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The Nicest Story

The Nicest Story

About six to nine months before every book is published by HarperCollins/Avon they have a Cover Conference that includes all the big muckety mucks (sales, art, editorial) who talk about upcoming books. Authors are asked to provide information about the books: plot, location, appearance of main characters, time frame, dress, important milestones, that sort of thing. I’ve got approval over some cover items built into my contracts, but I always defer to the Art Department. Those people are brilliant and can do their jobs without my input.

For the Cover Conference of the new book (To Bed the Bride) I told them that it was the first time I’d ever written a dog into a book. He just popped into my mind and refused to go away, much like any other character. Bruce was part border collie, part whatever. The Art Director is a big dog lover and asked if anyone at the Cover Conference had a dog they’d like to feature on the cover. My editor remembered Flash and called me. Could I provide the Art Director with pictures of Flash? I did.

I can’t show you the whole cover yet because we’re still tweaking colors, but I have posted the dog part of the cover. He doesn’t look much like Flash (but he does look like Bruce.) I still like to think that the picture memorializes Flash in a way.

Wasn’t it lovely of them to do that?

Need Your Opinion, Please

Need Your Opinion, Please

I use Vellum to create both ebooks and paperback versions of the books I publish independently. (I currently have 18 published independently with 2 in the “hopper”.)

If you’ve ever wondered why independently published paperbacks cost so much it’s mainly a function of a third party site. Previously, it was CreateSpace for Amazon, now part of its KDP arm. The site dictates the minimum price; it’s the author’s call how much above that to charge. Previously, the 6 x 9 size was the most inexpensive one to produce. That doesn’t mean it’s reasonable, in my estimation. It’s all based on how large the book is. For example, Tapestry is a huge honkin’ book so it costs more to produce than one of my paranormal romances. (It’s priced at $14.99 for the paperback version.)

Vellum is offering a new size for paperbacks: a Mass Market size or 4.12 x 6.75. This makes it possible for an indie author to charge $7.99 for a paperback instead of $9.99 plus. I have been waiting for this for years and I’m thrilled it’s finally available.

I prefer the smaller size, but I’m curious what y’all think. If I could insert a poll I would, but my learning curve hasn’t extended that far on this new system I’m using. Could you let me know in the comments, please?

Which do you prefer – the 6 x 9 size or the Mass Market paperback size of 4.12 x 6.75 (the size of most paperbacks)?



The Weirdness of Me, Part ?

The Weirdness of Me, Part ?

When I finish a major book I go into several different modes. The first is the Oh my gosh my brain is tired do I really have to do anything intelligent for a little while? Television features prominently in that mode.

Then I segue into the organizational mode. I plot out the next year. I figure out what I want to write, where it fits into my overall plan, and current contracts, and get the whole schedule worked out.

I have an idea for a new book and a novella that I really want to write.

The last stage, prior to beginning a new project is the Clean everything you can think of, even those things that really don’t matter. This might be thought of as the most dangerous stage. If I get too involve in cleaning I can revert to the Exhaustion or the Planning mode.

I’m currently in the Cleaning Mode, heaven help me.

I’ve been going through all the draft posts I have up on my blog. There are currently 97 draft posts. I doubt that I will publish more than ten of those. I get a wild idea and write it, but between the idea and its execution I’ll change my mind. Plus, I constantly edit myself. There are things happening in our world that make me sick to my stomach. I’m terrified at the precedent they set, yet you don’t come here for political or cultural speak. I like to think that this is a mini-oasis from the world around us.

I found a bunch of posts referencing Flash the Wonder Pooch. That’s how long some of them have been there. I was so blessed to have him in my life. I wish he could have been healthier. I certainly tried to make him happy. I think he and Lord Stanley would have been great buddies.

I’ve cleaned my office, which mainly consists of asking myself these questions: Why did you put this here? Why didn’t you put this up? Or why did you buy two dozen of these? (I confess to having a pack rat mentality that I’m trying to stop.)

The top of my desk looks great and I congratulate myself whenever I walk into my office.

I’ve even cleaned the pantry, the refrigerator, and the cupboards. I am edging toward the master bedroom closet, but that is a scary, scary place.

How about you? When you finish something major do you have a routine you follow? What does your master bedroom closet look like? (Mine is kinda/sorta a disaster.)



Friday Snippets

Friday Snippets

Stanley’s bed

When I decided that Stanley was NOT going to sleep with me I looked around for a solution to my problem. I ended up getting a wide baby gate with mesh (so he can see through it) that fit the double doors leading to the bathroom. My master bathroom is long so I put a comfy little round bed at the end so Stanley could see me. (Seeing me is important to Stanley if he can’t get full body contact.)

One day I noticed that he wasn’t using his cute little round bed. Instead, he started pulling it out of the bathroom and dragging it into the living room where it became a toy.

I cannot tell a lie. Stanley has gained weight. He gained a pound on the last groomer’s appointment. He doesn’t get people food but he does get training treats. Bottom line, he probably didn’t fit into his round bed. Instead, he started sleeping on one of the bathroom rugs.

I bought him a Serta dog bed.

I never, in a million years, thought I would have to talk Stanley into using it. It has a thick mattress and bolsters on three sides. It’s comfy and cushy and Stanley is absolutely terrified of it.

I forgot – and I have to keep being reminded – that Stanley does NOT adapt well to change. Any change at all.

So, after the first night, when he slept on the other end of the bathroom, I decided to begin Operation LoveMyBed. I rubbed my hands all over the bed so he would get my smell. I put the nightgown I’d worn one night down on the bottom mattress. I threw training treats on top of the bed. Whenever he went near the bed he got another cookie. For two nights I coaxed him closer and closer. Finally, I picked him up and put him in the bed and told him what a good boy he was. Of course, he jumped right back out, but that was okay. 

I was working on my laptop in bed the other night and I heard his tags jingle. I played it cool, but I looked over at bathroom door. Stanley was getting closer to the bed. I kept working. I didn’t say anything to him, but I would glance over there from time to time. Finally, I saw two little ears appear above the bolsters on the bed.


He has decided that the plush, comfy, decadent bed is just to his liking. Finally.

Dog food recall

Did you hear that Hill’s Science Diet canned dog food was voluntarily recalled because of too much Vitamin D? I didn’t hear about it on the news, but then I don’t watch the news anymore. Here’s the link: https://www.hillspet.com/productlist

Fascinating dog information

I told y’all that I’d invested in a FitBark for Stanley to let me know his activity level during the day. He’s gained that pound and I want to ensure he loses it and doesn’t gain more. FitBark has a great interactive map that provides lots of information about different breeds even if you don’t have a FitBark. The only proviso is that you have to access this site via a desktop computer: https://www.fitbark.com/insights/nutrition/


Have a lovely, safe, warm weekend!

Wisdom from Gandhi

Wisdom from Gandhi

Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.

Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.

Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior becomes your habits.

Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.

Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.