Saturday, October 11, 2014


Today, I'm going to shamelessly plug my memoir, MY BUTTERFLY CANCER. It's on a special #kindle promotion today through next Friday, with an introductory price of just 1.99 in the first 48 hours. You can get it here for Kindle, or in print at CreateSpace or Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

This is my story of survival. Last year, I was diagnosed with leukemia. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. In my case, the baby cells in my bone marrow that should have matured into red cells, white cells, or platelets never matured. Instead, they crowded out the healthy cells until I was so anemic that I could barely walk ten feet. My treatments were all in-patient, and I had to stay in a hospital 3 hours from my home. The first round of chemotherapy nearly killed me. I began bleeding internally, and they could barely transfuse enough blood to keep me going. I also developed a severe fungal infection in all my organs and tissues, so wide-spread that the doctor said he'd "never seen a patient with so much fungus in the body before"! 8 months of intensive treatment and numerous stays in the hospital, and I can now say that I'm in remission. But I will always bear the scars that cancer has left on my body and my soul. I still have scar tissue from the fungal infection. I'm still underweight. I'll never again be the busy, hard-working person I was before. But you know what? I'm okay with that!

More Marketing!

In my efforts to be a successful author, I spend a lot of time doing marketing. After all, writing a book isn't all that fulfilling if no one reads it.

So today I borrowed a hot spot and uploaded some videos to youtube and to my website. Theseare PowerPoint slideshow presentations that my oldest daughter helped me put together, and I'll have these book trailers playing on-screen at my book signing. For Once Upon a Western Way, click here. For My Butterfly Cancer, click here. And for Keeping a Backyard Horse, click here.

 I've also created a LinkedIn account in an attempt to reach more followers. You can find the badge for that toward the bottom of the page. So feel free to join me at LinkedIn, I'd be glad to have you!

I need to spend more time writing! But tomorrow, My Butterfly Cancer will go on salefor the #kindle, just $1.99 during the first 48 hours, and I may spend a lot of time on social media, plugging my sale for the next 7 days. Then I'll get a break for a day until Keeping a Backyard Horse will be free for #kindle for 5 days. I'll get another day's break before Once Upon a Wester Way begins its #kindlecountdown! Should have thought of that when arranging my promotional dates!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The World Wide Phone

With the increasing technology of our fast-paced lives, some of us seem to be getting left behind in the dust. More and more we are turning to our phones and tablets to keep us in touch with social media and information. But with an increase in our technology comes an increase in problem issues.

I have experienced these problems first hand. I use my phone for my internet most of the time since we don't have it at home. It's a "smart" phone, but at two years old it's almost obsolete. My first indication of trouble was over a month ago when I first designed my website. I started it using the laptop and a borrowed wifi hotspot, and worked with the elements until I had everything set the way I wanted.

But later, when I tried to use my phone to show someone the site, I found out that only the first page was showing up, though there was a "menu" button on the page. So I emailed customer service.

I was informed that the website service wasn't set up for mobile browsing (at the time I didn't realize a desktop and mobile site were different). My customer service people didn't really offer much help, other than suggesting I try to update my browser. I could not find a way to do this (remember, older phone!).

But I'd heard of people having good luck with the Firefox browser, so I looked it up in the play store. Once I had the Firefox, I found that I was not only able to view my website pages, but could also edit those pages, something CS had told me was likely impossible. I also noted that, in some web pages where I wasn't able to type in the text box (Scribophile was one of of them), the new browser had fixed that issue as well.

Just this evening, I joined a tweet exchange program with a book promoter. Their site was one where my browser wouldn't let me type. So I simply switched over to Firefox and completed the form. But I also sent them an email, explaining the problem and the steps I had taken to correct it. So maybe in the future, if someone emails them with this issue, they'll have some idea of how to fix it. If my website's customer service people had known this, it would have saved me a lot of frustration!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Journey Continues

This post may seem to be a continuation of yesterday's,  but I've just gotten more proof that writing, as is true of life, is an ongoing process.

I didn't do any actual writing today, but I got a lot accomplished. I purchased and customized a logo, a simple black drawing of a butterfly in flight. Not necessarily because of my book My Butterfly Cancer, but for the symbolic transformation of my life. Since I've purchased this logo, I don't have to worry about any copyright infringement.

I also, with my oldest daughter's help, learned how to make presentations using PowerPoint. I turned these into video that I will hopefully be able to upload to You Tube, as I've seen a lot of authors do. I also intend to have these run during my upcoming book signing.
 I did some design work here and on my website,  Even to adding a #TBT photo under 'about the author', taken when I was maybe 6 years old! Please visit my site and see how you enjoy it. I'm no computer whiz, but I'm pretty pleased. And I've had nearly 10,000 hits in just over a month. You can also find out about any contests I might be having, like my scavenger hunt contest going on right now!

So, while I didn't do any actual writing today, I wasn't exactly idle!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Editing-Learning Something New

Writing isn't, nor should ever be, a process that stops once the work is published. I know I've learned quite a bit over the past month since I've published my three books. So I have been going over a couple of them to see what I might be able to improve in my 'second' editions.

One of the things I've recently learned is how to affix page numbers on the outside of the page, in other words, to have different odd and even pages. Is this absolutely necessary? Probably not. However, if you read a lot of books published by big name houses, you'll see that this is a standard with their books. It makes it easier for the reader to find a particular page number.

Don't assume your word processor will do this for you; it's set up to print pages as it would for a report, not for a bound book. You'll usually have to go into your header, page numbers, and check a box that says 'different odd and even pages'. This may be slightly different than the word processor you're using (I'm using Office 365). Also, while there, you can check the box that says 'different first page', and this allows you to remove the page number of your title page.

 There are also other things I've learned while working with Createspace, my printer. I'm not really sure what software they use, except that they only allow file uploads in certain formats. I had difficulty with my first edition books with new chapters. Even if the chapters were set up correctly in my version, sometimes the chapter heading would end up at the bottom of the previous page rather than at the top of the next one. To resolve this issue, I learned to use the 'page break' button in the INSERT menu in my Word. I've never used this feature before, as I'd only published with Smashwords before, and they discourage the use of this feature as it's unnecessary in a digital book.

I also had issues with the table of contents feature in my non-fiction titles. Try as I may, I could not get the page numbers to line up properly! Again, I tried an auto feature on Word, the table of contents function under 'references' tab. To use this feature you must use one of the preset headings formats. I'm not sure yet how it will work in actual print, but I'm willing to give it a try!

My point through all this is that, as we advance as writers, our writing should advance with us. We shouldn't allow it to become stagnant!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Writing As a Full-Time Job

I never considered writing as a career. I knew I wanted to write, but I knew that it wouldn't pay the bills. Unless I was the world's next Stephen King or Nora Roberts, that is! But of course, those kind of writers work under extreme deadlines, and I don't work well under pressure (unless it's self-imposed!).But now I'm one of many people who are considered "disabled" in the United States. It's true, I'm not yet strong enough to return to my job at Auto Zone (though I wish I was, as I miss all the staff). But I'm not yet ready to claim that I can't do "anything" any more, and not having a regular job was what allowed me the time to publish my three books. The stories and ideas keep flowing, so now I'm considering making writing my "full time job".Of course, I have to treat this as I would any other job, right? I don't have a spare room that I could turn into a mini office or writing studio. Mostly I've been working on the laptop while sitting up in bed, or sometimes in the recliner in the living room. Should I try to make my space more like an office, and set myself a schedule of days and times to work? Or should I just write when I feel the urge, rather than trying to force it? Opinions?

Book Signing!

I'm happy to announce that I've booked my first "solo" book signing (last weekend's author fair had numerous other writers)! It will be hosted by Hastings Books in Poplar Bluff, Mo. The event will kick off January 10, 2015 at 1pm. I'm very excited about this and hoping that I have a really nice time! I may want to do another one to launch a new release due out next summer. I wanted to do this maybe between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they don't host them during that busy time. So my thinking was that in early January, people may still be shopping more, spending their gift cards or exchanging gifts. Maybe that would bring in more traffic. Plus I've put in a call to one of the local radio stations, hoping to do an on-air interview, and I intend to call the newspaper and other radio stations as well. Plus Hastings will do a bit of promoting as well.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Contest

The Kindle Countdown Scavenger Hunt contest will begin Monday October 6, 2014  and run through Monday October 20, 2014. Rules are: choose only one social media network (i.e. Facebook or Twitter). Answer the questions posted and email your answers to GMAIL. Answers must be emailed by October 20, 2014 by 7pm (CST). Post on facebook or tweet a link to ONCE UPON A WESTERN WAY and mention the sale starting Oct. 24. Copy and paste a link to your post or tweet in the comment section below. All correct answers will be entered in a random drawing for a free book! All answers can be found on my Facebook page, Twitter profile, website,  Amazon author page, Smashwords author profile, Smashwords interview, or here on the blog. It's NOT necessary to actually read my books.

Questions:1) What year was Marguerite born, and where?2) What "superpower" does she possess?3) What is her horse's name?4)List one of the main characters in ONCE UPON A WESTERN WAY. 5)Which book does she donate 20% of her sales to charities?6) Name a book she is currently working on.7)Where and in what year did she first publish?8)Name any upcoming event.9)What's her nickname?10) What writer's group is she currently active with?

Happy hunting, my friends!