Thursday, July 20, 2006

Book Covers and Editing Projects

I finally got a photo of the cover for one of the books I did a copy edit on.

It is for an optometrist with a really interesting story. I also accepted another ghost writing job, this one for a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. Looks to be just as interesting.

I'm finishing up the edits on another book which took me a little bit longer but hopefully I'll have it done before I leave for Atlanta next week. I have the preliminary cover for that one too, but it's not been given final approval yet so I can't post it. It is really a neat cover though.

The ghost writing and the editing have proven to be very steady work. I also have two articles coming out this next month, one in Route 66 Pulse and the other in Credit Union Business magazine. I'll post those clips on the website as soon as I get my copies.

In other news, Class Registration opens up at Amarillo College on July 24th(next Monday) for the two writing classes I'm doing this fall. They are "Writing the Great American Novel" and "Critique for Writers". I hope to see some new faces as well as a few familiar ones. If you know of anyone in this area who might like to give it a whirl, have them call AC at 806-371-2921. Or register online at

Monday, July 17, 2006


I was talking to a friend recently about all the projects I have going and how it is really a balancing act. Then the subject of overdue payments came up. She said, "Don't you feel weird having to ask for money?" Ummmm....NO. I earned it, they owe it. Quite honestly, very few reputable people in the writing business are out to take you. Don't get me wrong, it does happen, but rarely. Publishers and editors live and die by their reputation. They can't afford to let word get out that they don't pay, or pay slow.

So what do you do if someone hasn't paid by the time stated? I give a friendly professional nudge. I NEVER assume anything good or bad. I see writers at meetings frequently who are complaining about not being paid, or being paid slow. I always have to ask "Did you talk to them about it?" the large majority of the time the answer is no. hmmm. I thought this was a business. And to be in business you have to act like a business person.

Let's take an example:

Let's pretend that you are a florist. You send out fliers that say people can order flowers and that you must be paid by the 10th of the month. Little Boy Blue orders flowers for his mother because she's sick of hearing the horn and you deliver them. The 10th rolls around. Then the 15th. Next thing you know it's the 20th and you are pacing back and forth thinking of terrible places to shove Blue's horn. This is unproductive behavior. Had you sent Blue a reminder, then followed up with a polite and professional phone call, you would have saved yourself a lot of stress. Blue's a busy boy and he's already moved on. A gentle nudge is generally all it takes to save yourself hours or even days of worry and hassle.

I have worked with some very organized and business-like publications and some that are more seat-of-the-pants. Generally some kind persistence really pays in the long run.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The next guy I marry....

I'm sure all of you know how incredibly glamorous a writer's life is, but for those of you who don't , here's a glimpse:

As usual, everything at my house breaks at once. Right now the ice maker in the frig is frozen in time, while water drips slowly out out of the bottom of the appliance onto my wood floor. But of course I put off calling anyone because I'm afraid he'll tell me I need a new one and I really have better things to do with my money. But then, my teenage daughter gets on a cleaning spree and tries to wash every pillow in the house at the same time. So now the washer is full of water and won't drain. Actually, it won't do anything. While I have the same sense of dread, I can't put off getting the washer fixed. So I make the call.

Mr. Fixit shows up at my door bright and early and proceeds to remedy all my appliance problems in less than 45 minutes. I am amazed at how effortless it seems and I catch myself thinking: The next guy I marry will be able to fix things.

Of course, he probably won't put up with my moods. Or make me bacon sandwiches at midnight, but you never know.

But that sparked an idea. You know how every woman has a set of 'rules' or standards about men when they are young? How many girls that you knew said, "I'm going to marry a doctor, lawyer, or a rancher(This IS Texas) Doesn't that seem silly now? If we'd been smart, we would have said "I'm going to marry a mechanic, or a plumber or *sigh* a CONTRACTOR!!"

Anyway, it made me think of an idea for another book about a women who starts a matchmaking service for women who have stopped daydreaming and want a practical, honest, hardworking guy - with skills- instead of a guy with money. And what lengths the men in their lives will go to in order to win them over. We'll see where it goes. I think the title will be "The Next Guy I Marry......."

Monday, July 10, 2006

The company of writers

Funny how I crave the company of writers. Getting together to talk about the writing biz may seem like an indulgence but it makes great business sense. It never fails when I have lunch or get together critique-wise I always learn something new about the market, trends, editors who jump ship to another company. This kind of inside info is even more valuable when you are contemplating a national conference like RWA in Atlanta in a few weeks. Knowing who has connections with who, who likes what, which newbies are the up and comers will all help you to feel at ease and knowledgeable.

Most people are amazed at how incredibly small the world of publishing is. When you understand that there are 50 or so acquiring editors in New York, it makes you realize how few people decide what is available on the shelf to read. When you couple that with the fact that most times they can't even tell you what they're looking for it can make the book business very frustrating indeed. One way to alleviate this frustration is to spend time with the multis. Who are the multis? The Multi=Published authors. They aren't a one shot wonder they've been around. They know people and connections. They hear the rumors as well as the fact and can separate the two for you. I have several multis I will be seeing this week so I can prepare myself for the stress and fun of conference.

Pricker update: someone ran over one of my little's like six inches from my back wall in the alley......of course, being cactus, it looks like it's bouncing right back....I hope they got a flat....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

And miles to go before I sleep.....

Why does time speed up when you least want or need it to?? What is up with that? I did have a productive weekend. As much as I'd like to say Frenemies is polished and ready, the best I can say is - it's close. I catch more stuff every time I read it and since I swapped view point and subplot I still catch a few stray thoughts that don't belong when I go through it. Hopefully in another week it will be more perfect. Yes I said more perfect. On the way to completely perfect. I hope.

More on the plate as far as editing. In addition to the content editing I'm doing for one project I also have another copy editing project coming in today or tomorrow. I hear it's an easy read and needs only light grammar check. Hopefully that's the case.

I'm currently working on the newsletter and will have it out soon. Here I was, worried that I wouldn't have enough info for a whole newsletter and now I'm having to decide what to cut! thanks to all for their suggestions and ideas.

One other note, for those of you that are interested in the Rita awards, Candy Havens is interviewing several of them on her blog. You can go to her website at and click on the blog link. Among the questions she asks the nominees is how they came up with the idea for their nominated book and where they were when they got the call from RWA. Great stuff!!