Enter to Win FANTASY MAN

Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing
Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing

Chapter One of FANTASY MAN (Samhain Publishing 02/16) is not exactly PG-13, while my blog is. Below I’ve posted the beginning of Chapter Two. Once you’ve read it, leave a comment briefly explaining what you think happens in Chapter One either here on the blog or on the post on  my  Facebook Author Page . I will choose at least one winner from the comments for a digital or print version of FANTASY MAN.

*******

FANTASY MAN Chapter Two

The fantasy evaporated and reality set in with a glacial chill . At that moment she knew she’d done something that would have consequences far beyond her own selfish motives and momentary pleasure.

Her actual memories of Reif Callaghan were blurry at best. Tony and Reif had been roommates at FSU for four years, but to Quinn, five years their junior, Reif had been unattainable. She had certainly been beneath his notice. Still her ridiculous crush had only grown more intense on the rare occasions their paths had crossed. The last time was five years ago in Tallahassee when he and Tony had graduated.

She wasn’t quite prepared for such intense scrutiny from those eyes of his. Not with his naked and slightly sweaty body still atop hers. Not with her camisole pushed up to her armpits.

What had she done?

She struggled beneath him, wanting to get away, to push the memory of what happened between them out of her mind.

Liar, her subconscious replied. You don’t want to forget this. Not now. Not ever.

Maybe not, but she’d at least thought the first time she had sex this fantastic it would be with somebody who knew who she was. Someone who wanted her.

He repositioned himself as she wiggled out from under him, yanking her camisole down as she went.

“Hey, wait a minute, how’d you—” Reif put his hand on her waist.

She shot up. “Get your hands off me.” She wondered how effective her tone was considering that, like the rest of her, her voice was a little shaky. So many emotions were zipping through her at the moment, she wasn’t sure which one to feel first. Fantasy had collided with reality in a way she still couldn’t process. Not with him there, naked, looking for answers she didn’t have.

Reif sat up, the sheet pooling below his waist.

Quinn found her jeans on the floor and yanked them on. The hell with her panties. She certainly wasn’t going to waste time looking for them now.

“I just—would you—did I—”

She didn’t wait around to hear whatever else he had to say and she certainly wasn’t going to be there when he got out of bed, leaving the sheet behind. She hightailed it down the stairs, not completely sure where she was headed, but knowing she had to get herself under control before she could face him again.

She skidded to a halt in the kitchen. What was she going to do now? Oh God oh God oh God. She’d done something stupid. Unforgiveable. Something she wouldn’t be able to take back. Ever. And she had nowhere to run.

She forced herself to breathe, to calm down and think. She needed to do something normal. Coffee. She’d make coffee. Surely a routine task like that would put everything back in perspective, or at least put things into some kind of context she could work with.

She knew from her search for sustenance last night that Reif’s cupboards were nearly bare. But he did have coffee and a coffeemaker. She set the brew cycle and contemplated the dark liquid as it dripped into the carafe.

She’d been annoyed when Reif hadn’t collected her from the airport yesterday. She’d waited near the baggage claim for over forty-five minutes, giving him and the famous LA traffic the benefit of the doubt. She had no way to contact him. Her brother Tony didn’t want anyone to have a way of tracking her, like a cellphone. He’d assured her he’d contact Reif and Reif would be there because Reif would never let Tony down.

Only Reif hadn’t shown, so Quinn took a taxi to his house. When she’d ascertained that no one was there, she’d kinda-sorta broken in and made herself at home. By then she was starving and exhausted, but there was nothing to eat unless she wanted to make a meal out of grape jelly and ketchup.

Pissed and alone, she’d started in on Reif’s six-pack of Corona Light. She’d drank them all, letting the alcohol calm her while she explored the house.

Reif lived like a monk. The furnishings were Spartan and there was only one bed, a king-sized one in what was obviously his bedroom. It would serve him right if he found his bed already occupied when he finally showed up. He could sleep on the couch.

Quinn had doffed most of her clothes and snuggled under the covers. The booze, lack of food and all around rotten day made her desperate for some kind of pleasurable relief. In her mind she’d let Fantasy Man have his way with her in a most satisfying and delightful manner until she fell fast asleep.

Her night of blissful slumber hadn’t ended with any of her problems solved, however. It had only created more .

******

There will be lots of posts about FANTASY MAN in the future, so follow along on the blog, my Facebook Author Page or on Twitter (@barbmeyers) for chances to win more stuff!

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Turn Off Your Internal Critic and Write!

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)Sometimes you don’t know what you need until it appears in front of you. Such is the case with a creativity coach. In the fall of 2013, an offer came across a writer’s loop for free sessions from Denise Agnew. She had to work with a certain number of clients to earn her coaching certification. I jumped on the offer without really knowing what it was about. I only knew I needed something to help me get out of the hole I’d dug myself into.

The first thing Denise did was tell me to lay it all on the line. What did I see as my problems and issues with writing? What was holding me back or keeping me from writing.

Creativity coaching is a bit like therapy. You offer some background information and the coach says, “How do you feel about that?” “What could you do about that?” “Could you try this or that and see how it works?” In other words, the coach forces you to confront your problems and solve them yourself. She is there to nudge you into doing SOMETHING besides what you’ve been doing. The ultimate goal is to get you writing (and we hope selling) again. Or whatever your individual ultimate goal is, I suppose.

Part of my problem was I wasn’t writing at all. I told myself it was because I was working my day job which exhausted me. On my days off from that, when I intended to write, I allowed the rest of my life to interfere. I didn’t have long periods of time to sit down and concentrate on writing. Coupled with the fact that I had several projects in various stages of completion that I’d been working on simultaneously over the past several months (or years), each time I went to work on one of them I had to reacquaint myself with the status of that particular project.

Writing wasn’t fun any more. It was work. I already worked at my day job. I deserved time off from work. I didn’t want to do more work.

I write flying by the seat of my pants starting with a vague idea of the story and the characters. I build as I go and sometimes I haven’t thought far enough ahead and I don’t know where my story is going. I hit a wall. I have to think about that story so in the meantime I work on something else. Until I hit a wall there and move on to another and so on. Which is why I have several things going at once and at that time none of them were getting done. I had nothing to show to an editor, nothing to sell or publish myself. My only thought was, oh what’s the use?

I’d stalled out. I wasn’t writing anything. I wasn’t blogging. I wasn’t Tweeting. I could barely come up with a witty post for Facebook.

Denise asked why I thought plotters had it any easier than pantsers.   She suggested to me that they probably don’t. I had assumed for most of my career that having some idea of the plot before you started writing would be easier than making it all up as you go along.

Next Denise suggested I turn off my internal critic and editor and simply write. Could I find an hour a day to write? Yes, probably. If I stopped watching Castle reruns while simultaneously playing Bejeweled Blitz every night. If I couldn’t find an hour, could I find a half hour to write every day? If I’d said no to either of those I’m sure Denise would have whittled it down to fifteen minutes or even five, just to get me back in front of my laptop working on something for any length of time on a daily basis.

She didn’t have to. She asked me which of my projects I’d most like to finish. I told her Fantasy Man because I thought it was the most likely to sell to my current publisher. But when I sat down to start working again, I started on Cool Beans, which is the second book in my AJ Tillock screwball fantasy series, Grinding Reality.CoolBeans_CVR4 like3

finalGRcoverAlthough very few people have read the first book in the series The Forbidden Bean, the ones who have loved it and have been begging for the second book. Admittedly, most of those people are related to me, but still, when someone says a book you’ve written is the best book they’ve ever read or that it’s their favorite book of all time, you kind of want to write more of that.

So I concentrated on Cool Beans and got it to a place where I needed to print out a rough draft and take a hard look at it. Next I bounced over to Fantasy Man and discovered it wasn’t quite as “done” as I thought it was. I thought I might go back and take a look at Rich Woman, or mis·con·ceive or Nobody’s Fool. The point is I started writing again. Without someone coaching me, I’m not sure I would have.

Denise’s coaching business and website is called Creative Pen Coaching and the website is www.creativepencoaching.com  You can contact her at denise@creativepencoaching.com

If you want to see what else Denise is up to visit her here: www.deniseagnew.com

Author’s Note: While I still haven’t published Cool Beans,

NobodysFool72smNobody’s Fool became available from Samhain Publishing January 2015.

Misconceive is currently available in ebook format only from Amazon.Barbs_Book_Front What A Rich Woman Wants released May of 2015 and Fantasy Man is scheduled for release February 2016.

WhatARichWomanWants72web See what happens when you just allow yourself to write?

Thank you Denise!

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraMeyersAuthorPage

Web Site:  http://www.barbarameyers.com

Amazon Author Page:  http://amazon.com/author/barbarameyers

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/barbmeyers1/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/barbmeyers

Twitter: @barbmeyers and @ajtillock

100 Words to Engage Your Reader

2015-02-06 22.14.14 (4)“You have a hundred words to engage your reader,” the workshop speaker tells us at a recent writers’ conference. She also said, “If it doesn’t matter cut it.” I took another look at my current wip (working title ANIMAL). The first section below is what I had written. The second is where I cut it to get to the action in the first hundred words.

         The circle of light illuminated the pavement just in front of her running feet as Bree approached an especially dark stretch of the road. She was out of her own well-lit neighborhood, but this road saw little traffic and had a nice slow incline that increased the degree of difficulty just enough for her liking.

          The streetlights were spaced equidistant from each other except for this particular section which Bree figured was because there weren’t any houses nearby. Instead, the land had been left to woods and water, a dense bit of forest in its natural state. It wasn’t particularly threatening beyond the fact that it was just especially dark. But she was familiar enough with the road having run it many times in both daylight and nighttime, not to be concerned.

          Up ahead, perhaps a half a mile away, the streetlights began again. She’d kept up a nice easy rhythm, checking her phone every now and again to make sure she was maintaining her pace. Her playlist filtered through her earbuds. She had another mile to go before she turned back. Four miles was good for a weekday, she reminded herself.

          No matter how tired she was, she made time for her jogging routine five days out of seven at a minimum. It was as necessary to her as air and if she didn’t get her workout in, she felt sluggish and disappointed with herself. She not only needed the discipline of a workout, she enjoyed it. She could let the stress and problems and little annoyances of life fade away so it was just her and her music. Her muscles cooperating with the demand she put on them, her heartbeat increasing, her lungs functioning the way they were supposed to. She loved knowing that her body rose to the challenge before it.

          The darkness became almost all-encompassing except for the haloed streetlight she could see in the distance. There was cloud cover so no stars shown. There was no moon. Not even a sliver. She focused on the circle of light ahead of her, the soles of her running shoes hitting the pavement, her stomach sucked in, her arms pumping.

          It was a cool October North Carolina night with a hint of moisture in the air. She wore one of her long-sleeved tees and loose shorts. She’d pulled her hair back in a low ponytail.

          She sensed the rush of an approach a split second before out of nowhere something knocked her to the ground. (417 words)

      Her head hit the pavement as she crashed down on her right side. At first Bree was too stunned to do anything. She didn’t understand what was happening or who or what was attacking her. She felt a pressure on her chest and a growling like that of a wild animal. But she couldn’t see anything. Whatever it was, she thought wildly, wanted to kill her. She could smell its breath and its teeth snapping as it snarled. Sharp nails embedded in her skin through her clothes. She was going to be mauled to death by this—this thing, if she didn’t do something. (521 words)

Are you ready to put my book down now?

Below is where I cut the scene to 100 words to snag reader’s interest:

         Her flashlight illuminated the pavement just in front of her running feet as Bree approached an especially dark stretch of the road. She was more than a mile out of her own well-lit neighborhood, but this road saw little traffic and had a nice slow incline.  

          Cloud cover blocked the stars. There was no moon. She focused on the circle of light ahead of her, the soles of her running shoes hitting the pavement, her stomach sucked in, her arms pumping.

          She sensed the rush of an approach a split second before out of nowhere something knocked her to the ground. (104)

         Her head hit the pavement as she crashed down on her right side. At first Bree was too stunned to do anything. She didn’t understand what was happening or who or what was attacking her. She felt a pressure on her chest and a growling like that of a wild animal. But she couldn’t see anything. Whatever it was, she thought wildly, it wanted to kill her. She could smell its breath and hear its teeth snapping as it snarled. Sharp nails embedded in her skin through her clothes. She was going to be mauled to death by this—this thing, if she didn’t do something. (208)

Comments welcome! Keep track of future posts via Twitter @barbmeyers

Win a Free Book

NobodysFool72smNobody’s Fool

The following is excerpted from the romantic comedy NOBODY’S FOOL by Barbara Meyers, release date 1/6/15 from Samhain Publishing —

He wouldn’t fall for her again, wouldn’t tell her how he’d felt all those years ago or what she’d done to him when she’d left. He’d get the hell out of Dodge before he made a fool of himself by letting on that he still had a thing for her. That was the plan, anyway.

Jolie looked puzzled as he turned into the parking lot of Smokey’s Grill & Chill and parked. “You’re kidding, right?”

Court grinned. “Why not? We’re old enough now.”

“But—but,” she sputtered as Court got out and came around to open the door for her. Smokey’s was the closest thing Oak Ridge had to a biker bar. Situated on the outskirts of town, the ramshackle building was surrounded by a dilapidated wooden deck, which held an assortment of scarred tables and chairs. A few were occupied, the tabletops crowded with beer bottles, baskets of wings and fries and overflowing ashtrays.

The clientele ranged from the barely legal to clearly geriatric. The dress code consisted of scuffed jeans or overalls paired with T-shirts, along with baseball caps and work boots.

“I think I’m overdressed,” Jolie said.

“It’ll be fine.” He reached for her hand. “The food’s good, believe it or not. I’ll even let you beat me in a game of pool.”

“In that case, how can I refuse?” She took his hand, and a wave of longing went through her, along with a touch of melancholy. Court had made it clear that all he wanted from her was friendship, hadn’t he? She recalled the flare of interest she’d glimpsed in his eyes when she’d first opened the door. Was friendship really all he wanted?

A low whistle rose from the group on the deck as Jolie and Court ascended the steps. “Hey, baby.” From the corner of her eye, Jolie saw Court gesture in their direction, a sort of chopping motion. Quiet descended.

They went inside. Their arrival was acknowledged by turned heads and a brief drop in the hum of conversation. “I wish you’d told me where we were going,” Jolie murmured. “I wouldn’t have worn this.”

“Are you kidding? You look fantastic. Besides, this place could do with a little class. What do you want to drink?”

Ordering a glass of white wine might be a mistake. Beer, which she rarely drank, seemed like her best bet. “Light beer,” she replied. “Imported, if they have it.”

She stayed close to Court while the bartender got their orders. She wasn’t immune to the admiring glances—or in some cases, outright leers—directed her way. She felt like a fish out of water and wondered if Court had planned it that way.

He turned with two bottles of beer in one hand, held by the necks between his fingers. He nodded in the direction of the pool tables. “There’s one open. Want to play?”

Jolie lifted her chin. She had the feeling Court was playing some sort of game, but it had nothing to do with pool. Although she’d given up playing such games herself, she still remembered how. “Sure, why not?”

They made their way to the table. She set her purse down and Court handed her one of the bottles as he racked the balls. He came around and handed her a pool stick.

“What?” he asked.

“Did you bring me here to make me feel uncomfortable?”

“No, of course not.” His face fell as he looked around. “Is it that bad? I thought it would be fun. Didn’t you always want to come in here when you were a kid? I did. A bunch of us tried to get in with fake IDs.” He smiled at the memory. “Smokey kicked us out on our asses.” The smile faded. “I’m sorry. This was probably a bad idea. We can go to the Cedar View.” He moved to take the cue stick away from her.

“I’m being a snob, aren’t I?” She didn’t know if she’d meant to say that aloud or not.

“No, no, that’s not what I said.”

“You don’t have to.” Jolie looked into Court’s eyes. “That’s how I behaved in high school, like I was too good for just about everybody. I tell myself I’ve changed, but then I still act this way. Until someone points it out to me.”

“Jolie—”

She wrested the pool stick back from him and walked around the table. She picked up the chalk then lined up the cue ball. “Let’s stay.” She broke, dropping one ball in a side pocket. “You said the food’s good. And you’re right, I was always curious about this place.”

—-

CATCH MY RELEASE CONTEST

MONTH OF JANUARY 2015 – 5 WINNERS – 5 WAYS TO WIN:

  1. Read and post positive reviews of NOBODY’S FOOL. Send proof of purchase (snapshot of receipt) and review site/handle posted under to barb@barbmeyers.com with “CONTEST ENTRY” in the subject line = three entries per site.
  2. This could be a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc.
  3. Post a comment on any of my blog posts (on my blog or anywhere I guest blog) during the month of January – one entry per
  4. NOTE: You must visit the BLOG SITE and post your comment on the BLOG SITE. You can post more than one comment on the same blog, but it’s still one entry.
  5. Follow and DM me on Twitter (cleverness counts!) @barbmeyers – one entry
  6. Any new followers who LIKE my Facebook Author Page and post a comment or send me a message = one entry
  7. Any Facebook Author Page followers who SHARE my posts – one entry. The contest runs from January 1-31, 2015. You must be over 18 years of age to win.Five Winners will be notified by February 15, 2015.Prize is winner’s choice of any Barbara Meyers book, either print or eBook version.Winner will be announced on my Facebook Author Page, my web site and Twitter.Make sure you’ve left a way for me to contact you: Twitter handle, or email address when you post a comment.Feel free to share this post with others who might like what I write.
  8. http://www.barbarameyers.com

My Husband The Not Navy Seal

IMG_0756It’s all over the news on Veteran’s Day, the Navy Seal who shot Osama Bin Laden.  He is to be admired for sure for his bravery and he is definitely an American hero.

But as we sit down to another of my culinary attempts (Crockpot Kung Pao chicken) I tell Bill he is a true American hero as well.  He seems baffled by this, especially since he never served in the military.

Yes, I explain but you’ve stuck it out with me for almost 35 years.  You’ve eaten my experiments more times than I can count without complaint.  That’s got to count for something.  Because I know it couldn’t have been easy.  In truth, the man deserves a medal although he’ll probably never get one.

For most of his life he went into office battle every day providing for his family.  He suffered his share of defeats there.  I’m sure there were triumphs as well, but  there might also have been days when he would have liked to chuck it all and walk away. But he didn’t.

He stuck it out.  Through the births of two children.  Raising of teenagers.  Gains and losses.  A sometimes crazy wife whose moods he didn’t understand.  Were there days he wished he could just walk away?  I don’t know but he never did.IMG_1211

He sucked it up and too often displayed what we in the family refer to as “The Meyers Stoicism.”  It makes you want to smack them for not displaying any emotion whatsoever.  He’d have been great in the military. Loyal to a fault.  Standing up for what he believed in.  Sucking it up, sticking it out, surviving without complaint.

There are so many American heroes.  Some of them risk their lives to go overseas on dangerous missions to keep us safe.  Some of them keep us safe here at home.  They’re the tough, silent guys who don’t get much credit for bearing up under the pressures of everyday American life.

If you ever wondered why romance writers write romance, this is part of the reason, for me at least.  Lots of romance novels are inspired by everyday heroes.  They don’t make the news headlines.  You’ve probably never heard of these guys.  But you might be married to one.  Maybe your father was one.  Or your boyfriend, your brother, your uncle.  They stick with you through the bumps on the road of life, and they’re still there when you get to “the end.”

NobodysFool72smNobody’s Fool available January 6, 2015

Follow me on Twitter @barbmeyers

 

The Shakes

MISCONCEIVE is free on Amazon.  Here’s the link:  http://www.amazon.com/Misconceive-Barbara-Meyers-ebook/dp/B00MKCJPQQ/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1415105468&sr=8-5&keywords=barbara+meyers

Barbs_Book_FrontNo, I didn’t shorten the link because it’s too much trouble.  Deal with it.  If you’ve got a Kindle, and you like traditional women’s fiction/romantic fiction without any graphic love scenes, well, you might like MISCONCEIVE.  Or you might think it’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever read.  I’ve read some pretty dumb books of late so I don’t see how that’s possible, but everyone’s got an opinion.  And you wonder why I’ve got the shakes.  Because offering a book for free on Amazon or anywhere else for that matter is an invitation for reviews.  What if everybody hates it?  What if all the reviews are one star?  Is that better than nobody reading it and nobody reviewing it.  What if it’s ignored altogether even though it’s free?  I can’t even give it away!  Arghhh.

This is what goes through an author’s brain.  There’s a love/hate relationship with a writing career.  You’re always second-guessing yourself, always sure you’ve done something stupid, catastrophic, career-ruining.  If you do something right or noteworthy you’re always shocked.  Of course, that could just be me.

When you start at the bottom, and I’ve been at the bottom for years, you’ve got nowhere to go but up.  You’ve got nothing to lose.  You can’t “ruin” anything.  You can give a book away because no one’s buying it or any of the others anyway.  Why?

Marketing of course.  All bookselling is marketing.  I think all of everything is marketing.  If you suck at marketing (hello!) your books don’t sell.  You won’t stand out in the crowd in a place like Amazon and doesn’t everyone go to Amazon first to look for books?

All my books are there, like the proverbial needles in the haystacks. (They’re on B & N, Samhain, Kobo, and a bunch of other bookselling sites, too.)  They feature regular human beings.  No angels.  No demons.  No shapeshifters, werewolves or vampires.  Possibly, that’s where I went wrong.  Sigh.

#Amazon #free books #Misconceive

Find buy links to my other books here:

http://www.barbmeyers.com/where/index.html

Follow me on Twitter (which I don’t understand) @barbmeyers

Corporate B.S. Cleaning Cloths

ajtillock2013 012

Corporate B.S. Cleaning Cloths

Instructions for use:

Determine amount of B.S. to be cleaned. Dispense squares from roll and tear at appropriate perforation. Note: More than one roll may be required.

Crumple squares together and hold with one hand. Beginning at edges of B.S., attempt to push all B.S. into one pile. Note: Dispense extra sheets if required or if B.S. tends to resist attempts to contain it. Protecting skin and psyche at all times, cover and then lift pile of B.S. into center of crumpled cloths. Dispose of in appropriate container. Note: Appropriate containers are not always labeled as such, but may also be referred to as trash cans or toilets.

(Corporate B.S. Cleaning Cloths are recyclable and biodegradable, but should never be used more than once.) If you are experiencing an excess of Corporate B.S., look for our handy twenty-four-pack.

Warnings: Corporate B.S. can often be messy and difficult to contain. The attached cleaning cloths are not intended to do any of the following:

Determine the source of B.S..

Lessen the amount of B.S..

Eliminate B.S. entirely.

Corporate B.S. delivered via text message or e-mail must be printed out prior to cleaning cloth use. In some cases, this process may prove unwieldy and time-consuming and your cell phone or computer delete key may be used first.

Corporate B.S. may be sticky and difficult to get rid of entirely. Avoid rubbing. Although there are various strains of Corporate B.S. the source is generally the same. These cleaning cloths are designed to work on all varieties.   However, particularly stubborn B.S. may require larger cleaning cloths. Look for our Major Corporate B.S. Cleaning Cloths in the paper towel section. For the toughest jobs, our Heavy Duty Corporate B.S. Cleaning cloths may be found at most office supply retailers.

Problems or Questions please call our customer service line toll free 1-800-Cleanit (1-800-253-2648). We love hearing from our customers.

#work #cleaning #office

Dear Readers: This is just something silly I wrote back in 2011 for a product I’d like to invent. I came across it today and it made me chuckle. I hope it does the same for you. Please share if you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

Barb

Follow my infrequent posts on Twitter @barbmeyers and @ajtillock

Buy links to my books are on my web site http://www.barbarameyers.com

The Trouble With eBooks

Dear Self-published author:  Oh, God. I hope this book of yours was self-published. Because if it wasn’t the decline of published literature is worse than I ever imagined. Whew. I double-checked. It was.

First of all, before you ever publish another of your books yourself and offer it for sale to an unsuspecting public, there’s a little technique I’d like to acquaint you with. It’s known as proofreading. Let me explain.

READ BACK OVER YOUR MANUSCRIPT. MULTIPLE TIMES. Check for the following:

Typos

Misspellings

Punctuation errors

Grammatical errors

Check to make sure that you used the right word in the right place. For example: The expression on her face is not indigent. It might be indignant. Get a dictionary and try looking words up if you don’t know what they mean. Better yet, when you use your word processing program’s spell check feature, make sure it’s spellchecking the appropriate word.

If you’re too lazy to proofread your manuscript yourself, then I beg of you, get someone else to do it. When that individual points out your mistakes the time to correct them is before you hit that publish button.

While you’re reading back over your manuscript, try to determine if your story makes sense. Does it have a beginning a middle and an end? Does it wander off into distracting tangents and sub-plots that somehow become disconnected from the story you started to tell?

Are there characters in your story that don’t belong there? Will your reader wonder who Max or Sarah are because they mysteriously show up in the middle of your book with no prior mention?

Oh, and those words and phrases you use repeatedly? The excessive number of times you remind me of the color of his hair and her eyes? Stop it!

Did you write this book to preach to me about something? To inform me about a cause or an illness or a political point of view? Because if you did, what you most likely did was piss me off. I will remember you and I will never buy or download another of your books. Not even if you try to give it to me for free. Because you know what you are? You’re a bad writer.

I don’t care what your web site says. I don’t care how many traditionally published books you have under your belt or how popular you are with readers. You disappointed me. You ripped me off. You took my money in exchange for a piece of garbage.

Your five-star reviews are meaningless once I’ve read or attempted to read your “book.” Did you pay for those reviews? Did you twist the arm of every friend and relative you have to write one for you? Or did you make up those personas yourself and write your own reviews? Probably not because the reviews aren’t full of misspellings. I don’t know what idiots are giving you five-star reviews for this piece of garbage, but I’ve got about as much respect for them as I do for you.

The worst thing is I think maybe you can write. I think maybe there’s a decent story in here somewhere. Maybe. But it’s buried under a lack of editing, proofreading and basic knowledge of grammar. Which makes me think you haven’t got a clue.

Your characters behave in conflict with their thoughts. Their motivations make no sense nor do their actions. Don’t tell me how they feel. Show me. Don’t tell me how I should feel while I’m reading about their dilemma. Make me feel it!

You are what’s wrong with this brave new world of self-publishing. You’ve got no standards (unless they’re low ones). You’re unprofessional and you give those of us who are offering a quality product a bad name.

I will never use your name. I won’t post a bad review. I hope I don’t need to. I hope you don’t need any help losing your readership and that you slowly fade away and never write a bad book again.

Signed,

A Disgusted and Disappointed Reader in Floridaajtillock2013 012

Visit me at www.barbarameyers.com

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If you buy any of my self-published eBooks and if you are disappointed contact me and I will make it right.scatteredmoments_thumb

#bad books #ebooks #publishing

Sarcoxie Days

9/7/14  I’m on my way home!  Yay!  Yesterday we went to breakfast at The Hungry House with Maxine.  It was raining and cold after the 90 degree heat of the day before – a shock to find it in the 60’s.  20140906_095334The Hungry House is the only restaurant anywhere near Sarcoxie and it’s out on the highway.  We take the back roads to get there as directed by Maxine.  I’ve given up after The Sirloin Stockade and the corn dog at Chief Sarcoxie Days last night and decided to eat until I go home.  I can’t win. I know Janet will have a spread at her house later.

After breakfast I visit Loretta (my dad’s cousin) who lives two doors down.  She’s 102 and is thrilled when anyone stops in to see her.  Her family has suggested maybe she should move into the local nursing home.  She’s stayed there previously and they were nice to her and it was fine but she doesn’t see why she should go there if she’s still able to take care of herself.  She apologizes for forgetting things, but I think when you’ve got 102 years of memories you’re entitled to forget a few now and again.

Steve and I find Janet’s house with no difficulty.  Her sisters Cheryl and Connie are there along with assorted spouses, nieces and nephews and my uncle and aunt.  It’s delightful to see everyone and watch them interact .  I have to remind myself I’ve known these cousins since childhood.  I saw them every summer.  Now Cheryl is a grandmother and Connie will be one soon.  They’re both a little older than me so it’s too early to panic.

I don’t know how Janet does all she does.  She’s one of those perennially sunny-dispositioned people who make every event and every challenge appear to be a breeze.  She turns every accident into a funny story – as when the coffee carafe breaks and leaks water all over her kitchen counter.  Twice.IMG_1220

Cheryl has made a Boston Cream Pie that looks like a picture in a food magazine.  Connie’s made apple pie with Missouri apples.  Apparently the closer to home the apples are grown the better the pie.  I initially decline dessert but eventually succumb.  I’m on “vacation” after all.

We chat and play musical chairs to chat with someone else and take pictures.  Janet takes most of them.  If her camera is digital (surely it is) I hope she sends me copies so I can share.IMG_1221

On the way home Steve and I stop to see Mom again.  She’s already sitting at her place in the dining room even though the lights are off and dinner won’t be served for 45 minutes.  I’m pretty sure she has no idea who we are but we sit and chat as best we can.  Oddly she knows all five of her brothers’ names (in order) and her sister’s name.  Her parents’ names and her own.  Her husband’s name.  “Who could forget him?” she asks…without a trace of irony.

We talk about the sameness of the routine of her days.  Steve says it’s like Groundhog Day.  A reference we know she won’t get.  Then he starts explaining the premise of the movie to her.  Between her hearing issue, her confusion about what Steve’s trying to explain to her and his enthusiastic narrative, we start to giggle until he’s laughing so hard he can’t talk.  Eventually he tells Mom, “I guess you had to see the movie.”

When Mom’s tablemates start moving toward their seats it’s our cue to leave.  Mom has told us she’s hungry from the moment we arrived.  But when I offered her an overripe banana from a basket on the counter she declined – preferring to wait for her meal.  But I know what she was really waiting for was dessert.

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(Every year I travel from Florida to Southwest Missouri where I was born to visit my mother and extended family.  My journal entries turn into blogs.  See the previous years’ blogs under “The House of Dust” and “The Guilt Trip.”)

Visit me and find buy links to my books at http://www.barbarameyers.com

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#cousins #Sarcoxie

(Chief?) Sarcoxie Days

10645101_10203511988414945_5485431917587865473_nI’m back in Sarcoxie.  Again.  Ugh.  Chief Sarcoxie Days is a celebration, but of what?  Obesity?  Poverty?  Hopelessness?  Am I just used to everything new and bright and shiny so that here all I see is faded paint, burnt out lights and desperation?  Maybe the worn out carnival is a reflection of my mother’s worn out life.

Each day she grows a little sadder, less vivid, less alive.  Eventually she’ll fade away like the memory of a fall street fair on the square.

Yesterday at the home I was shocked by how much older Mom looked.  She “lost” her upper plate so her face is more sunken.  She’d put on pedal pushers under her dress.  At least her hair looked clean.  We walked her down to see “the birds” – caged finches.  Mom doesn’t get out of bed some days.  I’m sure she sees no reason.  She’s weak(er) because of it and I wonder if she’ll make it.  She does, my brother Steve on one side and me on the other holding her hands, my 94-year-old aunt walking on her own just fine behind us.

We’re meeting two other aunts at the Sirloin Stockade for lunch.  When Steve said we were taking Mom with us I said, “Why?” “Because she hardly ever goes anywhere.”  That’s because she doesn’t know where she is anyway or who she’s with.  But I demur.

It’s probably good for her to get out.  It’s a long walk in hot sun from our parking place to the restaurant door and then to the back table where the aunts are waiting.  Steve fixes Mom a plate – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and green beans.  He cuts her meat.  She picks at the food but when he sets dessert in front of her she’s enthusiastic.  The little plate is picked clean in minutes.  I wonder if she has trouble eating due to her missing teeth.  Steve says, “Didn’t you see her chomp right through that cookie?”

We joke about Mom’s obsession with meal times but most of her senses are dulled.  Sight.  Hearing.  Cognitive ability.  All she’s got left are taste and touch.  And there are days, I’m sure, when no one touches her.  There should be an official hugger in her assisted living facility.  Steve says those people there are so damned lonely.  He talks to them when he and Mom sit in the lobby.  I think he’s performing a valuable function.

My mother was not a hugger.  Not particularly affectionate at all.  It was almost as if she was never comfortable in her own body.  She held herself apart.  But now I wish I could pick her up and hug her.  Hold her and soothe her and take care of her.  No one really takes care of her.  Her nails are longer than I’ve ever seen them.  She’s like a Lab, Steve tells me.  She won’t let anyone touch them.

I wonder what her toe nails look like.  Has anyone trimmed them?  She’s always wearing shoes and socks.  Even in bed.  No one’s seen her feet in years.  Steve says, “I’m not touching them.”  My aunt doesn’t seem too interested.  Tough toenails, I guess.

When we arrived to see Mom, she greeted Steve and Maxine like she knew them.  Maxine says, “Do you know who this is?  This is Barbara.”  Mom looks at me, puzzled and possibly pleased and says, “Oh.  My daughter?”

That is the most recognition I’m likely to get from her.  Undeniably I am her daughter with all that entails.

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#Sarcoxie #mothers #loneliness