Big News~Rona is relocating!

HG Books Logo 2013

Starting just the other day, the Rona Shively Stories is being re-released through Books from Higher Ground!  Rona’s publisher, Stonegarden.net will be closing its doors in September of this year and so, in order to ensure that Rona’s stories stay available, I have decided to re-release the books under my new publishing company, Books from Higher Ground!  This independent publishing company is not yet accepting book submissions from other authors, but plans to in the near future.  Until then, Books from Higher Ground is accepting submissions for its very first anthology until June 10th!  The anthology will feature stories about women who have either helped or hindered our progress.  We’re asking for your best 500 word story about a woman who has had a significant impact on your life; whether that be a good impact or a bad one.  Those selected will receive a free copy of the anthology.  All proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit Higher Ground Ministries.

It has long been my intention that the Rona Shively Stories would support the efforts of this women’s empowerment ministry.  Rona is a strong woman who has been through many challenges.  She’s the perfect woman to support Higher Ground and her stories are a great testimony about women overcoming obstacles.  If you haven’t already bought your copies, you can buy them at Amazon.com!  Both In the Wash and Under Lock and Key are now available for just $8.95 plus shipping.

In the Wash 2013Under Lock and Key 2013

If you have a story you would like to submit for the anthology, please send it to lonestoryteller@yahoo.com with the word, “Anthology” in the subject line.  We look forward to hearing your stories!

Waiting…

makes me nervous. Right now, I’m waiting to hear back from a publisher about the third book in the Rona Shively series. Right now, I’m kind of nervous. For reasons I won’t go into here, I’m trying to switch publishers. I just think it’s time. Doing this means moving away from what I’m familiar with and jumping out into “Reject Me” territory. Though I know it is a fact of life, I’m not all that hot on rejection. Who is?

My third book is the first full-length novel I’ve ever written and I think I’ve done some really great things with the Rona Shively character this time around. The story has some good, some bad, and some ugly…but no Clint Eastwood unless you count Rona’s new love interest, Garrett Shaw. Rona is nearing forty and so, in the next book, you’ll see that she’s starting to mature a little. It’s about time she did. She’s held some grudges in her day and now, she’s starting to rethink her position on some of these. Still, she maintains that she’s fully justified in hanging onto the others.

One way or another, Keeping the Faith will be published. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the publisher I’ve approached will pick it up, but if they don’t, I’ll figure something out. For now, the series is in a state of literary limbo awaiting the call to be printed but keep the faith, everyone. Rona Shively will return.

Until next time…

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The light in the middle of the tunnel…

Just the other day, I finished writing the third Rona Shively book, Keeping the Faith. It will be my first full-length novel and I am very excited about this. The process was just as other authors have described; very emotionally charged and much like giving birth. Unfortunately, at 2 a.m., I had no one available with whom I could share my overwhelming enthusiasm. My husband and daughter had long been asleep and I didn’t dare wake them. It was a little anti-climactic in a sense, but the important thing is; it’s finished!

As I set about the task of editing this monster, I will also be working on a couple of new projects. By the end of this year, I hope to have finished a story that I have been working on in a hit-or-miss fashion over the last ten to fifteen years. It is a combination Sci-Fi/Historical Fiction piece that I am eager to get back into writing. I think you’ll enjoy it! I’m also going to begin writing the next installment in the Rona Shively series, but I’m going to keep details about that one under wraps for now.

In addition, there are a number of contests and other projects I am going to be working on throughout the end of the year. My big goal, however, is to get this Rona Shively story into a new publisher’s hands. I’m absolutely thrilled at the prospects here, but I know that the bulk of my work still lies ahead. So, armed with about twenty of my library’s finest style manuals, publishing guides and writing books, I’m setting about the task of getting my newest book into your hands.

Keep watching for more status reports…you know how I love to update everyone…

Until next time…

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More of the same…

I hate to beat a dead horse, but the damned thing keeps neighing. I say this in reference to some submission guidelines I recently read on a publisher’s website. I was just innocently looking for information about some of the different publishers out there and I ran into what I consider to be a very prejudicial statement, spelled out in black and white for all the world to see. I know that I shouldn’t let it anger me so, but it is very disheartening to see this over and over. To explain:

Do not send us books printed by PublishAmerica, iUniverse, Xlibris, or anybody else as a sample of your work. It will, in 99.9% of the cases, work against you. Obviously, that also means don’t include those books in your query letter or list of credits, either.

I won’t mention which publisher’s website this was on and I don’t want to sound whiny, but for Pete’s sake people. Right now, I’m a PublishAmerica author. Although they aren’t at the top of anyone’s list for best and brightest publishing group, they do not charge a fee and should not be lumped in with publishers who do. My work through PublishAmerica should be considered as work that I can include on my list of writing credits. It was distributed through the big warehouses and I did receive royalties (no matter how meager).

I have spoken with authors who paid through the nose to have their books published and they don’t seem to be having the same problems with credibility as I have had as a PublishAmerica author. Even though I’ve said, time and time again, I paid nothing to have my book published. I was never asked to pay for their services, nor did I ever do so.

Because of this seemingly universal snubbing, I have been denied book signing opportunities, book reviews, memberships to writing groups and now, it appears, the likelihood of being published through another publishing house because my work with PublishAmerica simply doesn’t count.

I’m sure there are people out there who believe that all of this makes sense and that PublishAmerica authors have not put in their time as writers. They base this solely on their own beliefs about the publisher and project their feelings onto the writers. They have no real basis for their claims other than their own bias and quite frankly, I think that sucks.

My intention has always been to submit my first novel-length effort to a bigger publisher and see if I have what it takes. As someone who views a show of effort as a positive thing, I see absolutely nothing wrong with writing and publishing through a smaller, less prestigious publisher to get started in the writing world. My goal here is not to grumble and complain, but to enlighten those who are clinging to the notion that PublishAmerica authors are just hacks or vanity press writers who couldn’t possibly succeed on a more substantial playing field or who were somehow deviously suckered into signing with a predatory publisher. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of starting out small or what I like to call an entry level position?

I’d worry that writing this blog post might damage my credibility, but it appears that I probably didn’t have any to begin with. After all, I’m just a PublishAmerica writer. What do I know?

Just another example of how narrow-minded people can be…just another reason why I write.

Until next time…

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To POD or not to POD…

Why does that have to be the question? I’ve been attempting to set up book signing events over the past week and am having little to no luck because my books are Print On Demand (POD). As you may or may not know, there is a huge stigma attached to having a book that is published as a POD. I have to work very hard to convince bookstores that it is worth their time to have me come in and I believe that this is largely due to the fact that the books are POD. Another problem is that my publisher, PublishAmerica decides arbitrarily when to change the status of my books from returnable to non-returnable. This can be a little irritating since I am not personally notified by the publisher of these changes in status. I have been talking with bookstore managers and in the process of trying to set up an event, they have been the ones who informed me that my book is no longer returnable. And, this status can change several times a year depending on what appears to be my publisher’s mood.

I’m not bashing PublishAmerica here, so please don’t get the impression that they have done something wrong. It’s simply a lapse in communication. This is pretty much the only issue I have had with PublishAmerica and as things go, there will always be something. My real frustration lies in the fact that in order to get my books into the hands of readers, I am faced with several challenges. I can either purchase my own books and do a consignment arrangement with bookstores who do this sort of things or I can beg and plead with other bookstores until I convince them that they should order my book and have me come in to their stores. Unfortunately, neither option is very appealing, nor are they practical.

For one thing, I don’t have the cash on hand to purchase my books in bulk. I work part-time at a low-paying job and I really only make enough money to pay for daycare and groceries and the like. This is how it is with most people. For another, my books are expensive. A drawback of being with PublishAmerica is that you do not get to set your own price for your books. I can accept this, however, it does become an issue when I have to purchase the book for my own purposes. It is only on a rare occasion that I can get them at a special discounted rate. Generally, that occurs when I have no “extra” money lying around which is pretty much anytime you might ask me. Again, I’m not bashing, just laying it out there.

The idea of calling around until I’m blue in the face to set up events is one that I dealt with last year after In the Wash was published. I called and called and begged and pleaded and then called some more. I was turned down more often than not. I did manage to get into several bookstores, however, as I call the same places this time around, I am getting rejected. Even at stores where I sold out, they are telling me that management has changed and the process for scheduling book signing events is not as simple as it once was. This is quite the bubble-buster.

So, after taking a couple of months off from trying to do appearances, I am facing a dilemma. Do I simply market via the internet and keep my fingers crossed that a bookstore or library group will ask me to stop by? Or do I keep calling and facing impending rejection until I can get myself published by someone who isn’t POD? Since my initial thought is that it shouldn’t matter who publishes my books, what matters is whether or not they are good, I am guessing that I’ll continue to fight the good fight. Trying to convince people that POD is not necessarily a bad thing is an uphill struggle.

I am branching out into some other arenas, however. Over the next couple of months, I am working on a project which I intend to self-publish. This one should be interesting. It’s a women’s self-esteem project for which I have been collecting data. I intend to have it finished and ready for sale by the first of the year. In addition, I am to be part of a horror anthology for my friends at Triad Publishing. My short horror story, Eleven will be included in this publication sometime next year. I am also working diligently to make the third book in the Rona Shively mystery series a novel-length story. In hopes of gaining entry into the mainstream publishing world, I am going for it. With all of this on my plate, I’m enthusiastic even in the face of rejection. Hopefully, I’ll gain momentum as I go along.

Until next time…