Sunday, 11 August 2013

celebration:The action of marking one's pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social activity.

Well today I have a bit of a funny story for you all... Today is August 11, 2013.  For many years growing up we celebrated my Dad's birthday on August 11th.  At least I'm nearly 100% certain that we did.

Now, as sometimes happens in life, actually it seems to be more common than not, when I was about thirteen, my parents split up.  My Dad was not part of my biological creation, but to me he always has been and always will be my Dad.  Unfortunately, break-ups can be just as hard on the kids, and things became a little bumpy between my Dad and I.  We would go through periods of not talking for years at a time.  However, I always realized how much I loved him and wanted him in my life and he always forgave me.

As I got older and started travelling, we no longer lived in the same place so I always made a point of calling him on his birthday, as most people do for loved ones in times of celebration.  One year in particular, I can remember it so vividly... I was living in Canmore, Alberta.  I was standing outside the Sobeys, using a calling card on a pay phone.  Thinking I'm doing good calling my Dad to wish him a Happy Birthday, I certainly wasn't expecting the conversation we ended up having.

'Happy Birthday Dad' I said.

'Well that's nice Jessie,' (he always called me Jessie) 'but it's not my birthday'.

'Yes it is!  It's August 11th,' I said smiling at what I thought was his crazy French humour.

'Well yes it's the 11th, but my birthday is on the 12th.'

'No it's not.'  I know it's silly to be arguing with someone about the actual date of their birthday.  I mean they should know better than you, but I was sure we'd always celebrated it on the same day every year and that day hadn't been the 12th.

'Yes it is.'  By now I'm still laughing because that's always been my nervous reaction, but I'm beginning to think this isn't just a joke.

As you can imagine this exchange went back and forth a bit.

'Well, why did we always celebrate your birthday on the 11th then?'

'I don't know, because my birthday is on the 12th.  Always has been.  Always will be.'

Done with arguing, especially with my Dad on his... birthday?  We agreed to disagree.  Naturally, I called my mother up as soon as I hung up from my Dad and she agreed that as far as she knew, his birthday had always been on the 11th of August.

Every year after that, I was terrified of calling him on the 11th or 12th.  Therefore, I always made a point to call him either a few days before or a few days after, using the foreign countries I lived in, lack of pay phones, and temperamental calling cards as an excuse.

One year, I was filling in some paperwork for him that required his birth certificate and of course, this argument had never left my mind, so I stole a quick glimpse at his birth date.  Well you know what... it actually said August, 12th!  I was completely surprised.  At least the argument was finally over, not that I'd ever brought it up again, and it was safe to call him on his... birthday? once again. :)

Now, today is the 11th, and tomorrow my Dad would have been 76.  Last year I tried to plan a surprise party for him but it didn't really happen.  Nonetheless, we had a pleasant celebration with just him, me, and my two girls, a birthday cake, and some presents.  Sadly, he told me he couldn't remember the last time he'd had a birthday cake.  He was always the type of person doing for others but not easily accepting others doing for him, so I was even more glad that I'd decided to give him a little mini party.

In celebration of my Dad's birthday, I'm offering free copies of my book The Key to Life.  I'd love to offer 76 copies, however I don't know if I'll have that much interest.  So... for now I'll offer 12 free copies (via coupon to smashwords) to the first 12 people who respond to this post saying they'd like one.  (Just make sure you leave an email address I can send the coupon to). 

If there is a larger response, there will be more free copies to be handed out.  The only thing I ask in return is that you leave a review.

I'll end this by saying, Happy Birthday Dad :) (well for tomorrow anyways) and I hope all of you have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The exciting, fantastic, terrifying road of self-publishing

Having finally taken the plunge into self-publishing, I'm slowly beginning to realize the challenges that come along with self-promotion.  For that reason, I hope to help other indie authors get themselves out there and possibly find new readers. 

With that being said, I'd like to introduce you to J.P. Rambling, author of A Different Class-Boyhood.

What made you decide to self publish? 

The question as to what made me decide to self-publish could be 'what made me decide to publish at all'. Quite simply it is due to a handful of blog readers. A Different Class - Boyhood began life as a series of self-analytical blog posts but feedback from a variety of sources indicated it was of some interest to a wide range of people. Encouraged by kind words I embarked on a journey into the unknown. I am still a novice and have no expertise save that which experience has taught me.

How great to know you already have interest from readers before even embarking on the terrifying journey of baring your soul to the world.

Did you seek agent representation before self-publishing?  Or do you have an agent now?
The first thing I was told was that unless you are a known author most publishers wouldn't touch a manuscript unless it came through an agent. I didn't like the idea of having an agent without knowing how good / bad my manuscript was but nevertheless made some fruitless enquiries. Publishers were easier to find so I sent my manuscript off to the first I came across. I was asked for the first three chapters and the last one. This was hardly music to my ears because the early chapters gave just background details that whilst relevant later on gave no indication of the underlying theme. To my surprise the publisher asked for the full manuscript.
It took some time for the rejection to come through. When it did I was actually very pleased. The publisher was very complimentary on the whole and kindly pointed out where the problems were in the story. Taking on board the criticism I understood and set about revising the manuscript. Several months later I was ready. In reality I wasn't and I knew it. Even now I can still think of ways of improving the manuscript but I always will and the risk was it would never get to print. In addition I was getting impatient. I was in the process of writing the second book and didn't want more distractions. Self-publishing seemed the only solution. I had already considered self-publishing but minimal research left me in doubt to the actual mechanics.
For this reason I chose a self-publishing company which involved paying a fee. I took this route for three reasons. Oddly enough the main reason would seem the most trivial, I love books! If I read a book I like to touch it, be part of it almost, not stare at an LCD screen for hours on end. The second reason may seem equally banal - to some - because the company I chose had a package on offer at a 33% reduction. This brought the fee within amount I had allowed for this 'extravagance'. The third reason I perhaps a little naively considered the least important, was the package on offer and the back-up and support that went with it.
I agree about the preference of holding a book in my hands as opposed to staring at a computer screen, however I'm all for Eco-friendly too.  As for self-publishing companies... I remember looking into AuthorHouse, before I had even completed my manuscript.  They called and left me messages daily, to the point where it was kind of harassment and for that reason I'd probably never consider a self-publishing company again.  Not to mention, they can be quite costly and there are always a few scammers amongst the good ones.  But I'm glad not everyone's experience is quite so awful.
It seems like a bit of a daunting task, did you have any difficulties? Or was it easier than one would think?
I wouldn't say it was difficult because the process was structured in easy steps, but as a novice I hadn't previously been aware of the procedure which caused some delay.
Have you done anything to promote your book?
The publishers have sent out press releases and have ties to other interested parties. I have three signings booked which I arranged personally. I have also been contacted by a party who wish to create a short for the TIFF and a friend who is a playwright asking me for a short fifteen minute scripting. To be honest I simply don't have the time.
At least the publishers help a bit with promotion.  For me, this is the least fun part of a writing career.
Would you take on an agent if they offered representation now, or is it something that even interests you?
I would only consider an agent for my second and final(?) book if the first sold reasonably well. My ambitions are limited (which is frustrating the hell out of the publishers) and I am not writing for monetary gain, it is more a case of having something to say. The first book is subtitled 'Boyhood' and is concerned primarily with bullying although other sensitive issues are touched on. The second is subtitled 'Parenthood' and is more a statement on social deprivation.
I think this is a great approach, that way one doesn't set oneself up for disappointment.
What was your first manuscript? How long did it take you to write it?  Did you have it professionally edited?
A Different Class - Boyhood is my first manuscript. It took just a month or two to write but another seven months to revise the manuscript several times. I didn't have it professionally edited because I felt it wouldn't be my story anymore which may seem foolish to some but hey aren't authors supposed to have quirks? Besides which I budgeted a certain amount and am not prepared to spend further on what is basically speculation.
I love it!  A writer knowing and accepting his quirks. :) 
Did you have any critique partners?  If so, how many?
This is possibly my main failing. I would have liked three or four critique partners but was too far down the line by the time I knew of such. It is nice getting comments on the blog about posts but they are coming from people who follow the blog and ergo already like what I write. Their encouragement and support was crucial in prompting me to publish. I am perhaps my own worst critic.
I find critique partners hard to find, but when you do, it's like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
If you could change the way things have gone with your writing career, is there anything you would change?
The first thing would be to get critique partners (3 or 4), I've never had one but can see the benefits. That is for me though. Criticism makes me more determined to do better and get it right. Others do not handle criticism so well and it may discourage. The other thing I would change is the way I set about the first book. I would write it as a book from the onset instead of a series of events.
I definitely agree that criticism can either make or break a writer's vulnerable heart but once we learn how to take it, it can most certainly be that momentous force pushing us onward.
This is my most touchy question and a lot of authors choose not to answer, but how many copies have you sold?
I have no idea whatsoever. The book was published on 30th May and I will get the first quarterly report at the end of August.
The book is available from a variety of sources as an e-book from Kindle, and from Amazon as hard and paperbacks. I would warn anybody who is interested in the book that it doesn't make for bedtime reading. The book isn't recommended for under 15's and contains contextual profanity, domestic violence and abuse. I don't wish to issue spoilers but the subject matter is not all dark and the message is 'things DO get better'. My blog has a page for the book with extracts and 'deleted scenes' at The attachment is the manuscript prior to the final revision and you will need Adobe or another pdf file reader. There are still one or two typos early on in this version.
I haven't had a chance to check this out yet but despite the warning that it's not 'bedtime reading', it has piqued my interest.  Wishing another friendly author the greatest success on their writing journey.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Perseverance: 1.Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. 2.Continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.

Well as of late, I've found myself a bit uninspired.  I've been wanting to write a blog post but having no interesting thoughts to write about, blogging has been pushed to the side.  This in itself has finally given me something to write about... perseverance.

Having recently self-published my first book, I find myself a bit discouraged at times with my lack of sales.  I know there are millions of books and authors out there and to stand out amongst the crowd is a tall feat in itself.  Self-promotion seems exhausting when it feels so pointless.  But... I know that if this is something I really want to do, I must persevere.

Silly me, before I published my book, I had all these great ideas about how many copies I would sell.  I reasoned with myself that because I had so many different groups of friends, they would tell their friends and word would spread like wildfire... not so.  I know most authors don't like to share how many copies they've sold but I'm not embarrassed, I've sold 13.  However, probably half of those have been gifted in exchange for honest reviews, which I haven't received yet.  Now if only I could sell 1988 more, then I might be able to get an agent's attention.  Yes I just laughed aloud at myself, it's okay you can too. :)

When I first self-published, I was so excited by the response and I had such high hopes.  It seemed like quite a few people said they would purchase a copy, now I don't know if they forgot... but it didn't happen.  As for my facebook page, I must say, that was a bit disappointing at first too.  Again, I depended on my friends 'liking' my page and actually found myself a bit insulted by those who didn't.  However, after joining some groups on facebook, with one little request, other authors showed me so much support and seriously spiked my number of likes.  Authors really are supportive of one another!

On top of all of this, the one review I have received was so disheartening, as I mentioned in another post.  All the reviewer did was summarize my book, which bothered me because she basically gave away the story, and responded with the same three stars I'd given her.  With that, I'd rather have no review at all, instead of a false, ego-based one.

So, my whole point of my little rant is that self-publishing is easy, self-promotion seems to be the tough hurdle, but perseverance must be the key.  I keep hoping that the more I persevere, the more I will get the word out about my book and once more people are talking about it, perhaps more sales will be generated.  One can hope at least.  Right?

Anyways, on a side note, in celebration of Canada Day, since I am Canadian, my book will be free on Smashwords from today June 29th, 2013 - July 1st, 2013.  I hope you'll stop by and grab a copy. :)  Here's the link.

And to all you other self-published authors, keep pushing on, I have faith we'll all get there some day. :)

Monday, 17 June 2013

The exciting, fantastic, terrifying road of self-publishing

Having finally taken the plunge into self-publishing, I'm slowly beginning to realize the challenges that come along with self-promotion.  For that reason, I hope to help other indie authors get themselves out there and possibly find new readers. 

With that being said, I'd like to introduce you to Ella Medler, author of Blood is Heavier, a really exciting and captivating read.

Blood Is Heavier

Did you seek agent representation before self publishing?  Or do you have an agent now?
Back in the days when I believed in doing everything by the book I did look for agents. I began querying one agent a week and kept going for twelve weeks. Not all even bothered to answer, but of those who did only one saw the potential in my book being contract-worthy. Unfortunately, they didn’t ‘do’ my genre. I lost patience and began querying publishers directly. It took a year, but in the end I had three contracts to choose from.
I've heard of a lot of writers who began querying publishers when querying agents wasn't going so well, most of them seem to have been successful.

What made you decide to self publish?
I’m an impatient person who needs to see the results of my hard work pretty much right away. Traditional publishing tends to work at a very slow pace. To give you an idea, I was offered a contract for my second book end of 2011, and I wouldn’t have seen a pay check from it until sometime in 2014. The contract option was kept open for me throughout 2012, but I never exercised that option. Instead, I re-wrote the book so it developed into a trilogy, published book one, and I’m about to publish book two.
Wow that is a long wait!  Self-publishing seems to have so many positives. 

It seems like a bit of a daunting task, did you have any difficulties? Or was it easier than one would think?
It is a really straight-forward process, much easier than I expected. If you can read a booklet of instructions, you can self-publish. By far the most problems were caused by IRS requests for foreign authors. Jumping through hoops doesn’t even come near! For an American, it should be easy as making a cup of tea.
I agree the IRS forms were somewhat scary to me, I felt so lost I haven't even bothered with them yet.  I'm sure minus these pesky forms the self-publishing process must feel a lot less stressful.

Have you done anything to promote your book?
Nope. I only had a facebook account at the time my first book was scheduled for publishing. I set up a twitter account and I think I had about 20 followers by the time the book became available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. I bought a domain name and a software package and learned how to make a website from scratch. It went live about a month after the book’s release. Later on, I expanded into wordpress, LinkedIn, and a few others, but promo-wise, I still do nothing. Occasionally I post excerpts from my books on my blog. That’s it. Does that count? Some of my fans offered to do interviews, but I could probably count them on the fingers of one hand. Thank you for having me around on your blog, by the way. I appreciate it.
Always happy to help. :)

Would you take on an agent if they offered representation now, or is it something that even interests you?
I am not interested in an agent by their old job description. However, there is space in the market for an agent of sorts, someone who has the author’s interests at heart, and if someone like that came around, and was able to prove their worth to me, show me exactly how they could improve my writing business, so to speak, I would like to talk to them. Just a word of warning: I can smell a fraud a mile away!
It's nice to see that so many authors are completely comfortable with taking charge of their own career and recognizing they have a right to choose a perfect agent if they want.  I like to think that authors are winning the control a bit.

What was your first manuscript?
The first is an un-named teen spy story and it’s gathering virtual dust in a folder on my laptop. If you’re referring to the first published one, it’s Martin Little, Resurrected. It’s a light-hearted fantasy satire which mocks our current way of life. One of my readers described it as complete escapism. I’m ten thousand words into its sequel, Martin Little Takes Epic Action.

How long did it take you to write it?
Oh, I played around with the first three chapters, writing and re-writing to makes sure agents – see the conditioning? – liked the beginning. All the way through the summer holidays, I’d take the children to the beach and keep writing whilst watching over them. Then the new school year started and I completed the rest of it in about a month. I had to! I had sent the first chapters to agents and the book wasn’t finished yet! What if they had asked for the whole manuscript? That was a hell of an incentive!

Did you have it professionally edited? 
Yes, I did.

Did you have any critique partners?  If so, how many?
I gave the manuscript to all and sundry – people I knew and people I’d met only once. Never kept track of them all. Not all the copies I gave away returned to me. I take that as a good sign. I took all the comments seriously and, indeed, I found them all helpful. I’m sure the book is so much better because of all these people’s input.

If you could change the way things have gone with your writing career, is there anything you would change?
Maybe... I remember feeling so high for having written a book, so happy I’d signed a contract... And then I submerged myself deep inside the writers’ community and realised one book is nothing. Promotion takes time and skill. Or a lot of money. Time to write books two, three and so on is limited as soon as you begin to promote book one. If I could turn back time, I’d write ten books, and hit the market with all at once.
That's an interesting thought... makes sense though.  I've seen this so much, the more you have out there, the more likely you are to get noticed.

This is my most touchy question and a lot of authors choose not to answer, but how many copies have you sold?
Enough to pay some bills with the money raised, but not enough to retire. And even when I do retire, I’ll still be writing! My definition of success doesn’t involve figures.
I think it's very important that the definition of success doesn't involve figures.  I personally, and I think most writers would agree, just want to move someone with my writing, I want people to fall in love with my characters and got lost in my world.

If you want to find more information on Ella Medler and her books, you can check out her blog or Facebook page.  The sequel to Blood is Heavier is coming out soon.  I'd be interested in reading it and seeing where the story goes and I hope you'll take a look too.  All the best to a great author on her exciting writing journey.

On a side note, IndieAuthorland is helping me do some promoting by featuring me in an interview on their blog tomorrow June 18, 2013.  Here's the link: I hope you'll check it out. :)

Monday, 3 June 2013

Ineffable: 1. too great or intense to be expressed in words; unutterable 2. too sacred to be uttered 3. indescribable; indefinable

Having finally published my first book, beyond the excitement is the exhausting exercise of self-promotion.  Knowing that a lot of readers rely on reviews when making their purchases of choice, I have been bothering a multitude of reviewers.  Not having much luck, I was excited to be offered the chance at a review exchange.

I went in with a completely open mind, a bit of excitement and a purely positive outlook on the whole thing.  By the end of it however, my experience is something that I would consider completely ineffable.

Reading through the book of my 'review partner', I was a bit disappointed.  There most certainly were some good parts to it but there was also a lot I didn't like.  And the amount of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes was somewhat appalling.  As I read through, I became more and more concerned with the review I would have to give.  The last thing I wanted was to hurt another author.  So... I focused on the positive as much as I could, assigned the book a three star rating, and gave my explanation.  Knowing how sensitive authors are about their work, I mean come on now, it's like another child to us, I was a little worried about the other reviewer giving me a low rating simply to get me back.  Therefore, I waited until she had posted my review first.

I was astounded, disgusted, and disheartened to discover what came next.  This lady sent me an email telling me that it is customary to simply give each other five stars and focus only on the positive.  Well what's the point of that?  What's the point of even reading the book then?  Man was I bothered.  If that's the case, then all those reviews that readers look to are worthless.  And on top of all that, why would any author want to just be handed an undeserved five star rating?  I certainly don't.  It would just feel so empty.  I want to earn those five stars.

Anyways, once this woman realized what I'd done, you know told the truth and all, she said she would 'adjust her review to a more honest one'.  Oddly enough, a few minutes later I found myself with a three star review instead of the original five.  I just had to laugh.  Honestly, I really did laugh out loud.  Okay it was more of an irritated snicker of disbelief over the lack of maturity from what I expected would be a mature lady.

The worst part was, the write up in her review was nothing but praise and simply didn't match the three star rating she gave me.  Which led me to the obvious... she'd simply reciprocated out of hurt.  The ol' tit for tat.  The thing I had been fearful of from the very beginning had come to fruition.  I guess there had been no point in me waiting to post my review then.

I am curious to hear what your thoughts on this matter are though.  The whole thing just left me with such a sick feeling.  It's just so dishonest.  Would you gladly exchange five stars for a sub-par book to receive five stars yourself?

On a side note, at least being let in on this little secret of 'protocol' made things a lot clearer.  Having read the book, I was quite shocked to find that it had received mostly four or five stars.  But now, after being alerted to the falsity of it all, I see it's all empty anyways.  I am open to the idea that this was strictly my opinion and perhaps others truly did see this writing as exceptional, but with such a thing as false reviews, how will I ever know?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Liebster Award :)

Well since I've received four nominations for a Liebster award in the last little bit, I figured I'd finally follow through with this.  First off I'd like to link back to those who nominated me: MV from A New Year...A New blog, Dawn Marie, Sharon Bradshaw and Brandy from Brandy's Bustlings.  Thanks :)

The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  What is a Liebster?  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!

Here are the 5 questions from Brandy:
1. If you have published a book (most of these nominees have, some more than one), describe in three words how it felt that first time? If you have not published a book, how do you think it would feel?
Exciting, terrifying, fantastic.

2. Have you taken part in Blog Blitz before or is this your first time?
I've been a part of the Blog Blitz from the beginning.  I love the idea and am so grateful for DL Hammon's beautiful idea.

 3. Have you ever run a contest/blog hop from your blog?
I tried to run a blog hop for other authors to promote their book.  I had six sign up, but only one participated in the first week so I had to cancel.

 4. What is your favorite genre to read?
I love classics!  Always have.  Always will.

 5. Where is your favorite place to write?
Well I don't know that it's my favourite... but it's my only.  I always write while sitting on my couch.

Here are the 11 random facts about myself:
1. I can't stand tomatoes yet I love spaghetti sauce and tomato soup.
2. I'm so terrified of cockroaches that when I lived in Singapore I couldn't use our garbage shoot and took a small bag of garbage downstairs to the public garbage can every day.
3. My favourite animal is a hippo.
4. I'm not a very good swimmer and almost drowned once. Well... maybe more than once.
5. Despite #4 I LOVE the water!
6. When I was younger I wanted to be a marine mammal trainer.
7. I believe in LOA
8. I love flowers and get super excited every spring when they start to come out.
9. Everywhere I've lived I've always had a place to escape to when I needed to clear my mind, this place has always been somewhere near water.  Ironically however, I have no such place like that at the moment.
10. I lived in the Rocky Mountains in one of my favourite towns; Canmore, Alberta.
11. I have a bad habit of eating something sweet after every meal, except breakfast.

Here are my 11 questions for those I'm tagging:
1. What is your favourite day of the week?
2. What is your favourite TV show?
3. Out of all your family members, who are you closest to?
4. What is one thing you are grateful for today?
5. Who is the one person you've lost contact with over the years and wish you could get in touch with.
6. Do you believe in marriage?
7. Salty or Sweet?
8. What is one of the most beautiful/amazing things you've ever been a witness to.
9. What is one thing you've done to help make a stranger's day better? 
10. If you had one wish for the world, what would it be?
11. What made you start blogging?

Feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments, I asked them because I'm truly interested in learning the answers. :)

And here are the 11 bloggers I'm tagging, I don't know if it's cheating but I'm choosing from my list of friends, all people I've met through the A-Z challenge:
1. Amanda Dollak: Parenting from Aaah! to Zzz
2. Amanda Trought- Mixed Media Artist
3.CJ: Ramblings of a Homeschooled Escapee 
4. Rebecka Vigus: Ramblings by Rebecka
5. Masked Mom
6. Rowena
7. Barbara in Caneyhead: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
8. Jen Forbes: We're living a full life
9. Michelle: Ardour of a Dreamer
10. Lorena: My life with phtographs
11. Dennis & Roberta

Friday, 10 May 2013

The exciting, fantastic, terrifying road of self-publishing

Having finally taken the plunge into self-publishing, I'm slowly beginning to realize the challenges that come along with self-promotion.  For that reason, I hope to help other indie authors get themselves out there and possibly find new readers. 

With that being said, I'd like to introduce you to Sarah Cradit, a wonderful, beautiful soul who goes out of her way to help other authors by hosting them on her blog.  Her first book St. Charles at Dusk (The House of Crimson and Clover) has had some great reviews and her next book in the series, The Storm and the Darkness will be coming out in July.

Did you seek agent representation before self publishing?
No...I was planning to, but after researching it I decided self-publishing was a better route for me the first time around.

What made you decide to self publish?
Several years ago, self-publishing was not a very healthy option for most writers. It was expensive, clunky, and the market wasn't really ready for indie authors. All that has changed. Many writers go this route now, so the culture has shifted and so has the market. Print-on-demand makes it a realistic option. The other big reason I made this decision was learning that most traditional publishing houses would require the author to be responsible for all their own marketing anyway. To me, that was the biggest benefit with going the traditional route and, without that, it made self-publishing a lot more attractive.
I didn't know that traditional publishing houses made the author do their own promotion, for this reason alone self-publishing makes much more sense!

It seems like a bit of a daunting task, Did you have any difficulties? Or was it easier than one would think?
Daunting is the right word...but its a good kind of daunting, because at the end the reward is that much sweeter. Editing was obviously a challenge (it took many, many revisions before it felt clean). Formatting was even was a lot of trial and error with margins, font, styles, etc before I finally found one that I went with. The good news is that once you've done it, you know what you're up against and future books are less work.
I agree.  After going through this process with smashwords I feel much more confident in my ability to do this a second time around.
Have you done anything to promote your book?
Not until very recently. When I published it in 2011, my marketing primarily consisted of creating a FB page and sharing it with friends and family. I wanted to do more but it was overwhelming and my job was taking up all my time. It wasn't until the past four months or so that I found the time to start doing more activities- creating a blog, networking with other authors, offering my book in giveaways, etc. I think ramping up your network and fanbase is a slow process, but I've met some awesome folks in the process and I feel a lot more in control of my author image and marketing plan.
I feel relieved to hear that it's a slow process. :)  But I agree it is quite overwhelming.
Would you take on an agent if they offered representation now?
Maybe. It would depend on what my research produced and how much benefit I thought that specific agent could offer. If it wasn't much more than I can do myself, I'd pass. I'm already doing all this work, might as well get the agent's cut of the royalties!
Well said.  After doing all the work oneself, one would feel cheated I would think to have someone earn a cut off all their hard earned money.
Was this your first manuscript?
Sort of. It was my first formal one. I wrote a novel when I was in junior high as well, but never edited it or took it very seriously. As well, I wrote a 10-book YA series with a friend of mine back in 1999. We originally released it online, but its since been removed and we're considering taking the scissors to it and throwing it out as a real series.
Wow!  10 book series!  In junior high!
How long did it take you to write it?
That's sort of a trick question for me :) I think if I were to take the amount of time I spent on it and remove all the breaks and lapses in writing, I would say about a year. But in reality, it was 10 years. I started it as a fun project in 2001, and then would come back to it about once a year and play with it and then shelve it again. It wasn't until about 2009 that I decided it was good enough to do something with, and I started sharing it with close friends and family. I started researching agents and publishers around that time and then determined to go with the self-publishing route. I buckled down on edits in early 2011, and it was out by September.
Did you have it professionally edited?
I did not. I debated this one heavily. I am well-aware of the importance and benefits of doing it- from story issues all the way to technical errors. But paying a thousand dollars for an editor was a deal-breaker for me. It was the difference between being able to do it and not do it. So I did about a hundred rounds of edits and had some friends beta the heck out of it.
This is one of the hardest decisions to make for sure.  The expense of an editor can be a slight deterrent.
How many different critique partners did you have?
I have one formal partner (where we mutually assist each other), but I have a bunch of beta readers. I also use the critique program on
I haven't heard of that program before, I love learning new things.  Thanks for sharing. :)
If you could change the way things have gone with your writing career, is there anything you would change?
I would have networked with other authors sooner. I've learned a lot from other writers and it would have not only saved me a lot of headache, but it would have helped me get my marketing off the ground at an earlier point. It also helps with writer's solitude...its inspiring to know you're not alone!
I agree, the support of other authors is an amazing feeling, they know exactly what you're going through.  Not to mention their eagerness to help each other out is beautiful!
Do you have any other books out?  Can you give us a taste of your book that's coming soon?
The second book in my House of Crimson and Clover Series (title: The Storm and the Darkness) is going to be released in July. I have three other books in the series written awaiting edits, and more to come after that. You can learn more about the series (as well as some fun "extras") here.

Here's a teaser for The Storm and the Darkness:
Ana Deschanel has always been introspective, finding it difficult to share herself with others. She is an only child, and the person closest to her, her cousin Nicolas, is the only person who understands her decision to leave New Orleans for a while in attempt to understand- and hopefully put behind- the darkness that has been slowly creeping over her thoughts for years. Beyond that, there is a darker reason for her she has kept even from Nicolas, because she knows he would never forgive her.
She finds herself spending the winter in an old Victorian home belonging to her family on Summer Isle, a quaint island community off the coast of Maine. The village is small and tight-knit, and it becomes clear to her early on that she is an outsider, but she is determined to make it work.
Her neighbors, the St. Andrews brothers, have mixed feelings about her arrival. The younger, spirited Finn, a fisherman, greets her with warmth and curiosity, and observing her reading on her porch becomes a welcome part of his daily routine. The older, reclusive Jonathan is less enthusiastic and is even rude to her when she seeks out his veterinary services in a moment of desperation.
A month into her stay the first big storm of the season hits. Following a surprising but charming dinner with Finn, Ana finds herself naively braving the storm in order to return some keys to Finn. Along the way she stumbles and falls, and purely by luck the brothers find her and begin nursing her back to health. They save her life, but she remains unconscious, and with a growing storm and lack of resources, the brothers know things will get worse before they get better.
As the brothers watch over her, and the storm only worsens, communication is cut off from the island to the outside world. Things only get worse when their food storage is discovered to be spoiled and they slowly begin to realize that there are other sinister forces at work, involving someone they’ve known their whole lives who is harboring a dark secret. At the same time, Nicolas begins to worry when he hasn’t heard from Ana, and he enlists the help of his friend Oz to investigate the situation. All of these situations begin to escalate as the storm grows, and finally come together in a dramatic conclusion.

Which method did you use to self publish and which avenue do you find sells the most copies.
CreateSpace and KDP. I will definitely be using it for all future self-published books. I've sold most of my books through Amazon, as that seems to be where people trust the reviews the most.
This is really great info!  Thanks for sharing. :)

If you want to find more information on Sarah Cradit and her books, you can check out her Facebook.  I hope you'll take a look at her book and have a read.  Wishing a wonderful soul all the success in her writing career.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Promote Your Book Bloghop is Cancelled

Only six people signed up and I'm not sure if everyone forgot or changed their minds but there hasn't been enough participation to continue on.

A special thanks to Joyce Lansky who took part in the Meet & Greet. 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Yay! I did it!

Not only did I make it through the a-z challenge... I just took the plunge and self-published my first book.

There it is... my cover!  Can you tell I'm excited?

Well I would love it if you would have a read.  You can find it here.
I can't wait to hear what you think.  It's been pretty nerve-wracking, thinking about sharing my work, so hopefully you enjoy it.

Yay for self-publishing! :)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Promote Your Book Bloghop: Meet & Greet

Alrighty, here we go.  It's time for the meet and greet of the promote your book blog hop. 

What is your favourite animal?
A hippo

Where have you travelled to (outside of your country), and what's been your favourite destination?
Singapore, Russia, France, Brunei, Thailand.  Thailand was the most amazing.  The water was warm and beautiful.  The beaches were gorgeous.  I got to ride an elephant.  I'd love to visit again someday.

How many siblings do you have?
1 sister but we haven't spoken in years.

Are you a lefty or a righty?

Since picking a favourite book is nearly impossible, who is your favourite author or which one has had the most influence on you in your writing career?
Also not an easy question, but Jane Austen and John Steinbeck are two of my greatest influences.  Victor Hugo is another huge favourite.  And of course who could forget JK Rowling.

That was fun. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other, let’s get to the writerly part of the meet and greet.   Here's my author bio. 

Jessica Peterson has the job of her dreams working as a stay-at-home mom.  When she’s not chasing around her full-of-life toddlers, she’s attempting to squeeze time out of the day for her writing.  A big fan of fresh fruits and veggies, chocolate, and travelling, especially to beautiful beach destinations, she can always find something to enjoy.  With a past filled with passion and heartbreak brought on from the tough lessons of love and love lost, she now pours herself into writing love stories.
Can't wait to read everyone else's.  Here are the other participants:
Just a quick note to those who did sign up... If you have decided not to participate please let me know because if it turns out I'm in this on my own, it will be cancelled.  Otherwise, looking forward to reading what you all have to say.
Happy writing. :)



Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Z: Zazzy Zippers

Oh my goodness!!  We've finally reached z.  It's been fun, it's been exhausting, I'm glad I did it.  Thanks again to all those who have joined my blog, and to everyone who left their wonderful comments.  Happy blogging to you all. :)

One time-saving tip I'd like to share with any new parents or parents to be out there... pick zippers over buttons (at least for the first few months).

I can still remember one of the first times I attempted to put one of those darn button-up sleepers on my little sweetheart... I had NO idea what I was doing.  I buttoned up buttons but there were holes and gaps and it came out like a mishmash of material more than cozy pajamas.  Add a squirmy baby to that and frustration meddles with time-consuming.

I actually had to rummage through my stack of baby clothes to study how the buttons fit together.  It might have looked easy in theory but putting it together in practice was no simple task.  From then on zippers were my best friend and buttons were my undefeated enemy.

Fortunately, practice makes perfect and patience is key.  Thankfully my darling daughter had enough patience to keep her movements to a minimum while this mommy fought tirelessly to figure out those darn buttons.

But now, my oldest sweetie is almost two, and the zipper and the buttons are on equal ground, at least for me.  The war of the buttons is not over though, it has claimed a new victim... my daughter.  She too has gracefully mastered the art of zippering.  It's just the complicated function of the button she has yet to figure out.  But I have faith in her.  If this mama can do it, I know she can!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Y: Yawning Yet Youthful

Do not be deceived by the sweet sleepy yawns of your tireless little monster.  Somehow, no matter how little sleep children seem to get, they are endlessly abundant with energy.  With so much excitement in the world, so much to learn about and discover, kids have a hard time befriending nap time, too afraid they might miss something should they succumb to the sweet land of sleep.

I certainly envy their youthful exuberance, and not only am I exhausted from chasing after their non-stop ways, I'm tired just thinking about it.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X: X-rated

Pre-babies, the x-rated moments are vast and abundant, exciting and fun.  Post-babies, the x-rated moments are non-existent.  At least we can blame the first six weeks or so on the doctor's orders, but when the 'waiting' period is gone, between battling with dirty diapers, sleepless nights, sore breasts, and post-baby bodies, we're left wondering if the romance was taken out in one of the dirty diaper bags.

Not only that, when we manage to find time for those x-rated moments again, they become expected and routine.  Where is all the excitement?  Obviously it's harder to find and make alone time, and the alone time that is allotted to the day always falls into the same slots, nap time and bed time.  So how do we keep the romance alive?  How do we keep the x-rated moments fun and unpredictable?  How do we maintain the intimacy? 

I have yet to figure that out, so if you have any tips, feel free to let me know.

Friday, 26 April 2013

W: Wearisome Whining

One of the most frustrating phases of childhood, after making it past the 'no' phase (one I was lucky enough to bypass), is the whining.  The high-pitched 'my toe hurts' 'I want my bunny' 'I'm sleepy' 'I'm hungry' whining.  If there is one thing that makes me wish for peace and quiet above all else, it's this wearisome habit of children.

I'm not even sure I know how they learn it.  Am I a whiner?  Do my kids pick it up from me?  Since most of their learned behaviours come from their parents, I'm not left with much else for an explanation.  And I realize there are tactics for dealing with this horrible habit, but having tested them myself, I have yet to find one that is efficient.

So where does that leave me?  Waiting until the whining phase passes?  Pulling my hair out in frustration?  Attempting to ignore it altogether?  Sometimes I wish there was a parenting handbook that held all the answers, but then again, it would take away all the fun of figuring things out yourself.

For now, I guess I'll just have to wiggle my way through the whining and continue to focus on all the other, loveable, endearing aspects of my darling daughter, at least until my youngest daughter is old enough to drag me back through this wonderful phase.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

V: Varying Values

Learning to care for your newborn can be exhausting and stressful, yet altogether amazing, but when your darling one grows older and you look back on those days, it almost seems as though you've already passed the easy part of parenting.  From toddler to teen, there are always new challenges, new stages, and new obstacles to overcome, but one thing that can make this more difficult for parents are varying values.

I'm sure all parents have had arguments over who was right about how to handle certain situations, but how do we decide who really is right?  I think it's important to discuss what to do before your little sweetie even enters the world.  Although, doing so is no guarantee that such disagreements won't pop up, but at least you'll be a little more prepared when they do. 

In times of dispute, one parent crossing over to the side of the other parent would of course be ideal.  Not necessarily plausible, but ideal.  But as long as you can find a middle of the road solution, you're on the right track.  At the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not it's worth fighting over.  If it's something your adamant about, like not hitting your kids, then the fight is worth it.  But if it's something simple like what to do about a picky eater, maybe it's not worth the hassle. 

Good values are important when it comes to raising good kids, but shared values are equally as important.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U: Upcoming Ultrasound

One of the most anticipated moments once you've discovered you're growing the most wondrous gifts of life inside of you, is the upcoming ultrasound. 

Being able to hear the thumpity-thump-thump, of your little bean growing inside of you is exciting beyond words.  I can still remember the first moment I heard that beautiful sound, with both of my kids.

Reading about the changes in growth and development your baby is making each week is thrilling, knowing that little person is getting bigger and bigger and one day you will be able to hold them.

But... preparing to see your baby for the first time (albeit in utero), when you've finally made a date for an upcoming ultrasound... that is absolutely exhilarating.  Being forced to drink tons of water and NOT go to the bathroom is close to torturous for a pregnant woman who's bladder has the constant pressure of her most beautiful creation.  And to be honest, I'm not so convinced that it's necessary.  However, it doesn't matter because knowing that we'll be able to catch a glimpse of the amazing life, the tiny fingers, the little beating heart, it makes it all worth it.

It's one thing to take a pregnancy test and discover you are pregnant.  Then, being told by the doctor, you have a little more confirmation.  And of course, the fact that your body is changing, your hormones are raging, and you're certain that you can feel tiny movements in your belly, makes it that much more believable.  But seeing is believing and being able to look at your little sweetheart, makes it all the more real.

I can still remember the excitement pounding in my heart as I was lubed up with the sticky goo on my belly.  Remaining still when I was so anxious to catch a glimpse of my little darling, never mind having to pee like a racehorse, was no easy task.  Zipping through the small chat with the ultrasound technician, urging them to hurry up and put that poker on my belly and show me the goods, I'm sure I was gripping the thin hospital sheets beneath me in nervous anticipation.  Finally, the probe plopped into the warm jelly and almost instantly the image of my darling daughter appeared on the screen.  I may not have known what I was looking at right away but tears instantly formed in my eyes.  The harder I looked at that little black and white photo, the easier it was to make out her little head and hands, arms and legs, all the wonderful parts that make up my baby.  Considering I hadn't had my daughter yet, this was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T: Tenacious Tots

The admirable qualities that kids display are endless.  One of their many wonderful attributes is their tenacious character.  I love watching them focus their attention on one specific task.  They try and they try and they try until they get it just right, until they work out a solution.  Sometimes frustration arises and sometimes they look as though they're ready to give up, but they still keep at it.

Something as simple (to us) as finding the square hole for the square shape, their little foreheads crinkle and display that one lonely wrinkle, their lips puff out into a pout, they clench their little fists and vent their frustration with a forceful 'grrr'.  But then finally... something happens... they turn the shape sorter at just the right angle and 'plop' the square falls into the hole.

The look of triumph edges it's way onto their darling faces, beaming from their bright eyes, bouncing off their rosy cheeks, they look up at you and say "Mommy I did it" and you can't help but share in their joy.  And you know, the reason they succeeded is because without even realizing it, they were smart enough to try different things, they were smart enough to know that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results.

Kids are smarter than one would think, their knowledge comes from the pure innocence of being.

Monday, 22 April 2013

S: Superwhy, Sesame Street, and other Shows

The cartoons that are on for kids today are much different than the cartoons that were around when I was young (although I'd like to think that wasn't all that long ago).  Flipping through the channels, catching a glimpse of some of the 'kids' shows that are on TV, I can catch myself glaring at the screen in horror.

I'm absolutely appalled by what some people create and then market to children, fighting and whining and blowing things up and plenty more that I can't even be bothered to take the time to pay any attention to.  And then we wonder why some kids grow up the way they do!  Well with televisions playing the role of the babysitter much more than they should be, there's no need to wonder.

There are however, some exceptions, some gems that I have discovered that are not only clean and wholesome, but they actually teach kids and help them learn. 

Sesame Street and Superwhy are two shows that I make exceptions for and am completely okay with my kids watching.  Sesame Street has been around forever, and I can see why.  It teaches letters and numbers, shapes and vocabulary.  There are great lessons that coincide with what kids have to face in life, like sharing, and being nice to others and what to do when you're angry.  And the furry little monster friends are absolutely adorable. 

Superwhy is another one of the great discoveries I have made.  I can sing the alphabet all day long until I am blue in the face (and some days I do) and I read to my girls every day as much as they want, but it wasn't really until my oldest daughter started to watch Superwhy that she really started to learn her letters.  She points out all the letters in all the words she sees and then asks "What does that spell?"  It makes me so excited and I feel so proud of her and I am happy that the lovable characters, the characters she calls 'her friends' have taught her this. 

I haven't taken a chance on too many other shows because I don't like my girls to watch too much TV in the run of a day, but there are some others that I've caught a peek of from time to time and I find them quite educational.  Dora the Explorer is a good choice, it was one I enjoyed when I was just a bit younger, it helps kids learn two languages which is exciting and wonderful.  Zoboomafoo is one that I don't even know whether it's still on or not, but it's a great chance for kids to see real animals and learn all about them, it was another favourite of mine when I was a young'un.  The Cat in the Hat is not bad either, kids can learn about animals and how things are made, I've even learnt a thing or two.  Curious George is alright, this gives kids another opportunity to learn about things, I myself discovered how maple syrup is made.  Word World is another great show for spelling.  And Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood is alright. 

I guess my whole point is, like anything in life, make whatever you do or whatever you take time on, something of quality, something worthwhile.  I truly believe it's in our best interests as parents to pay attention to what our kids are watching, and if it's not purposeful, why bother with it?