Tag Archives: writer

Overdue Diligence


Procrastination is not something that is usually in my repertoire. I like to have it done yesterday.

If you tell me a writing project is due next year, I’ll have it done next week.

There is a backup bottle of Dawn dish liquid on my sink, an extra tube of toothpaste in each bathroom, along with a whole pack of toilet paper, extra body wash, shampoo and conditioner.

My pantry and freezer have at least two of everything.

I like to be prepared.

So what am I whining about? Continuing Education Units.

It’s not that they are difficult. You read the modules and answer questions at the end. More often than not, the questions center on things that have changed in the last two years, so it kind of jumps out at you after thirty years in the profession, whatever is different. But it’s time consuming.

In Georgia, employers are required to provide continuing education to nurses. In Florida, nurses have to be accountable for their own CEUs. In my entire career, I have NEVER known of ANYONE to get audited.

But now, the State has brought in a third party company, CE BROKER, and all CEU providers and all nurses must file CEUs through them. Everything is computerized and if you are not up to date, Wham! They got ya!

In the past, I never worried about not being up to date. I stayed up to date easily doing a little at a time.

Last year, though, I spent all of my time writing and editing a novel. So now, I get to play catch-up with my CEUs and it’s no fun. They’re due ninety days before renewal date which is April 30, 2015. So I’m a bit behind, and praying that going with an online company that reports hourly will help me out here.

You may wonder, why bother? You’re retired and you only work occasionally doing basic health screenings. Here’s the deal. You don’t keep up your professional license and decide to go back to work in your field and you have to take State Boards all over again. I sure don’t want to risk that.

Don’t you want a health care provider who is up to date on the latest and greatest techniques and skills? I’m so ashamed.

Eleven years of hardship and school for a four year degree, thirty years of experience, and lose it because of a few online classes and tests!

That’s why I’ve been offline for a bit and probably will be for the next few weeks. I’m going to be focused on medical error prevention, Florida domestic violence, Florida Laws and Rules, osteoarthritis, ischemic stroke, Aids /HIV, and Humor in Health Care: The Laughter Prescription.

Wish me luck!

Beta Readers Rock My World!


I’ve been checking up on the blogs I follow closely, but I haven’t been doing much blogging myself. My world had been consumed by beta reads and edits. It’s not really a chore. It’s rather fun to see how the variety in readers is represented through their fresh visions of my work.

After a year and a half, I received my first one star review on “Red Clay and Roses” yesterday.

It was really simple. Ten words. But that was all they really needed to say and guess what?

I get it! And I sincerely appreciated this:

“Story was too segmented and I felt a little confusing.”

I have admitted from the get-go that that this book is different. It was not written by a standard formulaic novel template. There is an Introduction, Part One, Part Two and a Conclusion that are all unique in writing style, POV, and person. Most people are going to be able to go with it and some not. That’s okay.

I’m, of course, disappointed that I let a reader down so badly that they felt a one star was necessary. We always are. That’s a sad note.

What am I doing about it this time that’s different?

Beta Readers!

I learned about beta readers from my blogging friend authors and I have to tell you they are invaluable. You get to learn so much from a cross-section of the population that isn’t family who are invested in you emotionally.

I started out with nine and worked through five readers notes, so far It’s been a wonderful experience. Here’s some questions being answered:

  • Are you satisfied with the plot and characters?
  • Were there points you could really relate to personally?
  • Were there points you couldn’t relate to?
  • What did you enjoy most?
  • At what points did you feel frustrated? Why?
  • Do you feel satisfied with the last act?
  • Can you summarize the book in a few sentences? How did the book make you feel after?

These are all things your family is going to struggle with, but good beta readers shoot from the hip and tell you like it is. One of the nicest things about beta reading is that you get to go back and forth with the reader to discuss the book without any fear of ruining it for others with spoilers.

I don’t have any grandiose delusions that I can pump out a novel that is going to be perfect on the first or second draft, or even on the fifth draft. Truth is: readers all have their own life experiences and knowledge base. Some are highly skilled and talented when it comes to writing and some are novice writers who simply enjoy a good read. I love you all!

We need to hear from all of you before we try to market to the world at large. That’s why I am glad that I have more than a couple of betas.

“Naked Alliances” is a much better product today than it was back on June 8th, when I completed the first draft, and I could not have done it without you!

I am eternally grateful for the help I have had so far and look forward to the feedback from the next four.

Do you use beta readers?

What’s your experience with later drafts and editing?  

Have you ever read a draft for someone who hasn’t yet published?

Share you experiences. 

Retirement, Writing, Hobbies and Expenses


I just read Anne R. Allen’s blog post here, and I am feeling validated. I don’t envy people trying to write for a living. I applaud you and I am amazed by you every day, but I am content to carry the Olympic Torch with honor. Writing professionally as a career choice is admirable, but I cannot claim to be anything more than a professional amateur. My writing is good. I am proud of it, and would like my work to be read, but starting another professional career after 30 years of nursing would scare the hell out of me.

Well, sort of, but not exactly.

I have hobbies. I read and I write. I make jewelry. I go fishing. I go boating. I cook. I paint in water colors and oils. I garden. I am retired. I have a few philanthropic endeavors, and a couple of places I volunteer my time and resources. I also have children and grandchildren. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, right?

Just because they are hobbies doesn’t mean that I don’t take them seriously, or that I, as a hobbyist, shouldn’t be taken seriously.

I sell a few paintings every year at art shows and galleries. A hotel offered me thousands of dollars for a couple of giant staghorn fern balls I have in the back yard (I couldn’t part with them though). I propagate Plumeria for profit. Many have commissioned me to make jewelry for friends and loved ones. I have paired my love for fishing and my talents in the kitchen to produce some fine meals. I have even sold a few books. And I feel appreciated.

Plumeria Mardi Gras (also known as frangipani)
Plumeria Mardi Gras (also known as frangipani)

For me, my hobbies will never have a financial ROI, because that’s not what it is about.

There is; however, a huge emotional ROI.

It’s true. I sell a book and I think, “Yay! I can tip the pizza delivery guy.”  Sell a few, and I go out and buy a bottle of wine.  Sell a lot, and it becomes an obsession. It has for me.  Not to make money, because most of it goes right back into promotions/ads, or other hobbies. But it is like any of my other hobbies/endeavors, I want to excel at what I enjoy doing.

But it can fuck with your head.

More than anything, I want readers to enjoy my work. When you write nice reviews, tears come into my eyes and I feel a flood of emotion.

So, I sold a bunch of books, but I only have one new review since my successful promo. It was very nice, and yes, it made me cry…happy tears. I don’t know how long most readers keep books on their tablets before they get around to reading them. I have some books I bought last year that have been there for months, and I have yet to commit the time to read them, so I get it. But it can be hard to sit and wait for others to feed your soul. I’ll probably have a mental meltdown and have to increase my meds when I get my first bad review.

Here’s something else that will fuck with your head.  Last night, I checked Amazon and saw my ranking was at #350,000 something. I thought, “Well, well, party is over.” I went to bed.

This morning, I get up and see that I am back in a Best seller’s Top 100 list at #98, my ranking has gone up to #100,000 something and I think I have sold some books. So I check KDP reports. Nada, not one, zero, 0. So how did that happen?  I go back to Amazon and refresh the page…several times…still at #98.  Stayed there all day.  For what reason I do not know, but it will freak you out when stuff like that happens.

I spend a lot of money on all of my hobbies, art supplies are not cheap, the boat…never mind the payments…maintenance alone is literally tossing money into the water, just the metals for jewelry clasps will eat a hole in your pocket faster than acid, add nice stones and gems, it adds up pretty fast, groceries…please, rods and reels and lures…have you been inside a sporting goods store lately? So why not spend money on promoting my book?   People are telling me not to. A) It isn’t necessary, and B) It is a bad thing to spend money on ads and feed the monsters. C) There should be a ROI or it is a bad investment. I want to sell more books.

I am like the marathon runner that has to make the last mile despite all the odds, the dieter who is on the verge of the last fifty pounds, yes, and the crack ho who needs a fix and a good lay!

Okay, maybe I am carrying this a bit far.

Seriously, I am thinking about another advertisement but one that uses the contemporary fiction genre instead of the historical fiction genre.  The book barely made it into the historical fiction category based on the 50-60 years passed since the primary events.  Yet, it deals with many contemporary issues, abortion, adoption, racial tensions…civil rights, women’s rights. I am thinking of trying a genre switch, what do you think about that? When I studied reviews a week ago, I saw many books about the 1950s listed in contemporary fiction. Also, the first third of the book (Part One) takes place in the present and 1992-93. It is Part Two that takes place in the 1950s.

For the thrill of it, would you spend money on yet another ad?

Should I try a genre switch?

Do I need to tweak my meds?