Saturday, March 24, 2012

Indie Chick Carol Davis Luce -- Self-Taught Late Bloomer

Please welcome Indie Chick, Carol Davis Luce to my blog. She shares a valuable lesson with us: it's never too late to follow your dreams. Please read her contribution to The Indie Chicks Anthology -- currently free on Kindle, Smashwords, and Nook.


Carol Davis Luce

            My motto is, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.” I wasn’t born to write. I didn’t aspire to be a writer from the time I could hold a Crayon. I could, however, draw, and make things take shape through form and color on paper and canvas, and that’s the path I traveled well into midlife. The artist’s life opened up my eyes and mind to expression and sometimes stories through composition on that blank eighteen by twenty-four inch stretched canvas. Then one day it changed.

            As a voracious reader, I was content to read what others wrote. I admired those writers who had mastered the craft. I was happy to dwell in their world for 300 pages, to laugh, cry, and be enlightened and surprised. Until one day when I closed a book by my favorite author and felt something was missing. The novel was a mystery/suspense with elements of romance. The suspense was killer. The romance, however, was lacking, missing those subtleties that resonated with me. I wanted more. The promise of romance was there, but fizzled somewhere along the way. For me, it wasn’t about graphic sex. It was about sexual tension, passion, love. After searching unsuccessfully for novels to satisfy my romantic suspense fixation, looking for just the right balance, I realized I had to write the book myself.

            Only I knew nothing about writing a novel, let alone a genre book with a sub-genre. So I went to the library and checked out a reference book titled, HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL. Easy enough, right? If dedication is easy, then it was easy because I was driven. My artist’s passion shifted to focus on the writer’s canvas. That canvas was structure, words, emotion, and truth. And the rest is history.

Well, almost.

I burned up two electric typewriters before investing in a computer. I checked out every book on the “book writing” reference shelf, and many grammar and stylebooks, and two years later, my 800-page opus, NIGHT STALKER, was finished—


I learned about the important shaping process, without which most stories would be unreadable. Editing. The passion and pain of cutting and revising. Finding the jewels that lie buried in too many, or misguided, words. Three years and a dozen revisions later, 400 pages lighter, it found a home with a traditional publisher. Within the first few months of release, it went into three printings and became the flagship for the sub-genre "Woman in Jeopardy/Romantic Suspense" at Kensington Publishing.

            Where it started. . .

I left school at sixteen to marry my high school sweetheart. Six years later, as a housewife and mother, I channeled my artistic talent into sketching and painting, selling my work at a local art gallery. A quarter century later, I traded in my paints and brushes to hit the keyboard. Our three sons, not much for novel reading, are waiting for my books to be made into movies. That childhood sweetheart I married a lifetime ago is now my soul mate of 50 plus years. His encouragement fueled me, and his support allowed me to pursue my goals.  

            Going back to my motto of, “if I can do it, anyone can.” There has never been a more opportunistic time to try your hand at writing a book. Or taking the plunge and self-publishing. My decision to self-publish my upcoming suspense novels came about when I hit the proverbial brick wall after five published books. With a stalled career, I had a choice. Teach, or see my stories in print again. I chose the latter. My first self-published book is the short story trilogy, BROKEN JUSTICE, followed by my suspense novel, NIGHT WIDOW.

Agents and editors think they know what readers want. They don’t always know. Readers know what readers want, and they’re expressing their wants by buying books written by indie authors. Give yourself a hardy pat on the back if you’ve completed a manuscript, but the big applause goes to our devoted fans and readers. Without them, we would be nothing.


Please check out Carol's books. Here's a link to her Amazon Author Page.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Indie Chick Christine Kersey--Never Give Up on Your Dreams

Indie Chick, Christine Kersey, kept following her dream, and that made all the difference! Read her story from The Indie Chicks Anthology. The anthology is now available electronically and in paperback. All proceed go to breast cancer research. Be sure to read all the inspiring stories--and never give up on your dreams!

Never Give Up On Your Dreams

by Christine Kersey

I love to read and lose myself in a good story – forget all that is going on around me and be in the story with the characters. One day in 1997 I finished reading a novel by Joy Fielding and realized she hadn’t needed to be an expert in a particular field, like medicine or law, to write a good suspense story. This fact inspired me to try my hand at writing. It also didn’t hurt that we’d just gotten our first computer and I can type much faster than I can write longhand.

At this time in my life I was thirty-two and my youngest child was three. I also had three other children who were in elementary school. A stay-at-home mom, I was able to carve out some time to work on this project. At first I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing. What if I couldn’t complete it? What if I failed? After a short time I told my husband, mother, and sister and they were supportive.

I kept working at it, day by day, until after about four weeks I’d finished a complete novel. At that point it was nowhere near ready to be published, but I’d proven to myself that I could write a novel with a beginning, middle, and end. I continued working on the story, then put it aside and began working on another.

I gathered the courage to have a few friends read it and they all said they loved it. Encouraged, I decided to attend a conference called Bouchercon , which is for fans of mysteries. At the conference I mingled with published writers and talked to an agent or two. Afterwards I sent queries to several agents, but none of them were interested in my completed novel.

Shortly afterwards I started working part-time and didn’t spend as much time writing as I had before. When my youngest child started first grade I decided to go back to college full-time and earn my degree. Over the next four years I did very little fiction writing and focused on getting my education.

As I approached my final semester my schedule wasn’t quite as heavy and I decided to do some revisions on one of my two completed novels. When I felt the story was ready, I submitted it to a small, regional publisher. In April, 2004 I graduated with a B.S. in Information Technology. That same week the publisher got back to me and said they were interested in publishing my book, but first they wanted me to do revisions. Though they hadn’t offered a contract yet, I did the revisions and resubmitted the manuscript. They were pleased, but wanted yet more revisions. In 2004 the job market was down and I was spending a lot of time job-hunting, but I did the revisions as requested.

In October of that year I finally found a full-time position and within two weeks of starting my new job, the publisher got back to me and offered a contract. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Seven and a half years after I’d written my first book and I was finally getting published!

I was assigned an editor and worked closely with her. The book hit bookstores in July, 2005. I thought I was on my way. I had one book published with a real publisher, so now I was set, right?

The book sold reasonably well, but when I submitted another manuscript, my publisher decided not to publish it. Discouraged, I focused on my family and my job and didn’t spend very much time writing. However, I still read as much as ever. In fact, when the nook eReader became available I bought one and started loading dozens of books onto it. I was in reader heaven.

I’d had my nook for nearly a year before I caught on to the possibilities indie publishing presented. The book I’d published with a traditional publisher had gone out of print and I was able to get the rights back. That book, No Way Out, was the first book I made available as an indie publisher. The first month it was available I sold exactly one copy. But that one sale was very exciting. Since then I’ve published three more novels and have sold thousands of copies. I love that I have complete control over what I publish. I also love to read the work of other indie authors. There are so many talented people that are now able to publish their work.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on my dream to be published and am so excited at the endless opportunities that are now available. One thing I’ve learned is that if you persist in following your dreams, eventually you will be able to accomplish what you’ve set out to do, whatever it may be.

That three-year-old child that sat near me as I began my writing career is now a senior in high school. Whether or not I had chosen to continue writing, time inexorably moved forward. It’s never too late to follow your dreams, but why wait?

Visit my blog

No Way Out, about a woman whose husband disappears, is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

He Loves Me Not is currently only available at Amazon, although if you have a nook, email me and I’ll send you a free epub copy.

Don’t Look Back is the sequel to He Loves Me Not and is available at Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Indie Chick Mel Comley--French Fancies!

Please welcome Indie Chick Mel Comley to my blog. Mel has an inspiring story, and she's fortunate be able to write full time! Read her contribution to the Indie Chick Anthology.

French Fancies!
by Mel Comley

In 1993 I walked out on my sad and abusive marriage, one that I had stuck with for seven years. At the time I jointly owned a shop with my ex-husband and my Mother, so we had to sell the business when the marriage broke down.
If I thought that was hard it was nothing to what I had to endure the following six years. To make ends meet, I had to work two jobs for 70-80 hours a week over 6½ days. Take my word when I say it wasn’t fun.
But onwards and upwards, when Mum retired we made a spur of the moment decision to leave England and move to France. We’d never set foot in the country before we came out here to house hunt, I know, we’re either brave or stupid. I like to think we’re the former, but I sometimes wonder if that’s the case!
We bought a farmhouse and barns that needed total renovation. In 6 months I decorated 22 rooms while a local builder created a gîte (a holiday home) out of a couple of the barns. After the renovations were completed I grew bored with my ‘early retirement’ and enrolled in a creative writing course. I threw myself into it and over the next 4-5 years I sat down and wrote three romances and two thrillers.
In October 2009, I discovered the writing site run by Harper Collins called Authonomy where I uploaded the first 10,000 words of my thriller Impeding Justice. It took me 8 months to reach the editor’s desk where I received a favourable review from a Harper Collins editor. The trouble was they weren’t taking on any thriller writers at that time, they were only interested in printing Celebrity Autobiographies!
Therefore, in October 2010 I decided to upload Impeding Justice as an ebook. It took a while to take off but in January 2011 sales really started gathering momentum, but it wasn’t until I released the second book in the series, Final Justice that sales really took off.
After selling over 30,000 books in April, I was in the fortunate position of having several agents knocking on my virtual door. I finally agreed terms and signed a contract with top New York agent, Richard Curtis. I sent him Cruel Justice the third book in the thriller series and he tried for 4 months to get me a traditional publishing contract, but at the moment he admits he’s finding it difficult to place any books with publishers because of the Indie revolution, which I’m extremely proud to be part of.
During last Summer, I edited the romances I wrote at the beginning of my journey. I uploaded A Time To Heal towards the end of August and immediately received a couple of 5 star reviews (no they weren’t from my family, they don’t know I write!) some of them were from my thriller fans who were equally impressed by my romance endeavours.
At the beginning of September I uploaded A Time For Change, another romance which is actually a TRUE story of how my dear friends met and fell in love. Obviously they’re names have been changed, the story has a mystery element to it too.
In October 2011, I uploaded the third book in my thriller series, Cruel Justice, which is actually the prequel to my best-seller Impeding Justice. It’s been very well received and has even reached #2 in the Police Procedural chart on Amazon.
I’m very fortunate to be able to write full-time (it’s addictive, don’t you know!) and have several more projects outlined that I intend tackling over the coming winter months.
This is how my day pans out, first thing, providing it isn’t raining, I take my two dogs for a walk, actually they tend to drag me round our small village. Then I sit down to answer any emails and facebook messages I’ve received overnight from fans (yes I do have them) I then set out to write a minimum of 2-3000 words per day, before I dip into hours of necessary promoting. That’s the hardest part of being an Indie writer, the fact that we have to promote ourselves long and hard. I used to be quite a shy person, but I’ve had to overcome that quickly. I think deep down, every writer would love to be a recluse and be able to focus full-time on their creations, unfortunately that’s unrealistic in an Indie world.
Do I ever think about my life back in England? No, never, but my ex features heavily in my books. When I need to think up a baddie character it’s his image I picture in my mind. As for my murder scenes, I find them VERY easy to write. LOL

You can find out about me and my books at the following blogs.

You can purchase my books in ebook format or paperback from my website.
My twitter id is @melcom1
You can find out about me and my books at the following blogs.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Indie Chick, Barbara Silkstone--Have You Ever Lost a Hat?

Barbara Silkstone is an amazing woman. I figured that out when I read her book, The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men & One Woman. In fact that was the first book I read on my kindle. But I didn't know Barbara's amazing story and the ordeal she writes about in Have You Ever Lost a Hat? her contribution to the Indie Chicks Anthology.


By Barbara Silkstone 

I lost everything including my home, my car, and even my retirement accounts. I was physically attacked inside and outside a court building. My daughter and baby granddaughter were threatened. I came at the bad guys like a mother tiger.

A few years earlier I had agreed to testify against a real estate developer in a civil racketeering case. He was obscenely rich and could afford a hanger full of Lear jets, four sneering lawyers, and a greedy judge. In an effort to discredit my testimony in his upcoming trial and to frighten me out of appearing against him, his team of legal manipulators pasted together a bogus suit against me designed to keep me tied up in court and unable to function. They underestimated my sense of justice.

I’d been sitting on the witness stand for the better part of a day… one of many in my five-yeartrial.” The judge, forgetting her microphone was on, had just proclaimed me “a pretty tough cookie.” I’d given up expecting justice. It was much too late for fairness. I was in an out-of-body state observing my own funeral and laughing about it.

When the four-hundred pound lawyer asked me if I’d ever lost a hat, I thought one of us had lost our minds. I was pretty sure it wasn’t me. He blinked as if he realized the absurdity of what he asked and dropped the line of inquiry. The question struck my funny bone and sent me into giggle-fits. And that was the moment when The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters was born.

Within a few months the lawyers I hired to help me sucked up every penny I could muster. When I was broke, they walked off the case. Unlike in criminal cases, defendants in civil litigation must pay for their own attorneys. No money – no lawyers. I was on my own. I needed to defend myself. But how when the case was nonsense? How do you fight silly? The lost hat question was a perfect example of the charges brought against me. But the more ridiculous their charges, the stronger and feistier I grew. For each thing they threw at me, I came back that much harder, roaring and taking notes for my someday book.

Since I was a child my driving passion has been to write. In Catholic grade school I started an underground newspaper. When our nun forbade me to continue, I carried the paper further underground. While I continued to write as an adult, life eventually got in the way of living and my writing took a backseat. But now as I sat in the courtroom I was inspired and chomping at the bit to get this real-life fairytale on paper.

Anger boiled in me as I saw the precious time I had carved out for writing being eaten up as I defended myself in bizarre proceedings. I was spending all my time in the law library studying the Rules of Civil Procedure in order to write Motions and Pleadings and filing them against the court in such rapid fire I would have made Rambo back off.

Earning a living on commission sales is impossible when you are spending 14 hours a day fighting a pack of legal sharks. I had to take the creepiest part-time jobs… things that still give me nightmares. Things like working for a gold broker who brought us the teeth from dead people. We were expected to separate the gold from the molars – not unlike the lawyers I was dealing with. I needed the money but not that badly. I ran to the nearest exit.

Locked in a deadly struggle with the notorious real estate developer, I chose that time to become romantically involved with a Brit who, it turned out was not what he seemed to be. I stepped into the perfect storm. The Brit’s upper-class accent and polished manners hid a not-too-clever conman, but clever enough to fool my starry eyes. The developer and the conman clashed in a rage of wicked deeds. I was sandwiched between them.

Is The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters true? Would Lewis Carroll say Alice in Wonderland was true? The emotions are real and still raw, but the journey was worth the results. Would I do it again? You bet your tushie. My sense of justice would not permit otherwise. But I would not be quite so naïve. I would expect slimy tricks and dirty pool. Merely because someone wears a robe and speaks of the law does not mean they abide by the law.

“The Hail Mary Pass” refers to any very long forward pass made in desperation with only a small chance of success. It’s used in football and occasionally courtrooms.

My Hail Mary Pass knocked the bad guys on their butts. I filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, which is a request to the United States Supreme Court asking that Court to review the decision of a lower court. I cast a spotlight on their dark shenanigans.

And as my Petition worked its way along the queue in the United States Supreme Court, making it almost to the finish line, the judge on my case went strangely silent, the notorious developer disappeared, and the Brit wandered off.  I had become a writer but not in the way I had envisioned. I was a self-taught legal guerrilla who had managed to land her petition to be heard by the highest court in the United States… right through the goal post. Unfortunately, in the end corruption won and I barely escaped with a toothbrush and a change of clothes.

Were those five years tough? Yes. But I fought because I knew I couldn’t live with myself if I rolled into a ball. I fought with the wit and sarcasm of Alice in the original Alice in Wonderland. Standing on the outside watching the Jabberwocky operate on the inside. I knew that someday my story, fictionalized with absolutely no resemblance to anyone living or dead and the names changed to protect the corrupt, would make a darn good yarn. And each step of the way, like Lewis Carroll and my out-of-body ordeal, I would allow the action to the skate on the edge of logic.

In The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters, a few murders have been thrown in for comic relief, and the characters have been shaken and stirred, then presented in a Pythonesque light. Any similarities to the jerks I dealt with are purely coincidental.

Have I ever lost a hat? Probably.

But did I retain my passion for writing, and even kick it up a notch?  Absolutely.  

Every adventure contains a novel.

Sometime you have to pay dearly for it.

Quoting the Cheshire Cat:

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" (Alice)

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where---" said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"---So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

This is one story from Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To read all the stories buy your copy today. All proceeds go to fund breast cancer research.

About the Author
Barbara Silkstone is the best-selling author of The Fractured Fairy Tales series that currently includes: The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters:
This author has a unique narrative voice, and reading the story is like taking a smooth slide into Alice’s surreal world. The premise is outstanding – a classic we all love, with a contemporary, intelligent twist. ~ Elizabeth Lindberg, author Upper West Side Stories

Purchase for your Kindle at: Amazon
Purchase for your Nook at:  Barnes & Noble

Be aware, this is not the Peter Pan story you want your kids reading. It is clearly intended for adult readers. Yet it appeals to the childlike part of us that loved the classic original stories. Combine that childlike love with modern politics and technology, and you get this smart, snarky, hilarious mystery. The story is richly developed and leaves you guessing until the very end. I am liking this grown-up version of Peter Pan even more than the original. ~ Tiffany Harkleroad for Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Purchase for your Kindle at: Amazon
Purchase for your Nook at: Barnes& Noble

The snarky Python sequel to Wendy and the Lost Boys. A murderous rollercoaster ride through Londonduring a killer heat wave. ~ Ravan Reviews
Purchase for your Kindle at: Amazon
Purchase for your Nook at: Barnes & Noble
Silkstone’s writing has been described as “perfectly paced and pitched – shades of Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen – without seeming remotely derivative. Fast moving action that shoots from the hip with bullet-proof characterization.”

Wendy and the Lost Boys topped the charts in comedy, climbing over Tina Fey, Sophie Kinsella, and Ellen DeGeneres. The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters has been a consistent best seller in comedy. Both Wendy and Alice have been in the top 20 Amazon comedies at the same time. Silkstone has been fortunate enough to take part in writing workshops with Stephen King, Robert B. Parker, and James Michener. She lives in South Florida but has no time to visit the beach.

Barbara Silkstone loves to hear from her readers. You can write to her at:

Or visit her at: Barb’s Wire eBooks & More

Twitter @barbsilkstone!/barbsilkstone

Zo White – coming  Summer 2012