Tag Archives: Sweet Water

It’s Here Again….

Happy New Year


Happy New Year, Readers!

I can’t believe it. Seems like only yesterday I posted this same heading, yet it was Christmas a year ago. All of you probably thought I had died. The last time I posted on this blog was months back. August, I think.

I hope 2015 was a good year for you. As for me, I’ve had better. But on the other hand, I’ve had worse. All in all, I have a lot to be grateful for.

So do you make resolutions? And do you stick to them?

I don’t make resolutions so much as I make plans. And I’ve already got 2016 pretty much planned. Of course you know that old saying : Life is what happens while you’re making other plans. (That quote really did not originate with John Lennon. It originated with a guy named Allen Saunders.)

DixieCash_YouCanHaveMyHeartNumber One on my list is to finish the Dixie Cash book I’ve got underway, YOU CAN HAVE MY HEART, BUT DON’T TOUCH MY DOG. It’s full of the usual madness and mayhem only Debbie Sue and Edwina and their friends can generate. I had planned on releasing it before the end of 2015; however, my day job took over my life for about six weeks and I didn’t get it done. If I’ve made a resolution at all, I have resolved to not let that happen again. Now I’m shooting for a release date in February or March.  This was quite an undertaking for me. My sister threw in the towel at around 50 or 60 pages, so I’ve written it on my own. People who have read it tell me it’s funny, but I’m nervous. I’m the first to acknowledge that she’s the funny one. AnnaJeffrey_TheHorseman_200px (2)

Second on my list is to finish THE HORSEMAN, Book #3 in the Sons of Texas trilogy. It isn’t a comedy. This will be Troy Rattigan’s story, plus it will tie up all of the loose ends and reveal the villain who’s got it in for the whole Lockhart family.

Along with these two projects, I’m going to attempt to narrate my own audio book. I know. Don’t laugh.  …..  I’ve already bought the equipment I need and am ready to roll. All I need now is to get over this head cold that has affected my voice. I don’t know how my Texas twang will sound trying to narrate an audio book. A person should have good elocution and be a half-assed actress for it to work. In fact, most of the audio book narrators *are* actors or actresses. My advantage, if I have one, is that I know how I mean for the dialogue I wrote to sound. We’ll see how it goes. Believe me, the money I’ve invested in the equipment is a drop in the bucket compared to paying for a professional narrator. They are very expensive.

Another project on the drawing board is to write Book #2 of Miranda’s Chronicles, a sequel to the 40,000-word novella I released in 2015, DESIRED. Book #2 will not be a novella. Writing a novella is harder than it looks. I will never do it again. My home is in 100,000-word tomes. The title will be CLAIMED and I’ve already bought the image for the cover. That way, with money invested, I’ll be motivated to get it done.

978-0-451-22959-5_ManOfTheWest.inddI’m also still trying to get my copyright back from my former New York publisher on MAN OF THE WEST, a book I wroteAnnaJeffrey_LoneStarWoman_800 under the pseudonym, Sadie Callahan. I so want to re-write that book and re-release it as an Anna Jeffrey book. It’s Book #2 of The Strayhorns series and a sequel to LONE STAR WOMAN. I had originally planned to write Book #3 in this series and that story is still sort of floating around in my head. I might go ahead and work on it whether I get my copyright back or not.

So those are my plans for 2016. I think my day job is definitely going to have to take a backseat. Still, don’t bet any money that I’ll get all of this done.

How about your resolutions? Are they doable?

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CAN AN OLD DOG LEARN NEW TRICKS?

Or to be more specific, can someone who has been doing something in one way for a very long time learn to do the same thing a different way?

qThis is a question that looms before me as I embark on a mission to learn Scrivener. I’m starting a class in how to use this program in a couple of weeks. The author who wrote “Scrivener for Dummies” is teaching the class, so she sounds like the perfect teacher for someone like me.

I bought Scrivener months ago. I didn’t even take the “30-day free trial” offer. I was so confident I could use it I just bought it. Because I had more pressing things going on, I let its icon sit on my desktop for a couple of months before I opened it. I’m not an expert at the computer, but I’m reasonably savvy. After an hour with Scrivener, I was ready to pull out my thinning hair.

Since then, I’ve gone back to it. Even tried to fit my WIP (THE CATTLEMAN) into it, but haven’t advanced one iota. So it’s time for a class.

For those of you who have never heard of Scrivener, it’s writing software designed to replace or enhance Microsoft Word. For novelists and screenwriters, it’s supposedly more intuitive and more organized, with authors in mind, than Word.

And why am I trying to do this? Because I want to be faster and more efficient in my writing. I need to be turning out more than one book a year.

I wrote my first book, THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, as a pantster. A pantster is someone who writes organically. Stream of consciousness. Whatever pops into one’s head goes on the page. But being a pantster wastes a lot of time as you can probably imagine. You write stuff, then throw it out and replace it with something new. I don’t know about others, but by that method, I’ve ended up with stories that didn’t resemble the ones I had imagined in the first place.

After I became published by two of the Big Six publishing houses under two different pseudonyms, I no longer had the luxury of being a pantster. Time became precious. I *had* to become an outliner and a planner because I had to present new stories for the editor to consider before she would renew a contract and I had to meet deadlines. Consequently, over time, I developed a clumsy way of outlining in Word and in Excel. And that’s how I’ve written the last few books, with not much time for a story to “gel” in my mind.

But now I want to try something I hope will be better. So here I go into yet another class. <sigh> I’ve taken so many. :-/

“And speaking of THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, it will soon be available in print from Amazon.AnnaJeffrey_TheLoveofaCowboy_200px Hopefully before the end of the month.Amazon has a new feature for authors to offer those who want to hold a printed book in their hands. If you buy the printed edition, you can buy the same book in e-book format for a reduced price. Of course, the author has to opt for this feature. I’ve added this to the books I’ve got in print, THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN and SWEET RETURN. And I will soon be adding it to THE TYCOON.”

Meanwhile, wish me luck as this old dog sets out to learn a new trick.

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SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION…

Happy Holidays, everyone. As for me, I’m just glad it’s almost over. When you work in retail, the Christmas season calls for a huge amount of work and the patience of Job. And it’s hard to find fun in all of the chaos.

North Texas actually had snow on Christmas Day this year. In my entire life, except in the Panhandle, I don’t think I’ve ever known of it snowing on Christmas in this part of the world.

A lot of other things were going on besides work at my real job. First and foremost, (And I don’t want to forget a trumpet blare here), I finally got THE TYCOON uploaded into the Kindle Store on Amazon. But it didn’t happen until Christmas week. And here’s the cover one more time.

AnnaJeffrey_TheTycoon_200px

 

I ran into a few snags, like a copyeditor who dropped the ball. Consequently, I ended up hurrying through it and formatting it myself. The result of that was a whole lot of errors in the formatting. I hate that, but I had to upload it. I had copyrighted in in 2012 and I wanted it to be a 2012 release. Now I’m in the process of going back and correcting the errors. I can’t move on get into Book #2 because I can’t seem to get free of Book #1.

My intention was to get it uploaded the first week of December, then follow up with the promotion of SWEET WATER free in the Kindle Store, thus expose it to more traffic. Not getting the copyedit back threw my schedule all off and nothing came off as I had planned.

One of the things I’m learning in self-publishing is that there are a lot of unqualified, unreliable folks out there. I knew that about other endeavors in which I’ve been involved through the years, but I was hoping for better from the writing world.

I put a price of $4.99 on THE TYCOON because it’s a long book and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. It’s my usual character-driven soap opera. As I think I’ve said before, it’s Book #1 of a trilogy called SONS OF TEXAS. The books will be romance novels, but overarching the trilogy and threading through it is the story of a wealthy, dysfunctional Texas family. The true ending will not come until the end of the 3rd book.

Besides that, I got SWEET RETURN uploaded into the Amazon Kindle Store. Kim Killion designed an awesome cover. It might be my most favorite cover. Let me know what *you* think.

AnnaJeffrey_SweetReturn_800

 

The female model on the cover wrote me a Facebook message and told me how happy she was to be on the cover. I thought that was cool. Actually, it’s kind of surreal how much these two models look like I imagined Dalton Parker and Joanna Walsh, the hero and heroine in that book.

SWEET RETURN is a reprint of my 2008 book. It won the Aspen Gold contest held by an RWA chapter in Denver and placed in several other contests. It will also be available as a print book from Amazon. It was a fun book to write and I hope it’s a fun book to read.

So that’s what’s been keeping me busy writing-wise and publishing-wise.

Prior to that, my daughter came and stayed ten days with me. We beaded and cooked and shopped and did all of the things we usually do. Had a great time. I enjoy her company so much and miss her a lot. One of these days, I’m going to have to move to Oregon to be near her. She hates Texas and only comes here because I’m here.

I didn’t do a lot of holiday cooking this year, but I did make biscotti to take to work. Turned out to be delicious. I had never made it before, but it’s fairly easy and almost foolproof. And tomorrow, I go back to my real job, which ends the holiday for me.

One of my resolution for the coming year is to try to be more attentive to this blog. For me, its purpose it to promote my books, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about other things. A lot is going on in the world and most of it bears discussing. So please hang in there with me.

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A RANT ABOUT CELL PHONES…

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

About a million words have been spoken and written about what cell phones are doing to us, i.e., giving us brain cancer, making us unable to communicate verbally, walling us off from each other, yada, yada, yada…..

Something happened recently that made me start to think more about this. I was in a parking lot, walking from my car into a store. I was walking along with car bumpers close by on my right side. Directly ahead of me was a guy walking toward me, deeply absorbed in texting.

I could go no farther to the right without running into car bumpers. “He sees me,” I told myself and continued my path. He came closer and closer and never looked up, so he simply ran into me and almost knocked me off my feet. I couldn’t believe it. He had feet and feet of space where he could have gone to his right, but he was oblivious to it and oblivious to me. His arm hit my shoulder and he looked up at me as if I had just landed from Mars. He didn’t hurt me, but he jostled me. And he didn’t even have the decency to apologize.

I work with a young man who is on his phone every minute of every day—texting, Facebooking, shopping, messaging or whatever else he does on the phone. Even when I’m trying to talk to him, he’s only listening with one ear. His eyes are glued to his phone screen. Why management doesn’t land on him, I don’t know, because he behaves that way not just to me, but to everybody.

I work with a young woman who keeps her cell phone hidden, but who has FaceBook open at all times and constantly refers to it.

I work with yet another one who plays gambling games all day long, even while we’re at lunch and trying to have a simple conversation.

When I walk into the break room, almost every person there is texting or doing something on the phone. Nobody even says hello anymore.

I have another acquaintance who pulls her cell phone from her pocket or purse every few minutes to check for something. It’s impossible to have an uninterrupted conversation with her. I never have her full attention.

I have yet another friend who weaves from lane to lane while driving while she’s either trying to get the phone out of her purse or trying to punch in a number or read a text. At least, I haven’t seen her text while driving, but she might do that. I no longer know, because I’ve quit riding with her.

Person using cell phone while driving.

Person using cell phone while driving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SMS: Text Messaging Gets Redesigned

Just last week, I heard a young woman talk about dropping her cell phone in a cup of Coke when she was texting while she was driving on a major highway.

I’ve seen two teenage girls standing a foot from each other and texting each other.

These days, you hardly see a young person who doesn’t have a cell phone in his or her hand. Only older people have them in holders attached to their belts or secured in their purses. But they still have them with them. Even if you’re on welfare, the government will provide you with a cell phone, and it isn’t just *any* cell phone. It’s an iPhone or an Android if you want it.

So do any of you recall the days when if the phone rang at your home and you weren’t there to answer it, you simply were not home? And if the caller wanted to talk to you about something important, he or she would call you back when you were at home? Do you remember the days when we didn’t have voice mail?

Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволюция мобил...

Mobile phone evolution

When I was in the real estate business, I had “Call Waiting.” But I hated it. I thought nothing was ruder than abandoning the person or person with whom I was talking to answer the phone. But, for some reason, it was a tool I thought I needed.

Angel with mobile phone

Angel with mobile phone (Photo credit: Akbar Sim (terribly busy))

So now that we’re to the place where almost no one (and I mean no one) is without a cell phone, especially if one is under 25 years old, where are we really? We’ve exponentially compounded rudeness. We’ve almost eliminated verbal communication. We’re encouraging young people, who are already easily distracted, to have the attention span of a gnat.

And I could go on and on. Am I just an old fuddy-duddy who can’t adapt to the times?

What comes of all of this? Does anybody know?

By the way, for you who are interested, THE LOVE OF A STRANGER will be a free download on Amazon on the 17th and 18th. You can download it to your Kindle, your computer, your iPad, your iPhone or most other devices if you get the Amazon app. I don’t, however, think you’ll be able to get the Amazon app on Nook, but I don’t know for sure. So if you want to read it for free, there you go.  🙂

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WORK ON THE BOOK GOES ON…

Work on the first book of my new trilogy continues. Everything takes so much longer than I thought it would. So many more authors are self-publishing now, which slows down the process. But that’s good that aspiring authors who have been shackled or shunned by traditional publishing are finding an outlet.

I now have a title and have ordered the cover. That’s going to take several weeks. Not too long ago, it took a few days or a week. I don’t know yet how long copyediting will take.

At this moment, I’m planning an e-book release, followed by a POD release through Amazon. The title I’ve landed on for the trilogy is SONS OF TEXAS. And the title for the first book is THE TYCOON. The second book will be called THE COWBOY and the third will be called THE HORSEMAN. The setting is Fort Worth and rural Texas.

The book titles are fairly self-explanatory, but here’s the trilogy arc:

“The three grown children of an old wealthy but dysfunctional Texas ranching family find love in unexpected places in spite of their quarreling parents. Crisis and near tragedy ultimately reunite the parents who have been the root of the family’s breakdown and harmony that has been missing for many years returns to the Double Barrel Ranch.”

The flag of Fort Worth, Texas currently in use...

And here’s the blurb for THE TYCOON:

“When successful, wealthy Fort Worth businessman, DRAKE LOCKHART, encounters a beautiful redhead at a fancy charity ball, the last thing he expects is a tryst he can’t forget with a woman who disappears. With her continuing to haunt him, he’s driven to search for her. Once he finds her and persuades her to spend time with him, he recognizes that his bachelor days are over. But she has no trust in love or in him and erects barriers between them. Just when he thinks he’s winning her over, without his knowledge, an associate in his powerful company goes head to head with her in a business deal involving real estate she desperately wants. Restoring her faith in him is a challenge Drake must face and win if he’s ever to be happy.

Presented with the opportunity to spend time with one of the most successful businessmen in Fort Worth and one of Texas Monthly’s most eligible bachelors, SHANNON PIPER, smart, successful real estate broker in the small town of Camden, Texas, cannot deny her wilder side. Falling in love with a man she doesn’t trust isn’t on her agenda, yet she can’t ignore his attention or her own attraction to him. Her solution is to confine their relationship to “just sex.” After he claims to love her, his treachery in a business deal proves her original fears well-founded. She can’t easily be convinced she can ever trust him. Her unexpected pregnancy forces both of them to stop playing games and embrace their true feelings.”

English: Actor Hugh Jackman at the 83rd Academ...

Drake

As always, Hugh Jackman is my mental image for Drake, but I haven’t yet found one for Shannon. Sometimes I think of Julia Roberts, but with green eyes. Suffice to say Shannon’s beautiful and smart because all of my heroines are beautiful and smart. This book will be a typical steamy Anna Jeffrey drama. 🙂

English: Julia Roberts attending the premiere ...

Shannon

I had hoped to get it out the door by the end of February, but that isn’t going to happen. So now I’m pushing for the end of March. <sigh> I’m nothing if not flexible.

I welcome your comments.

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A Game, Give Your Opinion….

I need your opinions, folks.

It has been my experience that the New York publishers allow authors little or no opinions or suggestions on cover designs. Nor do they allow authors to have the cover art once a book has gone out of print. They own the cover art, you see.

Consequently, if an author self-publishes an out-of-print book in this brave new world of publishing, he/she has to come up with new cover art. So here’s the game. Below are the books I’ve self-published. I’m showing the original covers done by the art department of one of the Big 6 in New York, alongside the new covers I’ve designed or had designed by a cover artist. And I’m asking what you think.

This is an important question. The cover is one of the most important marketing tools for books. The object is for it to be so appealing, a reader will feel compelled to grab it off a book store’s shelf and look it over. Here goes…..

The first one is SWEET WATER. The cover on the left was designed by my former publisher’s very fine art department. The one on the right was designed by this wonderful cover artist I found. The art is great in both of them, but the question is, which would be more apt to make you buy this book?

The second one is SALVATION, TEXAS. The one on the left was done by the publisher’s art department. The one on the right was actually done by me, if you can believe that, in Photoshop. Same question. Which one would make you most likely to buy the book?

                                                                                     

And here’s the third one, THE LOVE OF A STRANGER.

And I’m saving the best for last. I have not yet uploaded THE LOVE OF A COWBOY to Amazon for Kindle and Barnes & Noble for Nook, but I have the new cover. And I’m unveiling it today, right here, right now, for the first time. I personally think it’s fabulous, fantastic and just downright beautiful. I’m so in love with it, I can hear orchestra music in the background when I look at it.   …..  Let me know what *you* think. Again, the one on the left was done by the publisher’s art department and the one of the right was done by the wonderful new graphic artist I found.

Don’t be bashful. I need your honest opinions. I have books to publish and books to write in the future and I need to know how to dress them up.

Thanks, folks.

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A Surprising Discovery…

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07

As I’ve posted on Facebook and in other places, I’m eager to read Steve Jobs’ biography. So I’ve been dithering whether to buy the book or buy a download for the Kindle. What I’ve discovered is that as much as I like that Kindle, there are some books that are just too delicious not to have a *real* book in my hands. Something tells me that the book about Steve Jobs is one of those.

This discovery was a “wow” moment for me because I thought I was ambivalent. I thought books in print had been replaced in my mind by Kindle books.

So I started thinking about other books I might like to read or have already read and I asked myself, “Kindle or print book?” I made a short list of the ones  I would just have to read in their print format if I hadn’t already read them. Here’s a small part of my fiction list in no particular order. I prefer a print-on-paper edition of every one of these books.

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
HEART OF THE WEST by Penelope Williamson
THE OUTSIDER by Penelope Williamson
LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry
THE DEATH OF THE ARCHBISHOP by Willa Cather
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway
SOPHIE’S CHOICE by William Styron
RIDE THE WIND by Lucia St Clair Robson
DEEP END OF THE OCEAN by Jacquelyn Mitchard
All of Nicholas Evans’ books

Cover of "THE HEART OF THE WEST"

Those are just a few. Then there are the non-fiction books I would prefer to have in traditional print form. That list is much longer. There’s just something about a non-fiction book that calls for one you can hold in your hands. Many of my non-fiction titles are research books and I haven’t yet mastered how to find things in the Kindle downloads.

In addition, I get a little panicky at the idea that you don’t really own anything with digital readers except the reader itself. The content is out there in cyberspace somewhere in that nebulous *cloud* and you’re only *using* it. I can’t get past the feeling that it could be yanked at any time.

Cover of "Ride the Wind"

None of this is to take away from the convenience, the ease and the utter out-of-this worldness of reading a book digitally. I do love it. Even my husband loves it. As I’ve said before, he can’t deal with a cell phone, but he can use the Kindle.  The technology is revolutionizing both bookselling and book publishing.

But in thinking about it, I wonder if a lot of readers will turn out to be like me. Some books on the Kindle, some not. Do all of you have digital readers now. And are you devoted fans? Or are there still books out there that you would prefer to read printed on paper?

I just hope the day never comes when the print books will no longer be available.

Anna J

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