Writing Wednesday/Social Media Manners

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Social Media Manners

What in the world did we do with our time before social media? I for one was definitely more productive writing wise and my house was much cleaner than it is now. I have a feeling that social media killed most of the daytime soap operas. Why watch scripted on T.V. when we can scroll through non-stop reality.

Whatever negative side effects social media might have it does have equal and opposite positive effects as well. For me I have never felt so much a part of so many completely different communities as I do now. Writers/Bloggers truly are the most supportive, genuine and friendly people I have ever known.

Because it is a new year I thought this would be a good time to share some social media etiquette and tips that I have learned over the years, some of them the hard way.

It is social media not sell media. There are many companies out there that will take your money and instruct you to auto post the same posts across all of your social media platforms. Posts like ‘BUY my book’ ‘Must Read 500; 5 star reviews.’ Then there are those direct messages you receive thirty seconds after you follow someone that requests you to, buy my book, like my page, follow my blog and don’t forget to fave and share this message. These companies will fill your head with numbers that sound important but they are useless. Social media is about being social, making real connections. Auto posting/ constant selling will leave people thinking you are lazy and unapproachable and they will keep scrolling.

Once you post it, it cannot be erased. In 2015 this is still important. If you are not sure about posting or responding to something take the time to think about it before you post or respond.

Quote be respectful

Ignore Posts that offend you. It would be great if we never had to lay eyes on or hear anything that offends us but when it comes to social media we are going to see plenty. It always feels good to be part of a ‘do good’ mob but choose your mobs wisely. Don’t take someone’s dislike of children or pets so personally and just scroll on. Trust me your mood will be better if you just ignore and scroll on. If it persists, and you can’t seem to ignore the offensive posts, hide them, disable notifications from that person or unfriend them.

You owe no one an explanation to unfriend/unfollow.  There is never a need to post things like ‘I am cleaning up my friend list.’ Just unfollow quietly and move on.

In 2015 it is still a bad idea to vague post, chronically complain, overshare and post in clumps, frequently. ‘I am so upset’ ‘Some people need to just shut up and you know who you are.’ If you share someone’s post or an article always write something personal about it such as why you liked it or didn’t like it. I need to take my own advice on this one.

Do not post spoilers. Be considerate of our friends in different time zones. If you cannot wait to talk about that winner or scene, take it private.

Limit rants. Sometimes a good rant can be healthy and prompt positive conversation. It is a good idea to only post them occasionally.


Never use more than two hashtags in one post. Trust me.

The buzz about you, your book or your blog should NEVER come from you.  This is simple; you only gain credibility when other people post about your work.  That doesn’t mean you cannot share exciting information or good news. There is a big difference between good news and overselling.

If you wouldn’t say it to someone in person don’t say it on social media. It is a good idea to stop and think before reacting on social media. There is a way to say and mean what you want to say without being mean. We are writers, right?

It is okay to discuss politics and religion. Discuss is the key word here. We should always respect each other’s views or beliefs even if they are different from our own, especially if we have no idea what is behind those views. Discussion and debate are healthy. Headlines and talking points are annoying.

Do you have any to add to this list?

Happy Writing,







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His Name Was Ben…

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A few years ago I read Paulette Mahurin’s first novel The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap. I loved the book and looked forward to her next. His Name Was Ben was worth the wait.

Author Paulette cover 1

Paulette has offered a kindle version of His Name Is Ben for a lucky commenter.

Author Paulette Cover


Hearing the words “it’s cancer,” threw Sara Phillips’ life into chaos, until an unexpected turn of events and a chance encounter with a stranger changed everything—his name was Ben. Based on real events, Ben and Sara discover that when all else fails, healing can come in the most unexpected ways. Chilling and heart wrenching, His Name Was Ben is a triumph over the devastating circumstances and fear experienced when faced with a terminal illness. In this narrative, the power of love conquers shadows and transforms the very nature and meaning of what it is to be fully alive. From the award winning, best-selling author of, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, comes a story filled with soul and passion that will leave the reader thinking about it for days after the last page is closed.


Meet Paulette Mahurin:

Author Paulette headshot

Paulette lives with her husband Terry and three dogs, Max, Bella, and Lady Luck in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

While in college, she won awards and was published for her short-story writing. One of these stories, Something Wonderful, was based on the couple presented in His Name Was Ben, which she expanded into this fictionalized novel in 2014. Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction of the year 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminister Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue.

Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs.


The Interview:

Thank you, Doreen, for having me over to your great site, for reading and reviewing my book. I’m grateful for your help.


Where did you grow up?


West Los Angeles, near UCLA. A lot of the scenes in my book, His Name Was Ben, take place in areas where I grew up in West, Los Angeles.


Did you grow up in a reading or a writing home?


No, my parents both worked and I took to writing on my own. It just happened at a young age, that I started writing in a gifted diary and found a great enjoyment for writing. That love has never left me.


The main characters in, His name was Ben are both cancer patients. Are they based on real life people or more of an accumulation of people you may have known or come across in your work?


The real Ben and Sara were a couple who I met and worked with while in college. Some of the story line about their pasts has been altered/fictionalized to protect their anonymity. They inspired me to write a short story about them while in college which won a national award and was published. After my first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, I expanded Ben & Sara’s story into a full length novel.


What publishing route did you choose and why?


With this book, I self-published through createspace. I worked with the editor from my first book, who had many years professional experience working at Simon & Schuster. I also worked with an excellent design person and a handful of experienced authors/readers. When promoting my first book, I connected with a lot of self-published indie authors. Many have well written compelling stories, some were best sellers. This motivated me to attempt doing my second book this way and with my profits going to help rescue dogs it worked out to be more beneficial.


What are you writing now?


I’m writing a story that centers on the unjust imprisonment of Captain Alfred Dreyfus to Devil’s Island in 1895 and Emile Zola’s attempt to publish a letter in the Paris press to free him. It is known as one of France’s largest anti-Semitism scandal. I just finished reading the transcripts from the libel trial that Zola went through as a result of his heroic challenge. It’s a fascinating true story but I’m writing it from a historical fiction perspective. I’m up to chapter twenty on the first draft.


You volunteer as a court moderator- my imagination wants to believe you are taking notes and we may read about them one day.


I’m seeing a lot of very interesting things and mediating some even more fascinating things being in the courtroom setting. Unfortunately, I can’t keep the notes or talk about anything that goes on in the mediation as it’s all confidential. That’s the beauty of mediation, you get to have your say and come to your own mutual agreement of how you want your court case to be ruled and with that signed agreement as a defendant nothing goes on your record against you, credit report, etc. The benefit for the plaintiff is you don’t have to have the burden to prove your case to the Judge.


What is the last book you read?


“Tempesta’s Dream” by Vincent B. LoCoco is a wonderful love story that centers around operas and the love of opera. I was hooked on it right away, had trouble putting it down, and didn’t want it to end; it was that good.


My Review of His Name Was Ben:

Author: Paulette Mahurin

My apprehension of reading a cancer related story dissolved quickly as I fell in love with the characters Paulette crafted with such depth.

I want to call the book a bittersweet love story, a love that developed between two people that happened to have cancer, after they met by chance in an oncologist’s waiting room.  This is more a story about life and living than it is about illness and dying. It is a life story.

This story left me surprisingly uplifted and reminded me that love will find us when and where we least expect it and that there are absolutely no coincidences in this world.

I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good love or life story.




BEN AMAZON:     http://www.amazon.com/His-Name-was-Paulette-Mahurin/dp/0692264698/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411266674&sr=8-1&keywords=His+name+was+ben+by+paulette+mahurin

BEN AMAZON UK:     http://www.amazon.co.uk/His-Name-was-Paulette-Mahurin/dp/0692264698/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1411271225&sr=8-2&keywords=paulette+mahurin

BEN GOODREADS:     https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23255291-his-name-was-ben

BEN SHELFARI: http://www.shelfari.com/books/38013543/His-Name-was-Ben

BEN FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/His-Name-Was-Ben/277140049142291













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Writing Wednesday/ Routines and Rituals…

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Writing Spaces/ Routines and Rituals

When I was writing my first book, just a few years ago all I had to write with, was a PC. We kept the computer in one of our extra bedrooms. Back then I had a writing schedule and I didn’t seem to have any trouble sticking with that schedule. I would get up an hour earlier each morning, make a cup of tea and I would sit down and write for an hour, before I went to work. I would spend another hour, writing before I went to bed at night and on Saturdays the whole day was dedicated to writing.


Since then a few things have changed. I now have a dedicated office space that I rarely use. I can use my laptop, notebook, IPad or phone to write anywhere. With all of the choices I have and as connected as I am I seem to be failing at sticking to my weekly word counts. Social media was shiny and sparkled so bright I had no choice but to follow along. None of us had any idea what a time sucker social media would turn out to be. It’s not all bad, it just requires discipline.

office red sofa

With a second book coming out this year and a third one to finish, a full time and a part time job and a large family, this year I need to get serious about getting back to scheduling dedicated working time and sticking with the schedule.

It’s time to dust my office. Better yet I think restyling my space might provide some inspiration.  It is time to revive my writing playlist and stop sitting on my sofa thinking I can watch a movie and concentrate on grammar at the same time.

How about you? Do you have a dedicated space for writing? Do you have any writing rituals? I listen to music, drink tea or wine depending on the hour and my favorite writing snacks are chocolate (of course,) cheese and crackers or veggies and dip. If I find myself not able to concentrate I play a couple of levels of Scrabble Blast, the only online game I play.

I would love to see a picture of your work space and to hear any secrets or suggestions you may have to sticking with your schedule. If you share those with me on my Facebook book page, I will choose two winners and send you a copy of my book, some writing snacks and other writerly type goodies.


If you have any rituals please share them here.

Happy Writing,


Quotes Believe in yourself






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More on Reviews, bad reviews…

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Every Wednesday I share some of the things I have found that worked well for me and some that didn’t work so well on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again.  The sort of stuff I wish somebody would have told me back then…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Last week I wrote, How To Get Reviews for your Book

You can read that post here:


I first wrote this post for David Abram’s, The Quivering Pen and this week I wanted to share it with you. The first time my book received a bad review…

There it was; that one yellow star shining like a fiery beacon shot straight out of every author’s private hell. I felt dizzy, nauseous and had trouble focusing on the words that followed that one lonely star. I held my breath and began to read my first-ever one-star review. Star yellow As I read the words, a hard, dry lump formed in my throat and my eyes filled with tears, making it that much harder to read.  It said something to the effect of, I was a psycho and should not be trusted with children, my book was full of grammatical errors and more…ouch and ouch.  What on earth did me being a psycho have to do with my story, anyway?  And of course, I am not a psycho, I hope.  “Grammatical errors, seriously,” I shouted at my computer monitor.  I spent hours upon hours working with an editor and then many more hours with my publisher’s editor and then a conceptual editor.  I knew the book was NOT full of grammatical errors, but still those words stung. My first instinct was to comment on the review, typing in all caps, calling the bully a liar and many other choice words.  I was however, strongly urged to keep my revenge-happy typing fingers to myself. sword pen My writer friends shared their own review horror stories with me, and they all agreed, I must not respond. I hated that advice but they were right. While writing that first book I never thought about people reviewing it, especially the murderers and their families, the ones I wrote about. I did have the dream all authors have of a great New York Times review. New York Times Book Review I had no idea how much weight reviews carried, How many people wrote them and certainly had no idea how much anxiety they caused and how sharply they could attack and damage our sensitive writer egos.

Once I had taken all the good advice to heart, and was ready to put it all behind me and move on, I had to read the words one more time.  Yep, they were still there with that damn one star shining brighter than ever.  I noticed there were comments after the review.  I was filled with anxiety all over again, but as I read those comments, I was overcome with relief and so grateful.  People who actually read the book took the time to come to my defense.

I now read and write reviews for everything from restaurants, toys, cars, doctors and pet products.  If I bought it, used it or read it, chances are I am reviewing.

My marketing rep told me great sales figures will trump any review, good or bad, every time. One day, I would love to say that bad reviews do not bother me but I doubt that will ever be true.  I am human and I am sensitive writer.

I will continue to work at fine-tuning my writing and hope the good reviews will always outnumber the bad ones.

Happy Writing,


Quote writer quote about haters

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How to get reviews for your book…

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The first Wednesday of every month I participate in The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This is one AMAZING group of talented, beginners, and professional authors. One of the many things we all have in common is our moments of extreme insecurity about our craft. Another is our gratitude and our pay it forward attitudes when our confidence is soaring.

To find out more about the #IWSG or to join us, visit:

This month we are supposed to introduce ourselves, so here is my bio:

I am a freelance journalist, blogger, content writer, ghostwriter and an author. She works part-time as a caregiver for the elderly most of whom are in Hospice Care.

My first book, Bristol boyz Stomp is the true story of the random road rage murder of my brother, musician David Albert.

My second book, The Stranger In My Recliner will be out later this year. It is the true story of a homeless woman, Sophie, that my husband brought home one night. She stayed with us for 2+ years.

An active member of and sit on the board of The Press Club of Pa.,(w/National Press Club affiliation), the chairperson and facilitator of the Press Club Professional Development Workshop Series, a member of the Military Writers Society of America, the Nonfiction Authors Association, Lower Bucks Creative Writers, Hot Penz (a pool of authors, speakers, experts for radio and T.V. appearances,) Bucks County Speaker’s Bureau and an instructor at Delaware County Community College (Marketing, Social Media, Writing, Publishing)

I am co-owner of a marketing company, Intrepid Marketing, Inc.

I am an outspoken advocate for the elderly who are often victimized and too embarrassed to report the crime, an advocate for all victims of crime (former board member for the Network of Victims Assistance [NOVA,] Pennsylvania’s largest comprehensive victim service organization. I do my best to raise awareness of and to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, suicide and homelessness.

I live in Delaware County, Pa. just south of Philadelphia with my husband John.

We have 5 grown children (2 more in heaven) and 13 grand children (our own little cult).

My life is not ever boring.




Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Every Wednesday I share some of the things I have found that worked well for me and some that didn’t work so well on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again.  The sort of stuff I wish somebody would have told me back then…

Book Reviews

What is a book review, how do you get them and why is it important to you and your book?

A book review is a form of criticism based on story originality, writing style and the ‘taste’ of the reviewer. Good reviews done by reputable reviewers, immediately add credibility to your book and to you as an author.

How do you get reviews? It can be time consuming so I suggest starting with a plan. Professional reviewers are busy so it is important that they receive your request along with a galley copy at least four months prior to your release date. 

Create a list of possible reviewers.

Keep track of your requests, their responses and scheduled review dates.

Why not start at the top! Every author dreams of a good review in the New York Times.

Newspaper photo

To have your book considered for review by the New York Times it must be published in the United States and it must be available for sale in general interest, brick and mortar bookstores. All publishers are welcome to send galleys for consideration but they only review a small portion of the books they receive. Before sending your request, familiarize yourself with the types of books they review. Chances of having yours accepted are slim but not impossible.

Galleys cannot be returned and they will not respond to queries regarding the status of a review being considered or not considered.

Editor The New York Times Book Review 620 Eighth Avenue, 5th Floor New York, NY 10018

If you are sending a children’s book, please send it to the attention of the Children’s Book Editor.

[The best seller list is based on the sales at 4000 bookstores and wholesalers that serve 50,000 other retailers, gift stores, department stores, newsstands etc… that are weighted to represent all outlets nationwide.]

Amazon Reviews: research Amazon’s top reviewer list and pitch the ones that are right for your book.

Logo Amazon

Goodreads: offers a giveaway program where in exchange for a free book, the winners are encouraged to post reviews.

Book Bloggers: Do a Google search for book bloggers that review your genre. If they accept your book for review, request that they also post their review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Newspapers: most newspapers have eliminated reviews. Start with your local publications, read them and get to know which reporters write about your topic. I will share more on pitching the media in an upcoming post.

It’s also a good idea for you to read and review books.

Waiting for reviews can be uncomfortable, just more fuel for our insecurities. Good reviews are like gold but bad reviews can be devastating to our confidence.

Quote Writing Ann Rice Make a fool

Do you read reviews before choosing a book?

Next week: Bad Reviews

Happy writing,



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Focus, fragments and other ‘f’ words…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments  post and link back to our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

Friday Fragments new logo It’s not too late to join in on the fun and we would love to have you!

I am full of fragments.

I have always loved the thought of a brand new year. It gives us the opportunity for another chance to get it right. It is a fresh start with the promise of new possibilities.

New Year Midlife group!

Last year, John and I agreed 2014 would be about making memories one at a time and my word of the year was finish. We certainly did create a lot of memories and I finished the scrapbooks so we won’t forget. I also finished my second book. I am so excited that The Stranger In My Recliner will be going into production very soon.

We just had our first really cold day and I am ready for the beach. I am looking forward to March and bike week in Daytona Beach.

I am also looking forward to Nashville in March for the very first BAM conference. Is it cold in Nashville in March? The word I chose for 2015 is focus. I am already stressing that I am going to need an ‘f’ word for 2016.

Gaylord Opry Hotel 2

I’m having my 8th jaw surgery next Wednesday. There were only supposed to be 8 but because of complications there will now be 11. This is one thing I really wish was finished in 2014. I can’t wait til it’s over. The good news is it is working.

Are you a Downton Abbey fan? I loved the few episodes I had a chance to see while I was in Florida with my mother and always intended to binge watch to catch up. I am finally doing that and wow have I missed a lot. I’m not sure I’ll finish before the new season starts but I’m trying.

I’m missing Son’s of Anarchy. I can’t wait to see what Charlie does next. He would make a great King Author but the plans for that are six films. That is like a lifetime. Sons of Anarchy, power couple Kurt Sutter and Katey Sagal are looking to make lightning strike twice. Katey will be involved in Kurt’s new period dram for FX, The Bastard Executioner. Will we see Charlie in this show that revolves around a warrior knight in King Edward III’s charge? I will be watching for sure.

Charlie Hunnam

What TV series are you looking forward to watching this year?

I just read that 2014 movie admissions were the lowest since 1995. I think it’s because the snacks are so disgusting and way too expensive.

Have a positive, powerful and blessed first week of 2015, Doreen

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Writing Wednesday/Focus

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink


Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to being published, marketing, writing and publishing again.


2014 got off to a devastating start for me. I lost my father on January 10th and one of my closest friends on February 24th, my birthday. I struggled to find my words for a few months but I was determined to finish several projects before the year ended. It seems to take me forever to find my writing groove every fall after a summer of slow down. Just when I feel I am caught up the holidays arrive. It’s not like I don’t know they are coming, they arrive at the same time every year. I did put in extra hours this fall and I did manage, somehow to catch up. My word for 2014 was finish and I cut it very close but I did finish most of the projects on my list, including my second book. Beach Goodbye Summer 3


The Stranger In My Recliner is done, for now and I am waiting for a production schedule. I cannot wait to share Sophie’s story.

My word for 2015 was going to be organize. I had breakfast on Christmas Eve with a few members of my writing group HotPenz7 and friend, Annmarie Kelly (Happy Hour Radio, Victorious Woman) said her word for 2015 was going to be focus. Focus sounds so much more important than organize so I am going with it too.

How did I ever remember when to pick up my kids and from where, doctor appointments, days off of school and everything else including my work responsibilities without a plan, a schedule and a calendar?

Looking ahead to this New Year, I am full of hope and words that I cannot wait to write. I just need a plan because I can’t seem to remember anything these days.

Weekly word counts worked so well for me I am going to stick with them. Daily word counts caused me to fail and to feel like a failure every single day. With weekly counts I always feel there is always a chance to catch up if I fall behind. I am going to go with 5,000 words a week. That number feels comfortable and achievable. Focusing may be a bit tougher. In January I will be busy planning.  I will be creating a schedule for writing, blogging and living for the entire year.

Quotes Start writing

If I focus, I should have a second draft of The Father’s Pain by June.

I have a lot of friends who are committed to finishing books in 2015 for many it will be their first. I am excited for them and it feels good to have so many to cheer on and to celebrate with.

2014 is leaving with a few chunks of my heart but it also held many blessings and for them I am so grateful. Change and saying goodbye to this year feels hard but I know moving on and living does not mean I have forgotten.

Do you have a word for 2015, writing goals or do you make resolutions? I wish you a healthy, focused, happy, and successful 2015.

Happy New Year,



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Writing Wednesday/ My Publishing Story…

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink


On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.


My Publishing Story

When I finished my first book Bristol boyz Stomp, there was no doubt in my mind that I would land myself a big deal agent and get an amazing book deal, immediately. I was already a professional writer.

At eleven-years-old I would stay up all night, drinking hot tea that I made from hot tap water.  I would take the tea into my closet with a flashlight, a book, a notebook and a pen. The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew were my favorites. I would read a book and then would write an alternate ending, sometimes rewriting the entire book.

Writing Wednesday Bobbsey Twins

I also collect magazines.  I would find interesting looking people in the magazines, cut them out and then I would create ‘lives and then stories’ for them. What a little weirdo I was…

I crack myself up now when I think about the time I read a story about Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker and it seemed they were not in a good place so I cut them out of the magazine and created a better life and wrote a happy ending for the two of them.

For many years I told other peoples stories and I loved my job. I started quite a few historical romance novels, a cook book, several YA novels, a parenting book and two children’s books. These manuscripts are all still with me, collecting dust, maybe even growing potatoes. Someday…

In 1999 my youngest brother, musician David Albert was brutally beaten to death in a random road rage attack while on his way home from band practice. I dealt with the trauma the way I dealt with everything for my entire life, I wrote about it.

That journal was used to write the book that I rewrote, edited, rewrote and edited again and finally it was ready for publication, or so I thought.

I searched and researched agents, their agencies and their client lists. I made a spread sheet of my top twenty favorites, in order. I prepared a proposal, a query letter, a synopsis and a cover letter.

I decided to send out five-queries a week. Once I received fifteen rejection letters, I decided to have my manuscript critiqued and professionally edited. The first thing the editor said was the agents were most likely not reading my manuscript because it wasn’t formatted correctly. I fixed that, tweaked my synopsis, proposal and cover letters too. Re-energized I created another top twenty list and started hitting send.

Quotes Goals change the plan not the goal

There were requests here and there for several chapters, full reads and a few phone calls. The first yes I received was from Tate Publishing. I saw some negative comments about them online so I let that yes go, even though I really liked the woman I spoke with and she seemed to sincerely believe in my book and me as a writer.

The big agent finally called, mailed me a contract and before I knew what was happening an editor was calling from a top five-publishing house. After speaking with him I had a question for my agent. I called and left a message. After three days I called her again.  I didn’t like her. I decided it was a professional relationship and it would be okay. When I spoke with the editor again he asked me, “Do you really think this book will sell nationally or will it be more regional?” I don’t know what it was about that statement, or maybe it was his arrogant attitude but I realized I was not with people that were for me and my book. I let them both go and cried for days.

All in all I had collected ninety-nine rejection letters.

I had spoken with dozens of people through this process and the one I was comfortable with, the one that actually read my book was, Janey from Tate. I did some research on the company and its authors. I found a Facebook group of Tate Authors and reached out to many of them. The feedback was all good.

I received a contract. I had it reviewed by a literary attorney and he said it was a good contract and he was thrilled because it allowed me to maintain all rights to my work.

My husband and I flew out to Oklahoma to meet the Tate Publishing staff and to see their facilities. It was quite impressive.

My December visit to Tate...

My December visit to Tate…

The production and publication process took months but it was all exciting. I cannot describe the feeling of holding my first book in my hands and the firsts for the book and me as a writer that came after.



There have been a few bumps in the road along the way but Tate has handled every one professionally. I am so happy I listened to that little voice that told me to go with them.


Do you have a publishing story?  A publishing dream?



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Stolen Joy…

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As we drove down Market Street, in Philadelphia I asked my husband John, “Do you see any signs that we are in the holiday season?” He looked around as we drove past one Drexel University building after another and he said no, not one.

University of Pennsylvania had nothing, 30th Street Station, not a tree in sight.  City Hall did not have one decoration hanging. Not a menorah, wreath, Happy Kwanza, Blessed Solstice just nothing.

It has been disappearing a little more each year but it hasn’t been this noticeable to me until this year.

Philly skyline

I was excited and looking forward to driving into the city with John for his cousin’s wedding. It was a late afternoon service and the reception didn’t start until five-o’clock. We hadn’t been in the city at nighttime, together for ages and we looked forward to the people, the bustle, the traffic and the lights.

Those Holiday lights that add sparkle to a city that is trying to rebound from hard times. Shoppers that are breathing winds of hope and renewing the faith of struggling shop owners. The smiles on everyone’s face’s because it is impossible not to feel happy when you are caught up in such festive beauty, or is it?

Christmas 2013

If Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Merry Kwanza or Happy Solstice upsets you I feel sorry for you because you are miserable and unhappy. I worry about what mental health issue has caused you to be so offended by another person’s happiness and I am also angry with you.

More than that I am angry with myself because you and your rights have stolen my rights and with them my joy and I let you do it.



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Writing Wednesday/ Manuscript Formatting

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Every Wednesday I share some of the things I have found that worked well for me and some that didn’t work so well on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again.  The sort of stuff I wish somebody would have told me back then…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink


Formatting Your Manuscript


I will never forget the relief and at the same time the sheer terror I felt when I typed The End on my first manuscript. When I received my first request for the full manuscript from an agent I was so excited, until I saw her instructions for manuscript formatting. My manuscript was already finished. I used a fancy font, fancier chapter headings and I included photos and illustrations. I did not follow that agents instructions and sent it off to her as it was. Within two-hours I received an e-mail saying thank you but no thank you.



confused woman


No matter which type of publishing route you choose to take your manuscript will need to be professionally edited (by a book editor) and it will need to be formatted in standard publishing form.  While this is the business standard keep in mind each agent and or publisher may have their own specific instructions for submissions. Follow their instructions carefully.


 Standard Formatting:


On the first page, top left place your name and contact information. Use your real name here not a pen name. Add your full address, phone number, e-mail and website URL.


On the top right put the title of your book and under the title put your word count, rounded to the nearest thousand.


Halfway down the page in the center, put your first chapter title- hit enter twice and put your name or a pen name if you are using one. This page is not numbered.



Use a one inch margin on all sides.


 Use a standard twelve-point font such as Times New Roman, Ariel or New Courier.


Use a header on each page that includes on the top left of the page your last name/ the book title in all caps/ and the page number on the top right of the page. Use forward slashes to separate your name and book title.


Start each chapter on its own page ½ to 1/3 of the way down the page. The chapter number and chapter title should be bold and in capital letters.


Indent five-spaces for each new paragraph.

Writers Clock


Double space your entire text.


Use only one space in between sentences.


Scene breaks should be marked with a single # sign- aligned left.


Start each chapter on a separate page.


When I wrote my first book I had no idea that when using word you can track your changes and that word will automatically add your name/book title and page number if you use the formatting/header feature. I also didn’t know that there was a find and replace feature that you can use if your main characters name is Lilly and you had a revelation that her name should be Jenny. Word will find every Lilly for you and replace it with Jenny. I felt like such a dummy.

Quote Writing Ann Rice Make a fool



Do you have any formatting tips?


Keep writing,




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