Tag Archives: book writing

To Infinity and Beyond (Texas)

This past week we had a wonderful panel discussion (Women of Mystery) at the Barnes & Noble on West Gray.

I wanted to share this interview with everyone. My neighbor is too fascinating not to know better. Learn about this dauntless spaceman with the following link to my other blog, EastMontroseCool.com. My blog isn’t very colorful today. So if you go here: To Infinity and Beyond  you’ll see another photo.

Then, know that you are all in my thoughts as I traipse across Texas these next two weeks. I’m going to the Texas Book Festival this weekend. It is such a huge deal and I’m so happy to be going. I’m there to not just promote my books but to promote The Houston Writer’s Guild. If you haven’t checked out this organization, please do: houstonwritersguild.org. And while your at it, sign up for the November 8 workshop with prize-winning author Sarah Cortez. She will be speaking about “How to Finish Your Novel” among other things. There will be an acquiring editor there to take pitches. And what an attractive thing to think that all this comes with LUNCH! LOL!

Next weekend I’m off to Midland, TX to speak at the library there. I will take pictures this time.

My brother and I hope to visit my aunt in the San Antonio area this next week. I haven’t seen her since she dropped everything she had going in her life to help out my mother when my dad went into the hospital with Pancreatic cancer in 2007. My father’s death led to tremendous and earth-shifting changes in my life because my mother was almost an invalid at the time. My aunt stayed with her and helped her get stronger both physically and mentally. My aunt was always a selfless person. Now she is up in age. We just found out she is on hospice, and we feel the need to go see this lovely and loving woman.

That’s my week. How is yours shaping up?

Don’t Undermine Your Comment with a Plug

I just read a great post by At WordPress.com. It is about not putting a link in your tweet or comment because you are trying to market yourself. I’m sure I’m guilty of this. I’ve been very enthusiastic about posting my URL for my book all over the place.

There is a time and place for this. I am not trying to be boring but doing anything repeatedly is boring.

At any rate, this is a great post if you take time to read it you’ll see what I mean. Plus, if you are trying to promote a business or a book, follow me on twitter – @rlnolen to see the tweets I’m finding about social media and author platform.

Don’t Undermine Your Comment with a Plug.

Author Platform, how to know if you “Got It”

messy art roomI was reading a blog the other day about author platform and one thing this author said struck me as doable. If you google yourself (go ahead), and you find your name and your novel, business, etc. at the top of the page, you “got it”. You have struck gold and you have the proverbial “platform”. You have answered the bridge troll’s three questions…you get to go across the bridge to …ummmm. Okay, you get to go across. Be happy.

Okay, I’m all for easy, so I googled Rebecca Nolen. I find my name up at the top of the page, several links to me at my “social media” sites and about half-way down the page there it is again… “The Real Rebecca Nolen”.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

The link goes nowhere, meaning that there is no information of what and who this “real” Rebecca Nolen is except that she is a total mystery. The only nugget of gold information that can be scraped up is that she lives in Dallas. I should pay her a visit.

Knocking on door…woman opens door, “Yes?”

Me. “Are you the real Rebecca Nolen?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I’ve been researching Rebecca Nolen and I see that you are the real one, or so it says on Google.”

Door slams.

Well, and that’s as far as I got trying to figure her out on Google, too.

So, I scroll down the Rebecca Nolen google page and find a lot of obituaries. There are a lot of dead Rebecca Nolens. Sad.

And more scrolling, Rebecca Nolen’s arrest record in Ohio. Hmmm. Haven’t been there in thirty years, no worries. Wait! What’s this??? Rebecca Nolen arrested in Galveston. Whoa! That’s too close to home. Ouch, she even looks a tad bit like me … if I had no teeth… and red hair. Okay, she doesn’t look much like me.

And more scrolling –  found lots of references for The Dry. That’s fantastic!! The Dry is showing up, people! Get it while its hot. And what’s this? A link to Rundstedt’s flicker page…where… he is showing all his friends my novel THE DRY!!!! Wow! Bing. Bing. Bing. Jackpot! Rundstedt is the WASP photographer who lives in Australia and kindly, I say KINDLY let me use his amazing photo for the book cover. Wow. He is showing everyone the book. Wow.

Who cares about platform when you have a world-famous photographer showing his friends your book?

Mea Culpa

I’ve been so excited to have two books published on Amazon. The Dry continues to get good reviews. I’m so grateful. It takes many hands and many eyes to get a book ready for publication. I feel like those who have published before me have been the most helpful in the process.

I published a second book in January called Deadly Thyme. I had had it professionally critiqued. I followed all her good suggestions. I read and reread the file. handsI was certain it was perfect. The cover was outstanding. Everything looked good. I’d been working on this book for so long, and had so many people read it that I felt positive it was ready. Sure, there were likely some mistakes because there always is. I figured that there would perhaps be three or four, and those would be easily fixed. So I went ahead and pushed “publish.”

This was my mistake.

I sent the completed paperback to someone who has a good eye for mistakes. She took me aside and showed me that there were more than three or four mistakes. There were many. There are many. I’m so ashamed. I want to apologize to any and all who have bought Deadly Thyme. I have since removed the paperback from Amazon. When it reappears it will be better! The Kindle will be down within the week and a new version will be uploaded.

There is good news for anyone who bought a Kindle version. (And I hope it is in your queue of books to read and not already been read. Wait!) If you go to your Amazon Kindle page where all your books are stored, you can make sure your “updates enabled” is on and you will get a better file on your device automatically when the new file is downloaded. This works on the Kindle app on your computer or phone too, you only have to go to “manage your device” and you will be directed to your Amazon Kindle page.

I’m truly upset by this because my books are only as good as their stories, and stories should be read without the distraction of extra words, missing words, too many dashes and not enough commas. I don’t expect you to trust an author whose book is chock-a-block full of mistakes. I don’t expect you will trust that someone who published a book with that many mistakes would be trusted with other novel offerings in the future. I hope this isn’t so, that you will forgive me and understand that I won’t let it happen again.

Seriously, It’s Day 7

English: J.W. Sexton High School, Interior, Fl...
English: J.W. Sexton High School, Interior, Floor Mosaic, Drama Masks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was going to do the countdown backward for drama. But it’s so boring. Today I tipped the scale at 140.6. I’ve gained five ounces. How is that possible? No, wait! It’s muscle weight from all that exercising.


I’m too bored to record what I’ve eaten. Just know it was oatmeal or salad. (Possibly 3 calories.) Except that my friend, Elizabeth, took my mother and me to lunch at Pappadeaux so it actually was a small (feeds 2 people, as opposed to medium which feeds 4 people, the large could feed a little league team if little league teams ate salad, which they wouldn’t if given a choice of anything else) Greek salad with lump crab meat. (possibly 2,000 calories).

But we won’t talk about that. It was wonderful to visit with Elizabeth and mom over ALL THE NOISE of the restaurant. By the time we left it had quieted down to three other tables. We really did have a nice time. Thank you Elizabeth!!!

One Question in The Beginning

English: Herman Melville in 1860.
English: Herman Melville in 1860. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The number one question the writer of fiction asks when beginning a new work is “What if?” It’s a good question. But what about the other questions your English teacher taught you? What about Who? When? Where? Why?

Of course those questions are the nexus to the main question asked when beginning a work of fiction, but I think asking “What if?” is the beginning. For example: What if the captain of a ship decided that the cause of all his troubles lay in one single fish (albeit a mammal in this case.) I think that was what Herman Melville must have wondered as he began Moby Dick. The who came next, “Call me Ismael”, the where was a given, the why is what the novel explores, but the when isn’t important. Why? Because the book addresses the universality of the human condition and the when becomes “now, any time, whenever”.

Another example: What if the writer asked what if there was woman who wasn’t too happy in her marriage to a missionary and they had several children and were roughing it in Africa when a civil war broke out? That might be how the author of Poisonwood Bible began or it might be the same question I would have if I were going to write about my grandparents who were missionaries in Africa.

Every person has a novel inside. Because every person has asked at one time or another the What if question about something. Just the other day I was reading a local story about the man executed for burning his children to death in a house fire. The investigation into that incident was revisited after the execution and is presently ongoing with his guilt called into question instead of his innocence. Not just his guilt but everything else about the fire is being re-investigated. My thought was “What if he was innocent? What if he confessed to protect someone else? What if the fire wasn’t even arson?” There’s a non-fiction novel in those questions.

Whenever I confess to someone that I’m a writer, I often get this response. “I have a great idea for a novel. When can we get together? You can write it for me.” I somehow get out of this by saying that I’ve got too many ideas for my own novels to get them all written in a lifetime. But,” I add, “I do know a ghostwriter who would love to write your novel. That’s how she makes a good living.” I don’t use those words but in a kinder, gentler way the meaning is there. Interest is lost and the subject is changed.

We begin at the beginning with the initial important question when writing fiction but I end this with the caveat that there are so many elements to writing nothing can be boiled down to this or that one thing.