Friday, July 25, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Guest Author

Please give a warm welcome to my writer friend Ellen Harger. We are both members of Ozarks Romance Authors
Her newest release is an incredible book and I am honored to have her on my blog today.

A version of the blog exchange between Mrs. Jones and a mysterious man first came to me in 2007. I gravitated to the idea of the blog because it takes a while before a blogger becomes a person to the reader. At first, it's just words catching viewers in a butterfly net. With enough time, the words produce a landscape that draws the butterflies to feed.

As the story incubated, I recognized similarities to a movie, "The Shop Around The Corner" with Jimmy Stewart and the Nora Ephron modern version, "You've Got Mail." Private correspondence allows for greater sharing of a person's inner truth. 

I was also influenced by Nick Bantock's exquisite book series about a mysterious letter/postcard exchange between Griffin and Sabine. The art and mystery is exceptional and I loved removing the letters from the book to hold as I read. The simple action made me feel like I was reading love letters between two amazing people.

   I've never see The Shop Around The Corner, but I may have to rent it now. 

2. Who or what has most influenced your writing career?

I wish it was one thing but over a course of my life, many things have reminded me to write. I've loved stories since I was too young to scribble. I was an avid reader but it took years to cultivate the belief that I could write a story worth reading. However, one of the aspects I love about my family is their joy of sharing stories about each other. It doesn't matter if we've heard the tale a thousand times, we relish the telling, the cadence and execution. We laugh for hours regaling each other with well worn stories. It's magical.

   Telling stories with family is a great way to pass along our history. I think that's becoming a lost  art.  

3. Tell us a little about your next project.

I seem to be shrinking my word count because the next story will likely be a novella, titled Oak Land. I wrote the draft during my first NaNoWriMo in 2008, pollinating the daily word count like a drunk bee. The result was a memorable train ride for a young woman embracing her potential future. 

   Train rides can be magical. Think of Harry Potter or Agatha Christie. I also am a believer in NaNo.  It's a  great way to get words on paper.  

4. Is your writing area messy or organized?

Yes. I think it's a disaster but twice now I've had a party and showed curious visitors my messy work space only to be told I was crazy. But I don't like to file or shred until there's a healthy pile. And do I love my piles. What I love about my office is it's all mine. Everything in the room is about writing: a giant desk, the majority of my books, a reading chair, a giant cork board, a window and two dog beds. 

   I think it's wonderful that you have your own writing space. 

5. Now, tell us something quirky about you. 

I've always talked out loud to myself. Even after a getting caught and burning with awkwardness. I had imaginary friends as a small child so I talked for them, so now I mutter when I'm deeply engrossed. This quirk has translated well into a technique for writing dialogue. My level of commitment is best illustrated by a story. (See what I did there? Refer to question 2.) I took an acting class with a Hollywood agent/writer. She had us memorize a scene purely by listening to the exchange, no scripts. After several people successfully repeated the conversation, I took a turn and added attitude to differentiate between the two speakers. Mz Hollywood announced that I obviously talked to myself. I smiled because it's true.

   Thank you so much for letting us know a little more about you Ellen. And good luck with your current release.   

Ellen Harger, Author

Please, tip your author with a review.

An apartment fire costs everything, including the illusion of a tolerable marriage.
Gillian is depressed, her moods shifting like earthquakes raising deep, roiling anger. Convinced her friends and family won’t understand, she turns to strangers through a blog she writes as Mrs. Jones, a nondescript anyone.

Despite exposing herself on the internet, she assumes no one will notice her among millions of voices. Cathartic writing helps her to transform as she makes new friends, seeks help from a non-traditional therapist, and considers divorce.

Then a Mr. Write answers. A strange man who asks questions, who peels away the layers. Gillian finds love, but life is absurdly stubborn. She must confront her husband, Evan, before she can move on.

Also, I have a special feature to share: the blog from the novel lives. A sample can be be viewed at:

Friday, July 18, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - More Coffee Please

Illustration of a hot cup of coffee with a transparent background.


Sometimes there isn't enough coffee in the world to get me going. Do you ever feel that way? I ... just ... can't ... do ... it. This is usually the case Monday through Friday. Hmmm, could it be work related?

My co-workers are pretty good about leaving me alone until around ten o'clock. All except one. She gets up at four in the morning. Yep, you read that right. So by the time I get my sleepy self into work at eight she's been up four hours. Of course her office is located right at the entrance. And she's chipper, ready to go, and wants to discuss work stuff. Ughhh.

Fridays are usually a whole day of not wanting to do anything. I've worked all week, I'm tired and I've usually had my fill of stupid people. Plus I'm already thinking about what I'm going to write over the weekend. Ideas are swirling around my head like happy little bluebirds.

At one time I worked four ten hour days. That was wonderful. Three day weekends are perfect. Enough time to get some things done, and get some rest. Two days just isn't enough. By the way, who ever came up with a 40 hour work week? Why not 36 or 32? Why 40? Can I shoot them?

Till next time -

Friday, July 11, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Promotion Sucks

Decorative blacksmith metallurgy proverb strike while iron is hot mallet and anvil poster  illustration - stock photo

You know what I've discovered this week? There's a fine line between getting people to buy and read your book and annoying the hell out of them. 

I'm trying really hard to keep from crossing to the wrong side of that line. Of course I want people everywhere to read Beyond The Horizon. I put five years (yes, five years) of my life into it and I want it to be a success. I'm using Twitter, Facebook, and blog tours to get the word out. But, I have a feeling only my good friends are actually buying and reading it. And I have a finite number of good friends. What happens when that market is saturated? Will my baby die a slow and agonizing death? Poor baby.

And because it's an e-book only, it's really hard to track sales. There is a sales ranking on Amazon, but it's not very helpful. And my publisher hasn't released any figures yet. Maybe I'll feel better when I get that info. And maybe it really doesn't matter. 

What does really matter? I wrote a book. I got it published. Yea for me. Anything over that is icing on the cake. Although, I would be very happy if all the cake gets eaten. 

Until next week dear friends, stay safe and eat cake. 

Friday, July 4, 2014


I had this fear that I would throw a party and nobody would show up. It wasn't an unfounded fear. When my daughter turned 8, we planned a party at the local skating rink. We reserved one of the party rooms, sent out invitations, and had cake and decorations. Nobody came. I ran around like crazy calling parents and begging them to let me pick up their kids so there would be some people there for my daughter's big day. We finally managed a handful of kids. Broke my heart. So, you see, I have previous experience.

History did not repeat itself, however.

About 45 people came to my book launch party. My writer friends, co-workers, drinking buddies, and even some high school friends. It was a success by all accounts. Pictures below will attest to that. There's even a couple of videos you need to check out.

I was exhausted for several days after. All the excitement of being published and promoting myself and the party really took it out of me. But it was a good tired. Not an "I cleaned house all day" tired. Thanks to everyone who came. You guys are the best. And a big thank you to Trolley's  Couldn't have done it without your support.