Tuesday, December 31, 2013


As the year eats its own tail and begins again, it is time for that annual reflection on “Did I Managed last years' goals?” and “What the heck is the plan for this year?”

I've been known to do a string of these, draw out my goals with piles of specificity, and I believe that helps, but somehow with my two weeks off, I've managed to fill the with crazy 'didn't get done yet' stuff that needed doing. So I will be a bit briefer than in past years.

[I heard that sigh of relief]


Last year's goal: Lose about 80 pounds...
Last year's result: Lost 54 pounds, but in the last three months have gained about half back.
Conclusion: I did pretty good, then not so good, but at least this year I only have 50 to lose.

The How for 2014: Weight Watchers, Walking... Pretty much exactly the same as I did it LAST YEAR but without changing jobs and publishing a serial (both of which have made things super hard since July). I find the new year is a good time to just get my nose back to it. If you want the REAL specifics, just see LAST YEAR'S PLAN.

Also... I now have a carpet in my basement and a yoga mat, so I have a more feasible plan for getting some core stuff into my routine.


Last Year's Goal was about Family stuff, and there we had a pretty good year. I am very proud to say as of Friday, HWMNBMOTI has had a year of sobriety. This has meant some changes at home, 98% of them good. My daughter successfully graduated high school and completed her first semester at community college. There was a juvenile delinquency misstep with Thing 2 and some graffiti, but it is over and there are no lasting repercussions. I've come to accept that my children are just never going to do things the easy way. It is the price of marrying the hot bad boy... tell your daughters.

My 2014 balance goals are a little more loosey goosey. I am trying to get each of my family members to commit to a TV show with me—I know it sounds pathetic, but none of them want to walk with me and the other things my kids would want to do with me all cost money, so we are starting with this.

And READING... I haven't done a specific reading goal before—I sort of fit in what I can between editing and beta reading. But I found one that looks like the PERFECT size, hosted by Lori at Escape with Dollycas. It is to read through the alphabet, which is just one book every two weeks. You DON'T have to go in order. I think it will help me push myself just a little and be a good excuse to work in some of those 'classics' we are all supposed to have read that I haven't managed yet... and it will give me a way to pick WHICH of all of your great books I plan to get to next (because if I don't PICK I end up doing something silly like rereading because I am overwhelmed... this is a way to whelm me... or something)

And then the Writing Plan:

GREEN: 2013 goal MET
RED: 2013 goal NOT MET
PURPLE: 2013 goal MIXED
BLUE: 2014 goat SET

Medium Wrong DID get polished and into ABNA, but didn't pass the pitch stage... I have notes for another revision so I think it will also be THIS year's ABNA (but hopefully with a passable pitch)

What Ales Me: DID have it's revisions and is currently with Ellen (and out of my hands) SUCCESS in terms of what I could control. 2014 plan is to leave it in Ellen's capable hands unless and until she tells me otherwise.

Kahlotus Disposal Site: I sort of petered out on this. After Amy didn't have luck submitting and admitted she'd fallen out of love with it, I decided I needed a little time to think about it and haven't worked back up to it yet. My 2014 goal with it is really to decide where it fits in with my other stuff, as there is a YA PLAN *BUWAHAHAHAHAHA*

Begonia Bribe was successfully released and work prepping Keeping Mum is done. 2014, March 4, I release Keeping Mum (so need to do a marketing campaign).

Wrote Also Appearing for BuNoWriMo and unexpectedly wrote much of a teen armageddon one (Endangered) for what I dibbed March Madness. The FORMER is part of my 2014 YA plan, the LATTER I will release serially, but not until 2015.

And from there the rest of the 2013 plan went to heck because I INSTEAD decided to serially release Shot in the Light, which has been an INSANE adventure—tons of writing, editing, learning... It hasn't been a financial success, and it isn't DONE yet... I've released 5 of 12... it fits better at this point with my 2014 plan than my 2013 review, so lets change gears.

Shot In the Light: Episodes 6 and 7 to release in January, 8 in February, 9 in March, 10 and 11 in April and 12 in May... I am ALSO releasing them in paperback (bundled 4 at a time). 10-12 still need to be written, though there is a path for each character—closer to an outline than I normally do.

That, and the release of Keeping Mum, are big enough jobs that the only OTHER thing I plan to do in 1st quarter is this ABNA prep.

2nd Quarter: Finish Shot release until DONE. Revision of Also Appearing (see plan below), and Writing 2nd Artful Ales Book (BuNoWriMo)--It is my deep hope Ellen will be able to sell the Artful Ales series... I should KNOW by the end of 2nd quarter, but even if I don't KNOW, I am going to release them one way or another, and there will need to be at least 3, so I might as well keep writing.

3rd Quarter: I want to get my YA house in order. Kahlotus Disposal Site and Medium Wrong are both stand-alones that may just have to wait to see how the plan goes. Because I have decided Also Appearing will be the first in a series of 'place' YA books, each independent, but all connected to Lake Chatcolet,w here I spent much of my childhood... it is lake furthest south of one BIG lake that is actually Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a place with tiny towns, an Indian Reservation, rustic summer cabins... and serious potential. I looked through my book ideas and at least 4 of my 'good ideas' in addition to Also Appearing, could ALSO be set there (or around there) and I think that strong, familiar set of place makes for stronger books. There are a lot of issues that can be hit—some spooky, some serious (there is an Aryan Nation headquarters to the north, so teens thinking about issues of race, there is an area known for 'Devil Worshippers' so good ghost story fodder... and then there is normal teen drama...) I'm excited, know which book will be next—for NaNoWriMo maybe (Summer Bones).

Some of you may not agree with me, and that's fine, but I still happen to think YA can be a lot bigger with a publishing house behind me, and I KNOW how much work self publishing is now. So I am at least going to attempt to make this plan go traditionally. I may change my mind. Querying is at least as painful as sorting all the publishing details. But at least with querying, you reach a time you can let somebody ELSE take over all those details. I will try Amy again, first—I loved working with her and think it was the BOOK that was the trouble, not the two of US. And if I end up with an agent to help with ALL my YA stuff, maybe she can also help sort what PLAN makes most sense (though I do think this series all set in the same place is the right idea).

What about all of you? Do you have a PLAN!? *BUWAHAHAHAHAHA*

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In Which Time Fails to Materialize

Wibbly Wobbly, it may be, but somehow the stuff fails to show up when I really need it. I'm really not sure what I was thinking... the PLAN, as it was, was madness...



The one where I format the paperback and load into all the other formats in plenty of time to be available for Christmas...


1)  I got behind on my timing of Book 5 in the serial, so was tangled in production when I should have been writing. This has set me back across the board. I THOUGHT I would be done writing 'all 10' by now... but I am NOT done with 10 and there actually will be 12...

2)  I had a couple beta readers hit obstacles for reading book 6, so that is running a bit behind, too.

3)  Formatting the paperback is more complicated than I thought.

4)  The DAY job has remained SWAMPED. Normally I sneak a few things in on any given day because WORD (which I have at work and not home) plays more nicely with all those uploading programs (I have tried to upload books from home twice now and Kindle doesn't like my home computer. And with no time to steal at work, I haven't managed to do that other formatting, partially for this reason.


1)  I DID manage to do my final cleanup of What Ales Me and sent it to Ellen.

2)  I page-proofed Keeping Mum.

3)  I edited Book 6 for 2nd readers.

4)  I DID format the paperback. It is books 1-4 of the serial and available HERE

5)  And Joris created the BEAUTEOUS full cover (front/back, spine... did you know dimension of spine changes with page number? I know that now)

6)  And I've written almost all of book 9, started book 10 and plotted a couple character strands of 11... so getting there.

7)  Got my proof copies (and ordered some promotional ones) (I will take a picture, but not probably until this weekend... I'm not sure where the camera is)

Still To Do

1)  Shop, send Christmas presents and a couple gifts... (I know. Not a writing exercise)
2)  Finish formatting for various OTHER formats (can you format for formats?).
3)  Finish 9 and 10 THIS month (plot 11 and 12)
4)  First Edit of book 8
5)  2nd edit of book 7
6)  3rd edit of book 6
7)  If POSSIBLE (which I don't think it is) Publish book 6—this will PROBABLY be early January rather than December.)

So There... It feels an awful lot like I'm making a lot of excuses these days... hopefully my TWO WEEK vacation, which begins at 4 on Friday, will give me the time I need to finish up.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Little Christmas Love

I have not one... not two... but THREE friends with Christmas romance novellas recently released, so I wanted to share them with you today, in case you wanna fall in love this week!!!

Last Christmas by Talli Roland

You guys ALL know Talli, right? One of our longtime blog friends!  I haven't read this one, but Talli does a fabulous job with romantic comedy, so I'm sure this one will deliver, too!

Here is the blurb: For Lucy, the best Christmas present is forgetting the past.

Eager to banish the ghost of Christmas past - when her boyfriend dumped her on the streets of Paris - Lucy is determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She rallies friends and family for an epic celebration that just happens to fall on the same day as her ex's festive wedding. Furious at how she's been treated, Lucy can't help relishing the party v wedding smackdown.

But when the wedding is threatened and only Lucy can help, can she find the spirit inside to save the day, or will this Christmas be even more disastrous than the last?

Meet Me Half Way by Amber T. Smith

Amber is actually part of my writing group and I've been friends with her several years. (She is secretly Tara, who was my first reader clear back when I was writing fan fiction) Meet me halfway is a heart wrenching tale of a couple who lost their baby and in their grief have managed to become estranged. I'm about 2/3 done reading this one and it is a tear-jerker so far!

Here is the official blurb: Beth can't forgive her husband for cheating on her just after they lost their son during childbirth. Struggling to come to terms with his infidelity, Beth decides to push Mark out of her life for good, and books herself on a prolonged cruise just as the anniversary of their son's death approaches.

Mark is still devastated at Beth's complete lack of trust in him, and has given up trying to reconcile with his wife. When he learns of her cruise plans, it shakes him out of his stupor, and fills him with a renewed determination to woo her back.

With the cruise booked to depart in just a few short days, and with Christmas just around the corner, Mark has no choice but to re-open old wounds, with the hope of convincing his wife that they should never have parted.

But Beth has secrets of her own. If they are to reunite, she'll need to forgive not only her husband, but herself, too...

Starting From Scratch by Stacy Gail 

I had the fortune to be a beta reader on this one... Stacy had one of her manic sprints last spring—a story that absolutely wouldn't let her be, and I promise, if you read it, you will be able to tell why. Stacy and I have been friends and critique partners many years, and I always love Stacy's writing—she has the true emotion, well developed characters and always includes a bit of the humor that can often be absent in romances. It's a fabulous balance.

Here is the blurb: Christmas is the perfect time to start from scratch.

Lieutenant Sully Jax saved his unit during an IED attack, but he couldn't save his marriage. He can't even remember it. Recovered from his injuries, he's come home to the family and friends he knows—and an ex-wife who's a stranger to him.

Lucy Crabtree was heartbroken last Christmas when Sully announced his plan to go on one last tour of duty, and devastated when he asked for a divorce after he awoke in the hospital with no memory of her. She's finally moving on from her hurt and from losing the man she loved more than anything, and her cookie-baking business is taking off just in time for the holidays. But now Sully's back, and she can't deny she still loves him. But how can she trust her heart to someone who breaks it every time she sees him?

Sully might not remember Lucy, but something inside won't let her go. With every bite of her cookies, he finds a new love for Lucy, and he soon realizes he wants to rebuild his life…with her by his side.

So there you have it... three shortish love stories to get you in the mood for the holiday! Interesting that two of them have heroines named Lucy and themes around forgetting, but they sound very different.

You should go get them! Because who DOESN'T need a little more love at Christmas?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Publishing and Money

Second Wednesday is for Indie Author stuffs...

I ran across an article last week that was a fabulous dose of reality about which kind of authors made how much money. Not that money is the be all and end all, but it is nice to know what we are in for...


See here is my thing...

I have a day job. I will HAVE TO have a day job until I make enough writing to make up for NOT having said day job... because my retirement and insurance are really good, this is quite a LOT of writing income I have to make, or I really CAN'T quit... And not just once, but a good guess it will continue in the foreseeable future. That means I really need to be in that LAST, six-figure group to quit the day job. (not my income, but my income plus insurance for my family plus retirement put me very close—close enough that when I start TAXING the money that buys insurance, it would push the need over)

[now I LOVE my dayjob in a lot of ways, I'd just really prefer to do it maybe half time—the content is great, the people are great, the cause is great... but it just ISN'T writing fiction to my heart...]

So I need to keep the income in mind... do I write a little and not worry about it, or do I try to write enough to cross over and be a WRITER?

That's why I'm talking about the money.

See, the OTHER thing about the money (and time and jobs)... When I have so little writing time, I REALLY only have WRITING time... and I have some projects I'd like to commit to as an INDIE publisher... An Indie person needs to be a jack of all trades, but with a JOB, I just don't have time for that—not even to DO it, but REALLY not to LEARN IT. Does that make sense?

I didn't really get it until I started publishing my serial, which I can only do Indie, there being no formal serial mechanism annallat... but there is a LOT of time involved (and money)--covers and editing—I am paying for these, but it means thus far I've lost money. I KNOW this will be worth it—to not have a sub-par product out there, but time and money... time and money... time and money... neither of which I have.

So back to the graph... did you know I am a number nerd by day?

These are all percentages, so it gets a little hard to know what is what in real numbers... I assume there are MANY more aspiring writers than published writers, though self-publishing makes crossing that bridge a lot easier... so N for aspiring is biggest, followed by self... but I have NO CLUE how traditional and hybrid categories compare.

Comes out March 4--my 3rd Cozy
What I KNOW is I fell into the $1-$4,999 category this year... and last year... and the year before that. In 2010 I was the next category up because a three book contract with an advance meant I got a portion (40% of the advance for all three books) at signing. But in 2011 and 2012, I would have fallen in that 'traditional' $1-$4,999 category... this year I became purple... me and my $30 of Indie income *rolls eyes * Actually I've lost money on that so far, because I am paying for covers and editing, but I have hopes now that I am bundling it will get better, and once it is DONE, it will improve even more.

What gives me HOPE though, is that distribution of purple... hybids. That's me.

I sent a book that would be first in a second cozy series to my agent this week. I think it will sell. I'd frankly like to ALWAYS have a traditional series going. It gets me invited places. (is that shallow?) I think breaking out is easier with an icebreaker... and my personality just is NOT charming enough to break out otherwise. I am awkward.

And while hybrids have about 26% of us sitting here where I am ($1-$4,999) the next bump is at the $20K-$40K slot and 14% of us are making over $100K... I can be top 14%!

I will believe forever that publishing route should be a match of goals, genre and personality, but I am SO RELIEVED to see I am not dooming myself going about this sort of willy-nilly as I am... I'd felt very uncommitted...but I'm NOT uncommitted! I am a THING! A HYBRID!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Graham Parke: A Month to Charity...

My buddy Graham Parke is donating all his writing income this month to an international children's helpline and asked me if I'd help him spread the word... it sounded like it was a great cause, so I agreed... but I'll let HIM tell you about it.

Welcome Graham!

“I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.” – from Completely Flappable

Don’t you just hate it when you have a thousand little thoughts rattling around your brain, good for nothing but keeping you up at night? Ideas, worries, mental reminders for the next day? My voices can get pretty insistent, and mostly this is a nuisance, but sometimes it’s okay, when there’s a story idea or two among the ramblings. And rarely, very rarely, I get what I think is a really good idea, but one that I don't know what to do with.

For instance, a while ago it occurred to me that it’s probably not governments or big corporations that wield the world’s greatest financial power. I think it’s us. All the little people together. Then I started wondering what could happen if we all decided to set 1 month of our incomes aside towards fixing this place up a bit. How many of the world’s problems could we actually solve permanently? Half of them, maybe? All of them? That's a pretty cool picture.

But I’m a pretty dim light when it comes to implementing even small ideas, never mind the big ones. So I’m not sure how to get that ball rolling (heck, I'm not even sure where we keep the balls). But I can certainly start with myself. That’s easy enough (I’ve been in close contact with myself for years; I didn't have much trouble convincing myself.)

So, this December, all proceeds of all my novels will go to Child Helpline International. The CHI is pretty cool because they support toll-free child helplines worldwide and they help highlight gaps in child protection systems. They do all this on donations (click the image below for more information.)

But what does all this have to do with you? Well, I'm raffling off some prizes and giving out some freebees to boost the donation (expenses out of my own pocket, not the donation :P )

So what's in it for you, besides that warm, fuzzy feeling you'll get knowing the Xmas presents you’re buying include an automatic donation? Well, how about I give you the new edition to the award winning No Hope for Gomez saga completely free?
And how about a Kindle Fire HD raffle ticket with every purchase while we’re at it?
Simply forward your receipt emails to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com to participate.

And now, on to the pitch. This is the bit where I try to convince you, using only my words, that my novels don’t suck (or at least, not too much.) That they won’t only tickle your brain, but they’ll actually make your life better, if only marginally. That they are, in fact, worthy donation material. Here goes (fingers crossed)...

Paper: $6.08
(uk paper, kindle)

No Hope for Gomez!

Winner of the Forewords Book of the Year Awards, featured on Kirkus Best Indie List 2011, IBA and USA Book News Award nominee.
It's the age-old tale:

  Boy meets girl.
  Boy stalks girl.
  Girl already has a stalker.
  Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

We've seen it all before, many times, but this time it's different. If only slightly.
"Extremely witty writing containing keen insights into human nature." --California Chronicle
"Challenges the way we think about, and interact with, the world around us." --Kirkus Discoveries
"The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius."--Reader's Favorite

Unspent Time

Warning: reading this novel may make you more attractive and elevate your random luck by about 9.332%*
(*These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence)
Permeating the cracks between the past and the present is the realm of Unspent Time. Time that was allotted but never spent. In this realm we find the stories that could have been true. Such as the story of the designer of the color scheme used inside your shoe, or the story of Goki Feng Ho: the Chinese art of decoding the secret meaning of car license plates.

Paper: $6.08
ePub : $2.99
(uk paper, kindle)
“Captivating. Each story fired up my imagination.” – Alan H. Jordan, author.
"Delightfully mad. Graham's vibrant characters shine from the first page." --Tahlia Newland, author.

Free with this event

Completely Flappable

“He’s completely flappable!”
“Don’t you mean he’s unflappable?”
“Not really. He can very easily be flapped.”
Gomez has never been on a date. In his 27 years on the planet he’s never been able to quite close the deal. For some reason, circumstances always conspire to make his meet-ups with women less than official dates. But now a blond German girl with freckles has moved into his building and he decides it’s time to get his act together.

If you've read this far, you're already my hero ;)
I hope you like my idea enough to join me in this fun adventure. Let's see how much we can raise this Xmas ;)

Kind regards,

Graham Parke

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG: What's Your Flavor?

Welcome to first Wednesday, our typical Support Group Meeting Date for Insecure Writers!

I'm Hart, and I'm insecure.

[Hi Hart]

You know what I like?
Peanut butter and dill pickles on toasted whole wheat with a big glass of skim milk.

You know who else likes this?
In my life I've met maybe half a dozen, one of them I gave birth to, another gave birth to me. Far more think I'm really strange.

Know what else I like?

Know who else likes pizza?
Pretty much everybody who isn't lactose intolerant. I mean SURE we all have different toppings preferences (don't you DARE put pineapple on my pizza!) (and really REALLY don't you dare not put ANYTHING but cheese... pizza is all ABOUT toppings.) But see that is the thing... pretty much EVERYONE likes SOME sort of pizza.

So let's just say genres are food. And there is interesting exotic food that some people really love and other people really hate. (historic fiction or fantasy maybe)

And there are genres MANY like, but MANY do not... call it hamburgers... Genre fiction... food for the masses, unpalatable to some, but a regular meal for many...

There are foods like fois gras for the very refined palate... call it poetry... and grilled cheese that EVERYBODY likes some of, though some people (mostly young) like almost exclusively (Dr. Seuss)...

But the REAL point is MOST people like to mix it up SOME, but prefer one TYPE over OTHER types and dislike a few...

I will eat (and read) most stuff, though some of it in certain ways... I loved a lot of sweets as a kid... now I prefer they have some bitterness, zest, nuts or something else to mix them up... just like how I like romance... with some bitterness, zest or nuts to mix it up...

And what we WRITE also follows these rules... maybe we like to bake, or make soups (I am a one pot meal gal with a little of everything all at once... like those complicated books I like to write)

But at any given time, on the bestseller list, 6 of 10 are usually THRILLERS... I think Thrillers are our pizza. And just like with pizza, they always seem a lot better when made by a pro at a high end place. I REALLY REALLY want to be able to make the BEST pizza... Maybe that garlic sauce vegetarian one Papa Murphy's sells that everyone looks at funny and then says “OHMYGAWD that's the best pizza I ever had!” And try and try as I do to get it right, it just isn't quite the same. I can't get past the Boboli version... it has enough cheese and great toppings, but it's still... you know... not quite authentic.

So what food are YOUR books?
Do you like to stick to mostly one type, or mix it up?
Anything you avoid?
Anything you really WISH you could make?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Done and Undone

So there is a little less than one month left in this year, right? So I figured it was time to inventory what I really still needed to do. This year has had some wacky twists to it and I'm not at all sure I've met my goals, though I've accomplished quite a bit. But THAT assessment is something I do the last few days of the month. THIS one is more an “I think I can still manage” thing.

Gorgeous, eh!?
First news... I pressed publish on Book 5 last night and TODAY I will get sent the copies for people who have won subscriptions or have reviewed #4. (Note: I am doing this for ALL of them—the first 10 reviewers get the next book free, and thus far, only book 1 has more than 10 reviews—IFF I don't have your email and you want that freebie, you need to send it to me: hartjohnson23(at)gmail(dot)com.

So HERE'S what ima do in December...

A Shot in the Light Progress

1)  Edit Book 6 for 2nd readers
2)  Format the first SET (Books 1-4) for paperback and other eVersions.
3)  Finish writing Book 9 and write Book 10 (though I now know there will be two more AFTER that)
4)  Edit Book 6 for copy editor and publish it at the end of the month
5)  Edit book 7 for 2nd readers
6)  Edit book 8 for 1st readers

Add caption
Other Writing/Publishing

1)  PAGE PROOFS for Keeping Mum
2)  Polish What Ales Me for Ellen to see if she thinks it will sell (I think it will)
3)  Organize book ideas (I have a bunch of notebooks with scattered ideas and I try about twice a year to put them in a spreadsheet so they are all together.
4)  Make my 2014 plan for writing and editing
5)  Decide on what I am entering for ABNA and figure out what needs to be done
6)  Blog twice a week until the last week when I can do a little more, as I'm off work (see below for reason).

If only we can avoid this...

1)  I have a brand new office and a much bigger (pretty exciting) job. Sadly this means some limiting of my blogging because I don't have time during the day to visit others—I figure if I blog twice a week, then I can take a few days to do those reciprocal visits.


1)  HWMNBMOTI started a new job last month, so I have some extra home commitments... feeding my children now and then... things like that.
2)  It is ALSO December, so I need to do a little holiday prep—shopping, decorating, baking.
3)  Oh, to avoid holiday weight gain... it won't happen, but I can try to limit it some.

Any of the rest of you desperately trying to salvage your year's productivity?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Friday!!!

Halo, fine friends!!! Today I'm participating in an AMAZING Black Book Friday event.

This is Laura Howard's brainchild and she brought together a FABULOUS, LARGE group of authors. We are giving away dozens of books and four $50 gift cards.

Part of this promotion is an online party from 7-9 tonight, eastern time. We'd LOVE you to join us HERE.

Part of my gig for participating, is sharing one of the authors who's participating... so INTRODUCING Liz Long! She is promoting her book Witch Hearts.

Blurb:  How does a witch stay safe if a killer can get through her protection spells? Witches like Ruby and Courtney can take care of themselves. So when Courtney is murdered, Ruby’s world crashes to a halt. The only thing keeping her grounded is the return of Courtney’s brother, Cooper. He seeks revenge, but Ruby wants to help other witches stay alive. To do that, she’ll have to reunite with her old coven’s High Priest, who also happens to be her cheating ex-boyfriend. If that wasn’t awkward enough, when the killer gets too close, Cooper temporarily moves into Ruby’s place while a police officer tails her every move. Cooper’s presence distracts Ruby as they fight their desire against their need to stay safe. Then Courtney begins to haunt Ruby’s dreams and secrets are spilled, things from Cooper’s past that could get them both killed. The killer continues to stalk Ruby and the more she discovers, the more she fears she won’t be able to keep her heart in her chest.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Witch-Hearts-Liz-Long/dp/1482782324

Liz's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lizclongauthor (go like her)

In the MEANTIME, increase your chances of winning by helping us spread the word and liking us!

The blogs that are meant to be helping me out are these:

Cajun Book Lover cajunbooklover.blogspot.com 

Though if they've missed it, that is on me. In typical Tart fashion, I waited until last night to begin seeing what I was meant to do today, and the 'share you links' function had closed... I am bad about things like that. I tried to do some individual outreach, but if these guys have lives... you know... it might not have worked. I'd love you to go visit them anyway, because they were willing. I just fell down on my end.

And what you REALLY REALLY should do is enter to win stuff!!! (and participate in the FB thing tonight if you are around)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Naked Cheese! With Crystal Collier

Halo, fine friends!!! I know you don't normally see me on the weekends, but I have a special reason to be here! I am a stop on Crystal Colliers Moonless book release tour! And she is talking about two things we LOVE!!!! NAKED and CHEESE!!! (is there anything better?)

So without further ado, welcome Crystal!


What's that you say? Cheese is always naked? Not necessarily. Sometimes it's covered in rind, sometimes dressed up by side dishes or merely a tasty ingredient. But what we're getting at today is the naked cheese

What is it that makes a piece of art really shine--be it the written word, a painting, sculpture, etc?

Any piece of art creates a mood and invokes an emotional response. That's what you find at its core, the artist's passion. And where do we find that passion?


If you want to make your art more powerful, isolate experiences in life where you've felt extreme passions and channel that emotion into what you're creating.

While I was revising MOONLESS, my father was diagnosed with
stage four cancer. Being close to home, I helped with his care, and sat
with him through the last night of his life. It was my responsibility to administer relief through drugs or not, to try and wet his dry throat, to comfort him through his last hours.

In Moonless, Alexia has a moment of truth next to
a death bed, and although what takes place there is very different, the scene
draws heavily on a reality I lived through. It’s these experiences that ground
a work of art and really ring true to the reader. It's these experiences that help us come together in an understanding of the human condition. 

Now you ask, so what's with the cheese? 

Cheese is the best food. Cheese makes the world go round. Cheese equals happiness. (And if you responded to that by scoffing and referencing chocolate, you need to read my post where cheese and chocolate go toe to toe.)

Now get out and do some living, eh? 

Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless. 

MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.

"MOONLESS is powerful, compelling, and packed with soul." --Bethany Kaczmarek, editor at A Little Red, Inc. 

"I fell head over heels for the characters." --TC Mckee, BookFish Books 

"Power-packed action, heart stopping mystery, unpredictable twists and turns..." --I Am a Reader Not a Writer

Buy MOONLESS HERE or add it on Goodreads.

Crystal Collier, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 

You can find Crystal on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

And Crystal has a rafflecopter giveaway going on, too... if you'd like to join...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Lost Art of Blogging


Comes to the name: Confessions of a Watery Tart

Identifying Features: Silliness, periodic wisdom, man butts

See... I have somehow LOST my blogging mojo... and I can manage one side or the other of it... EITHER writing one OR reading and getting around... but I am having some trouble syncing up the two.

In fact I've seen some blogs recently talking about the diminishing returns on blogging. They didn't call it that. I did. But that's what it is... even the SAME effort isn't getting the same response (let alone those of us that have been falling down on the job).

But I DO have some news, both progress and upcoming events, so maybe I'll go with THAT.


Book 5 is with my copyeditor (a week later than I planned, but I was wise enough to never advertise a release date, so it's good)

Book 6 is ready for revision for 2nd readers.

Book 7 is DONE and first revisions done. Just some revisions to enter and then send it to first reader.

Book 8 is NEARLY done, but I am not revising until 9 is written.

About that... I have a strong inkling that this serial will be 12, rather than 10... it's all good. That allows the collections to be 4 books (400 pages) a piece, which to me makes a $2.99 price a VALUE (if a $2.99 book is made of 3 X $.99, then you pay three cents EXTRA for the set... this way they get a book FREE if they buy the set)

I think this ALSO sets me up reasonable to 'release in clusters'--when 5 is released the first week of December, I SHOULD be able to do 5, 6, 7, and 8 all 3 weeks apart, then have a gap for my Cozy book release, then do the last 4 clustered.

I am about at 36K for NaNoWriMo, though spinning my wheels a bit, as that break to edit goofed me a bit. I will finish...


Saturday:  My friend Crystal Collier released her book Moonless last week, and Saturday is doing a guest blog!  Come see her!!!

And NEXT WEEK, there is a huge BLOW OUT--a GIANT giveaway for Black Friday. There are FOUR $50 gift certificates and MANY books being given away--you definitely want to get in on it!

So that's what's up... maybe my mojo will fall back in line in December, but for NOW, featuring a few fun things seems to be what I can manage. Anybody else having trouble?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indie Authors: Time Management Challenges

Welcome to Indie Authors Second Wednesday Thingy-ma-Bob. In case you haven't heard of it, that may very well be because I can't recall the name at the mo, but it is a group of fabulous Indie Authors offering each other support and offering everyone ELSE a bit of a view into the world of this new ever-changing thing..

As to Time Management...

If you think my title implies you are going to find answers here, I will just give you a heads up now that I don't have them.

I just need a bit of a vent on the matter.

Cuz see... I have a lot of obligations, some more critical than others... I am a full time worker which is the only reason my family isn't starving on the street. I am a mom. I am traditionally published with obligations to people who have my name on a dotted line... and I am TRYING to be an Indie Author with all that entails...

You know... writing, editing, formatting (several versions), publishing, promoting...

I am TRYING to do it all, but some days it feels fairly impossible.

Take last night for instance:

I had a blog to write *waves at all of you*
I had prizes from a promotion to send out.
I had revisions for book 7 to enter.
And I had book 8 to finish writing. (my NaNoProject is books 7-10 for my serial)

And on Monday I had a medical procedure (just preventative) that caused me to be 'out of it' half of Sunday and all of Monday.

THANKFULLY, I was ahead on NaNoWriMo, so partially losing 2 days isn't the end of the world.  (I'm sitting at about 29K)  Though losing most of last night because nobody warned me the Windows 8.1 update would take that long really irked me. Especially as it would have been totally unnecessary if Windows 8.0 didn't suck so bad.

But enough grumbles... How do I TRY to cope?

Depends on the thing. The writing to me, isn't optional. It is my identity. I try to WORK AHEAD as much as possible... for the obligations to others on writing, too. I still find myself scrambling ALL the time, but if I hadn't tried to work ahead, that is a lot of lateness that would have crashed in on me.

NEGLECT MY FAMILY. *cough* I don't recommend this strategy, but it is one of the few things with any give. My kids are both teens and prefer it this way. It is only my husband who gets annoyed. Mr. Tart would prefer I cleaned more and parented more actively.

Learn the publishing IN PIECES. I am publishing serially—100 page installments of a longer story. The one-at-a-time ones I published to Kindle Direct first—get them OUT THERE, but only learn ONE system right off. It has given me free days to promote my first. Then in December I am going to begin that whole 'learn all the other formats for the collections' thing. Probably I should have published a stand-alone first so I didn't have to keep turning around and doing it all again, but I'm not known for doing things rationally... I CHOSE self-publishing because I wanted to do a serial and it was the only way. (my temperament is really better suited for traditional—I'm just not a details girl)

So that's my story and I'm sticking with it. How about you? Any time management tricks you want to share?

HA!  Indie Life!  That's it!  Find the list of authors here!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

February Grace and Of Stardust

So I know Bru doesn't actually need a lot of introduction, as she's a member of our blogging community, but Bru is one of my few writer friends I've had a chance to meet in person. She's a lovely woman who lives relatively close to me and came to the Kerrytown Bookfest the first time I participated in a signing at Aunt Agatha's booth.

So when I learned Bru had a book coming out, her second, I thought I'd invite her to talk a little about switching it up because I'd seen her talk about how different this book feels from her first one, and some of YOU think about switching genres sometimes, so maybe that would help you, too.

So without further ado, Welcome Bru!!!

What a gorgeous cover, eh?
You Wrote What? By February Grace

When Hart graciously invited me to write a guest post for her blog in honor of the release of my new novel, I was thrilled and thankful for the opportunity. She is such a fantastic writer and spectacular person to boot, how could I not be?

Then I asked her what she might like me to blog about, and she suggested talking about ‘writing different flavors’ (meaning of course, genres).


Yes it’s true that my first published novel was a literary romance with Steampunk embellishments about a brooding doctor with a dark, secret past, and my new novel is a fantasy romance about, um, well… a behind the scenes look at the lives of modern Fairy Godparents.

How did I get from Steampunk to something of a fairy tale?

All I can tell you is this: in the case of each book, the characters led the way.

The tagline on my blog has always been, “The characters are in control, I just take dictation.”
That sums up my experience as a writer. I don’t get to direct who I meet on my internal literary journey, any more than you get to choose your waitress at the truck stop off of I 75 on a really long road trip.

The characters are who they are to me, just as if they were real people; already formed. Identities, names, and personality traits all there—my job is to get to know them and convey their story to the world.

Your experience may (very likely) be vastly different. You might have complete control over where your characters go, and things like the names they’ll answer to. If I try to change the name of a character it’s likely they’ll stop ‘talking’ to me, and then I have to do a find/replace on the manuscript and put the name back to what it originally was before the stop with the silent treatment and the story can get going again. And they say writers are temperamental…it’s the characters to blame if you ask me!

You might wonder, ‘why in the world would I want to write in a different genre if I LOVE LOVE LOVE writing historical romances or technically mind-blowing sci-fi or dinosaur erotica’? To me the answer is clear, you might not want to. You might want to stick with it and only ever write the one kind of story; and if that works for you, I offer my congratulations! You’ve found your bliss, there’s no reason to deny it.

However if you are like me and the characters rule (my sympathies) or if you’ve ever even wondered what it might be like to try writing a book completely different from a book you’ve written previously (or poem, or short story, or play) then I say why not give it a try? If nothing else you will have learned something from the experience of working outside of your comfort zone, and if it works well you might even end up seeing the novel you started on a whim for NaNoWriMo the year before go through the revision and editing process and then end up a REAL BOOK, like my novel about Fairy Godparents named Gus and Till.

Just think about the possibilities! And consider how the library would look if everyone wrote the same genre, or if all authors stuck with only one genre. We would have a lot less variety to pick from, and as with food I really believe in storytelling that variety really is a wonderful thing.
So that’s the story of how I ended up going from writing moody Steampunk to writing romantic fantasy. In case you’re wondering, I have no idea what I might write next (after I finish the sequel in progress to the Fairy Godparents story, that is.)

I just know this, wherever the characters take me, it’s going to be interesting.

Thanks again to Hart for generously sharing her blog with me today, and thank you all for reading!


Buying Links:
Amazon:  amzn.to/17y5KGf
Barnes and Noble:  http://bit.ly/16M0pN0

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Little NaNo Distraction with Jay Mims

Halo, fine friends!  A buddy of mine is visiting today sharing some distractions and encouragement for those of us doing NaNoWriMo... He is ALSO in progress for the release of his 3rd Cozy Mystery, The Gray Ghost Inn, so it is quite generous of him to spend his time digressing with us!

Welcome, Jay!!!

Hello Gentle Readers,
If this goes according to schedule, you should be reading this while we’re all in the middle of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and if my experiences from last year taught me anything it’s: 1) Meet your word quota, 2) Don’t forget to eat something (Low blood sugar makes for AWFUL writing), and most importantly 3) Don’t let this challenge overwhelm you!

So, in keeping with that spirit, I wanted to share with you, the Watery Tart readers, Mimsey’s Top 5 Keys to Instant Joy!

I realize if you’ve attended college, it’s mandatory that you’ve seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and that everyone’s favorite naked blogger has a smile on her face as she’s reading this. But, if Grail is the only thing you’ve ever seen from this group, you are selling yourself short.
Each member on their own was a comedic genius, but when put together made something absolutely fantastic. If you want a good laugh, check out some of their stuff. And remember:


I know it’s kind of built into us as human beings to sometimes get jealous over the success of others. We can be competitive, we can sometimes only see our own faults, and we feel like everyone’s winning but me.

But, don’t play that game. We are all artists here, and we aren’t in competition with anyone. We are about pouring our hearts out to the world, and trying to tell the story that is burning to get out. Because if you don’t create that art, you will explode! Just remember, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill. And even if no one else thinks you will succeed, there’s someone who does:
Trust me; nothing breaks the monotony of pounding out the misadventures of a sardonic detective like watching animals at play. And when you’re writing about murder in a small Southern town (which I totally am!) you need a little joy.
I have to admit, I’m a dog person. And for some reason, I find dog shaming to be hysterical. Mostly because I’ve been around enough dogs to know they’re just going to do the same thing five minutes later.
I’m entirely convinced that, within five years, my characters will have a rabid fan base making loving videos set to Evanescence songs. Until then, I’m content watching videos crafted with care and tenderness.
And an overt fascination on cuddling.
Ever since I was a little kid, I have always wanted to go to Hollywood with a frog, a bear, a dog, a chicken, and a pig. See, in this scenario, I was always the weirdo.
And you know what? I’ve written three books, I’ve got a great day job as a teacher, and I get to blog about werewolves. Oh yeah, and I’m getting married. Sorry ladies, I’m going to be officially off the market here soon. Though, judging by my inbox, some of you take that as a challenge.
Jay Mims wants to make a fan video for Hart Johnson, set to the theme of “Hart to Hart”. He lives with a passive-aggressive Dalek named Steve, a lizard named Bob, feeds a cat he calls Eartha Kitty and recently rescued a kitten named Meowleficient. He writes books and is far funnier on Facebook then in real life. He is terrible at Twitter. His latest book "The Gray Ghost Inn" is available now. Feel free to email him here.

A wee bit about the book:  Private Investigator Dan Landis just wants to have a nice relaxing vacation with his best friend, Leroy Brown. They've got two rooms booked at the luxurious Gray Ghost Inn in beautiful Warrenton, Virginia. Everything was all set except now Abbey, Dan's new partner, has decided she wants to go too. And wherever Dan and Abbey go, trouble isn't too far behind. Dan, Abbey, and Doc get snowed in with a crazy crowd: Betsey Butler, the Southern Belle hostess; her obnoxious brother Dave "Big Bear" Butler; and Dave's ex-wife, Em. When a body turns up in the library, Dan realizes his simple vacation isn't so simple anymore. And what's worse, he's trapped in the Gray Ghost Inn with a killer. Jay Mims, author of The Five Santas and Cult of Koo Kway returns with his unique brand of storytelling, taking readers on a wild and entertaining ride into the eccentric world of Dan Landis and friends.