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Hello Hooray

(Alice Cooper reference in the title, missing punctuation and all.)

It’s been…… a while.

It’s been a wild year for me. A lot going on, a lot of changes, but it’s all been good.

cover_option5Still, I am nothing if not conscientious. I made a promise on New Year’s Day that I would be releasing a single-volume edition of The Newtonberg Stories in time for the 5th/25th anniversary. I missed the official release by ten days (the print version of Welcome to Newtonberg was released 10/11/2012), but I had the proofs in my hand before then so I’ll count it as a victory.

The Newtonberg Stories (pretty original title, eh?) is a one-volume collection that contains the complete texts of Welcome to Newtonberg, All That Remains, and Back to Newtonberg. All three books have been completely revised and corrected. It also contains a new bonus short story, “Rick Murchison Goes Home Again.”

Each of the individual volumes have also been updated, and the bonus short story is now included with Back to Newtonberg. The eBook updates are forthcoming and I should announce them sometime this week.

As always, the print versions are available from CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and will be making its way to other outlets throughout the forthcoming weeks. The price for each of the individual volumes remains $9.99. The Newtonberg Stories omnibus edition is only $14.99.

I want to thank everyone for their support over the past five years. Please be assured that collecting these books into one volume does not mean that I’m ending the series. There are many other stories to be told. Some will be set in Newtonberg. Others may be set elsewhere, such as Schaefer (see the new short story for more on that). Some will be set in modern day, and others may tell stories of Newtonberg residents who left us long ago. One thing is certain, though — they will all have this little East Texas town and its residents at the heart of the story.

Until next time…

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Filed under All That Remains, Back to Newtonberg, Newtonberg Stories, Notes from the Author, Welcome to Newtonberg

This Is What We Find

(Ian Dury and the Blockheads reference!)

Wow.  Has it really been three months since I posted?

Well, I haven’t been idle.  I have been challenged — sort of — to step outside my comfort zone and write a different sort of book.  So I am working on my first YA novel. Of course, I had to put my own spin on it. More details once I’m further into it and more sure of where it’s going.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to encourage said friend to get back into writing herself.  I think it’s working a little, since she posted a few questions on Facebook for her “writer friends”, asking about their writing habits, preferences, etc.  I decided I’d post my responses here for anyone interested.

CAVEAT: This is just “what works for me.”  Your mileage may vary. Find what works for you and go with it.


To all my writer friends out there, I’d like to be nosy & ask you all a few questions. Feel free to answer in as much or as little detail as you’d like via comments or even via private message. I’m not picky about what kind of writer you are either. Whether you write screenplays, novels, articles, blogs, or anything in between, I want to know your answers.

1. What tools do you use? Pen & paper. Word processor. Typewriter. Computer. You get the idea.
2. What is your process? Music on or off & if on, what kind of music? Do you outline first or just dive in.
3. Where do you feel the most productive? Home, work, Starbucks, etc.
4. Do you set goals for your writing? Daily, weekly, monthly, etc. And if you do, what is your ideal goal?
5. Do you ever participate in events like NaNoWriMo?
6. Do you belong to any kind of writers group or taking any classes on writing?
1. I will usually brainstorm with pen and paper, but I have a “Notes” file that I put it all into since I often can’t read my own handwriting if I go back to it later. I generally do my actual writing on a computer in Word.
2. Music definitely on. What it is depends on what I’m writing. (Sometimes where and when I’m writing affects this, too — see #4 below for particular writing situations.)
You can get an idea of some music I listen to on my blog under “Playlist”. Right now it’s a lot of 70s and 80s (or 80s-style). Stevie Nicks. Alice Cooper. Fleetwood Mac. Night Terrors of 1927.
Outlining doesn’t work for me. That “Notes” file I mentioned in #1 — I keep track of certain scenes I want to include and a general overall story arc, but outlining doesn’t allow your characters to take off and do what they want.
3. Anywhere I can put on my headphones and zone out. Honestly, I had one of my most productive nights this week in the lobby of the local Agricultural Extension Office while my sister was in a meeting.
4. No goals other than to write. The only time I keep a word count is if I have a preset word limit (like a magazine article). Failing to hit a word limit is still failure, and writing should be fun, not a guilt trip.
While I don’t put a goal, sometimes due to where and when I’m writing I have to put a time limit in place. When I write on my lunch hour at work I will sometimes listen to a particular CD because I know when it ends, I have to stop. Forever Changes by Love is just about 40 minutes long, so it was a good one for that situation.
5. Never done NaNoWriMo. It’s still a “word count” issue, you just have longer to do it.
6. I don’t belong to a writer’s group, although I know of a few local groups. I tend to write on my own, then get feedback from a few selected friends and family members.
“I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.”
Well, that’s it for this time. I promise it won’t take as long for the next update!

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Filed under Notes from the Author


(Amanda Jenssen reference in the title!)

I know. It’s been awhile.

The title of this post is pretty appropriate. I’ve been on autopilot this month. I’ve just about completed researching and outlining the next book, and I plan to start writing it next week. After all, isn’t November “National Novel Writing Month”? (I think I might have heard something about that somewhere.)

And while I’m fairly certain I won’t be putting 50,000 words to the page during the next month, I should have a pretty good start by the time it’s over.

I’m excited about the new book.  It will introduce at least one new character who will serve as a bridge between Welcome to Newtonberg and All That Remains. The book itself will tie up a few loose ends from both books and set up the next books.  (And once again, I’m into book four before I’ve finished writing book three.)

No official title yet, but I’m working with the Back To Newtonberg, which is really original, don’t ya think? I’m sure that as characters and themes begin to reveal themselves to me that the title will change. After all, All That Remains was titled “A Tear for Billy” for twenty years. Who knows what “Back to Newtonberg” will become?

I read an interesting comment on a blog (it might have either been Michelle Proulx‘s or Jennifer Bresnick’s) that mentioned having trouble making a story work out because you made the wrong character the focus of the story.  It seems to me that’s what happened with All That Remains.  During the Billy years, the main character was named Jewel, and Maggie was nowhere to be found.  When I finally made Maggie the main character and Jewel moved off to the side, it all came together. I hope I don’t go through that with Back to Newtonberg.

In other news, I am waiting patiently for the results of the “Shelf Unbound” Writing Competition for Best Self-Published Book. I should know something this weekend. Whether or not I win or even place in the top five, it’s been a fun experience. And fun is what writing is supposed to be about, isn’t it? Fun for the writer, which translates into a fun experience for the reader.

Next week: Contest results.

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Filed under All That Remains, Notes from the Author

Hot Fun in the Summertime

(Sly and the Family Stone reference today. Just seemed fitting, that’s all.)

Every weekday at work, I receive an e-mail called Shelf Awareness that keeps me up-to-date on book news, new releases, movies and TV shows that are coming out based on books, etc. As a librarian, this is invaluable to keep us on top of what patrons might be asking for.

An occasional feature of Shelf Awareness is a “spotlight” section called Book Brahmin. This section highlights new authors, or established authors with new books coming out.

Just for fun, I thought I might do my own Book Brahmin “interview”, using the questions from the latest installment as the basis.


Book Brahmin: David Emprimo

David Emprimo is a continuing education student at Life University, where he is earning his Ph.D. in “Growing Up, Growing Old, and How to Deal with It.” He lives in East Texas, where he works at a public library. His new book, All That Remains will be released by SmashWords, CreateSpace, and Kindle Direct Publishing sometime in 2013. On your nightstand now:
My Kindle, which contains about 100 or so books at any given time, including the complete Murder She Baked series by Joanne Fluke, a lot of Stephen King, Umberto Eco, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and a ton of biographies/autobiographies. One or two real books make appearances there, mainly biographies or books about music, movies or comedy.

Favorite book when you were a child:
Morris’s Disappearing Bag by Rosemary Wells when I was really young, The Kids’ Candidate by Jonah Kalb when I was a young teenager.

Your top five authors:
In no particular order: Umberto Eco, Stephen King, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Joanne Fluke and Mick Foley.

Umm… Mick Foley?

Book you’ve faked reading:
The Scarlet Letter.

Books you’re an evangelist for:
Probably either The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte, or The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Although I do feel a particular need to defend Mick Foley as an author. The man can write, and he knows how to tell a story in a way that totally immerses the reader.

Book you’ve bought for the cover:
I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book just for the cover. I’ve browsed a few because of the cover, but I always read some of it before I decide to buy it.

Book that changed your life:
On Writing by Stephen King.

Favorite line from a book:
Not a line, but a passage. From The Body, by Stephen King:

“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seem limitless when they were in your head, to no more than living size when they’re brought out.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it?  The most important things lie too close to where your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away.  And you make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried when you were saying it.  That’s the worst, I think.  When the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.”

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn. I really wish this was available — text only — for the Kindle. There is an official PDF version available, but it’s over 1GB in size! While I appreciate Emilie’s devotion to her artwork, it was the text that drew me into the story, not the artwork.

What’s next?
Back to Newtonberg again. I’m doing research for a few story ideas right now. Probably another collection of short stories unless one of them just screams to be told as a standalone novel. We’ll see what happens when I start writing.

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“I Read the News Today, Oh Boy…”

Well, the press releases paid off on at least one front. An article about Welcome to Newtonberg and self-publishing made the front page of the Jacksonville Daily Progress, our local newspaper.

Jacksonville Daily Progress (12/8/2012)

I still haven’t received a response (or a printing) of the press releases I sent to the other three local papers. I’ll give it another week and then send it again, just in case it was caught by their Spam filter or something. (At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.)

Still, I’m quite happy with the article. There are a couple of details that aren’t quite right (for example, I intended to publish a book of twelve stories, not publish one story a month; likewise I ended up with a book of six stories — I’m not publishing a story every other month); but all in all, it’s getting the word out there about the book so I’m happy.

I’m still looking into getting copies of the eBook out to book review blogs. Does anyone have suggestions about that? I could just go looking for review blogs and e-mail the people in charge, but is that how it’s supposed to be done? Is there a main Website that lists books available that reviewers read and select books they want to review?





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Filed under Notes from the Author, Publicity