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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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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.

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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!

 

 

 

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An Interesting Non-Social Experiment

 

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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.

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The Beta Hero

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(Pic grabbed from the article in Indies Unlimited)

Yvonne Hertzberger wrote an outstanding article about the Beta Hero in Indies Unlimited. After reading her article, I realized I tend to write Beta Heroes too.  Beta guys have more depth, as far as I’m concerned.

I know a Beta Hero who learned to toss pizza when he was eight years old because he loved to cook. You’ll meet him in I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY when it’s published in January 2019.

THE GIRL WHO SAW CLOUDS has a Beta Hero. Remember how upset Pops got over Vanessa staying in town after the grid went down?

Even SWEET DEAL COZY MYSTERIES has more than one Beta Hero you’ll meet in Book 2 in Late Spring 2019. Not to give anything away, but you’ll recognize Roger and Jack.

Click the link below to read Yvonne’s full article. What do you think about a Beta Hero? Or do you prefer the Alpha Male when you read?

The Beta Hero: A Non-Stereotypical Male Character – Indies Unlimited

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UPDATE Author Highlights ~ Susie H. Baxter

Susie Baxter - 2_2 for back covrAWARD-WINNING AUTHOR!

**UPDATE**

Susie H. Baxter‘s novel, Pumping Sunshine: A Memoir of My Rural Childhood, received the prestigious RPLA FIRST RUNNER UP Award for a Published Novel in addition to FIRST PLACE for a Published Autobiography or Memoir at the Florida’s Writers’ Conference on October 22, 2018.

Congratulations, Susie!

About Susie H. Baxter

Susie H. Baxter serves as Creative Nonfiction Editor for Bacopa Literary Review, the annual print journal of the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, and teaches memoir writing at Santa Fe College.

During her career as an acquisitions editor and publisher for a health-science publishing house in St. Louis, Baxter commissioned dozens of successful clinical reference books, authored by world renowned physicians. Recognition for her success included Times Mirror’s coveted Editor-of-the-Year Award.

She is the author of three books: C. G. and Ethel, a Family History; Write Your Memoir, One Story at a Time; and Pumping Sunshine, A Memoir of My Rural Childhood, and a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Award competition, sponsored by the Florida Writers Association.

Susie H. Baxter Author Page on Amazon         susiehbaxter.com

Interview with Susie H. Baxter

Q. How would your 10-year-old self react to what you do?
A. She would not be surprised that I am currently renovating an old house—scraping peeling paint and cutting glass to replace broken window panes. But she would be surprised that I had a career in health-science publishing where I recruited physicians to write medical references, and that I have written a book about her childhood.
Q. What is your definition of success? 
A. Success is achieving a goal set by one’s self, no matter how large or small.
Q. What is a dream you have that you’ve yet to achieve? 
A. To consistently be relaxed and organized.
Q. If you see a puddle on the ground, do you walk around it or over it? 
A. At the age of five I stepped into it and ruined new shoes my parents bought on credit. Today I would walk around it. For sure. The punishment for my naivety is still vivid.
Q. What tips do you have for a new writer? 
A. Join a writing group so you can get encouragement and feedback. Trust your gut, but if two or more readers tell you a change is needed, believe it.
Thank you, Susie!