Monday, November 27, 2006

My own "MySpace"

For the last several months I have been receiving a great deal of communication from authors who now have a MySpace presence. A few months ago I took a look at MySpace and "reserved" my own space, but then forgot about it. Over the holiday I decided kick my little MySpace off. Take a peek!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nudged Off the Back Burner!

This entire week has been devoted to marketing and promotion. Small things in most cases, but very necessary. For an example; a flame has been lit under my greeting card line, (Nudgies®) and I wasn't really paying attention and it has almost burned me! They have been a back burner item for a while, but a specific rep loves them and is on a marketing crusade on their behalf. Next thing I know the phone is ringing and the buzz about the cards is on!

I will of course take advantage of this steam while it lasts. I created a few campaigns of my own, but sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. As much as I want to be, I am not really a jack-of-all-trades. Some of my attempts are pretty juvenile, but that doesn't stop me from trying! But, hooray for Nudgies®!They were my first love anyway!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Doing it right just because!

It is a powerful experience when you encounter someone or something that is doing it right. The W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center falls into that category. I visited with the executive director, William Grace, this morning because they are adding my book of poetry, YOU BECKON, to their bookstore, but what I learned in the few minutes we spent chatting about both Mr. Grace and the center was quite humbling.

The W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center has been in the Greater Kansas City community for thirty-three years and its single focus has been tutoring and mentoring children educationally in reading, math, science and computer technology. This is a non-profit learning center! The tutors and mentors here are all volunteers, and their assistance to the children in this community is virtually free.

Long before it was in vogue to talk about leaving no child behind, and long after it became clear that there was both the need and the market to make tutoring and educational assistance a very, very profitable enterprise, the DuBois Learning Center kept its focus and its commitment to its young constituents. Whether you could afford to or not, if learning was your goal, the DuBois Learning Center and its volunteers were committed to help you reach that mark.

The spirit of voluntarism, of community, of cultural development, of local pride, and of that ultra special spirit of being accountable is what I met today in Mr. Grace and his little-sung organization. Thirty-three years is a long time to struggle against all the inherent obstacles a small non-profit organization like this one has had to overcome while continuing in its unwavering commitment. As I left I found myself thinking that YOU BECKON has found itself a most honorable and prestigeous new home.

Monday, November 13, 2006

An eBook Odyssey

I did it! This weekend I created an eBook from start to finish. I decided to embark upon the fine art of eBook creation because it is the current industry trend and common sense suggests it behooves me, an author, to understand this contemporary means of delivering long labored over content conveniently to those who may be interested in acquiring it. As with most things, it isn't enough for me to know that any traditional publisher who might be handling any of my work will already have all their mechanisms in place to meet this market need. Nope, I wanted to know how it works hands on!

What I learned in the process was how much I didn't know! One of the major learning curves came with the acquisition of images. This particular little project required a number of images of food and food preparation (hint!), so off I went in search of the most appealing, appetizing pictures of the foods I had in mind. I purchased for what seemed like extraordinarily moderate prices the images I liked and after hours of calling on recall and childhood memories I had recorded the information I needed to set my e-book in motion. I had already set-up the mechanisms to be able to publish eBooks a while back, including contractual agreements with an eBook publishing site, so I was indeed ready to test the marketplace.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that this could not be that simple, that I probably had not thought something through clearly. I decided to go back and check the licensing for the images to make sure they covered the project I had in mind. Thank God for common sense! While the license I had for use of the images I acquired covered a host of uses, a more expensive license was needed for those images I originally planned to use to be able to use them in an eBook. Oops!

So, it was back to the drawing board. I removed all of the images I had thought to use, and dug through my own little cache of personal images, until I found some that at least captured the spirit of the project and inserted them. You see, I was still determined I was going to complete this project because I started it. That's a part of my new commitment to myself - finish everything I start from now on. Period!

So, out there somewhere in lonely eBook cyberland is my first eBook creation. It is on its own though. I'm not going to lay claim to it unless and until it becomes a best seller -- in the world of down home recipes!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My friend, Shelia M. Goss!

Shelia Goss is a good friend of mine. She is also a most prolific writer. I asked her if she would share a secret, if she had one, to finishing a manuscript since she has a host of new books coming out over the next several months. Here's what Shelia shared. Enjoy!

The Art of Finishing A Book
Guest Blogger Shelia M Goss

I wish there was a magic formula to tell you so that your unfinished or in some cases unstarted manuscript would magically complete itself, but there isn't. I wish I could privately email you a secret code that only other authors know that mysteriously writes your novel but it doesn't exist.

I could recommend one of many books that teach you how to flush out characters, develop plots and create better settings for your story; but unless you use the information and apply it to your work in progress and desire to complete your story, it won't do you any good.

I may not have the secret to the art of finishing a book, but hopefully something I say below helps.

I want to address writer's block or what I like to call procrastination. The first thing I would suggest in order to finish your book is to stop procrastinating. Whatever it is you're putting ahead of writing your manuscript, stop. Now you're probably like, I can't stop the baby from crying or my spouse from wanting some quality time. You're right. Family is important and you must spend quality time with your family. What about all of the projects I have at work? Work is important. Where does that leave me? This is where you will have to make a sacrifice. Instead of taking a full hour for lunch, why not use half of the time to write. Instead of getting up at 6 am, why not get up 30 minutes prior or stay up 30 minutes later. Before you know it, you've written another chapter and another chapter and if you keep it up, you will have a completed book.

Another thing that sometimes stops people from completing their manuscript is doubt. I doubt if anyone will read this. I doubt if it'll be any good. Well get rid of the doubt. How? If writing is your passion, then stop allowing doubt to stand in the way. Surround yourself with positive people. Don't let doubt stop you from finishing your book.

Procrastinating isn't your problem and you don't doubt yourself, but you can't get past the first few chapters. The hardest part is to get the first draft done. Once you get the first draft written, then you can revise it. But if you don't get the first draft of a completed manuscript done, what do you have to work with? Nothing. So to resolve that issue, I would suggest that you write, write and write until you get the first draft and then go back and revise.

This last thing I'm about to mention may be a given, but I'll mention it anyway. Know what you want to write about. If you don't know what the premises is for your story then you will not be able to complete it. Before you type that first word, know what the central theme of your story will be. Know your characters inside and out. You may not know the ending, but everything you write, should live up to the theme. Each scene should add up and take the reader on a journey into your make believe world.

To sum it all up, don't let anything stand in your way. The art to finishing your book can be summed up in three words that Nike uses in their ads and that's JUST DO IT.

Shelia M Goss is an entertainment writer and the National Bestselling Author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are true. She was the recipient of three 2003 Shades of Romance Magazine Reader's Choice Multi-cultural Awards and the 2004 Oneswan Productions Female Author of the Year. Her website is or visit her on myspace at My Invisible Husband is published by Urban Soul, an imprint of Urban Books/Kensington and will be in stores in December and available from

Monday, November 06, 2006

No Romeo and Juliet

Are they really in love or what? That is the question. I have labored over these two characters for a long time and the thrust of the story hinges on their deep, unwavering love, but, I'm just not feeling the love from these two. Maybe it is layered so deep beneath all the muck and mire of their lives that it still has not sufficiently surfaced, but, by now, (chapter 15) there should not be a question!

You know what that means. Back to character development. Obviously I have missed something very important. Maybe...naw! Surely not! Dang!