My bathroom reading

I never understood why people read in the bathroom although I know they do. Recently, I’ve been grabbing my own novel, AS FROM A TALENTED ANIMAL and randomly reading parts of it while sitting on the toilet. Yes, very graphic — I know! I know!

What I’ve found is wherever I turn in the book, I enjoy it.

Biased? Probably. Yet, I have some distance from the work now and it’s comforting to know I like it, too.

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“The first chapter intrigued me.”

Another reader of mine told me on Friday that she’d gotten through the first chapter of AS FROM A TALENTED ANIMAL and was intrigued by it. She said, “Your novels keep getting better and better.”

“Oh,” I said, “you’re liking this one –.”

“Yes,” she said, “I’m liking it a lot.”

“I liked it. You surprised me.”

My friend who purchased GANI & SEAN last Saturday morning told me at breakfast this morning — one week later — that “Yes, I liked GANI & SEAN.” Then she smiled and said, “You surprised me there at the end.”

“Oh,” I said, “you didn’t see that coming?”

“No,” she replied. “No, no; I didn’t.” And she grinned.

“Oh, that’s great,” I said. I added, “I think you’ll like the sequel even more.”

And we went back to our coffee.

Just when I think, it changes

Just when I think I’ll never sell another book, I sell one or two or three or even more. Just when the sky seems to darken to a threatening black, the sun peeks from behind the cover of darkness and says, “hello there.” If I wrote for myself, the black clouds overhead wouldn’t matter, but I don’t write for myself. I write for others. I write to be read. So, once again, I must thank my readers, few though you be. I so appreciate your willingness to support me and my endeavor to be a novelist — one who writes novels.

Thanks again.

“I Need Something to Read”

Five of my more favorite words strung together are: “I need something to read” but six of my most favorite words strung together — that follow closely after the first five words — are: “I want to read your book.”

These two phrases — uh, sentences — were “heard” by me via text yesterday, and this morning my friend — one of my readers — bought my novel GANI & SEAN.

I signed it to her, “You know I love you.”

Response to A Writer’s Path

Well, of course, I can’t find the original post (I’m almost certain it was entitled “HOW NOT TO PROMOTE YOUR NOVEL” or something close to that) on A WRITER’S PATH — why not a search box? At any rate, the post was a rant against self-absorbed, self-centered writers who wish to promote their novel on social media. I recognized myself in this post — yes, I don’t particularly like to read blogs; yes, I know there are thousands upon thousands of novels published each year; yes, I know few people are interested in discovering an unknown writer; yes, I know I should read other writers’ novels; yes, I know I can be annoying when I post about my latest work, etcetera.

I stop here to ask — what novelist is not self-centered?

After all, a novelist — one who actually sits down and writes a 50,000 plus manuscript — is alone most of the time. A novelist — one who creates another world filled with imaginary persons doing imaginary things with each other — is completely absorbed in his or her creation. A novelist — one who writes multiple stories over many years — has little time for much else (especially if writing these novels brings no or only little money to their bank accounts) other than writing and the work that pays the bills.

As for reading other novelists — I don’t have time for that anymore. I used to read. In fact, as a young person, you would not have seen me without my nose stuck in the pages of a real book. I read all the time. In fact, if I didn’t write now most of my time, I’d still be reading.

Presently, I keep writing while I continue to share my work with others. I don’t write for myself (like I did as an adolescent in angst). Instead I write for others — for my very small fan base, which I am trying to establish on my own, without much help from anyone else — except them.

Thanks, little fan base! Thanks.

A Question

This morning at Cracker Barrel the cashier asked me — after I paid my bill for my breakfast — if my books are at the public library.

I encouraged her to request my books at our local library.

All of you reading this post — want to read my novels for FREE? Ask your library to carry them!

When books don’t sell themselves and when they do

I prefer the latter — when a potential reader says, “I want to read that book – what’s it called?” and then almost correctly names your novel. The book has sold itself — I would imagine through word of mouth?

The feedback on my novels is generally either absent or glowing. Either the reader says nothing to me or he or she seeks me out to tell me how great I write or how much they loved my novel.

Several readers actually follow me — they are my tiny fan base. I love my fan base, and though I do write for myself primarily, I want my novels read by others, of course.

A novel is not designed to sit on a shelf; rather, a novel is crafted for the hands of the reader. The reader is meant to open its cover and bend back its pages and make its insides come to life.

Therefore, I call for readers.

Don’t forget

Please don’t forget, writers write to be read. We don’t — for the most part, that is — write for therapy ( I hate that thought wherever it is expressed for I no longer write for therapeutic reasons; I may have done so when I was 14 years old and in a perpetual state of angst but now I write for the sake of writing, for the love of writing, for the joy of reading. )

At any rate, please don’t forget, a book is meant to be read — once it is written.

The novelist’s greatest joy is to write the novel, but the novel’s joy lies in the mind of its reader.

A Most Serendipitous Time

In a whirlwind trip, I meet some extraordinary women both in Mississippi and in Atlanta. Out to dinner with 7 lovely southern ladies – honestly there’s no other way to describe these women! – one of them – oh, her name fills the air – Camille – leans in to ask me if there’s anything else interesting about my life – other than medical speech pathology – and because we are in a social rather than business setting – I tell them I’m a novelist. And the curiosity is sparked – several women want to know what I write. Odd to me that the word novelist does not conjure thoughts of fiction in people’s minds – not just these southern lady minds, but minds everywhere. I hear the same question, “Do you make your books up?” In my head, I hear, “Yes, they’re fiction.” Of course, I’m more polite and say, “Yes, I make up stories. I love to write.”

Camille and one particular lady promise to look up my books. Most times, these are idle promises but it’s still nice to imagine. And one never knows.

In Atlanta, I have a long unexpected layover. On the B concourse is BUCKHEAD BOOKS which includes the Intermezzo Cafe – very nice. I manage to procure a seat at a marble wraparound shelf with comfortable tall chairs with the waitstaff’s permission. Just as I am waiting for my menu, a woman approaches, puts her things down near me and promptly asks me if I need a menu. I nod; she walks to the cash register cubby. When she comes back, I ask, “Do you work here?” She says, “I’m the owner.”

Immediately – less than the time it takes for you to read this – I say, “I’m going to take a chance.” I reach into my handbag – which I only carry on trips – pull out both my Facebook card (courtesy of Moo.com) and my DooRFrame Books card (via Vistaprint). I tell her I’m a novelist, look around at her shelves full of new books and say, “But of course I’m self-published.” She says sometimes she carries self-published works. So, I hand her my cards. She also promises to “take a look at your books.”

Next, once Deb – the owner of BUCKHEAD BOOKS – leaves, I meet Charlie a woman from my hometown. We are both on the long layover. She also loves to write and promises to look up my books. She also gives me a story to tell but I give it back to her. I tell Charlie her story is one she needs to write.