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Old Hens Know All the Tricks

   

We started our chicken journey with eight chickens in February 2014. The one-day-old chick is a Buff Orpington. This one could be Eva, Joanna, Ruthie, or Leah. The other four chicks were Black Australorps: Lydia, Ninja, Sarah, and Rachel.

Lydia checks the fenceline for grasshoppers. She is the only one of the original eight that we still have, and she is still laying beautiful, light tan eggs with a purple sheen at least every other day. We have forty other chickens. They may be bigger, faster, and more aggressive, but nobody gives Lydia grief. Old hens know all the tricks.

 

Sadie is a German short-haired pointer and was born in December 2005. She was a rescue dog and came our way five years later. Her back legs aren’t as strong as they used to be, and her hearing is almost nonexistent. The aggressive tumor in her right eye was removed last year along with her eye, and her left eye doesn’t see so good. But she’s a happy old girl and still runs the paths and deer trails and keeps track of everyone. She loves the dog door because she can stick out her nose and check the weather and the smells.

Sadie loves camping and being outside, but when it’s hot, she loves being in the air conditioning. Old dogs know all the tricks.

 

Farmer Woman was born way before you all. Her eyesight is lousy, and she can’t see stars at night. She cleans the chicken coop every day and loves to learn new things. She writes novels, established a publishing business, and is a marketer. She drags heavy limbs to the burn pile and is a weather expert.

She loves camping and being outside, but when it’s hot and buggy, she loves being in the air conditioning. Old Farmer Women know all the tricks.

 

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Reader Magnet Short Story, Chapter 1

What Is a Reader Magnet?

A year ago, I had no idea what a reader magnet was. In my literalness, I envisioned a nice refrigerator magnet with a picture of a book and a puppy. And maybe a kitten and a chicken for good measure. I don’t know about anybody else’s readers except mine – but we all like books, puppies, kittens, and chickens.

Then I stumbled across the idea of a “short story” that would give a reader a taste of the author’s brilliant writing. My first thought: That’s dreadful.

The Short Story that Wasn’t a Reader Magnet

Case in point: I wrote a short story called Barter and Bargains three years ago and submitted it to millions of contests. (I typed jillions, but autocorrect frowns on exaggeration.) The maximum word count allowed was 5,000, so I had to trim my 7,500-word story back with a hatchet.

I received two recurring criticisms:

  1. The story was too nice.
  2. The critic/judge wanted to know more about the characters.

I learned four things from the experience:

  1. I write nice characters that people want to know more about.
  2. I am a great storyteller.
  3. My writing craft skills needed work.
  4. I can’t write short.
  5. Wait, make it five: I’m not deflated by criticism.

Continue reading “Reader Magnet Short Story, Chapter 1”

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SECOND EDITION? Why?

SWEET DEAL SEALED, SECOND EDITION

DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 1

SDS 3D Paperback May 3 2020

Why a Second Edition?

Short answer:

More Story! The first edition of SWEET DEAL SEALED: A NOVELLA is 115 pages; the new SWEET DEAL SEALED, EXPANDED SECOND EDITION, is 235 pages!

Long Answer:

The first edition of SWEET DEAL SEALED is a novella – a short novel or a long short story. In the publishing world, there is a rule that says a series cannot have a novella as Book 1 unless all the rest of the books are also novellas. Who knew? Not me.

For example, Book listing services list SWEET DEAL SEALED: A NOVELLA, BOOK 1  in the DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES as Book 0.5; SWEET DEAL CONCEALED, BOOK 2, is labeled as BOOK 1; SWEET DEAL REVEALED, BOOK 3, labeled as BOOK 2. Ugh. Were readers confused? I know I was!

With DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 4 in the plans for 2020, it was time to channel my inner Don Quixote and pick my windmill/battles. Taking on the entire literary and publishing world to force them out of their antiquated rules didn’t seem fun. And I’m in it for the fun. I realized there was so much more to the Donut Lady’s earlier story. Who knew? And the EXPANDED SECOND EDITION was born. Now that was fun!

QUESTION: I’ve already read/never read Sweet Deal Sealed: Novella. Do I read Sweet Deal Sealed, Expanded Second Edition?

ANSWER: YES!

If you’ve read the original novella, you’ll enjoy the expanded story.

If you haven’t read the original novella, all of its story is included in the expanded second edition.

 

Are you interested in Book 4? Watch for it in the fall!
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Author Goals 2020

My Author Goal in 2018 was to publish a book. Results: I published two books.

My Author Goals in 2019 were to publish four books and earn a prestigious award.  Results: I published four books and received three awards.

My Author Goals for 2020: Publish four books, receive a prestigious award, sell one book through a bookstore, and end the year with a POSITIVE net income. 

That last one – positive net income – is a stretch goal. At least I know the IRS is cheering me on!

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WARNING Label? Read the Series in Order

Maggie Sloan Mystery Series, Books 1 and 2

I’m struggling with whether I need to add a warning label or spoiler alert to the beginning of RED IS THE NEW GRAY, MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2.

For anyone who has read  I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY, BOOK 1, you know about Maggie and her men and her heartbreak.

It is possible for a new reader to read RED IS THE NEW GRAY, BOOK 2, without having read BOOK 1 because the men and other characters from BOOK 1 are introduced.

HOWEVER, the dilemma is that BOOK 2 of course also mentions Maggie’s heartbreak from BOOK 1. THAT’S a spoiler! Do I add a warning label to the beginning of BOOK 2?

WARNING: READING BOOK 2 WITHOUT READING BOOK 1 FIRST IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR READING ENJOYMENT.

or

WARNING: DO NOT PROCEED WITH READING BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU HAVE READ BOOK 1. WE DON’T CARE IF BOOK 2 WAS FREE. GO READ BOOK 1.

or

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU READ BOOK 1. ANGRY READERS MAKE CRANKY REVIEWERS.

 

LINK TO MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES

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RED IS THE NEW GRAY ~ BOOK 2, MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES

RedistheNewGrayVersion 55 3D Paperback
RED IS THE NEW GRAY

RED IS THE NEW GRAY

MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2

 

MAGGIE SLOAN – former librarian, self-trained spy, literal, and brilliant – has the skills of a deadly assassin. Our Gray Lady (like the Gray Man who blends in, except shorter) accepts a two-week assignment in Galveston, Texas, to find a missing spy who trusts only her. Larry, her original police officer protector and “cousin” from her hometown, is her backup.

The Gray Lady is rocking her new red boots as the fill-in cook at a diner, but before the end of her first week, she is shot. The attacks escalate and so does Maggie’s determination to solve the crimes. Note to bad guys: Maggie is irritated, and Larry and Maggie’s men are furious.

Maggie and Larry struggle with the disturbing clues that point to the guilt of everyone they meet. How many more people will die before Maggie uncovers the vicious leader who has escaped detection for so long?

RED IS THE NEW GRAY Click/Tap

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Author’s Goal 2019 – Publish Four Books and Earn One Award

My Author’s Goal in 2018 was to publish a book. I published two. Time to up my game in 2019, so I did.

Danger in the Clouds

Published January 2019

Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award

 

I Always Wanted To Be A Spy

Published February 2019

New Apple Literary Award – Excellence in Publishing

Sweet Deal Concealed

Donut Lady Mystery Series Book 2

Published March 2019

Florida Writers Association Award

Sweet Deal Revealed

Donut Lady Mystery Series, Book 3

Published July 2019

In 2019, I published four books and won three awards. Time to up my game.

 

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An Award for Maggie Sloan

SPY 3D with NewApple2019

I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY  has been awarded the 2019 EBook New Apple Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing by New Apple Literary Services.

New Apple’s Annual Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing were established to honor the creative achievements within the world of indie and self-publishing that so often go unnoticed among the multitude of book releases.

happydance We tried to get a photo of Spike doing his wacky dance, but he was too busy pestering Larry. Here are his fill-ins.

Not sure who Spike and Larry are? Time to read I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY.

SPY 3D with NewApple2019

 

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International SPY DAY

OCTOBER 10 is International SPY DAY. From the first Tuxedo worn to a dinner party held in Tuxedo, NY in 1886 to the Premier release of From Russia with Love in London in 1963, OCTOBER 10 has had special significance in the World of Spies.

OCTOBER 10, 2019 ~ Best day ever to read I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY Celebrate your spy-ness as you join Maggie Sloan in Maggie Sloan Mystery Series, Book 1.