QuickJAB

2020 – View from the Author’s Seat

My goal for 2020 was to write and publish four books.

One of the four books I planned was a complete rewrite of a novella because it was Book 1 of a series. Little did I know in my younger years – back in the day – of 2018 that a novella is not Book 1 of a series of novels; instead, it is Book 0.5. Learning is fun. And hard. New Book 1 became a novel and is officially Second Edition of Book 1.

The other three books were planned to be one book for each of my three series. My editor was busy, as all editors are, but she was onboard for four.

Then 2020 happened, and just like the rest of the world, both my editor and I were less busy than we had planned. I wrote, she edited, and I published six books in 2020.

QuickJAB

Author Goals – 2021

RECAP

2018 Goals: Publish a book Results: Published two books

2019 Goals: Publish four books and earn a prestigious award Results: Published four books and received three prestigious awards.

2020 Goals: Publish four books, receive a prestigious award, sell one book through a bookstore; and stretch goal, end the year with a POSITIVE net income

Results: Published six books, received a prestigious award, sold books in US and UK bookstores, and ended the year with a POSITIVE net income of four figures

Note to any far-flung relatives who show up looking for a handout now that I’m only four figures in negative net earnings: I will feed you, introduce you to the dogs and chickens, provide you a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and boring conversation about books, chickens, trees, and dogs then sell you a book or two before you leave.

GOALS for 2021

2021 Goals: Publish six books including Book 1 of a New Series, sell a complete series through a bookstore; and a wild dream of a stretch goal, end the year with a positive net income of five figures.

Bonus Goal for 2021 – Tame the Wild Unicorn

 

QuickJAB

Apples or Pumpkins

So many annual events have been postponed until 2021, so I wondered how many of the 2020 outdoor fall festivals would proceed as planned. My research led me to conclude there are two major fall festivals – apple and pumpkin.

As an aside, did you expect Halloween festivals in addition to apple or in place of pumpkin? Not this year. My theory is that not everyone can fit into last year’s costume.

Back to our fall festivals. From there, I jumped into the next rabbit hole – given a choice, which would people prefer? Or more specifically, apples or pumpkins – which do readers prefer?

So, I asked my newsletter readers their preference – apples or pumpkins. The result? Apples won and by such a large percentage, that I gave APPLE the opportunity for a cameo appearance in my newly released novel. Much to my surprise, Apple made two appearances. Let’s see if the readers find both of them.

If you are interested in becoming a subscriber to my newsletter, you are welcome to join us in our shenanigans.

Here’s the link! Click or tap!  Subscribe to the Newsletter!

QuickJAB

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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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.

 

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April is National Poetry Month

Puns-are-bad-but-poetry-is-verse.jpg

I’m sure I missed it last year, but poetry’s publicist was busier this year. I see April is National Poetry Month in the US and Canada and is being announced everywhere I read. Except on my cereal box. You still read cereal boxes too, don’t you?

Because Cheerios® has been my go-to cereal since forever, this poem is dedicated to Honey Nut Cheerios®.

When The Chicken Don’t Lay

When the chickens don’t lay

And we have no eggs,

When the north wind blows

And the storm rushes in,

When the chickens have declared

No eggs this week.

When the sun rises

And our plates are bare,

Where is our relief from hunger and defeat?

Cheerios.

 

~ An Original Poem by Judith A. Barrett

Thanks and a lift of the bowl to Grammarly. My favorite of all time editing software.

QuickJAB

I Always Wanted To Be A Spy

I Always Wanted to be a Spy 29 6x9 new girl with gun THRILLER 2

MAGGIE SLOAN’s lifelong dream to be a spy began when she was four years old and already a focused, self-trained spy. After college, Maggie’s job searches are futile despite her willingness to consider diverse employment opportunities, until the county library system hires her as a librarian.

When Maggie’s brilliant observational talents and her potential to expose complex criminal activity draw the attention of an international ring, she becomes their target. However, a senseless murder changes her life forever, and MAGGIE transforms from prey to predator.

Will the librarian with the soul of a spy and the unusual security team stop the desperate kingpins or will she become the latest victim? It all comes down to kill or be killed.

 

I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY

 

REMEMBER!

If you love Maggie’s story, leave a review, especially if you are interested in reading another MAGGIE SLOAN adventure!

 

 

 

QuickJAB

An Interesting Non-Social Experiment

 

battery-charging-device-586340

How long could you go without your cell phone?

An hour? A day? Four days?

I’m about to undergo a most interesting experiment. My cell phone, still under warranty, has lost its ability to charge. The battery has dwindled to 25% from 48% an hour ago. Its battery life is draining away. (That’s the dramatic writer in me speaking.)

My replacement phone is expected to be delivered in three or four days. Meanwhile, I’ll be going dark. Unleashed.  No cell phone ordering me to look at an email, read a text, or divulge my location.  No instant response to social media.

Cell phone master

I predict I’ll finish my final edit of I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY.  And my house will be spotless.

Follow Up November 7

It’s been a week. My new phone went sight-seeing in Jacksonville FL for a few days before meandering to its destination. Yesterday the apps updated, and today we’re back in business.

How was it without a phone? I cheated and used someone else’s phone to check my email.  So maybe it wasn’t a fair experiment. I did finish my final edit but did NOT hyperclean. I don’t plan to turn my phone off and put it into a drawer, but I’m less obsessed. We’ll see how long that lasts.