01 October 2017

Those Black Wings -- on sale for 99 cents!

Those Black Wings is getting some good reviews, which I appreciate very much.



"I freaking LOVED this book! I picked it up thinking it would be a good read and I was floored with just how good it was. I loved the portrayal of an unhealthy relationship and all that went with that. The characterization was spot on. I loved Kay, and I loved her story and how she went through everything. I was hooked from the first page, and went head-first into a complete and utter adoration of the words in this story. It's something every teen should read, and a lot of adults too. It was amazing and well told and I just can not say enough good things about this book! I'd give it more than five stars if I could!"

"Really, 4 1/2 stars, rounded up, because it was NOT an easy-to-read story; there were times when I had to take breaks from it because it was quite uncomfortable for me to read; yet the whole time I felt compelled to finish it & knew I would get back to it. Now, I am glad that I did & I totally appreciate the way Ms Cordell concluded the book; I felt that she resolved the issue well - not a fairytale ending, but realistic. And, wow. I think it's really important for stories like this to be told. I particularly liked where Kay opens up about what's happening & when she researches online about the situation - I thought that was really important for her and for us (as readers) to get the message that no one is alone in this. Thank you, Ms Cordell, for an engaging & intense reading experience; I look forward to reading more of your work!"

"There are so many levels of abuse and some that aren't spoken of. In this emotionally hard read, suicide, the threat of it, is used as a form of abuse to keep Katy captive. This isn't something that is spoken of highly but it is so real. This author handles the topic skillfully. The angst and pain and consequences are real and that makes this book a must read."

 Those Black Wings is on sale for 99 cents -- but only for a week. Pounce on it while you can.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZYRYVXD/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

21 September 2017

soooooo tired

I've been doing overtime at work, and it's just solid proofreading all day, so I've been mainlining caffeine to stay awake. I'm really zonked this evening but I'm waiting to pick up the kid from marching band, so I thought I'd give the world a holler and let you-all know I'm still alive.

I have a ton of stuff I want to do but haven't been doing much of it. At this time I'm working on a book about Japanese beetles -- #8 in the Easy-Growing Gardening Series -- and I need to do a little work on Wandering Stars, which is book 2 of the White Oak Chronicles, and follows up on Outlander's Scar. Actually, it's in pretty good shape right now, so it doesn't need a whole lot of work.

I'll be taking part in a SCAVENGER HUNT next month, October 3 through 8. So stay tuned for details on that.

How is it that my head is so filled with ideas and plans and things I need to do -- but the second I sit down at a computer to write about them, they immediately vanish??

Time to go pick up the kid. Longer letter later!

04 September 2017

Outlander's Scar is 99 cents for a limited time!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075BQNHXZ

Finally the first raccoon book is out! I shouldn't call it the raccoon book in public, I suppose, but shoot, I've been calling that since forever, and old habits die hard.

Anyway, I just published this one on Saturday, after all these years -- I wrote the first draft on the way to Starksville, Mississippi, on my last day of sixth grade and the beginning of summer vacation. Of course this draft is a lot different than that one.

At any rate, I'm selling this book for 99 cents right now. I'll raise the price up to $3.49 later. Whoa guys, that's a lot of money! Well anyway, grab this puppy. I'll have the next part of the trilogy coming out here in a month or two -- Wandering Stars is pretty much ready to go, though it still has a few issues I need to work on before I'm sending it out live.

Outlander's Scar

Acorn fights like the ancient warriors – as a yearling, he doesn’t have the weight to throw around – and loves the stories of the warriors, the Qelvska, who began the line of chieftains that now rule the raccoon tribes everywhere. Power and strength are Acorn’s goals – but then Catface, the leader of the outlanders, attacks him and gave him the outlander’s bite, the mark given to raccoons cast out of their tribes. Though Acorn did no wrong, his tribe shuns him. When another raccoon steals the chieftainship and exiles Acorn, he lashes back by stealing away the sister of death, which Catface was calling forth. War brews between outlanders and tribal raccoons, and Acorn knows that the only ones that suffer will be the innocents.

03 September 2017

I have an MFAC and have been writing for over 20 years. So why am I self-publishing?

The covers I've made for the raccoon trilogy I'm going to publish. I'm a one-woman show -- writer, editor, proofreader, art director, and marketer. And I'm having a blast doing it all.

So you might be thinking, “Well Melinda, why are you self-publishing after saying, all these years, that you want to be published traditionally?” To answer that, let me show you these pictures. These are screenshots of my “Agents” file in my email account, showing all my queries that I’ve sent to agents over the last few years. (A query is how you sell your book to an agent — generally it’s a cover letter that introduces you and your manuscript, plus a sample chapter of said work.)

14141523_10157342145005048_2030043075901465842_n
If anybody has been wondering why I’ve been blue in the 2014 and 2015, the photographs will give you a little idea. (Actually, I had quite a few pages of these — more than I have shown here.) Every one of these queries ended in a rejection. My list of rejections goes back a lot farther than this. I definitely don’t know the total number of rejections I’ve gotten since I started sending out my stories in 1996. (That was my raccoon story — man, that first one was scathing!) My rejections easily number in the hundreds. I don’t want to know how many hundreds. It is possible that they’ve reached into the low thousands. I sent out a lot of stuff over those 20 years.


14141653_10157342144995048_7676418616790363340_nI tend to have a tough skin about rejection. But you know, even after I FINALLY sold the Civil War book, I thought that agents might show some interest in me — but if anything, they’ve shown less. Who knew! I just stopped writing altogether, and then I was low as could be. I’ve always written. That’s all there was to it. And when all these professionals kept telling me no no no no no no, well, I gave up. I always thought I was a writing hotshot, but I had all these guys are over here telling me I wasn’t. Maybe they were right.

Today is my one-year anniversary in self-publishing. Angel in the Whirlwind, my first self-published book, came out today last year. Today I self-published Outlander’s Scar — my 14th book. Fourteen books in one year! Something I could not have done in traditional publishing.

And I can publish whatever I want. Nobody’s telling me, “There’s no market for raccoon books/short-story collection/books about weird Civil War beards.” It’s just me saying, “Look at these Civil War beards! I’M GOING TO PUBLISH A BOOK ABOUT THEM.” And lo, it is done. I put them out there and I create the markets for them. If they don’t sell, it’s cool, I just publish another book!

What’s even cooler is that I’m not just the author, but I’m the art director and the book designer. I never knew that making covers and formatting pages was so much fun! I’ve learned how to use Canva to make ebook covers. I’m flailing around with Gimp in order to create books with front and back covers. I’m digging into different font choices that are available in MS Word to build gorgeous book interiors. (So far my favorites are Palantino Linotype, Perpetua, and Centaur.) I get all these old-timey illustrations from old gardening catalogs in the public domain on Flickr. The National Archives have digitized all these old illustrations that have been a godsend for my gardening books.

Hey honey, check out my new lawn mower!
 
It’s a very hands-on process. I’m a little nitpicky about all this but I want the work to be good and look good and be fun to read. Also, I kind of fall into a rabbit hole looking at old pics on Flickr, but dang, when I do some digging, I find the coolest pics.


OR NOT

I love writing again.

Love it.

Looove it!

Now that I’m looking into my second year of self-publishing, I am excited about writing. I’m excited about getting my stories out there. I’m excited about expanding my audience. And I’m looking forward to learning more about marketing myself, about stretching out of my comfort zone. I learn the most when I stretch myself.

I’m having so much fun, and I’m even earning money at this. I sink a little over half of my proceeds back into advertising, but I’m still in the black. And I like that I’m getting these stories out of my computer where they’ve been languishing and out into the world at last. Took me long enough!

Ha ha, this is a long post, but I figured you guys ought to know what’s going on over here. You’ll see more books from me in the next few months, since a lot of my stories have been revised and polished to the moon and back. (Maybe that’s why the agents didn’t want them — who knows?) A lot of folks who are close friends remember my raccoon stories, including the first one, which is now Outlander’s Scar. I’ll be publishing the other two books in the trilogy — but I’ll also publish a very, very early version of Outlander’s Scar that I wrote in 1995-1996. I drew all these little spot illustrations for it when I was working nights (and going to school). It’s a very different book from Outlander — and I am totally going to publish it. Something that I could not have done with traditional publishing!

I’m also going to publish a previous version of Butterfly Chaos, which I worked on with Gary Schmidt at Hamline. I’ll probably set this up as a permafreebie, since it’s in many ways similar to Butterfly, and not as polished. At any rate, you can look forward to that one too. As well as many others!

This will be the cover photograph — that book will be called What You Can’t Take Back. Gary liked the title.
I’m looking forward whatever happens next. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope you stick around and join me for the next part of the journey.

18 January 2017

What on earth have I been up to?

To recap: My book, Courageous Women of the Civil War: Soldiers, Spies, Medics, and More came out in August of last year. Shortly after, several things happened. I was at a local author's showcase with my one book on the table, and folks I knew and admired had a whole little stack of books that they'd self-published on the table. "Well, I need to have more than one book on the table to sell!" I thought.

About the same time, one of my writing buds, C. Dennis Moore (shoutout!), showed up and told me about how he'd been self-publishing books and doing pretty well at it. I was sold.

My first book was Angel in the Whirlwind, a collection of ten short stories. Then I came out with Don't Throw in the Trowel! Vegetable Gardening Month by Month, followed by Rose to the Occasion: An Easy-Growing Guide to Rose Gardening. My latest book is Butterfly Chaos, which I wrote as my creative thesis when I was getting my master's for writing for children at Hamline University.

Due to overtime at work, I have to cut back a bit. I also want to start learning more about marketing online -- which includes these newsletters. I do want to publish a Perennials book before spring, though.



So what is Butterfly Chaos about?

Three months after her cousin Toni died, Cassie is still reeling. Toni's best friend now ignores her in the halls. Cassie's cousin is dating the girl who torments her in gym. And Cassie has maybe a teeny-tiny crush on the boy who found Toni in the river.Then Toni's ghost visits Cassie and reveals that in two nights, a powerful EF3 tornado will rip into a dance hall, killing those three kids.Cassie sets out to keep everyone from going to the dance. As she argues and cajoles (and stockpiles minor munitions to clear the building, just in case) she uncovers stories about her friends' connections with Toni - and all the reasons they refuse to skip this awesome dance. Why does everyone have to be so bullheaded! Despite everything Cassie does to change their destiny, they find themselves directly in the killer tornado's path. In those last moments as the tornado bears down on them, Cassie must find a rock to cling to as the whole world is torn to pieces around her.


Thanks for joining me this early in the game. I hope to make it worth your while.

09 December 2016

"ROSE TO THE OCCASION" NOW AVAILABLE & IS FOR SALE

Dang, I am happy to see this one finished. Charles Anctil, Master Rosarian with the American Rose Society, and personal buddy, has looked over the manuscript and made recommendations, all of which I followed, so I have his stamp of approval on this book.

 
Roses are the Queen of Flowers. They’re beautiful, fragrant, and elegant – and roses require all the pampering of a real Queen, don’t they? Actually, they don’t! Rose gardening can be easy and pleasant.

I’ve worked 25 years in horticulture and cared for over 300 roses when I was municipal horticulturist. I found ways to keep gardening fussbudgetry to a minimum while growing vigorous roses that bloomed their heads off. This book shares tricks and shortcuts that rosarians use, plus simple ways you can keep up with your to-do list in the rose garden.

Roses are filled with romance, history, color, and fragrance. Grow some. It is worth it.

Rose to the Occasion: An Easy-Growing Guide to Rose Gardening, is available in paperback here at CreateSpace.

You can also grab a paperback copy of Rose to the Occasion at Amazon. Check out that snazzy cover, by the way.



I am now trying to re-format the text so I can publish it on Kindle with all new (color!!) awesome pics. I'm trying to use code this time around so I can get good, predictable results, and also have a book that works well across all ebook formats. (Once I figure out the best way to do this, I'll be reformatting the Vegetable Garden book. It looks nice on some formats but on other platforms it's a mess.)

Up next: One of my buds is making a cool cover for Butterfly Chaos. I still need to upload the story into a CreateSpace template and get that show on the road. Alas, my life is such that I'm doing about 23 things simultaneously -- so be patient with me!


13 August 2016

New website!

I have a new website, guys! Still a few bugs that I need to work out (i.e. the page for ordering books is not going to be live until I iron out shipping and tax details) but I'll get 'em as I go.

Go visit me here!

07 July 2016

Good review on the Cannonba!! Civil War blog

Frances Clayton in her cavalry uniform. She was a badass.

GUYS! Take a look at this review for my book. Scott L. Mingus Sr., Civil War author (dang, he has a lot of books to his name), says good things about my book, Courageous Women of the Civil War: Soldiers, Spies, Medics, and More.

He writes, "Cordell has effectively used primary source documents, as well as period accounts of battles, events, and the sociopolitical climate to craft this well-written, fast-paced collection of individual stories, which she places in their proper historical context."

I am very much relieved to hear this from a proper Civil War historian. Careful scholarship and a good understanding of the age was crucial to me, because I have an eye toward the adult market as well as the YA market -- and remember, I was most recently a horticulturist and then a proofreader, with no schooling whatsoever in writing history! I'm glad my book as passed the test so far.

Mr. Mingus wraps up the review with these lines: "This is sure to be a popular seller among teens who are looking to learn more about the role women played in the Civil War and, hopefully, will cause several readers to seek a deeper understanding through perusing some of the more comprehensive works that Cordell suggests as further reading. The author is to be complimented for a job well done in this fine new book, which she dedicated to her late father, a combat engineer in Vietnam."

That last clause might have made me a little bit teary-eyed.


 A thousand heartfelt thanks to Mr. Mingus for his excellent review.

05 July 2016

Up next on "Pimp Your Headquarters"

Are you encamped a million miles from nowhere and need a photo frame? Use hardtack for that natural look! Will keep your picture protected in a shatterproof (very shatterproof) frame. Your decorating flair will be the envy of the camp! And if the supply trains get captured by Stonewall Jackson and you are reduced to half-rations, simply eat the frame. It never spoils!

Hard-tack! Hard-tack! Hard-tack!

Fun fact about hardtack -- These hard crackers (also called tooth-breakers) really do last a long time. At the end of the Civil War, all the hardtack that had not been used was put into storage -- then issued as rations during the Spanish-American War, 33 years later. Mmm-good.

03 July 2016

New review from Publisher's Weekly!

Loreta Janeta Velazquez, "whose life (under numerous aliases) as a mustachioed soldier, spy, and thief reads like a picaresque narrative."

From the review

"Cordell provides both a general understanding of the varied roles of women at the time and how the individuals she profiles (photographs of whom appear throughout) relied on their ingenuity, bravery, and integrity to survive and even thrive during a turbulent chapter in American history."

Their description of Loreta Janeta Velazquez made me chuckle. I'm liking these reviews very much. Well, so far, so good!

27 June 2016

Harriet Jacobs -- Author, Aid Worker, Abolitionist


Harriet Jacobs in 1894. This is the only known portrait of her. Used with permission.
A lot of folks haven't heard of Harriet Jacobs, and that's just wrong -- they should hear about her. Born into slavery, Harriet escaped from her so-called "master" and hid in her free grandmother's house, in a tiny space only 9 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 3 feet tall. Her grandmother's house was under constant surveillance after Harriet's escape, and Harriet seldom was able to leave that tiny space -- so there she stayed, for seven full years.

She suffered health problems for the rest of her life due to her years of living in the cramped room. Harriet later said, “It is painful for me, in many ways, to recall the dreary years I passed in bondage. I would gladly forget them if I could.”

Harriet finally got a chance to escape to the north, a perilous journey, where she found employment. Harriet wrote a book about her experiences: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, under the name of Linda Blair. This has been the only known example of a slave narrative written by a woman. "I want to add my testimony to that of abler pens to convince the people of the Free States what slavery really is," Harriet wrote. "Only by experience can any one realize how deep, and dark, and foul is that pit of abominations."

When I came across Harriet's story, I very much wanted to write about her, but most of her personal history -- which takes in a lot -- happened before the Civil War. My book was supposed to be about people during the Civil War. So what was Harriet doing then?

Online sources tended to focus on her life up to the time of the war, but mentioned that she was doing relief work in Alexandria, Virginia. There you can find an amazing story that is all but ignored.

When Harriet went to the city in late 1862, the situation was dire.

As slaves escaped from the south, they fled north. Alexandria, Virginia, which was occupied by Union troops, was considered Union territory, and fugitives who fled here would not be returned to their traitorious "masters" in the south.

But often slaves fled with little more than the clothes on their backs. Old men and women, children, and babies were among these refugees. Once they reached freedom, many had nowhere else to go -- no jobs, no families, no place to live -- with winter coming on, and temperatures falling fast. 

“Very many have died from destitution. It is impossible to reach them all,” Harriet wrote. The Union barracks, called Duff’s Green Row, was crowded with people, many of whom had measles, diphtheria, scarlet fever, and typhoid. There was little medicine and no medical staff at the barracks to comfort the sick and dying, though as many as ten people died every day. Harriet wrote. “I did not meet kindly, sympathizing people, trying to soothe the last agonies of death. Those tearful eyes often looked up to me with the language, ‘Is this freedom?’”

She found people "packed together in the most miserable quarters, dying without the commonest necessities of life.” Some former slaves lived in an old foundry that hardly had a roof. “The sick lay on boards on the ground floor; some, through the kindness of the soldiers, have an old blanket. I did not hear a complaint among them. They said it was much better than it had been.”

Imagine living in a roofless old building in the middle of winter, sick and maybe with a blanket -- and saying you'd prefer this to your former life.

Every day, Harriet would check to see how many had died over the last 24 hours. One morning, when looking at the bodies ready for burial, she “saw lying there five children. By the side of them lay a young man. He escaped, was taken back to Virginia, whipped nearly to death, escaped again the next night, dragged his body to Washington, and died, literally cut to pieces.” The master’s rope was still wrapped around the man’s ankles; she cut off that hateful thing. “I could not see that put into the grave with him,” she said.

She grieved for the refugees, because none, not even the little children, would receive the dignity of the burial rites that even the poorest dead were given. “There they lie, in the filthy rags they wore from the plantation. Nobody seems to give it a thought.”

Harriet went among families with smallpox, walked among the dying, helped mothers in childbirth, found clothes for the people who needed them. Her work was best exemplified in the teachings from the Sermon on the Mount:

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

More here in the next few days ....

21 June 2016

10 June 2016

MAYBE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE MY NEW BOOK.

BECAUSE I HAVE A NEW BOOK AND I MADE IT MYSELF AND IT IS PRETTY AWESOME.

I am not biased at all! Not in the slightest!!

OMG I MADE THIS with lots of help from graphic designers and people with supernatural powers
 

I have a copy of the actual book at home but I don't have the pics for my book on this computer so I will have to make a separate post and add exclamation marks to it.

It's due out on August 1st but if you preorder my book today, you can have that all done and then forget you preordered it and then in August you can be pleasantly surprised when a package shows up in the mail and it's my book. It would be like Christmas! Or whatever happy celebration day you celebrate if you are from a different faith tradition.

Here is a link to the evil empire Amazon --

and one to Barnes and Noble --

and Powell's (no pic on their site -- I hope they fix it soon)

and from Chicago Review Press (my publisher, yo).

REVIEWS
and from some really incredible folks, to boot.
 
“These women faced down the guns of the enemy, or the disdain of the surgeons, at the same time they were facing down the racial and gender prejudices of their society. The research in this book is very good, and the selection of biographies is excellent—a nice mix of both well-known and obscure heroines.” 
—DeAnne Blanton, coauthor of They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War
 
“Much of what Melinda Cordell presents here is new, often persuasive, always interesting, and testifies to the desire of women of the war era to play their part in their nation’s greatest moment.” 
—William C. Davis, author of An Honorable Defeat, Breckinridge, and Battle at Bull Run

"The impressive research and impeccable storytelling brings these amazing women to life on every page. I loved so many things about this new volume in the Women of Action series, the sidebars, the thorough background information, and most especially the riveting stories of the female soldiers, spies, and nurses so rarely written about in Civil War history accounts. What a contribution to women’s history and an inspiration to young and older women today." 
—Claire Rudolf Murphy, author of My Country Tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights

"The biographies include photos of some of the women and provide a fascinating and engaging look at their activities, motivations, trials, and later lives. Excellent, detailed backmatter adds to the volume's usefulness. A solid resource." 
Kirkus Reviews

So far, so good.

A good review in Kirkus for Courageous Women of the Civil War

How about that? The first review -- like the first bluebird of spring. At least it was a bluebird and not a Pteranodon come to tear my head off. 

I am a little bluebird.

 The review is from Kirkus, and though I've heard they can be pretty harsh reviewers, my book got an even-handed treatment and I find that a good thing.

The last sentence of the review: "The biographies include photos of some of the women and provide a fascinating and engaging look at their activities, motivations, trials, and later lives. Excellent, detailed backmatter adds to the volume’s usefulness. A solid resource."

Here is the full review. O happy day!
 

24 March 2016

Trigger fingers in mittens!

I have a little throwaway line in my book, Courageous Women of the Civil War, about when the women of both sides rushed to prepare their soldiers for battle in the early days of the Civil War. Women knitted all kinds of goods for the men, such as socks and mittens. But Quaker women, who were against violence, knitted mittens for the soldiers -- without a trigger finger.

When I first ran across this fact, I couldn't figure out what they meant. But it makes sense that the mittens that the soldiers wore would have to deal, somehow, with that trigger finger.

So a little online searching lead to this:

(The pattern is from World Turn'd Upside Down if you want to read more about this -- with actual mittens knitted from this pattern.)

Would you like your own pair? Here are directions!

Peterson’s Magazine, February 1862, Vol. XLI, p. 176.

TO KNIT A MITTEN WITH ONE FINGER. – Cast on three needles sixty-four or more stitches according to the size desired, and knit about two inches of ribbing; then, at the middle of one of the needles, bring in the thread to make an eyelet to begin the widening for the thumb; then knit one round, knitting in that stitch; on the next round, make an eyelet on each side of the first one, and so on every second round, making the eyelet to the right or left of the previous one, widening until about seventeen holes are made on each row; then, take off all these extra stitches on a string, cast on five or six stitches and knit one round, narrow one stitch at each end of the cast-on stitches, and again at the second round; then, knit until time to make the finger, and take off on a string one-fourth of the stitches, dividing them equally on each side of a line with the thumb, cast on four or five stitches to make room between the fingers, knit one round, and narrow one at each end of the cast-on stitches, knit as long as you wish the mitt, then narrow and finish. Thumb – Put on the stitches from the string, fasten the thread at the right hand side, knit on until you come to the cast-on stitches, take up like for the heel of a stocking, knit one round; then narrow at each end of the cast-on stitches until the thumb is reduced to the size desired, knit until long enough and finish. Finger – Take up the stitches off the string, narrow one or more stitches, knit as long as the mitt.

Knit purlbus unum.





24 February 2016

So I finally broke up with this guy for good back in 1990. Thank God. I managed to escape to a place where he couldn't find me, and lived many blissful years away from him. But six years ago, he found me again -- and ever since, he's made himself at home in my social media. He doesn't comment -- but he is always looking at me. Watching. Staring. Like he can't get enough of me.

That's nice, but annoying as this is, I have work to do here.  So I told my friends about this and asked their advice.

I have the best friends in the world.

"It's people like this that I wish could be Jedi mind-tricked...or punched in the gonads until they go away. Sigh."

"Sadly, it comes to this: Either go about your business as you normally would, monitoring where you post to keep the comments section jerk-free, or you hide. Forever. To the detriment of your readers, friends, bank account, and self-esteem. Don't hide. Post away. Blog, tweet, FB--whatever you have to do to sell books, strengthen your brand, and live your life. But do not let some piece of shit you haven't seen since the first Bush administration keep you from getting what you need. Fuck that fool."

"Ugh, what a creep. Block him wherever you can, mute him or whatever is easier, and pretend he doesn't exist. The best thing you can do is thrive. Go about your business and talk about your work at your highest level. You now have people who know about this guy, people who will show up to defend if he pops up in comments sections being obnoxious. URGH. You be so successful it makes him ROT INSIDE (is it wrong to feel that way? I DON'T CARE)."

"As someone who dealt with this type of situation in the past I can only suggest that you do what you need and want to do when and where you choose to do it. Creeps like that depend on their mind game tactics to intimidate you. Do not let him get away with it! Ignore him for the rest of your life. Pretend he does not exist. You are a strong woman now and not the young girl he knew and tried to dominate. Take control of your life and live it to the fullest. Don't give him permission to intimidate you for another second!"

"Want me to kick his ass?" "I will be your wingman."

"Sounds like you are getting some pretty good advice. I say go about life and enjoy it to the fullest. Post, blog, tweet promote your book. Block him where you can. However, it doesn't hurt to be prepared. I heard on the news that there is a conceal and carry class for women happening soon. Maybe a self defense class. It would build your confidence and ease your mind."

"I think you might be doing the most effective thing. Let people know. Calmly, factually shine the light on it, and don't take on any personal shame over something that is absolutely no kind of comment on you. I do not offer to whip his butt (in large part because I am not much at butt-whipping), but I do offer to laugh derisively at his pathetic, ridiculous self."

"You can't fix the mentally ill, only how you respond to them. Borderline personality - or narcissistic. Either way - the more you engage - the more they feed off of it."

Thus my awesome friends. This is only the tip of the iceberg, too -- there are a lot more comments, all of them saying the same things.

**********

And so here you are ... again.

I hope this is exactly what you've been looking for, in all your many trips to my blogs and all my other social media, over the past six years. Approximately one visit per week for six years!!!! ETA -- Actually more than that. It took you, what, six hours to figure out that my FB was blocked?

Gosh, that's not creepy at all, no. 

You go on and live your life. I have work to do. 

And if you stalk any other women, leave off them too. 



15 June 2015

Writing effectively is like using artillery effectively.

"It is the same with strategy as with the siege of a fortress: Concentrate your fire against a single point, and once the wall is breached, all of the rest becomes worthless and the fortress is captured."

-- Napoleon Bonaparte

11 June 2015

Tricked by jelly beans.

What I hate is when I pick three black jelly beans out of the Jelly Belly jar in the mailroom, and the last one turns out to be coffee flavored. Gaah!

Happy rainy Thursday to you. And now, back to deadline work.

18 May 2015

Getting close to deadline.

Less than one month until deadline! On that day the book must be delivered to the publisher -- photos, stories, source notes, bibliography, glossary, front and back matter, and intros. ALL of it.

It's getting done, slowly but surely. I keep printing out finished stories to add to my stack o' manuscript, which is slowly growing into a complete draft. I've been marking it up a little as I go, but will save the lion's share of the work for when I get the WHOLE THING written. Which will be cutting it pretty close to deadline, admittedly. But this is not the time to panic about that.


Just cultivating a sense of slow and steady purpose -- and a lot of hard work. I'm trying to maintain that sense of urgency and I hope I don't get to where I burn myself out. I keep thinking of how good it will feel to have the last story printed and added to that stack. I can do it. It is going to get done.

And I have to remember that it will not be perfect. There will be a lot of dumb spots in there. It can't be helped. I can't let that paralyze me.

Just breathe. One of the writing bosses I worked with at Hamline told me, "Persevere." I think that's damned good advice.

15 May 2015


"I stepped out of Mississippi when I was ten years old
With a suit cut sharp as a razor and a heart made of gold
I had a guitar hanging just about waist high
And I'm gonna play this thing until the day I die."