Tag Archives: Writing

Where I’m at…

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Where I’m at…

After being in Texas for a while, you begin to pick up some of the jargon. Obviously, I find myself saying ‘y’all’ instead of ‘all of you,’ as if three words were too difficult to say. And instead of saying, ‘where are you?’ for some reason, ‘Where’re you at?’ pops out of my mouth. I do realize that after returning to Canada, I have to let go of my Texas talk. Not that anyone would say anything; folks are much too polite but they might secretly roll their eyes. Canadians are proud of their British roots, which means finishing each word properly and not leaving anything off – like the ‘g’ in words that end with ‘ing.’ It also means speaking slowly and pronouncing each syllable. To Texans, this is a foreign language.

However, I digress. I really do want to tell you where I’m at.

Where I’m at with my writing, that is.

A couple of months ago, I was not pleased with how my writing was going. Basically,  that is because it was going nowhere. It wasn’t that I wanted or had the desire to become a well known author or even make tons of money. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing but I was not. That’s where I was at then.

I decided to change my whole outlook about writing. Writing should be fun. I did not want it to be stressful in any way. When I’m not writing, there is something missing in my life. It’s good for my brain. It forces me to widen my vocabulary. In other words, it’s healthy. Especially as we age.

I was never satisfied with two of my books and I always thought that if someone read one of those books first, they would never want to read another. It feels terrible not liking your own books. However, they were there for anyone to buy. Overnight, I made the decision to republish all my books. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. When you decide to do this without any premeditation, it is like plunging into a pool of cold water!

While family members worked on covers, I edited one book at a time. After publishing my books the first time, I never picked one up to read. I was too afraid they might be as bad as some reviewers wrote. Well, guess what? I read, I edited, I did some rewriting, and in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed every book! Creating covers was a bit of a challenge but I have a very talented daughter, and together with her dad’s finishing touches, I was very pleased with the end result. They were ‘me.’

I now have all my books on Kindle for 99 cents and they will stay that price. These I write for friends and family and for anyone else who would enjoy reading them. Every few weeks, I will pick one book and do a free promotion. I feel happy doing this.

And, that is where I’m at.

Reading it over…for the first time!

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Reading it over…for the first time!

Good morning, everyone.

First of all, let’s talk about the weather. No, seriously… we are having a heatwave in central Canada! I keep advertising my books and telling readers they should stalk up for the fall/winter weather reading. I don’t think anyone is even reading my posts, they are all outside walking around in shorts. Aww, good for them. When the cold does hit us, we will be in shock for the first few weeks and really complaining. Especially here in Canada. That is our national pastime – we may be polite but we are also big time complainers when it comes to the weather. No one is complaining at the moment though.

Were any of you wondering about my subject line? How can you read something over again … for the first time? I discovered that you can. Perhaps some of you have noticed that my Parson’s Cove mystery series is no longer available. There is a reason; I am reading them over again for the first time. In doing so, I have discovered something about myself. I am not the horrible writer that I thought I was. My first book, Slip and Go Die, is actually quite a good read.

I don’t know if other authors are like me but once a book was published, I never went back to read it. I moved on. In the back of my mind, I was afraid I would see too many mistakes and I would see what readers didn’t like about it. By that time, I felt it was too late to do anything about it anyway, so why torture myself. However, once it was unpublished, I could read it with an open mind and make all those changes I was dreading that I would find.

Guess what? There were very few changes that I had to make. I did remove about a hundred commas, semi-colons, and colons, but other than that, I was quite pleased with my writing.

The moral of this story is not to tell writers to republish all their books, it is simply to say, you are probably a better writer than you think you are. Don’t be afraid to go back and reread your old books. It will boost your confidence and give you the incentive to encourage readers to buy your books. Then when you are promoting your work, you will do it like you mean it … and you will mean it!

(On the other hand, you might read it, hate it, and stop writing altogether. That, of course, is a discussion for another day!)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

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Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

Most times it is quite sad saying goodbye. Especially if it is to someone or something we’re going to miss. Some of us like to say, ‘see you later.’ Of course, if we are planning to see them the next day or week, that makes sense. If it is someone we do not expect to see again, it is sad but we have to use the ‘real’ word – goodbye. For example, I was underlining a paragraph in a book on my computer and did not realize that the highlight had spread to every paragraph. While I thought I was deleting the highlights in one paragraph, I was in fact deleting all of them! It was a sad goodbye because it meant starting all over again.

Sadly, now it is time to say ‘so long’ to Mabel Wickles. Mabel is the protagonist in my Parson’s Cove cozy mystery series. I must say that I have enjoyed writing about her adventures. She and Flori Flanders make a great twosome. As the English say, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Flori is married to Jake and has a large family; Mabel is single and has a houseful of cats. Missed by a Hair was the first Parson’s Cove mystery and it was published in 2004. When my contract was up, instead of renewing, Mabel disappeared from the scene. I did not feel my writing did her justice.

After writing two more Mabel books, I decided to look for a publisher again. In 2012, I joined Cozy Cat Press. CCP was brand new to the publishing scene. At that time, there were four authors: Patricia Rockwell(our publisher and author), Diane (one of Patricia’s close friends), Al, and me. I am sure it was a learning process for all of us. This was the first time I had used the internet for publishing and had no idea what I was doing most of the time. Patricia was very patient. During the following four years, I wrote four Parson’s Cove books and came to know and appreciate other CCP authors.

So, you might wonder, why is the Parson’s Cove mystery series disappearing again? Once again, I am looking through my books and realizing I need to make some changes. This time I need to work at it at a slower pace.

Many years ago, I removed another book – it was called Who Needs Enemies?. The main character was Beryl Swallows, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Since then, she has reappeared in Virtual Enemies and now in a new book, Case Closed. not.

My hope is that while I am taking my time with Mabel, I can also work on another Historical Fiction book. As you can see, I have much work ahead of me.

Oh, did I say ‘goodbye to Sharon Rose’ too? That’s right, I will publish all my books from now on using my name Sharon Mierke. The world of books seems quite filled with Sharon Roses so in order for readers not to be confused, I will use my last name – even though most do not know how to pronounce it! For those of you who are curious, it is pronounced Merkee.

Well, I refuse to say ‘goodbye.’ Perhaps, ‘see you later,’ is more appropriate. Best wishes to everyone and happy writing.

BOOKS of the month!

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BOOKS of the month!

Hi Everyone!

Well, autumn is here in full force. There’s a bit of a nip to the air in the morning – unless you live closer to the equator, that is. Where I live, it is COLD in the mornings now. Most of the leaves are starting to turn color except for those that started out slow in the spring. It seems our Ash tree is the last to leaf out in the spring but the last to also lose its leaves in the fall. We do have green all year in our yard because we have cedars and evergreens. I’m sorry to say, we have no palm trees.

Another sign of fall is the crockpot. Out is comes because suddenly you have a yearning for soups and stews. Warm days can bring barbequing but somehow, it isn’t as thrilling as it was during the hot months. Let’s face it, we are tired of hot dogs and hamburgers. Of course, we never tire of steaks but that’s something entirely different. I would barbeque steaks outside if it were thirty below. It’s sad that a couple of pounds of beef now costs about as much as the down payment on a small vehicle.

Oh yes, my subject was BOOKS of the month. Yes, you saw it correctly. ALL the Parson’s Cove Cozy Mysteries are 99 cents for the month of September. After September, you will have to wait a while for them to reappear on Amazon. They are going in for a lube job and overhaul. Meanwhile,  you can become acquainted with Beryl Swallows, my new investigator. She’s not quite as old as Mabel and much better looking. She doesn’t have a friend like Flori but she does have a neighbor named Sam. Book One is called Virtual Enemies and Book Two is Case Closed…not.  It will be available in a few weeks. In it, Beryl delves into her mother’s past. It’s a bit frightening to think that your mother may have committed murder.

Until I talk to you again, as a Canadian, I say, ‘Take care, eh!’

 

 

 

Revisiting Our Interview with Lisa K’s Book Reviews

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We decided we should re-blog a post from a year ago highlighting reviewer,  Lisa A. Kelley from Lisa K’s Book Reviews. Find out what happens in the day of a reviewer.

A big thank you to Cozy Cat Chronicles for                                                                                                                                               inviting me. I consider it an honor to be here.4995372-32995302_20-v1.jpga

 

My name is Lisa A. Kelley and I’m a cozy mystery book reviewer and blogger. My blog is Lisa Ks Book Reviews. I’m a major animal lover and never remember life without at least one dog being in it. I love everything that has to do with cupcakes. I also love to take a day and just go out and take random photos. I’ve been slacking on that however since I started my blog. 

 

Ah yes, my blog. How it got started: About 4 years ago I went through a very long reading dry spell – over a year long. My sister, who is also a big reader, couldn’t stand seeing me not reading. So, she handed me a cozy mystery about a cupcake bakery and told me to give it a try. What did I have to lose? Oh. My. Goodness! I was in love with that book! I went back and read everything the author wrote. Cozy mysteries were now coursing through my blood. 

 

Next came the joy of discovering new authors. The more I read those wonderful books/series, the more I wanted to know about the authors. So I got online and started looking and researching. And thank you Facebook, I started interacting with the authors and learning so much about them.

 

One important thing I learned was how crucial it is to write a review. Authors count on reviews (good ones) to help them keep writing. Those numbers and the pre-order and first week sales mean everything to authors, their publishers, and us readers, if we want to see the books/series we love continue.

 

I started writing reviews for everything I read and posted them on Amazon. The only place I knew of at the time, but now I post to at least six different sites, not counting my blog. But when I wasn’t reading or writing a review, I found myself bored. I’m on disability, so I’m home all the time. I thought there must be more I could do.

 

July 3, 2013, I started my blog. My first review was posted and I actually got a comment on it from a reader! A reader who to this day, still follows my blog and I’m happy to call friend.

 

Then I interviewed my first author. Then I did my first giveaway. Then an author approached me asking to be on my blog! Wow, I was stunned. And now just over two years later, I feel like I’ve been doing this all my life. Like I was born to do it.

 

Now, it’s my mission in life (Dramatic sounding I know), to do whatever I can to help cozy mystery authors get the word out about their books, to help readers like myself to find new and wonderful titles, and to just continue having a grand time with the wonderful readers and authors I have come to know.

 

I’m looking forward to riding more of this wonderful ride, and I hope you will join me on my journey!      

Make sure you visit Lisa’s Blog.                       

Two Cozy Cat Press authors nominated

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Two Cozy Cat Press authors nominated

 

AURORA, Ill.Sept. 3, 2016 — Independent publisher of mystery books, Cozy Cat Press, today announced that two of its authors––Alice K. Boatwright and Vicki Vass––have been announced as finalists in Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem Novel Writing Contest for 2016. Boatwright’s mystery Under an English Heaven and Vass’s Murder by the Spoonful are the books being honored.

According to Cozy Cat Press publisher, Patricia Rockwell, “We are extremely proud of Alice and Vicki.  The Murder and Mayhem contest is one that is quite meaningful to us because it honors cozy mysteries specifically.  The fact that two of our authors have been selected as finalists for this prize, is especially gratifying.”

Alice K. Boatwright’s book, Under an English Heaven, is her first Ellie Kent mystery and her first book with Cozy Cat Press. She is also the author of Collateral Damage, three novellas about the long-term impact of the Vietnam War, which won the 2013 Bronze Award for Literary Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. She formerly lived in the Cotswolds for several years, and now divides her time between the U.S. and Paris.

Vicki Vass has written more than 1,400 articles for The Chicago Tribune as well as Women’s World, The Daily Herald and Home & Away. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, was inspired by her journeys in the jungle of Sudan, Africa, while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief. She has also authored Killer Finds, Pickin’ Murder, and Key to a Murder in her Antique Hunters Mystery series with Cozy Cat, as well as a new series Gem Hunter. She lives outside Chicago, with her writer, musician, husband Brian, their 20-year old son Tony, kittens Pixel and Terra, Australian shepherd Bandit, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

For more information about these and other cozy mystery authors, and about Cozy Cat Press, readers may visit the company’s website:  www.cozycatpress.com. For more information about Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem contest: http://www.chantireviews.com/2016/08/18/the-mms-chanticle….

 

 

Having fun with words!

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Having fun with words!

Good morning, everyone! Well, it is the second Thursday of the month and even though we don’t have a set schedule anymore, I’m still on a schedule. I thought I would share some cute plays with words. See how many you can come up with.

“Lexophile” is a word used to describe those that have a love for words, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”, or “To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” A competition to see who can come up with the best lexophiles is held every year in an undisclosed location.

..No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

..If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

..I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

..I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

..Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

..When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

..When chemists die, they barium.

..I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

..I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

..England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

..Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

..This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore

..I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

..A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

..When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

..The batteries were given out free of charge.

..A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

..A will is a dead giveaway.

..With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

..A boiled egg is hard to beat.

..When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

..Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

..Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

..A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

..The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

..He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

..When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she’d dye.

..Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

..Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Made it by the skin of my teeth!

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Made it by the skin of my teeth!

Since the beginning of August, I have been thinking about posting a blog the second Thursday of the month. That used to be my day on the schedule. We now have no schedule so we can post whenever we like. That really throws a person off. I happen to be a person of habit.

So, this is what I’d like to talk about – habits!

There are good and bad habits as everyone knows. People struggle to overcome bad ones and struggle to start new ones. Habits are a bit like New Year’s resolutions – we try to break old habits too quickly or try to develop too many new ones all at once and get frustrated.

Let’s say we smoke, have poor eating habits, and don’t exercise at all. One morning, we wake up with a horrible cough, believe we might have lung cancer, so decide to stop smoking that very day. Since the other two habits tend to cause health problems too, we decide to not only stop smoking but eat properly and exercise.   Our goal is to exercise an hour a day and go vegetarian. We plan to begin immediately.

How long do you think our grand transformation will last? Maybe until noon if we’re lucky. Why? Because we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. Breaking or changing a habit has to be a slow process. You have to be able to visualize the end result and keep it always in your mind. Perhaps, you will be able to break the smoking habit after three months. If that is your goal, it will seem more achievable. If you want to start exercising, why not start with fifteen minutes a day or a half hour three times a week? And you want to become a vegetarian?  After a week, you might cave in, eat a huge double bacon cheeseburger, and give up. Maybe try eating a meatless meal once or twice a week to start out.

And what about writing habits? Do you have a certain routine you have to go through? I do. I have a certain place where I always write. It’s like my brain doesn’t function anywhere else. Do I start writing immediately? No, I have a habit of checking out certain websites before I can begin. And when my mind is going too fast for my fingers to type, I stop and play Mahjong Tiles! Those are my writing habits. They are actually kind of silly but they seem to work for me and I believe they are quite harmless.

Well, this wasn’t a profound blog but it did get published on the second Thursday of the month. I will now make it a habit to mark it on my calendar.

Happy writing everyone!

August’s books of the Month: #2 in Parson’s Cove Mystery series and Historical Fiction, Sarah’s Valley. Both 99 cents on Kindle!

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Self-Induced Solitary Confinement

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out of charge

By Julie Seedorf

I had my week planned. I was cat sitting my grandkitties, and I would be alone the entire week. My plan was to write, write and write some more and finish my next book.

I arrived at my daughter’s house on Sunday after coming back from my son’s house and his wedding in Iowa. That meant we had traveled for hours. I left my husband at home so he could get ready for a few days fishing up north and then I proceeded north myself to cat sit.

I was ready. After my daughter and her husband left for the airport at 5:30 a.m. I went back to bed intending to get a few more hours sleep. I did wake up again at 8 o’clock and had no energy to pursue anything but laying on the couch, reading and watching television and taking a nap. The only thing I did that day was feed the cats, change the litter box and scrounge in the fridge for food, being too lazy to go to the grocery store. I was tired. I was detailed out.

The next morning I woke up somewhat more energized. I made it to the grocery store and stocked up on food for a few days. When I got back to my grandkitties, I again sat on the couch and read a book. I would write later in the day. Their couch is very comfy and again I took a nap.

By Wednesday I figured out I needed the time to rest. I needed a week away from noise, looking at all the repairs and housework that was needed at my house, and away from the noise of social media and the all the details of my life.

We don’t think of all the details we take care of on a daily basis that exhaust us emotionally and physically. For me that means interacting on social media, writing, cleaning, taking care of my outside plants, washing dishes, cleaning toilets and sending cards to those who have died and have birthdays and are sick. It means cleaning litter boxes and feeding cats and buying groceries. It means remembering all my grandchildren’s birthdays and kid’s birthdays and finding the appropriate presents. It means paying bills, figuring my meager checkbook and keeping track of schedules.

My social media schedule includes everyday interacting with my readers and other authors via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites. It means promoting my books, scheduling interviews, doing interviews, writing guest blog posts, writing my own blog, keeping up with my website and doing promotion for another business and keeping my Amazon author page up to date. It also means reading books by other authors whose books aren’t out yet. We read our friends work to make sure it makes sense before it is published or if it needs a short blurb for the cover. We all share our work so we can make it the very best.

Details rule my life, and because there are so many my old head spins round and round. You might tell me that is my own choosing, and it is. It is now my career and all that comes with it, and I do love my career. It is my dream job. But I realized I was tired and needed to rest instead of write so my brain could churn out creativity again.

My planned writing retreat became a solitary time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. I saw a quote on the day I was to begin my solitary week and it said: “If you want to be strong learn to enjoy being alone.”

As an only child, I didn’t like being alone. I always surrounded myself with friends. As an adult, I didn’t like going anywhere alone and I always made sure I had someone with me. Alone by myself was not a place I liked to be. As I grow older, I find that I like being with myself from time to time. As a young adult, I think my fear of being alone was because alone I might have to contemplate my life — who I was and whether I liked myself. It was easier to be in the noise than to look at myself and the qualities I didn’t like or look at what was happening in my life that I didn’t want to face. And I felt weak alone.

Last summer I spent three weeks cat sitting with my grandcats, and I learned many things about myself. I don’t mind spending time with me or taking a retreat by myself. I can shed off the details and rest and reflect. I can eat when I want to eat, sleep when I want to sleep and write, paint or go out and learn a new craft. I can wallow in reading or television or take a solitary walk and enjoy nature. I become in touch with me again because I get lost in the details of life during the year. I knew it was something I had to do again and was excited when given the chance to do it this year again.

On my “me” fweek this year, I did manage to write but it was late at night. When the urge hit I could pick up my computer and pound away and not disturb anyone. I could sleep in and know no one would be coming to the door and I wouldn’t be disturbed by the phone or others in the house. I could drink a glass of wine in the morning on the porch and have a cup of coffee in the evening and stay up late watching the strawberry moon. I was free to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

Now I am ready to be back in the real world with others and hopefully I will be a better person to be around because I have again become in touch with me.

If you get a chance I would recommend a solitary retreat to everyone. It might change your life.