Tag Archives: book

Winner of Entangled book giveaway!

25 Sep

Congratulations to….


…for winning an Entangled book of your choice! Dawn is listed as =P in the comments of my last post, and I knew that was her because we worked together years ago and she used that symbol all the time. At the time, I had no idea what it meant, so I just called her “equals p.” (Yes, we called ourselves “junior high friends” since that’s pretty much how people saw us.)

Congratulations, Dawn! You’ll be happy to know that my son Jack did the drawing for me and pulled your name (although he said, “Whatever Mom”)! I will be sending you My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century since it released the day I did this post and was edited by my awesome editor, Stacy Abrams.

Equals P.

Thank you to everyone who entered! I really appreciate all the kind words and best wishes. You all are the best!

Personal Territory

19 Jul

The 4 Chicks Chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity – Chapter 5: Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory

Recently, my dear Chicks set out to create more boundaries.  That might sound counter-intuitive.  After all, creativity is about going to new places, drawing outside the lines, right?  Yes, but these boundaries are the ones artists must put in place to ensure their energies are not sapped, misdirected or squandered.  If you want golden eggs, you must protect the goose who lays them.

Kimberley – Northern California

18 May

 Our latest Chick Story comes from Kimberley Johnson, an author, editor and former daytime drama actress, now collaborating with her mother in publishing anthologies.  Here, Kimberley shares a bit about her journey and some insight into the self-publishing path.  Their first book, The Virgin Diaries, may be found on Amazon both in Kindle format for only $2.99 and in print.  They will soon publish a second book.

The year 2010 marked the start of my own business.  Actually, I partnered up with my mother, Ann Werner, to create Ark Stories.  Our goal and mission is to produce anthologies exploring the human experience.  Later this year we will be adding Ark Fiction and making Ann’s fiction books available.

Our first book, The Virgin Diaries, debuted last April.  We interviewed seventy-two anonymous men and women about what it feels like to have first time sex.  The stories are split equally among gender and includes six gay stories, also equally split.  No commentary is provided, allowing readers to form their own conclusions.  The result is a completely unique book which allows the reader to be a fly on the wall, so to speak, and bear witness to one of life’s most pivotal experiences.  

Prior to my life as an author, I was an actress for a decade, appearing on the daytime drama Days Of Our Lives as a police officer for more than seven years.  On a more pedestrian level, I also worked as a sales rep for various industries including fine bone china, industrial chemicals and energy.

My decision to start in a new direction was facilitated by the crash of the economy.  I had been collecting stories on and off for six years.  My mother joined me in collecting and editing the stories and together we decided to self publish.  As luck would have it in the fall of 2009, I reconnected with Ralph Faust, a gentleman I knew from high school and he did the formatting and provided art work.

Marketing and promoting self published books has been an interesting journey.  My experience in sales and as an actress was definitely to my benefit.  It enabled me to utilize my “hunter” mentality to seek out various avenues of possibilities.  Facebook has given me the opportunity to meet and network with other artists and authors.  We exchange information and help each other.  Twitter is also an amazing way to meet and reach out to others in a very targeted way.

It is important as an author, whether you are self published or not, to utilize all the social media that is available to you.  I have used Help A Reporter Out and Reporter Connection to find people in the media looking for stories that relate to my book.  We have done numerous radio interviews and been reviewed in several publications as well as online book clubs.  It is important for authors to seek out publicity on their own because no one cares for your project more than you.

Our second book debuting May 2011 is titled Ain’t No Sunshine – Men Reveal The Pain Of Heartbreak.  Thirty-eight anonymous men were generous enough to really expose their deepest feelings about lost love and what we found is, these stories also provide insight into how they view love in general.  The stories have opened our eyes about how men process love and rather than it being a sad book, it has turned out to be most insightful.  We anticipate a lot of conversation about the content.  One thing we will do differently is stay out of bookstores.  With our first book, we were in many local independent stores.  We did realize some success with sales but not enough to justify doing it again and have found more success in online promotion.

Because the Internet allows you to reach a global audience, we approach bloggers who review our specific genre as well as reaching out to book clubs across the country.  It is a fantastic way to get our books in to the hands of our exact target audience.  So far the experience has proved successful.

Even though our books are non-fiction, I believe it is important to blog.  Blogging provides another way to allow people to get a sense of who you are and what you’re doing.  It is important to sell your product but also to sell yourself.  As a sales person, I learned that lesson.  When people like you, and what you stand for they are more likely to check out your work.

The self publishing wave is at the very beginning.  It is an exciting time and all of the authors involved are the ones setting the standards and paving the way.

My career as an author has been thrilling. I have had the opportunity to meet interesting people and, with the use of social media, I have been able to reach more than I ever could have  just a few years ago.

If you would like more information on our books, please visit our website arkstories.com.

Every Journey Begins With a Step

14 Mar

Walking in This World, Chapter 1: Discovering a Sense of Origin

It is fitting that the book we are working through together is called Walking in This World, because this is a journey.   And we Chicks are walking it together.  We have taken both the first step and now the second step on our new path.  The first is: we began the book.  We read the first chapter and we met to discuss it.   The second is: we captured our chat on video.  

Now, our challenge is to complete the tasks in each chapter, and blog about them.  So, here goes:

I completed the first task, which Julia Cameron entitled “What the Hell, You Might As Well”.  The assignment was to write a list of 20 small, creative actions I could take.  The idea is that we get stuck sometimes and begin feeling powerless. To remind ourselves that we always have options and can do many things, it may help to write a list such as this. 

It’s just a list.  No commitment!  But when did my discomfort set in?  When did I have to begin reminding myself It’s okay!  You’re not committing to do this.  You’re just writing about possibilities…?  As soon as I set pen to paper.  I started anyway. 

Then the fear set in.  What if someone reads this?  They’ll think some of these are stupid!

I kept writing anyway.

After #10 I really started struggling.  What?!  I’m only halfway there?  I can’t think of anymore!

I did anyway.

After #15 I was finally starting to get the hang of it.  I slid into home. #20. Piece of cake.

Looking at the list now, I see a lot of things I will do – practice piano, make something new for dinner, play around editing old photos.  But my favorite action is #12: color outside the lines.  For me, this would be the hardest one of all because it goes against my nature.  My need for order and control and aesthetics.  Maybe I should do it.  Just because I can.

Creative Journeys Start Here: Join the Chick Chat

6 Mar

The 4 Chicks Chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of CreativityChapter 1: Discovering a Sense of Origin

The Chicks met at Eva’s pool to discuss the first chapter of their latest creativity guidebook, just like they did before with Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.  They’re videotaping their discussions of each chapter and posting them, so that you can be a virtual part of the discussion, too.

It takes the Chicks about a month to cover each chapter.  Here’s how it works:

  1. The 4 Chicks read a chapter.
  2. The Chicks meet and discuss the chapter.
  3. Over the next month or so, the Chicks do the tasks in the chapter and blog about it along the way.
  4. You’re invited to do the same and/or comment on the blog, sharing your own experiences and Chick Stories.

So join in as the 4 Chicks share their creative challenges, insecurities, learnings, joys, and above all, laughter.  And now, welcome to the first Chick Chat.

Another Baby Step

22 Feb

Paper, scissors, tape--voila! This miniature comp was part of today's baby step towards becoming a published author.

I spoke to The Muse on the phone again this morning.  Well actually, I spoke with Bob Ostrom, the very talented and personable man who is illustrating my first children’s book.  Now that Bob’s completed all thirteen sketches, he and I discussed our respective feelings on colors.

First children’s book?  Feelings on colors?!  Yes, I’ve died and gone to heaven.  Evidently heaven feels a lot like Kindergarten.  Even so, I wouldn’t have stepped foot into this classroom if not for my fellow Chick, Eva.  She literally pushed me into it.  After enduring years of my incoherent ramblings about IT (the would-be novel), it was Eva who made me enter the Nature Made Sleep Bedtime Stories Contest and became my biggest e-promoter as well.  Then came the thousands of votes for “Addie and Ollie” from my amazing friends and friendly supporters, for whom I remain most grateful and without whom I would not have won.

Winning has been a much-needed boost to my long-lost sense of worth.  The $7,500 prize money was my first “paycheck” since becoming a stay-at-home mom, a fact not unnoticed by my hard-working, left-brained husband.  Yet having my story brought to life by Lulu.com has been the greatest prize by far.  Collaborating with a professional illustrator is creatively exhilarating.  I feel validated as a (dare I type the word?) writer.

“It’s only a little poem,” the anti-muse inside my head would have me believe.  Maybe so.  But The Muse reminds me that every creative journey, whatever the scale, is made of baby steps.  We set one wobbly but hopeful foot in front of the other.  And eventually, we learn to walk.

The Longest Pregnancy

18 Feb

At 760 days, the African elephant holds the record for longest gestation period among all mammals.  Until now; until I began attempting to write a book.

The Muse was definitely present at conception of the story, using a rainy day on a cruise day at port in “New Providence” to seduce me to a pirate museum.  That was almost five years ago.

The first trimester, consisting mostly of research and idea-storming, lasted at least as long as the elephants’ entire pregnancy.  So here I am, still in the second trimester of writing in earnest.  Three more years and a hundred or so pages later, and my primary heroine still has yet to be born.

Yes, I had another kind of baby in between (the kind that screams for attention far more vocally).  Yes, I’ve been homeschooling my older child as well.  And yes, I have many more valid and convenient excuses for not carving out more time for my “third child,” as I call IT.

Hence have I remained adrift in the very chapter in which the aforementioned character is to be born.  I edit; I ponder; I have lots of fun with Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.  And still I linger before childbirth, perhaps paralyzed by the fear of what will happen if she ever does actually come out of the womb.

Yet perhaps this blog is serving its first noble purpose already: to inspire us Chicks to make progress on our creative projects.  Just knowing that my three beloved compeers alone are watching is motivating.  If anyone else happens to stumble upon our humble blog, even more so.  At any rate, I feel now acutely the restless, impatient irritability that means I need to write.

And so, precious Muse, I am going to the page and asking you to please meet me there.  Please vanquish my fear and help deliver this baby.

%d bloggers like this: