Happy Pride Month!

I’d like to wish you all a Happy Pride Month!

Shirelle and Becky and some friends from their figure skating club decorated their rink with rainbow flags. “This is something you wouldn’t have seen at this rink ten years ago,” one of the skatemoms informed me. “Times have changed!”


Earlier this month, I made a Pride-related Twitter ad for Red Flags featuring Becky and her pals, Connor and Mack. (Shirelle was at the other end of the rink working on her choreography for the upcoming season– it’s that time of the year.)


How To Accept Literary Success Might Take Years To Achieve #SundayBlogShare #Writer


You enter the writing world as a fresh-faced newbie with bags of enthusiasm, a head full of stories and the belief that it won’t take you long to achieve literary success! It will be a matter of months before your work starts a publishing bidding war.

Sadly this belief starts to fade the more you write. Ugh!

You come to realise that books go through a never-ending circle of drafting, rewriting and editing. They never seem to match the story in your head either.

This cycle can go on for years with just ONE book!*Eye roll*

Things may not run smoothly. You have to prepare for:

  • Drafts which never meet your expectations
  • Drafts which require extra mental stewing,
  • Drafts which are sabotaged by painful periods of writer’s block
  • Draft which are put to one side during unexpected curve ball life events.
  • Drafts which remain ugly ducklings and never turn…

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Ninety-Nine Ways to Fail in Writing, Publishing, and Marketing

Yikes! Fortunately, I have avoided many of these pitfalls. I am more of a Delores than a Ben.

A Writer's Path

by Dr. Kent Gustavson

When it comes to writing, publishing, and marketing a book, there are many mistakes to be made (many more than 99). The #1 most important mistake NOT to make is over-investment. I’ll give a quick anecdote about that, and then give the whole list of my 99 favorite book mistakes.

One of my favorite stories about over-investment is of two (real) people. Let’s call them Dolores and Ben.

Dolores spent $57 writing, producing, and publishing her book. Sure, it was self-published, but it looked great, and was well edited by friends and family members. She currently gets tons of gigs because of the book, and is an Amazon.com bestseller.

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Write Like You’re Seven Years Old Again

This is so true! When I was a kid, I didn’t agonize over plot twists or characters. I didn’t have to worry about how I would market this project when it was finished. I just picked up a pencil and grabbed a chunk of the dot matrix computer paper my dad brought home from work and I was good to go. Happy times!

A Writer's Path

by Meg Dowell

“When I begin my work with a period of play … I tend to like the result.” – Monica Guzman, columnist (Hustle Economy, p. 93)

When you first started writing, you weren’t really writing. You were playing.

You don’t remember this well: you were a child then. But it happened.

Yes, technically, you were scribbling words on paper. (If for whatever reason you’re young enough to have started out writing on a computer without ever having to handwrite, I don’t want to hear it.) But really, you were more so playing a game. Writing was just a cooler way to play make-believe.

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Meet the skatemoms from Red Flags!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

The skatemoms in the above picture would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there– and to all the caregivers who have ever filled that role in someone’s life.

Before they would agree to pose for this picture, these skatemoms made me promise to tell you that they do not, in any way, fit the stereotype of the pushy skatemom from hell. They also want to make it clear that they are not the skatemoms from Red Flags. Indeed, it would paint a false picture to show the Red Flags skatemoms standing in a row at an ice rink together. In the book, the American skatemoms never meet the Soviet skatemoms, who are not allowed to travel outside the country.

So, without further ado, here are the skatemoms from Red Flags, in order of appearance…

Lyudmilla Belkina Lyubovskaya, also known as Milla, is Larissa’s mother. She gets pregnant with her only child at the age of seventeen, by which time she is already showing symptoms of a mental illness that grows progressively worse over the course of the novel. Unable to care for Larissa, the two switch roles. But whenever Larissa appears on TV, it is Milla who spots her “baby” first.

Zoya Alexandrovna Panova performs most of the heavy-lifting skatemom duties during the early part of Larissa’s skating career. An elderly neighbor who is not blood related to Larissa, Zoya was close to Milla’s late mother and feels a deep sense of responsibility toward the child. Like most Russian women of her generation, Zoya has had a hard life. She is the one who teaches Larissa how to survive.

Marina Turchenko, another non-relative, forms the female half of the husband-and-wife coaching team at Larissa’s hometown skating rink. I will leave it up to the reader to determine how much of Marina’s gentleness and warmth is sincere and how much of it is contrived to manipulate Larissa into performing well on the ice.

Gladia Rathbone is beyond the stereotypical skatemom from hell. She and her daughter, Cassandra, are the first Americans Larissa encounters when she starts competing internationally. Although Cassandra is older than Larissa and her skating is more artistically refined, Gladia still views Larissa as a threat and treats her accordingly. But Gladia is at her worst with Cassandra; the other American skaters compare them to Joan and Christina Crawford.

Elinor Brown, a minor character, is another American skatemom who views Larissa as a threat to her daughter. But unlike the raging Gladia Rathbone, Elinor is high-strung and jittery. She has to live separately from her husband so that her daughter, Ellen, can train at an elite skating club in another state with a coach who (hopefully) knows how to deal with Ellen’s eating disorder.

Dmitra’s mother is the only skatemom Larissa encounters at the athletes’ dormitory in Moscow; the other parents live too far away to visit their children. Larissa scoffs at the way Dmitra’s mother babies her daughter, yet she is secretly jealous. At the age of thirteen, Larissa recognizes that Dmitra has a family to protect her while she, Larissa, is on her own.

#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14! Start Planning NOW!

I checked the Indie Author Day website and one of my local libraries is participating. I need to find out more about this!

Sally Ember, Ed.D.

#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14!

The second annual Indie Author Day will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2017. This event brings together libraries and local writers around the world for a day of celebration and inspiration devoted to indie authorship.

Registration for Indie Author Day 2017 is officially open. Visit the Indie Author Daywebsite, https://goo.gl/6HJZG3 . to learn more information about this year’s event and how to get involved in IAD programming near you.

From the Indie Author Day website:


In addition to a selection of on-demand video workshops that will be available from Indie Author Day sponsors, there are many activities for your #library to offer as part of its Indie Author Day 2017 event.

To get you brainstorming, here are some suggested activities that #libraries have done at past events:

—An #author panel featuring traditional, hybrid and self-published #authors from…

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Another Twitter ad for Red Flags

For my latest Twitter ad, I decided to bring back Shirelle and Becky. I wish I could use them for a Facebook paid ad campaign, but Facebook won’t allow ads with a lot of text. They had issues with every single ad I submitted that had any text beyond Red Flags and my name. What happens to authors with longer names and longer book titles?


Will Shirelle and Becky make more appearances? I don’t know. The figure skating season is over, so for now I’m just playing around with different ideas.

A plea for reviewers – can we open up a dialogue about self-published books?

Nail Your Novel

So I find a lovely-looking review blog. The posts are thoughtful, fair and seriously considered. I look up the review policy and … it says ‘no self-published books’.

Today I want to open a dialogue with reviewers. If you have that policy, might you be persuaded to change it? Or to approach the problem in a different way?

I used the word ‘problem’. Because I appreciate – very well – that in making this policy you are trying to tackle a major problem. Your time as a reviewer is precious – and let me say your efforts are enormously appreciated by readers and authors alike. You get pitches for many more books than you can read and you need a way to fillet out the ones that are seriously worth your reading hours. A blanket ban is a way to fend off a lot of substandard material and save you…

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