When I moved back to mid-coast Maine, my life seemed perfect. I’d slammed the door on my not-so-recent past and left my troubles behind. Or so I thought until my mechanic shattered that illusion. She told me there was a global positioning device mounted inside my Jeep’s left front wheel well. Apparently someone was tracking me.
Suddenly the strange things that had happened to me over the past few days—and that I’d dismissed as coincidence or just plain bad luck—didn’t seem so random. The GPS was intentional and personal.
NaNoWriMo: This is my version of the NaNoWriMo madness. If I inadvertently sound like anyone else, I apologize. I’m joining this movement without really joining. And I’m doing it my way. Here’s my plan:
1. Write. Every day in November. I will sit in my desk chair at my computer and actually write.
2. Finish. My 50,000 word whatever will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Completed in 30 days.
3. Focus. Writing my 50,000 word mystery shall be my primary job for 30 days.
4. Reward. At the end of November, I’m a winner! If you join me and complete your task, you’re a winner also!
5. Caveat 1. A 50,000 word manuscript falls short of the acceptable length for a full-length novel.
Shelby123“… a perfect weekend read. k.a.libby describes each character in such a way, you feel as if you know them yourselves. …The person whom you suspect to be her “stalker” may be obvious; the twists and turns of her character description leads you elsewhere. Looking forward to the sequel!” All reader comments and ratings at http://www.amazon.com. (Search on “Beware the Sleeping Dog”)
A theme in fiction sums up the essence of a story and projects the gist of what you’re writing. It’s a few words that describe the concept to someone else, perhaps an agent. Samantha Stone’s “Top 10 Types of Story Themes” resonated with me. It helped me define my theme.
One of my readers commented on www.amazon.com that: “I enjoyed the subject matter very much, as psychological abuse is not addressed very often. The author (k.a. libby) is very good at describing her surroundings and soon you are knee deep in suspense and intrigue.” So it seems that “Beware the Sleeping Dog” fits the criteria for a mystery, at least as far as one reader is concerned! (Thank you, S. Ande.) But beyond that it is the story of a woman seeking atonement for a past mistake … her journey from guilt to retribution to forgiveness.
Professor Mavis Walker addressed her feelings of guilt thusly:
Perhaps I should focus on my own psyche before I tried to solve another’s problems. Therein lay the conundrum for me: how could I even consider giving advice to someone else as long as I was struggling to find my own peace? Yet, it was the work I did with my students that helped me believe in my own worthiness.
As to retribution, she said:
I’d earned my way back into my own good graces by standing up to him. I’d confronted my fear and walked away with my pride intact.
I’d faced my nemesis and gained strength and confidence in the process. I thought with satisfaction that no one could take that away from me.
And lastly, she embraced forgiveness:
Alice asked, “Do you feel better now?”
I said, “I do. I can finally forgive him.”
“And yourself? Can you forgive yourself?”
I thought about this for a moment. I wasn’t sure it was as much about forgiving myself as it was about accepting that it was a part of my past. I was ready to put it all behind me and move on. I said, “Yes.”
If a book garners lots of clicks, then it will rise in—or maintain—its ranking in Amazon. I’ve been studying browser categories and SEO (search engine optimization). My book “Beware the Sleeping Dog” with my author name of k.a. libby was missing in action when I searched on ‘mysteries’ and ‘women sleuths’. I was the classic invisible person.
However when I searched on ‘Maine mysteries’, my book came up as the 21st result out of the listing of 1,200 hits. And when I searched on ‘professor mysteries’, it was the 12th result out of 1,200. Then when I searched on retribution, it came up as #504 out of 1,200 hits. That’s pretty far into the search results but at least it’s there!
Those results validate what I have read, in that fledgling authors fare better with very specific searches than with the larger, general searches—which of course is quite intuitive.
I would love to hear how you manage your browser categories and your SEO. To do so, please enter your comments in the Leave a Reply box below. Thank you!
What is perseverance? The steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
But what does it mean to me?
1. I must have moxie. What is Moxie? It’s Maine’s signature soda, a mainstay with my Libby-Keith family, but something for which I never acquired a taste. Or shall we say it’s the courage to proceed even when failure is looming.
2. I also need a bit of backbone. Beyond my skeletal spine, I must have the will to stand up to confront the obstacles. Failure is not an option.
3. To risk another cliché, I must be like a dog with a bone and not let go of my goal. Write that book. Done. Publish it with fortitude. Done. Achieve marketing success. A WIP (work in progress).
a. Fish where the fish are. Trying to do that in social media. Facebook. LinkedIn. What else?
b. Let my core audience lead me to my adjacent audience. Trying to figure that one out. Any suggestions?
c. Become a mastermind of SEO (Search Engine Maximization). This week’s goal is to rework my ADP tags for my book. When I figure that one out, I’ll share.
4. Exercise sedulity. Now there’s a word. I must be diligent. I must work hard. And I must remember that the only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.
An ‘aha’ moment for me was when I discovered Kindle is software not just an e-reader. Probably everyone else in the world–especially YOU!–were almost born knowing this. Despite my best efforts to avoid any thoughts about the nuances of software, my role as publicist and entrepreneur is pushing me into it, once again with much gnashing of my teeth. I now understand that anyone can download a “free Kindle reading app” by searching on that phrase and then executing and running the program on a PC or Mac; through Kindle Cloud; or for an iPad or an Android or Windows 8. Once again you probably already knew that. But me, with my Comp Sci degree and 7 years’ experience as a programmer in my previous life, hadn’t a clue. It’s a good thing for me that my husband Wayne Reidinger has the patience of Job! Writing my Maine mystery–despite the years’ of effort–apparently was the easy part. Marketing is not just a chapter in the process … it’s a whole book unto itself.
My heart beats an irregular staccato; my pulse races; my stomach is queasy. Why am I so stressed? I just e-published my first mystery/suspense. Will people hate it or worse yet ignore it? Why would I put myself through such misery? I’ve accepted this risk for the pure adventure of writing and finessing my own novel; with the hope that others might be entertained by it; and because I am passionate about confronting humanity’s abuse in its many forms.
Back inside the sheltering warmth of the house, I went into automatic mode as I moved through my morning routine. I showered, lingering a little longer than usual under the soothing spray. I stood unfocused in front of my closet, my thoughts on things other than what to wear to work. Finally I chose an outfit I considered suitable for today’s faculty meeting.
I ran a few purposeful brushstrokes through my shoulder-length hair. Catching my reflection in the mirror, I pulled my shoulders back to stand straighter. I consciously maintained good posture and worked my body hard in the hope of defying my aging process. The posture was a carryover from childhood days when Dad challenged my sister and me to stand tall and face the world with aplomb. As teens we took his words to heart and practiced the cliché of walking with books balanced on our heads. Continue reading →
(To read Chapter 1, see posting for July 28, 2014 or go to “Beware the Sleeping Dog” tab. Chapters 3, 4 & 5 will be offered in subsequent postings on this blog as previews for Beware the Sleeping Dog.)
Snowflakes gently poofed against the frosted skylights. The windows, like two eyes above my bed, offered a privileged view of the weather and the sky. I closed my eyes and envisioned melting snowflakes almost soundlessly splattering against the cold glass and sliding along like teardrops down a cheek.
Sprite stirred softly on her cushion beside the bed. I snuggled down, deep into my quilt, luxuriating in the last minutes before the alarm sounded. My mind drifted peacefully. I reflected on my blessings, a habit I developed to survive difficult times and continued to practice through good times. I was thankful that my parents gave me life, protected and nourished me, and taught me to be content with what I had. My children were thriving and were a source of profound joy for me. I lived in a country that provided a safe haven from religious persecution, oppressive government, and tyrannical dictators. Continue reading →
When Democratic Congressman Jim Moran refused to answer a disabled veteran’s legitimate question Friday night, I wish the town meeting attendees had walked out in outrage. Our military personnel put their lives on the line, why must they also have their economic solvency put to risk? Far better ‘twould be for members of Congress—our public servants—to sacrifice their own pay for their lapse in consensus and appropriations.
The veteran asked Congressman Moran what our government would do to assure that our military personnel received their paychecks, even if Congress failed to pass a FY 2011 appropriations bill by the midnight deadline. Congressman Moran rudely refused to answer the question.
Is it not disgraceful that our nation’s leaders would put the pay of our servicemen and women on the cutting block without first sacrificing their own pay? Where is their sense of honor?