Author of My Sister's Secrets

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Sissies Need Not Apply!


Jeanne and dogs

Ten days left and two-thirds over! That’s where I’m at in this Kindle Scout gig! I couldn’t have imagined how much marketing (=bugging/begging) to friends and family would need to go into my campaign. But without views and votes- it was unlikely that I would even be read. I do apologize for drowning everyone’s feed for the past twenty days (and please allow this apology to cover the next ten days!). I also want to sincerely thank those that viewed, voted and shared my novel. So many of you reached out to your friends and family and many left really nice reviews about my book. I have also had complete strangers view and vote after seeing my posts on various group sites that have allowed me to post. Christmas magic at its best!

All of that being said, it’s scary to be on the downslope now. Judgement day is fast approaching and I am second guessing everything. Should I have waited until next year… what if they have their quota of books in my genre for 2015? What if they’ve exhausted their  advance budget for 2015? January was so close. The guessing won’t stop.

Kindle doesn’t share information on what exactly motivates them to publish you. A bunch of authors (myself included) hang out on Kboards sharing stats and trying to analyze the formula based on who is being selected and who was passed over.  I have seen novels passed over that received more than two-thousand views. Equally, I just saw a book that sat on the Hot and Trending (top 20) list for 91% of its campaign not be selected. No matter what our creative brains can surmise… we are none the wiser about the selection process.

For anyone thinking about submitting a novel for a campaign, I will share some advice that I received from E.B. Brown, an exceptional author & friend. Before submitting to Scout:

  1. Make sure you have some sort of following on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc…).
  2. Build a web page- there are plenty for free out there.
  3. Make sure your editing is pretty tight.
  4. Go to the best seller list in your genre and make sure your book cover looks like the ones you find there.

I delayed my submission for more than a month to do the things listed above.  Oh! And just one more thing before you decide to hit that submit button for YOUR novel… put your sturdy boots on… this is no game for sissies.

I know that I’ve presented myself in the most professional way possible and I know that I have done my best to run a top-notch campaign. In ten (long) days, Kindle will decide if I made the cut or not. I am taking in a deep breath and hoping my nerves hold up.

If you haven’t already viewed and voted for My Sister’s Secrets– You can do so here:

This author’s book launched the same day as mine and we’ve been cyber hand-holding and talking each other through this process- please take a look at Lay Me Down by Tamara Hart Heiner here:

This author reached out with a nice review of my book during this lonely process- please take a look at Rosette by Cindy Rinaman Marsch here:

Please check out the books on the website of the author that gave me so much advice and support during my campaign, E. B. Brown. Here:



In my birthday suit!

As a writer, rejections are part of the process but, usually something painfully private- between me and my mailbox. One week ago I took the plunge and entered my novel My Sister’s Secrets in the Kindle Scout program. Once accepted, Kindle posted a 5000-word excerpt from my novel and included a “nominate me” button. Seems benign enough, right? Wrong. As a part of this campaign I am supposed to drum up interest for my book- sharing it on my social media accounts… every one of them. As people take the time to read and vote, they are automatically entered to receive a free copy if I am selected for publication. So… what’s the catch you ask? Well, if I am not selected every single person that voted for me receives an email advising them that I was not chosen. The rejection process is no longer between me and my mailbox… rather, between me… and all of you.

I have never felt more naked in my life!

That being said… no matter what the outcome, I am glad I jumped! I have spent 3 years dealing with back issues and have not been able to work in my normal profession- as an ultrasound technologist. I was feeling pretty useless until my husband bought me voice recognition software. I couldn’t sit at the computer for long periods of time- but I was able to sit in a recliner and dictate. I had started writing My Sister’s Secrets (MSS) in 2008 or so. Working full time -with 3 kids in college and 3 more at home- didn’t allow for something as frivolous as a writing career. Once my back prohibited me from working full time, I picked up my outline for MSS and began again. I attended a writer’s conference and pitched the book to 6 agents- all 6 asked for some or all of the manuscript. After several months, 2 agents declined to represent the book and the other 4 never replied- very unusual when they’ve asked for the materials. Recently, I sent an email to someone and they found it in their spam file. Turns out my old fashioned AOL address isn’t too popular with the new gmails of the world. It may explain why I didn’t hear back from the remaining agents.

After all the time and effort I’d invested, I decided to self-publish MSS. While investigating my options on Kindle Direct Publishing- I stumbled upon Kindle Scout. I had my daughter, Allison edit for me- as she had just graduated with an English degree from Rutgers. After she was done, I still fiddled around with it for 2 more months (in some cases accidentally editing errors back in and then having to find them.). At the urging of my family, I finally threw my hat in the ring and Scout accepted me for a 30-day campaign. By this time, a writer, E.B. Brown, had taken me under her wing. She has multiple self-published novels that are very successful and urged me to just take the leap and submit my novel. She has an awesome book on Scout now- that she’s managed to keep on the hot and trending list for 21 days! I am linking her- without apology- at the end of this blog. I owe her a debt of gratitude… she’s given me advice on how to pace my writing, advice on how to pick my book cover (go to the best seller list in your genre’ and see what’s selling…Who knew?), to sharing what she knew about how Scout works (based on her association with other writers). She has been in constant contact with me by text since I launched and shared my link on her wall and in her blog. She is the very example of the writer I will be if I am fortunate enough to be successful at this. I will never forget how she made this a less lonely and less frightening experience for me.

So, here we are… on day 7! I have managed to land on the Hot and Trending list on Scout- I have remained there for 7 days… I had hoped I could land there for one day… for one hour. I am so grateful to the people who took the time and bother during this crazy, busy holiday season to cast a vote for me. Thanks for all the kudos about the excerpt- you can’t begin to know how much that means to a writer! Everyone’s been so kind. Now… to make it through 22 more days of this adventure! If you haven’t voted yet- you can follow the link below. Scout allows you to pick 3 novels. You’ll get a free copy of any and all that are selected for publication. If you want to find me on Scout- just follow my link. If you want to find me in person… I will be easy to locate… I’m the one hanging out in my birthday suit! (my book) (EB Browns Book) (another author… launched the same day I did… we’ve been sharing the angst! )

Happily Ever After

I’m the type who believes in the natural pairing of things. You know, those that complement each other: salt and pepper, cream and sugar, kings and queens, yin and yang and meat with potatoes. The balance of these things makes me feel, well, comfortable.

It actually bothers me when I meet someone who’s alone. It’s not natural. Even Noah understood it- leaving no pair unmatched- while loading his ark. Smart man. It’s no surprise that many have come to know me as a matchmaker.

I’d love to brag that my blind-date endeavors have ended in happily ever after. Honestly? I’d have to admit that a great deal of them ended in happily ever disaster. Well, save one. But, even that one didn’t go exactly as planned.

On a sunny autumn day, I’d received a call from my friend Pattie.  She requested my matchmaking services for her brother, Jim- a divorcee with five children. I was newly separated with three children. However, I wasn’t a consideration, as he was eleven years my senior.

I’d met Jim on a few occasions at Pattie’s house. I remembered that he was warm and charming, but the five children would be a hard sell. Then I remembered my friend Denise (not her real name).

She was in her 40s and attractive. She’d often expressed regret that she had not had children. Boy, did I have a guy for her! Numerous phone calls set the date. But, there was a glitch- Jim wouldn’t go alone. So I agreed to go along.

During the drive to the restaurant, conversation came easily. After introductions, I excused myself to wait at the bar. At the end of their date, I returned to their table, ready for the drive home.

Once in the car, I asked: “What did you think of Denise?”

He smirked, “Denise who?”

Perplexed, I motioned back to the restaurant. “Denise… my friend!”

He said, “I didn’t notice anyone all night, except you.”

So, I did what any gal who loves cream and sugar would do- I married him.

Welcome! It’s a family affair!

When they handed me my youngest child I remember thinking … by the time this child graduates high school~ I will be 50 years old! At the time, I had six more children waiting at home~ five of them were under the age of ten! I was sure that ’50 years old’ was an eternity away. It wasn’t. This past January, I celebrated my fiftieth birthday and in June I cried to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance as my youngest child graduated high school.

 I had flashbacks of my life as I realized this was not only the beginning of the rest of his life… it was the beginning of the rest of mine. I reflected on years of birthdays, and boogers and backpacks. I smiled at memories of first days of school and delighted giggles on Christmas mornings. I remembered Band-Aids and fevers and emergency room visits, and those frightful sleepless nights- with a sick child – when it felt like morning would never come. The memory of chubby little arms around my neck and a soft ‘I love you’at bedtime, brought tears to my eyes. Endless appointments and grocery shopping and the daily what’s for dinner crossed my mind, as well. I recalled the ever elusive lost mitten or shoe on school mornings, as we rushed to get out of the house on time.  On such an emotionally charged day, the memory of the nurse placing my newborn son in my arms was almost too much to bear. In little more than the blink of an eye, eighteen years were here and gone.

When I was in the thick of raising seven children, my mother (who also raised 7 of us) used to tell me that it would all go by so fast. It didn’t feel fast back then… it felt like forever! It was fast.

Most of the things that I worried about ~never happened and many things I never even thought of ~ did. I couldn’t fathom how I was going to physically and financially raise seven kids…but it all worked out.

I once posted a Facebook message to my niece in response to a weary parenting post she had made, my response read a little like this blog.  She later told me that she printed it out so she could read it on her challenging days and it really helped her (thanks for the inspiration, Jennifer). So, I want to utilize this blog to reach out to young moms who are in the thick of it.  I will share my stories in the hopes of easing the young, worried minds of moms out there who are trying to be the best mom and raise the best kids. The best sight is always hindsight and mine is now 20/20.

On my son’s graduation day, I asked myself, “What would you have told your 32 year- old self on the day they handed you your youngest son?” I would have told her that her fifty year- old self sais to relax, take one day at a time, and to sit down and actually eat breakfast with the kids each morning. I would have told her to enjoy every day-and whatever surprise that day brings. I would have said stop worrying-it gives you wrinkles… they all make out okay, they all go to college and not one of them went to kindergarten in diapers.

(special thanks to my sister Kathy for suggesting that I start a blog!)

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