Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keeping Score...

NOTE: These numbers are running totals, not daily word counts.

I started NaNoWriMo November 1st, so I had 3,020 words already by the time I took the Fast Draft workshop on the 5th. Sunday I prepped, Monday I wrote, Tuesday was a total loss with voting, etc. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, I worked on 20 pages to submit for my critique  group in Fredericksburg, so I'm going to call Thursday, Nov. 8, my official start date.

Need a little NaNo inspiration or a good laugh to keep you going? http://bestofnanowrimo.tumblr.com/
November 5 — 3,020 — Saturday in Midlothian all day, Sunday cleaned all day.
November 6 — 3,750 — Election Day! Couldn't tear myself away from coverage.
November 7 — 3,750 — None, Dr. Appt. in C-Ville, worked on 20 pages for critique group
Official Start of Fast Draft Attempt
November 8 — 4,115 — Not exactly 20 pages, but hey, I'll take it
November 9 — 4,819 — Candace says, "No excuses!"
November 10 — 5,650 — I've yet to do 20 pages, still waiting to get into the "Zone"
November 11 — 6,154 — Tomorrow is Monday. A new week. Focus, focus, focus.
November 12 — 6,154 — Jack squat. Spent day going over critique partners' work for tomorrow.
November 13 — 6,743 — Critique group until 3:00, wrote in evening. Aargh! I'm way behind.
November 14 — 7,850 — Decent day, not stellar. Will do better tomorrow! (Yeah, right...)
November 15 — 9,114 — Didn't hit 10,000 :( :( :( Dragging butt this morning. I. Need. Coffee.
November 16 — 10,028 — Yay! Numerical milestone reached, but I'm still way behind.
November 17 — 10,028 — Spent all day in hospital. My mother-in-law is weak, but improving.
November 18 — 12,300 — Wrote all day. Started new story. This is a bad habit.
November 19 — 12,876 — Trouble concentrating. House is a mess.
November 20 — 14,250 - Decent day, but not stellar.
November 21 — Kids are all home, didn't do much writing.
November 22 — Thanksgiving, spent morning cooking, rest of day with family.
November 23 — 15,435
November 24 — 16,247
November 25 — 16,890
November 26 — 18,001
November 27 — Will probably have to spend most of day cleaning for company

The Promise 
reviews: 28
ratings: 50 (avg rating 4.34)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can Fast Draft Get Me Over NaNoWriMo's Finish Line?

Look at the images in this collage, an incomplete pastel painting, a half-finished seashell frame, and three brand-spanking-new novels. What do they have in common? Here’s a hint... it has something to do with a lamentable personality trait that far too many of us share.

Give up? I started the pastel painting about a year ago, the shell frame two years ago, and I bought the books to support my VRW and WRW sisters, but have not finished one. To the list I could add my husband’s shirts that need buttons and a crocheted fragment of blanket for my newborn niece who is now two years old.

And most distressing of all, a dozen manuscripts in various stages of completion from 5,000 to 75,000 words.

I begin projects with great enthusiasm, but too often move on to some shiny new thing before I’ve finished. They say the first step is to admit you have a problem. I freely admit it... I am a procrastinator.

On Saturday, I was given a set of tools to help me vanquish the procrastinator within.  At least I devoutly hope so. Virginia Romance Writers (VRW) held its annual meeting, the highlight of which was Candace Havens' Fast Draft workshop. Although Midlothian is a hike, two hours south of my home in Culpeper, I really wanted to attend.

I’m ecstatic that I did! Now the onus is on me to apply "The Rules" to my writing.

Candace's program featured insightful “tough love” for writers delivered with dry wit and physical comedy. At times she was hysterically funny, like when she described some potentially career-damaging misbehavior on the part of an unnamed colleague that involved way too many cocktails and a close encounter with a publishing executive. When telling a story, her face becomes as rubbery as Jim Carrey’s and her physicality rivals Steve Martin's. Truly, the woman could be a professional comedienne. She kept the audience laughing while she imparted excellent advice on writing, revising, and marketing, peppered with cautionary tales plucked from her own career. 

It is too late for me to heed one particular bit of Candace's advice... to present myself as a professional at all times because, "You never know who's listening." I have already blown this one in a rather major way, so I'm not going to worry about it too much at this point. My entire blog revolves around the countless mistakes I've made along my writing journey, punctuated by the occasional success. I have primarily addressed my musings to other newbie writers and my fans, not agents or publishers. I haven't the slightest notion what they would make of it if they did read it.

I do plan to heed the rest of Candace's pointers, however. She gave great tips for staying positive, ignoring your internal editor, making a commitment to the process, and creating accountability. She's a big advocate of journaling and recommends keeping one close at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike. There was much, much more, including a detailed list of rules that would take too long to go over here. If you would like to take the class, visit Candace Havens' website. The link is at the end of this post.

The workshop was well timed, from my point of view. I signed up for NaNoWriMo because I have been treading water in my latest WIP for weeks, editing the same words, over and over. I didn’t want to abandon it and move on to another project and end up in the same place a month or two down the line. Instead, I spent too much time on Facebook, napping like a bear, and aimlessly rooting around in the fridge… anything to avoid facing my manuscript. I've spoken about Cameron's story on my fan page and readers keep asking me when it will be done. I'm feeling a great deal of self-imposed pressure to wrap it up. I don't know if I'll try to get an agent with this one, or self publish again. The pros and cons of that question might be adding to my procrastination. If I finish it, I have to decide whether to enter the grueling, frustrating, gut-wrenching query process.

No more procrastination! Fast Draft made sense to me and I’m going to give it an honest shot. I’ve already begun to implement Candace’s rules… beginning with clearing my workspace of clutter to help me focus. My office doubles as my art studio and writing cave, so cleaning and organizing took most of Sunday. But I'm done and she's right... I really do feel less scattered in an uncluttered space.

I'm setting aside the next two weeks to produce an entire rough draft using Fast Draft’s “rules” to write 20 pages a day for 14 days. Candace says commitment and accountability are important, so I’m going to post my word count every day on the VRW critique partners loop, Facebook, and my blog before I go to bed each night.

I can’t do the Fast Draft workshop justice in this short blog post, but believe me, Candace Havens gave great advice, not only on cranking out a rough draft, but surviving the revision phase, and marketing through social media. If you need strategies to power through your first draft, sign up on her website @ http://www.candacehavens.com/index.php/workshops/. The cost is $20, a bargain in my estimation.

I found a testimonial about Fast Draft from writer Angela Quarles, a converted skeptic, @ http://angelaquarles.com/2012/05/28/my-fast-draft-experience/.

* * *
Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books: http://www.kateworth.com/
You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KateWorth.Romance
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at KateWorthRomance@yahoo.com

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

* * *
Update on my bad review blog post. I am pleased to report that this business of getting your first bad review is a lot like losing your virginity. It only hurts the first time. Well... it hurts the worst your first time. After that you become philosophical. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, etc, etc, etc.

Here are some samples of my art. The top one is a hand built clay sculpture and the bottom is a pastel painting of Sharp Rock Road in Rapphannock County near Sperryville, one of the prettiest country lanes anywhere. And it leads to Sharp Rock Winery! Worth a visit, y'all.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sweet Memories of a Smile, a Song, a Favorite Story

Dad with my baby sister Erin, me in the middle, and my sister Belinda.

For ten years I have interviewed and filmed hospice patients for video legacies, sometimes at the patient’s request, but more often at the family’s.  Many times I have been contacted after the patient was already in the grip of dementia, heavily medicated, or so depressed that they couldn’t participate.  When this was the case, I came away with very little useable footage despite spending hour upon hour with the patient.

Because of this, I have become an evangelist of sorts, telling people how important it is to record their grandmother’s beautiful smile while she is still healthy and happy.  No one wants to remember a loved one during the saddest time of his or her life.  Better to film grandpa fishing with his grandsons, or grandma picking blueberries with her granddaughters, or sitting side-by-side on the sofa talking about the good old days.  We all have those cherished stories that no matter how many times we hear them, we still want to hear them again.  The ones that are recycled endlessly at family reunions and holiday get-togethers, yet still make us laugh or cry after countless retellings.

Ironically, I did not practice what I am now preaching.  In 2006 I lost Dad to pancreatic cancer.  Although I have many photographs, I would give anything to hear his voice again singing Danny Boy three sheets to the wind, or recounting my favorite stories about his early childhood in a Catholic boys home and later, when he and his brothers grew up wild and poor on a farm in upstate New York.  It seemed as if every single moment after he was diagnosed was consumed by doctor visits, tests, radiation and chemotherapy, crestfallen visits from relatives, and finally hospice.  He was overwhelmed, frightened, emotionally distraught.  It just didn’t seem right to ask him to reminisce on film, so I didn’t.

At Thanksgiving this year, take the video camera you use for your kids’ soccer games and recitals and spend a little time recording your older relatives.  I bet they’ll tell you things about your family history that you’ve never heard before, things that could be lost to posterity if you don't catch them on film.  Ask them about things mundanely precious... the moment they first saw their husband or wife, where and when they realized it was love.  Ask them vague questions; I found these bring out the most unexpected responses.  What brought them the most joy in life?  What was their greatest disappointment?  Greatest triumph?

Because of confidentiality agreements all hospice volunteers sign, I cannot tell you the specifics of my interviews, but I can say I often think about the people I was privileged to know at an intensely vulnerable time in their lives.  There was one in particular who, although elderly, was still sharp as a tack.  I spent four hours with her, laughing and crying and learning about her long, fascinating life and how proud she was of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Despite the small amount of time I spent with her, I thought of her as a friend.  

As I was packing up my gear, she told me if she got to heaven and discovered her husband had another wife, I should expect a thunderstorm the likes of which the Earth had never seen.  She had waited for him for thirty years, and he better have returned the favor.  She laughed when she said it, but there was a martial gleam in her eyes.

I was going to share filming tips and techniques, but this post is already too long.  If you’d like to know the finer points of creating video legacies, send questions to KateWorthRomance@yahoo.com.  The most important things to know are 1) use a tripod with a smooth swivel arm; DO NOT hold the camera in your hand 2) find a comfortable, uncluttered, well-lit spot and 3) threaten your children with bodily harm if they make noise while you’re taping, or better yet, send them outside to play.

* * *
Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books: http://www.kateworth.com/
You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KateWorth.Romance
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at KateWorthRomance@yahoo.com

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thoughts on Instant Karma & My First Bad Review

Instant karma's a bitch. Yesterday a friend in my Facebook writer group started a discussion.  She was feeling down after a negative critique.  It had sapped her motivation to write and made her doubt herself.  I pondered the subject then imparted some rather trite and pompous (in retrospect) advice about not taking criticism too personally and learning what she could from it. It wasn't terribly helpful and truth be told I handle criticism worse than just about anyone I know, so I really should have kept my mouth shut.  Karmically speaking, it was an invitation for the Universe to smite me.  And smite me it did in short order.

I logged off, went to Goodreads, and immediately read my first really bad review since I published three months ago. I had gotten some ambivalent reviews before, but nothing truly bad. This one was bad.

The first thing I saw was two stars. My brain imploded.  Jesus! Oh no! Oh God, no! Not that. Two!  Two!!! Aargh!  I closed my eyes Tupperware tight and took a deep breath.  I opened one very slowly. It was still there. Two stars.  After I purged a week's worth of meals and cracked open a Corona, I logged back onto Facebook and shared the ironic timing. The conversation that ensued was half wise, half hilarious. Thought you might enjoy reading it. 

(The times are off because I worked on the graphics am and pm. Condensed entries.)

Before I read THE REVIEW:

After I read THE REVIEW:

I was so thankful to have these wonderful writers to talk me down and make light of this painful rite of passage. I've always known my time was coming sooner or later.  But I had gotten comfortable since readers had generally seemed to like my book up to this point.

Now I'm going to practice what I preached to Charlotte. Learn what I can from the review and move on. But damn, it hurts. It really, really does.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nurse Annie, a Dose of Morphine, and Some Light Flirtation

One morning nurse Annie came into his room with a twinkle in her eye.
She shut the door behind her, slinked up to his bed and smiled as she
slowly unzipped her skirt.
  Max stared at her in shock as she shimmied
out of her clothes and lifted her slip to expose… a colostomy bag.

In the 1960s, my father-in-law Max worked for NASA at the Cape in Florida.  He was among a group of talented young engineers who sent the first rockets into orbit with little more than slide rules and gumption.  It was the height of the Cold War, Kennedy, Castro and the Bay of Pigs crisis, the era of miniskirts, bullet bras, and sky-high beehive hairdos.

While in boot camp, Max, who hailed from rural Georgia, fell in love with Eleanor, a blue-eyed beauty from Providence, Rhode Island.  They overcame the Yankee-Cracker divide, married quickly, and started a family.  After my husband Jeff and his sister Lisa were born, Max quit his job to concentrate on getting his Masters in Engineering at the University of Florida.

He was only 29 when he began to experience severe abdominal pain and bleeding.  After a series of tests, he was told he had the worst case of ulcerative colitis the doctor had ever seen.  His prospects were not good; Max was advised to put his affairs in order.  To save his life, he would have to undergo a colostomy and there was a fair chance he would die anyway, leaving Ellie a widow in her twenties with two small children.

The doctor showed Max the black rubber bag he would have to wear for the rest of his life.  Max reacted with horror, initially refusing to even consider the surgery.  He was young and handsome, in his prime.  He spent his weekends swimming and playing in the sand with his lovely wife and children.  How could he do those things with a colostomy bag?  And how would it alter his relationship with Ellie?  Another patient in the same hospital ward as Max, a young, single woman, despaired for the same reasons.  Fearing she would never find a husband, never bear children, she refused the surgery and died.

Ellie says it was gut wrenching to see someone she loved in great physical and emotional pain.  She talked to Max’s doctor and his favorite nurse Annie, a pretty blonde who cheered him up each day with a dose of morphine and light flirtation.  Together they came up with a plan.  One morning Annie entered his room with a twinkle in her eye and shut the door behind her.  She slinked up to his bed, smiling as she slowly unzipped her skirt.  Max remembers staring at her in shock as she shimmied out of her clothes and lifted her slip to expose… a colostomy bag.  She worked in that area of the hospital because she had experienced all the same things Max was going through.  The next thing Max knew, Ellie slipped into the room as he sat, slack-jawed and perplexed as to how he should react in this unprecedented situation.  Mortified, he took a pillow and covered his head while the two women laughed until they cried.  Eventually he joined in the laughter, too.

He says that moment was a turning point for him.  If a beautiful, funny, sexy and vibrant young woman like Annie could find joy and purpose in her life after a colostomy, who was he to dwell in self-pity?  He had the surgery, finished his degree, and returned to NASA where he worked in the Saturn program and met real live astronauts Alan Shepard and John Glenn.  Max and Ellie went on to have another daughter Kim, and a set of twins, Christopher and Kristen.  They have been married for fifty years.

We went to visit them yesterday at their home in Burgess on the Chesapeake Bay where they retired nearly two decades ago to a smaller house with a dock and a sailboat.  Max and his cronies race their “nutshells”… small sailboats they make themselves.  Ellie plays mahjong with friends, volunteers at her church’s thrift store, and dotes on her grandchildren.

I had never before heard this wonderful story about Annie and I found it so touching I asked for permission share it on my blog.  Writers are observers and storytellers.  We must take note of the little nuances and easily overlooked details that others might miss.  Human tragedy, everyday triumphs and failures, dramas big and small.  By dissecting these things, turning them over in our minds and understanding them fully, we enrich our work.

Human frailty is something we all have in common.  I have struggled with my own challenges.  In my twenties I suffered debilitating bouts of anxiety and panic attacks.  Whether my body chemistry has changed, or I’ve accepted myself enough to let go of the angst, I don’t know, but things are better now.  I’d still rather stick my hand in a jar full of spiders than go to a cocktail party, but at least I can go.  Wonder of wonders, I can even have a good time.  There was a period when I’d have to either get totally sloshed or curl up in a fetal position in the ladies room until the party broke up.  Neither choice was very ladylike or dignified.  As we age, we discover everyone is screwed up in some way or other and that knowledge helps — at least it helped me.  Nobody skates through this life unscathed.  We are all a little weird.  Our “isms” and peculiarities are what make us interesting.  It takes some age and wisdom to see that, I think.

Last week my twelve-year-old son Pierce started middle school.  He was terrified.  Oy!  I still remember the fear, the stomach full of wriggling snakes, the belief that everyone in the entire school was laser focused on the mammoth stress zit I sprouted overnight.  I feared I wasn’t wearing the right clothes and nobody would sit with me at lunch.  Every night I had that going-to-school-naked-and-forgetting-my-locker-combination dream!  Lord have mercy… you couldn’t pay me enough to go through that again!

I have finally begun to appreciate the little things.  I no longer live in suspended animation between Now and Then.  I’ve stopped worrying about reaching goals, or obsessing about what comes next.  Life is such an amazing gift.  As corny as it sounds, the simplest things… a sunset, a smile, cuddling up with my husband on the sofa and savoring the moment… these are the things that make life worth living.

And helping others when we can.  I thank Max for permitting me to tell his story.  He has shared it on an amazing website called inspire.com where sufferers of many diseases and disorders seek advice from people who have dealt with the same issues.  In this virtual support group they chronicle their journeys in dialogue that is stark, honest, and poignant.  It's worth a visit.

* * *
Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books: http://www.kateworth.com/
You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KateWorth.Romance
Like her to keep up with the latest releases and giveaways at her Fan Page
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at KateWorthRomance@yahoo.com

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Richebourg the Dwarf: Memoirs of a Spy and His Wetnurse

I love books... writing, reading, collecting. 
The library's used book shop, mixed lot boxes 
at the church rummage sale, dusty shelves in 
remote corners of antique emporiums.
These are a few of my favorite things.

Even as a child I cherished books, although I can't recall too many around the house other than an aging set of Encyclopedia Britannica, some Time Life series collections, and my mother's Harlequin romance novels. I don't know whatever happened to my dog-eared copies of Little Women and Charlotte's Web, may they rest in peace. I sure would love to have them back, but I suspect they are at the bottom of an unknown landfill with my rainbow suspenders, pet rocks, and bellbottom jeans.

I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn't share this dream with anyone, probably because I didn't perceive it as a realistic goal. I might also have feared ridicule. It would have been like saying, "I want to be the first woman president of these here United States."
Too big for my britches, dontcha know.

My mother had the firmly entrenched viewpoint that higher education was a waste of time for girls. My sisters and I would "just get married, have kids, and all that tuition would be wasted." In the event I was unable to snare a good provider, her aspirations for me were secretarial in nature. I staunchly resisted her recommendation that I take typing — now called keyboarding. I had Mad Men-esque visions of myself adrift in a subterranean steno pool, growing old in serviceable shoes and a boxy Chanel knock-off suit, my cat eye glasses fogging with age. I wanted to be a Gloria Steinem, Mom was more of an Anita Bryant. A classic generational schism.

My fledgling attempts to write consisted mainly of staring at a blank sheet of paper for hours on end, desperately trying to think of something to say. I attempted a contemporary romance about a decade ago and made the extremely ill-advised decision to let a couple of friends and acquaintances read it — including several men. Bad idea!

Endless ribbing and humiliating quotations, laser focused on anything hot and heavy. I used the word “moist” at some point and one guy in particular thought it the very height of hilarity. For months he grinningly inserted the word into casual conversation. "It's so hot today. Are you feeling... moist?" The joke got old for me after about five minutes, but he nursed it along for years. Later I wrote a kind of spooky, freaky, 1920s film noir short story about an abused wife going crazy and made the identical bad decision to pass it around. I thought it was very artsy, dark and interesting. (What can I say... I'm a slow learner.) They acted like I was going psycho, like I was a tetchy vagrant in a tinfoil hat, mumbling to myself on the sidewalk.  Now I only request critiques from people I respect and trust not to excoriate me if they find my work lacking. Honest opinion, yes, but hold the battery acid.

Writing has provided me with an excuse to indulge my book addiction. Over the past two years I have added to my modest collection of vintage reference material. My favorites are bound editions of old magazines. While some of the writing is ponderous and sappy — the Victorians liked their prose with extra cheese — the magazines are a wealth of historical ephemera. I came across this wonderful little ditty while researching information about women who followed the drum during the Crimean War. It was off subject, but fascinating.

“Death of a Dwarf — A dwarf named Richebourg, who was only 60 centimetres (23 1/2 inches high), has just died in the Rue du Four St. Germain, aged 90. He was, when young, in the service of the Duchess d'Orleans, mother of King Louis Philippe, with title of 'butler,' but he performed none of the duties of the office.  After the first revolution broke out he was employed to convey despatches abroad, and, for that purpose, was dressed as a baby, the despatches being concealed in his cap, and a nurse being made to carry him.  For the last 25 years he lived in the Rue du Four, and during all that time never went out.  He had a great repugnance to strangers, and was alarmed when he heard the voice of one; but in his own family he was very lively and cheerful in his conversation. The Orleans family allowed him a pension of 3,000f. — Galignani's Messenger.”
Now come on! You couldn't make that up! I shared this with my husband Jeff and he made some extremely inappropriate comments about Richebourg, razor stubble, and his wetnurse. For reasons of propriety, I'll not share them here. Suffice it to say they were hilarious.

* * *
Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books: http://www.kateworth.com/
You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KateWorth.Romance
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at KateWorthRomance@yahoo.com

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Promise-ebook/dp/B008CALKQI/
Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/The-Promise-A-Love-Story/dp/147768512X/

* * *
Look for Juli D. Revezzo's book, The Artist's Inheritance, coming in August:

When Caitlin and Trevor settle into their new home, strange changes come over Trevor. He grows obsessed with a beautiful chair he's carving. 

Then nightmares deepen and ghostly manifestations call to Caitlin. She knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Is it merely a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—forces brought about by an ancestral curse? The same dark forces that drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide.

Before Trevor's obsession leads to something far more deadly, Caitlin must convince him to sell the chair. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the gathering hellish forces. If she succeeds, she will break their family’s ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one person she cares about most: her beloved Trevor. 

Image, top right: Clipping from an engraving of Jacob Ries in court attire, circa 1710.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tossed From a Turret Onto a Field of Rusty Pikes

A literary agent in California and I have been waltzing since winter. She cut me loose last week with the explanation that, while she liked my story concept and felt I was a talented writer, she was still teetering on the fence. The market with the big publishers is extremely tight, she said; a book has to have a stand-out hook, some fresh, unusual new twist to grab their attention.  Not as easily done in the historical category as it is in some other genres. (I flashed back to my blog about werewolf PMS. A missed opportunity, I wonder?) Throughout the process, she made numerous excellent suggestions about building romantic tension and suspense, and I gladly revised my MS accordingly.

I spent several anxiety-filled weeks after each resubmission waiting like a battle-weary gladiator on his knees in the Colosseum. Would I get a thumbs up, or a thumbs down? Stay cool, girl. Don't email her every five seconds like a child on the way to the beach. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"  After each round, she was always optimistic and supportive, but only offered more comments and never made a firm commitment to represent me.

And so it went until I received an email containing that most dreaded of phrases. After careful consideration, she wrote, "I regret that I am going to have to pass on this one."

Oh, blackest day!  Oh, bitter fate!  I was dashed on the rocks of despair, tossed from a turret onto a field of rusty pikes. I stumbled about in the wilderness of self-doubt and self-loathing in a daze, eviscerated, devastated, disappointed beyond measure. I hadn't realized until that moment how emotionally invested I was in the fantasy of walking into Barnes & Noble and finding The Promise in the romance section, complete with glamor-shot-that-makes-me-look-like-a-Manhattan-realtor inside the back cover. My mother would have been so proud! My children could brag that I was a published author! The countless hours I had spent in front of my computer over the past year and a half would finally pay off!

I succumbed to a fit of vapors and called my husband so he could console me in my darkest hour. Instead, he slapped some sense into me over the phone. An eternal optimist, he never allows me to wallow for long.  

"That's great!" he said with so much enthusiasm that I almost hopped into my car and drove into town just so I could punch him. I was upset (damnit!) and not at all in the mood for his chronic positivity.

"I've been reading a lot about indie publishing and frankly I find it really exciting to think about putting this one out ourselves. I'm almost glad they didn't take you on." This I recognized as a blatant falsehood, but he was keeping a stiff upper lip for my sake, so I let it pass.


"Really!  Think about it; the entire publishing industry is changing and you're fortunate to be launching your novel writing career at a very exciting time.  Never have authors had so much control over their own work.  I've been wanting to try self publishing for ages.  There are a lot of really good reasons to do it yourself."

"But you don't understand," I whined, hesitant to end my pity party before it was absolutely necessary.  "I am bummed.  Bummed, I tell you!  I've been sobbing all morning."  A shameless exaggeration.

"Did you enjoy it?" he asked unsympathetically.

"Well... yes," I thought about it for a moment.  "Yes, I did."

"Good.  Now it's time to move on."

And so I changed out of my tear-drenched pajamas and got dressed. To illustrate how serious I was, I even put on a bra and earrings. Then I began to explore my options in earnest.

This weekend I formatted and uploaded my book to Smashwords. If it hadn't been for a small glitch that took me hours to trouble shoot (a frustrating snafu related to a hidden font, grrrrrrrrr...) then it wouldn't have taken long at all. I had my cover design done already, but they have tools available to do it yourself. If you want to take a peek at mine, go to smashwords and click on the cover thumbnail to see a larger version. After it has been reviewed, the book will go up on Barnes & Noble, Apple's book store, and many other on-line retailers, libraries, etc... And all this cost me nothing but my time and debatable talent. Astonishing!

Next I went to CreateSpace and set up the print version of my book for Amazon. Then I went through the process to list the kindle version on Amazon. If all goes well, both print-on-demand and kindle versions should be up in the next week or so. I can't say this was entirely painless, but it was far easier than I expected.

Have I abandoned all hope of finding the perfect agent for me and going the traditional route? No, but I'm glad I went through the process of publishing my own work this time. If you're thinking about writing a romance, a how-to about beekeeping, or a political rant, whatever... my advice would be to go for it. It's never been easier to get your work out there.

I have to end with a plug for Kevan Lyon and Jill Marsal at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.  Even though I'm disappointed they didn't take on The Promise, they were endlessly encouraging and helpful.  They actually respond to emails (shocking!) and were ruthlessly upbeat and generous with their advice and gentle criticism. Their love of books and fondness for writers came through with every interaction.  They can be found at marsallyonliteraryagency.

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Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books: http://www.kateworth.com/
You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KateWorth.Romance
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at KateWorthRomance@yahoo.com

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

One last thing... I came across this wonderful, subversive, snarky, entertaining article by indie author Jessica Park entitled How Amazon Saved My Life. She wrote Relatively Famous, and her most recent work, indie published on Amazon.com, is entitled Flat-Out Love.  Go to: indiereader.com. She talks about Barry Eisler who famously turned down a six-figure deal with St. Martin's Press to go indie.