QuickJAB

2023 Goals

goals 2023 

My plan for 2023 is to crush my goals!

My Writing Journey is a marathon, but I’m walking not running because I don’t want to miss any of the fun along the way.

My overall goal has always been to write books that people enjoy, so my motto is no surprise: You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

I’m a natural-born storyteller, but the skill of coaxing a story onto a page for a reader to enjoy was a craft that required extra work for me. I’m still learning, so I can write better books faster. For you wonderful readers that finish a book then tell me you’re ready for the next one: I’m working on it!

My next big hurdle after finding my writing style was how to get the stories in front of the right reader who will not only read the story, but love it, and want another and another. I’m still learning that elusive skill called marketing, which will put my books into the hands of the right readers. I’m stumbling along, but it’s fun to learn, and I’m encouraged when I hear how much you enjoy my books!

Summary of Previous Years

2018 (Year 1)  Goals: Publish 1 book   Results: Published 2 books!

2019 (Year 2)  Goals: Publish 4 books; cut the year’s expenses in half   Results: Published 4 books; expenses cut by more than half of Year 1 expenses!

2020 (Year 3)  Goals: Publish 4 books; end the year with a positive net income   Results: Published 6 books; first year to end the year with a positive net income!

2021 (Year 4)  Goals: Publish 6 books; end the year with a positive net income Results: Published 6 books and wrote a short story for an anthology; second year in a row to end the year with a positive net income!

2022 (Year 5) Goals: Publish 6 books; end the year with a new high for positive net income  Results: Published 8 books, a boxset, a novelette, and 2 short stories; ended the year with the highest net income since my first book was published!

2023 (Year 6) Goals

  • Publish 6 books
  • Publish 3 audiobooks 
  • Wild goal: Double net income from 2022 

 

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

Signature cropped

Ko-fi logo

Want to help fund Judith’s writing? Tap on the cup of coffee.

QuickJAB

The Magic of Mistletoe Market

The city of Cairo (pronounced Kay-row, like the syrup) blocks off Main Street on a Saturday in December for their annual Mistletoe Market; local vendors bring their wares for an all-day street party complete with food trucks, live music, and dance competitions.

The weather was ideal: no wind, rain, or too cold or too hot temperatures. I spent the day talking about books with a steady stream of readers. My most frequently asked question: “Are you really the author?” The second most-asked: “You wrote all these books?” My favorite question (from a ten-year-old): “Did you read all these books too?”

I was in awe of the number of readers who were willing to take a chance on a new-to-them local author. I sold paperbacks and handed out cards with the QR codes for the ebook readers. I listened to stories, talked to aspiring authors, told stories, and shared a shrimp po’boy with FarmerMan, who is my Chief Cashier and Number One Advisor.

I’d say I’m ready to go back again next year, but I left home with four full, large bins of books and returned with three half-full bins and one empty bin. I need to order more books.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

QuickJAB

Celebrating The Limping Lady

Virginia Hall Spy

Virginia Hall, The Limping Lady

After completing her college studies in the US, Virginia Hall studied and traveled in Europe in the early 1930s. She had a knack for languages and a thirst for adventure. She lost her left leg below the knee in a serious hunting accident in Turkey. She’d always dreamed of being in the Foreign Service, but she was rejected because of her disability.

Virginia Hall was determined not to let her prosthetic leg “stand” in her way. With Europe deeply involved in World War II, the British Special Operations Executive not only accepted her, but gave her extensive training in clandestine tradecraft, communications, weapons, and other resistance activities.

Our daring Virginia Hall spent thirteen months in France from 1941 to 1942; she organized spy networks, ran safehouses, and delivered important intelligence to the British government.

She stayed one step ahead of the Gestapo, who called her “The Limping Lady,” by fleeing France in spite of the Nazis’ best double agents. After she was hired by the US Office of Strategic Services, which later became the CIA, Virginia Hall returned to France in 1944 and resumed her work with the Resistance. In 1945, Hall was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for her heroic actions during the war.

Want to read more about Virginia Hall, Limping Lady?  The CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence has published a more comprehensive story of her adventures complete with excerpts from her own journals. Tap HERE to read A Climb to Freedom: A Personal Journey in Virginia Hall’s Steps by Craig R. Gralley.

QuickJAB

Celebrating Autumn

Cotton smaller clipped Sept 23 2022

Our neighbor on one side of us planted cotton this year. He plants later than other farmers because he farms on the weekends and in the evenings, so while other farmers are harvesting, I watch the transformation of the cotton plants.

The flowers are white very briefly, only 24 hours or so, then they self-pollinate and become a vivid fuchsia before they wither and die after another 24-36 hours. While the wind blows away the brown petals, the boll begins to form. The bolls are green at first then turn purple then brown. The protective part of the boll dries then opens as the cotton grows, and the cotton fiber spills out.

Do you see the puffy balls of cotton? They are deceptive because they aren’t soft at all. There are seeds inside the cotton, which actually make the cotton fruit. Who knew, right?

I walk around our field three or four times a day to stretch my legs between writing sprints, so I’ve seen each stage of the cotton growing next door. It’s a glorious celebration of cotton bolls at the farm!

QuickJAB

The Road Less Traveled

Robert Frost ends his poem: “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

We all travel different roads, don’t we? I love hearing the stories of others’ journeys and enjoy imagining the different paths we all take.

Taking the concept of the different path literally, which is very easy for a literal person like me to do, we’re checking our trail through the woods after a storm; it’s not unusual for a large limb or even an old tree to crash across the trail during one of our wicked, late summer storms. I’m always thinking of a reason to go outside on a quick writing break. Three times a day, I walk the perimeter of our field with the dogs. They look for voles and grasshoppers, and I listen to the birds and exchange trash talk with the crows. Four times a day, I check the chickens then report back with their latest antics. Be very wary if I approach you and ask if you want to see a picture of our baby chicks because a picture may be worth a thousand words, but I’ve got stories to go with the pictures. Unless, of course, you’ve set aside enough time to hear about our twelve baby chicks, then let’s go for a walk or for a coffee, and I’ll tell you a story.

If I were to write a memoir, I’d title it, “The Different Road.” It would be easy to write and edit, and it wouldn’t take long to read because it would consist of one page with five words: Our road was less traveled.

I promise I’ll stick with fiction.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing.

Judith A. Barrett Books is 100% reader-sponsored. If you’re so inclined, buy me a cup of writer fuel that others may call coffee. Tap the cup or HERE!

QuickJAB

Sponsor a Judith A. Barrett Book

Support Judith’s Writing to Create More Books!

Judith is reader-sponsored. If you buy Judith a cup of coffee,  she promises to drink it while she’s writing her next book; did you know her VIP readers vote at the beginning of the year which books they’d like to read next?

Tap on the cup, the ko-fi link (get it?), or HERE to donate to Judith’s coffee fund.

Ko-fi logo

ko-fi.com/judithawriter

You are invited to put your feet up, grab your favorite beverage, and bring your imagination with you when you open one of her books.

BONUS! Become a member of the Silver Tier VIP Readers to read the exclusive Behind The Scenes posts that I write every month. I encourage my Silver Tier VIPs to suggest topics for me to tackle!

Follow her on BookBub, your favorite book store, or her blog to be notified of New Releases!

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

     

QuickJAB

Bugged by Bugs

 

I love dragonflies because they eat mosquitoes. Anything that can catch a mosquito and chomp it down is a hero to me. I managed to snap a photo of a red dragonfly as she zipped past me. 

I had a day this week that was obviously a concerted attempt by bugs to terrify me, and they were successful.

Are you squeamish about bugs? Stop reading now because this is not for you.

Bugged #1

I was sweeping out our chicken coop that hasn’t had any chickens in it for almost a year. Most of my sweeping was sweeping down the walls and corners near the ceiling because the cobwebs were thick and sticky. I had my hair pushed up into a ballcap, not my writer ballcap, and I wore work gloves, but my arms were bare because it was hot. I had knocked down all the cobwebs and spiders’ eggs and was sweeping the floor when FarmerMan came into the coop to check on me. 

 

We have dropdown doors on the inside of the coop for the nest boxes that close the boxes when the chickens are too little to lay because we don’t want them to learn to roost in the boxes. FarmerMan knows how I feel about cockroaches, so he peeked behind the doors and told me he found cockroaches. He sprinkled the poultry dust that we use in the nest boxes to keep out bugs and mites. Cockroaches evidently hate poultry dust because 200 (okay, maybe it was 20) cockroaches flew out from behind the doors and LANDED ON ME. I screamed, brushed off cockroaches, and flew out of the coop, almost literally.  

Bugged #2

Later that morning, we sprayed our trees. FarmerMan had more chores that didn’t require my participation, so I went to the camper to write.

 

Toby helps with mowing by clearing the mowed area of grasshoppers that fly up, in case you wondered why I don’t help with mowing.

The camper is my favorite writing spot because I don’t have any distractions. When I went into the camper, TWO aggressive, black WASPS went in with me and buzzed me. I’m allergic to stings, but my most severe reaction was a few years ago when a black wasp stung me, and I collapsed. I had no intention of a repeat performance, so I flew out of the camper. FarmerMan killed the two, found their nest, and dispatched the nest. I was kind of over trying to write in the camper, so I went inside the farmhouse.

Bugged #3

 

After I was inside, I was certain I was over being bugged. I wrote until it was almost time for lunch, then my computer rebooted itself then came back up and rebooted itself: automatically and repeatedly. I pulled out every computer trick I knew, including trying to catch it mid-reboots, so I could run a diagnostic test or two. It finally quit rebooting and mooned me with the Blue Screen of Death. 

I called a Computer Guy, who said it sounded like a hardware failure, but they could probably recover my hard drive. FarmerMan took it to the computer shop. I discovered I have every file on the computer backed up, except for one: my Character Bible, which is a listing of  the names of all my characters (4 series with 27 books and approximately 50 different characters per series), major, secondary, and minor and their physical descriptions, relationships, and in which books they appear. I certainly hope they can recover the hard drive. I bought a new laptop, so I can write in the camper, at the coffee shop, on trips, and while I sit on the sofa with my feet up.

Meanwhile, that’s The End of my sorry tale of being Bugged by Bugs, and I’m writing.

 

Guess which series my newest book belongs in…

 

Did you know I’m a full-time author who is completely supported by my Readers?

If you buy me a cup of coffee,  I promise I’ll drink it while I’m writing at the coffee shop. 

Tap on the cup, the ko-fi link (get it?), or HERE to donate to Judith’s coffee fund.

ko-fi.com/judithawriter

QuickJAB

Spies Blend In

The best spies blend in with the herd.  

You know the Cow Rule, right? When you’re driving in the countryside, it’s obligatory for all passengers to say, “Cows,” when they see cows in a field. I may not always follow all the rules, but I definitely would never break the Cow Rule. 

The Spy in the field is banking on the Cow Rule, so when cars and trucks pass by, the passengers say, “Cow,” and everybody’s happy.  

Except for that one time we were driving on a familiar road near our small farm, and I startled FarmerMan when I shouted, “DEER!” He slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side of the road, fully expecting to see a doe with a fawn or two behind her as they darted across the road in front of us. He was even more startled when I hopped out of the truck and stepped near the ditch and snapped a photo then climbed back in. “I got it!”   

This deer with her tribe is exactly what Maggie Sloan had in mind when she decided she needed to blend in, like a Gray Man. If you haven’t read any of the Maggie Sloan Thriller Series, I suggest you start with Book 1, I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY.

UNLESS you’d like to read a New Unpublished Short Story that isn’t included in any of the Maggie Sloan Thriller Series, THE LIBRARIAN WHO WANTED TO BE A SPY, that is available when you sign up for a Giveaway that includes the books and stories of 70+ authors through July 31. Of course, if you love the short story, you’ll love the Maggie Sloan Thriller Series. 

Here are the covers, so you’ll have a visual when you look for the MAGGIE SPY books.

   

If you’ve already read THE LIBRARIAN short story, you might enjoy I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY!

QuickJAB

The Eccentric Historian

My Foster Plants

Foster Plants June 2022 smaller

Sometimes people fall into a position at a company that isn’t a good fit for their interests or their skills. My favorite was a brilliant historian with a PhD who worked in a group of software engineers. I don’t know how it happened because he was there when I joined the company and the group.

He had an incredible knowledge of history, particularly of his niche specialty, but I had trouble following all his wonderful tales, so I’m not sure I ever knew what his area of expertise was. One day, he came into my office with two large, brown paper grocery sacks and set them down on my already-crowded desk. 

Inside the heavy sacks were plants and dirt. He told me that he stayed up all night  to dig up the plants in his yard because he decided to retire immediately and sell his house, and he was sure whoever bought the house wouldn’t be the right type of person to give the plants proper care. He told me what kind of plants they were, but I was still in awe of his plan to walk out and walk away from work and his house. 

He told me the plants were rare, native plants and very delicate, and I was the only one he knew that would take care of them properly, so he decided I could foster them until he bought another house and could get them back from me. 

That was seventeen years ago, and we have moved twice since he gave me the plants. We’ve never watered them, but we have divided them several times and have more pots of plants.

Over a dozen years after he abruptly disappeared, I was so inspired by his example that I gave two weeks’ notice, instead of the “expected” three months’, that I was retiring. Then I started writing…

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

Signature cropped