Old is Gold

2018 A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

It’s time for the 2018 A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal.

But first, what is the A-to-Z Challenge? It’s a one month blogging challenge that takes place in April. Twenty-six blogs on twenty-six days. Twenty-six letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter. One central theme. Any category.

(Post every day except Sundays. Except if the 1st is a Sunday, then write on Sunday, April 1st. No Fooling!)

Sign up here.

Last year was my first year, though the challenge has been around since 2010. I stumbled upon it by accident and signed onto a group (the wonderful blogchatter group). I wrote twenty-six blogs on writing and marketing tips, which I later consolidated and published as an ebook available here.

Writing tools, 26 ways to improve your writing. 2018 A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Writing Tools: 26 Ways on How to Improve Your Writing

This year, I debated on whether to enter. I couldn’t imagine writing another twenty-six tips. Do you know how hard it is to find a writing tip for J? (I cheated and used, Journey, The Hero’s)

Then a case of insomnia revealed my theme.

2018 A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Let me explain, and we’ll get to the theme in a minute (after these commercial messages).

When I can’t fall asleep, I head for the couch. One night the lights from the microwave, stove and cable box seemed to burn brighter than normal, and I started playing the writer’s game of “What If?” What if they weren’t lights but cameras? And someone watched my every move? What if I had a character who thought that and no one believed him? What if I could put a Twilight Zone twist on the end?

Playing a little further, what if the character lived in a retirement community where reality clashes with the unexplained? I live in a retirement community and I’ve witnessed a bunch of strange things. What if I wrote about what I know?

Thus, twenty-six stories were born set in the fictional village of Twilight, Arizona. The blurb for the series is:

Twilight, Arizona, on the road between Phoenix and Las Vegas, where reality clashes with the unexplained.

Almost each one contains a grain of a story that has happened to me or I’ve witnessed. All of the endings are not what you’d expect.

I’m excited about presenting the cast of wacky, elderly characters to you (some show up in more than one story). If you’re looking for a cross between Lake Woebegone Days, The Golden Girls, and The Twilight Zone, I’ll see you in this space on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Old is Gold

Old is Gold

Old is Gold



p.s. Please share using the social media icons on the left.

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Also, if you’ve stuck around to the bottom of this blog, take advantage of a special 99¢ offering of Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf as it celebrates its one year publishing anniversary.

Available for 99¢ until March 25, 2018 on Amazon, ibooks, Kobo and other distributors.

Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf, an adult fairy tale romance. 2018 A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf





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Writing advice from famous authors

It’s Throwback Thursday with an important publishing decision.

It’s Throwback Thursday, and I’m republishing a blog I wrote in 2011. Yeah, that long ago, when making a publishing decision was almost a no-brainer—traditional publishing or this relatively new thing called self-publishing.

Making a publishing decision? The publishing industry is in the midst of turmoil. Those cart tracks have expanded to four-lane super highways. Anyone who wants to be published nowadays can be.

Here’s the blog:

I attended our monthly writers’ group meeting today. As always, I returned home in total awe of our members.  They are a fantastic group and never take no as an answer.

It’s easy to forget between meetings, when you’re sitting in the basement staring at a blank screen, that there are others just like you. As Emily, our newest member said, “Writing a book is hard.” Yes, it is, but we keep plugging away, writing, critiquing, editing, submitting and hoping for publication.

But boys and girls, the road to publication is no longer a small trail with a select group of tollgate keepers deciding who gets to progress forward. The publishing industry is in the midst of turmoil. Those cart tracks have expanded to four-lane super highways. Anyone who wants to be published nowadays can be.

Is that a problem? Will junk and dreck clog the choices we have? Probably. But think about that for a moment. How many people actually write a book? As Emily noted, it’s hard. Damn hard. Your competition will remain the same. If xxxx people finished a manuscript in 2006 b.k. (before Kindle), a similar amount will write a book in 2011. The only difference is that more of them will become available to readers.

How many of your fellow authors are really, really good, on the cusp of being accepted for publication but have never quite got the nod from New York? I can tell you, their chances lessen more and more. Publishers can’t scramble fast enough to keep up with the minute-to-minute changes in the industry. They hang on to their best selling authors, squeeze the mid-list and don’t take chances on newcomers.

Making a publishing decision? The publishing industry is in the midst of turmoil. Those cart tracks have expanded to four-lane super highways. Anyone who wants to be published nowadays can be.

How are you going to get a break if you don’t make your own?

Yes, there’s something to be said for traditional publishing. I’ll always love the feel of a book in my hand. I miss being able to thumb through the pages to the part I want to re-read (2/3 through the book on the left hand side.) But, I can carry dozens of books in my purse on an e-reader. (which will be super handy during my upcoming eight hour flight). I can have what I want to read available within seconds instead of ordering it through the mail or hunting through library lists.

Ebooks have their drawbacks, but, at Amazon, they’ve already surpassed sales of paperbacks. The Kindle (I’m using it as the standard of all ereaders) is not even four years old. Wait until the price drops below $99.

Traditional publishing might not go away, but do you want to miss out on the greatest opportunity that has ever happened to the industry? The industry you’re so desperate to break into?

Think about alternative ways to offer your book to your readers. That’s all I ask. Think about it.

I know I am.

****2017 Cheryl back again****

Has your publishing decision changed since this was written? Do you still crave the legitimization of “traditional” publishing? How’s that going for you? It’s harder, not easier to be traditionally published, and the doors are shrinking.

Do you still think of self-publishing as not really being published? Or have you embraced it?

Tell me your views in the comments.



p.s. Kindles are available for under $99 if you’re interested. I no longer own one. I read on my laptop or my phone using the Kindle app.


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Book review:Writer on a Budget: Insider tips and resources to help you write, polish, publish, and market your book at minimal cost

Writer on a Budget: Insider tips and resources to help you write, polish, publish, and market your book at minimal cost by Sarah Lentz

Book review:Writer on a Budget: Insider tips and resources to help you write, polish, publish, and market your book at minimal cost

Writer on a budget

I’ve been remiss in not posting more book reviews to my blog. I read a great many books, blogs, and downloads and have learned many tips and techniques about writing and book marketing. I should share this information more often. My latest download is Writer on a Budget: Insider Tips and Resources to Help You Write, Polish, Publish, and Market Your Book at Minimal Cost, written by Sarah Lentz.

Do you need to spend a fortune getting your book to market?

Sarah Lentz says no. After going the pro route for her first book, paying for someone else to edit, format, and build a cover, she determined to find a better, less expensive way to do the same work on her own.

The author takes on a logical journey through the writing process, starting with writing the book, and the steps she’s taken, the pitfalls she’s encountered, and the resources she’s used. At the end of each chapter, she liberally lists her sources, from books she’s favored to blogs and YouTube videos.

You’ll learn the going rates of hiring an editor, what editing software is available, and where to find beta-readers.

In the formatting chapter, she shares the tools she’s used, how to set up styles, insert images and hyperlinks.

Formatting isn’t as hard as you think

The author delves into the ins and outs of formatting a book from cover page to end matter, proving it’s a matter of following guidelines for both ebooks and printed versions. She also praises the ease in creating a cover with (as I did in this post).

KDP Select or not?

Should you put all your (distribution) eggs in one basket? How do you choose the right keywords? What categories should you choose, and can you add more than the two Amazon allows? (Her answer is Yes!)

Which marketing books are worth the money (or download)?

Which self-help authors are worth your dollars? Do I launch my Amazon book on Kindle Select, free, permafree, at 99 cents, or more? How do I promote my book before and after launch?

In conclusion

Sarah Lentz has written a helpful, comprehensive book on taking your book from concept to bookshelf. She shares a boatload of books, blogs, links, and advice, and if she has no experience with a resource, she’ll admit it. She has impressed me with the amount of research she’d done and her willingness to share with the D.I.Y. writing community.

Thank you for joining me on my blog today. If you know of someone who can benefit from Writer on a Budget, please share this post.

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