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Showing posts from December, 2008

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Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" and then went on to finally arrive at "Pubbing from the Darkside".  This little tidbit of information should be able to give you a little hint over what has been happening at the Oliver Homestead since I last posted.

Big News! I am part of a great collaboration with a collection of Writers who decided that if a romance book should be done, it should be done by us! Hence, the beginning of what is now know as Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine.

This is huge! This is ginormous! All of the books are set around the fictional coastal Maine town of Serenity Harbor. We didn't limit genre, only that their characters fall in love in Maine.

For me, this was a return to something that I love... well, yes... it was a return to writing. I've blogged a little bit about some of my struggles with illness that left with being unable to write for a whi…

Resolutions versus Goals

Resolutions on New Year's Eve? I don't do them.
I do, however, set goals for the New Year and I usually set those over the first week of said year. I try to be as specific as possible and I write them all down where I can go back and look at them. Sometimes, on this blog. Sometimes, the goals are written before January, after the crush of Christmas is over. But this year Maine has had a bunch of snow storms in a row and work has been unusually crazy, leaving me and my goals until New Years Day. So, tomorrow I'll be posting goals.

Got any you'd like to share?

GMC: It's not just for our characters

It's the end of the year. You're looking back at what you did or did not accomplish over the last twelve months and you are trying to figure out just how to get what you want. A manuscript published... or in my case... the next manuscript published.

For me, this was the year of rejection slips. Tough when you've sold before, but certainly not a new story. There are plenty of us facing the same fate after one, two or even twelve books.

Our Goal? To be published (again). To see a return on a major investment of heart, soul and time.

Our Motivation? Well, duh! We've worked really hard on our stories. They are our lives transposed onto sheets of paper and computer screens. Of course we want to see them published. And along with that goes the unspoken rewards. Money is good. I'd certainly not turn any down if they wanted to offer it to me for a book or books. Money is not the dirty word that every writer secretly covets, but some refuse to acknowledge. Money can be a …


For some unexplainable reason there is something about Sunday evenings that makes me think of Paris. I've never been, but there are times when I feel an ache to walk the streets and roam through the cathedrals de Paris. It's snowing here in Maine... a lot! And I have a vague image of snow gracing the streets along the canals of Paris that makes me think I must have lived there in another life. So, I googled Paris in the snow and came up with a site that had the most beautiful photos, some panoramic and some time lapsed and all beautiful. They are from Arnaud Frich and I would suggest that you take a few moments to enjoy his photos. I've included the link for you all. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did. And... thank you Arnaud.

Quote of the week...

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.
--Mark Twain

One for the holidays...

I'm not known for my cooking. In fact, usually my family will shy away from anything that I deem an "experiment". But this recipe is one of my mom's and that guarantees two things. 1. It will be inexpensive to make and 2. It will be easy to make. These are both and they make a good a take along for get togethers.

Chocolate Cherry Bars
350 Degree Oven
Cooking time: 25-39 Minutes

Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven.
Mix by hand: 1 pkg Chocolate Cake Mix
1 21oz. Can Cherry Pie Filling
1 tsp. Almond extract
2 eggs, beaten

Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Five minutes before pulling the cake out of the oven combine the following in a saucepan.
1 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Milk
5 tbsp. butter

As soon as you pull out the cake you can set the heat under the saucepan medium heat. Stir with a whisk until it comes to a full boil and then keep stirring for …

Life at my house...

I worked late last night and returned home to find a very grumpy husband. You see, every morning my husband gets up while it's still dark and he does his best not to wake up the household. He gets dressed in the dark and apparently, sometime when the laundry was folded, the DH got a shirt that was actually mine. He was well into his work day when realized he was wearing a tee with a giant frog with a crown and the saying "Romance Writers, turning frogs into Princes on a daily basis"! When I asked him what he did when he found out he told me he just buttoned up his over shirt and refused to take it off... no matter how warm it got!

So, from now on... whenever I see a frog Prince (and in my line of work I see quite a few) then I'm sure I'll be thinking of my husband... and laundry.

The finalists have been chosen

I have been to numerous workshops, all detailing the best way to come up with the most engaging openings for your book. I've seen charts, I've heard lectures and I've judged contests... but up until now I haven't found a better way to judge the worthiness of a first paragraph then to read the entries that Literary Agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown received in his 2nd-Sort-of-Annual-Stupendously-Ultimate-First-Paragraph Challenge. I would challenge you to read them all. I argue that it's worth the effort if only to see what works and what doesn't. I wasn't a finalist, but I did enter and found the effort worthy. Want to know what my entry was? You've got to read through them to find it... and while you're there you can check out the others and see if you can see why he chose the ones he did... I must admit... they are all wonderful and had I picked them up off the shelf and read the first page I would have bought the books.

Challenge yourself. Is…

Begging the question...

With all the news this week from the publishing world, I have to wonder if this will mean an increase in the ebook market? After all, since the cost of printing books is so prohibitive (said by someone who used to work for a non-fiction company), it only stands to reason that they are going to focus their efforts on getting the biggest bang for their bucks. Does this mean they are going to be cutting the advances for the large names in the industry? Maybe they won't increase them, but I don't believe they'll be cutting them. They'll be looking for ways to utilize their back inventory and not taking as many chances on an unknown.

Now, don't stop breathing out there just because you're a new author. This doesn't mean the doors are closed to you, but it would behoove you (egad! Did I really just use that word?) to produce tight books with highly intriguing plots and an eye to the future. Does anyone really know what the next hot thing is going to be? Probably n…


It's been a particularly rough week in the Publishing world. Random House, Simon & Schuster, Thomas Nelson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have all announced that they are reacting to the tough economy. Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Thomas Nelson are laying off. Random House is reorganizing. And even Penguin and Harper Collins have been affected. It's that damned trickle down effect that the economist talk about. Higher production costs, less expendable income and a truly rough economic forecast have everyone worried.

But according to Nathan Branford, an agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. ( , the reports are not all bad. Some of the publishing houses are doing okay and those that are looking to the future and possible new venues are betting on coming out the other end of this recession looking good.

So, where as authors do we stand with this kind of news? Pretty much the same. It's my guess that the publishing houses are…

I'm waiting patiently....

well certainly as patient as I am capable of being. Anyone who has known me for any amount of time will tell you that patience is NOT one of my virtues to live by. So, what has me in an uproar today? Transferring domains. Yup, I've decided to move my domain to another host and of course the process can't be easy. If it were easy people would do it all time... wouldn't they? But they make the process more difficult just because they hope that people will give up and stay where they are. And that involves waiting patiently for all the processes to go through as they should... still waiting!

Goals and the holidays. Do they Mix?

It's that time of the year. The time when I start thinking about goals.

It's guaranteed that whenever I am short of time or resources, that's when I want to write the most. And the holiday season is the greatest example of this. Usually, by the time the presents are opened and the wrappings picked up, I'm ready to sit down with my computer and do some writing. It comes down to the things we have to do... and the things that we want to do. The writer's balance. Especially, if you have a full-time outside job, kids, and in my case, other responsibilities. I don't know of a writer out there who doesn't struggle with the writer's balance. Luckily, I've got a family that understands this delicate balance.

So, since I'm in the initial phase of my goals I'll not list them yet. But don't discount the quiet, I'm still there thinking about them...