Friday, July 27, 2012

Finding Order in Chaos...Or Something Like That

I've never liked schedules. I've always hated having to make appointments, having to be anywhere at a specific time on a specific day. Still, once I became a full-time writer, I did have a daily routine of sorts. I didn't get up every morning at the same time, write at the same time, or anything so rigid, but it was a routine nonetheless. Breakfast, exercise, errands, lunch, writing, dinner, unwind, sleep.

Pretty boring, huh?

As I grew older and my memory, eyesight and stamina were no longer what they used to be, that routine became necessary. It was taking me much longer to finish a novel than it did during my years in conventional publishing. I was no longer as focused as I had once been. And to further complicate matters, along came social networking.

The more time I spent online, the less time there was for writing. My daily routine became nonexistent. I found myself doing email on my phone before I even got out of bed in the morning. I was taking it with me to the kitchen, the bathroom, the laundry room...I was online most days from seven in the morning until six at night, and by the time I finally got offline, I was so burned out I'd fall asleep in front of the TV. I couldn't miss the annoyed looks I was getting from friends--and even from Collin--when we'd go out to lunch and I'd start answering email in the middle of the conversation.

I was no longer mentally able to write. The housework wasn't getting done. I wasn't getting any exercise, so I was starting to gain weight and my blood pressure was climbing. In short, my health was declining. I was distracted and irritable but trying to figure out how to fix the problem without offending any of my online friends. But a couple of them had cut back on their own online time, so maybe everyone would understand, after all.

It was time to get back to that old routine.

Now, I'm online no more than three hours a day. I don't check email before I get out of bed. I don't even check it before I've had breakfast. I no longer eat with my smartphone in one hand. If email comes in while I'm taking a shower, it will have to wait until I'm back online.

I haven't actually finished a novel since 2009. The only new ebooks I've released this year are from my Berkley backlist. That's about to change....

Saturday, July 21, 2012

For Immediate Release....

Today, I'm featuring my new press release. (One page is the norm, but I went with two.) If anyone is interested in having one created for themselves, contact Collin Beishir at!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's Been One Crazy Week...So Far!

Where to begin, where to begin...okay, got it. Collin has transferred our Beishir Books domain name to our new website (which is not up and running yet). Two of my three Yahoo email accounts were hacked, one of them for the third time--so I have taken my email to Gmail and Hotmail. And then there's the good news....

Angels at Midnight and The Unicorn's Daughter are both doing great. They seem to be running a race, first one in the lead in rankings, then the other. They've done so well that Collin and I have decided to lower the price on Chasing the Wind....

Product Details

    Product Details

        Wednesday, July 11, 2012

        An Announcement...or Two....

        The big news: my latest ebook, Angels at Midnight, is now available at Amazon! And it will be FREE on Thursday and Friday. I'm happy to report that in its first twenty-four hours on sale, it already has some sales and a ranking (I wasn't expecting to see that until after the free book promo ends)!

        Also, my blogs are moving. Collin is in the process of setting up our new Beishir Books website, and since our new web host is connected to WordPress, and since I've found WordPress to be more reliable than Blogger, my posts will now be found there. I will, however, maintain my blog pages here to post links to my own blogs as well as other especially interesting blogs/posts. I hope those of you who have followed me here will follow me to WordPress...and check out these other great blogs!

        Today's Beishir Books post: Guest Blogger Lena Winfrey Seder:

        William Kendall on A Day in the Life of a Dog:

        Beth Muscat, Bent River Books, on authors supporting  authors:

        Eve Gaal at The Desert Rocks on the Blog Olympics:

        Karla Telega on a loss that hits a little too close to home....

        Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm WAY behind on blog reading/commenting. If I haven't stopped by at your blogs in the past week, I hope you'll forgive me. I'll be there as soon as I can. Getting this book ready to go has taken everything I've got....

        Saturday, July 7, 2012

        "I've Promised My (Fill in the Blank) You'll Get Their Book Published...."

        In my previous post, I wrote about authors being approached by friends, family members and others who expect us to write their books for them. There's one incident, however, that I didn't mention.

        Years ago, when I was at my lowest point, unable to write and trying to take care of my mother following her stroke, I was levied by the IRS. I could not access what income I still had coming from my books. Thankfully, our Congressman at that time, Dick Gephardt, came to the rescue and got the levy removed, but it was tough for a while--so tough that we had to go to a food pantry.

        The pantry was within walking distance, so Collin and I went once a week, when we had someone to stay with Mom. We got fresh fruit, vegetables, and a pizza. In applying for the pantry, I of course had to tell them what line of work I was in. I didn't forsee a problem. I assumed that, being affiliated with the United Way, they had to follow the rules regarding client confidentiality.

        I assumed wrong.

        The people who worked there always seemed professional to me, and the woman who ran the place was always asking questions about my books and writing. Idle interest? Not exactly. When Collin and I arrived one afternoon, I was handed a slip of paper with a name and a phone number on it and informed that this person was waiting to hear from me.

        The woman whose number I'd been given was the secretary of the pantry manager's husband. She had been promised I would get her book published! I was to phone her ASAP. It was difficult not to laugh. I hadn't been able to produce anything remotely publishable myself in some time. I was getting help from a food pantry, for crying out loud! But I was supposed to be able to open doors for this woman I didn't know? I had no idea if she could even write.

        The next time Collin and I went to the pantry, the pressure was on. The manager said the would-be writer had told her that I hadn't called yet. She demanded to know why. I explained that I had not been able to--we had no phone then, and I couldn't just go off and leave my mom for something that wasn't urgent. I realized this was going to be an issue as long as we kept going to the pantry, so I decided we'd just have to get by without it.

        But it didn't end there. One day, several months later, I decided to drop off some plastic grocery bags we'd accumulated. I knew they needed them, and I thought I could just slip in, give the bags to one of the staffers, and leave. That would have been nice, but no--the manager must have seen me coming. She confronted me in front of everyone the minute I walked in the door, berating me for not dropping everything to get this unknown book published. "How would you feel if I had refused you food when you needed it?" she demanded.

        I pointed out that the two circumstances could hardly be compared. And walked out. I gave serious consideration to contacting the United Way, but decided it wasn't worth the effort. I never went back and never saw her again.

        I wonder if that book ever got published?

        Friday, July 6, 2012

        This is Your Lucky Day! I'm Going to Let You Write My Book for Me....

        We've all had family and friends ask us, "When are you going to get a real job?" Some writers even hear it after they've made their first sale. But some of us also hear this one: "I have a great story to tell and I'm going to let you write it for me."

        Sound familiar? Either we're not taken seriously at all or we're taken for granted. Those who realize we are professionals and have real careers as writers will often assume we're just sitting around waiting to write their story. We don't have ideas of our own--or if we do, we can just set our own works-in-progress aside to write whatever they bring to us.

        About a year ago--I'm not sure exactly how long (this is just a guess, as I've been trying to forget)--I got an email from a longtime friend. Her brother had decided to write a novel. Never mind the fact that this guy would be reaching to write a grocery list, he was going to write a novel. Let me rephrase that: he had an idea and I was going to write his novel. If it sold (and let me say here that this project had worse odds of success than being struck by lightning), we would split the profits. 


        I told her, as politely as I could, that I was not interested. I had projects of my own in the works and did not have time to write his too. That didn't work. I discovered that he had contacted a family friend, asking for my phone number. He'd had his nephew contact the same friend, also asking for my number. When she didn't give it to either of them, he turned up at my MySpace page (one of the reasons I ditched MySpace). Then he showed up at Facebook. Finally, I got enough.

        I sent him a message. He could leave his manuscript and $100 in cash with Collin at the restaurant and I would read it, critique it and tell him what he needed. I never heard from him again. Thankfully.

        He's not the only one who's brought ideas to me, but the other two were well-meaning friends who wanted me to put worthwhile true stories into words for people who couldn't write them themselves. It's not easy to say no in such cases--but I'm a novelist, not a nonfiction writer. This may surprise some people, but most writers are one or the other. Rarely can we do both. I'm strictly a fiction writer. I'm no good at coloring inside the lines--bios and memoirs are not my thing. And I already have a full plate. Make that an overflowing plate. I have one ebook edition of  a backlist book about to be released and three more to be scanned and reformatted (not an easy job, believe me) and three more waiting to be done, plus four original works in progress. Add to that the fact that my eyesight is so bad that I have to compose on my phone or by dictation because when I look at my computer screen, all the words seem to run together. No fun!

        I'd have to be cloned in order to have time for anything else....

        Thursday, July 5, 2012

        FREE E-Books!

        To celebrate the upcoming release of 
        Angels at Midnight....

        Free for today only....

        ...and FREE tomorrow only....

        Chasing the Wind

        ...and FREE on Saturday...

        Wednesday, July 4, 2012

        Happy Birthday, America!

        Today is the Fourth of July--or Independence Day, the 236th birthday of my homeland. (Funny, it doesn't look a day over 136--but then, it's had a lot of facelifts.) William already did a beautiful image blog to celebrate over at his blog, Speak of the Devil, so I think I'll stick to what I like best about the observances of this holiday...


        I've loved the fireworks for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, we bought fireworks from a local vendor. Mom would make the purchase, and she'd haggle with them over price and  extras. We got a lot of freebies. Dad would set them off. He'd have soda bottles set up to position them if they didn't come with any kind of stand, and a bucket full of sand was always nearby for the used items. He took no chances when it came to a potential fire.

        Today, however, fireworks are illegal in most parts of the area, so we have to go to a public celebration to see them. This year, even most of those fireworks shows have been cancelled due to the current drought situation and the risk of fires. Bummer! But here, courtesy of the Ghost of Independence Days Past, are some of the best we've had to offer across the country....

        St. Louis, of course....

        Washington DC...

        New York City...

        Boston Harbor...


        Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

        The Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

        The Bellagio, Las Vegas


        San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge....

        And Seattle!

        Hope you all have a great day!

        Sunday, July 1, 2012

        Oh, Canada!

        No, I'm not Canadian...but since I have two family members who are, I give you a pictorial tribute to their homeland on this, Canada Day! Beth and William, this is for you....

        Side by it should always be!

        Churchill Falls (Labrador)

        Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

        Prince Edward Island

        Mount Carleton Provincial Park, New Brunswick

        One of the wild horses of Sable Island, Nova Scotia...
        and some seals out in the water....

        Montreal, Quebec--even their cities are gorgeous!

        Algonquin Provincial Park--Canada has to be one of the most
        (if not the most) beautiful places on earth!

        And here's one of William's friends--could he be the welcoming committee?

        And here are two more of William's friends....

        Ottawa--Canada's capital (yup...Canada's cities are beautiful)...

        Uh, Beth...William...neither of you told me the bugs in Canada 
        got to be this big....

        Niagra Falls (not fair--your side looks better than ours, when there
        isn't some nitwit trying to call attention to himself by traversing it on a tightrope....)

        Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories...

        Whitehorse, in the Yukon--a few years ago, William and I (and a few others)
        had a bet that involved the loser (William) having to run naked
        through the streets of Whitehorse. But you'll just have to settle for this 
        beautiful photo of the aurora borealis....

        Mount Odin on Baffin Island in Nunavut (is that Mount Thor in the background?)

        I believe it is--here's Mount Thor (either Canada had a strong Viking
        presence here--or a strong Marvel comics presence!)

        Moraine Lake, Banff National Park--is there a place in Canada that isn't beautiful?

        A deer in Saskatchewan--as an animal lover, I can't get enough of the wildlife here!

        The polar bears of Churchill (Manitoba). Incredible!

        Upper Arrow Lake in British Columbia--look at that sky!

        An orca off Vancouver Island, British Columbia...I think I could spend a year north of the border and still not see everything I want to see!

        Oh, no--he's back! Don't you see him? He looks hungry! RUN!!!!

        Seriously...Happy Canada Day to William, Beth and all of my other Canadian blogging friends!