Sunday, April 6, 2008

An Author's Spring Office Cleaning - Part 1

My second book has a new title, The Hermit in the Hemlocks: A Ghost Story. It still takes place in the Adirondacks but I want to make it appealing to a larger audience so I'v given it a new title.

I'm also giving my office a much needed facelift. Running three businesses out of a 12x9 foot space isn't the easiest thing in the world. I'm very grateful for the space, though. It has a window!

I'm throwing junk away first. I'm on my fourth garbage bag full. 33-gallon sized bags! Boy, does this feel good. It's a lot messier and unorganized than I thought but I've come across a few surprises.

I've found a lot of information from the publication, book signings, author's fairs, marketing, publicity and so forth with my first book, Adirondack Nightmare. Tears gushed down my cheeks as I sorted through everything. I had no idea of the magnitude of ongoing support I had throughout this process. I'd like to thank some of those people now as I reread their letters, articles, emails and as I look at the photos they were kind enough to send to me. There's no order to this list...just going through the "keeper" pile on my desk!

Thank you Janet Duprey, Assemblywoman of the 114th District of the State of New York for your kind note.

Thanks, Frances Fairchild of the Chazy Public Library !

Thanks to the Momot Elementary School PTO for our first school presentation!

I have barely begun to thank those friends who have helped and supported me along the way. You have given me the inspiration to continue with a second book and to continue cleaning this office! I'll be posting more thanks next.

Take care.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Adirondack Center For Writing & North Country Public Radio

The Adirondack Center for Writing and North Country Public Radio invite your submissions for the next biennial Writing Contest.

The categories for the 2007/2008 Contest are:

Short Story


The first-prize winner in each genre and age group will receive $300, and will have their work posted on both the Adirondack Center for Writing and North Country Public Radio websites! Runners-up will receive $150, and have their work posted on the two websites!

Who is Eligible?
Anyone living in the Adirondack Park and/or in the NCPR listening area who is twelve years of age or older. The submissions will be divided into two age groups (12-20 and 21+) for each of the genres listed above. Published as well as unpublished writers are welcome to enter the contest as long as the work submitted is unpublished.

Submission Guidelines
Entries must be between 500 and 2,500 words, double spaced. All manuscripts must be typed and submitted on paper. Include a cover letter with your name, telephone number, complete mailing address, in which age group you belong (12-20 or 21+), and to which genre you are submitting. Number all pages, and include the title of your work on each page.

*NOTE: Your name should only appear on the cover letter, not on the manuscript, only the title should appear on the upper right hand corner of each page of your piece.

Send three copies of each submission to
The Adirondack Center for Writing
PO Box 265, Paul Smith's College
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

Entries must be received by April 11, 2008. Submissions will not be returned but everyone will receive a decision letter.

For information on the judges, visit the Adirondack Center's Web site here.

Good luck and take care.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Self-Publishing With Amazon's Booksurge Or Else!

Well well well. Amazon's selling policies may be getting quite interesting. It appears that they have "notified publishers who print books on demand that they will have to use its on-demand printing facilities if they want their books directly sold on Amazon's Web site". That's a direct quote from The Wall Street Journal and several other credible news sources.

This reminds me of the video rental industry. Blockbuster's exclusive deal with the Weinstein company shut out, or tried to, independent video store retailers from renting Weinstein DVD's. It didn't work but monopolies do exist in business.

Looks like Amazon's throwing their muscle and threatening POD (print on demand) publishers. Some observers feel Amazon is targeting subsidy publishers. It could be as that's a very lucrative business. (Personally, I feel subsidy press is a big rip-off for most publishers but I guess it has its place in the publishing world.)Anyway, I'm getting off topic.

It is true that BookSurge does not offer distribution through any channel other
than That's pretty limiting. It looks like Amazon's new business model is simple: Print your POD books with Booksurge if you want them to be sold by Amazon on If you have another POD source, Amazon will not sell your book.

It'll be interesting to see if this works for Amazon. I bet not but time will tell.

Take care.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Calling All Adirondack Authors!

In celebration of the Town of Indian Lake’s sesquicentennial (hey, you try to spell it!), the Indian Lake Library will be hosting an Adirondack Author’s night on July 30 at 7PM. All local Authors are invited! If you are interested, please contact the Library Director,

You can also sign up here:

Have you been to Indian Lake? It's beautiful. I visited several times last year while peddling my book, Adirondack Nightmare: A Spooky Tale in the North Country. Indian Lake is near Blue Mountain Lake and Sabael, a gorgeous spot in the heart of the Adirondacks.

Book signings are kind of fun. I've been to quite a few and can say that it depends on where you are sitting, the weather and the amount of press the signings get. I won't be doing as many as I did last year but I will probably do a few just to keep in touch with my fellow Adirondack author buddies. I've sold from one book to 30+ at a signing.

I don't know if I'll go to this one or not, I can't seem to decide...

Take care.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Writing For Children

I'm reading another book called Writing For Children by Catherine Woolley (who is also Jane Thayer). It's a thought-provoking, 167- page book with a bibliography and an index. It goes into great detail about characterization, conflict and setting. I took a look at my book and asked myself, "What is my main conflict?". I realized I had several and would have to rework a few places to make one of the conflicts the main one.

The author also does a wonderful job of reminding us to to keep in mind the perspective of the child. I have difficulty with this when I'm on a roll. This book helped to keep me on track. I like that the author suggests humor in children's books as I agree. I'm finding that my humor can be a bit sarcastic, especially between siblings, and I don't care for that style. I'm trying to correct it.

The author is adamant about, "you cannot hope to become a first-rate, recognized juvenile author unless you possess some sense of world history and literary history." She goes on to explain that she doesn't mean all writing should be of historical events (unless you want to). She means a writer should be an educated person if books written for children are to have substance. I'm still out about this one. Of course, I've written one small, regional children's book. What do I know?

Take care.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Adirondack Literary Award

The Adirondack Center For Writing is having its annual Adirondack Literary Award. Please enter! Here is the official press release:

February 19, 2008

For Immediate Release:
Nathalie Thill
Executive Director
Adirondack Center for Writing

Call for submissions for Adirondack Literary Award!

The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) is accepting submissions to its annual Adirondack Literary Award. This award recognizes books published in 2007 by regional authors and/or books written about the region. Awards for best works of nonfiction, memoir, fiction, poetry, children's literature, and photography will be decided by a panel of judges for each genre. We will also offer the popular People's Choice award for best overall book regardless of genre, voted for by ACW members. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in June.

If you would like to have a book considered for this award, please send two copies of it to:
Adirondack Center for Writing
PO Box 265
Paul Smith's College
Paul Smiths, NY 12970

Books must have been published in 2007. The deadline for book submissions is March 11, 2008. All books submitted for consideration will be displayed at the Awards ceremony.

For more information, please contact ACW at 518-327-6278 or go to our web site,, there you will also find a list of past winners. Good Luck!

About the Adirondack Center for Writing
The Adirondack Center for Writing is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literature and providing educational opportunities and support to both aspiring and established writers in the Adirondack region. They provide workshops, conferences, and readings throughout the year in locations all around the Adirondack Park.

See, I made the text green for Adirondacks. You know, the mountains? Oh well. I strongly support the center and hope you will, too. I'm not sure if I'm going to submit Adirondack Nightmare or not. I think it will be a waste of everyone's time. It was a good first effort but, an award winner? I don't think so!

Take care.

Friday, February 15, 2008

How Many Rewrites?

I had a nice post all typed a few days ago, went to submit it and Blogger was down. I'll try again!

I've got ten chapters done and am doing another rewrite. I'm taking out unnecessary words. Too many adverbs and adjectives. Too much redundancy. I'm not worrying about word count anymore, now it's quality of writing and the flow of the story. I am writing the purpose of each chapter in my notes. This has been very helpful to me. It keeps me on track with the storyline.

I think I'm going to stop after this rewrite and write the last chapter before I tackle more of the middle of the book. I like the beginning chapters. It's the middle I'm getting a little wishy washy with.

What has helped me tremendiously is Stephen King's book, On Writing. His "memoir of the craft" is dead on. I've read and reread it several times. This last time really hit home for me. I realized I was writing just to get words down. It was necessary for me as I had become so frozen with my writing but now it's time to clean it up, delete, and rewrite. Thank you, Mr. King.

How many rewrites is this? I've lost count. Let's say twelve, that sounds about right.