Tuesday, January 24, 2017

When they go low, we go high

I’ve had a challenging few months.  My writing has taken a back seat to some major changes in my life. I haven’t had time to do much of anything except be moved along by the momentum. But now, finally, my world has transitioned from some crazy,  nausea producing roller coaster to a slightly more comfortable marginally seasick kind of reality.  But I can work with that and I’m committed to getting back to what I love doing.  
However, before I start writing  and settle back into my happy little imaginary world, there’s something on the reality front lines that I need to just say. 
Yeah.  I’m as sick of all this political stuff as you are so lets get it over with.   I’ll just lay it on the line.   I didn’t vote for Trump.  I truly wasn’t crazy about voting for Hillary, but I would have voted for a dead mouse on a stick before voting for Trump.  It has nothing to do with politics  It has everything to do with the person.  I have always had a respect for the presidency, even when the politics were not aligned with my beliefs, and I’ve never voted for a party, I’ve always voted for the person I felt was best for the job.  I could go into all of my personal reasons like; I think Trump is a liar and a master manipulator, that he is a danger to the United States, women's rights (reproductive and otherwise),  the LGBT community, people with pre-existing health conditions, our worldwide allies, the economy and the planet itself (just to name a few) but I won’t.   Its all been said and done by so many others.
What I will say is this. I am quite sure Meliana and her son Barron didn’t sign on for this.  When I look at Meliana, I don’t see a happy woman with a loving husband.  And Barron? Well he’s just a kid. He has nothing at all to do with this.  I hold no malice towards them and I think that people who are bashing them are proving themselves to be no less a bully than Trump.  
I haven’t heard enough from Meliana to know what, if anything she will have to offer as First Lady, but she deserves the chance to  make her mark. I did read somewhere that she wants to fight cyber bullying! That’s kind of like turning the screws to the hubby- especially given he has such a nasty Twitter finger...  I’d like to be a fly on the wall when she tells Trump to put down his weapon! She just may be a lot smarter than people are giving her credit for.
And yes, I’m well aware she posed naked. So what?  It was like 1995.  Pre-internet.  Is she still doing it?  Maybe it isn’t something she’s proud of now, or, maybe it is (and quite frankly, if I looked like her, instead of having a sorry resemblance to Fred Flintstone in drag, maybe I would have done the same thing!)  Didn’t we all do things years ago that we wouldn’t do now?  That we might regret?  That we grew out of?  C’mon folks. No one ever streaked the capital, or threw up out of their nose, or  got caught having high school sex in the backseat of a Volkswagen?  (yes, it can be done, but watch the shifter knob...)  Give her the benefit of the doubt.  She seems like a very dedicated mom, and probably isn’t a bad person.   
And Barron?  He should be off limits. He’s ten for crying out loud.  Leave him be.  Unfortunately the children of presidents have always been targets  The Obama's girls were, 
and I remember terrible things being said about Chelsea Clinton.  It’s not the right thing to do. It wasn’t right then, and it isn’t right now.  So don’t do it! It doesn’t get simpler than that.
So, if you are angry that Trump is the president, please stick with the issues. Because it weakens us all to be plain old mean.    
Be bigger and better.  Always.  I’ve never wanted that type of behavior to define me and on the occasions I have not been the better person, I have never once felt like I did the right thing.  
That doesn’t mean don’t fight for whats right, just do it well. Be angry. With class.  
Back to Michelle Obama.  
She is an amazing and intelligent woman. Her words... 

 “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high."

Don’t become what you despise.

Ok.  I’m off my soapbox!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's a Screenplay!

Many people, after having read “Death Is A Relative Thing” have written, or come up to me personally and said that they think the book would make a great movie.  Of course,  I agree, but where does one begin on that journey?  I’m still navigating the choppy waters of novel writing and promotion- and I’m barely finding time for that.  Screenplays, well, those are a totally different type of writing, and not one I feel I could be successful at. Or have the time to learn.

Enter Annette Barbera.  Earlier in the year I learned that Annette writes screenplays. She read my book, laughed, (whew!) saw potential, and committed to investing her time and knowledge.  A partnership was born.

And now it's so close to being finished.  I've just read it through one last time and I have to say, I love it.  She obviously has talent, because  the screenplay can make me laugh, and I know all the punchlines.

So it’s going back to Annette for a few more tweaks and then, well, I’ll be following her lead.  She has ideas about where to send it and knows protocol. I’m just so happy that this opportunity is presenting itself and I guess we'll see where this journey takes us.  It’s exciting to know that the novel now at least has a shot at getting in front of a producer who could take it to a whole other level. It’s sort of like having a bought a lottery ticket vs. not having purchased one. It’s a longshot, certainly, but we need to be in it to win it.

So I wanted to say a long overdue  'Thank You'  to Annette  for her  perserverence, and for keeping the story as true as possible given the switch in mediums.

And may we one day be watching April run a little heavenly interference on a big screen!    


Friday, August 7, 2015


I sat across from her grey haired, tiny frame.  She watched  me as  I centered the  sifter over a bowl and squeezed the handle with abandon, a white plume applauding my efforts.

One cup…two cups…three cups.
“See how I take the knife and level off the flour?  That’s why my cakes are perfect.”   She would laugh   A little sound really, for she wasn’t known to ever do anything in a  big way.  We cooked together some Sunday mornings.  Pancakes, biscuits. Cookies.

And then I blinked and she couldn’t remember how much flour she had already poured...

“Always use pinking shears for cutting fabric.  It keeps the edges from unraveling and NEVER EVER use them to cut paper.” Her bright blue eyes were sober...scissors were serious business. Her tiny fingers cut around the pattern, then sewed perfect seams- She made me clothes until I was about ten. 

It’s then that I blinked. Her eyesight was fading and her hands would shake and she just couldn’t thread a needle any longer...

“You know, It is just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man, and short stubby toes are the sign of royalty.” She would talk to me as I threaded buttons stored in an old cookie tin while she moved a yellow stepstool across the linoleum  kitchen floor, cleaning, pulling out a spaghetti bowl, making sure the plastic wrapped sofa was clean. 

I blinked and then she couldn’t walk without the help of my arm

And when I blinked again, she was gone 

My daughter was born on what would have been her 90th birthday.  A final gift that keeps her with me. 

And now, my sons who were once my babies, have their own.  Watching them,  I know  they will never be the same people they  once were.  It happened in a moment,  during that tiny sliver of time between not being a parent and falling in love for the rest of your life with a squalling, squirming, messy, noisy little thing.

 I find myself in the space my grandmother once held and I can only hope my grandchildren will remember...smiles, hugs, crochet hooks and silly songs, paints and pianos...

When they blink.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!

It’s a NEW YEAR-and so many wonderful things are happening in my life.  The biggest news is that I'm going to be a grandmother! I'm so excited- and crocheting...a lot!  I quit smoking cold turkey a week ago and I'm feeling wonderful about that and I curbed my caffeine addiction recently also.  

 Because I'm so darned happy, I'm going to kickstart it with a 25% off coupon for my e-books at Smashwords.  It’s available in all of these formats:  epub mobi pdf rtf lrf pdb txt html, so you can use it with all those new Kindles, computers and iPads you all got over the holidays!  The link to the first book “Death Is A Relative Thing” is right here http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469520 and the coupon code is YZ25L. The sequel, “Relative Identity” is also discounted.  Find it here, http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/476254 and use coupon code XA53L.  That’s a lot of laughter for only $3.74 each e-book.  The coupon is  good until Feb 01, 2015.  

Wishing you all the best for 2015.  


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Relative Identity is now available!

 Quick update.  My second book, Relative Identity is now republished! You can get it on Smashwords.com right here http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/476254 and it's also at the Kindle Store. Apple. Barnes and Noble and Kobo versions will be distributed within a week. Use the coupon at Smashwords  for 20% off. Coupon code is FJ27T. 

You can still order Death Is A Relative Thing on Smashwords with coupon code XP35F until 9/22/14.  Only $3.99 right now!  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469520.  

Enjoy and have a great day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

It's been a horrifically long time since I've updated my blog.  I can only say that for months now I have been vacillating, soul searching and trying to make some decisions about the future of my writing.  I'm happy to say,  I'm finally where I need to be.

Back in 2010, my first book "Death Is A Relative Thing" won first prize and the Editors Choice award in the Great American Novel Contest.  I was thrilled, but even more happy when TAG Publishing told me they wanted to publish the book.  They also published my second book, "Relative Identity", which was also an award winner.  They are a small print on demand publisher.  They helped me a lot, they got my feet wet in the industry, created fun cover art and did all of the million tasks I didn't want to be bothered with and truly was ignorant about like obtaining ISBN numbers, editing, formatting for print and e-pub versions, etc. For that I paid a price.  I signed over my rights to the books, shared my earnings and  lost editorial and pricing control. Of course, everyone gets a piece of the action and they did their share of work, so I never thought it was unfair. 

I started wondering though, if there was a better way.  Print on demand books are print on demand whether they are through a publisher or self published.  I started to realize that having a middleman wasn't really getting me any additional marketing exposure, in fact it was probably hurting because I couldn't call the shots, determine the platforms or decide on changes.  Having a publisher didn't change the fact that the books were not mainstream and they were always going to be a tough sell to libraries and brick and mortar bookstores. The print on demand format just doesn't fit conventional return policies or discount offerings the way large print runs do.    

I started considering self publishing before the second book came out, but I was scared.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to pull it all together, that my book would look amateurish and, worst of all, I didn't want to say that I was 'self published'.  In my world I felt that if the only person who feels I should be published was me, well then, I probably shouldn't go there.

So like I said, I've been soul searching.  I want my books to be the best they can be and I thought with a publisher that would happen, but that's wasn't my reality.  There were spelling and grammatical errors that I found embarrassing.  Some were introduced during professional editing, some were my own, but getting them fixed was difficult.  I couldn't access the files to make changes.  I couldn't decide when and if I wanted to run a promotion.  I couldn't see how many copies I had sold until months and months after the fact. Something needed to change. 

The people at TAG and I had a discussion and I got released from my contract.  Rights are now reverted back to me.  I was happy that I also received the cover art files from them, as I really didn't want to alter the look of the books now that they have been somewhat established.   But this left me with a real problem. For all intents and purposes, the books have been off market since March.  Yes, Amazon still is selling the print versions because they have some copies on hand, but the place where I have gotten the most exposure and sales has always been the e-book versions. So I have combed through the book and made small changes that were necessary.  I've added the first chapter of the second book so readers can get a little taste of what's to come. And I'm excited again.  Very. 

So that all being said, I am very pleased to announce that 'Death Is A Relative Thing' is back in e-format!  And now it's not just on Amazon for Kindle. It's for Apple and Kobo, and Barnes and Noble's Nook and Smashwords and well, really just about any reader can be utilized. 

"Relative Identity' is next.  It's almost ready to go to the wonderful people at Polgarus Studio  who formatted "Death Is A Relative Thing".  I'm anticipating about two weeks before it's online.  And I'm working on the third book in the series which is now officially dubbed "The Ghosts, Guilt and Tweezers Chronicles."  I'm working towards a January 2015 release.  I hope you spread the word and if you haven't read the first book yet, please do.  

'Death Is A Relative Thing' will be available directly from Amazon, Apple and B&N within a few days as it does take time for everyone to update their book lists, however the files for any of the readers can be purchased immediately (Yes right now!) from Smashwords.  

Sample or purchase Death Is A Relative Thing here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469520
And as a thank you for managing to read this blog in its entirety, ... I am including a  20% off coupon.  It's good for a limited time.  Order from Smashwords and use code XP35F for your discount.

After the e-book version of 'Relative Identity' comes available, I'll focus on pulling together the print versions. As much as the market is changing, I am still always going to want my books to be..well...books. I don't think I'll ever love e-reading as much as I love holding a book and turning a page, but I am becoming one of a minority. 

I'll update again when "Relative Identity" is online and now that my initial foray into the world of self publishing is behind me, I hope to find time to update this blog more regularly.  

Thanks to all- Holly   





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Revamp

Oh NO!    If you look for my books 'Death Is A Relative Thing', or "Relative Identity' over the next few months, you won't find them for purchase in either print or e-format.  But they WILL be coming back, soon!

I'm currently working with another publishing company. The downside is that the books will be off the market for a little bit.  The upside is that they will be back with new distribution channels- bookstores, libraries and e-formats other than Kindle- I'm excited about this.

Additionally, book three in the April Serao series is slated to come out sometime in the fall!  Watch for it!    

We have about twelve weeks left in the process. I'll have a better date after I've seen the galleys.  I'll keep you posted!