Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cherished Destinies

Cherished Destinies in my Mystic Valley series is now out in PRINT! And it has a pretty new cover! If you'd like to read more about this book, click on the cover... and it will take you right to the page.

And in celebration, I decided to post an excerpt today. Enjoy!

Sitting on her front porch with her bare feet swinging above the ground, Silence clasped her hands together in her lap and shuddered. Papa said it was time to think about what she should do now that Homer was dead. Mentally, she shied away from the scene beneath the judgment seat and then shook her head in denial. No, she must not hide anymore. Homer was gone and she would have to think for herself.

What was she going to do? How would she live? Homer had always said they were too poor to afford any more than the bare necessities. Think, Silence! What can you do to earn barter credits?

Arano stood at the edge of her yard and called, “Silence! May I come closer?”

With a delighted smile, Silence clapped her hands. “Arano, you can help me. Please come here,” she patted the porch next to her.

When he was sitting beside her, he waited for her to speak. It took a while but he had infinite patience for her and eventually she observed with heartbreaking simplicity, “Something is wrong inside my head. I think Homer broke something when he hit me.”

With iron calm, Arano agreed, “It’s possible. What did he hit you with? And when? Do you remember?”

There was another long period without conversation but Arano could see that her brow was wrinkled in concentration so he gave her the time she needed, though everything in him rose up in useless anger against a dead man. Finally, she said tentatively, “I think he hit me with a stick?” She nibbled her lower lip and then continued, “It was a long time ago. I think.”

“All right. What would you like me to help you with?”

Silence frowned. “Homer said we are poor. How can I get food if I have no barter credits?”

Pursing his lips in thought, Arano looked down at the ground and considered how he should advise her. Then he smiled as he realized that this was one thing he could do for her without anyone thinking anything about it. “Silence, put on your sandals. We are going to the village.”

“I don’t have any sandals,” she replied in puzzlement. “Why do I have to put on sandals to go to Lost Market?”

“No sandals,” he repeated softly. “Why?”

“Homer said I didn’t need them.”

Arano had a notion that he was going to get exceedingly tired of sentences that began “Homer said.” With a deep sigh, he hopped down from the porch, turned and
lifted Silence down before she could object and took her hand. “Come on. We need to go see Noah, the barter keeper. He’ll know exactly how many credits you have.”

“Me? I don’t have any,” she protested.

“Whatever Homer had when he died is yours now. So let us go see what he had,” Arano explained patiently. “Then, we will go to my house to get enough leather for me to make you a pair of sandals.”

“You! You know how to make sandals?” she demanded in astonishment.

“Almost everyone knows how to make sandals,” he replied calmly. “I have exactly the right kind of leather to make you a pair of sandals. And I want you to wear them every time you go outside,” he said sternly. “Every time.”

Her head immediately bobbed in agreement and he sighed deep inside, conceding that it was going to take a long time for her to develop any autonomy at all. In the beginning he supposed this wouldn’t be a bad thing because clearly she was going to need supervision as she worked on developing a little independence. But eventually she was going to have to learn to stand up for herself.

As they made their way down the path to the village, he was torn between pride and being totally pissed off. He watched her zig and zag from side to side avoiding the rocks and debris on the path and he was proud that she’d obviously figured out how to reach the village with the least amount of damage. But it enraged him that Homer had withheld something so basic as a pair of shoes.

When they reached the village, Arano led her to the small pink dome where Noah Jones kept the barter books and village records. She balked at entering the dome, uttering the familiar phrase, “Homer said…” and Arano lost it.

Clenching his teeth, Arano said with terrifying patience, “Silence, please do me this great favor. Do not ever mention Homer or anything he said to you again. Homer lied.”

Silence’s deep blue eyes filled with tears that threatened to overflow and her bottom lip quivered. “All right, Arano.”

Squeezing his eyes shut, Arano beseeched all the gods of the ancients to give him an extra measure of understanding. “Silence, dearheart, I’m not angry with you. I am angry with Homer and do not wish to hear his name,” he explained gently. “Now, whatever he said no longer matters because he is not here. Come inside so that Noah can explain everything to you. You don’t need to be afraid because I will stay with you.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Best of Show

 Giving Poppy a manicure.
 Mugging for the camera.
 Baby horse born 4/19.
 Goats and sheep to pet.
 King of the hill Easter egg hunt at the farm.
 Llama--master of disguise.
 Baby--Percheron mare due any day!

As some of you know the hunk and I went to my daughter's for Easter to spend some time with the grandkids. We had a great time. We bowled about a zillion Wii bowling games. The kids are very good at that.

We colored Easter eggs. Somehow no matter what else you do, without colored hard boiled eggs, it isn't Easter.

I don't have cable TV and don't watch TV at home. While I was there we watched The Sniper, Independence Day, Terminator 4, and Jeff Dunham (ventriloquist). We also watched a zillion episodes of Dual Survival. I was fascinated by that show. We topped it off with River Monsters... Can you tell the guys picked most of the shows?

Naturally, it rained. On Saturday (after it rained all night) we went to a farm for an Easter egg hunt. If you've ever been to a farm, I don't need to say much more. If not... well, it's muddy. Very muddy. There's a reason those folks wear rubber boots.

But they had animals in the barn for the kids to pet. And a brand new baby horse. Cows (huge). Pigs. Chickens. Goats and sheep. A gentle giant Percheron horse named Baby who is due to have her baby any day. In the fields were more goats and horses and a llama.

And ice cream.

The plastic eggs hidden all over the place were filled with treats. And some of them had coupons for free ice cream. All of the kids won something from the ice cream store so we turned those in before we left. Yummy!

Easter Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny. It rained later on in the day, but it was a lovely weekend. I admit I was glad to be back home sleeping in my own bed. We had a great time.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my step-mother's birthday. She's 82. She's been my mom since she stepped in 51 years ago to help my father (a widower) rear four rowdy kids.

Taking on one kid is quite a commitment. Taking on four is insanity. But we all came out pretty good. We're all married. We all have families. And we're all gainfully employed. Not bad at all.

So I just want to say Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Quality control. Did you ever wish there was some? When I was younger, corporations took great pride in producing a product that lasted a lifetime...or the rough equivalent.

Now you're lucky if your purchase lasts long enough to make it home. When we first married, we bought a washer and dryer. We finally replaced them (after two long distance moves and four kids) twenty two years later. The next washer and dryer lasted six years. Same company. No moves. Not as many kids.

Now some things have a long use period or not based on how you take care of them. I understand that. But take the case of clothing. I don't buy anything that can't be washed and dried. Cold water wash. Minimal laundry soap. I have T-shirts I bought twenty years ago for work that I'm still wearing. And jeans. Skirts. Swimsuits. Classy clothing. All made by the same company--White Stag--sold by Wal-Mart.

White Stag is a Wal-Mart owned company. And they suddenly decided to no long produce "large" sizes by White Stag. Instead they now sell Just My Size label for large sizes. Shoddy workmanship. Crappy fabrics. And ugly clothes. Ugly clothes that emphasize rather than camouflage the worst points for a big woman. The T-shirts are what I call muu-muu shirts. Com'on. You know what I'm talking about. And unless you treat them like they're silk...they don't make the quality grade, either.

So what's the option?

Well, every season I bought two or three new shirts just because of the different colors. So I have enough shirts to last me until I die probably. All colors. And rather than spend any more money on T-shirts that fall apart, fade, and look bad, I'll just wear what I have.

Wal-Mart lost my money.

What about you? Do you have something in particular you used to buy that you don't anymore because of quality changes? Tell me about it.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Perils of Pondering...

When I start a new story, I generally write the first two or three chapters, trying to get a feel for my characters and why they do whatever they do. Once I hit a stopping point I then go back and start filling in things like clothing, weapons, foods, whatever is called for.

When you're writing something that might vaguely be classified as historical, there are certain pitfalls to this method. The blame of part of the pitfalls for me can be squarely placed on the very sketchy bit of cultural history we learned in school. Actually, since I went to school during the sixties, I suppose it's a miracle that any ethnic group other than whites was even mentioned. Most of the ethnic education we got, we learned from movies. And we all know how accurate that source is.

So in the last few days I've learned all sorts of interesting new facts. For me, some of them opened entirely new vistas of learning. One of the simplest was the fruit of a conversation with a fellow writer. She discussed the differences between the society woman on the Eastern coast of America and the frontier woman. One of the examples she used was the apron.

When I was growing up, aprons were a rockbed staple of kitchen life. Television moms wore aprons. Movie moms wore aprons. Any woman in any kitchen wore an apron.

But on the frontier an apron would have been a luxury item. Fabric was not easily come by. And there were many other items fabric would be earmarked for. So having a precious piece of fabric tied up in an apron was not likely. Frequently a woman would have only two dresses. One in the laundry and one on the body--if she was lucky. Every scrap of fabric was saved, reused, reworked until it literally fell apart. And one of the other pieces of clothing that wasn't around was underwear. If she was very, very lucky she might have a shift...the all purpose slip and nightie.

When I started looking at the reality of frontier life, my entire story changed. And with those changes I began pondering the likelihood of other things I'd blithely written into my narrative.

If I write the expression Native American warrior I suspect many of you would envision Daniel Day Lewis from the Last of the Mohicans or Rodney Grant (yummy, yummy) from Dances with Wolves. Well, I'm sure some of them looked like that. But the warriors from other tribes looked very different. And in the case of the tribe and time period I chose, the warriors looked nothing like either Mr. Lewis or Mr. Grant.


Another writer friend suggested switching tribes or time periods. And I considered that for...about five minutes. And then I decided this will be my strike against stereotypes. So I'm going to go with my original choice and see if it doesn't make the story richer and more colorful. Perhaps my character, James will be more than a cardboard Indian.

Enter the rifle. From the very beginning of colonization, firearms were coveted by the natives. Frequently, the promise of weapons was the inducement behind native tribes taking one side or the other in the white man's wars. I saw nothing wrong with my hero having a rifle. Really. How could that go wrong?

Well, for one thing...rifles were barely around in 1830. Certainly they weren't plentiful on the frontier. So reality check. Exactly what manner of man was my Native American hero and how likely was he to have a technology? And if he has it, how do I account for that?

There are other problems. Foods. For whatever reason, I had the idea that corn was a southwestern staple. No... And the houses my tribe lived in? They were wrong. Horses? Maybe. Maybe not.

My vision of frontier life in 1830 has certainly changed. If nothing else, I've learned not to make assumptions based on what I was taught in school. And that made all the research worth it.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday, Monday...

Ah, Monday! The beginning of a new week! We're off in a few moments to do a pre-op physical for the hunk. This will be a busy week here at chez Cook.

The hunk has to take the car in for the pre-trip physical. Oil change. New wind-shield wipers. Yada, yada.

And of course, there's laundry, laundry before packing. Yep. We're going to go see our grandchildren next weekend. Traffic. High gas prices. Too much Easter candy. And lots of yummy food. Not to mention the joy of seeing family.

In between then and now, there's a ton of writing to do. A few more errands and chores. And hopefully some pre-trip rest.

What's on your list this week? Egg coloring? Making Easter baskets? Cooking yummy food?


Friday, April 15, 2011

Things that keep you awake...

There are a lot of things that can prevent you from falling asleep. I had a lot of time to consider my list as I rolled around sleepless in bed last night.

1) Wondering if you'll have enough money to live through your twilight years. The economy is a strange entity right now. So much depends on whether or not the hunks retirement plan is still around in our later years. Or Social Security. Or whether the banks will crash. It's enough to give you nightmares...

2) Wondering where your teenagers are. I had a lot of nights when I just didn't know. Not because I didn't want to know, but because sometimes things are out of a parent's control. Sometimes all you can do is pray they'll live long enough to grow up--and have teenagers of their own to give them gray hair.

3) The state of the world. Heck, you can start the worrying with your neighborhood and expand out from there. Wars, pestilence, earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, blizzards... there's plenty of stuff to worry about. No shortage of anxiety material there. I figure if you really need to stay awake all you have to do is try to come up with a solution for world peace. That'll keep you alert.

4) The state of your health. Heh. There's an unlimited number of health issues that can keep you up at night. Have you ever noticed how everything hurts more at night? And your mind whirls around on this little hamster wheel with all the possibilities--terminal possibilities. When I reach that point, I get up and walk around because that just gives you the willies.

5) Indigestion. Why, oh why did I eat that last slice of pizza? Or lasagna? Or cheesecake? Or those spicy potato chips? Chocolate...I should have had the chocolate pudding/cake/brownies/candy bar instead. Have you ever noticed that chocolate doesn't give you indigestion? I wonder why...

What keeps you up at night? Com'on. Share...


Monday, April 11, 2011

Life according to Woobie

Woobie was our dog for fourteen years. And then...we had to let her go. She had other places to be. I hope she's romping and stomping with all the other dogs in doggie heaven. She's been gone three years now.

But before she went, she spent many days sleeping on my feet while I wrote about fantastical lands with wonderful critters and other stuff. I learned a lot about life from Woobie.

1) Go for a walk every four hours. It will give you the opportunity to see other people, breathe different air, and chase squirrels. Chasing squirrels is an important part of the writers life. Some people call them ideas or plot bunnies, but the truth is...they're squirrels.

2) You can learn more about humans by sniffing their butts than watching their faces. Everyone can smile. But it's only when you check their backtrail that you really know what kind of person they are. Very, very few people are good at hiding their backtrail.

3) If a human doesn't smell right--no matter how friendly they are--don't turn your back on them. Actually, the friendlier they are, probably the more dangerous they are. There's a reason your instincts are screaming.

4) If you're not hungry--don't eat. Humans are one of the few species that eat just to be eating. That's just... well, human. One treat a day is okay, though.

5) Drink a lot of cold water. The water in the toilet is always colder. That's where Woobie preferred to drink. Cold water is good for you. And it burns extra calories.

6) Take a couple naps every day. Catnaps re-energize you a lot faster than caffeine or food. If you're getting dopey go have a nap. If you're worried about oversleeping, set an alarm.

7) Loyalty is a two way street. Blind loyalty can get you thrown from a moving car. Know who you can trust and stick with them like glue.

8) When your human is sick, give them extra TLC. Stay close. Keep them warm. Let them know you care.

9) Everyone has accidents. When you're young you have a LOT of accidents until you get the hang of things. And when you're old... well things happen. But you're the same inside. So if your human has an accident, make sure they have extra loving. Just so they know they're not BAD.

10) When it's time to move on, make sure your human knows it's okay to let go. Humans have a real hard time with letting go. You have to let them know you love 'em anyway.


Reminder! Tonight is the monthly chat at LRC! Details are in the upper right corner... Come one, come all, and bring your excerpts if you're a published author!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Sundog!

Happy Sundog! For those of us still waiting for SPRING this will remind us it's coming. A few of my friends--on the other side of the world--are enjoying the last lingering bits of summer. It's amazing how those little bits of green cheer us up.

It's gray here today. Cool and damp and cloudy. But tomorrow it's supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny. Before too long we'll be complaining about how hot and humid it is. Seems like we're never quite satisfied.

Perhaps it's a matter of focus. Wherever we are, things could be so much worse. In a mere instant a flash flood can wipe away existence. A tornado can leave us with nothing. An earthquake can shake the very foundations of our lives.

When I look outside, whether gray or sunny, cold or hot, I'm thankful I'm safe, comfortable and have all I need. Blessings on your day, wherever you are.


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Things I admire...

1) Writers who can blog about writing. You know the ones... they compose long blogs about all sorts of writing skills and craft issues. I don't have terrible problems with completing a coherent sentence, but I sure wouldn't have the confidence to write a post about the craft of writing. Not in a million years. So, thank you to all the bloggers who unselfishly share their knowledge.

2) People with a green thumb. Some people have the gift to nuture green things. Their plants flourish. Their vegetables produce twice as much as their neighbor's. Their flowers bloom earlier, longer and more profusely. I stand in awe of their green thumbs.

3) People who have the patience to master a craft. I can do many things medium well and am the master of none. Mastering a craft takes time and determination--something I don't have. But I have infinite respect and admiration for those who exercise the discipline to achieve mastery.

4) People who care for the elderly, the sick, the infirm. The caregivers are special, special people touched by God. Not everyone has the gift of love and respect required to care for the most needy. Thank you for sharing your gift.

5) People who mentor and care for children. Children are our future. Need I say more? Without mentors and caregivers we are lost.

8) People who are willing to stand up for the underdog, willing to speak out against the villains no one else will call down. It takes courage to do so. It takes a caring spirit to stand out there on the edge and yell, "This is wrong!" May we all take up the banner and stand with the brave souls who fight for justice.

7) The Japanese People. Their grace under the pressure of unimaginable loss and grief continues to astound me. Their determination to move forward shames me when I complain. Their giving spirit moves my soul, urging me to be a better person. I can say no more.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In the Profile...

Profile pictures fascinate me. Oh, not the avatars and the little logos or book covers some people post. But the actual pictures on places like facebook and Twitter are interesting...simply because so many of them are...odd.

Let's face it. If the age listed on the profile is 73 but the picture is a fellow in his twenties, there's something going on. Something strange.

Or if the page is for a female and she posts a picture with four females (all unidentified) what's the point of that? Is she playing guess who?

To be perfectly frank I absolutely hate pictures of myself. So I don't post them. I could post a picture from when I was young and skinny, but that wouldn't be me. Heck, I could post a picture from when I was six or seven. Same goes, though.

But I do wonder about people who take profile pictures at face value. Received a note from some strange-oh, weird-oh person who informed me he loved my pointed ears...and proceeded to tell me what he would like to do with them. Sigh... Back in your rubber room, man. Really.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wishes II

Things I wish my fellow authors knew--or believed.

Every person has something (or even more than one something!) that annoys them. Since most of my interactions happen to be with other authors and those in the publishing field, I suppose it's natural that my annoyances relate to them. I expect everyone has a list and it probably is different from mine. That's usually the way these things work.

1) Squeeeeee!!! There are many ways to indicate your joy and excitement over a fabulous review or a new contract. This shouldn't be one of them. It makes the author look like he/she is a pre-teen. And not a real bright one at that. It also does nothing to demonstrate his or her command of the English language. Really.

2) The internet is forever. Discussing your sex life in public forums is something you may regret someday. And by then it will be too late. Ditto airing your marriage/relationship laundry (dirty or clean). We all have arguments with our significant others. If you want to rant, do it with your best friend--via private e-mail.

3) I'm willing to support almost any author in their promo efforts. Really. But that doesn't include when they flood my e-mail inbox/facebook/twitter/etc. with demands to buy their book/vote for their book/review their book/etc. See #1. Spamming fellow authors is a sign of desperation and/or newbie-ism. I'm pretty sure that's not what they're going for.

4) Begging for votes. For anything. It reminds me of sweaty-faced guys on telethons. Again, with the desperation. While I would never tell someone to NOT vote for my book or cover or whatever...isn't the actual honor related to having your name on the list? Begging all your fans/family/friends to vote for you proves nothing--except that you're an excellent begger. Hmmmm. Maybe there should be a poll for that?

5) Finally, I just have a deep urge to cringe when an author demonstrates their wholehearted lack of common sense. In this day of the wide open information highway, there's no reason to jump into the public arena with questions that reveal your lack of experience. When an author "wonders" on facebook why they don't have a review for their brand new book, that's a sign they're pretty new. Most of us are thrilled when a review sight gets around to reviewing our book. That's because there are a bazillion books out there and...half a dozen reviewers. When you have questions like that, check it out with one of your mentors. There are no dumb questions--just unfortunate places to voice them.

So there are my hot buttons. What are some of yours?


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Girl in the Purple Tights--WIP

“Mikel and your mother intended to leave Earth. They died before they could accomplish that, but the message they sent summoning help was received. That’s why I was there, waiting for you.” 
“How long did you plan to leave us stumbling around in the desert?” she asked bitterly.
“You were walking directly toward me, as though you had a map. It was decided to let you come to me, rather than the other way around. After all, you weren’t inclined to accept my help, even then. We were afraid you would run, drawing unwanted attention to all of us.”
“Why not come get us in the city?”
“And you would have calmly turned over yourselves without a qualm? Again, I think not. This way worked out the best, with the least fuss.” He stood. “It is time. Are you ready?”
She nodded. “Yeah. Let’s get this over.”
“Ah, but Abilene, it’s only the beginning.”
After bidding the twins goodbye, they walked down the purple lined hallway to the opposite end from the landing platform. There, they entered another glass bubble that shot straight up the outside of the structure, giving Abilene an unrestricted view. She had a hard time processing the things she saw. Clear glass tubes twisted like a mad knot of spaghetti in the center. Around them, arranged like towering pieces of pie, were buildings that soared higher than she could see. Islands of flowering plants and tall trees floated with no apparent support. Waterfalls and clouds and even the occasional rain shower appeared randomly.
She couldn’t imagine the actual size of a ship that accommodated such a place. As she gaped at the fantasy land around her, she saw dozens of the bubble vehicles zipping through the tubes.
“We are here, Abilene.”
She had no idea how long Jarius had been waiting. With a last glance, she took the hand he offered and walked down another long hall with him, noting this one had two deep green lines on the walls. 
They stopped at a door with the letter Z on the door. Jarius placed his palm on the white circle and the door softly slid open. Inside, a male and a female sat at a table, waiting. Abilene fought the urge to stare at them in stunned fascination while Jarius seated her before sitting down next to her.
“Abilene, this is Counselor Tena LawGiver. She is Charmonan from Yandoyi. Her assistant is Counselor Barak LawKeeper from Ouslymot on Yandoyi.
“Nice to meet you.” Abilene met their twinkling, amused eyes, then quickly looked down at her folded hands, resting on the table. She could feel the embarrassed flush creeping up her cheeks. The female appeared to be some type of catwoman. Short silky tawny fur covered her from head to toe…at least it covered every bit of skin that wasn’t hidden by her formal uniform. She had hands with claw-tipped fingers. Each claw was painted and decorated with jewels, but that didn’t hide the fact they were potential weapons. She wore two small gold balls in the tips of her cat ears. And her eyes, a startling icy blue had the elongated feline pupils. She was a recognizable type, Abilene decided. To a reader of paranormal romances, she wasn’t even particularly shocking.
The male, well the male was something far, far out of the realm of her imagination. A steady diet of Star Wars and E.T. had done little to prepare her for this meeting. He was a plant? Maybe? The visible portions of his body resembled the rough bark of a tree. The backs of his “hands” were covered with a deep green mossy surface, just like his head, except for his face. There he almost resembled a human. Two dark chocolate eyes, a prominent hatchet nose, and wide mobile mouth that was currently smiling with gentle amusement.
“Strange old universe, isn’t it?” he asked.
“I’m so sorry for staring.” Abilene was so embarrassed she couldn’t meet his eyes.
“I’m not.”
She looked up at him in shock. “What?”
“You’re a lovely woman. I don’t recall ever seeing an Earthling with that particular shade of skin. Are there many of you on Earth? If so, I must see if I can arrange a visit.”
Fortunately, Jarius chose to intervene. “Earthlings have a broad range of skin colors and hair colors. Even their eyes are various hues. If you wish, I will send you some images from my time on Earth. For now, I’m sure your time is too valuable to spend it discussing anthropological issues. Perhaps we can address the issues from Mikel StarRunner’s will?”
“Of course.”

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wish List

When the first time author leaps into the publishing pool, they usually have a lot to learn. Sometimes they're quick learners but for many of us...well, we take a little longer. One of the most frequent questions asked in author interviews is "What piece of advice would you give to a new author?"

I think a more important question might be "What would you like to tell the publishers?" This is my wishlist...

1) Please get together and standardize your submission guidelines. One publisher requires a minimum two page synopsis. The next one has a two page maximum for their synopsis requirements. Publisher ABC would like your submission in Times New Roman pt. 12, single spaced. But Publisher XYZ wants it in Calibri pt. 13--with 1.5 line spacing. All of the required formats will ultimately have to be changed when the book is formatted for release. Why not pick some standardized submission guidelines and make life easier for everybody?

2) If you're gonna swap my editors out every time I submit a book like a clean change of underwear, please have the courtesy to a) send me an official notification from the head honcho, and b) include a brief working bio of the new editor. I know I have no control over who edits my book. I do think it's common sense to know something about that individual and their editorial skills and background. How long have they been editing? Who else have they edited?

3) Within the actual publishing house, I wish you would standardize the author's packet. At Publisher ABC, Editor Susie sends me items 1, 5 and 7 to complete and send back to her. Editor Justin sends me items 1, 3 and 6 to complete, etc. Editor Georgia doesn't send me any thing to complete and when I make a delicate inquiry, brusquely informs me authors just screw up the paper work so she filled it all out herself...including such items as my cover request and blurb.
Ask me if I will ever resubmit another book to that publisher.

4) Publishing is a business. This is something we authors hear over and over. me on time. State a specific pay date. And make sure I receive my royalty payment on that date. That's good business. If I can't count on a specific pay date, I can't plan my own finances. I know it's an odd concept but some of us have families who like to eat and require shelter.

5) Courtesy and good manners are part of good business technique. Please don't swear at me, use foul language, or SCREAM at me in your e-mails. Be professional. Oh, yeah. Use spellcheck. When I receive a letter full of typos and bad grammar from a publishing house it makes me rethink the idea of dealing with them.

5) Finally, if we have discussed some issue and reached an agreement, stick with your word. There used to be an old expression, "His word is his bond." It meant his agreement or promise was iron clad. That's the kind of publisher I want to work with.

In my next post, I'll address things I wish authors knew.