Tag Archives: Sunday Synopsis

Sunday Synopsis


Today we have sunshine and temperatures are back in the mid-seventies, after a week of pouring rain and overcast skies. I know you people under snow and gray skies for months hate us. We really don’t have the tolerance that you do. We are weak and pitiful in ways you don’t relate to.

Last night we had dinner with some snowbird friends of ours, a couple from Nebraska. The lady tells me she read my book and liked it. She said it was sad and rather Gothic. I agreed with her that it is a poignant story, but ends on a very sweet note. She didn’t say anything. (I wonder if she read the final conclusion chapter.) There was a long, painful pause. Then she says, “At least you had the courage to put it out there.” I didn’t know quite how to take that….the “At Least…” part. Sort of gave me the idea that she felt it amateurish. I am probably reading more into it, because of my own personal insecurities. I still think I need to practice how to speak to people about my book…not selling it…not marketing the book, or encouraging others to read it, but how I respond to them when they share with me that they have read it. The lack of eye contact made me somewhat uncomfortable.  Geez, was she just being nice?

She asked about reviews. Of course, I had to tell her about my four and five star reviews…I was defensive to a certain degree. She seemed a bit surprised at the good reviews.  Said, “That’s interesting.” That made me feel worse, and I realized I should have stopped while I was ahead, sort of. “Not everybody is going to like what you write!” I reminded myself.

About my goals from last week, my excuse is the same for most of them. It was raining, so I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t get the oil changed in my car. I didn’t get out and peddle my books. I didn’t schedule my sensory deprivation chamber experience.  We did not make it to the antique mall in Mt. Dora, but we did find a Spirograph for the granddaughter on Amazon. She has a birthday coming up in three weeks. Any suggestions?

I did, being a recluse in the house, manage to get quite a bit of writing done. I also went back over the last few chapters and moved some paragraphs around. I write in stream of consciousness style. Sometimes my mind wanders. That might be a bipolar thing, but as I read over what was written, I found paragraphs that needed to be rearranged for better sequential flow from childhood to teenage events. It reads fine now. I am quite satisfied with it. There is one thing that I am seeing again. It is going to start out a sad story, and there is really nothing to be done about that. That is how it is.

Brainstorming with the beautifully minded and warm-hearted spirit, Ionia Martin of Readful Things blog, I have a better sense of how this novel and its main character will evolve to achieve a sense of redemption and achievement on a most positive note. That is a good thing and will lead to a most satisfying ending. I was about to take my character on a journey that I really wasn’t happy with and now I feel stronger and much more pleased with the moral of the story. Healing through helping others heal is the pathway we are taking. Thank you, Ionia, for be who you are, and for having time for me in your outrageously busy and full life.

This week I will revisit last week’s goals and hopefully make some progress. I will also be writing, and writing, and writing. I am planning a Goodreads Giveaway that I will announce formally when the Goodreads people approve it.

Sunday Synopsis

Missed my Sunday Synopsis last week.  As late as it is getting to be, I almost missed this one and this week I have no excuse. (Guess I did miss it. It was before midnight when I started writing this.)

I have been a bad blogger this week, but it is not because I am not writing, to the contrary, I have vested a good 5000 words into this new project this week and that is half as far as I got into the last one in four months. The crime novel is parked and this new work is spilling over from my brain. I have a rough outline and the chapters have already formed in my brain from beginning to end. Now, it is a matter of getting the words down on paper.

I can’t do the NaNoWriMo style of writing a thin story from beginning to end, then going back to heavily edit. I finish a chapter and then I have to go over and over it until I get it just right. I want the researched details there. I want the voice of the characters established without too many words. Personality is what I work with as the plot develops so I don’t want to wait four chapters in to flesh out character profiles. There is some history to develop these personalities, but the bulk of the back story will come out as the story unfolds.

The point is, I am writing. It is flowing well and I like where it is going. I had to add some physical violence to my gunshot scene to make it more realistic and believable. I had not intended for things to get that dark in the beginning but that is where it needed to go.

Enough about that.

In 1952, I learned from my research, Milledgeville State Hospital, a gigantic institution, the largest in the world, housed more than 11,000 patients committed from every section of the state of Georgia. A facility designed to care for “idiots, lunatics, epileptics, and the insane.”  To put that into perspective, there were 36 counties in GA with a smaller total population in 2010, and over 100 in 1950 with a smaller population. Milledgeville was one of three state run facilities.

That speaks volumes to the society’s level of intolerance.


Carted away.


Locked up.

To be cared for by, “People more capable.” To be treated, medicated, mistreated, and possibly “restored.” Electrocuted and lobotomized without consent. Possibly returned to their communities “restored,” months, years later, or never. There is a cemetery there that literally thousands of “unclaimed” are buried in.

We haven’t found all of the solutions yet, but we have come a long way from where we were.

I would most likely fit into the lunatic category.

Are we more or less humane?

Sunday Synopsis

If you follow this blog or know me from comments, you already know that I support the indie author & traditional authors and get excited when they share a success. Last weekend I ran a successful promo which resulted in a personal triumph which I shared with you. “Red Clay and Roses” made it to three Top 100 Best Seller lists on Amazon. We also had the collective Read Tuesday event on December 10th which may have contributed to that success. The flicker of fame burns swiftly. This weekend, despite an aggressive Facebook campaign and several smaller free and affordable advertisements, I am watching the book ease back into place. At the rate it is moving I would expect it to be back in the 100,000 range in the next couple of days.  So there is the trial.

Why am I sharing this?  Not to sound discouraging but to say that marketing is an ongoing process with ups and downs, triumphs and trials. Shameless self-promotion is a bitch, but if you don’t do it, nobody is going to do it for you. I can hope that there will be a second wave, as the book continues to sell slowly. Exponentially speaking, that would seem probable.  The sale is over and the book is back to its original price, so we will see how this goes.

Another expectation is that there may be more reviews. Many readers don’t realize how valuable these are to an author.  Not in terms of selling or not selling books necessarily, but in providing useful information from the reader audience that helps the writer to develop and grow. It lets the author know what you, as a reader, are most interested in. For example, some readers prefer a minimalist style of writing and others want details.  Some want action immediately and some want to be eased into a story.  Not all genres are the same, and not all readers share the same palate. So readers, let us know. Post reviews!

This past week everybody was sick, except me; husband, children, and grandchildren all with ear aches, flu, sore throats, colds, and sinus problems. I don’t know how I managed to avoid it, but I did. I spent most of the week running from this pharmacy to that one, babysitting, and being the nurse.

I did manage to slice my right thumb on my Christmas present: a new set of Cutco Knives. I was paring a potato, when I realized the potatoes were brilliant red.  There was no pain, not even a sting, just bright red blood. I didn’t feel a thing. For that I am grateful…I think. No stitches needed. I guess I could have lost my thumb without knowing it, so not as bad as it could have been.

We have always had our Christmas decorations up by the day after Thanksgiving until this year. I don’t yet have my tree up.  I don’t even think I’ll get around to the outdoor decorations this year.  We are having our Christmas this next Sunday evening and then everyone is going out of town.

The weeds and invasive vines have been ripped from The Jungle that is the back yard.  The landscape fabric and mulch have been laid.  Mexican heather has taken root and won’t need watering every day anymore.  The view is even nicer now from the back porch. Hibiscus, angel’s trumpet, and bird-of-paradise are in full bloom.


I have no plans or goals for this week beyond cleaning house, getting up the tree, wrapping presents, and baking red velvet cakes from scratch, using my grandmother’s cherished recipe. Sometimes it is better to go with the flow than plan anything much.

I do have a book review for you for tomorrow, so please do come back and visit.

Have a very merry pre-holiday week!

Sunday Synopsis

This has been a busy week for me even though I haven’t been blog busy.  I have also been reading a lot.

I want to introduce you to a couple of people you may or may not know. First, I am reading a book by Patrick O’Bryon titled “Corridor of Darkness”.  It is a 20th century Historical Fiction about 1930s pre-war Germany, and the coming of the Nazi era that will knock your socks off.  There is everything in this book from the thrill of espionage and suspenseful duels  to the enchantment of romance.  I will be doing a full review later this week but I would like you to do something for me. Patrick is a self-published indie author who just released his book a few weeks ago.

Go to his site and read this post about his homesteading and animal adventure in Montana.

Go ahead, and do it!  It even has pictures and humor. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I’ll wait right here. The page will open in another window.  It will only take a minute. I want to introduce you to his beautiful writing style, even if you choose not to read his whole book today.  He is a wonderful, well-traveled author and I think you might like to get to know him.

A tiny taste of a marvelously expressive writing style, huh? Don’t you agree?

Also, if you are struggling with how to get exposure or market your books, you should get to know both Charles Yallowitz, creator of The Legends of Windemere series in fantasy, and Chris McMullen, who has written many books on a variety of subjects, but most significantly, has two books on self-publishing and much information on both publishing and marketing on his site. He is also responsible for organizing the Read Tuesday promo event that debuts December 10th. The knowledge, support, and helpful expertise of these two marketing gurus are powerful.

This morning I woke up to these figures on Amazon:

“Red Clay and Roses” moved up into Best Seller Rankings and entered two more categories by the hair of the teeth.  I am so excited. I can’t say enough good things about Ereader News Today.

I still haven’t done my sensory deprivation chamber experience, but it is on my list, along with putting up Christmas lights, cleaning house, getting the tree up, having my annual pre-Christmas luncheon for my local girlfriends.  There is a lot to keep me busy this week.

Sunday Synopsis

This week has been quiet on the home front.  The quietness is possibly contributing to my blues.

I visited a former patient of mine from the pediatric extended care unit I used to work in who has been moved into a private home.  She was happy to see me, and I was surprised that she remembered me.  Grandma’s House, the unit I worked in at Orlando Health and Rehab, closed its doors and is no more.  I hated to see the children separated, and the devoted pediatric staff moved to other units.  At Grandma’s House the old folk could come visit the children every day.

I miss my kids and their families.  Speaking of my kid’s families:

I have another five star review.  I know it may strike you as odd for a book review, but it is special to me.  The review came from another patient’s mother who learned that I had written a book.  Hilda came from Puerto Rico.  She reads and understands English well, but she struggles with the spoken and written language. Hilda expressed many times how she wished she had a better grasp of the spoken and written English language.  A few years ago, before I had thought about retiring and resuming my writing, I encouraged Hilda to read to improve her language skills.  She started bringing books to the facility to read when she was visiting her son.  Obviously, she still struggles with conveying her thoughts, but it is nice to know that she is reading and that she read and liked my book.

5.0 out of 5 stars Divine, November 27, 2013


Hilda Cotto

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

Personality I know Miss. Susan, we meet at job like RN’s. Very professional, nice friend, wonderful mom. About Red Clay and Roses strong story.


That is a bit more personal than any book review I have ever read, but the fact that she took the time and made the effort to post one…well, it means the world to me.

I did not get the chance to do my sensory deprivation last week because I need to schedule an appointment.  So that is on my list for this week.

Tomorrow my yard guy is coming and we are going to lay landscape fabric and mulch in the garden on the other side of the pool.  We have already weeded around the flowers and plants, but we have to cut the fabric to fit around all of the plants and move the park bench, birdbath, and some other stonework before we can lay the fabric and mulch.

Have a happy, productive week, and read something!