture brings Donnie something he never expects--a chance at love!

*Second Chance Bride is a short novella of approximately 11,000 words. About 46 pages.


*****

I love how she takes a bad situation and turns it on its head, in ways I couldn't imagine.  In the story, the heroine (Genie) decides to take the honeymoon she was supposed to go on, upgrading it to a slightly different location.  She gets a chance to reflect on life while in Hawaii, yet is left alone.

The hero's mother is hilarious.  She loves to meddle in Donnie's life, and this time, I get the impression he's about had it with her.  It's a fun book and put a smile on my face more than once.  I consider it worthy of a Hallmark movie, with just the right amount of romance and excitement.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fun romances with character.  Like I said before, Ms. Edwards is a true storyteller and it really shows in her writing. 

Have a super weekend!

Markee 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vacations are Made for Plotting

My in-laws finally visited our house.  My husband didn't want to take them anywhere, but given the choice of taking them out or talking to them here (more like listening to them) for two days, he chose to take them out. They visited Lambeau Field, Starbucks (my husband's fuel), a bakery (major fuel for him), and a chocolate shop (to keep the in-laws busy).  That was the first morning they were here (Friday).  He took them to a movie that afternoon, because he'd run out of things to do already.  But what to do the second day (Saturday)?  They were leaving the morning of the third day which left an entire day open for the so-called 'talking' (more like listening because my sister-in-law likes to talk a lot--too much).

They wanted to see a cheese factory, but I could only find cheese shops.  The biggest of these is in Door County.  Door County is the part of Wisconsin that juts out into Lake Michigan.  The biggest city is Sturgeon Bay, halfway up the peninsula.  Sturgeon Bay is 45 minutes from our house, but we'd never been there before, and we've lived here over ten years.  The cheese place is close to Sturgeon Bay.  So an hour up and an hour back...but what else should we do?  I didn't want to hear more stories of aches and pains or gossip about the rest of the family.

I had this great idea to go the whole way to Sister Bay, about two hours from here, almost at the top of the peninsula.  There's this great restaurant in Sister Bay called 'Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant.'  It's here:  http://www.aljohnsons.com  and yes, that's sod and goats on the roof.  The building is now surrounded by trees, and it's right beside a major road.  Of course, when I told my husband I wanted to go two HOURS to Sister Bay, he got upset.  I told him his mom was almost 88 years old and she'd be thrilled to do something fun like that.  So he relented and sort of agreed but wasn't happy in the least.

We finally left, amidst fog and boring terrain.  Turns out, Door County only has a few thousand residents and LOTS of farmland/countryside.  Not much to see on the whole trip.  But the fog lifted and we finally saw sunshine, closer to Sturgeon Bay.

After a wrong turn (yes, hubby was angry about that, too), we got to the cheese shop.  People were chatty and happy there.  It was fun!  There were weird cheeses to taste and breads with dipping sauces, etc.  My husband actually smiled.  He really didn't want to go anywhere, but he liked the cheese place (he doesn't like cheese, overall).  This one chatty customer was from Green Bay and told me we HAD to go to the Cherry Festival in Jacksonport.  It started right at that time on that day and we couldn't miss it.  Where was Jacksonport?  Who knew.  But I had a map...and my middle kid was home with the Internet at her fingertips.  Turns out, it was on the way to Sister Bay, where my husband didn't WANT to go.  But I convinced him to go to the Cherry Festival, at least, for his mom.  His mom wanted cherries and made it clear we had to see more.

We drove up the Lake Michigan side of Door County (the other side is the Bay of Green Bay), and went right past the Cherry Festival.  But we'd have to park too far away for my mother-in-law and it'd be tough with her cane, etc.  So we kept going...to Sister Bay.  Hubby wasn't happy, but when he passed a bakery, he seemed very happy.  "Have to stop there on the way back," he said, nodding at me from the driver's seat to the back seat (I had to give up my prized front passenger's seat to my mother-in-law, which meant I heard my sister-in-laws woes and tales for the whole trip).  At least he had a bakery to look forward to.


We got to Sister Bay, as did half the population of Wisconsin, I think.  It was packed.  But within minutes, we found Al Johnson's Swedish Bakery.  We HAD to see those goats and we did!  Very cool!  Here are two pictures.  Turns out, it's kind of hard to see them if they're not on the sides, which is kind of hard to do.




We went inside and they have this gift shop off to the left.  My husband was thrilled, believe it or not, because he could get away from his family.  Mother-in-law and sister-in-law opted to sit in the lobby to wait for our name to be called.  But hubby went into the gift shop.  He bought a very soft hoodie for himself and a recipe book for me on 'ebelskivers.' (here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008QZT444.) They're rounded pancakes (like a ball) and can be filled.  I had to order a special pan to make them, but it's okay.

We finally got into the packed restaurant and the food was outstanding!  Our son and youngest daughter came with us (middle kid had her fill of the in-laws and opted to stay home...she got lucky and drew the longest straw).  Youngest daughter loved the restaurant because one of the waiters was adorable with some sort of accent.  She couldn't take her eyes off the guy.

We ate ligonberries, limpka bread (like a mild rye bread), home made swedish meatballs (to die for), and various pies.  By this time, my husband was rather happy, and after his fourth cup of coffee there (no kidding), he was ecstatic.  He ordered this humongous dessert of a hard meringue cookie, topped by about 1/2 gallon of ice cream, about four cups of whipped cream, and cherries down over it.  My son helped him eat it.  Here's a picture:






We left there, talked to some more chatty people who wanted to show us their vacation pictures to Yellowstone (hilarious!) and saw some more of the town.  Then we had to stop at the bakery on the way back.  It was delicious!  Here are two pictures of the outside (my youngest loved the flowers on the side of the building, so we had to get a picture of those, too).




Turns out, if my husband has a great time, he wants to visit again...SOON.  So when we got home, he and I booked a whole weekend in September to go back to Sister Bay, so he can eat at Al Johnson's again.  But this time, no in-laws, and I can finally plot and write while there.  There isn't a lot to do there, so it'll be fun. Two of the kids will be back at college, the dogs are going to their favorite kennel, and we're taking our son with us.  I'll have even more time to plot and write because my son and husband can play games and watch TV at night.  There are small shops there and of course the bay and Lake Michigan, but I'm looking forward to some R&R.  Thus, if you're trying to contact me in Sept., I might be watching goats on a roof or plotting out my next murder mystery.  And no, the in-laws won't be the victims.  Hmmm...

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Writer's Life

Have you ever wondered how a writer does it and what their life is like?  I don't know about other writers, but mine varies a lot during the day.  My 'main' job is to take care of our dogs, kids, and the house.  So this summer, I've spent a lot of my time doing that, since our two youngest kids are home from college for the summer.  I've been tweeting and posting things on Facebook, and when I get a free moment, I write.  In between, I plot.  I have entire movies of plots going through my head almost all the time.

During the school year, I'm alone during the day and only have to deal with the dogs and cleaning the house.  I do get phone calls from the two college kids, but those calls usually only last an hour a day, each.  Not kidding.

For writing, I write a first draft from the plot-movies going through my head.  Then I read through it, to see what plot holes I have, and to fix typos.  I read it a few more times (yes, sometimes up to six more times) to hunt for more typos or problems, and then I have to make it into the various ereader formats (.mobi for Kindle, .epub for almost every other ereader, and .pdf for All Romance eBooks).  I also create the cover (front and back) and the file for CreateSpace (paperback format).

I put my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, and CreateSpace for paperback (just started doing that one).

I bought ISBNs a while back on Bowker, so I have those under SweetTale Books, even though that's not a publishing company.  It's just an umbrella that contains all my books.  So when I upload books, I've already put all the information in for the ISBN that's being used.  Then I have to create two blurbs (one short for Smashwords and one long for everything), a bio, figure out the price and think up tag identifying words.  I then upload and wait one to two days for it to become 'live.'

After it's live, I promote it on twitter and Facebook.  I have fan pages and twitter accounts for most of my pen names (I have five pen names, one per genre).  I also update my websites, that I've done myself.

So I do it all.  Some authors pay to have these things done, but I do it alone, because then I have more control over things.

Thus, writing a book isn't as easy as just writing it and forgetting about it.  There's a whole process for each book, which takes time.  Fortunately, I have a back log of books that I just have to edit and do the creation and marketing for.  The first draft is done.

I'm so happy to be able to share my stories, though.  They're always in my head with new ones being formed daily.  I can't keep up most of the time.  LOL!

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Newsletter



It's August, already?


We're getting ready for back-to-school stuff (well, college) and waiting for our apple trees to give us red apples.  LOL!  They're green right now, but before long, we're going to have a bunch of honeycrisp apples to eat and make into delicious desserts.  I can hardly wait!

As for college, my two youngest kids go back on August 18 (she has a job on campus before school starts) and August 31.  After that, we hunker down for the fall and winter, because in Wisconsin, you never know when the first snow will hit.

It's also getting to be time for the first football games of the season.  I love watching the Packers, because for home games, the jets from before the kickoff go right over our house.  LOL!  Everything turns green and gold/yellow at that time of year and all you hear about on the news is how the Packers are going to win this season.  (If you'd like a romance including a football hero, check out Touchdowns & Potions--the first chapter is here.)

Yep.  Fall is fun and August is just a prequel to football, school, and leaves to rake (or mow, like I do it!  LOL!)

Have a happy and safe August!
SweetTale Books



Who knew?

Remember back last month (here: http://sweettalebooks.blogspot.com/2014/07/july-newsletter.html)  when I told you about my mother wondering how the author of my first paperback book knew her recipe for raspberry upside down cake?  (the recipe is here:  http://www.sweettalebooks.com/raspberry_upside_down_cake.html if you'd like to try it).

Well my mom's brother died this month.  It was a tough one to handle.  He'd had Parkinson's disease for years and was in a semi-coma for the last few weeks, refusing to eat. His wife, Genny, was beside herself with stress, because she'd been his caregiver during his bout with Parkinson's.

Genny is a wonderful person, always giving and giving and never wanting to take anything from anyone.  She has strong faith and is just a neat person, overall.  But I hadn't talked to her in years and couldn't get home to PA for the funeral.  My mother (bless her) MADE me call Genny a few days after the funeral.  Now, if you know me, I'm a basic curmudgeon.  I like being alone and am an introvert (believe it or not).  I felt so awkward calling Genny, so imagine how relieved I was that no one picked up the phone.  But I didn't leave a message and felt guilty.  I called my mom back (she's in PA, too) and said I called, but no answer.  So I was going to call back and leave a message.  Mom said, "go ahead.  Just make it brief because Genny is exhausted and won't want to talk."  Fine.  I called the second time.  She answered.  I panicked!  How do you handle that type of emotion when you don't deal with it on a daily basis?

Turns out, Genny really wanted to talk about old times.  She talked a bit about the funeral, but told me more in the half hour (yes, half hour) that we talked than I think she'd ever told me at our family functions.  She's a GREAT person to talk to, too!  I truly appreciated our chat!

And, she loves to read.  Who knew?  She said, "I hear you're an author."  And that started another whole conversation.  I agreed to send her my two paperback books I have out and any more that I put out.  She likes Christian books, so it worked out great, because that's all I had in paperback.  LOL!

So Genny, your books are on the way as soon as I get them from CreateSpace.  LOL!  And no, she doesn't use a computer, so paperback is the way to go for her.  But it also means I have to put out more paperbacks for people like Genny and my mom.  It made my whole day!  :)





Many Blogs:

I've been blogging a lot lately.  If you'd like to visit some blogs of mine, check out:
And another one I'd highly recommend, about life and ideas (not mine):  http://404sanitynotfound.blogspot.com/

Stop on by to one of these.  I'd love to see you at mine and you can join me in reading the last one!

Have a wonderful month!
SweetTale Books

Yahoo Groups vs. Facebook

I remember back before Facebook (yeah, I'm that old) when yahoo groups were all the rage. If you were an author, you'd belong to lots of them, to get exposure.  They were fun and you'd get to know people pretty well on there.  We were, after all, a little group with something in common.

Now, with Facebook, it's really easy to become anonymous again.  If you don't join groups (and there aren't many out there with one thing in common, like it was with yahoo groups), then you have your little group of friends and hear about all their aches and pains, all their stories of greatness, and even what they had for dinner.  I'm not knocking what people post, because most of the time, I'm glued to FB, riveted by what some people will post.

On yahoo groups, you have to stick to the topic at hand.  Every email you send is transmitted to everyone in the group and they are a captive audience.  If you disobey the rules, you're out of the group.  Not so on Facebook.  Those people can and still will be around, showing up in places you never thought possible (like a fan on a fan page).

I miss the good old days of yahoo groups.  I know they're still out there and I do belong to a few, still, but given how much time I devote to other social media, I don't have much time left for yahoo groups.

So if you're nostalgic like me, join a yahoo group.  I just did.  LOL!

Have a great week!
Markee