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A Shopaholic Finds Love: Behind the Scenes of GAINING INTEREST

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Can’t resist a sale?
Have a budget, but rarely stick to it?
Do store clerks know you by zip code?
Does your credit card have a name: Maxed Out?
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. The holidays are a season of giving, but for shopaholics they’re the equivalent of an alcoholic at a beer keg party—temptation everywhere. Sales, discounts, buy one get one free, layaway…all to the tune of holiday music. It was during one holiday season when I came up with the premise for GAINING INTEREST.

A close friend of mine had just spent over $600 dollars on clothes she didn’t need (and couldn’t afford). I convinced her to take all the items back and cancel her store credit card. I then went to the library and read Julia Cameron’s MONEY DRUNK, MONEY SOBER and bought it for her and another friend of mine. The other friend, who happened to spend more on clothes than on food and rent, read the book and said that it didn’t pertain to her…oooookay.Read More

Mr. Darcy’s Proposal author Susan Mason Milks

I’d planned on making this another 3 Quick Questions post, but as I learned more about debut author Susan Mason Milks and her new release MR DARCY’S PROPOSAL, I knew I couldn’t stop at three. Jayne Ann Krentz first brought her to my attention on her Facebook page and when I discovered Susan was a Jane Austen fan like myself (Ms. Austen was a big influence on THE DAUGHTERS OF WINSTON BARNETT) I had to talk to her. Enjoy!
About the book

Mr. Darcy’s Proposal

Available in both print and eBook formats!

This retelling of Pride and Prejudice asks “what if” events prevented Fitzwilliam Darcy from proposing to Elizabeth Bennet that day at Hunsford parsonage? Darcy arrives with marriage on his mind, only to find that Elizabeth has just received news her father is critically ill and probably dying. In the process of offering his help to her in traveling home, he discovers what she really thinks of him—and it’s not good. Should Darcy deliver Elizabeth home to be with her family and then disappear from her life, or will he propose another kind of help? Will Elizabeth be willing to sacrifice her future happiness to save her family from financial ruin? Or, do she and Darcy, two very stubborn people, have a chance of finding happiness together?

 The Questions

The first time you read Pride and Prejudice in eighth grade you weren’t impressed. Why?

I’ve thought about this quite a bit, and I can’t really come up with a good answer. I do remember that my first impression of Darcy was much the same as Elizabeth’s. Ironically enough, I must have let my impressions prejudice me against the book – and of course, that’s just what the book is about. If you’re familiar with Austen’s work, you may remember that First Impressions was her original title for Pride and Prejudice.

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The Dairyman and the Gentleman

It was a rainy day in Seattle when I first saw him. I’d planned on reading that day, but my aunt’s dog had chewed up one of my favorite books and I was in a rather foul mood. So I turned on the TV and a man walking with a lame horse appeared on the screen. He was talking to me about his town of Anatevka and the traditions there. Soon I got to meet his wife Golda and his five daughters: Tzeitel, Hodel, Chava, Sphrintze and Bielke.

I watched the movie Fiddler on the Roof transfixed. I was ten, but I knew these people. I knew this man. I knew his connection to tradition, faith and family; his sufferings and hopes. I could relate to his thirst for knowledge and riches. The fact that he was Russian, Jewish, and poor meant nothing to me because on the most basic level–the human level–I could relate.

Tevye and his family taught me about life. Their story about grappling with identity and change was something I, a child of immigrants, could identify with. From early childhood I was told about the importance of our family name and listened to the many stories of my grandparents and their grandparents. I had a responsibility to keep the family name from shame. I know that to some this is a foreign concept, especially in America, which prides individuality over anything else.  In Fiddler on the Roof I saw the daughters struggle with trying to deal with individual identity versus family identity, something I dealt with growing up and saw all around me especially among other immigrant families we knew. When I read the stories in Tevye the Dairyman and Tevye’s Daughters on which the movie is based, I was heartbroken by the stark realities of their lives (outright depressed sometimes).

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Artists are Weird, but Writers are Crazy: Tortoise versus Hare

Please note that this series is written in fun. If you don’t like hints of sarcasm and hyperbole don’t read this series. If you find the title offensive, don’t read this series. However, if you understand that this is a great time to be a writer of fiction and feel like a lone happy person in a tsunami of fear, read on.

In a previous post I described how many writers have been brainwashed into thinking that the pace in which they produce their work matters. Today I’ll talk about a different type of pace: Sales! Many writers have been brainwashed into thinking that fast sales mean a book is good, while slow sales mean a books bad. So:

Crazy Lesson #4

Artists create and sell at their own pace. Writers believe they have to write slow, but sell fast.

Velocity is a publishing buzz word and a critical component in the traditional publishing model, which has to deal with limited shelf space in brick and mortar stores. Velocity sales equal books that sell fast within the first several weeks. Selling fast means a book has a chance to hit a bestseller’s list (which focuses on the short term life of a book, not the long term), or helps convince a book store to keep a particular title stocked. In traditional publishing, fast sales have been translated to mean that a book is alive and worthy of attention and support; slows sales mean that a book will be pulled from the shelves and remaindered or destroyed and, worst yet, the author is dropped if they produce too many slow selling books.

In traditional publishing, books are looked at as perishable products like milk and yogurt, with sell by dates. This thinking forced authors to believe that their books could spoil if they didn’t sell at a certain pace.

Gone are the days when an author could grow their audience and skill. Gone are stories of authors like Jack Higgins who wrote twenty-some books before hitting it big with The Eagle Has Landed or Nora Roberts who wrote nearly 60 romance novels over 10 years before hitting the New York Times list.

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