As with most other aspects of life, there are both pros and cons to publishing your books independently. On the one hand, you have total control of your work, from start to finish. On the other hand, you have to take total control of your work, from start to finish. That means writing, editing, designing the cover, designing the content’s appearance, and–this is a big one–marketing. You can out-source some of these steps if you’re willing to pay for the services, but ultimately the trajectory of what happens to your book after you put it out there is totally up to you, the author.
I published my first novel in the Bella Sarver Mystery series, Painting Lessons, in in 2016. This was followed in subsequent years by Brush With Death, Paint a Murder, and Death on the Danube. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about all aspects of writing and producing a novel, and I’ve been enjoying the process. It’s fun getting my sales reports from Amazon each quarter, and noting that my books have found readers around the world, including Japan. But it would be fun to see my books on the shelves of major booksellers around the country, too, and that won’t happen unless I go the traditional publisher route. So my plan for 2021 is to see if I can find an agent for the novel I’ve just completed to help me make that happen.
Researching agents is a tedious task and almost more work than actually writing the novel in the first place, but I’ve got my list ready and I’ll start querying everyone on it this coming week. We’ll see how it goes.
Happy New Year to all my readers. Stay safe and healthy. There’s help on the way.
So January is nearly at an end and we’ve made it over the hump of another Chicago winter. It’s downhill from here–all the way into Spring. It’s been an interesting month for me, with my paintings on exhibit at 4 different venues: Sugar Grove Library,Studios 630 at National University for the Health Sciences, Lisle Library, and Caffe di Moda (Lisle). Then there was the author event last night at the Frugal Muse Book Store in Darien. So much fun! We had 5 authors and a musician (sounds like a movie title, doesn’t it?), readings, discussions, food and a big thank you to all who helped make the evening a success. But all good things must come to an end, and it’s time to look forward to next steps.
Other exhibits are in the offing and I’m still in the process of writing my next book, working title: Time Warp: a Love Story. (I’m thinking of changing it. What do you think about Sparkle Like Stars?)
I’ve just been working on a sketch of one of my granddaughters from a photo that’s about 18 years old. She was a baby then, bright and smiling and totally gorgeous. She’s still bright and smiling and totally gorgeous, but now she’s a college freshman, looking to the future with confidence, ready to make a difference in her world.
All five of my grandchildren were born at the turn of the century, this new century now entering its third decade. Yet when I think of that term, it conveys an image to me of the turn of the prior century, the period that began more than 100 years ago. For my grandparents, the turn of that century began in Europe and their journeys took them to a world unrecognizable from the one in which they’d started.
I remember my grandmother, Riva. I think of how she came to America in 1921, with two little boys and a teen-age niece, to meet her husband who’d arrived seven years earlier, just as the First World War broke out in Europe. I imagine how terrified and lonely she must have been on that journey, leaving the only home she’d ever known, understanding she could never go back and would never see her loved ones again. Yet she must also have been full of courage in the hope that she could make a new and better life for herself and for her children. She never tired of marveling at her new country. I often heard her exclaim in wonder, “Oy, America!”
I don’t know much of her story. She dropped a few hints here and there, yet basically, the past remained in the past. But I’m the grandmother now, and I remember her with love and I wish I knew more about her life. So I’ve been reading and researching and I’ve decided to fill in the gaps for myself as best I can. In this new year of 2020, I plan to write “Riva’s Journey,” a memoir for someone who’s no longer around to write it for herself.
So as we turn the page into this new decade, may we all be blessed with health and joy, and look forward to the future, while remembering where we came from. Happy New Year!
A definition of “whimsy” is “playfully quaint or fanciful.” I think that aptly describes this collection of small paintings, on display at the Lisle Library now through the end of January. I’ve been having a great time creating them, using the simplest objects around the house or just my imagination as the starting point for designing the various bright and colorful compositions.
The Lisle Library, 777 Front Street, Lisle, will be hosting a reception on Saturday, December 7th, from 2 to 3:30 pm. Refreshments will be offered. So mark your calendars and hope to see many of you there.
Well, I’ll tell you. NANOWRIMO is National Novel Writing Month, which is November of each year. It’s a national challenge for people who write to draft a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. The first time I participated was about 5 years ago, and the effort resulted in my first published mystery novel, Painting Lessons: a Bella Sarver Mystery (available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions). I had a great time, and the experience reminded me just how much I love to write. Although I didn’t participate in subsequent years, I did keep on writing, and produced 3 additional books in the Bella Sarver Mystery series: Brush With Death, Paint a Murder, and Death on the Danube (all of which are also available on Amazon).
My good friend Elaine convinced me to give NANOWRIMO another try, so I rejoined the local group this year and have very much enjoyed the preparatory workshops, speakers, and exercises that I’ve attended. I even presented one myself, on How to Write a Mystery Novel. But now November is here, and it’s time to try to meet the challenge again.
So–the working title is Time Warp: a Love Story. It’s an outgrowth of a short story I wrote that will soon be published in an anthology. (More about that in another post.) Like Death on the Danube, the story takes place on a river cruise, this time on the Rhine. I’m not exactly sure what genre it’s going to be, but so far it’s a sort of a combination of paranormal/romance/mystery. (Is that an entirely new genre?) I’ve spent the past 10 days coming up with an outline, doing some research, doing time-line maps and –oh, yes. Writing. Will I make the 50K? Watch this space to find out. About 12000 words so far!
I’m excited to announce that some of my Fruitful Relationship paintings are currently on exhibit at the Caffe di Moda, 1012 Burlington, Lisle (right across from the Lisle Train station, Main & Burlington). The cafe is beautiful, the food is delicious and as an extra bonus, you get to see some gorgeous original paintings by some of the members of Studio 630. Be sure to stop by soon.
I hope to see everyone at this art show and
sale in Villa Park, adjacent to the Villa Park Historical Museum at 220 S.
Villa Avenue. The Pavilion is right
along the Illinois Prairie Path, near downtown Villa Park, and there’s plenty
I’ll be showing and selling paintings from my
Whimsy series, which are all 12 x 12
inches and framed in either white or black.
There will be 35 to 50 artists from Studio
630 and we’re looking forward to a fun and art-filled day. So do plan on joining us!
I’m very excited to be launching my newly remodeled website today. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I’m turning over a new leaf and I will be keeping everyone updated on my latest creations on a regular basis. I thought about having two websites, one for my paintings and another for my books. But the creative process is pretty much the same no matter which form it takes. You need inspiration, plus composition, structure and attention to detail to make it happen. So I’m looking forward to sharing my work with you as it evolves, and to hearing your comments and ideas, as well.