Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brouhaha in the Publishing World

Amazon has pulled MacMillan's books from its Kindle listings over a price dispute. Get this: the publisher wants to RAISE the price of ebooks to $15 and Amazon wants to keep them at $9.99.

Well, duh. Why does a publisher think anybody would spend $15 for an ebook? If I can't get it cheap at Amazon, I'll toddle over to one of the gazillion other sites and download it for cheaper then transfer it to my Kindle (really, quite easily done).

I don't get this -- what is the publisher trying to prove. Are they so out of touch with the reading community?

::shaking head::

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My aunt passed away just a few hours before I wrote that last blog post. There's no real grief at such a passing but I do still feel a void to know she's not there any more. She's always been there. But she would be the first one to say 'get over it', so I will save my memories for another day.

Other news: I taught my first writing class last night & I think it went very well. We have only 4 students, but that's nice because it adds a feeling of familiarity to the task. I spoke for an hour then my co-teacher took over & led the class in a little writing exercise. We'll fine tune as we go, but overall, I think we're going to be okay. I'll report more next week as we continue...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The passing of an age

My 100 year old aunt is very ill & is dying.

I know -- 100 years old. It's to be expected. Of course it is, but you know how it goes -- we reflect back, we think about their lives, we try to put grief in perspective. A century of living is a lot of thinking back. I remember...

Summers at the house on Lovejoy and that nifty staircase they had that went from the living room into the kitchen and also up the stairs to the bedrooms. Her "E.T.C." room, an office off the living room. The death that took place next door when her best friend was murdered by two teenagers, seemingly at random.

It was that death that propelled my aunt into the last phase of her life, into a senior living complex where she used to 'read to the old people' (she was in her 80s at the time) and she had a rich, full social life.

For some reason, when I remember my aunt I remember our basement on 6th Street. I remember sitting at the piano there (we're talking a LONG time ago, now) and reading a letter my aunt wrote me. You see, she and I were 'pencil pals' (not pen pals, I couldn't write with pen yet, I wasn't adept enough). We exchanged letters on a regular basis and for some reason I remember sitting at the piano and reading one of her carefully written letters. They were always long, and chatty and full of detail.

I learned, from her, to take my time when composing. It may take several drafts but you should always take the time to get it right for your audience, whether that audience is a reader of my novels or a correspondent. I labored over my letters, trying to find things to say that she would think interesting. When you're in 3rd or 4th grade, that can be a bit tough, but whenever I saw her in person (they only lived 45 miles away but that was far enough to be only an occasional visit) she would mention something I had said. She read what I wrote and thought it was interesting!

Thanks you, Aunt Agnes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An interesting side effect of weeding out

You know how I said I weeded out all the dreck from my mailbox -- unsubscribed from online catalogs, etc., leaving only what I *should* read?

I'm finding I'm not sure I want to read that stuff after all! I'm still subscribed to a bunch of groups and I'm wondering if I need another weed-down in February. I get 'digests' of messages from those groups (a compilation of recent messages) and it seems like they're all full of the same-old, same-old: "Blog posting", "Promo", and "Book Trailer" come to mind.

Unless the blog post is something interesting about the industry, I probably won't read it. Unless the Promo has a subject line that really catches my eye, I don't look at it. And I don't even glance at book trailers.

This leads me to re-consider my own subject lines, the groups where I post, and why I post there.

This 'start of the year' reflection stuff is fascinating!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New year, new habits

I'm posting today from not-my-usual spot. I've been traveling a bit lately & I'm at my 'other work spot', my Mom's house.

I've been coming here often in the last 3 months and I've developed new work habits, which really surprised me. It used to be that coming here was just social with an occasional opportunity to do some writing. But I'm staying here for 4 or 5 days at a time now (we got a USB broadband thingie so I can now access the Internet, etc., remotely), and I've developed new work habits based on my schedule there.

I have to admit, this is intriguing to me. I am really a creature of habit when it comes to writing and this does throw me off my pattern, but I'm finding that's a good thing. A change of scene has sort of energized my writing and doesn't let me get stuck in ruts. I need to remember this in the future -- when I'm stuck, shake it up and change the routine.

I wonder if this works for all things in life, too? Hmm.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Habits of highly organized ....

No one can say I'm not organized -- I 've got 14 books out, I write every day, I work full-time, etc.

But I never realized what a time waster I volunteered for when I signed up for free email newsletters. My inbox used to have a bunch of these freebies from catalogs, web sites, etc. I never read them (much), usually just skimming them, but sorting through my email meant I had a time waster on my hands.

I also never realized how I used that as an excuse not to get writing or stay on-task. Now when I open my email queue, I need to look at what's in there. No more skimming -- that which remains is something I presumably want to read. So no more excuses there!

This was an eye-opening exercise & one that I plan to repeat at regular intervals: look at what I'm doing & decide if it's really working for me or not.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Let's start 2010 with a book

Yep, I like to kick the New Year off right. My 14th (yes, you read that right, "14") book is out.

"Hot Rods" is the story of what happens when you take a chance. The heroine, Threemie (so nicknamed because her name is Mary Margaret Madison, a.k.a. "3M"), met a guy one night outside a bar and she took a chance on him. She gave him her email address & he got in touch with her.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I wrote this book when I was unemployed. I had been laid off from my job and I decided to use the time to get some writing done. I wrote five books in the six months I was laid off and I've had three of them published (Forgiveness and Brilliant Disguise and If Not For You) and I took the characters from one of the other ones and used them in another story. The fifth book is waiting to be submitted.

Not a bad way to spend my 'down time', hmm?

In a way, Hot Rods mirrors what I've done with my writing career. I took a chance on publishing with small presses & it's paid off for me. I've had some bumps and bruises along the way, just like Threemie has in Hot Rod, but overall it has turned out well. Hey, maybe life does imitate art after all?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Shaking it up

I used to always blog here on Tuesday and Friday but I'm going to change it a bit in the new year. I'm going to an alternate-week promo schedule: one week I promo on M/W/F/Su, the next week it's T/Th/Sa. Depending on what week it is, I'll post here on either Tuesday or Wednesday or Sunday or Saturday.

Confused? I've got a little checklist I made up to keep it straight for me. The bottom line was I didn't feel I was organized enough when it came to promotion and communicating with readers. I would drop out of sight for a week or two, then reappear in a flurry of activity and ... anyway, I want to try to be consistent *and* keep my sanity -- so I'm giving it a try.

That's my motto for this year: "let's give that a try". I'm going to try different things: exercise programs, physical therapy for my chronic back problems, promotional gigs, writing styles. I feel a need to shake it up, so here's to 2010: the year of the Shake Up!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

a lost day or 2

I've had some really severe leg pain lately -- wrenching cramps in my legs and feet that keep me from sleeping, keep me from moving, keep me from life, really.

I'm so lucky, though. I have an exceptional health care plan. I called the doctor's office today (Saturday) at 6 a.m., thinking I'd be routed to a nurse to talk to her. Instead I got an appointment to see my doctor at 8:15. It wasn't at her usual office (I had to drive about 20 minutes to get there instead of driving about 5 minutes) but I got in, they ran tests, she gave me a script for muscle relaxers, and I was home by 9:30.

It is SUCH a relief to (1) have a doctor I trust and (2) to be able to talk to her when I need to. I'm hoping we'll figure out what's wrong soon & I can get on with my life.

Speaking of which -- I've had a busy few days despite being stupid from lack of sleep. Met with my critique partner to get back on writing-track (her, not me), went to a film (that was a comedy of errors: crowded theaters, sold-out shows & brutally cold temperatures, but the film was worth it). Today the theater (real theater, not a movie), then tomorrow -- a WHOLE DAY of writing.

I am so ready for it!