Category Archives: Independent Publishing

Barbara Meyers, Author – August 2014 Newsletter

I signed the contract for another book with Samhain Publishing. This is the fourth book with them. I have a new editor. His name is Noah Chin. I sent him two manuscripts, one he liked and one he didn’t like so much. The one he liked is called NOBODY’S FOOL. It was inspired by my son’s high school BFF relationship with a girl. The first time he brought her home I thought they’d be perfect together. It’s rare to see such obvious chemistry between two people, but it was there. They were so cute together. (They still are.) She teased him and challenged him. They were both probably too smart for their own good and were always good-naturedly trying to outdo and one-up each other. They never dated in high school but did so later. Twice. Technically, three times but the third time’s the charm and they are now engaged. We call it Matt & Erin Version 3.0.

NOBODY’S FOOL is in no way the story of my son and his fiancée. I only took the best friend idea a little further and combined it with some elements of what they went through in order to get together years after their first meeting. My tag line for NOBODY’S FOOL is “She came home to make amends; he returned to seek revenge. The heart he breaks might be his own.”

When you read it just remember the story was INSPIRED by real people but it’s NOT BASED ON THEM! Sometimes I think I had to wait to see what happened with their relationship before I could finish my manuscript.

Release is slated for January 2015. Stay tuned for cover art.

I released MISCONCEIVE all by myself.

Barbs_Book_Front Another story I started a long time ago. I keep taking my manuscripts out every now and again, blow the dust off them and work on them some more. This is NOT a romance per se. More in the category of women’s fiction. PG-13 rating. The answer to the question what does Annie Langdon do when her husband is in a coma and she gets pregnant by another man? It’s available only on Amazon and only in Kindle format right now.

Meanwhile, I’m rewriting FANTASY MAN based on Noah’s comments about why he rejected it. I don’t know if it’s salvageable, but I’m not ready to give up on it yet. I’ve started a new romantic comedy, CLEO’S WEB. (If you flip back through my previous blogs you’ll find the first chapter.)

I did a seminar for Coffee Time Romance about how to AVOID publication success. You can find that here:

Pretty soon I’ll be heading to Missouri to visit my mom and assorted relations. There might be another series of posts about this year’s trip. In October I’ll be in St. Pete Beach for the Novelists, Inc. conference.

ajtillock2013 012 Anything else you’re looking for you can find links to on my web site
Follow my infrequent posts on Twitter @barbmeyers and @ajtillock
Thanks for your interest!



Barbs_Book_Front As usual, it has taken me forever to make a book available to my legions of fans. Thank you for your patience.
Writing and publishing are not only still in the experimental stages as far as my career goes, they are a mystery to me. This time I am trying the Amazon KDP Select program which gives Amazon exclusive rights to offer the digital version of the book for 90 days. I can’t offer it in print, just yet, and it won’t be available anywhere else. It’s priced at $2.49, but that’s subject to change on Amazon’s whim. When you’ve got nothing to lose, it’s easy to take a risk.
MISCONCEIVE started out as a short story I wrote for a creative writing class a very, very long time ago. It evolved over time into the novel I’m making available which basically asks the question, “What would you do if your husband was in a coma and you got pregnant by another man?”
Along the way many “misconceptions” are revealed to the heroine Annie Langdon. Those closest to her are not who she thinks they are. Maybe she’s not the woman she thinks she is either.
The couple of readers who read the draft loved it. Writers and editors? Not so much. Not that I’m deterred. I am reminded of an author saying, “Editors look for what’s wrong in a book. Readers look for what’s right.” I love that quote. I have a lot of faith in readers.
MISCONCEIVE may not be perfect. It tells a story of a woman’s journey, her relationship with her mother, her children and the men who love her. As a young mother myself at one time I was fascinated by the dilemma I’d created in MISCONCEIVE. As someone who had a less than ideal relationship with her own mother, I took Annie’s situation with her mother to the extreme.
When you’re in the creative process of writing you don’t always know where you’re going. You follow a thread and hope it leads somewhere. There’s a grain of an idea and maybe part of what you’re doing is working out your own pain and anger and letting it spill onto the page.
MISCONCEIVE’s cover was designed by the very talented Brandon Buchanan (Snippets Press).
MISCONCEIVE is a PG-13 read. No violence, profanity or graphic love scenes.
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ajtillock2013 012Follow my infrequent posts on Twitter @barbmeyers and @ajtillock
You can find my Braddock Brotherhood series at Samhain Publishing.
Happy reading!

Picky Reader Disappointed

ajtillock2013 012First on my list of disappointments were some of my recent library book selections.  I could only read two out of five.  One was a Lee Child Jack Reacher novel.  The other was Betrayal by John Patrick Hunter.  The rejected ones were, in no particular order:  an award winning (literary?) novel so bogged down in excessive description I’m not sure a story existed; a historical novel that looked intriguing but again was so bogged down by historical information that had nothing to do with the actual story I gave up.  Note to self:  beware of historical novels written by British history professors.  Number three was a British chick lit(?) book, again, bogged down in a slow- moving set-up and a heroine(?) so depressed and depressing I knew I wouldn’t be able to get interested.  Why do British authors take so long to get into the story????

Why do I choose at least five books on each library trip?  Because I hope I can get through at least two of them.  Sometimes it’s more.  Sometimes it’s less.

Now, for the even bigger disappointment:  I took a fellow author up on a free ebook offer I saw on Facebook for one of her mystery series books.

I’ve never read this author before and tend to think I won’t again.  It appears she indie published this mystery, which I would think would make a professional author even more vigilant about proofreading, but apparently that is not the case in this instance.   The misspellings, usage errors and repetitiveness nearly drove me insane.  Add to that a heroine who can’t get it through her head (even after the investigating police detective assures her numerous times) that she is a witness and not a suspect.  She’s convinced she’ll end up in the slammer facing the death penalty unless she solves the case on her own.  It’s like she has a mental block or something.  I wanted to smack her.

Many of us are doing indie publishing these days, myself included, with mixed results.  I applaud the effort, but I wish the standards were higher, because a book like this makes us look bad.  Or I thought it would at least make this particular author look bad.  But such is not the case.  This book has four plus stars as its average rating on  I wish I could figure out why something I think sucks garners rave reviews.  Are these the author’s friends and family posting such positive comments?  Or are they readers who honestly thought this was a great book?  I wish I knew and I wish I had as many reader fans willing to post wonderful reviews of my books.

I won’t even ask my friends and family to read my books any more or to post reviews for me.  If they are inclined to do so on their own (most of them aren’t) that’s great and I appreciate it.  But if they don’t like my books, I don’t want them to lie on my behalf.  (Actually I do but I would never ask them to!)

I should no longer be surprised by the number of traditionally published books that are essentially about nothing.  By page 163 of a recent read I still had no idea what the point of the story was or where it was going.  I didn’t care about the main character or anything else.  I wish I’d given up on this one much sooner.

I’ve decided the test of a “good” book is how long it takes me to read it.  If I can’t wait to pick it up again, if I read to the exclusion of other leisure time activities (and that includes watching Sex and the City or Castle reruns while playing Bejeweled Blitz), then I’ve picked a winner.  Sadly, this doesn’t happen often enough.nqh-small

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#picky reader



Cover Artist Interview – Lindsay Beach

Artist Lindsay Beach created the cover for The Forbidden Bean, the first book in the Grinding Reality series.

Tell us a little about your background and education.
I started drawing at a young age and haven’t stopped since. In high school I took all the art classes I could, including additional classes outside of the school at Repenning Fine Arts in Audubon. After encouragement from several teachers, I decided to go to art school. I studied illustration from the University of the Arts, and received my BFA in illustration.

How did you get started in book cover design?
While I was in school I started designing book covers. I had a target market project my junior year, and I chose to base mine on young adult book covers, and then for my senior thesis I also chose that young adult book cover market. Then after I graduated, Barbara Meyers granted me the opportunity to do her book cover, which was a great experience.

How many covers have you done? (Approximate if you don’t know exact number.)
Currently, I have done two commissioned book covers. While I was in school, I did about six or seven book cover projects.

What do you enjoy about doing cover design?It gives me a chance to tell the reader about the overall tone of the book in one visual cue. In a way it can be a challenge, but I like a challenge.

What’s your least favorite aspect of doing cover design?Can’t say there’s anything yet that I don’t really enjoy about them. Maybe if the challenge of finding that one perfect visual cue takes longer than I would like.

Do you want to hear the author’s ideas for the cover? Do you find them helpful or a hindrance?I do like to hear them because in the end the author is my client. Also, the book is something that the author has worked very hard on, so I want to make sure I make something that they would be proud to have represent all of their efforts.

Can you tell us a little about the actual process you go through when designing a cover?I first like to gain information about the book, whether it is a summary or some brief information from the author. Barbara gave me a synopsis. Then I take in any additional information the author may provide me with, such as some of their ideas for how the cover should look, and go from there. I like to draw out sketches of my ideas first to send to the author before I paint, so I don’t end up creating a finished piece of an idea that the author does not like.

Are there certain authors or genres you won’t work with?I would be willing to try any genre. Variety makes things interesting. I just did an illustration for the cover of a horror genre book, which is very different from The Forbidden Bean’s genre of contemporary fantasy, and I enjoyed doing both of them.

Is the process different if you know a book will only be offered online?The only difference is that when I know a book is going to be offered online, I want to make sure that when the cover is shrunken down to thumbnail size that it will still read fairly well.

Any advice or suggestions or “rules of thumb” you’d like to share?My rule of thumb for the artist would be to really talk with the author about their vision for the cover. Even if the author says “anything goes”, it is always a good idea to run some ideas and sketches by them before you get started on the finish piece.

Visit Lindsay here:

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Picky Reader – 25

Flirting in Cars by Alisa Kwitney. Sort of a women’s fiction/romance story. I liked it.
Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I thought I’d read everything of hers, but I must have missed this one. True to form, SEP never disappoints her readers.
Violet by Design by Melissa Walker. I don’t normally read young adult fiction. This was a pretty good book, although if young adults tend to annoy you, don’t bother. The character of Violet is full of contradictions and waffles between being wise and immature. But that is the nature of young women her age.
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. I enjoyed this book. It has a lot parallels in it and connections made from past to present through the main character who owns a vintage clothing shop. She heals her own emotional wounds by helping a dying woman put her past to rest.
Fools Paradise by Jennifer Stevenson. I read this on my Kindle. It is a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about stagehands and union infighting. There is one bedroom scene in particular which I found wildly hysterical. Fun and entertaining.
Picky Reader - 25 Here is another book I’m recommending. Scattered Moments. I am still working on a good blurb for it. (Don’t get me started on the angst of writing effective blurbs.) What’s a married woman to do when she meets her soulmate thirteen years too late? Sure there’s lots more to the book than that, a frenemy with her own agenda and a hidden camera, a husband she doesn’t know as well as she thinks she does, and vows she made to herself long ago which she now must re-examine. Scattered Moments is available for 99 cents on and right now. P.S. I would have posted this blog much earlier if WordPress wasn’t being a pain and not letting me upload my gorgeous cover. I still don’t know how I did it!
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Drinking Alone

You’d think I’d be used to it by now.  If you follow me anywhere, Twitter, Facebook, etc., you are already aware of my white zin addiction.  It’s sad but true.  The cheaper the better and I drink it over ice.  Anyone shuddering out there, yet?  Sutter Home is okay, but I prefer Beringer or…Barefoot is pretty good, too.  Beringer is $4.97 a bottle at Wal-Mart.  Used to be more expensive, but for some reason the price came down.  Might be because I’m the only customer who buys it.

I have no one to drink with because my husband doesn’t really drink and he shouldn’t.  Even when he used to have the occasional cocktail, he just became more like himself.  My kids are out on their own.  I have not one friend locally I would feel comfortable inviting over for a glass of wine on the spur of the moment or one I think would come.  My schedule never seems to mesh with any of my friends anyway and many of them live far away from me.  Is anyone feeling sorry for me yet?  Don’t.  I’m sharing the cocktail hour with you.

I tried to call my mother, because frankly it doesn’t hurt for me to have a glass of wine in my hand when I have a conversation with her.  But she doesn’t answer her phone.  She doesn’t have an answering machine, either.

I asked on the Samhain Cafe loop if anyone still believed in the concept of forever in relation to marriage, considering all the rampant divorce, especially among Hollywood celebrities.  But do twenty-somethings everywhere even believe in the idea that marriage is supposed to last a lifetime?  I wondered.  Most of the responses to my inquiry were positive.  Readers on that loop, at least, still think forever is possible.

As I said, that’s a good thing.  Who wants to read a romance entitled “A Sometimes Kind of Guy” or “Until the Going Gets Tough Kind of Guy”?  Romance is part fantasy, it’s an escape from reality.  We all want to believe the guy we’re with won’t bail on us at the first bump in the road, right?  Nor should women duck out of a relationship just because it isn’t ideal at the moment.

My next subject is soulmates.  I’m close to offering a book I’ve been working on (on and off) for fifteen years for sale.  First as an eBook and soon in print.  It’s about a married woman who meets a man who is her soulmate.  But she meets him thirteen years too late, after all her decisions and commitments are made.  Can she walk away from what she has when she discovers something she didn’t even know was possible exists?  It’s called Scattered Moments because even though she never crosses that line, time spent in her soulmate’s company comes back to

haunt them both when her husband is murdered.  (Why does WordPress space funny after you insert images?)  I’m having a hard time getting the blurb just right.  That’s what I worked on today and also finalizing the manuscript format before I send it to someone else to format for the electronic version.  Here’s my latest blurb effort:

A picture is worth a thousand words… 

One touch of a carpenter’s hand forces the wife of a wealthy man to confront a truth she can’t deny:  She found her soulmate much too late. 

Chance meetings feed their longing for each other, but they spell doom for Hart Michaelson and Amanda Heinrich after her husband is murdered.  

When disturbing photographs surface, the unknown photographer forces Amanda to acknowledge that not only was her husband not the man she thought he was neither is she the woman she wanted to be.  

Unless they can expose the killer’s hidden agenda, images of their scattered moments together will keep Amanda and Hart apart forever.

I also got probably the best rejection letter I’ve ever received from an editor which I’m sharing in part, although I won’t mention the name of the editor or the publishing house: 

I finished Scattered Moments and very much enjoyed the story. It’s compelling, very well written, as all your stories are, but…There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing or the characters or the storyline,  Barb, especially since I was engrossed enough to finish it in one sitting…it seems…not the right publisher for this story. 

I sincerely hope you can find a home for Scattered Moments. This story just reinforces for me what an amazing writing talent you have.

Basically, this particular house doesn’t publish this kind of book, but I found a home for the story.  Barbara Meyers, LLC.  Can’t wait to get it out there within the next couple of weeks.  Thanks for sharing the cocktail hour with me.  In case you were wondering, I’m generally  incapable of drinking more than two glasses of wine (or I fall asleep) and I’ve barely consumed half a glass while writing this post.  Remember to drink responsibly.

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#aforeverkindof guy


Not Quite Heaven – A Brief History

Even I didn’t remember how long ago I started working on this story until I started going through the box where I had stored its entire history on paper.
Oh, the trees I have killed. For you tree-huggers out there, I want you to know, I recycle paper. I save printed pages and use the backs to print out drafts. After they’ve been printed on both sides, they go into the recycling bin for county pick-up. Once I’ve recouped my investment in getting Not Quite Heaven up for sale, I promise I will plant a tree in its honor.
One of the first things I discovered was a list of queries I sent out in 1999 and 2000 as well as manuscript pages dated January 27, 1999 and later.
I found critiques, oh my goodness, the many, many critiques from fellow authors and my then critique group. I want to thank everyone who ever took a look at these pages and gave me feedback, including: Tina, Sandy, Paula, Marlene, Susan, Judy, Joyce and Lynn. More recently, Cathy and Tara.
Some other interesting tidbits unearthed in the Not Quite Heaven archives:
A four-page synopsis entitled “Love Fix” dated August 4, 1997!
Ian’s name was originally Mark.
Another four-page synopsis dated November 25, 1996 entitled “Melissa.” (I have a habit of referring to wip’s by the heroine’s name until I come up with titles.)
Other possible titles were Haunted Heart (question mark), Taking Chances and Mere Mortals (crossed out). The title Not Quite Heaven comes from dialogue in the book:

Ian almost dozed off slumped in a chair, feet propped on the edge of his bed. The bed he’d be sound asleep in right now if it weren’t for Melissa Ballantine.
When a ragged gasp tore from her throat Ian’s feet hit the floor. He peered at her in the dim light. Her eyes remained closed, but perhaps she had regained consciousness.
“Can you hear me?”
“Yes,” she whispered. Her eyelids fluttered but did not open.
“How do you feel?”
“Are you God?”
He paused a beat to consider the odd question. “No, Melissa, I’m a mere mortal, same as you.”
“Am I—I’m not in heaven then?”
He refrained from laughing out loud at her question. She’d find out soon enough where she was and who she was with. “Not quite heaven, no,” he affirmed.

I found notes on my original idea dated July 15, 1996 along with character sketches dated February 2, 1997.
Newspaper articles, one on hitting a moose from October 22, 1996 and one on Canadian timberwolves dated December 22, 1996. Makes me think I should start reading the local newspaper again.
This manuscript received Honorable Mention in the Undiscovered Writer I Contest in 1999 and placed second in the Silicon Valley Gotcha contest the same year.
All of the above may explain why writers have a hard time answering the question, “How long does it take to write a book?” A story is like a child you love. You never give up on it.
A version of Not Quite Heaven was turned down by an editor in 2008. There was lot she liked about it which made me think after some more work it might soon be ready for public viewing.
It’s now available. May you love reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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What Do Readers Want?

A recent meeting with a marketing expert goes something like this:

HER:  What do you feel is most important when it comes to content on your web site?

Me:  (Mental response) I don’t know.

Me:  (Verbal response)  Whatever will draw more readers to it and encourage them to buy my books.

HER:  Why is your blog so author-oriented?

Me (Mental response)  Because I’m an author.

Me:  (Verbal response)  Because I write what I want to write on my blog.  That’s why I started writing a blog.

(If you want to know who I am, read my blog.)

HER:  But your readers aren’t interested in author content.  They want to know about your books.

Me:  (Mental response)  They do?

Me:  (Verbal response)  They do?  How do you know what my readers want? 

HER:  Ninety-nine percent of marketing is research.  I’ve done my research.  I’ve studied other author web sites and blogs for content.

Me:  (Mental response)  That sounds boring.

Me:  (Verbal response)   I guess if I’m paying you for your expertise I should listen to your advice.

Me:  (Mental thought)  I’ll ask the readers what they like to see on an author’s web site. 

Do readers look at author’s web sites? 

What are they looking for on an author web site?

Do they read their blogs? 

Do they want to be Facebook friends or follow them on Twitter? 

Do they want to enter contests? 

What do they like as a reward? 

The winner having a character named after them? 

A free book? 

Something else?

I can tell you what I think authors want from readers:

1)       Authors want readers to love their books.

2)       Authors want readers to buy their books.

3)       Authors want readers to tell all their friends how much they loved the author’s book(s).

4)       Authors want readers to encourage all of their friends to buy and read the author’s book(s).

What I hope readers want from an author is a really good book they can enjoy and escape into for a little while.  A book that takes them out of their own world, gives them a break from their own reality, uplifts, inspires, or maybe just entertains them for a couple of hours.

If there’s something else readers expect from authors I don’t know what it is.

But I’d like to.

In the words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam.”

And in my own words as an author, “I write what I write.”  Humor, emotion, romance, love, happy endings.

Which leaves me with two burning questions:

How are readers going to find me? 

Really, truly what do readers want from authors?  (Besides the best book I can write.)


Check out A Forever Kind of Guy coming from Samhain publishing in October 2011.

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Picky Reader Reads Non-Fiction – 1

I rarely read non-fiction for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost it takes me a long time to read a non-fiction book.  I can generally only manage a few pages a sitting which my pea brain must then absorb before I can go back and try to glean some more wisdom from the same source.  The second reason is my ability to remember anything seems to have deserted me in the last couple of years.  While I may read something deep and memorable I want to hold onto and take with me, in a very short time it’s simply gone.

However, in my attempt to figure out things currently foreign to me, such as how one goes about creating a successful marketing campaign for one’s independently published e-Books, I picked up a handful of books I thought might be helpful.  One of those was Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod of fame.

I’d never heard of Hugh Macleod, his book or his web site before, but I am now a fan.  I read his book in two days.  Why?  It’s easy to read.  The chapters are only a few pages long and his cartoons are peppered throughout.  He’s chosen a sort of bullet-point presentation style.  He gets in, makes his point and moves on.  The book is 149 pages long.  He doesn’t waste time or paper saying anything that doesn’t need to be said or saying it six times in different ways. 

Since I’m at a point in my career where there are so many voices the conventional wisdom indicates I should be listening to, I’d recently decided the only voice I should be listening to was my own.  Which is much the point Ignore Everybody makes.  You alone are responsible for your career, your choices, your fate.  You hold the key in your hand.  You could be wrong, you could be right, but if you go with your gut, that’s usually the best way to go.  Stop listening to everyone else.  Dare to do something different.  Don’t worry about whether it will make money or be successful in the eyes of the world.  If you’re driven to create then do it! 

Something I found truly amusing was a line in Chapter 20 which is entitled “Sing in your own voice.”  There’s a list of famous artists who weren’t good at certain things within the art form they’re known for. I laughed out loud when I read this one:  “Dylan can’t sing or play guitar.”

Why did I find this so amusing?  Because for eight years I’ve worked at a local Starbucks where a variety of music is played, much of it not to my taste.  I can’t control the music choices, but I can skip certain playlists.  Dylan seems to be a recurring favorite and I’d commented once again a few nights previously that someone needed to tell him he couldn’t sing.  Which is not to say he isn’t a great songwriter.  To quote MacLeod, “Had Bob Dylan been more of technical virtuoso, he might not have felt the need to give his song lyrics power and resonance.”

Ignore Everybody…resonated with me and reinforced much of what I already knew.  Maybe it will do the same for you.



Writer Envy?

There has been a bit of a furor lately about John Locke’s book on how he became a bestseller offering ninety-nine-cent eBooks while also admitting he isn’t that good of a writer.  I have not read his how-to book.  From what I’ve read about it, it appears he takes a cold-blooded business approach to making money from writing, which many other authors who’ve honed their craft for years may find offensive.  It’s also possible they might envy his approach and wish they could be so hard-headed and business savvy and make the kind of money from selling fiction that Locke does.

I read one of Locke’s books and blogged about my opinion of it recently.

What I find interesting and somewhat amusing is the reaction among some published authors to Locke’s approach.  Let’s face it, any of us could have done what he did, and probably still can.  The book he’s written detailing how he did it is selling like hotcakes.  I’d love to know how many disgruntled authors bought the how-to book versus bought and read any of his novels.

Locke’s admission that he doesn’t consider himself an exceptional fiction writer reminded me of an unpublished writer friend who told me a couple of years ago she wanted to write fiction to make money.  She didn’t think the writing had to be that good.  At the time I was offended by her attitude, but with the dumbing down of America, turns out she was right.  The John Locke story proves her point.  If I were him, I’d be chuckling all the way to the bank at how easy it is to take advantage of the reading, book-buying public.  First they will buy his fiction because it’s cheap (as I did) and even though it’s may not be well-written, they either don’t care or can’t tell.  (I do and I can.)  Then they will buy his how-to book so (God forbid) they can go out and write their own not-so-great novel and make millions from it.

Although I’ll refrain from naming names, I’m sure we’re all aware there are traditionally published, best-selling authors who are not great writers. 

Ever since I started writing what I heard from the “experts” is there are no new ideas.  You need to put a new twist on an old idea.  Simple, enough, right?

What I also heard ad nauseam was “Write the best book you possibly can and it will sell.”  The cream, supposedly, rises to the top no matter what.

In my heart of hearts, I want to believe this is true.  I haven’t spent twenty-plus years writing so I could slap garbage between the covers of a book and laugh at the readers who lap it up.  My goal was and has always been to write the very best books I am capable of writing.  It’s my mission statement.  I care about my readers. 

Would I love to be a best-selling author and make piles of money from my work?  You betcha!  But money isn’t what motivates me to write, and there’s something sort of sad about money being the motivation behind almost anything.

For years I worked with people who hated their jobs but were there for the money.  Life is much more joyful if you find something you love to do and are good at, and you can get paid for it.  John Locke found something he’s good at and obviously has a passion for (selling his books) and he makes money doing it. 

I admit I have a Pollyanna-ish view of life and writing and business.  I don’t have piles of money, but I’m pretty satisfied the books I offer to the reading public are my best effort.  No one can take that away from me.